6 Weeks Inside the Beltway

My work continues on the seed use survey. Since my last blog I have worked on improving the survey for subsequent years and gathering missing data for the current analysis. The end result will be a more complete picture of what seed is being bought and used for management projects, and will result in better policy for seed use  throughout the agency.

I have also been prepping for the Annual Conservation Seed Workshop. I helped put together the presentation for the Division Chief that will cover the BLM coordination with the seed industry. In conjunction with other topics that will be discussed at the workshop I performed a literature review on the topic of “novel ecosystems” and the concept’s implications for plant conservation.

My special forest products project has continued and I am now performing “database drilling” where I expand three-dimensional spreadsheets to uncover information about the permits being issued for native seed collection on BLM land. This information will be used to guide the efforts of a newly formed committee that will be working on reforming permitting processes and policies for natives.

I also attended the Plant Conservation Alliance Federal Committee meeting where there was discussion between agency partners on the new memorandum of understanding to continue the partnership and increase the number of members committed to native plant conservation.

Reporting from HQ – Washington D.C. (2 weeks in)

My name is Alan Kroeger and I am the CLM policy intern here in D.C. I worked at the Chicago Botanic Garden last year in woodland restoration, but my academic training is policy. I made my way to DC in January working at The Wilderness Society for the last 4 months, and have now transitioned over to my CLM post as “the intern” for the Plant Conservation Program Lead.  The Washington office is one of many glass buildings on the waterfront where everybody rides the metro and has a favorite food truck. I have a lot of family in DC and have been coming here for years, but living here has been especially rewarding. I can see monuments from my office window and on the ride home, visit museums on the weekend, and I have been networking like crazy.

A critical part of life in DC is my ever expanding list of acronyms that I use on a daily basis, and have been in more meetings these past two weeks than ever before – it’s great!


my office and view of the landscape


Here in my office I will be working on several topics. I am part of a team that will be developing the Strategy and Program Development for the Native Plant Materials Development Program (NPMDP).  Also I am on the team that will be looking at a national Wildland Seed Collection Permitting Policy and Salvage Policy when dealing with site development, right-of-way permits, and personal and professional seed collectors. I am involved with the national Seed Use Survey data analysis where at the Washington office we are looking at how people in the field and state offices use native seed. There is also an ongoing website redesign project where we will be looking at our content for plants and evaluating how we can best present our work to the public and scientists alike.  Last week I was at the bi-monthly Plant Conservation Alliance meeting at NatureServe.  NatureServe presented their BLM funded project for developing a Climate Change Vulnerability Index for plants that evaluated sensitivity and exposure to climate change by species.

In between all the meetings and briefings I also went through background checks and fingerprint scans, and am now ready to get to work. My most recent project was working with the DOI and the Office of Science & Technology Policy to enter information about CLM internship program for the Federal Inventory of STEM programs so that this program will be recognized as a STEM certified DOI program.

I have enjoyed reading the other blogs and especially all the pictures of vistas across the West.

It’s only the beginning, two weeks in, and I am just starting to get an inside look at the workings of “the Bureau”.