Things have been busy here at the BLM Mother Lode Field Office in El Dorado Hills, CA.
I am working mainly on the Pine Hill Preserve, which is a series of fragmented parcels, co-managed between 10 different agencies, including BLM. The Pine Hill Preserve (PHP) contains 8 rare plants and about 10% of California’s native flora in just 5,000 acres, which is highly fragmented due to urban developments. The diversity of the native plants in this area is largely accredited to gabbro soils of the rescue series.
On the preserve I have been familiarizing myself more with the area’s flora and scouting for seed collections for next year with one of the other interns here. I have also been collecting pollinators to put together a plant-pollinators list for the PHP, mainly for the native plants. This has been a very interesting project for me as the pollinators have showed me plants that I may not have noticed otherwise. Unfortunately, the worst weeds that we have, yellow star thistle and stinkwort, both bloom late summer, so there has been a healthy amount of weed pulling done as well, but it is nice to look back at an area and know that it is nearly weed-free after being a bit of an abomination. There have also been a handful of small fires on the preserve and luckily I don’t believe that anyone has been hurt. Fire is good for the rare plants but the disturbance of bulldozers may end up bringing weeds in, so it is a catch-22.
Off of PHP I have done a couple of raptor surveys with the Cosumnes River Preserve, which is about 30 miles south of Sacramento. The highlight for me was seeing a peregrine falcon perched atop a light-pole and then seeing it chase a small flock of pigeons. My group also saw a sharp-shinned hawk and some red-shouldered hawks, which I hadn’t seen in real-life, before, so that was really cool.
The most glamorous of all was the large trash cleanup that our BLM office did way up in the hills, where people are not required to pay for a garbage pickup service, so some of them take the shortcut and just dump their trash on BLM land. Slick idea except for throwing out trash that is/was addressed to their house. Hopefully a friendly visit by BLM ranger, or a ticket in the mail, will help them to change their ways. We cleaned up the mess this time anyway and it was pretty foul but I’ll save the readers from too much detail about the smell of a dead animal and then some other really pleasant stuff…
On that note I am logging out! Until next time!
Me standing in the burned area looking across the dozer line to the fuel break, which allowed Calfire to stop the fire.
A trail through the same burned area. There was not much in the way of living material left in the fires tracks.
One of the pollinators of PHP’s rare Fremontodendron californicum ssp. decumbens, loaded with pollen.
-Landon, BLM Mother Lode Field Office