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Gary Black, fish conservationist

Local involvement is the most honorable of all naturalist traditions. By knowing your community, your neighbors and the native wildlife, local naturalists can save the neighborhood at a time. Gary Black is an example of this effective form of caring community member and naturalist in Redding, California.

Black, Scott Valley resident and senior project coordinator for the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District, has developed and implemented more than 80 fishery restoration projects including: 58 fish screens, 24 boulder weirs, 38 habitat improvement structures, more than 160 acres of riparian planting, 47 miles of road reshaping, 7 miles of road decommissioning, reprofiling more than 30 irrigation ditches and installing more than 7 miles of burried diversion pipe.

“The department relies heavily on the contribution of enthusiastic, well-trained, good-humored and committed individuals such as Gary,” Hattoy stated in the press release. “We are honored to present him with the first-ever “Director’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Anadromus Fish Conservation and Restoration.”

With the SRCD, Black has been developing, designing and overseeing construction of in-stream and fishery restoration projects in the Scott River watershed for more than 10 years.

Black participated on the Shasta and Scott rivers pilot program for Coho Salmon Recovery and assisted in identifying restoration activities for Coho recovery in the Scott River Watershed, as well as recommendations relating to agriculture and agricultural water use.

“He not only has an intimate knowledge of the watershed and fishery restoration needs, in addition, he has intimate knowledge of the concerns and needs of the landowners in the community,” stated Don Koch, DFG north coast regional manager.

Black was born and raised in Scott Valley, currently living on the family farm near Etna where he continues to practice what he calls “dirt farming.”

“Gary has worked successfully with many state and federal agencies and interest groups to develop and accomplish all of this work,” stated John McCamman, deputy director of the DFG. “His commitment to the community and watershed restoration is unsurpassed.”