News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 254

Conway Summit Hill Climb Restoration Project - BLM Bishop Field Office

With views of burnished aspen and high peaks an enthusiastic crew of 25 college students from Whitman College partnered with the BLM Bishop Field Office and Friends of the Inyo, and the Wilderness Society to rehabilitate and camouflage a 2,000 ft. hill climb that marred a picturesque hillside of Conway Summit, a Sierra highway pass north of Lee Vining, California. The hill-climb also bisected an area active with sage grouse, a bird species whose habitat has been reduced from overall development in the Great Basin.

The Whitman College students were part of a nationally recognized environmental science program allowing students to partake in a course where travel and immersion in western environmental issues takes place via lecture and on-the-ground project work with varying land management agencies as well as leaders in environmental ethics.

With this group BLM was able to complete the hill-climb project transplanting native grasses, building water bars, and placing of vertical mulch. The students gained some great experience with a hands-on restoration project and a better understanding of how the BLM can effectively help restore Public Lands.

Eyes left: the students are introduced to their task...
The group looks left to the hill they will be working on

...and start their trek up the hill.
trekking up the illegal hillside trail

The job involved lots of pick work - in this case, digging for native grass transplants...
a student digs for native grass to transplant into the trail

...loosening packed earth, and moving embedded rocks.

The disguise takes shape.
The track starts showing signs of transformation

Heading downhill after a job well done:
The group heads downhill

Ann Halford, Scott Justham, Joe Pollini 10/06

BLM California News.bytes, Issue 254