A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 278 - 4/26/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Cosumnes River Preserve
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Earth Day and the BLM
- BLM California team wins environmental award
- Renewable energy
- Wild horse and burro adoptions
Travel feature: U.S. 395
- Wildfire season
- Headlines and highlights: Carrizo Plain meeting, plans for lands, Fort Ord, jobs, more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Wild horse bill
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
A note on the BLM California website: Due to a carbon-based (human) error, all of the images and PDF files on our website were deleted. They are being restored, but the process is taking some time. You may still find missing images -- or broken links to PDF files -- for several days, until the system is completely restored.
COSUMNES RIVER PRESERVE
"Boy, some 'backyard'" (Sacramento Bee, 4/23/07)
"Marcos Cabrera is only 9, but he helps his dad tend the vast Cosumnes River Preserve and dazzles visitors with insights as a guide....Marcos' 'backyard' is a dazzling blend of riparian habitats, backwater sloughs, Valley oak forests, vernal pools, organic rice farming and the Cosumnes River itself. Half an hour from downtown Sacramento, it is home to dozens of bird species, river otters, beavers, minks, muskrats, deer and even mountain lions, as well as to Marcos and his father."
(May require free registration.)
"Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office)
The partners working cooperatively at the Preserve are: Bureau of Land Management Folsom Field Office, California Department of Fish and Game, Ducks Unlimited, Inc., California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento Co. Dept. of Regional Parks, Open Space, and Recreation, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and California State Lands Commission.
EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Harry McQuillen...
...is the manager of the Cosumnes River Preserve, fulfilling a longtime goal. Harry's background and interest in birds, matches well with the Preserve -- which lies directly in the Pacific flyway and attracts thousands of species of birds each year. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.
"Watchable Wildlife Site: Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM California website)
"More than 200 species of birds have been sighted on or near the Preserve. A winter count by The Nature Conservancy tallied 636,000 birds from 142 species. Migratory waterfowl and shorebirds such as tundra swans, Ross's and lesser snow geese, northern pintails, cinnamon teal, mallards, and least sandpipers feed and rest at the Cosumnes in the winter and early spring flood season."
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
From a photo by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Among the many bird species that migrate through the Cosumnes River Preserve, are sandhill cranes. What do these birds eat? (Hint: their diet includes more than one of the following):
(a.) Cereal crops, grasses, seeds and grains
(e.) Snakes and frogs
(f.) Other birds, and bird eggs
(g.) Only freshwater clams -- using their big feet, they dig big holes in the sand to uncover them -- thus gaining their name
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
EARTH DAY AND THE BLM
"Northern California Earth Day events help public lands" (News.bytes Extra)
Earth Day celebrations in Northern California helped public lands and spread the word about the values of these lands, during Earth Day events in Lake, Napa and Lassen counties.
"Uncovering a forest's secrets" (The Eureka Reporter, 4/21/07)
Eureka’s Sequoia Park Zoo opens an exhibit of paintings and prints called "Old-Growth Redwoods from the Ground Up.'" Students "ranging in age from 12-16 years, spent four days in outdoor classrooms learning about the old-growth redwood environment" from teachers including "U.S. Bureau of Land Management forest ecologist Greg Jennings....The science learned was later interpreted by the youths through art after they had been instructed by Humboldt County working artists...."
BLM TEAM'S ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD
"Department of the Interior honors California BLM Abandoned Mine Lands Team" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/19/07)
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett honored eight recipients of the 2006 Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Awards at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The Secretary said the recipients are “role models for all Americans who want to celebrate Earth Day....” The California BLM Abandoned Mine Lands Team was honored for the Boston Placer Mine Sluice Tunnel Remediation Project at Red Dog.
"2006 Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Award recipient: The California BLM Abandoned Mine Lands Team - Boston Placer Mine Sluice Tunnel Remediation Project, Red Dog, California"
The Boston Hydraulic Gold Mine Sluice Tunnel Remediation Project was the first successful pilot mercury removal/recovery/recycling project undertaken in California. By removing the mercury from contaminated sediments using innovative methods, BLM was able to remove contaminated sediments from within the sluice tunnel and free mercury from the ecosystem.
