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Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) website for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of the Karuk and Yurok Tribes’ (the Tribes’) Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative (KRRBI or proposed Project). A California Advanced Service Fund (CASF) grant was approved by the CPUC for the Karuk Tribe on October 17, 2013 (Resolution T-17418). On May 7, 2020, the CPUC adopted Resolution T-17690, approving supplemental CASF funding amount of $10,820,150 for KRRBI. This website provides access to all public documents related to the CEQA and NEPA environmental review of the proposed Project.


The Karuk Tribe holds a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN number U-7235-C) and has initiated the proposed Project in order to provide broadband high-speed internet access to the rural, unserved and underserved communities in northern Humboldt County. The main Project objective is to bridge the divide that currently separates remote rural communities from others in the digitally-connected world. Implementation of the Project is expected to improve education, emergency response, health care, and business opportunities within the region. Under CEQA, the CPUC is required to analyze potential environmental impacts associated with the Project and present the findings in an environmental document for public review and comment. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the federal lead agency under NEPA, would utilize the joint environmental document to complete the environmental review of the proposed Project, as required under NEPA.

Project Overview

The proposed Project would comprise installation of a “middle-mile” fiber optic network as well as “last- mile” wireless broadband networks to provide high-speed internet access to first responder agencies, anchor institutions, households and businesses in the towns of Orick, Orleans, Johnsons, Wautec, Weitchpec that are currently unserved or underserved. The proposed Project consists of above-ground and underground installation of fiber optic cables, a wireless tower in the town of Orick, a signal connection in Orleans, and placement of “last-mile” fiber cable and associated structures.

The proposed Project would extend approximately 104 miles through rural Humboldt County (see Location Map) and would be distributed into five segments. Proposed actions at each segment location are summarized as follows :

Segment 1: Orleans to Weitchpec (15.2 miles) follows Highway 96 and includes 0.5-mile spur to serve the offices of CalTrans and the Karuk offices; also includes spur extensions to the existing Orleans broadband tower and the existing Frontier landline central office in Orleans.

Segment 2: Weitchpec to Wautec (24.2 miles) entirely within the Yurok Indian Reservation, this segment includes spurs to serve the Weitchpec Elementary School and the Yurok Tribal Community Center in Weitchpec, the Yurok Tribe’s Tulley Creek facilities, and the Jack Norton School near Wautec. 

Segment 3: Weitchpec to Elk Camp: (21.9 miles) proposed route extends underground from the west side of Martin’s Ferry Bridge along Bald Hills Road to Elk Camp and includes a short spur to the existing Yurok Wiregrass broadband tower and 0.1mile spur to the Elk Camp Fire Station.

Segment 4: Elk Camp to Orick: (11.8 miles) proposed route follows Bald Hills Road underground from Elk Camp to Highway 101 just north of Orick, then through the town of Orick overhead to the proposed tower location. Spurs would also connect to the existing State Parks office (shared with the National Parks Service), the proposed visitors center (at the intersection of Bald Hills Road and Highway 101), and to the existing Frontier office in Orick.

Segment 5: Orick to McKinleyville:(31 miles) proposed route follows Highway 101 overhead from the Orick tower, through the town of Orick to the intersection of Highway 101 and Hiltons Road, through private forested lands and commercial forests along the existing PG&E Orick to Essex overhead 60 kV transmission line from Big Lagoon to Fieldbrook, where the segment leaves the transmission line following Murray Road overhead and underground west and south ending in a short underground portion to the AT&T Central Office in McKinleyville. It has a two short spurs, each less than 0.1 mile, to serve the Tsunami wireless tower just south of Orick and to serve the Stone Lagoon State Park visitor’s center.

Environmental Review

Project Milestones as December 2022
Milestone Date
CASF Resolution Approved October 17, 2013
PEA submitted by Karuk Tribe December 18, 2017
Second CASF Resolution Approved May 7, 2020
Amended PEA submitted to CPUC May 15, 2020
CPUC Review of Amended PEA June 2020 
Initial Study/Environmental Assessment June 2022
Public Review Period June 24, 2022 to July 25, 2022
 Final MND/EA September 2022
Commission Decision Resolution T-17772 Approved December 1, 2022

Availability of the Public Draft ISMND/EA   

Copies of the public draft ISMND/EA are available for public review at the library identified below and on this project website.

McKinleyville Library
1606 Pickett Road
McKinleyville, CA 95519
Phone: (707) 839-4459

Documents Available for Review

Public documents related to the proposed Project and PEA for the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative can be found here: 

Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSI) BIA, BLM, NPS (December 12, 2022)  

Final Mitigated Negative Declaration/Environmental Assessment                       
            Notice of Completion (NOC) of the Final MND/EA (September 2022)
            Final MND/EA for the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative (September 2022)

            CPUC Resolution T-17772 Adopting Final MND/EA (December 1, 2022)
            Notice of Determination (NOD) (December 2, 2022)

Initial Study Mitigated Negative Declaration/Environmental Assessment
           Notice of Intent to Adopt an IS/MND and Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment 
           Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative Public Draft ISMND/EA
           Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative ISMND/EA Appendices

Amended Proponent's Environmental Assessment (May 15, 2020) (20.3 mb)
Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (PEA) for KRRBI (December 18, 2017) (35.3 mb)

PEA Technical Appendices

PEA Appendix A- Air Quality (December 18, 2017)
PEA Appendix B- Biological Assessment (June, 2020)
PEA Appendix C- Confidential Cultural Reports
PEA Appendix D- EMF Report (December 18, 2017)

CPUC PEA Completeness Letter (January 18, 2018)

CPUC Data Request 1 (June 4, 2018)
Karuk Tribe Data Request 1 Response (July 7, 2018)
           Attachment Service Interconnections
           Attachment Revised Current Internet Access
           Attachment Generator Specs

CPUC Data Request 2 (July 30, 2018)
Karuk Tribe Data Request 2 Response (August 9, 2018)
           Attachment GIS
           Attachment KMZ

CPUC Data Request 3 (March 18, 2021) 
Karuk Tribe Data Request 3 Response (March 26, 2021)
           Question #4 Attachment Cover Letter SF-299
           Question #4 Attachment SF-299
           Question #7 Attachment KRRBI APM SOIL1
           Question #11 Attachments KRRBI APM Cultural
           General Attachment KRRBI APM Hazards
           Yurok Signal Connection Map

Public Review and Comment

The public review period for the proposed Project begins June 24, 2022 and ends July 25, 2022. During this time, written comments may be submitted via mail or email. 

Written comments on the Draft IS/MND/EA should be sent via mail or email to:

CPUC c/o ESA, Attn. Maria Hensel/Klamath
1425 N. McDowell Blvd., Suite 200
Petaluma, CA 94954

For Additional Information

The CPUC, through its Environmental Review Team, is conducting an environmental review of the project. To request additional information or to be added to the mailing list, please contact us by email, or phone, as follows:

Project Email: KlamathBroadbandCEQA@esassoc.com
Project Voicemail: (707) 796-7009

The CPUC’s Project Manager is:

Connie Chen
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. (415) 703-2124

The BIA’s Project Manager is:

Chad Broussard
Environmental Protection Specialist
BIA Pacific Region
2800 Cottage Way
Sacramento California 95825
Tel: 916-978-6165
Cell: 916-261-6160 

Formal Comment Mailing Address:

CPUC c/o ESA, Attn.  Maria Hensel/Klamath
1425 N. McDowell Blvd. Ste. 200
Petaluma, CA 94954