BLM Initiative Enhances Mustang-Related Volunteer Projects

As part of its ongoing effort to ensure the health of Western public rangelands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is announcing its "Director's Challenge" initiative to expand volunteer participation in monitoring and sustaining the health of wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs). More specifically, this volunteer program is aimed at engaging members of the public in monitoring, conducting inventories, and restoring natural resources on BLM-managed HMAs throughout the West.

The Director's Challenge initiative will offer citizen-based science opportunities that enhance both the BLM's and stakeholders' knowledge of resource conditions on public lands. Under this initiative, BLM field offices may receive up to $25,000 to implement projects that will engage citizen stakeholders in addressing land health issues within the HMAs. Possible challenge projects include conducting inventories of water sources, monitoring riparian area conditions, removing invasive plant species, and protecting spring sources.

"The BLM is committed to ensuring the health of the Western rangelands so that the species depending on them--including the nation's wild horses and burros--can thrive," said BLM Director Bob Abbey. "The projects that will spring from this challenge will enhance the BLM's ability to make land management decisions based on the most current information, while also providing hands-on opportunities for those committed to preserving the Western rangeland."

Appropriate challenge activities can range from projects requiring specific skills and/or training, such as the inventory of key resource indicators, to riparian restoration projects that may require minimal training. Community or partnership-supported volunteer efforts are preferred, and field offices will recruit individuals at www.volunteer.gov, where volunteers can review project opportunities.

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