A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 446 - 9/2/10
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- National Public Lands Day
- American's Great Outdoors
- Wild horses and burros: At the Fair, Twin Peaks roundup, adoption, more
- Renewable energy: Solar, wind developments
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Planning meetings, advisory groups: DAC, MAC, Kanaka, proposed OHV area
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes isonline at:
|NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
On Saturday, Sept. 25, volunteers will celebrate National Public Lands Day 2010, by taking part in the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. In 2009, 150,000 volunteers across the country built trails and bridges, removed trash and invasive plants, planted trees and restored our water resources. Here are some of the projects planned for California.
"National Public Lands Day 2010" (BLM California)
List of projects in various parts of California. Includes links for more information, and contact information so you can take part, also! (Due to extreme heat at some locations, some events will be held in October.)
"Volunteer program - National Public Lands Day 2010 - Fort Ord Public Lands" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
On Sept. 25, volunteers will work on trail maintenance, collect native seeds, remove invasive weeds, and restore habitat.
Contact project manager Eric Morgan for more information.
"Mariposa County weed control project planned for National Public Lands Day" (BLM news release, 8/31/10)
The BLM’s Mother Lode Field Office is seeking volunteers to remove French broom near Midpines on Sept. 25 as part of National Public Lands Day. The project will run from 9 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. on Feliciana Mountain, near Midpines, in Mariposa County.
"National Public Lands Day" (NPLD website)
For our non-California readers, find an NPLD event near you -- in any part of the country.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"SCA Wild Corps crew finishes BLM trail work season in the King Range" (News.bytes Extra)
Student Conservation Association’s Wild Corps is a group of six young, outgoing, and adventurous people living together and working on BLM trails throughout California. In the King Range they dedicated themselves to working on trails, from clearing the way for hikers, to building retaining walls to reinforce trails, to relocating one section that had eroded.
"Three-day celebration marks 40th anniversary of King Range NCA" (BLM news release, 9/1/10)
Hikes, mountain bike rides, tidepool walks and a birthday party complete with live music will highlight King Range Days, a three-day celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the King Range National Conservation Area on California’s north coast. Everyone is invited to participate in the events that begin Friday, Sept. 10, and culminate Sunday, Sept. 12, with a barbecue and entertainment in Shelter Cove.
RELATED: "King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM Arcata Field Office)
"Into the wild" (Palm Springs Life, September 2010)
"To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, noted landscape photographer Tom Brewster has set out to document the ranges for a series of photo essays in Palm Springs Life. This is the first installation of the series."
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Fair visitors learn about wild horses and burros" (News.bytes Extra)
Visitors to the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley this year got a first-hand look at mustangs, burros and their trainers. Volunteers for the Bureau of Land Management, with some assistance by BLM staff, gave demonstrations and provided information on the BLM's wild horse and burro program. Five horses and one burro were halter-gentled by volunteer and put up for adoption. All were adopted.
"BLM enters fourth week of Twin Peaks roundup" (BLM news release, 8/31/10)
Three weeks after the start of the Twin Peaks roundup near Susanville, Calif., the Bureau of Land Management has gathered more than 1,000 wild horses and returned the first 54 animals back to the range. "We continue to make excellent progress towards returning the wild herd to a sustainable level," said Ken Collum, manager of the BLM’s Eagle Lake Field Office. "Operations are going well, and we’ve had excellent weather. We have been pleased to be able to offer public observation at every trap site and temporary holding facility, seven days a week."
Follow the Twin Peaks Gather on Facebook (including a recent video tour of the Litchfield Corrals)...
... and on Twitter:
Photos from the Twin Peaks Roundup have been posted on Flickr:
"BLM seeks independent review of wild horse program" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 8/28/10)
"At the urging of a bipartisan group of House members, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is asking for an independent review of its wild horse and burro program by the National Academy of Sciences. BLM officials said the two-year, $1.5 million study would determine whether the agency is using the best science available in managing wild horses and burros on Western rangelands. BLM managers estimate that 38,000 mustangs and burros roam 10 Western states, and half are in Nevada."
RELATED: "BLM proposes National Academy of Sciences study" (BLM national news release, 8/27/10)
The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council has previously reviewed the BLM’s management of the WH&B Program and produced three separate reports; however, these reports are now 20 to 30 years old.
"Sussex adoption offers opportunity to give mustangs a home off the range" (NJ.com, 8/29/10)
BLM continues its nationwide wild horse and burro adoption program for horses from the western states. This Sept. 10-11 adoption event is in New Jersey.
"BLM releases final environmental study for proposed Genesis Solar Project"(BLM news release, 8/27/10)
Genesis Solar, LLC (a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources) applied for a right-of-way authorization from the BLM to construct and operate a solar energy power plant on 1,800 acres of public land about 25 miles west of Blythe and north of Interstate 10 in Riverside County.
