A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 424 - 3/18/10
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- New podcast: Yuha Desert cultural history
- California Coastal National Monument: Whale of a Day, geotourism
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
- Energy and renewable energy
- Recreation on public lands
- Advisory councils
- Headlines and highlights
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Budget, law enforcement, weeds
- More wildlife stories
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
| NEW PODCAST: Yuha Desert cultural history audio tour
The Yuha Desert landscape is millions of years old, and was once an ocean floor. The tour takes you through three cultural sites of the Yuha Desert: a monument to the 1774 and 1775 expeditions of Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, the Yuha Geoglyph, and the historic Yuha Well. The audio tours can be downloaded, along with a text version and a map. Four-wheel-drive is required for the trip. Recent temperatures have been in the high 70s and low 80s, making this a good time to visit before the extreme heat of summer.
CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT
"CCNM Celebrates 10th Anniversary at 'Whale of a Day!'" (News.bytes Extra)
It was a “Whale of a Day” for the California Coastal National Monument at the 26th annual “Whale of a Day!” celebration held at the City of Rancho Palos Verdes’ Point Vicente Visitor Center on Saturday, March 6. The California Coastal National Monument participated in the day-long event as part of the year-long celebration of the CCNM and National Landscape Conservation System’s 10th Anniversaries.
"North Coast community leaders celebrate Redwood Coast Geotourism launch" (News.bytes Extra)
Leaders in tourism, business and government met in the historic Humboldt County town of Scotia on March 11 to celebrate the launch of the Redwood Coast Geotourism MapGuide and website. The project resulted from a partnership of the Bureau of Land Management, National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations and the North Coast Tourism Council.
RELATED: "Redwood Geographic: National Geographic tourism site aims to market North Coast attractions" (Eureka Times-Standard, 3/14/10)
"National Geographic has launched a guide to the Redwood Coast meant to draw tourists interested in delving into the region's history, culture and natural beauty ... The project was developed along with the North Coast Tourism Council and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and was initially geared at showcasing the California Coastal National Monument, the scattered rocks just off the coast. "
RELATED: "Ink Out Loud: Preserve and conserve while promoting tourism" (Lake County Record-Bee, 3/11/10)
Column by the news editor: "The project goal is to promote innovative tourism that will benefit residents and visitors in ways that are both environmentally and economically sustainable. In other words, it's good for the economy, the earth and the residents."
"California Coastal National Monument"(BLM-California)
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Unlike most aquatic mammals, sea otters do not have a layer of blubber to insulate them. Instead they are kept warm only by:
(a.) sunlight near and above the surface of the water.
(b.) air that gets trapped in their hair.
(c.) warm water currents that they seek out, which also attract foods they like.
(d.) eating lots of fatty fish.
(e.) wrapping themselves in seaweed.
(f.) setting the thermostat higher. This is one reason for the decline in their environment.
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Horses, burros available for adoption in Los Banos" (BLM-California news release, 3/16/10)
This Saturday, March 20: The BLM will offer 30 wild horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. on Friday, March 19. The event gates will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Adoptions begin with an hour of silent bidding at 9 a.m. Saturday. Animals not taken during bidding will be available for a $125 adoption fee.
"Mustangs, burros available for adoption in Redding" (BLM-California news release, 3/17/10)
Wild horses and burros from the ranges of northern California and Nevada will be offered to the public for adoption at the Redding Rodeo Grounds in Redding, Saturday, April 10. "We will offer 40 mustangs ranging in age from yearlings to five year olds, and 10 burros of all ages," said Pardee Bardwell of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. "They have been de-wormed and vaccinated against diseases including West Nile virus. They are ready to train."
"Baker City trainer picks up BLM wild mustang for Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge" (BLM-California news release, 3/6/10)
Tim Delsman, of Baker City, Oregon is one of 39 specially selected horse trainers who have 90 days to gentle and train their assigned mustangs from the BLM, for the Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge May 14-16. Trainers from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Nevada and Arizona are participating in this event.
