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 News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 450

Youth work with Mother Lode Field Office

The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office took advantage of youthful energy this year to protect homes from fire, clean up mine sites and preserve native plants, among other projects from Pine Hill Preserve to the Cosumnes River Preserve. 

Students in various programs, AmeriCorps participants and volunteers – about 30 in all - worked in a variety of programs. (text continues below)

Young lady in helmet pulls together drip tubing
An AmeriCorps member piles up drup tubing from a marijuana grow site.

"This was a tremendous help," said Bill Haigh, Mother Lode Field Office manager. "We were able to get badly needed work done throughout the quarter-million acres managed by the office. We also hope to see some of them return as BLM employees as current employees retire."

In the fire program, AmeriCorp participants and others built fuel breaks at Pine Hill Preserve, abandoned mines and other locations, and participated in fire training exercises.

A young woman in a helmet uses a chainsaw to cut branches
An AmeriCorps member helps clear a fuelbreak at Pine Hill Preserve.

Nine AmeriCorps participants logged hundreds of hours of work at the Cosumnes River Preserve cutting back trail and roadside brush, building pathways, removing non-native invasive species in preparation for a native grass and forb planting, and removing vegetation around 73 water control structures and a dozen pumps.

A young man in hip boots smiles as he rakes up branches at the water's edge
Devin Johnson removes debris from a beaver dam at Cosumnes River Preserve.

The Cosumnes preserve also hosted two interns this year. One intern performed land management activities such as mowing 22 miles of wetland levees and roads, disking, repairing equipment and facilities, mowing and removing downed trees and brush. The second intern helped Cosumnes partners with vernal pool, riparian forest, and floodplain vegetation monitoring. He also did trail maintenance, vegetation surveys in 45 wetland management ponds and assisted the wetlands manager.

Young men use rakes, shovels and a wheelbarros while working on a gravel trail
AmeriCorps members work on a trail at the Cosumnes River Preserve.

At Pine Hill Preserve, students collected seeds from native plants in the Seeds of Success program. The program (SOS) was established in 2001 by the Bureau of Land Management in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) to collect, conserve, and develop native plant materials for stabilizing, rehabilitating and restoring lands in the United States. The initial partnership between BLM and MSB quickly grew to include many additional partners, such as botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, and municipalities. These SOS teams share a common protocol and coordinate seed collecting and species targeting efforts. SOS is a vital part of the Native Plant Materials Development Program.

A young woman holds a branch in one hand and a paper bag in the other
Julie Namoff collects seeds at Pine Hill Preserve in the Seeds of Success program.

To date, SOS has over 8,163 native seed collections in its National Collection. This material is being used for direct seeding in local restoration projects and research such as germination trials, common garden studies, and protocol establishment. Portions of each collection are also being held in long-term storage facilities for conservation.

In June of 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Bureau of Land Management, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, New England Wild Flower Society, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and the Zoological Society of San Diego. The MOU ratifies Seeds of Success as a national native seed collection program in the United States coordinated by BLM.

Young men and women in yellow hard hats collect trash in large black plastic bags
Americorps members collect trash at an abandoned mine.

- David Christy, BLM Central California District, September 2010

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 450

Last updated: 09-29-2010