PHOTOS of the BLM California team with their award, with Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne, BLM Acting Director Jim Hughes and Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett:
"Boston Mine cleanup" (News.bytes Extra, June, 2006)
Story and photos from the award-winning cleanup: "More than 158 years after the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California, the Bureau of Land Management finished a pilot program to remediate some of the impacts caused by the lust for gold." This project was featured in a News.bytes Extra last year.
"Abandoned mine lands" (BLM national website)
With links to more information, ranging from environmental hazards to physical safety (including the basic "stay away from abandoned mineshafts!").
Many renewable power projects are proposed for BLM-managed public lands in California. A ruling this week is expected to help get this "green" power from remote areas where it is generated, to populated areas where it is needed. Also, the BLM is involved in rights-of-way permit requests for some proposed power lines.
"FERC gives OK for Calif. green power lines plan" (Reuters, 4/19/07)
"California's innovative financing plan to help relatively small renewable energy firms get their power to market over high-voltage transmission lines won approval from federal regulators on Thursday. Developers of new power plants generally pay the cost for building high-voltage 'trunklines' to connect their plants to utilities that deliver the power to consumers. But most renewable energy companies are smaller firms that develop wind, solar or geothermal resources in remote locations that need new lines, which they often cannot afford to build."
"Californians to share power line costs, FERC says" (Bloomberg News, 4/19/07)
"Federal regulators said the cost of connecting wind farms and other renewable-energy producers to the grid in California can be shared by consumers in the state, easing the burden on small power producers and encouraging a shift away from plants that produce greenhouse gasses. The decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was in response to a Jan. 25 request by the California Independent System Operator Corp., the grid manager, to deviate from current rules that call for power plant owners to pay all of the costs of connecting to the grid."
"California ISO hails FERC ruling on multi-use trunk lines" (California Independent System Operator Corporation news release, 4/19/07)
"The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today granted the California
Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) a Declaratory Order approving, in concept, a
unique new financing tool that breaks down barriers facing renewable power development....The issue is that new wind, geothermal or solar resources are located in remote areas where there are no power lines to transport the environmentally-friendly electrons to the transmission grid."
(PDF file, 120 kilobytes):
"Green power may ruin pristine land in California" (Christian Science Monitor, 4/24/07)
"California and the city of Los Angeles have set an ambitious goal for 'greener' power: obtain 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. But to do that difficult decisions need to be made. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric power produced in the rural reaches of the state must be somehow be transported to faraway cities -- meaning some transmission lines must cut through national forests, wildlife refuges, and other treasured land areas."
"Review reveals board's worries" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/24/07)
"Imperial Irrigation District Board President Stella Mendoza questioned whether those negotiating the Green Path projects on behalf of the district have served the ratepayers best interests....At the heart of the issue are the two projects that make up the Green Path. One would call for the building of a massive energy line to move renewable energy from the Valley to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The other calls for building a similar line to move renewable energy from the Valley to San Diego Gas & Electric."
WILD HORSE AND BURRO ADOPTIONS
"Horses, burros available for adoption in Medford" (BLM California news release, 4/2/07)
Residents of southern Oregon and northern California will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Medford area Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29. The BLM will offer 20 horses, mostly yearlings, and 26 burros for public adoption during the event at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Prospective adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. Friday, April 27.
"Wild horse gentling training offered in Roseville" (BLM California news release, 4/24/07)
A northern California horse trainer will offer free tips and advice on gentling wild horses when the Bureau of Land Management brings its wild horse and burro adoption program to the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville,May 5 and 6.
The BLM will offer 64 horses ranging in age from under 2 to about 5, along with 20 burros.
"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule - 2007"(BLM California website)
Includes an adoption April 28 in Ridgecrest - follow the link on this page for contact information.
"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM national website)
TRAVEL FEATURE: U.S. 395
"U.S. 395: California's 'mother road'" (Los Angeles Times, 4/22/07)
"Every road sings its own tune....Route 395 is our mother road. Its two-lane panoramas of the Eastern Sierra -- especially from Lone Pine to Mono Lake -- are an invitation to shift into a simpler time. The miles are marked by a beef jerky shack, a Dutch-style bakery, a herd of grazing elk, a courthouse that dates to the Civil War and a snowcapped mountain range born in the Jurassic."
