Chris Heppe welcomes role as new BLM Central California District Manager
EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — Chris Heppe grew up playing in the streams and forests of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Nevada City. It is his love of water, wildlife and their habitat that lead him on a lifelong career in federal service to remote corners of the world. But Heppe’s path has now brought him back home as the new Bureau of Land Management Central California District Manager based in El Dorado Hills.
“It is a tremendous privilege to be a steward of such a diverse landscape and spectacular cross-section of California that is enjoyed and utilized in a variety of ways,” says Heppe. “I look forward to supporting the BLM managers, staff and specialists who are fantastic at handling the popularity of our recreation areas, while building partnerships with other agencies and communities. Together we can leverage resources and enhance the work being done on the ground.”
The Central California District encompassing roughly 2.2 million acres of BLM-managed public lands stretching from the Pacific Ocean through the Central Valley across the Sierra Nevada and Eastern Sierra to the California-Nevada border. It includes five BLM field offices, four national monuments, three wild and scenic rivers, two national trails and a national scenic area scattered across 42 counties.
Two weeks after graduating with a Biological Sciences degree from the University of California at Davis, Heppe started his federal service as a Peace Corps volunteer planting trees as living fences that provide habitat, forage and erosion control in Paraguay. He then hooted for spotted owls as a seasonal wildlife technician in the Tahoe National Forest, before earning a Masters Degree in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco.
Chris went to work for the Environmental Protection Agency in their Regional Office reviewing hazardous waste management permits, then transitioned into the Water Management Division administering grants to states to improve water quality and watershed health. Watershed restoration next lead him to the Redwood National Park as a natural resource program manager and onto the BLM as manager of the Headwaters Forest Reserve. Heppe most recently served as the assistant field manager for the BLM Arcata Field Office where he oversaw a variety of natural and cultural resource programs in partnership with local communities.
Heppe replaces Este Stifel, who retired from federal service last year. When not in the office, Chris enjoys family time, hiking and shooting hoops in the driveway.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.