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19 September 2019

Field Trips with BLM in Carlsbad, NM

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The second half of my internship has consisted of many field trips with our Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Specialists. I was able to take a surface mine tour of Mosaic Potash (pictures were not allowed), I went out with wildlife looking at some potential fence upgrades for pronghorn, and I was trained to use off road vehicles (ROV).

During the mine tour we were taken through the entire facility and were shown the process the potash goes through before it is ready to be sold. The engineering behind the process of turning the potash into a finished product was very fascinating because it really takes more than you would think and very complex machinery and procedures. We also visited a salt playa.

When I went out with the wildlife department, we were driving around all day looking at old fencing that was not pronghorn friendly. I assisted the wildlife biologist in choosing some potential fences that needed to be replaced so pronghorn could freely roam federal lands. I saw a giant pronghorn buck as the day was over, but we didn’t see anything else. I saw a lot of mule deer under bushes trying to stay cool from the New Mexico weather. I also assisted the wildlife biologist with setting up game cameras as wildlife waters along with cleaning out the waters. Some of the pictures we collected were very cool. The ROV training was a training were we took out the Honda ATV and went through cones getting a feel for the vehicle. At the end of the day were sent out to the sand dunes and we got to free roam the entire Huckleberry Recreational area.

Being a Natural Resource Specialist, I wrote many environmental assessments for sundry notices and application for permit to drills. This is the main job of a natural resource specialist along with doing occasional on-sites for oil and gas operators. The on-sites are really cool because you get in with a network of operators that are associated with oil and gas and you form relationships with people you work with. I also got the opportunity to on-site a drill island, which is basically forcing multiple operators to share oil pads, and it was very interesting see up to 20 oil companies work together even though you can tell they have that same high school football rivalries going.

During my free time I was able to convince my grandpa to come down and take me fishing on his boat. We fished at Brantley Lake State Park and The Carlsbad Municipal Lake. I caught a few largemouth bass and spotted bass. My grandpa caught a 6 pound blue catfish which we took home and cooked. I also had a chance to go swimming in the Cottonwood Day Use Area and Rattlesnake Springs located on the Black River. The summer has had a lot of interesting and fun things, but mostly working.

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

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