U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Lake Havasu Field Office Hits the Water with Lights
The Lake Havasu Field Office (LHFO) kicked off the holiday season in early December by participating in the 30th annual Lake Havasu Boat Parade of Lights.
Thirteen members from the office and a few volunteers turned the fisheries’ barge into a float.
“We only had about a week’s notice to come up with the theme and only one day to construct it because the boat was in use until Friday morning,” said Leslie Denney, administrative officer.
The parade theme was “Winter Wonderland.” The Lake Havasu team called their float “Campsite on the Lake.”
On the evening of the parade, the LHFO float hit the water. It displayed a camping scene, wildlife, a boat, and saguaro and ocotillo cactuses constructed by LHFO maintenance staff the day before the event. The vessel was identified with a red, lighted rope BLM sign.
The parade had 36 entries and an estimated 4,000 spectators.
“All boats had an entry number and we formed a line in order and passed through, starting in Thompson Bay through the London Bridge Channel, under the famous bridge where we were judged by a panel of 10, and out to the north basin on Lake Havasu,” Denney said.
The Lake Havasu Fire Department led the parade that looped back to Thompson Bay. The parade entries followed, led by the Chemehuevi Tribe’s’ new 65-foot catamaran called Tecopa, meaning wild cat.
“Weather was superb, about 65 degrees, clear, warm and calm seas,” Denney said.
The crowd, along the eight miles of shoreline where the parade ran, was cheering and waving as the floats passed them.
“There were people on shore that were familiar with the BLM and their activities, shouting and yelling our name,” Denney said.
Field Manager Kim Liebhauser said participating in the parade is an excellent opportunity for the LHFO to participate in the community and showcase the BLM.
Denney said the LHFO will probably use this year’s theme in next year's parade, but will improve upon it.
Phoenix District Youth Initiative Creates Career Pathways for Students
The Phoenix District Youth Initiative uses the resources of federal, state, tribal, and state agencies to train students to be lifelong resource conservationists and provides them career experience at the same time.
More than 450 students from eight different Phoenix, Arizona, schools have been trained over the past two years through the Initiative in hydrology, riparian area management, biology, and other topics.
Under the Initiative, training begins in high school through the River Pathways Program, a partnership between the BLM and Audubon Arizona. Participants get hands-on experience that can include improving habitat, building trails and picking up trash. The training and experience leads to a Certificate of Conservation and Resource Management.
Recent participants have restored habitat for the endangered desert pupfish and the Gila topminnow, both native Arizona fish species. In addition, they removed invasive bufflegrass and picked up trash.
Participants within the last year constructed seven miles of motorized trail and four miles of non-motorized trail along the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail system. Summer interns added six more miles to meet a 17-mile goal established as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
In addition to classroom training, participants work at the Audubon Arizona Center and the BLM’s Agua Fria National Monument. The students work with BLM biologists on monitoring riparian habitats and completing stewardship and conservation projects. Three participants get paid summer internships.
BLM Arizona staff members teach at the Franklin Police and Fire High School, whose students can be certified as a Type II firefighters. That certication qualifies them for entry-level employment on a BLM fire crew and they may be hired for seasonal employment or get internships.
Participants in the Conservation and Resource Management program get hands-on work experience in natural resources through a variety of field-based work, including building and repairing trails and campgrounds, managing invasive plant removal programs, and habitat restoration.
An important component of the Phoenix District Youth Initiative is the American Indian youth program. The Agua Fria National Monument partners with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) to provide 10-week, on-the-ground summer internships for college students to to prepare them for the workplace, to explore federal career options, and to develop professional networks.
The BLM also works with county Workforce Investment Boards and colleges to provide additional training, employment and certification opportunities for students seeking careers and education in resource management.
Made possible by federal, county and nonprofit organizations working together, these collaborative programs not only help youth find career pathways, but they encourage stewardship of their public lands.
BLM-Arizona (Hannah Wendel, Natural Resource Youth Coordinator) nominated this program for the Secretary’s Partners in Conservation Awards. The Department will announce those selected for formal recognition October 18.
The Interior Department’s Partners in Conservation Awards Program recognizes partnerships that promote conservation, protect natural and cultural resources, use innovative approaches for resource management, and engage youth and diverse entities in accomplishing the Interior Department’s mission.
Protectors of the Desert’s Treasures - Friends of Ironwood Forest National Monument
Imagine a picture of cacti with the jagged outline of mountains in the distance. In late spring, purple flowers bloom on the ironwood trees that have supported the numerous species of this challenging living environment for more than 800 years.
This scene describes the BLM’s Ironwood Forest National Monument located in the Sonoran Desert located northwest of Tucson, Arizona. The 129,000-acre Monument is home to 474 species and subspecies of plants, rare desert animals, and archaeological objects of scientific interest.
Maintaining this beautiful landscape would not be possible without the hard work of the Dove Mountain Hiking Club (DMHC), part of the Friends of Ironwood Forest. This group, described as the “silent heroes” of the Monument, has picked up more than four tons of trash in a dangerous and unforgiving environment. The Monument’s lands are sometimes used for illegal entry into the United States and for narcotic smuggling, and become dumping grounds for an immense volume of trash.
The lifeblood of this desert landscape is the ironwood trees that provide a safe haven to the numerous species inhabiting the land – a shady respite for some, nectar for bees and other insects, and forage for larger animals. The Monument contains the densest stands of desert ironwoods anywhere in the world. It is also home to the endangered Nichol Turk’s Head Cactus.
The Dove Mountain Hiking Club has been instrumental in getting rid of invasive buffelgrass, a major threat to native plants of the Monument. In 2010, the Friends group received the BLM’s “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Award for the club’s successful efforts to help eradicate the weed in the Monument.
