A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 442 - 7/29/10
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Wildfires across California
- Wildfire prevention and protection
- Renewable energy
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Headlines and highlights
- Follow us!
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
WILDFIRES ACROSS CALIFORNIA
BLM wildland firefighters have been battling a number of fires across California this week, alongside other federal, state and local firefighters.
"West Fire grows near Tehachapi" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/28/10)
"The initial swiftness of the devastating West Fire in rugged tree, brush and dry grass terrain southeast of Tehachapi was stunning and terrifying to residents who evacuated to save themselves. The blaze that began Tuesday afternoon continued to burn all day Wednesday, growing to 1,400 acres and destroying an estimated 25 to 40 structures ranging from trailers to large homes...."
Bakersfield Californian, 7/29/10
This newspaper's homepage includes links to several stories about the area's wildfires.
"Firefighters gain ground against blazes in Kern County, California" (CNN
"Hundreds of fire personnel appeared to be making progress against the wildfires ripping across Kern County, California. The southern California community was hit this week by two wildfires 60 miles apart: the Bull Fire, southeast of the town of Tehachapi, and the West Fire, north of Tehachapi in the Sequoia National Forest." Includes video.
"Firefighters gain on big blaze near Tehachapi" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/29/10)
"Hundreds of firefighters gained ground Wednesday against the most destructive of two big wildfires that have burned homes and forced 2,300 people to evacuate mountain communities on the edge of the Mojave Desert and in the southern Sierra Nevada."
"Firefighters battling 750-acre blaze near Termo" (BLM news release, 7/29/10)
The McDonald Fire, a lightning-sparked wildfire near the community of Termo in northern Lassen County, grew dramatically yesterday, and now has consumed an estimated 4,000 acres of sagebrush, juniper and gray pine. The Susanville Interagency Fire Center said there are nearly 550 personnel assigned to the blaze burning on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
"Two large fires burning out of control in Lassen County" (Plumas County News, 7/28/10)
Their hompeage links to a story that has been updated several times over the past few days.
"Kern County wildfire coverage" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent. 7/29/10)
This newspaper's homepage links to stories of area fires.
Ridgecrest News Review, 7/28/10:
Their homepage links to stories of wildfires which BLM firefighters helped battle.
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, 7/29/10)
Reports from across the country, including California. Updated Monday through Friday during the fire season.
|WILDFIRE PREVENTION AND PROTECTION
"Residents share stories of saving, losing homes to West Fire" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/28/10)
One woman whose house still stood after "a wall of fire" was moving toward it, said her family's preparations helped firefighters save their home -- "the whole family cleared areas around the home to give it a chance in a fire they expected for some time...."
"Fire season is here: Local council provides information, support to county residents" (The Ukiah Daily Journal, 7/26/10)
"The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, a non-profit organization formed in 2004, has been serving the county by providing information, training and focused projects designed to promote public wildfire awareness and help residents prepare and protect their property from devastating fires." BLM helps support local Fire Safe Councils across California.
"Take Responsibility: Living in the wildland urban interface" (California Fire Alliance)
Learn how you can create defensibly space! Includes links to a tip card, brochure, online video, signup for Twitter updates, and more.
"BLM releases final EIS for proposed Imperial Valley Solar Project" (BLM news release, 7/28/10)
Tessera Solar of Houston, Texas, has applied for a right-of-way authorization to construct solar power plants on 6,494 acres of public land about 14 miles west of El Centro, Calif. The project, if authorized, would be among the first commercial thermal solar power projects constructed on public lands in the United States.
"The only way is up: CSP builds up heat" (Renewable Energy World.com, July-August 2010)
The International Energy Agency says concentrating solar power "could account for 11% of global electricity demand by 2050 ... it is the southwest US where most future action will take place ... The first projects developed on BLM land will be those deemed by the federal agency as most ready-to-go and put on a fast track for approval. If cleared by December 2010, the projects will be eligible for federal economic stimulus money."
"Nation's largest wind project grows Kern's clean energy industry" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/27/10)
"The project west of Mojave and south-southeast of Tehachapi has been years in the making, stymied along the way by financial trouble, ownership changes, bureaucracy and land owners worried about noise and safety. Most of the 600 wind turbines planned for the project are to be placed on leased, privately owned land" but includes turbines and related transmission lines on lands managed by BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office.
RELATED: "Interior official helps dedicate California wind farm" (News.bytes Extra)
Ned Farquhar, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals, helped dedicate one of the nation’s largest wind farms and toured oil and gas fields this week. On Tuesday, Fahrquhar participated in the dedication of the Alta wind energy project in Tehachapi Pass. The project includes turbines and transmission lines on land managed by the BLM’s Ridgecrest Field Office.
"California's clean energy future threatened by federal delays, state officials say" (Los Angeles Times, 7/28/10)
"Plans for a massive expansion of clean energy in California are being jeopardized by federal foot-dragging, according to state officials who say that more than 20 nearly shovel-ready solar and wind projects are being held up by the U.S. Department of Energy. Seven major solar-mirror projects ... along with plans for at least a dozen wind-turbine and solar-panel complexes have been cleared or almost cleared by state authorities and the U.S. Department of Interior."
