A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 465 - 1/20/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Renewable energy
- America's Great Outdoors
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros: Adoption this weekend, more
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics related to public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items: California water, grazing fees
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
"Solar energy zone plan focus of public meetings in Washington, D.C. and six western states" (Department of the Interior press release, 1/14/11)
The public meetings are to gather comments on a comprehensive environmental analysis that has identified proposed "solar energy zones" on public lands in the west most suitable for environmentally sound, utility-scale solar energy production. Meetings start Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C. and include California meetings in El Centro, Indian Wells, Sacramento and Barstow.
"Feds surge forward on solar projects in the Southwest" (Politics Daily, 1/17/11)
"Ever since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 set the tangible goal of 10,000 megawatts of non-hydropower renewable energy by 2015, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior and the BLM have been working in tandem to facilitate large, utility-scale solar projects in the desert Southwest ... Opposition to these plans has been scarce. But in southern California, environmental and Native American advocates have charged that the BLM's due diligence on the environmental and cultural impact of solar facilities planned for the Sonoran, Colorado and Mojave deserts was woefully insufficient."
"Environmental group sues to stop solar project" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/19/11)
An environmental group, The Western Watersheds Project "has filed a lawsuit contending the federal government's 'fast track' approval of a solar energy development ... violated several laws. The complaint ... names as defendants the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other federal officials. BrightSource Energy Co. broke ground in October on the 5.6-square-mile solar field in the Ivanpah Valley ... near Primm, Nev."
"New lawsuit filed challenging approval of Sunrise Powerlink" (KBPS, 1/18/11)
"It questions the approval by the U.S. Forest Service and two other federal agencies allowing San Diego Gas and Electric to build the 120-mile long transmission line. It also questions approval of the project by the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service. San Diego Gas and Electric said the Sunrise Powerlink is needed to bring renewable energy from the Imperial Valley to San Diego County. The project broke ground in September 2010...."
"Unfettered vistas restored in remote valley" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/15/11)
Castle Mountain Venture, "cleaning up after a decade of open-pit mining ... removed 18 miles of power lines, leaving the lush stretch of the Mojave Desert more like it was in 1900, before gold was discovered in the hills." Solar project builder BrightSource Energy Co. could provide "a boost to preservation efforts" by buying 7,600 acres from Castle Mountain Venture "to make up for desert tortoise habitat lost to the Ivanpah development."
"Bottle Rock clears hurdle" (Lake County Record-Bee, 1/13/11)
The Lake County Planning Commission approved parts of a proposal to expand a geothermal power project in Lake County by Bottle Rock Power, LLC. "BRP entered into an agreement with the Binkley Family Trust, the landowners of the property on which the expansion would sit, in August to lease roughly 470 acres of surface land ... in Cobb. The company obtained the subsurface rights to the area from the Bureau of Land Management in 2007" said BRP general manager Brian Harms.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Talks begin on public uses for Kanaka Valley property near Rescue" (Sacramento Bee, 1/17/11)
"The Kanaka Valley is a lot of things. The Bureau of Land Management acquired the 695-acre property near Rescue just beyond Folsom Lake in 2010. It is a habitat for oak woodland, chaparral and rare plants, with views toward the American River, including glimpses of the Lollipop Tree famed among rafters. It's a wildlife corridor and the site of a historic settlement by Kanakas, native Hawaiians who worked at Sutter's Fort and later mixed with local Nisenan Indian residents. These days, it's also a bone of contention among neighbors and interest groups who want to influence how, or even whether, it is used."
RELATED: "BLM announces Pine Hill Preserve tours" (BLM news release, 1/20/11)
The BLM's Mother Lode Field Office will hold spring tours at the Pine Hill Preserve starting in April. Led by a naturalist, each tour introduces the public to the habitats of the preserve. Although the emphasis will be on the plants, wildlife and geology will also be discussed. The Pine Hill Preserve consists of more than 4,700 acres divided into five primary units, and several small satellite units. In February 2010, the BLM acquired Kanaka Valley, 695-acres of land connecting two of the units, that serves as an invaluable ecological corridor.
RELATED: "Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
Located in western El Dorado County, Pine Hill Preserve is home to a collection of eight rare plant species.
"Eel River group wants NRCA's tracks for trails" (The Ukiah Daily Journal, 1/18/11)
"A grass-roots effort is under way to rip out the rails and ties along the North Coast Railroad Authority corridor from Willits north to Humboldt Bay, and convert the corridor to a non-motorized trail." The founder of the Eel River Trails Association said one of four options "is to petition federal authorities to find the railway abandoned, beginning a 20-day period in which a predetermined agency could step up and ask to preserve the right-of-way for California -- possibly the Bureau of Land Management, among other agencies."