The Ironwood Forest National Monument was designated by President Bill Clinton in 2000. It extends from the Sawtooth Mountains south of Casa Grande across the Silver Bell, Waterman and Roskruge mountains, and is bordered by the wide Avra and Santa Cruz valleys on the east and the even more extensive plains of the Tohono O’Odham Nation to the west.
Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership - Protecting Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
The Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership (SVPP) is a voluntary association of agencies (federal, state, and local), organized groups, and individuals who share a common interest in the future of public land resources in the Sonoita Valley. Since 1995, the SVPP has been dedicated to helping the BLM manage and protect some of southeastern Arizona’s best native grasslands which, in 2000, Congress designated as the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (NCA). Together, the BLM, SVPP, and Cienega Watershed Partnership have developed and are implementing a Resource Management Plan for the NCA.
The biological planning process undertaken by the partnership continues to protect the Cienega Watershed today. The partnership also protects unique plant communities and wildlife species in the riparian and upland systems.
One of the partnership’s victories was its ability to help the BLM sustainably manage resources – including land, water, and forage – in the face of declinging budgets. This was accomplished by pooling resources from a number of sources.
Along with the Sky Island Alliance, members of the partnership have worked on projects such as arroyo restoration and erosion prevention. The BLM also has had an agreement with the Tucson Chapter of The Nature Conservancy since 2004 and has worked with that organization on restoration projects that have included groundwater and upland monitoring.
The Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership also enlists the help of those who work on lands adjacent to Las Cienegas, sharing data, projects, and ideas in order to protect the larger Cienega Watershed.
The partnership maintains the upland vegetation community in conjunction with grazing operations in the area. Every fall, resource specialists from the BLM, National Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Research Service, The Nature Conservancy, and University of Arizona collect groundcover data at representative ecological sites to measure the health of the pastures. The data is used for biological planning and helps determine the grazing plan for the following year.
Water monitoring ensures sustainable management of Cienega Creek, one of only a few perennially flowing water sources in southern Arizona.
The cultural and heritage technical team promotes site visits to promote an understanding of cultural resources. In remote areas, the team has enlisted the help of local landowners and volunteers to be Site Stewards. The oral history group called “Back Then” gathers valuable land use history from local landowners.
Youth education is also an important aim of the partnership. Highschoolers can become involved in conservation through River Pathways, a partnership between Audubon and the BLM. This program promotes stewardship of public lands and introduces the students to careers in resource management. Partners have also created a program for youth to help manage Las Cienegas called “youth-managed landscapes.”
Collectively, the work of the BLM and Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership at the Las Cienegas NCA exemplifies a 21st-century model for land management, where traditional uses are managed sustainably, conservation is an overriding goal, and partners make all the difference. This model of conservation has been honored with the Quivira Coalition’s
Their success continues today as the BLM works side by side with members of the group. Recent accomplishments include
Members meet quarterly to discuss completed and upcoming projects at Science on the Sonoita Plain.
Safford Field Office Celebrates National Fossil Day
Safford Field Office geologist Larry Thrasher will be busy with National Fossil Day activities, first by attending the 72nd annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists in Raleigh, North Carolina. He will co-present “Evolutionary Stasis of North American Glyptodonts during the Great American Biotic Interchange” with his collaborators at a poster session on October 17. Thrasher was also a co-author on another scientific poster titled “The Collaboration of Institutions, Agencies, and Volunteers for a ‘Painless’ Excavation of a Large Glyptotherium from the Late Blancan of the San Simon Valley in Southeastern Arizona,” which will be presented by other co-authors.
Upon his return from North Carolina, on October 22, Thrasher will host scientists from Albuquerque and Florida to spend a few days excavating several fossil tortoises that he has found in the San Simon Valley east of Safford.
The San Simon Valley, especially within the BLM’s 111 Ranch Area of Critical Environmental Concern, is an internationally known fossil site. Over 50 species have been recorded, representing one of the best Blancan-aged mammal assemblages in North America. The area is probably best known for its glyptodont specimens; these Ice Age mammals resemble armadillos but are much larger. Fossils from this area have been collected and displayed by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. The Safford Field Office partners with the Arizona Museum of Natural History, Southwest Paleontological Society, Museum of Northern Arizona, International Wildlife Museum in Tucson, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, and University of Arizona in Tucson to inventory, collect, and curate the fossils. Since 1998, more than 300 fossils have been collected, including beaver, tapir, deer, swan, goose, sloth, capybara, bats, rodents, and a mud turtle. Several trackways have also been found, including those of camel, llama, mastodon, and horse. A recent glyptodont fossil removal from the San Simon Valley was documented by BBC television in July 2012.
In addition to the above activites, Thrasher is celebrating National Fossil Day by helping to disseminate the Junior Explorer “Geology and Fossils” Activity Book at the county fair and in the BLM office. The Arizona Museum of Natural History also has excellent teacher resources available.
Cleanup to the historic Sanchez Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp was the focus of a group of volunteers participating in the 19th National Public Lands Day (NPLD), hosted by the Safford Field Office on Sept. 29. The volunteers cleared creosote bushes and other vegetation from the rock-lined pathways. They also posted identifying signs near the buildings. The camp was home to the CCC Company 2867, commanded in 1935-36 by Captain Benjamin Muzzy, U.S. Army Infantry Reserve. As a bonus, the volunteers got a historical tour, guided by BLM archaeologist Dan McGrew.
Law Enforcement Ranger Mike Dodson received the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) BLM Officer of the Year Award.
Ranger Dodson was honored on September 14, for his work in combating driving under the influence (DUI) and operating a vessel under the influence (OUI). He made 16 OUI and 3 DUI arrests in 2011. Dodson, who works in the Colorado River District, also received this award in 2004.
