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Northern California District
Release Date: 08/01/13
Contacts: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332    
News Release No. CA-N-13-77

Youthful Talent and Enthusiasm are Benefitting the Public Lands

A wave of youthful enthusiasm is washing over the Bureau of Land Management's Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville, as an unprecedented number of participants in youth programs are working on a wide array of natural resource-related projects.

In all, more than 30 youth hires, including interns, college graduates and high school students, are helping with recovery from last summer's Rush Fire, establishing rangeland monitoring points, working on the new South Side Recreation Trail, assisting with sage-grouse conservation, and improving conditions at the Fort Sage Off Highway Vehicle Area near Doyle.

The young workforce has given the northeast California field office a three-fold increase in on-the-ground personnel for the summer "field" season. In exchange, the participants are getting valuable hands-on experience in natural resource conservation.

"It has been incredible to see the level of talent and enthusiasm these young people are bringing to their work," said Ken Collum, manager of the Eagle Lake Field Office. "Public lands and natural resources will see long-term benefits, and we hope that many of these participants will use this experience as a stepping stone into natural resources careers."

Youth from the Student Conservation Association, Great Basin Institute, and Chicago Botanical Gardens programs are participating in the projects and training.

Significant work is underway on the 315,000 acres burned in last summer's Rush Fire and the surrounding areas of northeast California and northwest Nevada. There, 10 members of the Student Conservation Association, 15 from the Great Basin Institute and two Chicago Botanical Gardens interns are learning about rangeland monitoring and putting their new skills to work.

"By the end of fall, teams will have established more than 270 vegetation monitoring plots that will be used by our staff in long-term monitoring of the grasses and shrub communities vitally important for wildlife habitat, livestock grazing operations, and for the people who recreate on the public lands," Collum said.

In the Susan River Canyon west of Susanville, SCA members spent several days of hard work cutting new trail in the rocky bluffs overlooking the river. Their work on the South Side Trail is getting the BLM a few steps closer to connecting the new route to the Devil's Corral Trailhead about seven miles up the canyon from Susanville.

After completing that assignment, the crew turned its attention to the sagebrush-steppe of the Horse Lake area, which is important habitat for greater sage-grouse. They removed unused utility poles and attached flagging to fences in a project to remove perching areas from which raptors can prey on sage-grouse chicks.

At off highway vehicle recreation areas managed by the field office, three student interns have helped the BLM install new signs, undertake restoration projects, and complete maintenance. Work is being completed at the Fort Sage OHV Area in southern Lassen County, and at the Dry Valley OHV site in far northwest Nevada.

"All of us in BLM offer our thanks to these young people for the work they are doing to help us sustain our nation's natural resources. Their work helps the BLM to ensure continuing recreational opportunities and economic benefit for our communities," said BLM California State Director Jim Kenna. "We hope that one day some of these youths will return as agency employees, carrying the tradition of public service."



Youth hires and BLM staff members participate in a training session at the BLM Ravendale Fire Station.
A team convenes in an area burned by the Rush Fire to discuss establishment of monitoring transects.
A group excavates a soil testing pit.


Northern California District   355 Hemsted Drive, Redding, CA 96002  

Last updated: 08-01-2013