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Release Date: 03/15/12
Contacts: Denise Adamic, Public Affairs Specialist, (719) 269-8553    

BLM Colorado Honors Volunteer of the Year, Loren Otto (03-15-12)

ALAMOSA, Colo. -- The Bureau of Land Management honored Loren Otto with the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award on Wednesday.

This award recognizes individual volunteers or volunteer organizations for their outstanding contributions to public lands management throughout the year.

“Volunteers are some of our greatest resources,” said BLM Colorado State Director Helen Hankins.  “We are truly grateful for their time and commitment to managing the natural landscapes we enjoy in Colorado.”

Otto devoted more than 350 hours to the San Luis Valley Field Office including time spent on the Kerber Creek Restoration Project. During the past two years, Otto’s primary focus has been setting up and monitoring nearly 20 rain gauges throughout the San Luis Valley.  The information the BLM gathers from these rain gauges is a valuable tool in evaluating range condition, monitoring stream health, and assessing locations for revegetation efforts.  In addition to the many hours he dedicated to monitoring, Otto worked in the Kerber Creek drainage area plotting locations of a series of historic photos and taking new photos of the same areas to help depict the progress of this monumental restoration project.  

“Loren is an outstanding volunteer,” said Andrew Archuleta, BLM San Luis Valley Field Manager. “He has a great attitude and is continuously looking for ways to contribute to the management of public lands in the Valley.”

The Kerber Creek Watershed is located in the northern San Juan Mountains, northwest of Villa Grove. The watershed has been significantly degraded from historic mining activity. Several miles of stream bank have been devoid of vegetation due to the metal concentrations in the soil, and much of Kerber Creek has been devoid of aquatic life. 

Thanks to Otto and dozens of other volunteers, the Kerber Creek Restoration Project received the BLM Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award in 2010 and several other local and national awards.

To learn more about BLM’s volunteer program, contact Jack Placchi at 303-239-3832 or

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 03-15-2012