Dodson was one of 32 officers awarded at the ceremony. Another six awards were given to state and local prosecutors and a legislator.
On Wednesday, September 12, 2012 residents of Washington County Utah were shocked when monsoon rains resulted in a flood so severe it caused more than 2.83 million dollars-worth of damage to the quiet neighboring community of Santa Clara. Flood waters that breached a nearby earthen dike resulted in the closure of area schools and caused damage to more than 61 homes and 16 businesses.
The morning following the incident, the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona Strip District joined throngs of individual residents, private businesses and numerous agencies that poured into the community’s Incident Command center by the hour to offer assistance. The city’s Incident Commander directed BLM staff to a location at the Town Hall where surplus Gatorade from the 2012 fire season could be distributed to help relieve volunteers who’d been working late through the night and continued into the morning hours.
Fire crews also offered the Incident Commander assistance through man-power which the IC eagerly and affirmatively responded to. The IC directed the small crew to a nearby neighborhood where they were able to assist a family whose business, a fully operational preschool, was located in the basement of their home. The home and business owner was relieved and excited to see a fire crew appear at her doorstep as she indicated that there were heavy objects located in the basement that she and other volunteers sorely needed help with. With a clear reddish brown mud line reaching five feet high in the basement, removing the items from the basement required a great deal of effort. More than 50 volunteers that included Dixie State College students, evacuated high school students, soldiers from the Army and Navy, fellow parishioners, and family, friends and neighbors worked steadily through the heat of the at the residential business. Volunteers were asked to haul items from the preschool out to the lawn so owner could sort, clean and/or dispose of the items. Each home in within the flood zone had crews of similar sizes assisting flood victims in mop up efforts.
Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenburg toured the incident zone with officials from the NRCS, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in hopes that the agencies might rebuild the dike in Tuacahn Wash. A 40 foot high gap is now present in the dike which was compromised by the pressure from the large amount of water and debris that coursed down Tuacahn Wash in what officials are calling “more than a one hundred year flood.” While no structures were completely lost, due to the extent and severity of the damages caused by the flood, officials anticipate relief efforts and volunteer assistance will be a continual need for several days.
Jim Salscheider, Lake Havasu Marine Association President, presented the award to LHFO Manager Kim Liebhauser. “Who would have thought two years ago that I would be presenting this award to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM),” said Salscheider. “In the last two years, BLM has partnered with us on our trash bags, our buoy program, and dredging the channel on the mouth of the Colorado River. They have become our best friend.”
Salscheider continued to praise BLM for working to solve problems instead of hindering progress. “Partnerships make things happen. BLM’s spirit of cooperation with public and private partnerships has made problems on Lake Havasu much easier to handle,” Salscheider concluded.
“This is a really special award for the LHFO because it represents all the hard work the employees at this office have done with the local agencies in the community we serve,” said LHFO Manager Kim Liebhauser. “There is something very special about being recognized by your local community as an agency that works hard to cultivate community-based partnerships.”
The plaque will reside in the LHFO public room to remind employees and the public that working together can really make a difference.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Bureau of Land Management’s Navajo Cadastral Survey Project Office.
The office, in Window Rock, Arizona, was established in June 1982 by a joint agreement of the Navajo Nation Land Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Region, and the BLM in Arizona. This partnership was created to help the Navajo train tribal technicians and land surveyors and assist in surveying the interior of the reservation.
Eight members of the survey project attended a small celebration on June 21, 2012, to mark the anniversary.
BLM surveyor Leo Sandoval was at the event along with a U.S. Forest Service surveyor and two current and four retired Navajo Cadastral Survey Project Office (NCSPO) surveyors. Sandoval takes pride in being part of the office. His Navajo heritage was a plus. “From a BLM perspective, I was the first native to utilize my first language as part of the project,” he said. Because he spoke Navajo, he was able to defuse misunderstandings between tribal members and surveyors. His language was also valuable in training tribal technicians.
Sandoval started off as a surveyor on the project in 1986. From 2005 to 2009 he was the project manager. He is now an Indian lands surveyor for BLM.
A cadastral survey is an official government survey that creates a framework to describe real property and create legal land descriptions. Over the past 30 years, the office has surveyed over 4.5 million acres and 196 townships. These surveys help the Navajo Nation plan for development.
The office performs original surveys in uncharted areas and restores original surveys from the 1800s.
Project workers use GPS technology to chart and mark new survey points. When a site is surveyed workers set a 28-inch stainless-steel post, called a monument, which has a specially designed brass cap that shows the seal of the Navajo Nation.
The BLM Cadastral Survey project office has the lowest unit cost for surveys in the country, in part because of the assistance from the Navajo Lands Department technicians.
There are still many original surveys to be conducted on the interior of the reservation, which can be hard to reach because of the area’s rugged terrain. Over half of the lands remain unsurveyed.
The federal government started cadastral surveying in 1785.
Reservations were not generally surveyed because they were trust lands intended for Native Americans.
Until 1785 all land descriptions and surveys were by the indiscriminate method of the metes-and-bounds system. After that the rectangular system came into use.
“The unit of the rectangular survey system is the township,” said BLM Arizona’s Chief Cadastral Surveyor Steve Hansen in describing the system. “A normal township is composed of 36 sections that are each one square-mile. Each section contains about 640 acres.”
The first cadastral surveys were done north of the Ohio River and south of Lake Erie.
The General Land Office (GLO), under the Treasury Department, was created in 1812 to oversee the land surveys and sales of public land.
The GLO was later placed under the Department of the Interior when it was established in 1849.
In 1946, the GLO, the Grazing Service, the Oregon and California Administration, Alaska Fire Control, and others were joined to form the Bureau of Land Management, making Cadastral Survey the oldest program within the BLM.
