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New Adopt-a-Trout Program Combines Agency Research and Environmental Education.

The BLM Colorado Southwest District fisheries program is working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to educate Gunnison High School students and improve fish ecology through the newly formed Adopt-a-Trout program. The project involves tagging trout and sparking students’ interest in natural resources careers while giving them the opportunity to learn about local watersheds, engage in community restoration projects, learn about trout based ecology and conduct research with biologists.

About 50 students in the Environmental Science and Wildlife Management class at Gunnison High School are helping CPW Aquatic Biologist Dan Brauch identify limiting factors in robust healthy trout populations, find areas for stream restoration projects and collect data to further understand how trout move throughout Tomichi Creek, a tributary to the Gunnison River in Gunnison, Colorado.

Keep reading

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On This Day in 1980 President Jimmy Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act into Law 

With the signing of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the BLM became responsible for managing six Wild and Scenic Rivers, nine study rivers, one National Conservation Area, one National Recreation Area, and one National Scenic Highway. Enjoy these photos of the Delta Wild and Scenic River, Gulkana Wild and Scenic River, and Beaver Wild and Scenic River in celebration of Alaska’s vibrant waterways!

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Celebrating Veterans Day with our Veterans Fire Crews!

The Bureau of Land Management is proud to recognize and honor all veterans this Veterans Day.  A special recognition goes out to our veterans working to serve us as firefighters and stewards of our nation’s public lands.

View more photos on of our Veteran Fire Crew.

Watch a video of the BLM and Team Rubicon:

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BLM New Mexico – with offices in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas – recently announced the winners of their annual employee photo contest. A few of our favorites are featured here; click photos for employee names and titles.

Visit the BLM New Mexico Flickr to view all contest winners.

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Check Out the Close Ups of Coho Spawning on the Salmon River - taken in November while conducting a coho spawning survey on the Salmon River in northwest Oregon.

The rivers, streams, and lakes of Oregon and Washington are home to a diverse array of fish species, and the BLM is committed to the restoration and protection of the aquatic habitat the fish are dependent on.

Salmon and trout species found on BLM-managed lands include bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, redband trout, steelhead trout, and chinook and sockeye salmon. Five of these species (bull trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, steelhead trout, chinook salmon, and sockeye salmon) are on the Endangered Species Act list in all or portions of their distribution.

The BLM addresses the management of fish and their habitat in District Resource Management Plans and through such initiatives as the Northwest Forest Plan, PACFISH and InFish. The BLM is also a member of the Federal Caucus, which is a group of nine federal agencies with management responsibilities for listed fish species. The Caucus works together to improve interagency coordination and management of all the factors that influence fish survival: habitat, hatcheries, harvest, and hydropower operations.

See these fish in action on BLM Oregon’s YouTube.

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#WomeninSTEM Wednesday:  Meet BLM Colorado Wildlife Biologist Heidi Plank

It’s not your normal day at the office, but Wildlife Biologist Heidi Plank travels into the Colorado Bookcliffs in search of the threatened Mexican Spotted Owl. Her inventory is designed to identify known populations so the agency can appropriately plan for future public land uses.  

According to Plank, the bird is found in the neighboring Utah Book Cliffs. Finding or not finding the bird on the Colorado side of the border will help decision makers with future projects. “We want to know if they’re here,” says Plank. “This helps land managers know of possible impacts of projects coming through and plan for them.”  

Several types of owls inhabit the Colorado Bookcliffs and answer - even come investigate - Plank’s night calls to the Mexican Spotted Owl.  On this visit, the third of four inventories, Plank spots a bobcat and raccoons and listens to one very persistent owl. A call at the last station produces a response from the highly nocturnal Saw-whet owl, but none of the calls into the night produce the distinctive four-hoot reply of a Mexican Spotted Owl.  

Ranching, a Nature Lover’s Labor of Love

By Rachel T. Carnahan, BLM Arizona Public Affairs and Tumblr Blogger

Diamond Butte on the BLM Arizona Strip. Photo by Lorraine Christian, BLM Arizona Strip Field Manager

Driving east into the sun, I gaze south across the Arizona Strip. The sage-studded desert floor seems to stretch on forever.  

