A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 448 - 9/16/10
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors:
- King Range 40th anniversary
- FREE offer: King Range poster
- King Range desktop wallpaper
- BLM Director Bob Abbey visits California
- National Public Lands Day: Coming up!
- Renewable energy
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- Selected upcoming events
- National items: Grazing permits
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
|BLM DIRECTOR VISITS CALIFORNIA
"BLM Director Bob Abbey visits California" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM Director Bob Abbey toured Northern California this week, meeting with diverse groups and visiting landscapes stretching from the Pacific coastline to the high desert rangelands of Lassen County. This weekend he'll travel to Southern California. A few photos follow, and in this and the next issue of News.bytes, we'll chronicle his travels.
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
Volunteers needed: Help celebrate on Saturday, Sept. 25, 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.)
Including these two events on Saturday, Sept. 25:
"River Springs - Historic site cleanup/stabilization" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Volunteers will pick up trash, remove weeds, help maintain and repair fences and gates, and stabilize a historic stone corral. Learn more:
"Carrizo Plain National Monument"
9 a.m. - We will be cleaning up historic homesteads, building trails and doing general maintenance work. There will be a free lunch, give-aways from local businesses, guest speakers at the lunch and lots of team spirit. Learn more:
"National Public Lands Day" (NPLD website)
For our non-California readers, find an NPLD event near you -- in any part of the country.
"Proposal advances for gigantic solar array" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/16/10)
"In a step toward greater dependence on renewable energy sources, the California Energy Commission approved a plan Wednesday to build the biggest solar array in the world in eastern Riverside County. The commissioners unanimously approved the Blythe Solar Power Project .... Construction could begin in late November or early December if the Bureau of Land Management ... gives its OK in October."
RELATED: "State approves massive Blythe solar plant" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/15/10)
"California energy commissioners approved the world's largest solar project Wednesday, a 1,000-megawatt complex of parabolic mirrors and heating elements in eastern Riverside County that will produce hundreds of construction jobs .... The Blythe project still needs approvals from ... the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."
"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.
"Activists camp out at Mojave Desert solar site" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/14/10)
"Desert activists camped out this week in the Ivanpah Valley in northeastern San Bernardino County are offering tours of the public land where a solar development is proposed .... Next week, the California Energy Commission is scheduled to decide whether to approve the 5.6-square-mile solar project ... The developer ... also needs approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Tribes join protests of Ivanpah solar project" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 9/14/10)
"Their ancestors have come to these 'altars' for centuries to worship the divine and admire the Mojave Desert. On Tuesday, they came to the sacred site to join about 20 protesters who want to protect a 5.6-square-mile stretch of desert below the ridge."
"Thousands of green energy jobs under threat from end of US grant" (Guardian UK, 9/10/10)
While several solar energy projects in California "have cleared regulatory hurdles, they're also facing a major roadblock -- the expiration at the end of this year of a federal program that would pick up the tab for almost one-third of each project's costs .... a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers is pushing to extend the program for two years, a move they say would spark billions of dollars in investment and create thousands of jobs, but election season politics and a crowded legislative calendar make passage uncertain."
"Scientists: Desert energy projects should tread lightly" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/14/10)
"Eight large solar developments proposed in the California desert would cover 59 square miles of public land untouched by plows or bulldozers -- the type of land a panel of science advisers says should be preserved -- as the nation rushes to reduce greenhouse gases and become less reliant on oil imports." The 172-page report was "prepared for the California Energy Commission, the federal Bureau of Land Management and state and federal wildlife agencies...."
"Thursday scoping meeting discusses proposed wind park project" (Lake County News, 9/11/10)
The BLM hosted the "public scoping meeting for a proposed wind park on Walker Ridge east of Clearlake Oaks ... About 40 people gathered in the Board of Supervisors chambers at the Lake County Courthouse in Lakeport to hear more details of the proposed park ... on about 8,000 acres straddling the ridgetop of Walker Ridge...."
RELATED: "Scoping meeting held regarding wind farm" (Lake County Record-Bee, 9/10/10)
"Job creation, environmental impacts, tax allocations and more concerns were brought up by the public Thursday evening during a scoping meeting for a project to build a wind farm on Walker Ridge. .... about 29 wind turbines on Bureau of Land Management land north of Highway 20 straddling the county line of Lake and Colusa counties."