The Public Land Survey System forms the basis for all legal land descriptions in the United States except for the original 13 colonies, Texas, Hawaii, and portions of Louisiana. These legal land descriptions are needed to meet the requirement that all federal land, to be sold or otherwise conveyed, must be surveyed and have a legal land description.
A young owl slept near the San Pedro River with a mouse in its talons, as grey hawks, blue heron, vermillion flycatchers, and other birds perched along the water.
A group of volunteers walking next to the water were pleased to see yellow warblers and summer tanagers flying among the trees.
On June 16, 2012, more than 150 volunteers spread across 220 miles of the San Pedro River in southern Arizona and Mexico. Their goal was to document where water is present.
The Bureau of Land Management, the Nature Conservancy Tucson Conservation Center, the Community Watershed Alliance of Benson, the Cascabel Working Group, local residents, and Mexican partners and landowners all worked together on the 14th annual San Pedro Wet/Dry Mapping event.
The volunteers braved extreme temperatures, quicksand, and other challenges to map the San Pedro from its headwater streams in Mexico to the confluence with Gila River near Winkelman, Arizona.
"Some sections of the river were drier than last year and others were wetter,” said Tracy Stone of the Nature Conservancy.
Volunteers said the area south of Highway 92 was drier than in years past and areas north of Hereford Bridge were wetter.
Stone said as the extended drought continues, mapping helps document long-term trends.
“Last year’s mapping revealed water was present in 33 percent of the river overall in late June before the monsoon rains began,” Stone said. The calculations for this year’s event are not yet available.
Determining what areas of the San Pedro no longer flow by the annual mapping event help the partner groups decide where conservation projects need to be focused, she said.
Visit this link to learn more about the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/ncarea/sprnca.html
The Bureau of Land Management Arizona State Office and Phoenix District partner to tell a story that links America’s first Surveyor General to Phoenix’s current day Associate District Manager, Patrick Putnam.
You could say that plotting public lands and caring for them is in the Putnam genes. Patrick’s ancestor uncle, Rufus Putnam, was appointed by George Washington as America’s first Surveyor General from 1796 to 1803.
Now two hundred years later, the General Land Office (GLO) commemorates its bicentennial, still using methods introduced by Rufus. “I first heard about Rufus when I was in grade school, and only now have I learned the specifics of cadastral surveying,” explained Patrick, who was “GLOing” with this opportunity to be in the field.
Thanks to Geoff Graham and the Arizona Cadastral staff, the modern day Putnam installed ten monuments this May across northern Arizona. The trip was conceived and documented by Graham for a national magazine spread. Putnam kept a daily journal and Public Affairs Specialists Pamela Mathis directed a video diary of his four-day journey. Mathis envisions using an edited video for school presentations and BLM’s You Tube. Graham and Mathis will now work on an article for American Surveyor magazine.
While his ancestor Rufus traversed the west (at that time consisting of Ohio) on foot, horse, and mule, Patrick’s trek was easier with a mighty RAM truck and ATVs.
Patrick Putnam began Day 1 at the “camp,” where today’s cadastral team uses satellite GPS as a starting point for measuring corners. On this project, the Cadastral crews subdivided a township into sections. A section is one square mile. A marker, called a monument, was set every one-half mile. The monuments are secured several feet deep. Cadastral personnel take field notes and document the GPS and landmarks to describe the placement of every monument. They then add rocks to highlight the actual placement so it can be readily found later. Patrick, Graham, and his crew worked throughout the Navajo Nation. The BLM is responsible for providing surveys on tribal lands. The Navajo Nation spans 17 million acres, primarily in Arizona, followed by New Mexico, and Utah. To date, less than 20 percent, or 2 million acres, is surveyed.
Rufus Putnam (April 9, 1738–May 4, 1824) was the first U. S. Surveyor General, appointed on 1 October (served in November) 1796 to 1803. He was a colonial military officer during the French and Indian War, and a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was instrumental in the initial settling of the Ohio Country following the war. In 1769, Putnam left his occupation as a millwright and became a farmer and surveyor. Rufus Putnam, along with Israel Putnam and two others, traveled in 1773 to near present-day Pensacola, Florida. There, Putnam surveyed and chartered lands along the Mississippi River that were to be granted to veterans of the French & Indian War. GENERAL RUFUS PUTNAM is one of the individuals to whom this country owes considerable homage and respect. His military and private service to the new country, the United States of America, with the knowledge and ability to overcome what we today would view as severe impediments, is awesome.
Rufus Putnam (April 9, 1738–May 4, 1824) was the first U. S. Surveyor General, appointed on 1 October (served in November) 1796 to 1803. He was a colonial military officer during the French and Indian War, and a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was instrumental in the initial settling of the Ohio Country following the war. In 1769, Putnam left his occupation as a millwright and became a farmer and surveyor. Rufus Putnam, along with Israel Putnam and two others, traveled in 1773 to near present-day Pensacola, Florida. There, Putnam surveyed and chartered lands along the Mississippi River that were to be granted to veterans of the French & Indian War.
GENERAL RUFUS PUTNAM is one of the individuals to whom this country owes considerable homage and respect. His military and private service to the new country, the United States of America, with the knowledge and ability to overcome what we today would view as severe impediments, is awesome.
On June 14, at the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference in Prescott, the Empire Ranch Foundation received an award from the Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission for contributions by a non-profit organization to historic preservation. The award for a private non-profit entity recognized the Empire Ranch Foundation for its impressive accomplishments in preserving and restoring the historic Empire Ranch headquarters. The Foundation also conducts interpretive programs that bring history to life for those who visit this historic ranch in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area near Sonoita. Since 1997, the Foundation has supported the Bureau of Land Management by partnering, developing, and funding stabilization and restoration projects; educational events and interpretive exhibits; and archival research including oral histories and photo documentation. It has contributed over $500,000 to restore the ranch house and seven other buildings. The Foundation’s efforts continue to connect its members, local communities, former ranch residents, and youth to an important Arizona heritage site.
