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Say hello to Kahr, our newest law enforcement recruit. 

BLM Southern Nevada District Office (SNDO) recently welcomed its newest K-9 team — Ryan Parr and his German Shepherd partner Kahr. Born in the Czech Republic 18 months ago, Kahr immigrated to the U.S. and began training at Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. 

In October, SNDO’s Law Enforcement Officer/ Field Training Officer Ryan Parr began training with Kahr. Six weeks later, they were certified by the BLM and North American Police Work Dog Association for narcotics (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy) and patrol (tracking, area search, apprehension and handler protection).

Proving that the first week of work doesn’t have to be a time of transition, Kahr made his first drug find on the second day of work.

You can read more about Kahr and his duties at: http://on.doi.gov/1cGsgxC

-Kirsten Cannon, Public Affairs Specialist, BLM-Nevada

Public lands are something to be thankful for!

I am thankful for the Lava Beds Herd Management Area northwest of Lovelock, Nevada because of the amazing rock outcroppings formed by northern Nevada’s unique geology.  I am also thankful there are so many wondrous acres of public lands surrounding Winnemucca to observe the thousands of wild horses and burros residing here.

-Samantha Gooch, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist for the Winnemucca District Office

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Calling all Tumblr artists interested in a great opportunity! 

Now’s the time for Southern Nevada artists to act on their resolution to bring together their creative sides with nature.  Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association are seeking applications through January 31 for artists to complete two week residencies in March, April and May at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

During the inaugural artist-in-residence season, selected artists will hold open studio hours at Red Rock Canyon, develop and implement a public program and donate at least one piece of original artwork completed during their residency to be featured in an exhibition at the Red Rock Canyon visitor center during summer.  Selected artists will be provided with a $750 stipend for materials and supplies and support from Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association staff in developing their programs. 

The artist-in-residence program promotes awareness through art of the exceptional places protected within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System. The program provides an opportunity for learning and dialogue about the value of preserving public lands. It will engage and inform an audience through public programs by participants, and will provide time for artists to pursue their work.

Further information, guidelines and applications are available at rrcair.tumblr.com.

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An Active Couple = A Happy Couple…. married November 27, 2013 at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

"Once we zeroed in on a Las Vegas destination, we knew we wanted a beautiful venue that was outdoor and timeless.  We will always have a reason to visit our favorite coordinates," said Linda and Edward Cavazos.

We met on match.com (yes, it really works). Our first date was December 17, 2012 at an outdoor coffee shop on beautiful Lake Austin surrounded by nature and whimsical Christmas lights. This four hour magical date turned into a sprint to the altar. A few 2013 races we ran together: Scholtzky’s Bun Run 10k (Austin), Corpus Christi Beach to Bay Relay, Harbor Half (Corpus Christi), San Antonio Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon. If we’re outside and not running, we’re on our bikes (especially during festivals i.e. SXSW) or taking a dip at Barton Springs. 

Photos of this beautiful event courtesy of Esvy Photography.

MY HEART BELONGS TO WILDERNESS

I snapped this photo in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness. While doing wilderness monitoring and removal of fixed ropes on Cactus Flower Tower, my volunteer and I dropped into Oak Creek Canyon, where I spotted this small pool in the multi-colored sandstone after a recent winter rain.

By: Sendi Kalcic, Wilderness Specialist, BLM’s Southern Nevada District Office

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BLM-Nevada Installs New Door on “Hidden Cave” Entrance to Preserve Valuable Archaeological Assets

It took six Bureau of Land Management employees to transport a 300 pound door along a quarter mile trail to Hidden Cave within the Grimes Archaeological District in Nevada. The BLM Carson City Office replaced the door to protect the valuable archaeological assets inside the cave and to provide tour guides and authorized cave visitors with a user-friendly entrance.

BLM tour leader explains how archaeological excavations were conducted to learn the human history of Hidden Cave.The Grimes Point Archaeological District, located twelve miles east of Fallon, Nevada, is one of the most significant petroglyph sites in the country. It is an archeological site important to understanding the changes in climate occurring over the last 20,000 years and the human occupation of the Great Basin over the last several thousand years. The site consists of over 900 basalt boulders that are engraved with four styles of petroglyphs: Pit and Groove, Curvilinear, Rectilinear and Representational. The public can view the rock art from the Grimes Point National Recreation Trail, Nevada’s first national recreation trail designated in 1976, and the Hidden Cave Interpretive Trail.

Hidden Cave is a geological feature with special archaeological significance located within the Grimes Point Archeological site; it is unique in that it provides the general public with the opportunity to see firsthand how archeological excavations are conducted. Excavations were completed on the cave in the 1940s, 1950s and late 1970s, and the last set of excavations was left intact with the intention of providing a site for interpretation of archeological history and methodology. 

For the last thirty years, the BLM has provided bi-monthly tours of Hidden Cave to youth groups and the general public while the Churchill County Museum staff and docents has provided tours for specially arranged groups, schools and families. From Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013, BLM staff provided 14 tours to 122 youth and 315 general public, and the museum staff provided 55 tours to 562 youth and 464 general public - a total of 69 tours and 1,463 individuals.

