U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 246

BLM advisory council sees northwest California issues and landscapes first-hand

The Bureau of Land Management's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council has focused on issues ranging from alternative energy production to conservation of the nation's first National Conservation Area, as they continue working closely with managers in BLM's Arcata, Redding and Ukiah field offices.

During their Aug. 17-18 meeting on the North Coast, the council toured sites in the King Range National Conservation Area. In discussions with BLM staff and BLM management partners, the council members saw first hand the majestic natural resources of the NCA.

BLM Northwest California RAC members walk Black Sands Beach

Above, the cameras came out when RAC members walked Black Sands Beach near the community of Shelter Cove at the north end of the King Range NCA. They saw for themselves just how the beach got its name, below. The beach provides a great vantage point, looking north toward Big Flat and Spanish Flat, second photo below.

Black sands along the beach - how it got its name
looking north toward Big Flat and Spanish Flat

Discussions on field tour stops provided the council members with new insight about the critical role of partners in developing management plans and working to conserve King Range resources. Below, Chris Larson, executive director of the Mattole Restoration Council, explained his organization's success undertaking projects in the 300 square-mile Mattole River Watershed. Projects such as road improvements and road decommissioning on public and private lands are reversing declining population trends for coho and chinook salmon and steelhead.

Chris Larson, executive director of the Mattole Restoration Council, explained his organization's success undertaking projects in the 300 square-mile Mattole River Watershed, as RAC members listen

In yet another area of the NCA, the RAC members saw how road decommissioning projects can lead to new recreation opportunities. Below, BLM King Range Manger Gary Pritchard-Peterson explains how part of a 12-mile mountain bike loop trail is being built where an un-needed road has been "put to bed." BLM worked closely with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), designing the trail to meet standards that can accommodate varying abilities of mountain bike riders while withstanding the heavy winters (more than 150 inches of rain) that batter the King Range.

BLM King Range Manger Gary Pritchard-Peterson explains how part of a 12-mile mountain bike loop trail is being built where an un-needed road has been "put to bed."

During a business meeting following the tour, the RAC members continued discussion about their role in helping the BLM manage recreation on public lands. They soon will consider a resolution encouraging the BLM to involve RAC members in developing business plans for any site where the BLM plans to charge recreation user fees.

Alternative energy, and the role of BLM-managed public lands, was the primary topic during a spring meeting, when the council toured The Geysers, the largest electrical power-producing steamfield in the United States.

Below, Charlene Wardlow, who represents energy and mineral interests on the council, shows members a scale model of the Geysers topography and location of more than 20 geothermal power plants. The facilities are operated by Calpine Corp. and the Northern California Power Association on BLM-managed public lands and private holdings in Lake and Sonoma counties.

RAC members Charlene Wardlow points out features on a scale model of the Geysers topography, showing location of more than 20 geothermal power plants.

In the three photos below, the RAC members stopped at overlooks near power plants...
View of a geothermal power plant, from an overlook

...got a look at the working parts of a steam turbine...
A worker points out working parts of a steam turbine, to RAC members

...and saw giant cooling towers during a power plant tour.
Touring outside giant cooling towers

Council members learned more about the injection of treated effluent from the city of Santa Rosa and Clear Lake communities. The project is extending the life of the steamfield and providing communities with a way to dispose of treated water from their sewer treatment plants. They also discussed the growing interest in wind energy development in northern California, and learned that companies are expressing interest in exploring wind energy potential in mountainous areas such as the Geysers.

- Jeff Fontana, 8/06


BLM California News.bytes, issue 246