Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 2016

Technical/Operational Category

Shari Ketcham
Shari Ketcham

Shari Ketcham is a Wildlife Biologist in BLM’s Lake Havasu Field Office. Shari makes a difference in how the BLM plans for and manages public land resources through collaborating, mentoring, educating, mitigating, and offering innovative solutions to others using the best available science to validate information.

An example of her collaborative spirit and innovative solutions is her work with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) on how to provide improved water for a sensitive Big Horn Sheep population in the Red Cliff wildlife water in the Gibraltar Wilderness Area. The project had been in the BLM Lake Havasu review system for five years without resolution.  After Shari arrived, she identified the appropriate controversial components. She worked closely with her leadership and stakeholders to provide resolution and a path forward for the project.  Through collaboration and research, Shari appropriately applied BLM laws and regulations, resulting in a completed environmental document to support a fragile and sensitive Bighorn sheep population.  The project was a success.

Shari worked with the Arizona Public Service (APS) team, which needed five right-of-way (ROW) approvals for various electrical distribution lines. APS disputed one of the stipulations related to Arizona Native Plant Law.  Shari utilized her chain of command and state support team and collaboratively determined that the stipulation should be changed based on the rationale that the Arizona Native Plant Law does not apply on federal lands.  Shari’s diligent attention to detail and reaching out to her leadership as a new wildlife biologist helped determine which plants should be considered for replanting.

Shari then classified plant distribution by county for the operator to promote the use of the new stipulation.  This provided a deliverable work product that protects plants, promotes responsible use and allows for the multiple use mission of the BLM.   She showed exceptional dedication to her resource and was able to resolve a complex and potentially controversial conservation issue that has far reaching effects within the Lake Havasu Field Office, and may be utilized by other field offices in Arizona.

Shari recognized the need and worked to restore several riparian areas; she created a bird checklist for the field office to display at watchable wildlife areas; and she worked with the Outdoor Recreation Planner and the Recreation Assistant Field Manager to build a trail system throughout the Parker Strip and make this area another recreation and watchable wildlife area for visitors; which represent a few of her many accomplishments.

Because of her consistent efforts to showcase the best of public land management, the Public Lands Foundation is please to recognize Shari Ketcham with it’s Outstanding Public Lands Professional Award in the Technical/Operational category for 2016.

Edward Shepard
December 30, 2016