U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytes
A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 412 - 12/9/09


A western snow plover and chick on a beach A woman watches a horse in a pen Close-up of a sage grouse with puffed-out chest Two mustangs rear on their hind legs close-up portrait of Sarah Quinn

THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:

- Wild horses and burros: "Christmas" burro adoption, more
- Youth and BLM: Employee profile
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Volunteer opportunities
- Renewable energy
- Abandoned mine lands
- Headlines and highlights: Clear Creek plan comments, prescribed burns, jobs
- Reserve your space for these events
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Cobell lawsuit settlement
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes/2009/412.html


WILD HORSES AND BURROS

"Christmas burro adoption in Redlands" (BLM-California news release, 12/2/09)
This weekend: On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12, celebrate the season with complimentary cider and the opportunity for you and your family to meet some of the BLM’s “Christmas” burros at the Sundance Ranch in Redlands. You may preview the burros Friday afternoon from 1 to 5 and adopt on Saturday from 8 to 3.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/christmas_burros.html

A woman watches a horse in a penTwo mustangs rear on their hind legs"Wild horses, burros arrive in Winchester"
(North County Times, 12/4/09)
From last weekend's adoption event: Stacy Williams "was so excited about the prospect of finally owning a horse that she was busy snapping pictures of the Mustangs with her cell phone camera. 'All my family's in Orange County, and I've been sending pictures,' she said ... In advance of the local event, dozens of people came out to see the horses and burros. Many did not even plan to put in a bid."
http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/swcounty/a6486398-5196-5f32-8331-2dfc3b1b5bc4.html

"US plan for wild horse round-up faces opposition" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/8/09)
"At a hearing near Reno, two dozen advocates pressed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's National Horse and Burro Advisory Board Monday for a moratorium on roundups until an independent audit of mustang numbers can be conducted. The government wants to carry out Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's plan to relocate as many as 25,000 wild horses from Western rangelands to pastures in the Midwest and East out of fear that the mustangs' fast-multiplying numbers will lead to mass starvation."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/12/07/national/a102326S96.DTL#ixzz0Z8vpvvCj

"BLM investigating possible shooting deaths of wild horses in northern Washoe County" (BLM-California news release, 12/7/09)
Investigators from the U. S. Bureau of Land Management are looking into the suspected shooting deaths of  up to six wild horses on public land along the Nevada-California border about 45 miles northeast of Susanville, Calif.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/NC1016_horsedeaths.html



Department of Interior logo is a round seal featuring a buffaloYOUTH AND BLM
News.bytes will feature occasional stories on youth who take part in BLM-California programs, or the Department of the Interior's Office of Youth in Natural Resources.
close-up portrait of Sarah QuinnEMPLOYEE PROFILE: FOCUS ON YOUTH
Presidential Management Fellow Sarah Quinn is the latest to join BLM-California's Renewable Energy Coordination Office where she will assist with the development of BLM's renewable energy program and work on project-specific environmental compliance issues. The Presidential Management Fellows program is a prestigious two-year paid government fellowship sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management for recent graduate students to work in a United States government agency.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/employee_profiles/sarah_quinn.html


NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:

A western snow plover on a grayish sandy beach
western snowy plover
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Fledging of western snowy plovers born late in the season may extend into the third week of September. What is fledging?
(a.) learning to eat solid food instead of food regurgitated by parents
(b.) being able to stand on two legs
(c.) getting old enough to leave parents and strike out on its own
(d.) developing feathers and muscles enough to fly
(e.) developing a loud enough call to warn others of danger
(f.) learning to cheep back to one's parents to protest a decision not to one's liking
------> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

"Tamarisk removal - volunteers needed" (BLM-California, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office)
Next event Dec. 12: Volunteers will hike approximately 1 mile into Sheep Canyon, an area important to the federally endangered peninsular bighorn sheep , to help remove the invasive plant species tamarisk.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/srsjtamariskremoval.html

RELATED: "Volunteers remove more invasive tamarisk in Santa Rosa Wilderness" (News.bytes Extra)
See what volunteers accomplished during the previous event (as published in News.bytes three weeks ago).
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsbytes/2009/409xtra_srsjmnm_vols.html

"Beauty Mountain irrigation tubing removal volunteers needed" (BLM-California, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office)
The BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office will host a volunteer event Saturday, December 19th, from 9 AM to 2 PM. Volunteers will assist BLM staff in removing old plastic tubing and other irrigation supplies left behind on a parcel of private land recently acquired by BLM, helping restore the approximately 25 acres to a more natural setting.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/beautymtnirrigation.html


