Fort Ord Bureau of Land Management: September 2013 Adventures with Bruce

Imagine going to work and not knowing what is in store for the day. Sure you have a schedule that you follow but things come up when you are out in the field.
My 2 weeks were awesome. My mentor Bruce and I scouted a lake that needs to be purged of invasive bullfrogs. We worked out a plan to remove the frogs and get them to people who will use them. We also watered willow tree saplings, which were planted by local school children 2 years ago. The trees line the shore of the dry Toro Creek for roughly a mile. Watering the willows is one of the many important ongoing projects of Fort Ord. Setting up the watering system is a project in itself. We have a giant bladder bag that holds about 150 gallons of water in the bed of our truck and we have to get as close as we can to the bank of the creek, which sometimes isn’t close at all. But that doesn’t matter because we have about 500 ft or more of hose that we run to water the trees. After we get to the creek in the truck, we set up this awesome little water pup that feeds off the battery of the truck. One end of the pump is attached to a regular garden hose and the other end is attached to a mini hose that is fed into the bladder bag. We water as far as we can with the amount of hose and then we move to a new spot up the creek. We also watered Badger Hills, a new public parking lot at the edge of Fort Ord. Weed eradication is also a big project. Black mustard and bull thistle are a few of the biggies. We take our volunteer groups from Paradigm out to do weeds, water oak trees and water 2 days a week.
Bruce was asked to go survey for red legged frogs and tiger salamanders at a future digital radio tower building site. That was awesome. Surveying for the animals consisted of marking active burrows and then putting a camera down the burrow and looking for the endangered species. The surveying was great in itself but also watching the interaction with all the parties involved. Bruce was the biologist, project leader David, the contractor Will, the onsite project leader Joe and the systems operator Chuck. Bruce had a list of objectives the contractors needed to abide by, in order of the project to proceed. I was not expecting the contractors to be as accommodating as they were. The men involved seemed to actually care about what we were trying to do. They asked good questions and were very engaging. We had lunch with them after everything was said and done. It made me realize that maybe things are changing for the better. That maybe environmentalists and builders can work together and come up with solutions, which will make everyone happy.

Interspersed in all of the above were meetings about Fort Ord Public Land Day and the 2013 Central California Invasive Weed Symposium. We also engaged in brushing trails, seed collecting, surveying trails and working with the Sierra club. The Sierra club was our last day before the furlough. It’s been a real bummer not getting to go to the BLM the last almost 2 weeks. Hopefully everything get’s resolved soon so we can get back out there and take care of our projects.

Leave a Reply