"BLM at Equine Affaire 2010" (News.bytes Extra)
Horse enthusiasts from around the world got to see the skills of trainers and mustangs alike at the recent Equine Affaire in Pomona. BLM’s Ridgecrest Corrals coordinated the appearances from its pavilion booth.
"Two Pershing County men charged with killing wild horses" (U.S. Department of Justice news release, 3/10/10)
"Two Pershing, County Nevada men were charged in federal court today with killing five wild horses on federally-managed lands in northern Nevada, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada."
"Wild horses - symbol of the West moving east?" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/12/10)
OpEd by Barbara Clarke, director of the 2,000-acre DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary in Northeastern California.
RELATED: "The truth about wild horses" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/16/10)
"The Bureau of Land Management protects, manages, and controls wild horses under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. Barbara Clarke's claim ('A symbol of the West moving east?' Open Forum, March 12) that the BLM systematically removes wild horses from the public lands to make room for more cattle grazing is totally false."
|ARRA - BLM FUNDS UNDER THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
The project below was funded with part of approximately $40 million in ARRA funds appropriated to BLM-California.
|"Horse Mountain Cut and Chip provides jobs to reduce hazardous fuels"(News.bytes Extra)
This project involved treatment of approximately 20 acres of BLM-administered land in the King Range National Conservation Area. About a dozen workers from Eagle Pass Reforestation worked 11 days to reduce vegetation along a King Peak road, by thinning and chipping hazardous fuels to create a self-maintaining shaded fuel break. The BLM is working with the Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council to create more effective fuel breaks by coordinating work across public and private lands.
ENERGY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Public meetings, comment period set for Stirling Energy Solar Two Project near El Centro" (BLM-California news release, 3/17/10)
The Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission have announced a CEC staff workshop/BLM public meeting on the draft environmental impact statement/staff assessment for the Stirling Energy Systems Solar Two Project on public land in Imperial County. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 22.
"Draft environmental study released for Blythe Solar Project in Riverside County" (BLM-California news release, 3/12/10)
Chevron Energy Solutions/Solar Millennium has requested a right-of-way authorization from BLM to construct and operate four solar-thermal power plants with an expected capacity of 968 megawatts using commercial solar parabolic-trough generating stations. Approximately 7,030 acres of BLM-administered public land are needed to develop the project, eight miles west of Blythe and three miles north of Interstate 10.
"Major California solar project moves ahead" (New York Times, 3/17/10)
"California regulators ... recommended that the state’s first new big solar power plant in nearly two decades be approved after a two-and-half-year review of its environmental impact on the Mojave Desert. The recommendation by staff members of the California Energy Commission ... still must be accepted by the commission board." BrightSource Energy is the developer. "While Wednesday’s action moves the project closer to being licensed, it still must also receive federal approval, as it would be built on property leased from the Bureau of Land Management."
"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $1.9 million" (BLM-California news release, 3/10/10)
Nine oil and gas lease parcels in Kern and Sutter counties were auctioned for a total of $1,976,303, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office last week.
"BLM Bakersfield Field Office briefs Energy Academy students in Bakersfield" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the Minerals and Resources staffs from the BLM's Bakersfield Field Office met recently with 75 sophomores and juniors at the brand new Independence High School in Bakersfield, enrolled in the school's Energy Academy.
"BCC enters into agreement to expand 'green job' training options" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/11/10)
"Barstow Community College has signed an enrollment agreement with an online university in a move to prepare Barstow students for future jobs in renewable energy in the High Desert ... online programs ... will open students to take more advanced courses in engineering, hydraulics and other high-tech applications." The college cited the job potential of renewable energy project applications for BLM-managed lands.
"DWP drops plan to build 85-mile power transmission line across the desert" (Los Angeles Times, 3/11/10)
"Facing enormous costs and fierce opposition from environmental groups, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power ... announced that it has dropped plans to build an 85-mile-long 'green' power transmission line across desert wilderness preserves and scenic ridgelines ... Environmental and community groups were outraged by the DWP's plans to route high-voltage lines and 16-story towers through the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve north of Palm Springs, Pioneertown near Yucca Valley, Pipes Canyon Wilderness Preserve and a corner of the San Bernardino National Forest...."