RELATED: "BLM holds meeting, extends comment period on Walker Ridge proposed wind power project" (News.bytes Extra)
Scoping comments for the Environmental Impact Statement will be accepted until Oct. 13 on the project, located in Lake and Colusa counties.
RELATED: "BLM extends comment period for Walker Ridge Wind Project to Oct. 13" (BLM news release, 9/8/10)
The Bureau of Land Management has extended the time for the public to provide input on issues that should be addressed in environmental documents for the proposed Walker Ridge Wind Project in Lake and Colusa counties.
"Geysers celebrate 50 years" (Lake County Record-Bee, 9/13/10)
"This week The Geysers is celebrating 50 years of continuous operations and service to Northern California. The Geysers, owned and operated by the Calpine Corporation, is the single largest geothermal electrical operation in the world and is responsible for about 20 percent of California's renewable electrical generation and about 40 percent of geothermal electricity in the nation."
RELATED: "'Flushing' the lights on: Wastewater powers Santa Rosa electricity grid"
(News10 Sacramento, 9/12/10)
Sonoma County: "The wastewater from homes and businesses goes to a treatment plant, then a nearby conversion facility, before being turned into electricity." That helps solve two problems: where to send water from wastewater treatment plants, and how to replenish underground water supplies need for geothermal power plants.
"Not just a lot of hot air" (Wall Street Journal, 9/13/2010)
"Produced by drilling deep underground and extracting steam or hot water through tiny fractures in rock, geothermal power has always been an attractive source of renewable energy because it can be generated round-the-clock, unlike wind and solar power. The problem: Geothermal resources can be difficult to find and expensive to bring into production .... But now, new technology—combined with government funding—is giving the industry a giant push."
RELATED: "Geothermal energy" (BLM California)
This energy source, which literally means the "earth's heat," is found throughout California on public lands. Major sources include the Geysers field in Lake and Sonoma counties, Coso Hot Springs in Inyo County, and East Mesa in Imperial County.
"Sunrise Powerlink construction starts" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/15/10)
"San Diego Gas & Electric said Wednesday it will start building essential elements of the Sunrise Powerlink this week" by upgrading substations and opening a construction yard and office, though "no lines are being strung or towers lifted into place .... litigation is pending in state and federal court challenging approvals by the California Public Utilities Commission and the Bureau of Land Management."
"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $3.6 million" (BLM news release, 9/13/10)
Twelve oil and gas lease parcels in Kern County were auctioned recently for a total of $3,600,999, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office.
"Groups mount new challenge to Ruby Pipeline plan" Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/14/10)
"Environmental groups are again asking a federal appeals court to stop a plan to build a $3 billion natural gas pipeline from Wyoming to Oregon." The groups allege the BLM and other agencies "didn't conduct adequate environmental reviews." The the 680-mile Ruby Pipeline would cross approximately 54 miles of public lands managed by BLM-California's Surprise Field Office, and supply natural gas to markets in California.
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Bulldozers aid fight as Canyon Fire grows, governor declares state of emergency" (Bakersfield Californian, 9/15/10)
"The fire was 50 percent contained as of 7 p.m. Wednesday .... The fire was estimated to be fully contained on Sunday. A relatively cool day with relatively low winds, as well as backfires to broaden the firebreaks, helped nearly 1,500 firefighters and other personnel prevent any more structural damage in the blaze that began Sunday afternoon...."
Canyon Fire (Kern Valley Sun, 9/16/10)
The home page includes updates and related stories on the Canyon Fire, which firefighters from BLM and other agencies continue to battle. The fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and still threatens homes. Investigators are asking to look at photos taken by motorists who stopped along Highway 178 to photograph the fire.
"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.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
When a wolverine has food it cannot eat right away, it keeps it away from other animals by:
(a.) Hiding it in the branches of tall trees.
(b.) Digging among the dense roots of trees and burying it.
(c.) Marking it with a foul-smelling musk.
(d.) Chewing it up, then spitting it up and forming it into balls which it stores in its den.