Approximately 750 members of the public attended the June 16, 2012 Get Outdoors Day an event geared to help families and children build a closer connection to the outdoors. Interagency partners hosted 18 interactive and educational stations. The BLM Arizona Strip District featured BLM’s mascot Seymour Antelope who introduced children and families to the new BLM Arizona children’s book “Tori the Tortoise” and helped attendees cool off from the 100 degree heat offering BLM fans with a reminder that, “BLM is your biggest fan!”
The Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument featured an interactive caving challenge complete with a hand crafted, custom indoor cave replica which enables children to experience spelunking in a climate controlled, safe environment with adult supervision and expert assistance. The BLM Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument lead children through its famous Dinosaur Murder Mystery—a game and exhibit complete with life size dinosaur replicas which challenge children to research multiple scenarios to discover the cause of the deaths of various dinosaurs. BLM’s St. George Field Office staff conducted demonstrations of rock climbing gear and knot tying and the Paiute Tribal Youth performed various songs and traditional dances on the stage and the Forest Service mascot Smokey Bear and BLM Red Rock Canyon’s Mohave Max mascot (a desert tortoise) were also available with Seymour Antelope for group photo opportunities throughout the morning. Amateur emergency radio demos, OHV safety, and information on primitive camping tools and fire safety will also be available. The event was hosted from 9am to 1pm in conjunction with the Saturday Market at Tuacahn High School/Amphitheater with vendor booths with everything from local artistry, to homegrown fruits and vegetables, quilts, homemade jams and jellies and other sundry items.
As part of the fifth annual Get Outdoors Day (Go Day) celebration, Go Day activities encourage children and families to participate in fun traditional and non-traditional outdoor activities. National Get Outdoors Day, now in its fifth year, encourages Americans, especially youth, to participate in outdoor activities that connect Americans, especially children, with nature and active lifestyles. In support of Go Day, booths encouraged the public to “seek out healthy, active outdoor lives and embrace our parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands and water. As the event coordinator, the Dixie/Arizona Strip Interpretive Association (D/ASIA) aimed to bring diverse partners together to offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities, reaching currently underserved populations and first time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting youth to the great outdoors.
Additional Go Day Partners included: AZ BLM: Dixie National Forest: City of St. George; Dixie College Community Education; Snow Canyon State Park; Southern Nevada Agency Partnership; Red Rocks Audubon; Second Nature-Entrada; Washington County Amateur Emergency Radio Service; Dixie Regional Health & Performance Center; Bill Hoy and his bug museum; and Susannah Nilsson. Southern Utah Get Outdoors Day Family Expo was one of 137 Get Outdoor Day sites across the nation, including 3 in Utah.
On June 16, 2012, during the BLM’s and Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument’s fifth-annual wet-dry mapping of the Agua Fria River, a helicopter medical evacuation was required to transport a volunteer out of the Agua Fria River canyon. The five-member mapping team, consisting of three volunteers, an Arizona Game and Fish Department employee, and BLM Wildlife Biologist Paul Sitzmann, were mapping the river segment in the Agua Fria River canyon, the most rugged and remote section of the river. It took the team from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. to make the thousand-foot descent into the canyon, where temperatures later in the day reached 110 degrees. Shortly after beginning the five-mile hike to the end of the river segment, the volunteer became ill and was unable to stand or hike. Using text messaging and a satellite tracking device, Sitzmann contacted BLM and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office officials, and signaled for the medical evacuation which required a helicopter transport of the victim. The individual was barely able to stand when he was delivered to waiting paramedics atop the canyon. Sitzmann very likely saved the individual’s life. By the following morning, the volunteer was recovered and in good spirits. More than 50 volunteers participated and mapped the entire stretch of the Agua Fria River in the monument. It was only the third time the remote canyon stretch had ever been wet-dry mapped.
National Trails Day Project
The Twenty-Six Wash Trail has a beautiful view of the Cerbat Pinnacles to the north and Mount Tipton to the south. This seven-mile loop trail starts in desert scrub habitat and winds through pinyon and juniper forest, passing by two springs.
BLM Arizona appreciates our volunteers. Thank you for your time and service.
Dr. Connie Stone has earned the 2012 Arizona Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award. Stone, is an archaeologist for the Arizona Bureau of Land Management’s Renewable Energy Coordination Office. This award recognizes her lifelong achievements and contributions to Arizona archaeology and historic preservation.
Stone has spent her career in the state. She started off in the private sector, but then joined the BLM. “Connie’s lifelong contributions to federal and public archaeology and historic preservation are many and varied,” said Supervisory Project Manager for Renewable Energy Coordination Office Eddie Arreola, “but all are characterized by her thorough professionalism, intimate knowledge of the prehistory and history of Arizona, and dedication to doing the best science possible.”
Stone’s award will be presented on June 14 at the 10th annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference in Prescott, Arizona.
In the hours before sunset on May 20, more than 1,000 spectators joined the BLM Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument staff to celebrate the spectacular “ring of fire” solar eclipse in St. George, Utah. The weather was absolutely perfect for viewing from the balconies of the Washington County Water Conservation District building, as the Earth’s moon crossed in front of the sun, creating a relatively uncommon annular solar eclipse last seen in the U.S. in 1994.
The Monument distributed 1,000 pairs of solar safety viewing shades and partnered with Dixie State College and the Virgin River Program to provide astronomer and ranger-assisted viewing opportunities and programs during the eclipse. The same glasses can be used again to see the rare transit of Venus across the sun on June 5. The transit will be visible from anywhere in North America and will not occur again until 2117.
