A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 331 - 5/14/08

Piedras Blancas Lightstation without lantern roomCoyote in the wildThe BLM's Amy Dumas introduces visitors to Ruby, an adopted Twin Peaks mustang. A volunteer sets a trail marker post California Coastal National Monument manager Rick Hanks on the coast

- Piedras Blancas legislation signed by President
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news: Desert tortoise, coyotes
- 2008 Mustang Challenge, and adoptions
- Volunteers: Gorge and waterfalls
- Clear Creek closure: more updates
- Alternative energy and power lines: Wind, geothermal, Green Path, Sunrise Powerlink
- Outdoor recreation: Trails, river, Kern Nature Festival
- Wildfire danger and prevention
- Planning: Sage-steppe ecosystems, advisory groups meet
- Headlines and highlights: Coast, pipeline, OHVs
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Guest opinion by Secretary of the Interior

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Piedras Blancas Light Station official 'outstanding national area'" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/9/08)
"A swipe of the pen Thursday sealed the Piedras Blancas Light Station’s status as one of only three designated 'outstanding natural areas' in the National Landscape Conservation System ... Legislation launched in 2004 by Rep. Lois Capps was signed into law by President Bush, recognizing the beauty and significance of the light station, which is already on the National Register of Historic Places."

"S.2739 Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008" (Library of Congress/Thomas)
"Final version (Enrolled Bill) as passed by both Houses." Sec. 201 applies to "Piedras Blancas Historic Light Station." Note: to view the text of this bill, select "Bill Number" under the "Search Bill Text" section, then type or copy and paste in "S.2739.ENR" (without the quotes).

Rocky the Lonely Lighthouse Funny.bytes featureFUNNY.BYTES: "Rocky, the lonely lighthouse"
Rocky has given years of faithful service guiding ships away from the hazardous coast in Central California. Now that modern equipment has replaced tradition, will he be forgotten? View the answer in this repeat performance. Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues. NOTE: includes a sound track - you may want to check the volume setting on your computer. This link will work in browsers that have the Macromedia/Adobe "Flash" plug-in.

Piedras Blancas Lightstation without lantern room"Piedras Blancas Light Station" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Information including history of the light station, historic photos and drawings, tours and volunteering, and more.


Coyote in the wild
From a photo by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences

How many pups are usually in a coyote litter?
(a.) Just one, and the parents dote on the single offspring.
(b.) Almost always twins -- either identical or fraternal.
(c.) Four -- the optimal number for survival.
(d.) Five to ten -- sometimes too many to share food for long.
(e.) There have no litters – coyotes lay large gray eggs.

------> See answer -- and news of recent coyote attacks -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


Desert tortoise close-up - from a photo by L.A. Times"Slow, steady -- and under siege" (Los Angeles Times, 5/11/08)
"So far, at least 14 translocated adult tortoises and 14 resident tortoises in the area have been killed and eaten by coyotes, according to biologists monitoring survival rates of the reptiles ... In an effort to prevent further losses, the Army has requested that the predators, described by one military spokesman as a 'rogue clan of coyotes,' be eradicated by animal control sharpshooters. The gunners, however, have been delayed for weeks by bureaucratic red tape, military officials said.
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its content.

RELATED: "Editorial: A tortoise tale" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/14/08)
"The solution? Move the Fort Irwin tortoises not onto parched habitat from which they will only start their long, lumbering walk home, but rather, onto well-maintained cattle grazing lands where local ranchers have improved the springs, putting in windmills, ponds and water tanks."

Thirty-two top trainers have 100 days to gentle and train mustangs -- then will compete for $7500 in prizes at the Horse Expo in Sacramento in June. We have been following some of these mustangs and trainers in News.bytes.

Saunya Bolton with her mustang, Diva"Taming the wild" (KOLO-TV, Reno, NV, 5/8/08)
"Saunya Calls her Diva...She's a four year old mustang mare who has never been touched, never been in the company of people, and only lived on the range in Northern Washoe County." Includes online video taken a while back, of Mustang Challenge trainer Saunya Bolton. (Saunya and Diva also appeared in an earlier newspaper report that appeared in News.bytes.)