RENEWABLE ENERGY

"Bureau of Land Management to lease out land for geothermal" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/3/09)
"More than 3,000 acres will be available for geothermal energy production after the Bureau of Land Management announced it would lease out portions east of the Salton Sea ... The bureau has already received two lease applications, said David Briery, public affairs specialist for the bureau."
http://www.ivpressonline.com/articles/2009/12/04/local_news/news06.txt

RELATED: "BLM announces record of decision for geothermal leasing in Imperial County" (BLM-California news release, 12/2/09)
The Bureau of Land Management has announced the availability of the record of decision for geothermal leasing of 3,322 acres of BLM-managed lands on the east side of the Salton Sea in Imperial County. "In the interest of balancing the need for renewable energy, the need to protect air quality and biological, cultural, and visual values, I have concluded that the interests of the public would be best served in leasing these lands for geothermal resources," states Daniel Steward, acting field office manager for the BLM El Centro Field Office.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/rod_imperial_geothermal.html

"Wind farms don't hurt nearby property values" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/3/09)
"[R]esearchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory spent three years examining nearly 7,500 sales of homes in 10 communities near two dozen wind energy plants in nine states. The researchers found no evidence home prices were affected by the view or the distance between the home and the wind farm. The findings, however, are unlikely to cool the debate over the placement of massive wind turbines which to some represent progress, but to others are an aggravation."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/12/03/BUQE1ATSJ9.DTL

"Elusive goal of greening U.S. energy" (New York Times, 12/3/09)
"Growth in clean energy industries and in green jobs has been considerably slower and bumpier than anticipated, industry experts say." Observers cite a number of reasons: slow disbursement of stimulus funds to clean energy projects, banks' reluctance to lend for alternative energy projects, lack of congressional action to support large-scale, long-term renewable energy projects such as in other countries.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/business/energy-environment/03greenjobs.html

"Inland producer of towers for wind turbines hit hard by downturn" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/3/09)
"Despite the nation's push toward green energy and a new federal tax credit aimed at nurturing a U.S. wind power industry, California's only manufacturer of towers for wind turbines, is producing at about half capacity."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)
http://www.pe.com/business/local/stories/PE_Biz_S_windmills04.3737d57.html

Also see "Selected Upcoming Events" below, for several upcoming public meetings on renewable energy projects in southern California.

ABANDONED MINES

"Abandoned mines pose threats" (San Bernardino County Sun, 12/5/09)
Op-Ed by Senator Diane Feinstein: "The Department of the Interior has published a list of recent fatalities related to abandoned mines. Victims range from a 13-year old girl who fell into a shaft while driving an all terrain vehicle to a Vietnam Veteran whose truck tipped into a mine pit. Throughout the United States, at least 37 deaths occurred between the years 1999 and 2007. In the past two years, eight accidents at abandoned mine sites were reported in California. It's time for Congress to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the safety and public health problems of these abandoned mines."
http://www.sbsun.com/pointofview/ci_13937175

"Oversight Field Hearing, 'Abandoned Mines and Mercury in California'" (BLM 2009 congressional testimonies)
Acting BLM California State Director Jim Abbott recenlty testified in Sacramento before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, about the challenges of dealing with abandoned mines.
(Follow the link on the following page, to view the testimony in a PDF file.)
http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/congressional_testimonies/2009.html

Foolhardy couple disregard a mapFunny.bytes - logoFUNNY.BYTES: Don't go there
No, really -- don't go there! It's no laughing matter, but this episode -- based on a true incident -- is just one way BLM-California is reaching out to warn the public of abandoned mine land dangers. (Previously ran in News.bytes.) Note: soundtrack -- you may want to adjust your computer's volume.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/media/flash/fb/roadtobigtrouble.html

A man stands atop a vehicle being lifted out of the ground"FAST Program (Fix A Shaft Today!)" (BLM website)
At one time, these abandoned mine lands were considered remote --but with urban sprawl, more people live closer to these sites, and accidents continue to occur. The BLM is developing partnerships with mine claimants, landowners, the mining industry, recreational user groups, and others to eradicate unsafe abandoned mine features.
PDF file, 162 kilobytes:
http://www.ca.blm.gov/tu/fast.html 




HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS

"BLM seeks comments on Clear Creek draft plan" (BLM-California news release, 12/4/09)
The Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office is inviting the public to comment on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement on the Clear Creek Management Area, covering public lands in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties. The draft RMP/EIS was developed through a public planning process and analyzes seven alternatives. The primary issues addressed are public health risk from asbestos exposure, recreation, protection of sensitive resources, energy and mineral development, land tenure adjustments, and other resource issues.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/CC1009_CCMA_drmp.html

