Fire on the Mountain

Deep within the Great Basin, amongst the sagebrush ocean, lie the Desatoya Mountains. One of my fellow crew members and I ventured out to set down some of the natural splendor. We meandered up and down windy roads to reach the more diverse canyons to scout for potential SOS collections. Along the way, we discovered our rental truck had Sirius XM radio, so of course we had to keep it tuned to the Grateful Dead, bluegrass, and 40’s channels.

Much of the Great Basin is what it appears to be: plains of sagebrush and cheatgrass surrounded by mountain ranges. With a little exploration, however, many gems can be uncovered. Lush meadows, rushing waterfalls, and areas rich with biodiversity are mere steps away, if you know where to look.

The pinnacle of beauty… minus the weird guy.

Our trip to the Desatoyas was successful. We found several species viable for collection. Holodiscus discolor, Rosa woodsii, and Ribes sp. were, dare I say, ripe for the picking. As I write this post, the other three members of our team are on their way to harvest them. We were also fortunate enough to see pronghorn, several owls (either Short-eared or Great Horned), and a couple of hummingbirds.

In an adjacent mountain range, the Clan Alpines, a fire threatened to end our scouting trip early. Fortunately there are awesome fire crews all over the state that do an excellent job of maintaining these rangeland infernos.

That’s all for now and remember, Winter is Coming.

Until next time,

Jason, Carson City District Office-BLM


A collection of photographs from eastern Sierran wetlands

A series of photographs taken in several wetlands in the eastern Sierras over the last several months.

Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum, the feminine fern, photographed roughly 100 yards from the Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe. This fellow was living atop a single rock stuck fast in the creek bottom.

Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum, the feminine fern.

Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum, showing developing sori.

Circaea alpina spp. pacifica, a beautiful little member of the evening primrose family. This growing very near to the Athyrium photographed above.

Circaea alpina ssp. pacifica, Pacific enchanter’s nightshade.

Circaea alpina ssp. pacifica, Pacific enchanter’s nightshade, flower closeup.

The Sierra rein orchid.

Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys, the Sierra rein orchid.

Little elephant head, Pedicularis groenlandica. This species has a very wide distribution – from southwestern Greenland, across northern North America, as far south as montane areas of northern Arizona. This individual was photographed in a wet meadow in the Mt. Rose Wilderness, just to the west of Reno, Nevada.

Pedicularis groenlandica, the little elephant head.

Upon close inspection, the land was determined to be wet. This waterfall feeds the creek that wets the marsh in which I found the above photographed Pedicularis.

A partial rainbow in a waterfall.



Fun galore!

Currently, Oregon is LIT! As in it is literally on fire. Here in Klamath Falls we’ve had about a solid month of smoke-filled skies. It is heart-breaking that so many forests are being burned down (usually at the hands of inconsiderate folks) and hopefully things will begin to clear up soon with the weather getting a little bit cooler. Because of this, it has been slightly difficult to get out in the field at some points. We have made due, though, and there is much to share! Yippee!

Jeff and I were working on a little project at the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge that ended up being a bit of a disaster. We placed 300 juvenile sucker fish in controlled nets at different levels of the water column to observe what might happen and when we headed out to the ponds a week later to check on them, EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. WAS. GONE. We found a couple of holes that must have been snagged during the placement of the nets that the fish escaped through. So long as the fish are alive and well, it’s quite alright. Science doesn’t always work like it’s supposed to.

My field supervisor put together a rather exciting field trip to Crater Lake National Park. We were taken out on a research boat for a private tour by David Hering and Mark Buktenica with the National Park Service. We were told all about the creation of the crater, the crystalline water, and several interesting odds and ends associated with the park. We eventually made our way out to Wizard Island, which is a small caldera (within the large caldera that is Crater Lake, CRAZY!) and we got to hike to the top. The 360-degree views of Crater Lake were breathtaking.

My field office posing for a group photo in front of Phantom Ship!

On top of Wizard Island!

I also want to give a shout out to my field Supervisor, Laurie, AGAIN, for putting together an awesome field trip to the Klamath Marsh to watch the eclipse. We weren’t in the path of the eclipse for totality, but we got to see it at 94% which was pretty incredible. It was wonderful getting to share the experience with everyone from my field office. Laughs were shared, new acquaintances were made, and enough food was eaten to feed a small village (I also got a bit sick after eating 7 cookies)!

(from left to right)
Emily, me, Jeff, and Sam gettin’ weird at the eclipse!

Aside from all of the amazing adventures my field office and I have been fortunate enough to have, Jeff and I have partaken in a few activities in the last month. We have done some electro-fishing, stream survey’s, wolf tracking with ODFW, and monitoring a few streams and lakes.

Getting sensual with my dip net 😀

I want to give a HUGE shout out to CLM for being such an incredible internship program and allowing me the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing. I’m pretty sure I end every single blog post this exact same way, but there really aren’t enough thanks to be said. Oregon is amazing. This field office is amazing. Life is pretty amazing!

Marissa – Klamath Falls Field Office – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Travel break!

I’m 3 months into my internship with the BLM in Buffalo, Wyoming and last week I got some time off to take an amazing trip up north!

First, we visited Glacier National Park for a few days and did some really awesome hikes. From there, we continued north through Alberta, Canada to visit Calgary, Banff National Park, Yoho National Park (British Columbia), Jasper National Park, and Edmonton. This trip was full of gorgeous colored lakes, glaciers, and wildlife sightings. Southern Alberta and Montana were quite smoky due to all of the wildfires in the area, but the views were still incredible! Over the ten day trip, we hiked around 46 miles, skated 19 skateparks, and climbed in some cool new areas. Today, I am back in the office and eager to finish up this last stretch of my internship so I can take off again!

Grinnell Lake, Glacier National Park

Crowfoot Glacier in Banff National Park

Banff National Park, Alberta

Vale Dispatch this is me on Lookout

I am nearing the end of my original internship of five months, in fact I just entered in the last 80 hours of the 880 allotted before this post.

I obviously have not been very punctual when it comes to writing blogs describing my Conservation Land Management experience. However, I have come to learn several lessons in the past five months and several thoughts have crossed my mind which are as follows.

Public lands worked on by Conservation Land Management interns are not always functional. These lands are often plagued by disturbance events, enveloped in invasive plant and animal species, and left altered beyond recognition of the native state. These picturesque public lands we often see are not always indicative of the state of health of other lesser known lands available to the public. I have seen channelized streams, monocultures of invasive species, severely grazed pastures, unimaginable soil loss, and large scales of land conversion among other things, as I am sure many of my fellow interns have.

These sights may make some people pessimistic, or even defeated. I however, am somewhat empowered by the fact that I have so much work ahead of me. Even though I feel the weight of such a daunting task, and am touched with the hint of sadness and responsibility associated with this destruction, I am reminded that these processes can often times work in the opposite direction. A direction that pushes these landscapes out of a negative spiral and back to a functioning condition. I just need to figure out along side other interns how to make that happen. We are here to witness the non functioning along side the pristine. We are shown the pristine in order to stoke the fire under the non functioning and surround ourselves with the desirable. It is all well within our power.

CLM thank you for this knowledge.