Amy Dumas, wild horse and burro program manager for BLM-California, introduces visitors to Ruby, an adopted Twin Peaks mustang. "Santa Rosa Wild Horse and Burro Adoption" (BLM News.bytes Extra)
"An enthusiastic crowd turned out at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa when the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro adoption program came to town."

"BLM to offer horses and burros for adoption in Yreka" (BLM-California news release, 4/28/08)
Wild horses and burros will be looking for new homes when the BLM offers them for adoption Saturday, May 17, at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds in Yreka. The BLM will offer 30 mustangs and 10 wild burros. Anyone interested can get a preview look at the animals when they arrive at the fairgrounds Friday, May 16, at about 2 p.m.


"Burros offered for adoption in Bishop" (BLM-California news release, 5/12/08)
Burros fresh from the range will be on display May 23 and 24 in Bishop.


"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM-California website)


A volunteer sets a trail marker postA waterfall in Laguna Gorge"Volunteers Sign Trail to Laguna Mountain Gorge and Waterfalls" (News.bytes Extra)
Fourteen volunteers from Hollister, Salinas, and Monterey along with the San Francisco Area Sierra Club joined staff specialists from BLM-California's Hollister Field Office and spent the weekend of April 26-27, blazing the trail to the gorge and waterfalls deep in the Laguna Mountains. Volunteers spent 242 hours signing 2.5 miles to the gorge and scenic waterfalls, picking up trash, and surveying botanical resources -- and they're going back to do more. Includes many photos.


"South Bay off-road enthusiasts disgruntled over new restrictions" (KTVU-TV, 5/8/08)
"The federal government declared an open space area in the South Bay is off limits to off-roading, and off-roading enthusiasts are not happy about it. Thursday night, an estimated 400 off-road fans attended a meeting at the Santa Clara Convention Center to air their grievances."

"BLM locks up Clear Creek" (Hollister Pinnacle, 5/9/08)
"The decision was met with rage and skepticism from off-road vehicle users. Many of them believe the type of asbestos that predominates in the area - chrysotile asbestos - is not particularly hazardous. They challenged federal authorities to find any instances where it could be linked conclusively to respiratory disease."

"Hearings set on BLM closure of rec area" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8/08)
"The Bureau of Land Management closed about half the Clear Creek Management Area in the Diablo Range on Friday, after the Environmental Protection Agency issued a report saying asbestos in the area posed a serious cancer risk to those who work, hike, camp, hunt, collect gems and ride dirt bikes. Officials will explain their findings tonight at a meeting at the Santa Clara Convention Center." The story refers to a meeting May 8.

"Off-roaders to protest closing of riding area"
(San Jose Mercury News, 5/8/08)
"After being told last week they could no longer raise asbestos-tinged dust at Clear Creek, a vast off-roading playground, a die-hard group of enthusiasts plan on raising their voices instead ... at a meeting in Santa Clara with Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency officials, a few hundred off-road riders and motorcyclists plan to make their case to keep the site near Coalinga open."
Note: this news site requires free registration to view its content.

"Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM-California, Hollister Field Office)
Links to information about the closure.


"Energy Dept. says wind power could be savior" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/12/08)
"Windmills ... could supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity by the year 2030 and put a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions, federal officials said Monday ... The Golden State was a wind-power pioneer - it has some of the world's first large-scale wind farms on the Altamont Pass and in the Southern California desert - and already derives about 1.8 percent of its power from the wind. New wind farms are planned for the Tehachapi Mountains and the Mojave Desert. If the nation experiences a wind-power boom, California is likely to see more."

"Wind power potential seen brewing" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/13/08)
"Wind power could provide 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030, according to a report released Monday by the Department of Energy that advances a plan for the industry's growth. Today, wind farms produce about 1 percent of the nation's energy needs ... In order to dramatically increase wind energy output, the report calls for about 75,000 new wind turbines and a new network of transmission lines to carry the power across the country."

"SR's ThermaSource rides wave of steam" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/5/08)
"ThermaSource, a Santa Rosa geothermal company, is in the midst of major expansion as energy companies scramble to find steam for new power plants as oil and natural gas prices hover near record highs ... 'My opinion is this will keep up. I just don't see any decline in energy prices,' said Rich Estabrook, a geothermal expert for the federal Bureau of Land Management in Northern California."

