Bureau of Land Management

John Willoughby
John Willoughby finding some quiet time in a conference room
John Willoughby

State Botanist
California State Office

"What makes me the happiest is the quality of the field people we have out there."

John Willoughby is our state botanist and comes to us originally from Vallejo, California.  He has been with the BLM for over 25 years, all of it based out of the California State Office.  For 7 years during the 1980's he was the State Rangeland Management Specialist, but otherwise has been in his present position.

John holds an M.S. in Botany/Plant Ecology from California State University, Sacramento, and is an adjunct professor at that university.  In his present position with BLM,  John oversees the BLM Special Status Plant (SSP) Program, provides instruction and guidance on the monitoring of SSP plants and vegetation, and designs or helps others design monitoring programs.  For example, the current monitoring program for the Peirson's milk-vetch in the Algodones Dunes (also called Imperial Sand Dunes) is a program that John designed.  He is also the state lead for the Challenge Cost Share program.

Some of the accomplishments within the BLM that John most values include developing the Bureau's first SSP Policy in the late 1970's, developing BLM's first policy on the use of native plant materials, and leading the team that developed the Bureau-wide Wildlife 2000 Strategy for rare plants and natural plant communities.  John has also co-authored two books, "Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations" and "Monitoring Plant and Animal Populations," and contibuted to the Interagency Technical References, "Sampling Vegetation Attributes" and "Utilization Studies and Residual Measurements."  He's most proud, however, of his field office counterparts, who do the "real work" in natural resource conservation.

When John is looking to relax he enjoys golfing and 'botanizing' while hiking.  Besides being fun, he explains that he can use the excuse that he needs to closely inspect plants along steep trails as a way of hiding from his companions the fact that he's becoming winded!   But what really excites John is "...conserving these threatened species in the face of increasing pressure on public lands from California's rapidly increasing population."

John currently resides in Placerville, California, with his wife Karen and their two sons, Jason and Nick, both of whom are in college.

For more information concerning this feature story, contact John Willoughby by telephone 916-978-4638 or by e-mail
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