Date: 12/24/18 8:21 am
From: <clearwater...>
Subject: [obol] CBC season appreciation to federal employees who care for our public lands
Over the past ten days my daughter Martha and I participated in five Christmas Bird counts, all of which were partly on public lands cared for by employees of our federal government:

ORUN (Upper Nestucca): Partly on Bureau of Land Management land in the Coast Range.

ORAT (Antone) Includes most of the Sheep Rock unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, managed by National Park Service staff who also hosted our morning meeting and countdown, and helped on the count.

ORSU (Summer Lake): Centered on state lands and hosted by ODFW, but we covered BLM lands in the Picture Rock Pass area and Fremont National Forest (USFS) lands higher up on Winter Ridge.

ORHM (Hart Mountain): Focused on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge which is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, whose staff provided logistical support and lodging; the circle also includes BLM lands and cooperatively managed lands in the Warner Valley.

NVSH (Sheldon): On Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS) where staff again provided support and lodging for volunteers.

The next one on our schedule on December 28th is:

OROA (Oakridge): Most of the circle is on the Willamette National Forest (USFS), plus we pick up loons, grebes, and other waterfowl on reservoirs managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two former staffers of the Willamette NF (one now retired, the other now transferred to a National Forest in another state) have played key roles in reviving this historic count and keeping it going.

As of Friday evening, none of those folks have any assurance of when they'll next be back at work, or see their next paycheck. Kind of a rough way to go through the holiday season. Fortunately in most of these places, December and January aren't critical months for on-the-ground habitat restoration projects. But maintenance and planning work for habitat projects in 2019 are on hold. Incidents of vandalism will no doubt rise as the agencies will only have a skeleton crew of staffers to keep an eye on these public lands and facilities.

Most federal staff won't even have access to the e-mail accounts which they use to keep birders informed of significant sightings. But for those who are following this list through their personal e-mails, I'd like to say thank you, and we'll be thinking of you as this shutdown wears on.

Joel Geier

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