"Late fall, winter prescribed burning planned on public lands" (BLM-California news release, 12/2/09)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Lassen National Forest have started fall/winter burning programs in Northeastern California. Burning will take place when weather conditions allow for safe and efficient burning. Area residents and visitors can anticipate seeing smoke and fire equipment activity associated with this list of projects.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/norcal_prescribed.html

JOBS

"BLM has openings for summer 'Weed Warrior' positions" (BLM-California news release, 12/4/09)
The job openings are for nine "weed warriors," seasonal employees who will work next spring and summer to combat the spread of invasive and noxious weeds on public land in northeast California and far northwest Nevada. "This is a good opportunity for people who want to work outdoors and make a difference in the health of our public lands," said Nancy Haug, BLM's Northern California district manager. "These jobs are also a good first step toward a career in natural resource management."
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/NC1015_weedwarriors_10.html

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include BLM-California state director, supervisory range technician/fuels module leader (closing soon), more firefighting and fire lookout jobs, plus archaeologist, natural resource specialist (fire biologist), realty specialist, and .
http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/a9blm-ca.asp


RESERVE YOUR SPACE FOR THESE EVENTS

"BLM to offer bald eagle hikes" (BLM-California news release, 12/7/09)
The Bureau of Land Management will host free guided hikes on Saturdays in January and February to view wintering bald eagles in the Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County. Hikes will be held January 16, 23 and 30, and February 6, 13, 20 and 27. Tip: Call early for reservations -- these are popular hikes, and limited to 25 participants each.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2009/december/CC1010_baldeagle_hikes.html

"King Range National Conservation Area - interpretive hikes" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)
The next event is a "salmon spawning hike" Dec. 27 -- see "Selected Upcoming Events" below for more details.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/arcata/kingrange/interpretive_hikes.html


SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
https://www.blm.gov/ca/forms/calendar/

Dec. 11 - Public meeting, NextEra Ford Dry Lake Solar Project
See listing for details

Dec. 11 - Public meeting, Palen/Blythe solar projects
Palm Springs

Dec. 11-12 - California Desert District Advisory Council meeeting
Palm Springs, plus field tour

Dec. 15 - Public workshop, Ridgecrest Solar Project
Ridgecrest

Dec. 16 - Scoping meeting, wind energy generation project
Barstow

Dec. 27 - Salmon spawning hike
King Range National Conservation Area


NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS

"Interior settles 13-year-old lawsuit over Indian trusts" (Federal Times, 12/8/09)
"The government will pay $1.4 billion to the account holders to resolve claims that Interior mismanaged millions of dollars and millions of acres of land the department holds in trust for Native Americans, Attorney General Eric Holder and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday." The lawsuit at one time led to Department of Interior computer systems and web sites including the BLM's being unavailable to the public for several months.
http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20091208/AGENCY05/912080303/1018/DEPARTMENTS

RELATED: "Secretary Salazar, Attorney General Holder announce settlement of Cobell lawsuit on indian trust management" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/8/09)
“This is an historic, positive development for Indian country and a major step on the road to reconciliation following years of acrimonious litigation between trust beneficiaries and the United States,” Secretary Salazar said.
http://www.doi.gov/news/09_News_Releases/120809a.html


WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) developing feathers and muscles enough to fly


SOURCE: "Western Snowy Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Fledging (reaching flying age) of late-season broods may extend into the third week of September throughout the breeding range.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/forms/wildlife/details.php?metode=serial_number&search=3069

A western snow plover and chick on a beach"Plover numbers at 20-year high" (Bandon Western World - Bandon, OR, 12/3/09)
"After 20 years of recovery efforts, the population of western snowy plovers in Oregon is increasing, but the small shorebird is still vulnerable. The plover’s numbers had decreased for decades, mainly due to the loss of nesting habitat to non-native European beachgrass, but also because of predators, such as fox, crows, ravens and skunks. Direct human disturbance and human development also contributed to the bird’s decline." This bird's future is also of concern along the California coast.
http://www.bandonwesternworld.com/articles/2009/12/03/news/doc4b17002a0ea13360021514.txt

OTHER BLM-RELATED WILDLIFE NEWS

Close-up of a sage grouse with puffed-out chest"Comprehensive look 1st of its kind for sage grouse" (Billings, MT Gazette, 12/7/09)
"Greater sage grouse face a variety of threats, but one of them isn’t hunting, according to the most comprehensive research on sage grouse ever compiled. With urban expansion, diseases including West Nile virus, invasion of exotic plants, fire, livestock grazing and energy development, sage grouse seem to be taking blows from all sides." Their "range covers 120 million acres across 14 states, including Montana and Wyoming. Of that acreage, more than 70 percent is on public lands, half of it managed by the Bureau of Land Management."
http://www.billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_18fa72da-e2fa-11de-96c2-001cc4c03286.html
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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http://www.blm.gov/ca/

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