RELATED: "Green Path North plans withdrawn" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/11/10)
As expected last week, "the controversial Green Path North power line project has been shelved. Open-space preservationists celebrated the announcement Wednesday by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in separate sessions held in Oak Glen and Yucca Valley to not build a 'green' power transmission line through unspoiled desert and wildlife preserves in the San Bernardino Mountains."
"Medicine Lake geothermal leases questioned in appeal" (Siskiyou Daily News, 3/16/10)
Lawsuit over Calpine Corporation’s proposed geothermal power plant: Plaintiffs argued "that the original leases granting Calpine permission to pursue geothermal energy have expired and that the land should no longer belong to the company" and "allege that the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, among others, had not fulfilled their obligations when granting the leases to Calpine."
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Drizzle doesn't dampen dogs', owners' spirits" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/11/10)
"About 30 people -- and about double the pets -- gathered at the La Quinta Cove Oasis for the city's first Tails on Trails event on Sunday, which was aimed at educating 'good dog-hiking etiquette'." Sponsors included the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. "Event organizers plan to host Tails on Trails again next year." Includes 11 photos of dogs preparing to hit the trails.
"BLM land at Briceburg re-opens" (BLM-California news release, 3/16/10)
Storm damage has been repaired to lands along the Merced River at Briceburg managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office and roads are now open.
"Desert Restoration Corps working to keep desert open"(Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/14/10)
"They work under the sun and sleep under the stars. They are interns for the Desert Restoration Corps -- a group of six crew members and one crew leader working to restore different areas of the desert. The local group is working to restore parts of the Yuha Desert, which is west of El Centro, and the East Mesa near Holtville ... The East Mesa is a limited use area managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. A limited use area allows for off-highway vehicle use on specified areas marked and mapped, while also preserving open area as habitat for species, such as the flat-tail horned lizard."
"Native grass planting successful in Petrolia" (The Humboldt Beacon, 3/10/10)
"Despite strong winds and heavy rain, over 300 plugs of native grasses were planted on Prosper Ridge in Petrolia" recently. Eighteen volunteers helped "Americorps Watershed Stewards Project members ... plant bunch grass plugs on Prosper Ridge ... an 'in situ' native plant nursery in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, managed through the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office. The newly planted plugs will assist with erosion control and other types of riparian dysfunction."
"Chalfant Public Land Stewardship and BLM plan public lands cleanup" (BLM-California news release, 2/25/10)
This Saturday, March 20: The Chalfant Public Land Stewardship and the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office are asking for volunteers to help clean up of public lands east of Chalfant Valley. Please bring gloves, sturdy shoes, water and sunscreen or a hat. A light lunch will be provided at noon. Call for more information.
"Steele Peak - Stephen's Kangaroo Rat Reserve cleanup volunteer opportunity" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Saturday, March 27: Illegal dumping and misuse of the area has resulted in an accumulation of garbage including household refuse, broken target boards and other items littering the ground. Removal of the garbage will return the area back to its natural setting, thus enhancing habitat. (This event was postponed from Feb. 27 due to weather.)
"BLM seeking members for vacant seats on Northwest California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM California news release, 3/15/10)
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking northwest California residents interested in natural resource conservation to fill two vacant seats on its Northwest California Resource Advisory Council. Both vacancies are in membership category one that includes commercial recreation interests, off-highway vehicle users, federal grazing permit holders, timber industry representatives, energy and mineral industry representatives and people interested in transportation and rights of way across public lands.
