Farewell for Now, Modoc

My last week here on the Modoc has finally arrived.  When I first arrived in early May I had no idea I would end up spending over 7 and a half months here.  I have gained many experiences and learned much during my season working for the BLM in Alturas, California. Even though I was extended I still don’t feel I am ready to leave.

  I have spent these last few weeks working on a project I have found to be very exciting and fulfilling. During the summer I surveyed four different plots for several rare plants. The plots are located in Ash Valley, which is south on 395 near the town of Madeline. The plots are located in a range allotment and have data recorded dating back to 1985. The three rare plants I helped monitor for are Ivesia paniculata, Erigognum procidiuum, and Astragalus andersonii. In order to keep the data consistent, we used the same monitoring techniques that were also used back in the 1980’s. These techniques included pace/frequency transects with 50 hits and photo plots.


Ash Valley Pace Frequency plot



  When surveying these plots it was noticed there was quite a bit of soil pedestaling and erosion throughout the area. There looked to be heavy range use all around several of the plots.  After recording the data for 2012, during these last few weeks, it has been my job to add and calculate all the years of data based on percent of frequency, cover and composition per key species. I then took all of the results for each of the plots added them into excel and converted them into graphs.  When calculating the data I also included a non-rare native plant, Calyptridium umbellatum for comparison. Looking at the trends represented, there has been some definite downward trends of the rare plants in several of the plots.  The data and graphs I have compiled will be used later this year to assess this particular allotment and area range use/plan.

I have worked on portions of projects like this before, however I have never been able to play a major role from the monitoring of a site to the completion of the data results. I have always said I would rather be out in the field any day than behind a desk, but when I worked on this project I did not mind the hours in front of a computer screen. I am not ashamed to say I enjoyed it! I look forward to hearing the outcome of the assessment.  My boss informed me, funds permitting, he would like to try and hire me as a full time seasonal for the BLM next year. I would love to come back to continue to learn and improve the land I have begun to appreciate.     

It has been an incredible season with many adventures and learning experiences. I have been fortunate to watch all four seasons pass across Northeast California. From the late frosts in late spring to the much colder snow flurries of winter, here are some of my favorite pictures. ..


Fall colors at the Pit River Campground



On the way to one of our collection sites. Mt Shasta in the distance


Working this season through the Chicago Botanic Garden, Seeds of Success program and the BLM, I have come closer to realizing what I want to pursue as well as ignited a desire for engaging in this type of land management.  This Conservation and Land Management internship aided me to follow my passions and kindle new ones for this type of work and landscapes. Thank you for the awesome opportunity!    

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