"Draft environmental review of Desert Sunlight Solar Project in Riverside County available" (BLM news release, 8/27/10)
The BLM released for public comment a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project in Riverside County. Desert Sunlight Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of First Solar requested a right-of-way authorization to construct a 550-megawatt photovoltaic generating facility six miles north of the rural community of Desert Center. The proposed project footprint would encompass 4,245 acres of public lands within the 19,516-acre application area. The proposal includes the solar farm and related structures.
"1,000-megawatt plant in Calif. marks new milestone in solar expansion" (Greenwire in New York Times, 8/26/10)
"Federal regulators are nearing final approval of what would be the largest solar power plant in the world, a milestone that sets a new standard for the industry and marks a major advancement in the Obama administration's efforts to expand renewable energy production nationwide. The Bureau of Land Management has issued a final environmental impact statement for the Blythe Solar Power Project in southeast California."
"Imperial Valley Solar Energy given proposed approval, though final decision still pending" (Imperial Valley Press, 8/29/10)
A local solar project was given a tentative green light by the state’s energy subcommission, though the full group will need to approve it at a meeting in September. The California Energy Commission’s presiding member board gave its proposed decision, approving the Imperial Valley Solar Energy Project... between Seeley and Ocotillo .... The 6,500 acre project site mostly consists of public Bureau of Land Management land, with a small portion being privately owned."
"Wind turbine projects run into resistance" (New York Times, 8/28/10)
"Moving turbine blades can be indistinguishable from airplanes on many radar systems, and they can even cause blackout zones in which planes disappear from radar entirely. Clusters of wind turbines, which can reach as high as 400 feet, look very similar to storm activity on weather radar, making it harder for air traffic controllers to give accurate weather information to pilots .... Because of its concerns, the Defense Department has emerged as a formidable opponent of wind projects...."
"Feds fail to use land for solar power" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/1/10)
"BLM operated a first-come, first-served leasing system that quickly overwhelmed its small staff and enabled companies, regardless of solar industry experience, to squat on land without any real plans to develop it. At a time when the nation drills ever deeper for oil off its shores even as it tries to diversify its energy supply, the federal government has, so far, failed to use the land it already has ... to produce renewable electricity. Nowhere is this more evident than in Nevada" but the article also refers to applications filed in California.
"Renewable energy fast track projects" (BLM California)
Fast-track projects within the State of California are those renewable energy projects that have made significant progress in the permitting process and have either formally begun or will soon begin the environmental review and public participation process.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Which are the most common predators of the long-tailed vole?
(a.) owls and falcons and weasels
(b.) snakes and lizards and kit foxes
(c.) foxes and coyotes and feral animals
(d.) eagles and ravens and porcupines
(e.) He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken (Vole de Mort)
------> See answer near the end of this issue.
|PLANNING MEETINGS, ADVISORY GROUPS
"BLM Desert Advisory Council to meet in Needles" (BLM news release, 9/1/10)
The next meeting of the Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert Advisory Council (DAC) will be held October 1-2 in Needles. The council will participate in a field tour of BLM-managed public lands on Friday and meet in formal session on Saturday. Agenda topics include updates by council members and reports from the BLM District Manager and five field office managers. Additional agenda topics are being developed.
"National Monument Advisory Committee to meet in Palm Desert" (BLM news release, 8/27/10)
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee will meet Monday, September 20, at 3 p.m. in Palm Desert. All National Monument Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public and media. Public participation is encouraged. The public comment period begins at 4 p.m.
"BLM announces next community planning meetings for Kanaka Valley" (BLM news release, 8/30/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office will hold public meetings on Sept. 9 and Oct. 7 in Rescue for the community-based management plan of the Kanaka Valley area near the Pine Hill Preserve. "This meeting will provide the opportunity to learn more about the planning process and work on a draft vision statement," said Lauren Fety, biological science technician for the BLM.
"BLM seeking comments on proposed OHV recreation area" (BLM news release, 8/31/10)
Off highway vehicle enthusiasts can provide ideas on development of a new off highway vehicle recreation area, when the Bureau of Land Management hosts a field tour Wednesday, Sept. 8, near Fall River Mills. The BLM is proposing construction of an OHV track, parking area, fences, restroom facilities, picnic tables and interpretive panels.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"EPA, scientists tour Iron Mountain Mine cleanup project" (Redding Record Searchlight, 8/21/10)
"Between the 1860s and 1963, miners carved through Iron Mountain, digging out iron, silver, gold, copper, zinc and pyrite .... exposing pyrite to moisture and oxygen, creating sulfuric acid. The acid then ate through the rock, leaching out copper, zinc and other heavy metals." The contamination ran off into creeks and then the Sacramento River. "The EPA labeled it a Superfund site in 1986" and began cleanup work. The BLM belongs to the Iron Mountain Mine Trustee Council, which is responsible for identifying methods of reducing environmental impacts caused by the Iron Mountain Mine Complex. Includes video and photos of a recent tour.
