A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 299 - 9/20/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week: Bighorn sheep
- More on bighorn sheep: Guzzlers, rare sights, more
- Wild horses and burros:
- The "Fearful Crossing"
- Upcoming adoption
- Still time to volunteer: National Public Lands Day
- Land use planning: Carrizo Plain,
California Desert District
- Recreation on public lands: Dumont improvement, monument on TV, orienteering
- Energy on public lands: Oil and gas, wind, border issues
- Wildland fire
- Headlines and highlights
- Selected upcoming events
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
|Thumbnail from a photo by Albert P. Bekker, California Academy of Sciences
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Bighorn sheep are among the hardest animals to see in the wild, mostly because:
(a.) They have keen hearing and hide in the underbrush when they hear anyone approaching
(b.) They have a keen sense of smell, and quickly move to a different area when they smell humans or predators nearby
(c.) They spend much of the time sleeping in inaccessible caves
(d.) They typically live on and around rocky cliffs that are inaccessible to humans and most predators
(e.) They typically live in the midst of dense stands of thorny plants, some of which bear fruit which they can eat
(f.) They are masters of camouflage and blend in with their surroundings -- especially the famous chameleon bighorn
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes -- along with more related stories, including an update on BLM approval of a wilderness "guzzler" for bighorn sheep.
WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM mustangs on "The Fearful Crossing"
"Dry, dusty, with no potable water and very little game -- 'The Forty-Mile Desert' was the most deadly and feared stretch of the Old California Trail. Historians estimate that for every 17 feet of this stretch of trail, there is one buried human or horse, mule, or ox. And it is actually 65 miles long." Volunteers with BLM California's wild horse and burro program, and "four-and-a-half" mustangs adopted from the BLM, take part in an annual re-enactment of the crossing ( without the death and starvation part!).
"Wild horses, burros available for adoption in Bishop" (BLM California news release, 9/18/07)
Young and healthy wild horses and burros from public ranges will be looking for new homes when the Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption Sept. 29 and 30 in Bishop. The BLM will offer 10 gentled horses ranging in age from under 1 to about 5 years old, along with three burros, at the Tri-County Fairgrounds. The adoption is being held in conjunction with the seventh annual California Horse Show, which also runs Sept. 29 and 30 in Bishop.
"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule - 2007" (BLM California website)
Wild Horses and Burros are also available from these California facilities:
The Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro facility is located along U. S. Highway 395, about 21 miles northeast of Susanville.
The Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse & Burro facility is located four miles east of Ridgecrest. Adoptions are by appointment only, call (760) 384-5765 or 1-800-951-8720 for details or tours.
"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM national website)
STILL TIME TO VOLUNTEER: National Public Lands Day
"National Public Lands Day: Lend a hand for America's public lands" (BLM California)
In California there are 16 events to commemorate National Public Lands Day, the largest hands-on volunteer effort to preserve America’s lands. Join one of the events near you for the 14th annual National Public Lands Day and help us care for your land. Many of these are being held Saturday, Sept. 29 (Barstow's is being held this Saturday, Sept. 22). Follow the links on this page for more details:
LAND USE PLANNING
"BLM Bishop proposes Hot Springs Meadow restoration project" (BLM California news release, 9/17/07)
The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office proposes to restore and protect important meadow habitat and provide sustainable recreation access near the hot springs at Hill Top Tub, Long Valley. The proposed project is just north of the Benton Crossing Road in Mono County.
"Grazing could muck up Carrizo stewardship plan" (Bakersfield Californian, 9/14/07)
Carrizo Plain National Monument: "The renewed planning effort has been positive and gone smoothly so far, according to those involved. But that could change as the group drafting the plan tackles the most controversial issue -- livestock grazing."
RELATED: "Carrizo advisory committee plans September meeting" (BLM California news release, 9/5/07)
The Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee will meet Sept. 22 at the Carissa Elementary School to discuss management planning for the monument and other issues. (Repeated from earlier News.bytes)
MEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Robert C. Pavlik...
...represents the public-at-large on the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee. He is a senior environmental planner with the California Department of Transportation and has been active in various volunteer and professional capacities that relate to the management of the Carrizo Plain for over 25 years. Read more:
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
"Meetings, field tours planned for sage-steppe management strategy" (BLM California news release, 9/6/07)
People can learn more about strategies for restoring sage-steppe ecosystems, at a series of public meetings and field tours across northeast California later this month.
The meetings and tours are part of the public review process for a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) analyzing various alternatives for restoring sage-steppe ecosystems that have been impacted by expanding stands of juniper trees. The DEIS was developed by the Modoc National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and Modoc County.
"BLM Desert Advisory Council to meet in Needles" (BLM California news release, 9/12/07)
California Desert District Advisory Council will participate in a field tour of BLM-administered public lands on Friday, September 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and meet in formal session on Saturday, September 29. The public is welcome to participate in the tour, but should plan on providing their own transportation, drinks, and lunch.