"Be wary in pursuit of green jobs" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 7/22/10)
Editorial: "The constant sun, the vast open spaces and the frequent strong winds make the Mojave Desert an ideal location for wind and solar projects, as the number of proposals submitted to the Bureau of Land Management shows. But while the Obama administration and a number of like-minded folks have been promoting these projects quite hard, we have been warning readers through editorials that there are significant problems in this green program."
"Renewable energy fast track projects" (BLM California)
The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management are committed to America’s clean energy future. In order to achieve this, the BLM-California is working to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio through the “fast-track” development of wind, solar, and transmission siting on BLM-managed public lands within the state.
|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.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
How do male and female big brown bats differ 'socially'?
(a.) The females group together in familiar locations during mating season, while the males look to other colonies for mates.
(b.) The females hunt cooperatively to "herd" insects into a common area, while males hunt alone.
(c.) The females go off and hide while pregnant, while the males gather together to hunt for food.
(d.) The males are solitary, while the females gather in maternity colonies while pregnant.
(e.) The males tend to excel in the technical aspects of sonar, while the females tend to excel in verbalization.
------> See answer -- and a story on bats -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM volunteers organize 'wild horse play day'" (News.bytes Extra)
Mustangs proved they’re suited for a variety of uses, including water polo, at a wild horse play day recently in Dunnigan. About 25 BLM volunteers brought their mustangs to the "equine playground" for the event. Mustangs climbed steps and went through obstacles such as hanging strips of cloth and hoses. They made the acquaintance of ducks with electric-powered wings and statues of elk and bears.
"California wild horse and burro adoptions" (BLM California website)
This schedule is subject to change. Please check back frequently or call the contact numbers listed.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Archaeological site stewardship workshop planned in Point Arena" (BLM news release, 7/26/10)
The California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program, in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, will host a two-day workshop this September in Point Arena for volunteers. The BLM’s Ukiah Field Office is working with the program to recruit and train volunteers for archaeological sites along the California Coast in Mendocino County.
"BLM announces next community planning meeting for Kanaka Valley" (BLM news release, 7/26/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office will hold a public meeting Aug. 12 in Rescue on the community-based management plan for the Kanaka Valley area. In February, BLM added nearly 700 acres of habitat for rare plants and other wildland species in western El Dorado County. This meeting will provide an opportunity to review a draft vision statement and begin work on resource goals.
"America's Great Outdoors" (Department of the Interior)
Your ideas for protecting the places you love.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Tougher drug laws considered; Tulare County Board of Supervisors asked to back Rep. Nunes' bill affecting federal land" (Visalia Times-Delta, 7/26/10)
Tulare County supervisors planned a vote "to support a bill by Rep. Devin Nunes that would toughen penalties for drug offenses on federal land and require a national strategy to fight drug activity on those lands. 'The Tulare County Sheriff's Department expends more than $450,000 each year on illegal drug eradication efforts on federal land. This legislation ... could reduce the need for law enforcement activity on federal land,' states a report to the supervisors summarizing the possible benefits of the bill for the county."
RELATED: "Yolo DA, U.S. Attorney announce indictment against pot growers in Yolo County" (Woodland Daily Democrat, 7/24/10)
"A federal grand jury indicted on Friday two Mexican nationals with growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants on federal land in Yolo County" on land managed by the BLM.
"Statement by the Press Secretary on H.J.Res. 83, H.R. 689, H.R. 3360, H.R. 4840 and H.R. 5502" (The White House, 7/27/10)
"On Tuesday, July 27, 2010, the President signed into law: ... H.R. 689, the 'Shasta-Trinity National Forest Administrative Jurisdiction Transfer Act.' which transfers the administrative jurisdiction of certain Federal lands located in northern California, between the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Department of the Interiors’s Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Shasta-Trinity National Forest Administrative Jurisdiction Transfer Act - Bill Summary & Status - H.R.689" (The Library of Congress/Thomas)
Links to text of legislation, the bill's history and more.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) The males are solitary, while the females gather in maternity colonies while pregnant.
SOURCE: "Big Brown Bat - Eptesicus fuscus" (BLM California wildlife database)
During the spring and summer months, male big brown bats are solitary and females form maternity colonies of up to 75 individuals. The maternity colonies are often found in snags, barns, and caves. The females usually return to the same maternity site every spring.
Bats and public lands in the news:
"Bug-eating bats bite the dust, endangering U.S. soy, corn crops" (Bloomberg News in the San Francisco Chronicle, 7/23/10)
"Hikers may be locked out of hundreds of caves and 30,000 abandoned mines in the U.S. West and Midwest ... the latest efforts to combat a disease called White Nose Syndrome that decimated bat communities in 13 states and two Canadian provinces ... The fungus thought to cause the disease was first detected in New York in 2006 and may have killed more than one million bats ... Cavers are angry about the closures because they say it's not proven that humans transmit the disease..." The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service "must close sites at the same time in order to slow the rate of infection in the region...."
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News.bytes published by
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