RELATED: "Inside 'belly of the beast' - Redding's toxic hellhole" (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/29/10)
"The Iron Mountain Mine, outside of Redding, is a hellish pit where acid water sloshes against your boots, greenish bacterial slime gurgles out of the walls, and stalactites and stalagmites of acid salt, copper and iron jut out like rusty daggers. 'You don't want to splash this stuff,' said Rick Sugarek, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's project manager for the Iron Mountain Superfund site. 'This is the concentrated stuff'."
RELATED: "Trails" (BLM Redding Field Office)
The Spring Creek Debris Dam was constructed on BLM-managed lands to control the release of mining contaminants into the Sacramento River and is near the Sacramento River Rail Trail (National Recreation Trail).
"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM news release, 8/5/10)
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct an auction of oil and gas leases on federal land on Sept. 8 in Bakersfield. The competitive lease auction involves 12 parcels for a total of 4,205.19 of public lands in Kern County. (repeated from earlier News.bytes)
"Authorities destroy 56,000 pot plants" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/31/10)
Among other raids, Mendocino County sheriff's deputies "destroyed 9,980 pot plants found on federal Bureau of Land Management land below the Red Mountain campground in the Cow Mountain Recreation Area."
RELATED: "California considers legalising cannabis" (Channel 4 News, England)
"Be careful if you are thinking of heading out on an innocent hike anywhere in California’s national parks or public lands. You do not want to trip a booby trap that will trigger a shotgun aimed right at you. Fall down a bear pit lined with sharpened spikes. Or stumble upon rattlesnakes deliberately tied up along the trail .... All because of the massive illegal cultivation of marijuana that is going on in public lands. Criminal gangs from Mexico have moved into the state...." Includes video report.
"Aw, wilderness!" (New York Times, 8/26/10)
OpEd: Writer says agencies including the BLM are too strict in banning signage and some recreation, under the Wilderness Act of 1964: "In response to the agencies’ inflexibility, groups of outdoor enthusiasts have lined up against any expansion of wilderness areas ... these people should be the natural constituents of a wilderness protection program. The Wilderness Act is a monumental achievement in national resource conservation. But unless federal agencies begin to interpret it more reasonably, it is an achievement that even fewer numbers of people will want, or even be able, to enjoy."
"Opinionator: My summer home"(New York Times, 9/1/10)
"Who needs a country house, with 530 million acres of public land that belong to all of us, year-round .... The immensity often gets lost in the superlatives stirred up by the most outrageously scenic sites. But in the aggregate, this is what every citizen owns: 530 million acres, of which 193 million are run by the Forest Service, 253 million by the Bureau of Land Management and 84 million by the National Park Service. The public land endowment is more than three times the size of France."
"Burning Man fans say cops too heavy-handed" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 8/30/10)
"Burning Man fans accuse overzealous officers of destroying the quality of an otherwise peaceful celebration of radical self-expression to be held Monday through Sept. 6. Some 50,000 people are expected ... on the Black Rock Desert, about 110 miles north of Reno ... Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Pershing County Sheriff's Department cite a new study by U.S. Park Police that concludes an even larger police presence is needed."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|WILDFIRE AND PREVENTION
"Inland wildfires" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/2/10)
No huge wildfires are currently burning in California, but this roundup links to news from recent incidents in southern California, including one at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, that that firefighters kept to under 100 acres. "Firefighters prevented the blaze from jumping to the west side of Clinton Keith Road and the rural La Cresta community..."
"BLM Mother Lode Office announces fire restrictions" (BLM news release, 9/1/10)
The Bureau of Land Management has implemented fire restrictions within the Mother Lode Field Office boundary, including all BLM-managed public lands in Nevada, Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Mariposa counties, a total of about 230,000 acres. The fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice, because of extremely dry conditions.
"Learn how you can create defensible space" (California Fire Alliance)
How to create defensible space around your property, to reduce the risk of losing your home - even in severe wildfire.
"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.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) owls and falcons and weasels
SOURCE: "Long-tailed Vole - Microtus longicaudus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Common predators include owls, falcons, and weasels.
Other wildlife on BLM-managed lands:
"Visitors urged to be bear aware" (The Inyo Register, 8/31/10)
"Local officials are reminding campers to store all food in bear canisters and lockers as Whitney Portal and the Alabama Hills see increased ursine activity this year." A local shop owner says about 10 bears have been "haunting campsites and homes in the Whitney Portal and Alabama Hills area. 'They’re not breaking into cabins or cars, but they have been pretty active in the campgrounds and the trail head area'."
RELATED: "King Range National Conservation Area- bear alert!" (BLM Arcata Field Office)
Black bears are becoming increasingly aggressive and have recently torn into backpacks and investigated tents in search of food or other scented items. To stop this association of humans with easy food access you MUST use a hard sided bear-proof food storage container to store ALL food, trash, toiletries and other scented items. Bears are very successful at retrieving items hung in trees, buried in the ground, covered with rocks or logs, and left in tents or packs.
RELATED: "The Alabama Hills" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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