ALTURAS FIELD OFFICE
FY 2012 STRATEGIC PLAN
It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The Alturas Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is staffed by a team of employees focused on achieving common goals and objectives but flexible enough to adapt to everchanging work priorities. We meet these challenges through continual self improvement and adherence to Individual Development Plans which are updated on an annual basis.
The Alturas Field Office is located in northeastern California. Associated administrative facilities include the West Valley Fire Station and the Centerville Work Station. The Field Office boundaries encompass public land in four counties as follows:
Lassen Modoc Shasta Siskiyou
268,970 ac. 142,294 ac. 53,120 ac. 39,736 ac.
This constitutes a total public land base of 504,120 acres. Management direction for the area is provided in a Resource Management Plan (RMP) that was finalized in April 2008.
Livestock grazing is one of the many multiple uses managed out of the Alturas Office. Total active grazing use is 55,000 Animal Unit Months on 155 allotments. Interdisciplinary rangeland health assessments have been completed on 44 priority grazing allotments encompassing 300,000 acres of public land. It has been determined that 18 of these allotments (150,000 acres) fail to meet at least one rangeland health standard due to livestock grazing practices. We complete annual agreements with grazing permittees on permit terms and conditions designed to bring these allotments into compliance with standards. Grazing plans are also being implemented on another 97,000 acres of public land featuring sensitive riparian areas such as Cedar Creek and Fitzhugh Creek.
Ten grazing permits are scheduled for review and assessment in FY12. As time allows, the staff will also continue monitoring and management planning on the 247,000 acres already identified as high priority management areas.
The BLM, Pit River Tribe and the State Office of Historic Preservation signed a Programmatic Agreement (PA) in early FY07 to provide for continued livestock grazing while protecting significant cultural resources on the Yankee Jim Ranch Allotment. This Agreement includes a Historic Property Management Plan. Yankee Jim is scheduled to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District in FY12.
During FY11, management of 115 acres of Alturas Field Office land was transferred to the National Park Service. This acreage was added to the Petroglyph Point unit of the Lava Beds National Monument.
Significant archeological and historical sites are found throughtout the area. We are currently involved in an Emigrant Trail Scenic Byway interpretive project as well as in efforts to acquire lands associated with the Battle of the Infernal Caverns.
Recreational use, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, photography, bird watching, horseback riding, mountain biking and off-road vehicle travel is increasing on public land in the area.The Field Office manages one developed campground on the Pit River in Shasta County. The campground is hosted and offers outstanding fishing, swimming and rafting opportunities.
The Alturas Field Office partnered with Modoc and Lassen counties, the Sierra Nevada Conservance, the American Land Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Board and the Lassen Land and Trails Trust to railbank the 85 mile Modoc Line south of Alturas in 2008. A Modoc Line Trail Plan was completed in 2011.
There are four Wilderness Study Areas under the jurisdiction of the Alturas Field Office: Tule Mountain (17,000 ac.), Pit River Canyon (11,000 ac.), Lava (10,800 ac.) and Timbered Crater (17,900 ac.). The Field Office also manages seven Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) encompassing 30,493 acres. ACEC designations provide protection for a wide range of sensitive resources scattered across the Field Office area.
Some of the premier wildlife habitat in the State is found in northeastern California. The area provides habitat for a large number of mule deer and pronghorn. Rocky Mountain elk are also migrating into the area. Reductions in sage-grouse populations are of concern, and we are currently implementing a Sage Steppe Ecosystem Restoration Strategy to address habitat issues.
The Strategy is a cooperative effort with the Forest Service and Modoc, Siskiyou and Lassen counties. It is designed to prioritize and coordinate habitat restoration efforts within a 6.5 million acre planning area in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada. The centerpiece of the Strategy is an environmentally sensible reduction in the level of juniper encroachment. The Strategy was approved in December 2008 and focuses on improving land health through fuels projects and stewardship contracting.
Many streams and reservoirs on public land are excellent cold and warm water fisheries and are home to both native and introduced species of fish. Monitoring and protecting spring sources and riparian areas are high priorities for Field Office personnel.
Threatened or endangered species found in the area include: northern spotted owl, Modoc sucker, Shasta crayfish and slender Orcutt grass.
Mining activity primarily consists of mineral material sales involving cinders, flat rock and sand. There is also some limited gold mining activity in the Hayden Hill area.
The Alturas Field Office manages renewable energy development in the area and is responsible for leasing and permitting geothermal development on National Forest land in the Medicine Lake Highlands. There are also currently three pending Type II wind energy applications within the Alturas Field office encompassing approximately 60,000 acres of land.
Noxious weeds are another priority issue. They are spreading at an alarming rate and about a dozen species have been identified. Our primary species of concern at this time are yellow starthistle, scotch thistle and squarrose knapweed. We contract with counties and the Pit River Tribe and fund an in-house weed crew to treat infestations.
The Field Office employs one law enforcement range who monitors activity on public lands in the area. The ranger coordinated efforts with local, county and State law enforcement agencies. He has recently noted a marked increase in illegal marijuana garden activity on public land in the Alturas Field Office. With the assistance of cooperating agencies, the ranger has identified, closed down and cleaned up several public land gardens the past two years.
The Field Office staff also focuses attention on youth activities and environmental education. This includes coordinating field trip opportunities with the Modoc National Forest and the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge as well as contributing time to programs such as 4-H.
ALTURAS FIELD OFFICE
PRIORITIES FY 2012
1. Workplace Safety including Compliance Assessment Safety Health Environment (CASHE)
2. Initiate Development of Sage-Grouse RMP Amendment
3. Grazing Permit Renewals/Cultural Resource Evaluations/Implementation of Yankee Jim PA
4. Sage-Grouse Conservantion and Sagebrush Steppe Restoration Strategy Planning, Implementation and Monitoring.
5. Rangeland Health Assessments
6. Develop ACEC Plans (Ash Valley, Yankee Jim, Timbered Crater and Old Growth Juniper)
7. Implement BAR/ESR Plans (McDonald and Mendiboure wildfires)
8. Fire Suppression/Fire Use/Prescribed Fire/Fuels Reduction/Stewardship Projects (Cassel fuel break planning and implementation)
9. Implement Zoned Fire and Fuels Program with Suprise Field Office
10. Pacific Forest and Watershed Stewardship Council Partnership (PG&E land donations)
11. Noxious Weed Inventory and Control
12. Wind Energy Proposals
13. Implement Tule Mountain, Tablelands, North Ash and South Ash Management Plans
14. McDonald Mountain AMP Development
15. Land Tenure Adjustment Plan Implementation (Infernal Caverns)
16. Seeds of Success
17. Public Outreach (Migratory Bird Festival, Modoc Refuge Environmental Center, River Center, California Archaeology Month, Pit River Watershed Alliance)
18. Ben Bridge Cinder Pit Production Verification
19. Medicine Lake Geothermal
20. Disposition of Descent Into Goose Lake Interpretive Proposal