On Thursday, Oct. 10, students and teachers at Whitethorn School gathered with principal Paula Panfilio, SHUSD board member Scotty McClure, and representatives of Sanctuary Forest to mark the completion of the installation of water tanks for Sanctuary Forest’s Water Forbearance Program. With the goal of conserving water to assist in the recovery of native fish populations, this program provides incentives for participants to develop water storage systems in exchange for signing an agreement not to pump out of the Mattole during the low-flow periods of late summer and early fall. To this end, Sanctuary Forest has installed 16 water tanks at the school, giving them the ability to store 80,000 gallons of water.
Scotty McClure is proud of the project, which he first proposed to the school board three years ago. He explained that it has been a long process involving many regulatory agencies. “We couldn’t have done this without a lot of help,” he said. “As far as I know, this is the first program of this kind in the U.S.” McClure gave much praise to Sanctuary Forest’s tank program director Bill Arthur, who dealt with all of the agencies involved, as well as consultants, contractors and school officials to see the project through to completion. “We couldn’t have done it without Bill,” said McClure.
Sanctuary Forest board member Eric Shafer, who is a substitute teacher at Whitethorn School, said he is excited and satisfied to see the project come to fruition.
Former Whitethorn School student and Sanctuary Forest staff member, Marisa Formosa, said that it was as a student at the school that she first began learning about the importance of the river. “It’s amazing that Whitethorn School is the first institution to join this program,” she said “I am impressed with how excited the students are about this project. It makes me feel hopeful for the future.”
Project supporters would like to say thanks to the funding sources and organizational partners: California Coastal Conservancy; California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Fish America Foundation; NOAA Fisheries; Sanctuary Forest; Trout Unlimited and the Southern Humboldt Unified School District.
Joe Whitney is the administrative assistant at Sanctuary Forest, Inc. For more information, call 707-986-1087, ext. 4#, or email email@example.com.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE WHITNEY
Whitethorn School students and teachers, Sanctuary Forest representatives, and community representatives celebrate the completion of the water tank project at the school.