(May require free registration.)
"Movie Road"self-guided tour in the Alabama Hills (BLM California, Bishop Field Office)
"Featuring real movie locations that you can find!" Including filming sites for "How the West Was Won," "Gunga Din," and "Rawhide" (the movie, "no relation to the television series"). Alabama Hills are mentioned in the Los Angeles Times travel story above.
PDF file, 3.15 megabytes:
"Crowley Lake Campground" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office)
Crowley Lake is one of the sites mentioned in the Los Angeles Times travel story above.
"Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra including Death Valley" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office)
"Spectacularly scenic Inyo County, California has some of the most rugged and varied terrain in the nation. This is a guide for people who want to see it up close."
Fire officials warn of rising wildfire danger this year -- while Fire Safe Councils around the state try to help property owners protect their own homes from wildfire.
"Lack of late snow raises risk of fires" (USA Today, 4/24/07)
"Unexpected dryness and near-record warmth in March have melted much of the West's mountain snows early, worsening the potential for wildfires and extending the region's drought, federal water agencies reported Monday....The outlook comes as drought worsens in Southern California, where Los Angeles is on track for its driest rain season on record."
"Cottonwood Creek Watershed Group helps prepare for fire season" (Anderson Valley News, 4/25/07)
"The funding for the 'Biomass Project,' which ends May 1, was provided by a National Fire Plan grant from the Bureau of Land Management through the California Fire Safe Council....Landowners that signed up to allow clearing on their land have saved themselves the effort and cost of making their own land fire safe."
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
Risky business on California coast" (USA Today, 4/26/07)
Point Arena: "Windswept Sea Lion Cove is one of those sublime postcards of the Northern California coast. And oh, so dangerous. Four people have perished in the past eight days hunting abalone, a tasty mollusk considered a delicacy by many. The chilly waters off this popular cove claimed two of the victims....Access to Sea Lion Cove used to be limited because land around it was privately owned. Once it was sold to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and opened to the public, the word among divers quickly spread."
"Scout tends to fire-damaged structure" (Hi-Desert Star, 4/24/07)
An Eagle Scout designs and supervises the replacement of a trail bridge at Big Morongo Preserve, that was damaged in the 2005 Paradise fire. On a walk at the Preserve, "he discovered fire damage there that would eventually compromise the structure’s stability. Contacting the preserve’s administrative agency, the Bureau of Land Management office in Palm Springs, Zeller secured permission to replace the bridge."
RELATED: "Watchable Wildlife site: Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM California website)
The Bureau of Land Management designated Big Morongo Canyon as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in recognition of its special values. This canyon oasis has gained a national reputation among birdwatchers as "a usual spot to see the unusual." The land is managed by the BLM to protect rare and endangered wildlife, enhance sensitive riparian areas, promote the growth of a wide variety of plants, provide for scientific research, and offer educational opportunities.
"BLM schedules scoping meetings for Carrizo Plain Plan" (BLM California news release, 4/4/07)
The next two meetings are May 1 and May 5.
"Public welcome to share ideas for Lacks Creek management" (BLM California news release, 4/20/07)
The Bureau of Land Management is welcoming public comments and ideas on the best ways to manage the forests and prairies at Lacks Creek, an important part of the Redwood Creek watershed about 30 miles northeast of Arcata.
"BLM takes reins of Whitethorn property" (Eureka Times-Standard, 4/24/07)
"A Whitethorn property just donated to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management may fit well with a vision of a regional trail system for Southern Humboldt County. The Northcoast Regional Land Trust turned over the 320-acre plot that it bought seven years ago with $1.4 million from the California Coastal Conservancy and Sanctuary Forest."
BLM oil and gas operator seminar:
BLM is planning its fifth annual daylong seminar for all Federal Operators on May 24 in Bakersfield. The seminar is to provide an update for federal operators on their responsibilities on federal leases and information on permitting, leasing, split estate issues, assignments/transfers, bonding, field operations, BLM’s inspection, idle well and royalty rate reduction programs and many other items of importance. Another half day seminar that will be more oriented towards field personnel. Seating may be limited, so register early. For questions, please call Jeff Prude at (661) 391-6140.