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Summer project: Dumont water crossing" (News.bytes Extra)
Ever wonder who would go out to Dumont Dunes in the middle of August, when temperatures are well over 100 and OHVs only go out at night? Thanks to BLM's operations crew, visitors will have an extra lane to enter the dunes. (Thumbnail at left: Using vehicle headlights to see, the crew was onsite at 5:00 am to pour concrete.)
"Coastal monument on TV" (News.bytes Extra)
Television stations have started airing a "California’s Gold” segment on BLM’s California Coastal National Monument. KCET-Los Angeles, will air the segment on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Other stations will be airing the show in October. A schedule is online.
RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California)
California Coastal National Monument is comprised of more than 20,000 BLM administered islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles. The Monument includes those public lands that are exposed above mean high tide, within the corridor extending 12 nautical miles from the shoreline between Mexico and Oregon.
"BLM issues emergency closure of Fort Ord public lands to new geocaches" (BLM California news release, 9/20/07)
"I need to stress that visitors to the Fort Ord Public Lands are not in harm’s way from MEC exposure when they are using the 86-mile designated road and trail system within this popular visitor destination." said BLM's Fort Ord manager, "But there is serious concern that geocachers or other visitors that venture off-trail may enter signed and unsigned areas containing military munitions and put themselves at risk."
"Point to point: Group hopes to promote orienteering to everyone" (Redding Record Searchlight, 9/16/07)
"Paynes Creek Recreation Area: 'OK, do you see anything that stands out from the map to what you can see out here?' Dr. Tom Thomas asked the 10 people who tromped through the golden-grassed and oak-studded hills of this swath of U.S. Bureau of Land Management Land near Red Bluff....'Hey, that's the power lines,' said Tracy Evans as she traced the dotted line on the map with an index finger."
"Elk River Trail to be closed for improvement" (The Eureka Reporter, 9/14/07)
"The Elk River Trail in the northern part of the Headwaters Forest Reserve will be closed Monday through Friday while a paving project is under way. The trail will reopen Sept. 22...."
ENERGY ON PUBLIC LANDS
"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $700,000" (BLM California news release, 9/13/07)
Seven oil and gas lease parcels in Fresno and Kings counties were auctioned last week by the Bureau of Land Management's Bakersfield Field Office.
"U.S. utilities' power plant in Mexico saves on costs" (The Dallas Morning News, 9/18/07)
"Two U.S. power companies hit on a strategy a few years ago to supply power to California without going through the expense and headache of building in-state: Build in Mexico.... The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management conducted a more detailed study and concluded that Sempra Generation's plant met all applicable environmental standards.... One caveat: If the plant were located across the border, in Imperial County, Calif., environmental rules would have required Sempra to offset some emissions. Mexico doesn't require offsets....Now Sempra is planning a 250-megawatt wind farm in Baja."
"Texas, Mexico link electric grids" (The Dallas Morning News, 9/18/07)
The previous item is a sidebar to this story. "Supplying demand on either side of the Rio Grande could present a business opportunity for power generation companies. But there are a couple of niggling issues that could disrupt the whole idea: environmental worries and federal jurisdiction."
"Riverside County supervisors doubt necessity of bird-safety rules" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/17/07)
"Two supervisors in Riverside County, one of California's top producers of wind energy, want the region to be exempt from new statewide guidelines aimed at reducing the deaths of hawks, bats, owls and other animals from windmills.." http://www.pe.com/localnews/desert/stories/PE_News_Local_D_windmills18.3cc5d98.html
"If you are living in a wildland fire area, are you really playing with wildfire?" (Kern Valley Sun, 9/14/07)
"It's time to get serious and learn from the lessons of those who have experienced fire disaster. Below are some things that have been learned from recent fires. Read them and act now to clear your property and prevent wildfire.... The County Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, Fire Service and Fire Safe Councils have been working with private property owners to educate mountain residents about the hazards of wildfire. They are working to create fire safe areas around small communities and provide chipper services for brush removal."
"Brush-clearing campaign under way near De Luz" (North County Times, 9/13/07)
"Fire prevention officials at a small gathering Wednesday morning debuted their latest effort to establish fire buffers around homes and roads in Fallbrook's rural outlying areas by cutting down dry, flammable brush.... Dorothy Roth, president of the Fallbrook Fire Safe Council, said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management gave the council a $75,000 grant and the county contributed $10,000 for the current work, which will continue for the next several months. '"We should be able to provide a very nice buffer zone, which, if a fire starts, it would be a place where the fire would slow down enough to be stopped and prevented from continuing on into town,' Roth said."