“It was wonderful to educate and share this event with our local community, as well as visitors from around the country and across the world, and to witness this truly amazing astronomical display,” said Rosie Pepito, National Park Service superintendent. “Logistical challenges often make travel into the monument difficult, especially for large numbers of people, and we are grateful to our partners for assisting us with hosting this event in St. George.”
On May 20, 2012 Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument staff in partnership with Dixie State College, The Virgin River Program, and the Washington County Water Conservancy District will offer a rare event titled, "Ring of Fire," a solar eclipse viewing experience for the local community. The City of St. George will be in a prime viewing area for this rare annular eclipse to see the moon pass fully between the earth and sun, leaving only a ring of the sun visible around it. One thousand custom designed solar viewing shades will be issued free to the public to promote safe eclipse viewing. Telescopes will also be available for public viewing and children's astronomy activities will be conducted.
During the week of May 13-20, 2012 the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (VCNM) manager and staff, along with Arizona Strip District’s lead Law Enforcement Officer will participate in the 6th Annual Amazing Earthfest in Kanab, Utah by hosting events during the week.
On May 15 the BLM VCNM manager and staff will feature the newly produced 17- minute video titled “Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness: A Lasting Legacy” which features safety highlights and orientation to the Wilderness Area. The film will be shown every hour from 11am to 3pm every hour with a question and answer period to follow.
On May 16 from noon to 3 p.m., the BLM VCNM manager and staff will host an event showcasing the successful interagency recovery efforts of the California condor which will be held at the Condor Viewing site and feature interpretive talks by specialists from the Peregrine Fund and BLM. Spotting scopes will be available for the public to view the condors. Activities include presentations by scientists and specialists on significant discoveries and resources on neighboring public lands, cultural activities, art displays, award-winning documentary films, and live entertainment.
On May 18, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument staff will host a presentation highlighting the magnificent natural and cultural resources within the monument.
Amazing Earthfest is a community celebration of National and State Parks, Forests, Monuments and Public Lands of the Western Colorado Plateau and offers a full week of free, exciting events centered on the land, wildlife, and cultures of the region.
Amazing Earthfest is sponsored by the Kane County Office of Tourism, Kanab Chamber of Commerce, Dixie State College, regional federal and state agencies, non-profits, business owners and individuals.
Havasu Club helps BLM Close Mine Sites (April 2012)
The first of two fossil Glyptodonts was hoisted onto a truck for delivery to its new depository at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa on March 29. This was the final step in a weeklong excavation project that brought more than 20 volunteers to the San Simon Valley east of Safford. The fossils had been discovered by BLM Safford Field Office geologist Larry Thrasher, who has done extensive research into the Ice Aged fossils found in that area.
The excitement of excavation was shared with a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) film crew who had traveled to Safford especially for this project. The BBC is currently producing a three-part series on the Ice Age that will be narrated by Dr. Alice Roberts, who was onsite during the filming this week. She said that they had already filmed at the La Brea Tar Pits in California and that she was thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of this Glyptodont excavation. These distant relatives of present-day armadillos lived in the San Simon Valley during the Pleistocene, about two million years ago.
Leading the excavation project were Robert McCord from the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, Dave Gillette from Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, and Rich White from International Wildlife Museum in Tucson in Tucson. Local contractors with proven expertise were recruited to assist with the arduous task of moving the fossil into a truck for transport to Mesa, Arizona.
Researchers in Mesa will soon begin the slow process of recovering the fossil from its protective plaster case. Meanwhile, filming will continue on the BBC’s Ice Age series, which is expected to be completed in 2013.
Arizona Centennial Best Fest will be held this weekend February 11 and 12th in downtown Phoenix. This free event will feature several informational pavilions, an American Indian Village, an Hispanic Village and lots of food, music and fun. The Family Fun zone will provide much entertainment for the younger folks.
As part of the Natural Resources Pavilion area at the Centennial Best Fest this weekend, BLM will feature an information table, the Off Highway Ambassadors display, the BLM Fire Prevention team, and the Wild Horse and Burro program including a (now-tame) adopted wild mustang and burro.
Stop by on your way to the Natural Resources Pavilion for a photo op with Smokey and Seymour Antelope! There will be a sign posted when the kids can meet Seymour Antelope and Smokey Bear.
The 41st annual Parker 425 Desert Race is scheduled for February 4, 2012. Over 200 vehicles are expected to participate in this off-road race on BLM land south of Parker, Arizona. Upwards of 5,000 spectators are expected to attend this exciting race.
It is a grueling species of racing: trucks or other vehicles with oversize tires and pliable suspensions race through the desert at speeds up to 80 miles an hour, vaulting over rock piles and sailing off natural dirt ramps, with drivers sometimes blinded by clouds of dust kicked up by the vehicles in front of them. Yet it is so captivating and entertaining that thousands of families and other fans turn out for these off-road races and make them into weekend campouts. The participants will race around the course three times totaling approximately 143 miles.
The Parker 425 Race started in 1972, known then as the Big River “400,” on to the Dam “400,” then Parker “400,” and has grown to become a legend in off-road desert racing.
Volunteers from several conservation organizations joined the BLM Tucson Field Office for a morning of habitat restoration, collaboration, and healthy outdoor exercise on December 3, 2011, at the Waterman Mountains Restoration Project. Participants in the project included the Arizona Native Plant Society, Arizona Chapter of the Sierra Club, Tucson Chapter of the Audubon Society, Sonoran Desert Weedwackers, and University of Arizona Soil, Water, and Environment Club.
Arizona’s Off-Highway Vehicle Ambassador Program is the recipient of this year’s national Public Lands Foundation’s (PLF) Landscape Stewardship Award and Citation. The PLF honors citizens and organizations annually that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on public lands. “This year, we recognize Arizona’s OHV Ambassadors and call public attention to individual and group efforts to promote natural resource protection of the Nation’s National System of Public Lands,” explains Beau McClure, PLF vice president for operations.