"Volunteers take pride in dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/16/11)
"People arrive at the Imperial sand dunes from all over the map, but local residents feel blessed to have the dunes in their own backyard. The people out here want to make sure the dunes stay clean and open for years to come, said Charla Teeters, program manager for United Desert Gateway." UDG members registered volunteers for a dunes cleanup last weekend, when "more than 3,000 volunteers were expected."
RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
"Seabirds, scenic vistas & stimulating studies" (News.bytes Extra)
A team of partners led by the BLM's California Coastal National Monument is working to help seabird species thrive along California's central coast. The entire Seabird Colony Enhancement Project team held its first face-to-face meeting recently, and toured part of the Project area near the BLM-managed Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
------ - - - - - -
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Sculpin are unusual fish in that they can have:
(a.) no scales on their bodies.
(b.) large eyes to see in underwater caves.
(c.) spikes they shoot at predators.
(d.) rudimentary lungs, rather than gills.
(e.) ink sacs they discharge to hide from predators.
(f.) a third eye on their tail, so they can see who -- or what -- is following them.
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild horses and burros available for adoption at Pierce College Equestrian Center" (BLM news release, 1/5/11)
This weekend: There are 30 young animals -- 20 wild horses, and 10 burros -- available for adoption in Woodland Hills, Jan. 21-22. Spectators are welcome. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. Animals arrive at noon on Friday, Jan. 21, and potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
"Preparing to care for my wild horse" (The Poway Patch, 1/15/11)
The writer recalls how how a wild horse picked her at a BLM adoption event in Ramona in 2002: "One of the bay fillies looked at me and I couldn't breathe ... This was not an accidental meeting. She and I were destined to be together."
"Equine love abounds in 'Wild Horse Wild Ride'" (Reuters, 1/17/11)
"The real subject" of this new documentary film "is the bonds that develop between a charismatic collection of horse whisperers, pro and am, and the spirited young beasts they train in a miraculous 100 days." The filmmakers "zero in on the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge and sidestep any debate over the U.S. policy behind the event. For decades the Bureau of Land Management has controlled the country's wild horse population by rounding up thousands each year, with the goal of finding homes for them. A lucky 100 get a heightened shot at adoption through the Challenge...."
"Put out to dud" (Las Vegas City Life, 1/20/11)
A birth control drug for wild horses is "technically ... an experimental treatment" but "to manage horse herds for 23 years," says a researcher. The BLM is conducting 11 "catch, treat and release" in Fiscal Year 2011 to try to control the population of wild horse herds. Wild horse advocates criticize the plan. The "father of horse birth control," who "spent the better part of three decades developing a drug that prevents pregnancy in horses, elephants, deer, elk and other animals," says "that wild horses and burros have no real natural predators in the desert, which is partly why overpopulation has become a concern...."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"BLM plans meeting for Clear Creek property owners/right-of-way holders" (BLM news release, 1/18/11)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Hollister Field Office will hold a meeting for property owners and right of way holders on Jan. 26 concerning the potential impact to property/ROW access from the Proposed Resource Management Plan for the Clear Creek Management Area.
"California Route 66 Association holds meeting in Needles" (Needles Desert Star, 1/17/11)
The California Historic Route 66 Association "is focused on preserving, promoting and educating people to the importance of Route 66 in California." Goals include "identifying property along Route 66 that is in need of preservation, seeking scenic byways status for Route 66, networking with other groups interested in preservation and educating others about the historic route through outreach activities." Members toured Needles, then "met with Bureau of Land Management representative Danella George to discuss the scenic byways program."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Listings include wildlife biologist, archaeologist, supervisory civil engineering technician and various firefighting jobs.
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior cites encouraging outlook for 2011 water supply allocations for California's Central Valley Project" (Department of the Interior press release, 1/18/11)
Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor today forecasted likely increases in water supplies in 2011 for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project based on measurements of the early snowpack, runoff, reservoir storage information and actions by CVP partners.
"Obama admin denies petition to raise grazing fees on public lands" (Greenwire in New York Times, 1/19/11)
"The Obama administration yesterday rejected a proposal to raise grazing fees on public lands, a decision that suggests ranchers will continue to be charged below-market prices to graze cattle on federal rangelands. The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service in separate letters yesterday to environmental groups said other priorities prevent them from pursuing new rules to revise the current grazing fee."
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