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NEWS.BYTES EXTRA, Issue 278

BLM and Earth Day 2007 in Northern California
Events help public lands and spread the word

Earth Day celebrations in Northern California helped public lands and spread the word about the values of these lands, during Earth Day events in Lake, Napa and Lassen counties.  Partnerships involving BLM field offices, public land stakeholders, neighbors, schools and other agencies were key to success of the events.

In Lake County, nearly 100 students, stakeholders and neighbors of the BLM-managed Black Forest pitched in to build a mile-long, 300-foot wide shaded fuel break along the edge of the 247-acre old-growth forest.  Workers began arriving on the project site at about 7:30 on Saturday morning, April 21. (story continues below)

Entry to the Black Forest in Lake County

The roar of chainsaws and chippers echoed through the forest and the surrounding rural neighborhoods as workers slashed through dense thickets of brush and small trees, piling them so that chipper crews could reduce them to mulch.  Students from Kelseyville, Carle' and Clear Lake High Schools spent their Saturday morning working alongside homeowners from neighborhoods that border the Black Forest.  A local tree service company donated chipper time, and members of the local Lake County Fire Safe Council pitched in with their chipper and crew.

volunteers remove limbs and brush for a firebreak

Crews run the limbs and brush through a chipper

A volunteer carries a cut limb out to the chipper crews

Below, BLM Ukiah Field Manager Rich Burns lent a hand, while nearby, children learned the importance of people working together to improve the health of their neighborhood forest.

BLM Ukiah Field Manager Rich Burns lends a hand carrying out cut limbs

children learned the importance of people working together to improve the health of their neighborhood forest

The Black Forest, which looms above Clear Lake on the slope of Mount Konocti,  is an important Lake County site because it contains the last stands of old-growth Douglas-fir in the county.  It has important peregrine falcon habitat.  The fuel break project, now in its first phase, is an important wildland-urban interface protection effort.  Three subdivisions -- Riviera Heights, Riviera West and Buckingham Estates -- border the forest, as does the community of Soda Bay.  The BLM Ukiah Field Office acquired the forest in phases over the past several years and is now working with stakeholders on protective measures. Local schools are eying the site for outdoor education projects.

Meanwhile, in Northeast California, Susanville area residents visited an Earth Day celebration hosted by the Susanville Indian Rancheria.  The two-day event feature food, games and entertainment and exhibits by local agencies and businesses.

Below, Lassen National Forest staff member Lisa Sedlecek chats with young visitors to an exhibit highlighting the diversity of birds and wildlife on area National Forests and BLM-managed public lands.  The exhibit offered visitors insight about the wildlife found at Eagle Lake (where the BLM and Lassen National Forest have management responsibilities) at West Valley Reservoir (a high desert lake) and McCoy Flat (a reservoir surrounded by pine forests).

Lassen National Forest staff member Lisa Sedlecek chats with young visitors to an exhibit highlighting the diversity of birds and wildlife on  area National Forests and BLM-managed public lands.

Carolyn Gibbs, a botanist with the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, shared information with visitors about the importance of identifying and eradicating noxious weeds on public and private lands, below.

Carolyn Gibbs, a botanist with the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, shared information with visitors about the importance of identifying and eradicating noxious weeds on public and private lands

Earth Day events continued on Sunday, April 22, when the Napa County Sheriff's Department hosted a cleanup event at the Knoxville Off-Highway Recreation Area.  Volunteers helped clean up trash and target shooting debris from the remote and rugged recreation area managed by the Ukiah Field Office.

The steep Knoxville hills attract visitors from the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area, who come to ride motorcycles, drive off-highway vehicles, camp and ride mountain bikes.   Target shooting is popular as well at the 17,000-acre recreation site.  Botanists and other scientists are studying the area's plant communities which are unique to serpentine soils found there.

- J. Fontana, 4/23/07

BLM California News.bytes, issue 278