FODM: BLM Water Survey

Updated: Jan 17

During October 2019, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requested Friends of the Desert Mountain's assistance with completing a water survey in the Santa Rosa mountains. I volunteered to assist a BLM intern complete the survey in the Bear Creek area of La Quinta. We started early to avoid having to hike the 7+ miles in the midday sun.

Bear Creek trailhead  in La Quinta Cove

The fun began when the intern explained we would be hiking off trail and using GPS coordinates to find 5 locations where groundwater had previously been reported. So this would involve no trails, hiking over scree surfaces, and rock scrambling - what a great volunteer opportunity. Here are some of the views from the day.

Hiking in the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains
La Quinta Cove from hiking in the Santa Rosa Mountains
Steep sided canyon near entrance to Santa Rosa Mountains in La Quinta. Friends of the Desert Mountains

Each survey location brought us further and higher into the canyon.

Steep sided canyon near entrance to Santa Rosa Mountains in La Quinta. Friends of the Desert Mountains

The second to last spot we surveyed involved some serious rock climbing up a dry waterfall. I managed to safely climb to the location marked with an 'X' while the intern, a experienced rock climber, continued higher to the area marked with a 'Z' where a water source had been reported.

Dry waterfall in Steep sided canyon near entrance to Santa Rosa Mountains in La Quinta. Friends of the Desert Mountains

A close up of the intern as she scaled the rock face to reach point 'Z'. Unfortunately, no water was found.

rock climbing in steep sided canyon in Santa Rosa Mountains near La Quinta Cove. Friends of the Desert Mountains

Our last survey location was not as challenging to reach.

Narrow canyon in Santa Rosa Mountains near La Quinta Cove. Friends of the Desert Mountains

But we did observe signs of groundwater percolating to the surface. If you look closely, you can see the area behind the intern is darker. The soil/sand in this area was damp to the touch. What a great experience getting involved with this BLM research project.


Tracking water sources with BLM tea in Santa Rosa Mountains. Friends of the Desert Mountains

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