"Power-line route nears release" (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 5/12/08)
"After months of silence on the issue, the chief of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has said the agency is nearly ready to announce the route it has chosen for Green Path North, the proposed energy corridor in the desert. In response, environmental groups opposed to the plan, which could stretch from Desert Hot Springs to Hesperia, say they are bracing for the announcement, and at least one group is not ruling out a lawsuit." Part of the power line route would cross public land managed by BLM-California and would require full public involvement and environmental review.

RELATED: "A fragile treasure" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/9/08)
"Green Path North, a project of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, would cut through a low spot in a nearby ridge and cross the canyon on its way from Coachella to Hesperia. Conservationists worry about the impact the construction and maintenance of such a project might have on this desert area ... A Bureau of Land Management sign requests that visitors not disturb the area and help preserve the past."
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"Hundreds pack meetings on proposed Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/13/08)
"More than 400 people packed a meeting hall at the Borrego Springs Resort in the afternoon, and about 250 more came for a second session at night to speak to four of the five members of the state's Public Utilities Commission. An overwhelming number appealed to the commissioners not to approve San Diego Gas & Electric's $1.5 billion Sunrise Powerlink project. But supporters, some of them representing large business and taxpayer groups, urged them to approve the line to ensure a reliable energy supply for the region."

RELATED: "San Diego, Imperial Counties argue over Sunrise Powerlink" (KGTV-San Diego, 5/12/08)
San Diego County supervisor voices opposition over wildfire concerns, while Imperial County supervisor reiterates his county's endorsement.

"Superstition area eyed for geothermal plant" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/2/08)
"A proposed geothermal plant in the Superstition Mountain area could reduce available off-roading land if built ... Steve Razo, public affairs officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, confirmed Thursday that Layman Energy is in the application process and has applied to lease land from the BLM. Razo said BLM has not yet gone forward with the project."


"On Foot: Hornbeck Trail is a quiet setting above Keswick Dam" (Chico Enterprise Record, 5/6/08)
"Thomas and I couldn't have planned it better April 28 when we chose the new Hornbeck section of the Sacramento River Trail, opened to the public last fall. This set of trails meander along old mining roads, paths of narrow-gauge rail cars and horse trails along the eight or nine miles between Shasta Dam to the north and Keswick Dam to the south ... The trail has been finished, thanks to help from the Redding and McConnell foundations that worked with bureaus of Land Management and Reclamation's Shasta Dam Area Office."

"Rapids Fire" (Sacramento Bee, 5/8/08)
"The north fork of the American River is a favorite of many guides because of its short two-month season -- it usually runs from sometime in March to sometime in May since it's dependent on melted snow. " Says one guide: "Rivers are powerful, spiritual places. Moving water is dangerous and it can bite you at any time with a lapse of judgment."
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RELATED: River Recreation (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
BLM-California's Folsom Field Office administers river recreation on the South Fork of the Yuba River, the North and South Forks of the American River, the Mokelumne River, the Merced River and a portion of the Tuolumne River.  Permits are issued to private concessionares to conduct whitewater rafting trips down the rivers.

"BLM offering free guided hikes into Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM-California news release, 5/12/08)
Outdoor enthusiasts can see majestic old redwoods, learn about north coast history and gain new insights into natural resources. The Bureau of Land Management will offer the outings on Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting, beginning Saturday, May 17 until Nov. 15. The BLM will also lead weekday hikes, on request, if tour leaders are available. Hikers must reserve space for specific days by calling the BLM Arcata Field Office. There is a 20-person, 10-car limit for each hike.

RELATED: "Sierra Pacific makes offer for Palco mill" (Eureka Times-Standard, 5/13/08)
"Timber magnate Red Emmerson's Sierra Pacific Industries has offered to buy the Pacific Lumber Co.'s sawmill and power plant and is pledging to pour more than $70 million into improvements there ... The offer would affect only the Palco element of the bankruptcy, and not Scotia Pacific's 210,000 acres of timberland..." A Habitat Conservation Plan negotiated with Pacific Lumber Co. is overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of California -- one result of negotiations was acquisition of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, managed by the BLM.

