Tribe acquires 91 more acres at Chahalpam

01.14.2015 Dean Rhodes Culture, Federal Government, Natural Resources

The Grand Ronde Tribe closed on the purchase of a 91-acre parcel at the Chahalpam property fronting the North Santiam River in Marion County on Friday, Jan. 9, bringing the total acreage to more than 429 acres that the Tribe will manage for conservation purposes.

The 91 acres are worth more than $900,000 and the purchase was funded entirely by the Bonneville Power Administration’s Wildlife Mitigation Program. The transaction included more than $140,000 in operation and maintenance costs, which also are funded by BPA, said Tribal Land and Culture Manager Jan Looking Wolf Reibach.

“This is a proud achievement for Grand Ronde as the Tribe continues in its effort to manage Tribal natural and cultural resources over its treaty homelands,” Reibach said.

The 91 acres join 338 acres that the Tribe acquired at Chahalpam, which is just downstream from Stayton, in May 2013 also as part of the BPA’s Wildlife Mitigation Program.

Through a conservation easement over the property, the Tribe will manage the Chahalpam Wildlife Area to restore, protect and enhance wildlife habitat, focusing particularly on spring Chinook salmon, winter steelhead and Pacific lamprey, but include many other Tribally important plant and animal species, Reibach said.

Chahalpam, which means “place of the Santiam Kalapuya people” in the Santiam Kalapuya language, is directly across the North Santiam River from the 1851 Santiam Kalapuya Reservation identified by Chief Alquema as the most important homeland and the one that the Santiam Kalapuya wanted as a reservation.

However, the 1851 treaty was never ratified by Congress. The area was included in the Willamette Valley Treaty that was ratified in1855.

“The strong Tribal connection to its homeland remains to this day,” Reibach said, “and will strengthen as the Chahalpam Wildlife Area is expanded.”

Reibach thanked several Tribal departments in helping with the acquisition, including Tribal Council, the General Manager’s Office, Tribal Attorney’s Office, the Ceded Lands, Tribal Realty Program and Tribal Historical Preservation Office in the Land and Culture Department, Geographic Information Systems, Natural Resources, Public Works and Facilities and Finance. He also thanked partners Western Rivers Conservancy, Bonneville Power Administration and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“The Tribe remains committed to recover and restore important resources within our treaty lands, and to that end there is much work to do, but today is a good day to celebrate the expansion of the Chahalpam Wildlife Area,” Reibach said.