New Tech students dig into natural history" (Anderson Valley Post, 4/25/07)
"The community of Horsetown was an active gold mining hub in the late 1840’s and 1850’s with a diverse population of Oregon settlers, Irish and Jewish immigrants, and Chinese worker." Students at northern California's Anderson New Technology High School are exploring the area to learn "the history of the local area and the types of animal and plant species to be found there," as well as the use of GPS units. The program expects to expand to nearby BLM-managed areas, once a network of trails is finished.
"Wastes of war: Out in open" (Sacramento Bee, 4/23/07)
"Communities and taxpayers stand to benefit when former military bases become public facilities, but hazards abound, an examination by The Sacramento Bee found. Many are contaminated with unexploded ordnance and other waste that can escape into soil, ground-water and open waterways." Former Fort Ord, near Monterey, is listed as the second most expensive "post-1988 military cleanup."
RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office)
"Groups sue to block new Los Padres drilling" (Bakersfield Californian, 4/24/07)
"Three environmental groups have sued to stop the U.S. Forest Service's plans to increase by about tenfold the amount of land leased for oil and gas drilling in the southern portion of the Los Padres National Forest....[A] January spill, caused by a burst pipe due to cold weather, has already prompted the forest service and the Bureau of Land Management to put on hold oil and gas lease auctions later this year. But both agencies expect the auctions will occur eventually."
(May require free registration.)
RELATED: "Bureau of Land Management announces Dog Day at Fort Ord" (BLM California news release, 4/23/07)
The third annual Dog Day event is scheduled for May 19 at the Fort Ord public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. BLM Park Ranger Tammy Jakl, who is organizing the event, says, “Dog Day is a chance to celebrate the great outdoors with your canine companion in a beautiful setting.” The festival includes contests and awards, pet fashion show, hikes, and pet health and safety and training tips
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:
April 28 - Wildflower tours
Pine Hill Preserve
April 28 - Cache Creek wildflower walk
Cache Creek Natural Area
May 12 - Wild horse and burro adoption
Find more upcoming events by following the calendar link above.
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS
"Vote against killing wild horses, burros" (Associated Press at San Francisco Chronicle, 4/26/07)
"The House voted Thursday to prevent the government from selling off for slaughter any wild horses and burros that roam public lands in the West. The 277-137 vote would restore a 1971 law preventing the Bureau of Land Management from selling the animals for commercial processing. The protection was removed in 2004 when former Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., inserted a measure in a spending bill allowing their sale."
"Horse bill off to a gallop -- again" (The Hill, 4/24/07)
"[T]he Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee this week will hold a hearing on a bill that would completely ban the practice of selling horses, wild or domesticated, for the purposes of processing their meat." Another bill would rescind an earlier law that "allowed the Bureau of Land Management to sell horses it kept in pens to meat processors if the horse was older than 10 years, or if three attempts to auction the horse off in private sale had failed."
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer -- and related websites
All of the following:
(a.) Cereal crops, grasses, seeds and grains
(e.) Snakes and frogs
(f.) Other birds, and bird eggs
SOURCE: "Sandhill crane - Grus canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
"These cranes are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant material and animals. Their diet includes a wide variety of foods, including cereal crops, grasses, seeds, grains, roots, worms, insects, mice, snakes, frogs, and even small birds and bird eggs!"
"Grus canadensis (sandhill crane)" (Animal Diversity Web - University of Michigan Museum of Zoology)
"Sandhill cranes are omnivorous birds that use their bills to probe for subsurface food and glean seeds and other foods. These birds feed on land or in shallow marshes with vegetation. Foods vary depending on what is available. Cultivated grains such as corn, wheat and sorghum are a major food source in their diet when available. In northern latitudes, a wider variety of foods are consumed, including berries, small mammals, insects, snails, reptiles, and amphibians." ("The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students.")
"Sandhill crane - Grus canadensis" (U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center)
More information, and several photos.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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