RELATED: "Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)

"Trail and watershed project on path to completion" (Grass Valley Union, 5/14/08)
"An eight-mile trail and watershed restoration project that will link public and private lands and provide locals access to Deer Creek is edging closer to passage - despite some resident concerns" such as traffic and parking. " Friends of Deer Creek is working with American Rivers, the Nevada County Land Trust, the federal Bureau of Land Management, and county and city officials. A handful of property owners have granted easements to allow the trail to cross their properties." Construction is expected to take two years.

"Wilderness enthusiasts get six new trail miles" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/10/08)
"The county’s newest hiking and equestrian trail opened Friday along the north shore of Santa Margarita Lake ... The six-mile trail wends through rugged canyons and past intricate rock formations ... The idea for the trail originated when the federal Bureau of Land Management offered to sell 1,300 acres north of the lake to the county, as long as the county agreed to build a trail through the land along with a simple campground. The county contracted with the California Conservation Corps to design and build the trail."

BLM information table at Kern Valley Spring Nature Festival"Kern Valley Spring Nature Festival" (News.bytes Extra)
Last weekend, May 3 and 4, the Audubon Society’s Kern River Preserve held their 14th Annual Kern Valley Spring Nature Festival (formerly the Bioregions Festival). BLM-California's Ridgecrest Field Office took part with an information table. BLM biologists Bob Parker and Shelley Ellis and BLM archaeologist Don Storm answered visitors questions and presented displays of bird beaks, feet, and wings and other educational materials on natural and cultural topics.


"BLM announces fire restrictions for lands managed by Hollister Field Office" (BLM-California news release, 5/13/08)
The Bureau of Land Management is placing precautionary fire restrictions on public land managed by the Hollister Field Office. No vehicles, campfires or open flames will be allowed on BLM lands in the Panoche, Griswold, Tumey and Ciervo Hills, effective Thursday. BLM Fire Management Officer Mario Marquez says the restrictions are needed due to dry fuels and fire danger throughout central California.


"Pilots prepare to fly into battle against fire" (Ventura County Star, 5/9/08)
"With another potentially brutal fire season at hand, the California Air National Guard showed off its aerial firefighting capabilities Thursday at its Channel Islands station near Point Mugu ... Meteorologists with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are predicting an increased risk of wildfires across large swaths of Southern California this year. Lower moisture levels in wood and other large pieces of fuel, combined with above-average grass growth in much of the region, are contributing to the fire danger."
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"Agencies release sage-steppe restoration EIS" (BLM-California news release, 5/7/08)
The final environmental impact statement focuses on restoring the diversity of vegetation on sagebrush-steppe ecosystems that have been impacted by expanding stands of Western juniper trees. The management strategy applies to more than six million acres of public and private lands in parts of Modoc, Lassen, eastern Shasta and eastern Siskiyou counties in California and extreme northwest Washoe County in Nevada.


"BLM resource advisory council to meet in Alturas" (BLM-California news release, 5/7/08)
Land use planning topics are on the agenda for a meeting of the Bureau of Land Management Northeast California Resource Advisory Council set for Thursday and Friday, May 15 and 16.


"Modoc-Washoe stewardship group meets May 29 in Cedarville" (BLM-California news release, 5/7/08)
Members will discuss a sheep symposium, hear a report from a technical review team working on fen meadow conservation and discuss Forest Service boundary fences, discuss the grazing plan in the multi-agency Sage-Steppe Restoration Strategy, hear a report on management of the Calcutta Grazing Allotment, discuss conservation easements and begin planning the 2000 national ESP meeting.



"BLM, Land Conservancy enter Coastal Monument partnership" (BLM-California news release, 5/13/08)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy have signed a collaborative partnership memorandum of understanding that will focus on the preservation and stewardship of the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM). The partnership will also help advance the understanding and protection of California's coastal and ocean resources and help in the development and implementation of a "CCNM Gateway" in the Palos Verdes Peninsula portion of the CCNM.