"Protective perimeter pays: Area fire council rewards homeowners keeping defensible space" (Redding Record Searchlight, 9/14/07)
Kids pull weeds for treats or pay at one man's house; another couple share their sheep and horses with neighbors to keep keep grass low. "No matter the method, the South Lake Shasta Fire Safe Council rewarded them and six other households for keeping defensible space around their homes." BLM is involved in Fire Safe Councils around the state.
"Funds to clear federal land low" (Grass Valley Union, 9/17/07)
"Bureau of Land Management oversees 17,354 acres of land sprinkled throughout forested neighborhoods of Nevada County called urban interface areas. During the past 10 years, these areas have seen a population explosion, increasing the probability of a destructive fire. The regional office has identified 103 communities at risk with fire concern or a history of fires in the area. The Folsom office manages 14 central California communities, including Nevada County....
The agency recently expanded its Fuels Variance Program, which allows property owners living adjacent to BLM lands to submit a request to perform the work themselves without reimbursement."
RELATED: "BLM announces variance program" (Nevada County, California)
Follow the link to read more and fill out the variance form.
"Sierra sprawl fanning fire dangers" (Grass Valley Union, 9/19/07)
"The population of the vast Sierra Nevada region continues to surge, increasing the risk of wildfire, unwieldy public expenditures and loss of life, according to a new report released by the Sierra Nevada Alliance. As much as 94 percent of the land slated for rural residential development is classified as very high or extreme fire hazard by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection...."
"BLM plans Benton fuels reduction project"(BLM California news release, 9/6/07)
After consultation with community and tribal parties, BLM Bishop Field Manager Bill Dunkelberger recently signed the decision to approve the project, which is designed to help decrease the intensity of future wildland fires in the treated areas near the community of Benton. The 58 acres of public lands managed by BLM adjoin or are near lands owned by the Benton Tribe." http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2007/september/CCNews0769_Benton_fuels_reduction.html
"Officials say illegal campfire caused blaze near Pine Valley" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/07)
"'This is a fuel-driven fire,' said incident commander Ron Woychak, of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. 'A lot of this area hasn't burned in 37 years, since the Laguna fire. It's like straw out there.'" The wildfire was 95 percent contained as of midday today.
"Fire restrictions to be lifted on BLM-managed lands (in northeastern California)" (BLM California news release, 9/20/07)
With the onset of cooler autumn weather, fire restrictions will be lifted Saturday, Sept. 29, on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s northeast California field offices and the Modoc National Forest. The easing of restrictions affects lands managed by the BLM’s Alturas, Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices in Modoc, Lassen, Sierra, Plumas, eastern Shasta, and eastern Siskiyou counties in California and parts of Washoe County Nevada.
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during wildfire season.
"InciWeb - Incident Information System" (Interagency website)
Current information on wildfires and other emergencies, nationwide.
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:
September 20 - Guided hike
Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument visitor center
September 22 - Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
September 29 - Wild horse and burro adoption
September 29 - Volunteers needed for National Public Lands Day events
Around the state:
September 29 - Guided hike: "Scat and tracks"
KIng Range National Monument
September 29 - Guided hike
Headwaters Forest Reserve
September 29 - Geology Field Trip
Hollister to Carrizo Plain
September 29 - Rails to Trails Festival
...and much more!
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) They typically live on and around rocky cliffs that are inaccessible to humans and most predators
SOURCE: "Bighorn Sheep - Ovis canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Bighorn sheep are among the hardest animals to find because they typically live on and around rocky cliffs that are inaccessible to humans and most predators. You are more likely to find these animals in the winter when they migrate to the valleys."
"BLM issues decision to provide water to bighorn" (BLM California news release, 9/15/07)
The BLM has issued a decision authorizing the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to place a wildlife guzzler (an artificial water source) in the Sheephole Valley Wilderness in southeastern San Bernardino County, about 20 miles east of Twentynine Palms, to provide needed water to desert bighorn sheep. Sterling White, BLM’s Needles Field Manager, said the decision carefully balances the needs of maintaining healthy bighorn sheep populations with minimizing impacts to designated wilderness.
"Biologists bring water to state's bighorn sheep" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 9/7/07)
Nevada state biologists and volunteers are also supplying water in guzzlers, to help the Nevada state animal. "Guzzlers have been installed in many sheep habitats over the years as the animal's access to springs and other natural water sources was either cut off by humans or desiccated by increasing regional temperatures"
"Bighorn sheep are rare beasts to encounter" (Visalia Times-Delta, 9/11/07)
"The wildlands of eastern Tulare County provide habitat for many types of wildlife. But the among the rarest are Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. Perhaps a hundred of these agile creatures summer among the rocky recesses that form the county's eastern boundary. Seeing them is never easy. A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to encounter a group of these handsome animals."
"Desert bighorn sheep of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
More information, including desert adaptations, food, social life, and suggested reading.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
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