A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 471 - 3/10/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors: Mountain biking, wilderness, OHV grants, Seeds of Success, hiking, lots more
- Get Outside in America's Great Outdoors
- More outdoors: Wildflowers
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics on public lands in California
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Salinas-area racers benefit from Fort Ord's roads and trails, advocate for a place in its future" (The Salinas Californian, 3/4/11)
"The bicycle races held on the roads and trails of the former Fort Ord since 1995 bring hundreds of cycling enthusiasts to the area ... But the continuing redevelopment and transformation of Fort Ord has cyclists worried that it may one day become 'paradise lost' for them. The races ... road, mountain bike, downhill and cyclocross -- take advantage of the hundreds of miles of trails on the Fort Ord Public Lands, as well as many of the roads built by the Army before the base closed in 1994."
RELATED: "Fort Ord Public Lands" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
"BLM Adds to wilderness areas in Eastern Sierra" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM-California, with the help of the National Audubon Society and the Wilderness Land Trust, have new expanded four wilderness areas for public use and enjoyment. Section 6 of the Wilderness Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior and the BLM to accept gifts of land adjacent to Wilderness Areas for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The only condition is BLM must notify Congress and wait 60 days. Unless Congress objects, the addition becomes final."
"2011 OHV grant applications available for public review" (BLM news release, 3/8/11)
The public is invited to comment on the 2011 applications the Bureau of Land Management has submitted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. The public review and comment period runs from Tuesday, March 8 through Monday, April 4. The annual OHV grant applications are a key part of the partnership between BLM and the State of California, which issues grants to a variety of entities to improve or mitigate off-highway vehicle recreation.
RELATED: BLM invites public comments on OHV grant application" (BLM news release, 3/9/11)
BLM's Arcata Field Office will hold a public meeting Tuesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. to review and comment on its application. Funds would be used in fiscal year 2012 for trail maintenance, law enforcement, and facilities operations and maintenance related to off-highway vehicle activities at Samoa Dunes Recreation Area.
"Seeds of Success in California" (News.bytes Extra)
Spring is fast approaching -- and as it does, BLM interns work to save plant diversity for the future. BLM established the Seeds of Success program in 2001, to contribute to an effort to collect and preserve plant diversity for future generations. Collectively, the program has made more than 9,000 wildland native seed collections, representing more than 3,000 species.
"Spring is great time for hiking" (Victorville Daily Press, 3/7/11)
"Before the summer heat sets in, this time of year offers the ideal opportunity to hike picturesque locations scattered throughout the Mojave Desert and area mountains." Some "top hiking picks" include BLM-managed Rainbow Basin, the Mojave National Preserve, Hole in the Wall and the Pacific Crest Trail.
RELATED: "Rainbow Basin Natural Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)
Eight miles north of Barstow, Rainbow Basin is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern due to landscape features and paleontological resources in the area. Many visitors come to see exciting multi-colored rock formations and walk the scenic canyons. A variety of desert wildlife is found here, including the desert tortoise. Note the cautions on this web page.
"March activities planned for Alabama Hills" (BLM news release, 3/8/11)
Interpretive hikes to view natural arches and a volunteer day to restore native plants are among the activities planned for the Alabama Hills area in March. The next interpretive hikes to view arches in the Alabama Hills is set for Saturday, March 26 (weather permitting). On March 19, the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and BLM Bishop Field Office will sponsor a volunteer day to "vertically mulch" formerly disturbed areas to encourage plant regeneration.
"King Range lecture series concludes with fish, birds of prey presentations" (BLM news release, 3/3/11)
On March 15, Dave Fuller, a Bureau of Land Management fish biologist, will discuss the fish species that inhabit streams and ocean waters on the Lost Coast. On March 29, audience members will get a close look at live birds of prey in a presentation by BLM Wildlife Biologist Jesse Irwin. The Humboldt Wildlife Care Center will provide the birds. Anyone interested in attending either event should call.
"Apply now for north central region spring turkey hunts" (Plumas County News, 3/9/11)
"The Department of Fish and Game is now accepting applications for spring wild turkey hunts in the North Central Region, and deadlines are approaching. These hunts are being offered at Spenceville, Oroville, Daugherty Hill and Gray Lodge wildlife areas. A special hunt opportunity is also available at the Cosumnes River Preserve, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management."