With thirty years of use and exposure to the caustic atmosphere of the cave environment, the two dead bolt style locking mechanisms on the cave door were worn out and on the verge of failing. In addition, the design of the door made it vulnerable to vandalism and the location of the locks made it difficult for the docents from the Churchill County Museum and BLM staff to operate.

With partial funding assistance from the BLM Cave and Karst Program in the Washington Office, the BLM Nevada was able to install a new door to the cave. The door, fabricated by local business Fallon Welding and Fabrication, was constructed out of a single piece of half inch plate steel to guard against vandalism and a center pivot throw mechanism constructed out of stainless steel to withstand the harsh elements of the cave environment. The new door and locking mechanism work flawlessly and will provide years of trouble free use for many tours to come. 

-Lisa Ross, Public Affairs Specialist for the Carson City District 

Click here for more information about Hidden Cave, including a new must-see documentary.

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Local Scouts assist BLM with Sage-Grouse protection project

About a dozen scouts from Elko’s Boy Scout Troop 820 participated in an Eagle Scout project recently that provides protection to Greater Sage-Grouse from fence lines surrounding the Spanish Ranch, 55 miles north of Elko. 

The project was organized by 16-year-old Zach Daniels with assistance from the Bureau of Land Management, Elko District’s Rangeland Specialist and part-time Scout leader, Clay Stott and Tuscarora Field Office Wildlife Biologist, Ken Wilkinson. Daniels needed a project to finalize his quest for Eagle Scout. Wilkinson knew of 10 active sage-grouse leks in close proximity to livestock control fencing on the Spanish Ranch. Through Stott, Daniels coordinated with Wilkinson and ranch owner Ellison Ranching Company to install 5,400 flight diverters over 5.6 miles of livestock control fencing. 

The overall purpose of installing flight diverters on fences is to reduce potential sage-grouse wire collisions and mortalities while in flight. The diverters are two-inch by three-inch white vinyl markers with yellow, lime green or orange reflective tape on both sides. The markers are spaced around four feet apart and clipped directly to the top strand of fence wire. The diverters help mark the outline of fence wires allowing sage-grouse and other birds to see the outline and divert their flight over the wires. Marker visibility occurs even with moonlight. Big game animals and other wildlife can also see fence locations during poor light conditions and avoid collisions as well. 

“A study regarding sage-grouse and fence collisions completed in Wyoming by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department indicated that the markers appear to have reduced sage-grouse mortality by 61 percent between 2007 and 2009,” stated Wilkinson. “A field experiment in 2010 regarding sage-grouse and fence collisions completed in Idaho by the University of Idaho, found an approximate 83 percent reduction in collision rates at marked fences relative to unmarked fences.” 

Sage-grouse often fly at night or during low light sunrise/sunset periods while attending leks during the spring breeding season. The leks or “strutting grounds” are traditional year-to-year concentration areas where male grouse display in the early mornings to attract female grouse for breeding. The diverters were purchased with funds from the Ruby Pipeline sage-grouse mitigation account. 

This type of project is a vital part of ongoing sage-grouse conservation efforts on the Elko District. It complements other flight diverter installation work completed by ranching families on public and private lands in the District. It also complements ongoing collaborative work completed or scheduled by BLM, Nevada Department of Wildlife and other federal and state agencies. This work includes installation of more than 10,000 diverters near other known active lek locations on the Elko District. 

The Elko District staff extends their thanks and appreciation to the scout volunteers for completing the project.

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A Hawkwatch field trip for the Wells Field Office staff, Nevada 

On Monday September 16th, the Wells Field Office staff visited the Hawkwatch International Research Site in the Goshute Peak Wilderness Study Area (WSA). 

Julie Rodman, archaeologist; Cam Collins, wildlife biologist; Gerry Miller, project manager; and Bruce Thompson, wild horse specialist made the 2.5 mile, 1,800 foot climb to the top of the ridge overlooking Christmas Tree Canyon with wonderful views of the Great Salt Lake Desert to the east and the Ruby Mountains to the west. 

Along with the Hawkwatch volunteer staff, the Wells team helped to count, band, document and release over 70 various birds of prey including Red Tail Hawks, Goshawks, Kestrels, and a Merlin among others. 

The Goshute range is one of a collection of ranges that make up the North American interior flyway which provide the lift necessary for these birds to make their migration south to Central and South America. The research station is open daily to the public from mid-August to the end of October/beginning of November depending on the weather. The ultimate highlight of the day came from a pair of Golden Eagles that were spotted over the Pequop range flying south toward warmer climates.

-Lesli Ellis, Winnemucca District Public Affairs Officer, BLM Nevada

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A Burning Love

Every year, tens of thousands of people attend Burning Man in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. It is the Bureau of Land Management’s most complex and largest Special Recreation Permit. BLM Law Enforcement provides for public safety and Leave No Trace is an essential goal shared by all.

Photos courtesy of officiant Lauren Mari Hufft, owner of Prism Magic Clothing & Imports in Reno, Nevada.

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