"Rialto City Council gives chilly reception to fuel pipeline proposal" (Riverside Press Enterprise, 5/6/08)
The Bureau of Land Management and the San Bernardino County will prepare environmental impact reports for the proposed 233-mile-long fuel pipeline, which runs from a tank farm just south of Interstate 10 to Las Vegas.
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"Report: OHVs are major pollutant" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/14/08)
"The Center for Biological Diversity claims off-road vehicle use in this state releases as much greenhouse gas as burning 500,000 barrels of oil each year ... Imperial County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber, a proponent of off-highway vehicle usage, and Cathy Kennerson, chief financial officer for United Desert Gateway, an organization that promotes OHV usage in conjunction with the BLM, agreed the report issued was that of a singular agency with an agenda against OHV recreation."
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"BLM Eagle Lake Field Office will offer free use firewood permits for limited time" (BLM-California news release, 5/8/08)
Crews from the Bureau of Land Management have completed tree thinning and brush removal to benefit forest health and improve fire protection near Hobo Camp, west of Susanville. Now, the BLM is offering limited free firewood cutting in the thinned area. The Eagle Lake Field Office will offer a limited number of free wood cutting permits, good for two cords, and valid for two days only, for a cutting area.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include geographic information systems specialist and firefighters.

California Coastal National Monument manager Rick Hanks on the coastEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Rick Hanks...
...is the manager of the California Coastal National Monument, arguably the nation’s most unique national monument, consisting of more than 20,000 rocks and small islands located above mean high tide and off of the 1,100 miles of the California coastline. In his role as its first manager, Rick is developing and coordinating a wide variety of partners and stewards to share in the management on the monument. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

May 16 - Eastern Sierra wildflower outing

May 17 - Wild horse and burro adoption event

May 17 - Pine Hill Preserve Spring tour
Cameron Park

...and more!


"Guest Opinion: A proposal for concealed weapons in national parks, by Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior" (Billings Gazette, 5/7/08)
"The Department of the Interior is charged with managing America's national parks and wildlife refuges in a manner that ensures their conservation and the safety of those who visit them. As secretary of the interior, I am committed to accomplishing this goal with careful regard to the rights and responsibilities federal laws provide and with the cooperation of states and Native American tribes."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Five to ten -- sometimes too many to share food for long.

SOURCE: "Coyote - Canis latrans" (BLM California wildlife database)
The litter size can range from five to ten pups, and the typical litter size is six pups. The pups leave their parents between four and ten months, usually when food becomes scarce.

A coyote prowls at night near a house - from a photo by the Associated Press"Officials probe coyote attacks on children" (Associated Press in AOL News, 5/11/08)
"A spate of coyote attacks in the fast-growing suburbs east of Los Angeles have left parents on edge and puzzled wildlife officials ... Coyotes normally avoid contact with humans and hunt rabbits and rodents. But scientists said some that live near suburban developments are becoming bolder, raiding garbage or even attacking pets and humans." Includes photos. Note: in our tests, the video did not work.

"Shelter euthanizes coyote that stalked small child" (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 5/12/08)
"A coyote infected with mange was captured Saturday afternoon, a day after it was seen stalking a small child near San Mateo Street and Magnolia Avenue. The grandfather of the 2-year-old and a neighbor were able to scare the animal off before it got to the child."

"After attacks, hunt on for coyotes" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/6/08)
"Two coyotes are dead and officers are hunting others after closing a Chino Hills park where children have been bitten or threatened on at least seven occasions since last July. On Friday, a coyote bit and tried to drag off a 2-year-old girl. The next evening, a coyote 'made a beeline' for another small child in the same park, but the father kicked at the animal and scared it away, said state Fish and Game Assistant Chief Mike McBride."
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A coyote pup peers out from its den in a resident's backyard"Coyote family captured in Indio" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/14/08)
"The coyotes, living in a den burrowed under a resident's backyard, were discovered last week by animal control officer Alex Voight. Coachella Valley growth has pushed development close to the coyotes' habitat. As a result, coyote sightings are becoming more frequent in the valley ... The coyotes will not be euthanized - they'll be relocated to an environment that's safe for the animals but away from the public...."

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