A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 455 - 11/04/10
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Renewable energy
- America's Great Outdoors
- ARRA projects
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Secretary Salazar approves seventh large-scale solar energy project on U.S. public lands" (BLM national news release, 11/4/10)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today approved the Genesis Solar Project, a 250 megawatt facility that will use parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce enough clean energy to power 75,000 - 187,500 homes and generate 1,085 jobs at peak construction and 50 permanent positions. Proposed by Genesis Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, the facility will be located on nearly 1,950 acres of public land 25 miles west of Blythe, in Riverside County, California.
"Indian tribe files suit to stop solar project" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/2/10)
"An Imperial County Indian tribe has filed suit to stop a big solar project on which San Diego Gas & Electric is counting to get large amounts of green power. The Quechan Indian tribe filed suit in San Diego federal court Friday, seeking an injunction against the Imperial Valley Solar Project, one of the first desert solar farms approved last month by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The 3,500-member tribe says the 10-square-mile project about 95 miles east of San Diego will damage archeological sites."
RELATED: "Tribe fights giant solar energy project" (Courthouse News Service, 11/2/10)
"The Quechan Tribe claims the Secretary of the Interior rushed through approval of a giant solar power project in the Mojave Desert and ignored potential damage to the tribe's cultural artifacts and the desert's sensitive flora and fauna, including an endangered lizard that appears in the tribe's creation story. The 709-megawatt Imperial Valley Solar Project will spread 28,360 'SunCatcher' dishes across 6,360 acres of public land, about 14 miles west of El Centro."
"Can solar volts jolt the area economy?" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/31/10)
"The 1,000-megawatt Blythe project, which received final approval from the Bureau of Land Management on Monday, promises about 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and another 221 permanent jobs -- numbers that could make a decent dent in the more than 4,000 construction jobs the valley has lost to the recession .... But besides the two-hour commute to the Blythe site... the valley's unemployed construction workers may face at least two barriers to landing jobs on the project -- union membership and skills."
"Lawsuit to stop SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink dismissed" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/2/10)
The litigant had sued to overturn BLM's approval of rights-of-way for parts of the line, proposed to carry renewable energy from inland to coastal cities. "Other litigation still pending. Judge might let this one proceed later."
"State OKs solar project near Newberry Springs" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 10/29/10)
"The 663.5 megawatt Calico Solar Project 17 miles east of Newberry Springs was approved by the California Energy Commission about a week after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management gave the project its approval. The project is expected to power about 500,000 homes."
"Solar farm sparks heated debate in California's Panoche Valley" (Los Angeles Times, 11/1/10)
"San Benito County officials support a proposed Solargen facility just south of San Francisco Bay, but local farmers and ranchers say it will ruin their livelihoods and further endanger some species." This proposed project is not on public lands.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"A hard fought transfer: Thompson, Navy, BLM officials on hand for Centerville facility transfer" (Eureka Times-Standard, 10/29/10)
"A decade-long process came one step closer to completion ... as the formal transfer of the Centerville Beach Naval Facility to the Bureau of Land Management was finalized .... the 40-acre site was decommissioned in 1993 .... The transfer of the property is part of a larger effort ... aimed at transferring four parcels totaling about 650 acres into public ownership in order to provide more public access to coastal bluffs, streams and beaches."
RELATED: "Centerville transitioning to new recreation spot" (News.bytes Extra)
Once an important listening post for the U. S. Navy's undersea surveillance program, the coastal bluffs and beaches at Centerville on California's north coast are now poised to become a spectacular recreation destination. In a ceremony held Thursday, Nov. 4, the Bureau of Land Management officially accepted transfer of the former Navy property into BLM management. The event culminated a decade of planning that began after the Navy decommissioned the facility in 1993.
"BLM to begin Desert Discovery Center upgrades, expansion" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 11/1/10)
Today: "Local BLM officials are hosting an open house at the Desert Discovery Center Thursday to show the community its plans for expanding the facility, including its eight-acre outdoor area. Officials plan to add new exhibits, trails and an amphitheater to the museum .... Once the Desert Discovery Center is expanded, the facility will have teaching stations outside focused on a variety of classroom topics, such as biology, history, geology and paleontology."
"Fewer visit local dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/1/10)
The number of Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area visitors on Halloween weekend "fell about 10,000 people, though Bureau
of Land Management anticipated the decrease. Estimates of about 50,000 people for this year’s Halloween opener show a drop from last year" when there were "about 60,000 attendees."
RELATED: "Groups join to provide ATV training"(Yuma Sun, 10/27/10)
"The American Desert Foundation and the All Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute are teaming up to train and certify ATV owners to be off-road operators. The certification is required of those who wish to ride their ATVs legally in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and in the open deserts of California .... The classes will be offered in three separate areas of ISDRA -- Glamis, Gordon's Well and at the base of the Superstition Mountains."
RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes season heats up as weather cools down" (BLM news release, 10/29/10)
The new season for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts at the Imperial Sand Dunes and nearby Superstition Mountain recreation areas opens with an emphasis on safety.
"Group offers special duck hunts" (Stockton Record, 11/3/10)
"The Lodi-based, non-profit Valley Waterfowl Association is offering duck hunting for boys and girls ages 16 and under, and disabled adults this season at Cosumnes River Preserve. Hunting, by reservation only ... are possible through a unique arrangement between Valley Waterfowl and the federal Bureau of Land Management...."
"Volunteers get down in the dirt to help special area" (News.bytes Extra)
Twenty-five volunteers recently helped prepare native seeds for planting in the Dos Palmas Area of Critical Environmental Concern – an area that contains a variety of environments including wildlife ponds, freshwater marshlands, fan palm oases, native sand dunes, desert sink scrub, and desert wash woodlands. The ACEC, managed by BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office provides habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, including several listed species.
"Ukiah Fire Department Explorers work on North Cow Mountain" (News.bytes Extra)
Early last month, the Ukiah Fire Department Explorers and an Engine crew from Cal Fire's Ukiah Station cleared a section of trail, rehabilitated a section of creek bed and picked up two pickup truck-loads of trash in the BLM's North Cow Mountain Recreation Area.
RELATED: "Cow Mountain Recreation Area" (BLM Ukiah Field Office)
North Cow Mountain Recreation Area is managed for primarily non-motorized activities, such as hunting, hiking, camping, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling.
"Rasor sharpens its image" (News.bytes Extra)
Rasor Road is where the rubber leaves the road -- literally. Just beyond the half-way point from Southern California to Las Vegas, it’s where far too many travelers think they've found the ideal place to clean out their cars on the move. This fall, 50 volunteers including staff from the BLM, the Mojave National Preserve, the Rasor Road gas station, and from places far and wide – all gave up a Saturday to help clean up and restore the defiled land.
|ARRA - BLM FUNDS UNDER THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
The projects below were funded with part of the ARRA funds allocated to BLM-California.
"Newly-paved rail trail offers variety of recreation" (News.bytes Extra)
This weekend: Crews are putting the finishing touches on a $1.6 million project to pave the Sacramento River Rail Trail. A ribbon cutting and public bike ride will celebrate the accomplishment on Saturday, Nov. 6 -- anyone interested should reserve space. The national recreation trail follows the river northwest of Redding from Shasta Dam to near the Keswick Dam, a distance of about nine miles. Managed by BLM's Redding Field Office, it crosses public lands administered by BLM and the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.
"Shasta Dam to Sundial Bridge by bicycle" (Red Bluff Daily News, 11/4/10)
"The Redding Bureau of Land Management is partnering with Turtle Bay, city of Redding, Bureau of Reclamation, McConnell Foundation and Sierra Pacific Industries lo offer a historical interpretive bike ride from one local icon to another, Shasta Dam to the Sundial Bridge, to celebrate the completion of the paving of the National Recreation Trail, the Sacramento River Rail Trail."
"Road project improves public safety" (News.bytes Extra)
A stretch of road in Lake County that presented a public safety hazard has been improved using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, hired contractors to gravel and compact 2.2 miles of the eastern portion of Mendo-Lake Road with crushed road base and make other improvements this year. Paving of 4,500 feet reduced the danger of heavy clay soils that are slippery when wet, and reshaping reduced erosion.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
Colorado fringe-toed lizard
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
What is this Colorado Desert fringe-toad lizard doing in California?
(a.) It is on display at a Palm Springs conference this week, on western U.S. lizard habitat.
(b.) Southern California scientists are testing its DNA for possible treatment of viral infections.
(c.) He's an invasive species from the Colorado high desert, probably released here by a pet owner when it became too large.
(d.) Silicon Valley researchers are studying its nervous system for clues to a more efficient design of computer chips.
(e.) It is a California native, as the name implies.
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BP adopts mustangs for AZ horse patrols" (Nogales International, 10/29/10)
"The Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector says it has adopted 10 mustangs from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program for eventual integration into its horse patrol unit. 'Mustangs are known to be tough, durable horses that have very solid hooves and strong bone structure, which makes them less prone to lameness, and better suited for the rocky mountainous terrain found in Southern Arizona,' the Border Patrol said in a news release .... The BLM program works in conjunction with Colorado Correctional Institute’s Wild Horse Inmate Program."
"'No’ to Pickens' - Commissioners oppose horse sanctuary" (Elko, NV Free Daily Press, 11/4/10)
"After two-and-a-half hours of public comment and a presentation by Madeleine Pickens, Elko County Commissioners voted 3-1 Wednesday to oppose her wild horse sanctuary project. The county commission meeting room was packed with about 70 people in attendance and standing room only..... If the proposal is approved by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the sanctuary would be home to 1,000 mustangs initially and would be a non-breeding sanctuary."
WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Groups work together to cut fire danger" ((Sonora Union Democrat, 11/2/10)
"There was a time when the forests of northeastern Calaveras County fed communities. Now they threaten to destroy them. Decades without thinning ... have left a tinderbox of thickly grown trees and heavy brush, according to many experts .... The situation has spurred a massive coalition of public, private and nonprofit groups .... The goal is to make the forests safe again." The Bureau of Land Management helps to support Fire Safe Councils such as this one across California.
"Official fire season ending after major wildfires in Kern" (Bakersfield Californian, 10/28/10)
"Firefighters are hoping for a reprieve from the massive blazes they faced this summer as local agencies announce the end of the 2010 wildland fire season Monday. 'All the major fires in California happened in Kern County this year,' Kern County Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins said ..... In all, the Kern County Fire Department extinguished 618 vegetation fires with a total of 8,484 acres during the 2010 fire season. The Bakersfield office of the Bureau of Land Management responded to 155 wildfires totaling 5,300 acres, and the Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument and Tule River Reservation Fire Department fought 71 wildfires that added up to 30,000 acres."
"BLM Surprise Field Office plans burning projects" (BLM news release, 11/2/10)
BLM plans slash pile and broadcast burning projects in the coming months at various locations in and around Surprise Valley, during the late fall, winter and spring. Fires will be ignited only if weather allows for safe and successful burning. Crews will burn slash piles created during construction of the Cedarville fuel break west of Cedarville and the Lake City fuel break around Lake City.
"BLM Eagle Lake Field Office plans pile burning projects" (BLM news release, 11/2/10)
The piles of brush and limbs were created during juniper reduction and other projects to reduce hazardous fuels that could feed wildfires and improve plant diversity and landscape health.
"BLM and Forest Service initiate Palms to Pines Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan" (BLM news release, 10/28/10)
The state-designated Palms to Pines Scenic Byway runs between the cities of Banning in the northwest or Hemet in the west to Palm Desert in the Southeast, traveling through the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The public will have an opportunity to become involved in the development of the CMP through a series of five scheduled workshops.
"BLM announces next community planning meetings for Kanaka Valley" (BLM news release, 11/2/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office will hold public meetings in Rescue for the community-based management plan of the Kanaka Valley area near the Pine Hill Preserve. The meetings will focus on specific topics such as recreation, fire and fuels management, scenic values and access.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Hikers score win over land swap" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/4/10)
"More than 100 local hikers celebrated Wednesday after the Palm Springs City Council indicated plans to only support a proposed land exchange between the federal government and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians if the city's most popular hiking trails remain in the public domain. Upon request by Councilwoman Ginny Foat, the city staff will be drafting a letter to the Bureau of Land Management to endorse a proposed land swap with the tribe on the conditions that two parcels are excluded from the deal."
"Landfill fight may go to Supreme Court" (Hi-Desert Star, 11/1/10)
"The owners of a former iron mine here have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in a continuing legal effort to receive permission to convert their property into a landfill." A spokesman for Kaiser Eagle Mountain, LLC said, “One path is to appeal to the Supreme Court, which we’re doing." He said Kaiser "also could go back to the Bureau of Land Management to fix deficiencies the BLM had with the project."
"New permit system to visit Painted Rock" (BLM news release, 11/3/10)
Beginning Nov. 10, the Bureau of Land Management will require permits to visit the pictograph site at Painted Rock on the Carrizo Plain National Monument.
"2011 - 2015 Burning Man Festival permit" (BLM Nevada)
"The BLM Black Rock Field Office is seeking public input as it evaluates Black Rock City's proposal to renew their Special Recreation Permit for the Burning Man Festival for a period of 5 years. Please submit comments before December 13, 2010." Many California residents attend the festival.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include maintenance worker, assistant fire engine operator and hotshot wildland firefighter.
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
November 7 - Autumn natural history walk
Clear Creek Preserve
Nov. 14 - Acorns, a Native American staple
Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) It is a California native, as the name implies.
SOURCE: "Colorado Desert fringe-toed lizard - Uma notata" (BLM California wildlife database)
:Colorado Desert fringe-toad lizards are a subspecies of fringe-toed lizards. They are found only in the Colorado Desert in Imperial and San Diego Counties, and they are very habitat-specific.
"Colorado Desert - Overview" (California Department of Fish and Game)
"California's Colorado Desert is a part of the larger Sonoran Desert, which extends across southwest North America. The Colorado Desert region encompasses approximately 7 million acres, reaching from the Mexican border in the south to the higher-elevation Mojave Desert in the north and from the Colorado River in the east to the Peninsular mountain range in the west."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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