bleak, dry, and desolate

“This is the last remaining facsimile of the grasslands that once covered all of California. When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Throw in the antelope, elk, a few roving coyotes and cougars, eagles of the bald and golden variety, some fairy shrimp, songbirds galore, and the occasional California condor, and there’s little wonder why Carrizo Plain has been called “California’s Serengeti.”

Soon after the monument was created in 2001, 13-year BLM veteran Marlene Braun was named manager. She scaled back grazing on sensitive grasslands and began developing the monument’s first management plan, which would phase out long-term livestock permits.

Every agency signed on. But then, in March 2004, the Bush administration… .

Thus in May 2005, Braun arranged her personal affairs and wrote a few important letters about her fears for the Carrizo, took a .38 caliber revolver, killed her two dogs—neatly placing their bodies under a quilt—and turned the gun on herself.