"BLM Resource Advisory Council meets March 25-26 in Napa County" (BLM California news release, 3/15/10)
Members of the Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council will discuss a variety of public land topics, when they meet Thursday and Friday, March 25-26, in Middletown and St. Helena. On Thursday, the group convenes at 10 a.m. for a field tour to areas managed by the BLM’s Ukiah Field Office. Members of the public are welcome. They must provide their own transportation and lunch. Friday’s meeting, which is also open to the public, begins at 8 a.m.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Conservation group hopes to purchase, preserve pristine desert land" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/11/10)
"A conservation group is trying to buy nearly a thousand acres for Joshua Tree National Park that Congress removed from the park in the 1950s apparently to make way for residential development ... The Mojave Desert Land Trust is trying to raise $1.5 million to acquire the land ... Another 709 acres nearby that is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management also could become part of the park under the pending California Desert Protection Act of 2010...."
"Placer Land Trust’s Bruin Ranch bid gets big boost from state fund " (Auburn Journal, 3/10/10)
"The trust is also working with several other area landowners and the Bureau of Land Management to connect several parcels to preserve land along the Yuba-Bear River watershed."
"Authority begins landfill purchase" (Lassen County Times, 3/16/10)
"The Lassen Regional Solid Waste Management Authority Board of Directors has approved buying 160 acres of property it currently leases from the Bureau of Land Management for the operation of the Bass Hill Landfill."
"Recent projects improve Brooktrails fire safety" (The Willits News, 3/17/10)
"CalFire and the Brooktrails Fire Department have worked jointly during the last three years to construct fuel break buffers between extremely flammable vegetation and Brooktrails homes." Grants from the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service "were primarily for removing overgrown vegetation to provide a buffer along the perimeter with the dense greenbelt and between several hundred homes on small lots."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
March 20 - Guided tour
March 23 - Open House: Off-Highway Motor Vehicle grant applications
|NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Statement of Robert V. Abbey, Director ... Hearing on the FY 2011 budget request of the Bureau of Land Management" (Congressional testimony, 3/9/10)
Testimony of BLM Director Robert V. Abbey, before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. (Click the link on the following page, to open a transcript of testimony as a PDF file.)
"BLM realigns law enforcement program to enhance operations" (BLM national news release, 3/15/10)
The realignment will replace jurisdictions and responsibilities formerly carried out by 11 special agents-in-charge located across the country, with five regions"
"Bolton: The federal war on weeds" (Washington Times, 3/15/10)
"Uncle Sam should lay off the grass."
RELATED: "Invasive & Noxious Weeds" (BLM national website)
Invasive weeds destroy wildlife habitat, reduce opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping and other recreation, reduce plant and animal diversity, disrupt waterfowl and neo-tropical migratory bird flight patterns and nesting habitats, and cost millions of dollars in treatment and loss of productivity to private land owners.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) air that gets trapped in their hair.
SOURCE: "Sea Otter - Enhydra lutris" (BLM California wildlife database)
Sea otters are kept warm only by the air that gets trapped in its hair. For this reason, sea otters are very susceptible to freezing to death when oil slicks damage their fur.
MORE STORIES RELATED TO WILDLIFE ON BLM-MANAGED LANDS:
"Eastern Sierra sage grouse skirts Endangered Species Act" (Mammoth Times, 3/12/10)
"The Eastern Sierra’s genetically distinct population of sage grouse has been determined to be in more danger of extinction than the Greater sage grouse populations that extend across the Western states. As such, the local grouse populations will be under close scrutiny by the federal government ... the March 5 decision by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid naming the bird as 'endangered' under the Endangered Species Act gives local land managers more time to come up with good plans to protect the grouse...."
"U.S. agency to protect habitat for Twain's famed jumping frog" (The Sacramento Bee, 3/18/10)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will designate 1.6 million acres in California as critical habitat for the endangered red-legged frog. The frog, featured by author Mark Twain in his famous story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," was listed as threatened under federal law in 1996. Its numbers have plunged due to land development, pollution and competition from invasive species."
"BLM California wildlife database"
Find more information about these animals.
"Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website)
The "2010 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held October 15-16 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. This is the first time in the prestigous contest's 61 year history that the event has been held in the West, and for only the second time west of the Mississippi River ... Since the first open contest in 1949, thousands of wildlife artists from throughout the nation have submitted art to the annual contest."
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