(e.) Mixing in with cream of mushroom soup, canned peas and canned onion rings to create a casserole that many other living creatures find inedible.
------> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Twin Peaks wild horse and burro roundup" (BLM California, Eagle Lake Field Office)
BLM's goal is to leave a healthy herd of at least 450 wild horses and 72 wild burros to reach the Appropriate Management Level set by the Eagle Lake Resource Management Plan in 2008 to ensure healthy rangelands. The current populations are about five times the number of wild horses and two times the number of burros. BLM plans to humanely gather as many of the total population as possible and return to the range the most suitable animals to reach the AML. Details of the roundup are available on this website.
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:
"Rescued foal slowly improving" (KRCR-TV Redding, 9/14/10)
"The foal, named Honey Bandit, is no longer hooked up to an IV, and his caretaker says his health is improving every single day."
|ARRA - BLM FUNDS UNDER THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
The project below was funded with part of the ARRA funds appropriated to BLM-California.
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Tight security greets fans at Nevada desert race" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/11/10)
"With the roar of engines and clouds of dust, desert truck racing returned to the southwestern United States Saturday with increased security and scrutiny. The Terrible's Primm 300 sent scores of race fans -- many from the Inland area -- into the southern Nevada desert. But unlike the California 200 race at Johnson Valley, east of Victorville, where eight spectators were killed when a truck flipped into the crowd, revelers were kept far away from the track and access was limited to those affiliated with race teams."
"BLM seeks comments on proposed Marine Corps withdrawal" (BLM news release, 9/15/10)
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on a proposal to withdraw for five years 332,000 acres of public land adjacent to the Marine Corps' Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms from settlement, sale, and location of mining claims to preserve the status quo while the Marines complete environmental studies on a long-term proposal to expand the base, which requires legislative approval.
"BLM public comment period extended for Agua Caliente land swap" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/13/10)
"The Bureau of Land Management ... extended the public comment period for an environmental assessment addressing a proposed land exchange with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians ... involving land within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument."
"Folsom, Auburn recreation sites threatened by feds' funding cuts" (Sacramento Bee, 9/10/10)
OpEd by Alan Ehrgott, Executive Director of the American River Conservancy: "The federal Bureau of Reclamation recently announced it could no longer pay for the management of the 20,000-acre Folsom State Recreation Area (including Lake Natoma and Folsom Lake) and the 26,000-acre Auburn State Recreation Area .... This role is better served by the Bureau of Land Management, also a Department of Interior agency."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include firefighting positions, horse wrangler (motor vehicle operator), human resources assistant, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) specialist.
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
Sept. 17-18 - Central California Resource Advisory Council meeting
Coalinga meeting, plus field tour
Sept. 20 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Sept. 23 - Public hearing on use of motorized vehicles and aircraft in wild horse and burro management
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Judge: BLM must release names of permit holders" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/14/10)
"The Bureau of Land Management must release the names and addresses of people with grazing permits on the nation's public land, a federal judge has ruled .... If the agency doesn't appeal, it could be forced to turn over the names, addresses and other information about those who hold nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases on nearly 160 million acres across the West." Plaintiffs in a lawsuit said the information was needed to understand public land policies.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) Marking it with a foul-smelling musk.
SOURCE: "Wolverine - Gulo gulo" (BLM California wildlife database)
Wolverines are known for stealing food from other animals by either scaring them away from their catch or simply by raiding their food cache when they are away. Wolverines keep their own food caches, but since they are not very good at hiding their food they mark it with a fowl-smelling musk to keep other animals away.
BIOLOGY ON BLM-MANAGED LANDS:
"Hybrids may thrive where parents fear to tread" (New York Times, 9/13/10)
"While several examples of human-bred animal hybrids are well known and can thrive in captivity including zorses ... beefalo... and, of course, mules ... naturally occurring animal hybrids have many factors working against their longer-term success." But some may thrive, as have some plant hybrids: "the common sunflower and prairie sunflower have combined at least three times to give rise to three hybrid species: the sand sunflower, the desert sunflower, and the puzzle sunflower."
RELATED: "Wildflowers in the Mojave Desert" (BLM-California, Needles Field Office)
Includes a photo of a desert sunflower, as discussed in the story above.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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