In my head, I rewrite the story of the modern day cowboy, of the rancher who scratches a living from this harsh country.  My stories draw from memories of classic westerns and an imagination fed by rugged Arizona landscapes.  Who is that modern day cowboy?  What drives the cowboy to work the land today?  

As I take the truck off highway, onto a wide dirt road, I come closer to the White Pockets Corral and possibly answers to my questions.

Quail Hill Draw, Arizona. Photo by Jon Jasper, BLM Arizona Strip Outdoor Recreation Planner

Keep reading

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This week, the BLM’s My Public Lands Instagram reached 60,000 followers! We’re celebrating this milestone with #mypubliclandspicks. Check out our instagram all weekend to view favorite photos and places to visit, selected by employees.

Featured above:

  • Sunset over Burning Man 2014, Nevada, by Casey Bryant, BLM Vending Compliance Team
  • Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado, by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist
  • Middle Fork, Wyoming, by Charlotte Darling, BLM Wyoming Rangeland Management Specialist
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New Weekly Series for the New Year – #TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick!

Each Tuesday this winter, follow @mypubliclands for weekly travel adventures with Bob Wick, BLM wilderness specialist.  #TravelTuesday posts will feature beautiful BLM landscapes, with helpful hints for your travel planning.  As a bonus, Bob, well known for his beautiful landscape photos of public lands, will share photo tips for each location.  

Join us this Tuesday, January 5th, for the first post in the series – with multiple stops along California’s northern coast!

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From the Front Lines to the Fire Lines, Military Veterans Continue to Serve in the BLM

As we prepare to celebrate Veterans Day tomorrow, November 11, we want to thank all military veterans for their service and specifically recognize those BLM employees across the country in all of our BLM states who have served and continue to serve our country.  Their contribution to our national security is something that comes at a cost, and it is right that we acknowledge and appreciate the great sacrifice our veterans and their families make on behalf of all of us.

As part of the BLM’s commemoration this year, we share our 2015 Veterans Day poster “From the Front Lines to the Fire Lines, Military Veterans Continue to Serve in the BLM,” which highlights veteran firefighters and veteran fire crews across the BLM.

We are proud to recognize BLM’s role this year in training over 200 veterans as wildland firefighters in coordination with our partner Team Rubicon.  As a result this highly skilled corps of veterans was able to mobilize quickly and assimilate into BLM’s fire community to assist in firefighting efforts across the West. Team Rubicon’s  mission is to unite the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.

These men and women are a welcome part of the BLM’s family of veterans. We appreciate the important work they do for us, as we do all of those who have served our nation both in the military and at the BLM on behalf of the American People.

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This #WomeninSTEM Wednesday: Two BLM-Alaska ANSEP Interns Take Aim at Invasive Plants 

This summer, Jessica Mute and Patrice DeAsis are working with BLM Alaska to limit the spread of invasive plants in urban areas like Anchorage to other parts of the state, where the plants displace native plants and degrade moose and salmon habitat.

The two recent high school graduates were among the 25 Alaskan students who received paid internships this summer through the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP). Both plan to major in biology at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the fall.

ANSEP interns help the BLM with many types of field work, including bird surveys, mining compliance inspections, data gathering, and invasive plants management. Partnering with ANSEP is one of the ways BLM is engaging the next generation to help manage and conserve Alaska’s public lands and resources.

Intern photos by Chris Arend Photography; BLM Alaska photos by Bob Wick

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#WomeninSTEM: Today’s #mypubliclandsroadtrip Goes Behind-the-Scenes with Stacey Fritz, Anthropologist/Subsistence Specialist in BLM’s Arctic Field Office

Where do you work and how does your job fulfill the BLM mission?