"Santa Margarita Get Carrizo 'Gateway Community' Status From BLM" (The Taft Independent, 3/5/11)
"The San Luis Obispo County town of Santa Margarita has joined the city of Taft in becoming a 'Gateway to the Carrizo Plain' community."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
|GET OUTSIDE in America's Great Outdoors...
...enjoy a leisurely walk along a boardwalk and paved trails or a challenging 7-mile hike through vernal pool grasslands at the Cosumnes River Preserve. The Preserve provides the last remaining functioning flood plain habitat making this area a critical area for over 200 wintering waterfowl and water bird species. Also see some of the last remaining Valley Oak Trees in California, and be sure to bring the kids to explore a hands-on exhibit at the Visitor Center.
Have a preview with an online visit our Cosumnes River Preserve webcam:
|MORE AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: WILDFLOWERS
Wildflowers are off to a slow start in many parts of the state, because of the cool weather. But plan to move quickly once they start - wildflower peaks can pass quickly!
"BLM to offer wildflower hikes at Cache Creek" (BLM news release, 3/8/11)
The Bureau of Land Management will host free guided hikes to look for wildflowers in the Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County on several Saturdays this spring, including April 9, 16, 23 and 30 and May 7. Early reservations are suggested for the popular hikes, which are limited to 25 participants each. Hikers should be in good physical condition -- see news release for details. Hikes will be cancelled in rainy weather.
"2011 wildflower hotline" (Theodore Payne Foundation)
March 4: "Good rainfall in December and early January encouraged germination of many seedlings and gave promise of an early, bright, bloom. Then came a five week spell of dry, relatively warm conditions. Some early blooms went over fast, others did not flower for lack of moisture ... Continued cool temperatures have delayed flowering of early to mid spring species of annuals ... Definitely, the best blooms are to be found in the southernmost coastal and desert regions this week."
"Wildflowers" (BLM California)
Springtime brings carpets of colorful spring blooms to large areas of California. Many of these areas are relatively unknown, visited by only a select few during the peak of color. The wildflower season generally starts with an early spring in the desert regions of southern California, and works its way northward. When the wildflower seasons occur, and how lush they are, depends on the weather and can vary widely from year to year.
"Wildflower Reports 2011 - Southern California" (Desert USA)
Photos and wildflower reports from members of the public. Includes link to Northern California link, but no wildflower reports there yet.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Mustangs, burros available for adoption in Red Bluff, Chico" (BLM news release, 3/3/11)
North Valley residents will have the opportunity to provide homes for wild horses and burros when the BLM brings its adoption program to Red Bluff and Chico on two weekends in April. Animals will be available Saturday and Sunday, April 2-3, in Red Bluff, and Saturday, April 16, in Chico. Both adoption events run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with previews from 2 to 6 p.m. on the preceding Fridays. Each event will feature 30 mustang mares, geldings, colts and fillies ranging in age from about a year old to five years old, and 10 wild burros of all ages.
"In anticipation of the first ride with my mustang" (Poway Patch, 3/5/11)
The latest in a series of stories on a mustang adopted from the BLM: "By the time Cricket was 2 years old -- at least from the best guesses of the Bureau of Land Management and the paperwork I’d received -- I'd had Cricket for six glorious months. I had learned that she was a confident and quiet horse, even more so than I’d thought, and I had gained all the confidence in the world with her. At least until it came time to ride her." Includes links to earlier stories in the series.
"Donkey defender" (CBS News, 3/4/11)
Video: "Jennifer the donkey protects a Yolo County, California sheep herd from danger." The rancher says she "keeps unwelcome visitors out of the neighborhood" including dogs and coyotes. He also "points out that he's not the first to use a burro as a bodyguard." In fact, many of our adopters use their BLM burros as livestock guardians. ("Burro" and "donkey" usually refer to the same animal, except among breeders who raise specific breeds of donkey. FYI: a mule is a cross between a female horse and a male burro; a hinny is born of a male horse and female burro.)
"BLM to webcast two-day meeting in Phoenix of Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board" (BLM news release, 3/9/11)
The Bureau of Land Management announced that the March 10-11 meeting of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board in Phoenix will be accessible as a webcast on the Internet for anyone interested in observing the meeting but unable to attend in person.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
(a.) …are blind, but can find their way around by a crude form of echolocation
(b.) …move slowly so as not to attract attention from predators.