Ten years ago when volunteers began asking how they could help keep trails open for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use, they had grand visions of a statewide program, involving both agency personnel and volunteers. That’s exactly what the Ambassadors OHV Program has accomplished. Since 2007, the Ambassadors have trained 99 volunteers who provide peer-to-peer education on rider safety, outdoor ethics, and who appear at popular recreation sites to “meet and greet” riders. The Ambassadors have visited with over 6,682 sportsmen while participating at 172 events.
When not talking to OHV users, these volunteers spend their time working on BLM and Forest Service lands, over 4,300 hours to date, monitoring 4,908 miles of trail, removing 25 trailer loads (50 cubic yards) of trash from public lands, locating and recording 68 abandoned mines, repairing 1.5 miles of fence, locating and reporting 10 fresh cut trails, installing a kiosk and repairing two others, installing 124 signs and reporting 17 downed signs, reporting 4 abandoned vehicles to Law Enforcement, and reporting 11 significant public safety trail hazards, all with an estimated value of $111,000. Ambassadors, who serve in a non-law enforcement capacity, bridge communications between the recreating public and land managers. Each Ambassador seeks to bring about positive changes in rider behavior providing an invaluable service to both the agencies and the public.
Roger Naylor, a freelance feature writer for The Arizona Republic, showcased the bounty of Graham County in his November 26 article. His two-page story began with a half-page color photo of the BLM’s Safford-Morenci Trail which crosses the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area at Bonita Creek. The piece provided information about recreation opportunities at the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area and Gila Box. The online version of the story included a photo gallery with several more Gila Box photos.
The Friends of the San Pedro River, a volunteer organization that assists the BLM at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA), is offering many weekend activities this fall. These include guided interpretive walks and hikes along the river and the adjacent area.
Many of the walks focus on birding in the amazing San Pedro RNCA which is known worldwide for its diverse birdlife. Most walks begin at either the San Pedro House or the Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park.
Friends volunteers also operate a visitor center, gift shop, and bookstore at the San Pedro House and at the historic Fairbank Schoolhouse.
A calendar of upcoming hikes and walks is posted at:
National Public Lands Day - Volunteers Tackle Walls, Windows, and Weeds
The 20th annual Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, Arizona’s longest running nature festival, began on August 3 and will continue through Saturday in Sierra Vista. As always, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and its amazing natural and cultural resources are a focus of the festival.
For details about this year’s festival, visit http://www.swwings.org/index.html. There are dozens of free lectures offered over the four days of the event, with the following talks and tours that feature the San Pedro.
The festival also includes guided tours to the San Pedro RNCA. San Pedro River Specialties will focus on focus will be on a variety of riparian specialties, such as Gray Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, and Abert’s Towhee at the RNCA. The San Pedro RNCA includes 400 avian species and is known as a critical migration corridor. For more information about the San Pedro, visit http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/ncarea/sprnca.html
The Bureau of Land Management was presented with certificates in appreciation of its support providing crews, engines, firefighters and equipment. The Phoenix Interagency Dispatch Center, jointly staffed by the Arizona State Division of Forestry and the Bureau of Land Management, has been busy assisting the state of Arizona in the biggest deployment of firefighting resources in history. Arizona firefighters have responded to major wildfires, including the Wallow, Horseshoe 2 and Monument fires. The Phoenix Interagency Dispatch Center has processed resource orders to get firefighters and equipment to where it is most urgently needed.
“This is the largest deployment of local fire department resources in Arizona history,” explains David Geyer, the State Fire Management Officer. “We felt fortunate to watch well-equipped, well-trained firefighters answer the call to duty, at times putting their own lives on the line.” There’s been an unprecedented sense of teamwork this season, with more than 200 fire engines/water tenders deployed on behalf of local fire departments and private organizations throughout the state, protecting lives and property. "
Resources from 250 rural Arizona fire departments and state resources from Arizona, Colorado, California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming were brought to Arizona to be dispatched to fires. Firefighting resources from federal agencies, including the Bureaus of Land Management and Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Forest Service, also strategically staged crews for dispatch to new fire starts.
BLM wildlife biologists Codey Carter and Paul Sitzmann, range technician Andrew Cordery, and Agua Fria National Monument Manager Rem Hawes partnered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Audubon Society to conduct fish and riparian surveys in Larry and Lousy Canyons on June 9-10.
Both canyons are in the southern portion of the Agua Fria National Monument.
BLM staff members donned wetsuits and snorkels to evaluate the condition and the number of endangered Gila chub and Gila topminnow fish in the cold pools. One pool was estimated to be 40 feet deep. Fin clips were also collected for genetic analysis at a later date.
While populations of Gila chub and Gila topminnow are thriving in the remote canyons, the survey team traversed boulders, thick and thorny vines, cactuses, cliff faces, waterfalls, and 15-foot-tall grass, to accomplish the day’s work!
Arizona Resource Advisory Council members touring grazing allotments on the BLM Phoenix District’s Agua Fria National Monument during Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Grazing Administration Training June 2, 2011. Council members on the tour included Bill Brake, Elizabeth Buchroeder, Glen Collins, Richard Lunt, Larry Snead and Carl Taylor. BLM employees included Dorothea Boothe, Steve Byrd, Andrew Cordery, Bill Coulloudon, James Holden and Talisa Timms
Students in the Rivers Pathways program get hands-on training while getting their feet wet in the Agua Fria River.
On two consecutive Saturdays in May, students from an inner-city Phoenix high school were up their waists in water, surveying animal and plant life in the riparian areas of the Agua Fria National Monument.