My office manages the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (aka NPR-A), which includes 23 million acres of Alaska’s western Arctic. I coordinate BLM’s NPR-A Subsistence Advisory Panel  to ensure oil and gas lessees and permittees consult directly with potentially affected communities. And I regularly meet with residents and tribal governments in the NPR-A about land management issues.

What previous experience/education prepared you for your job?

For my doctoral research at University of Alaska Fairbanks, I traveled the western arctic coast by sailing a canoe over the course of two seasons and participated in community activities such as hunting and fishing trips.  This field work was a fantastic way to meet people and learn about the land and the history of the Arctic North Slope. I was also a PhD fellow in an interdisciplinary program with great attention to climate change in Alaska and sustainable land management.

What is the best thing about your job?

To me, the greatest thing about Alaska is the state’s powerful and rich array of Alaska Natives living a rural lifestyle, hunting and fishing in their traditional homelands. Those residents generously share that experience with others who respect it.

Landscape photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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BLM OREGON AND PARTNERS MONITOR OREGON SPOTTED FROG EGGS AT WOOD RIVER WETLAND

In April 2015, usfws specialists, Oregon Institute of Technology students and BLM Oregon employees met at the Wood River Wetland to locate Oregon Spotted Frog egg masses.  Lead by BLM Fish Biologist Robert Roninger, the team surveyed the Wood River Canal in an annual  effort to monitor the Oregon Spotted Frog’s breeding season. 

“It is a process,” noted Roninger, “but through collaboration efforts… we feel confident in providing the critical habitat necessary for future generations of people to come and see the Wood River Wetland Oregon Spotted Frog.”

READ THE FULL STORY - by Alec Bryan, BLM Oregon and My Public Lands Tumblr Blogger.

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Turning Back the Clock! Surveying in the Backcountry of the John Muir Wilderness

Our day begins at 6 a.m. We wake to a brisk July morning at an elevation of 7,000 feet.

For three of us, this a welcome return to finish the job we started back in September, 2012, and for all, a highlight moment of our survey careers. This project will bring us back to the days of Cadastral Survey where all projects were completed by camping and with pack trains.

Read the full behind-the-scenes story of a land surveyor by BLM Cadastral Land Surveyor Matt Campos.

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Wildlife Wednesday on #mypubliclandsroadtrip: Baby Bird Banding in the Lathrop Bayou in Florida 

Today, the #mypubliclandsroadtrip moves from the Washington D.C. area down to the Gulf Coast for some behind-the-scenes science. We first visit the Lathrop Bayou in Florida where the BLM Eastern States, Southeastern States Office celebrates a bumper crop of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.

“Several years ago, I learned a valuable lesson.  Don’t just say “yes” to a field trip with a BLM Biologist without asking questions.  This particular trip involved four states, mosquitos, no-see-ums, alligators, late night drives, midnight boat rides, and no sleep.  Why did we do this?  To re-locate Red-cockaded Woodpeckers from a donor site in Georgia to a BLM managed site, Lathrop Bayou, in Florida.  

More than a hundred years ago, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker was a common sight in open stands of old hardwood pines throughout the southeast.  Unlike most woodpeckers that are content to build their homes in a wide variety of dead tree trunks, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are very particular about where they make their nests.  This species seeks out open stands of long leaf pine which have been living for at least 80 years.  But the only trees soft enough to allow the woodpeckers to carve out a nest are ones that have been infected with a disease called red-heart fungus.  Over the decades, as ancient pine forests have been thinned out, the population of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker decreased.  By 1970 they were on the brink of extinction. So when we found two existing clusters here, we were extremely excited.  We determined that, “Lathrop Bayou has the potential to house three active, reproducing clusters of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers on its 550 acres of longleaf pine/wiregrass habitat,” said Faye Winters, BLM Wildlife Biologist.  

