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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 406

Hundreds turn out to improve Fort Ord lands

Hundreds of volunteers, from Scouts, to athletes from CSU-Monterey Bay, to members of the military, to members of various recreation clubs and the general public took part in a celebration of America’s public lands Saturday at Fort Ord.

Madeline Huebert spreads straw to help restore a dirt track
Madeline Huebert and other young volunteer spread straw to help prevent erosion. Unused old roads on the land were plowed, then volunteers scattered barley seed and straw to help prevent erosion and restore habitat.

The Army’s Base Realignment and Closure Office, the Army’s Presidio of Monterey, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority - Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement Remediation Program combined National Public Lands Day and Make Difference Day events to improve public lands.

Approximately 340 volunteers turned out to:
• Provide erosion protection and maritime chaparral restoration with a seed and straw throw;
• Help conduct trail repairs;
• Clean up illegal dumping and litter;
• Collect native seeds for the winter planting season.

“Thanks to the outstanding effort by volunteers, we were able to restore about five acres, maintain nearly one mile of trail, and collect native seeds for planting later this winter,” said Eric Morgan, BLM Fort Ord Public Lands project manager. “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who turned out and we look forward to working with them as partners to care for our public lands”.

“This was the first year we combined National Public Lands Day with National Make a Difference Day and the joint effort exceeded everyone’s expectations”, Morgan said. “This was an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when we partner with others on a common goal,” he said. (more text below photos)

A large group of volunteers spreads straw up a muddy track on a hillside, to prevent erosion
A large group of volunteers spreads straw and barley seed on a former road up a hillside.

A little blonde boy with a muddy shirt holds two chunks of clay from a dirt track
Alex Wheeler's shirt shows signs of his hard work

Two girls and a boy help spreading straw
Lots of youth helped with out. From left, Abigail Moore, Brandon Wheeler and Amanda Hobbs helped spread straw for erosion control.

 A young volunteer inspects plants for seeds
A young volunteer inspects native plants for seeds to use in winter plantings.
More than a dozen volunteers, young and old, fan out over the greenery to collect native seeds
Other volunteers fan out to gather more native seeds.

Awards were given to organizations and individuals to recognize their efforts at Fort Ord during a barbecue following the work projects.  Recipients received an appreciation plaque from the BLM and a Certificate of Recognition from Congressman Sam Farr.   Award recipients were:

  • County of Monterey Probation Department for their weekly Wednesday volunteer days on Fort Ord;
  • Jim Ryan of the Monterey Bay Bicycle Equestrian Trails Assistance group (BETA) and the Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association for his help to BLM staff with trail maintenance and assistance with environmental education; and
  • Tom and Pam McKay for their leadership over the years with BETA.

Several local businesses donated prizes for a drawing at the barbecue. They are: Adventures by the Sea, Aquarian Bicycles, Bamboo Reef Enterprises, Bay Bikes, Monterey Bay Diving, On the Beach Surf Shop, Pharmaca, Platos Closet, Sunshine Freestyle, Trader Joes, REI.


- David Christy, BLM Central California District, with additional photos by Marcia deChadenedes, outdoor recreation planner, California Coastal National Monument

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 406

Last updated: 10-28-2009