The students – from South Pointe High School – are participants in the River Pathways Program, which is intended to get young people familiar with the outdoors and give them a taste of what it takes to manage public lands. The program is also intended to stimulate career interest in resource management and provide a path to higher education in that field.
River Pathways is a partnership involving the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, the Rio Salado Audubon Center, and the Phoenix Union High School District.
The students from South Pointe are among 218 young people who participated in the Rivers Pathway in the past school year. They completed a one-week course in riparian ecology and natural resource management in the classroom and got one-day additional training at the Audubon Center. From there the focus was on field work. High school science teachers, Audubon staff, and BLM professionals directed the students in methods of data collection.
The students used BLM technical manuals and procedures to monitor and evaluate three miles of the Agua Fria River riparian area. The collected data will serve as a baseline for future studies as the program continues. The information will help track trends and areas of concern.
The students in the program’s first year monitored nesting sites and breeding territories in the Agua Fria National Monument for the seldom-seen yellow-billed cuckoo.
Participants in Rivers Pathways are encouraged to consider pursuing a two-year certificate at Phoenix College in environmental and natural resource stewardship. Those in the certificate program are eligible for jobs under the BLM’s student temporary employment program.
Installation of fencing along portions of the Agua Fria River began on May 24 to prevent off-highway vehicle damage to the riparian area. The quarter-mile of river, known as the “River Bend” site, is a popular recreation destination and home to a wide variety of native wildlife, including sensitive fish species. More vehicle damage has occurred in this area than any other part of the 71,000-acre Agua Fria National Monument. OHV use in the riparian area has been illegal since the signing of the Monument Proclamation in 2000.
Over the past several years, students from the Sacaton School have been learning about the environment through hands-on monitoring projects. Jony Cockman, lead natural resource specialist in the BLM Safford Field Office, has mentored these students and assisted their science teacher JoEllen McKinnon. Sacaton, part of the Gila River Indian Community, had been granted a National Landscape Conservation System award to study water quality at the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area; their study area included the Gila River from its headwaters in New Mexico to San Carlos Reservoir. At 13 sampling stations, they used the BLM’s hydrolab to collect water quality data they studied and collected macroinvertebrates and examined mesquite bosques. Now, the students’ work is paying off. On March 24-26, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) hosted its national competition in Albuquerque; two of the students competed and won. Tiana Blackwater, a 10th-grade student scientist who has participated in the program for several years, won first place in the Environmental Sciences division for “Macroinvertebrates Along the Gila River in New Mexico and Arizona.” She also won the very prestigious New Mexico Hazardous Material Manager’s Award. Seventh-grade student David Nez placed third in the Plant Sciences division for his paper “Depletion of Mesquite Bosques Along the Gila River of Arizona.” It was his first year in the national AISES competition. Both students are competing on April 12 in Arizona’s state competition at the Phoenix Convention Center.*
The BLM hosts wild horse and burro adoptions throughout Arizona. Join us for the next adoption in Tucson, April 22-24, at the Pima County Fairgrounds. For details, call the BLM toll free at 1-866-4MUSTANGS (that’s 1-866-468-7826) or visit our website at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html.
Recently, the Border Patrol in Arizona introduced several wild horses to their team and joined the ranks of other mounted patrols using mustangs while patrolling sectors in New Mexico, California, and Washington State. The mustangs were gathered from western public lands in the normal course of herd management. They were trained by inmates in a rehabilitation program at a Colorado correctional facility in Cañon City, and then adopted by the Border Patrol. For more on this story, go to: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/features/blm_and_border_patrol.html.
Seymour debuted at Arizona Game and Fish Expo, March 26 and 27 at the Ben Avery Shooting Range in Phoenix, Arizona, on a perfect Arizona spring day.
Seymour put in his first Arizona appearance on Saturday and attracted many children of all ages for photo opportunities. He appeared at the Bureau of Land Management booth, which was conveniently located across the aisle from the Arizona Antelope Foundation! On Sunday he arrived for more photos, high threes, and hugs. Kids received, “I Met Seymour Antelope,” bookmarks.
Attended by 42,000 outdoor enthusiasts including young families with children of all ages, this annual event provided many educational activities including watchable wildlife classes; live animals and birds; Apache Trout in a chilled aquarium; Adobe Mountain’s display of eagles, owls, and other birds; a native fish aquarium used for a fishing demonstration; a tank where the kids could fish; hands-on booths where children could learn the skills of hunting. Additionally, many trail groups and wildlife associations were in attendance distributing educational and safety materials.
Mark your calendar for next March’s Expo.
Ten-year-old Sophia Caporale of Safford, Arizona, became the first young explorer to earn her Gila Box Junior Ranger badge. Caporale completed all the activities in the Junior Ranger Handbook that was recently published by the BLM. She and her mother Jessica visited the Safford Field Office on March 2 to present her completed handbook and receive her Junior Ranger badge and a Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area poster. Sophia’s workbook included a journal entry about a day spent with her grandmother along the water’s edge and the birds they observed there.
Sophia's accomplishment and award was featured in the Eastern Arizona Courier on March 9:
BLM/Phoenix Union School District Partnership Recognized: Approximately 150 people attended the February 15, 2011, event held at the Phoenix Union High School District to honor the Bureau of Land Management’s Phoenix District (PDO) for its initiative to employ, educate, and engage youth from all backgrounds in America’s natural and cultural heritage. The PDO’s Youth Initiative Program at the Franklin Police and Fire High School was the focus of the recognition ceremony, which included BLM Arizona State Director Jim Kenna as honored guest speaker.
The BLM/Phoenix Union partnership provides education and employment opportunities to urban-based youth. BLM instructors have taught several wildfire training courses, certifying 40 students for seasonal employment. Dean Fernandez, BLM-PDO firefighter and Franklin High instructor has played a key role in this partnership.