Many things have happened since my last post in May, the highlight being that I have been extended for another two months! I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity. My supervisor has really gone out of his way to make this happen. I am being treated as if I were a full BLM employee, handed tasks that carry the responsibility and weight that comes with decision making. For example, due to an employee retirement, there was no one in the office who was familiar with writing a Rangeland Health Determination. I volunteered for the undertaking and finished the document almost single-handedly. I have also been assimilated into compiling three Environmental Assessments. I have never before worked somewhere where I felt so respected and appreciated for the quality of work that I produce. They are willing to invest in me and in return I am able to produce better quality work.
Aside from office work, I still manage to get a few field days in. The Ridgecrest Field Office is part of an interesting arrangement with a local farm/college, Deep Springs. Deep Springs’ ranching operations are supported by the Deep Springs Resource Management Team (DSRMT), which consists of representatives from the College and Trustees, BLM, Inyo National Forest, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The DSRMT meets bi-annually, collects and analyzes monitoring data on Deep Springs’ BLM and Forest Service grazing allotments, and participates in inter-agency coordination and planning to develop best management practices and to inform agency decision making processes. During the summer meeting in the beautiful White Mountains, Deep Springs was gracious enough to feed everyone great farm raised fresh food, we experienced a flash flood and also had amazing cooperation among the agencies. By hearing the concerns about an allotment from all agencies, I was able to experience the development of a very thorough land management plan. It almost made my head spin with how organized it was. I really hope this inter-agency hands-on model spreads to more offices.
Cheers and happy botanizing.
BLM, Ridgecrest CA