Working with local partners, BLM has been trying to manage and restore the endangered  Red-cockaded Woodpecker population.  This year really shows how our efforts have paid off.  Nest checks recently completed at Lathrop Bayou documented 4 nest cavities with chicks! There have been up to three nests in previous years, but this is the first time we have ever recorded more than two nests successfully hatching.  We recently documented 10 adults and 9 nestlings at the site. Two of the nests are on BLM land, and the other two are on adjacent partner managed lands. All of the chicks have been banded and an attempt will be made soon to determine their sex. This bumper crop of chicks opens the door to potentially donate a chick back to Wetappo, in Georgia, where it would be paired in a new recruitment cluster to increase genetic viability. We consider the increase in the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Lathrop Bayou to be a huge success, one we have worked hard for and are very proud of.”

By Shayne Banks, BLM Southeastern States Public Affairs Specialist

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Cave and Karst Training Promotes Protection of Fragile Resources  

The BLM manages over 1,500 caves and karst (an area of limestone terrain characterized by sinks, ravines, and underground streams) in eleven states across the west.

Last week, ten BLM and three U.S. Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Specialists participated in a full-day training session on Cave & Karst Management, led by two BLM cave specialists. The course included a short classroom session about the Federal Cave Protection Act of 1988 and other Cave/Karst Management laws, regulations, policies and procedures as well as the background and policies specific to preventing the spread of White Nose Syndrome among bat colonies.

For the field portion of the training, the group visited a lava tube east of Bend, Oregon. They looked for evidence that the cave meets the criteria for “Significant Cave status under the Federal Cave Protection Act.“  Prior to leaving the site, the group practiced decontamination procedures designed to prevent any spread of WNS from cave to cave.  

CLICK HERE to view all photos from the training, and to read about the management techniques BLM uses to balance land use activities and the protection of the nation’s fragile cave and karst resources.

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Fight Fire With BLM! 

The Fire and Aviation program is a diverse, professional organization dedicated to providing national direction, leadership, policy, standards, and operational oversight. Fire and Aviation works with state and field offices to ensure a safe, cost effective and efficient fire and aviation management program in support of the national Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mission.

The BLM, a leader in our nation’s wildland fire management efforts, undertakes a broad range of activities to safely protect the public, the natural landscape, wildlife habitat and recreational areas for our country’s citizens. The program includes fire suppression, preparedness, predictive services, fuels management, fire planning, community assistance and protection, prevention and education, and perhaps most significant, safety. The BLM meets these challenges by fielding highly trained and skilled professional firefighters and managers.

If you like remote and rugged conditions, extended travel and overnight camping, then becoming a wildland firefighter may be for you. Hiring season is here an the BLM is looking for temporary employees to work on wildland firefighting crews for the 2016 fire season. The BLM is also seeking veterans interested in joining wildland firefighting crews. The BLM hosts fire crews in six states that are specifically designed and configured to employ veterans and provide career opportunities in fire and other land management careers.

Visit mypubliclands.tumblr.com/BLMVeteranFireCrews to learn more.

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Celebrate National #TakeAHikeDay by Exploring Your Public Lands!

Visitors enjoy countless types of outdoor adventure – not just hiking – on the approximately 250 million acres of BLM-managed public lands in the United States.

In an increasingly urbanized West, these recreational opportunities in beautiful natural landscapes are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of western states, as well as national and international visitors.

Photos by BLMer Bob Wick.

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Head underground for research - happening now - at Natural Trap Cave in BLM Wyoming with #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

An international team of scientists began its second field season of cave study and excavation at Natural Trap Cave, located in the flanks of Wyoming’s northern Bighorn Mountains northeast of Lovell. NTC is an 85-foot hole in the ground littered with the well-preserved remains of animals that tumbled in over the past 100,000 years.  The international group arrived last week and after a couple days of prep work, they descended into the cave.  

CLICK HERE to read about the cave and current research and to watch video interviews with the scientists about their new findings!

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The results are in!

BLM New Mexico recently announced the winners of its 7th annual employee photo contest. Today, we bring you a few of our favorites from the seven photo categories: landscape, wildlife - mammals, wildlife - non-mammals, plants, historical and cultural, work of the BLM, and recreation.

Congratulations to the winners!  CLICK HERE to view all employee photos.