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Northern California District
Release Date: 02/19/13
Contacts: Rick Hanks , 831-421-9546  
  Jeff Fontana , 530-252-5332  
News Release No. CA-N-13-41

BLM Honors Citizen Scientists from The Sea Ranch

Residents from The Sea Ranch, a community on California’s Sonoma Coast, have been honored for their commitments to “citizen science” through monitoring habitat conditions in a portion of the California Coastal National Monument.

The U. S. Bureau of Land Management on Saturday presented “Rock Star” awards recognizing accomplishments in a five-year monitoring project focused on Gualala Point Island sea bird colonies, and broader monitoring work of The Sea Ranch Association CCNM Stewardship Task Force.

“Our ‘Rock Star’ award is a way of thanking our partners for helping to keep an eye on habitat conditions and the birds and marine mammals who depend on the rocks and islands of the California Coastal National Monument,” said Rick Hanks, the BLM’s monument manager.  “The work of these volunteer citizen scientists provides valuable information for the BLM, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks, which are the core managing partners for the national monument.”

Sea Ranch residents provided information on nesting success for species including Brandt’s cormorants, pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, and black oystercatchers.  They also monitored seabird nesting success and reactions to disturbances, harbor seal hauling behavior and pupping success and inventoried rare and endemic plants on the monument features.

Diane Hichwa, Barbara Rice and Rich Kuehn were thanked for chairing the stewardship task force.  Others honored for their contributions were Sandy Bush, Julie Gibson, Bryant Hichwa, George and Michele Marshall, Bonnie Plakos, Rozanne Rapozo, Connie Schimbor, Dean Schuler, Craig Tooley, Dave Presotto, Caryl Carr, Dorothy Gregor and Jamie Edwards.

The California Coastal National Monument, part of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, includes more than 20,000 offshore rocks, small islands, exposed reefs and pinnacles stretching from Oregon to Mexico and extending 12 nautical miles out to sea.  The monument was established to protect the geologic features, natural and cultural resources and the habitat they provide for sea birds and marine mammals such as seals and sea lions.

Partnerships, including those involving coastal communities, are key components of the management approach.

Detailed information is available at


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Last updated: 02-20-2013