DOINews: DOI/VISTA, OSMRE/VISTA, and OSMRE/AmeriCorps Teams Highlight First Quarter Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2015

Last edited 09/05/2019

Each quarter, the award-winning VISTA Teams work hard to publish summaries highlighting their accomplishments to assist rural communities impoverished by environmental degradation and its consequences to make their home-place-watersheds healthier places to live and work.

To highlight their efforts, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has provided the following excerpts from all team summaries for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015:


ACCT Team Photo (Fall 2014)
OSMRE/VISTA Appalachian Coal Country Team, Fall 2014

Focus: Environmental Stewardship
Project: OSMRE/VISTA Lorraine Garcia serving with the Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance is currently developing partnerships and writing the majority of an Urban Waters grant application for $50,000 to improve a portion of the Gallinas River which runs through Las Vegas, N.M., and is a source of city drinking water. She has been working to garner the support of the city of Las Vegas, Friends of the Wildlife Refuge, the Department of Transportation, and two local contractors in creating a collaborative plan focusing on the revitalization of this urban area of the Gallinas River. The restoration project entails building instream structures, storm-water treatment, drainage, and widening a flood plain for a fifth of a mile on the river. The project size is limited due to the high cost of each structure, but Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance hopes that with demonstrated success, the city of Las Vegas will fund restoration of the river's complete urban stretch. Garcia has also played a key role in gaining city support to improve the walking trail that parallels the river and install signs for interpretation, educating the visitors on the benefits and reasons for instream structures. Improving storm water drainage and attracting visitors to walk along the river and visit nearby shops and businesses are dual goals of the project.

Focus: Economic Development
Project: OSMRE/VISTA Christopher “Willie” Dodson serving with the Clinch River Valley Initiative in Abingdon, Va., has bought together a group of CRVI partners interested in applying for an National Civilian Community Corps team. The team would maintain and build trails in the High Knob and Flag Rock areas of Abingdon area. Partners include the U.S. Forest Service Clinch Ranger District, the city of Norton, the Lonesome Pine Cycling Club, the Clinch Coalition and Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, with additional support from local Episcopal clergy, as well as the Catholic campus minister. This partnership and collaboration with the NCCC team will make these trails/parks more accessible to the community and to tourists.


DOI VISTA Team (Fall 2014)

DOI/VISTA Team East, Fall 2014

Economic Development
Project: Bridge Mckye, TCU/VISTA serving at Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe Community College Land Grant office (Wisconsin) helped participants of the Beginner Producer Program with a plan for business development funded by the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers grant. Mckye developed and presented research regarding forming a cooperative within the program and facilitated the decision of the group to use a consignment market model. A consignment model will give growers flexibility in how much produce they keep for their families and how much they sell. The growers will be able to sell produce to the college farm, which will sell it in turn at markets. Adapting to the consignment model exemplifies how Mckye and her site are considering the interests of the community in their project model.

Focus: Environmental Education
Project: DOI-NPS/VISTA Sara Deleon, Sequoia and Kings Canyon (California), developed a natural-resources science pathway for underrepresented students in Visalia Unified School District to receive dual-credit for college courses using the parks as an outdoor-learning laboratory. The program will administer up to 13 college credits, equating to one semester of college credit — at no cost to the students enrolled. Students will complete more than 250 hours in the park's outdoor-learning laboratory and complete more than 100 hours at the park in service-learning activities with a special emphasis on science and technology while developing meaningful job skills. This pathway introduces and prepares students for careers on public lands and increases visitation from underrepresented populations.

OSMRE/AmeriCorps Team

OSMRE-AmeriCorps Team (Fall 2014)

OSMRE/Americorps Team, Fall 2014

Focus: Reclamation
Project: In Tulsa, Okla., OSMRE/AmeriCorps Gelareh Makhsousi works on the Inspectable Units Oklahoma project. The main purpose of this project is to respond to the citizen complaints, create an OSMRE Inspectable Units List, and to create an Oversight of Oklahoma coal mines to determine which coal mines are reclaimed. Makhsousi reviews old Oklahoma Department of Mines' paper-based documents to locate the abandoned-mine sites on the National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery. She then records abandoned-mine information, such as site number, lost mine name, county, coal acres, issue date, legal description, and latitude/longitude for each site. Makhsousi has created both image and topography base-map formats of almost 91 abandoned mine sites, which have been printed into booklets.

Submitted by: T Allan Comp, Senior Program Analyst, OSMRE

Feb. 26, 2015

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