BLM Names New Manager for Carrizo Plain National Monument



For Immediate Release: 1-22-02 CCal-02-17
Contact: Larry Mercer(661) 391-6010 or Marlene Braun(661) 391-6119

BLM Names New Manager for Carrizo Plain National Monument

Marlene Braun loves wide open spaces so she feels right at home on the Carrizo Plain. The new manager of the Carrizo Plain National Monument is still getting acquainted with all that the remote valley has to offer, and is looking forward to working with the “great group of people who care very deeply about this special place”.

Selected by the Bureau of Land Management from its Elko, Nevada field office, Braun is now in charge of the 204,107 acre monument in eastern San Luis Obispo county which was created by Presidential proclamation on January 17, 2001. She is excited to be managing an area with so many outstanding biological, geological, archaeological, recreational and historical features, and she is pleased to be coming home to California.

Braun graduated from the University of California at Riverside, earning a BS in environmental science and a MS in soil science. She also completed the course work and qualifying exams toward a doctorate in marine science at the University of Chapel Hill in North Carolina. When an opportunity came up in 1992 to work for the BLM in Fairbanks, Alaska, she jumped at the opportunity and has been with the BLM ever since.

In Alaska, Braun worked as a hydrologist, implementing stream restoration projects in the Steese National Conservation Area. In Nevada, she was planning and environmental coordinator and took the lead in the planning for the California National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.

The Carrizo Plain is one of the few undeveloped remnants of the vast San Joaquin Valley grasslands that once covered most of the interior of California. This unique area provides critical habitat for thirteen threatened and endangered species, including the giant kangaroo rat, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, San Joaquin kit fox, and the California jewel flower. The Carrizo Plain is also home to Tule elk and pronghorn antelope, and the California condor has been known to use the area.

The monument is bordered by the Caliente and Temblor mountain ranges, and is known for its world-class archaeological sites including Painted Rock, and has some of the best viewing of the San Andreas Fault along its entire 800-mile long range. Soda Lake, located in the center of the Plain, provides an important winter stopover for migratory birds, including sandhill cranes. The Guy L. Goodwin Education Center serves visitors and provides tours to Painted Rock, wildflower tours, and other natural and cultural history tours as the season permits. The Goodwin Center is open Thursday through Sunday during the winter and spring, and can be contacted at 805-475-2131.

Braun, who is settling into a home in Arroyo Grande, will be spending a lot of her time on the Carrizo so she can immerse herself in her new duties. She will be working out of the BLM field offices in Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo. “It’s a privilege to be working here,” Braun says, “and I look forward to cooperatively managing the monument with our partners, the California Department of Fish and Game and The Nature Conservancy. Being on the Carrizo is like taking a step back in California history to a quieter, simpler time that lets you imagine life here a hundred, or even thousands of years ago.”

– BLM –

Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308


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