(c.) …eat very little and conserve their energy, since the desert yields little food.
(d.) …have such a high metabolism they have to eat constantly to stay alive.
(e.) …dislike it intensely, when hawks refer to them as "dessert shrews."
(f.) …look like the dog in "Nightmare Before Christmas."
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"BLM announces 2011 priority renewable energy projects" (BLM news release, 3/8/11)
The BLM announced a list of 19 projects for developing renewable energy within the National System of Public Lands to which the agency is giving priority in 2011. In making the announcement, BLM Director Bob Abbey emphasized that these projects fit with the Administration’s onshore renewable energy efforts. The priority list includes nine solar projects, five wind projects, and five geothermal projects throughout the western U.S. -- many in California.
"BLM extends public comment period for Draft Solar PEIS by 30 days" (BLM news release, 3/7/11)
The BLM today announced a 30-day extension of the public comment period for the Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, a joint effort with Department of Energy. The study is a comprehensive environmental analysis that has identified proposed "solar energy zones" on public lands in six western states that are most suitable for environmentally sound, utility-scale solar energy production. Because of numerous requests, the agencies are extending the comment period by 30 days beyond March 17, the original closing date.
"Walker Ridge project moves forward" (Colusa Sun-Herald, 3/4/11)
"The Colusa County Chamber of Commerce Wednesday endorsed the project, which calls for the construction of 29 to 42 wind turbine generators, an underground electrical collection system, a substation, a 115-kV overhead transmission line, an interconnect station and an operations and maintenance building. AltaGas hopes to embrace wind turbine technology in the Mendocino National Forest, and has proposed the wind park on 80 acres ... managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, located on the border of Colusa and Lake counties."
"SCE officials describe transmission line project" (Hesperia Star, 3/8/11)
"A small group of Hesperia residents got a glimpse of Southern California Edison’s plans to upgrade 67 miles of transmission line during a public workshop ... About 60 of the 600 who were notified by mail of SCE’s proposal listened as SCE officials described alternate routes, showed time lines and answered questions during the two-hour event ... SCE is expected to submit applications to both the California Public Utilities Commission and Bureau of Land Management."
"Protest leads to Powerlink trial delay" (KGTV San Diego, 3/7/11)
"A large group of people gathered downtown Monday to protest San Diego Gas & Electric's Sunrise Powerlink project ... The 120-mile long powerline would bring renewable, clean energy from the Imperial Valley to San Diego, but some protesters told 10 News they're against the line for a number of reasons ... protesters marched to the federal courthouse where a trial over a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management's approval of the project is under way ... The judge assigned the case canceled Monday's scheduled trial and decided instead to issue a ruling based solely on written arguments."
|ABANDONED MINE DANGERS
"In wake of called-off mine rescue, an ethical debate" (Associated Press on NPR, 3/7/11)
"A father of five plunges deep into an abandoned mine shaft. Nearly 200 feet down, video images show he is injured but still breathing, trapped by debris. The century-old shaft, though, is extremely unstable, its walls crumbling. As one rescuer tries to descend to reach the man, he is hit by a large rock, which splits his hard hat ...."
"BLM says old mine shaft will be closed" (Elko Daily Free Press, 3/8/11)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management reported Monday the abandoned mine shaft where an accident claimed a man’s life is being permanently closed. The closure is with the permission of the family of Devin James Westenskow to prevent anyone else falling down the mine, according to the BLM ... the agency is committed to ongoing efforts to increase awareness of the 'Stay Out and Stay Alive' abandoned mine land safety campaign."
Abandoned mine lands" (BLM California)
Nearly 13,000 mine properties in California and northwest Nevada are listed in the Bureau of Mines Mineral Industries Location System database as on land managed by BLM-California. An estimated additional 5,000 sites not recorded in the database are likely on BLM land. Of these 18,000, an estimated 3,000 significant properties contain hazardous substances or physical features and/or have environmental problems. Includes links to more information.
Abandoned mine lands" (BLM national website)
BLM maintains an inventory of known abandoned mine lands on public lands. Most of the sites are abandoned hardrock mines. As of February 23, 2011, the inventory contained nearly 31,000 sites and 65,000 features. Approximately 25% of the sites have either been remediated, have reclamation actions planned or underway, or do not require further action. The remaining 75% require further investigation and/or remediation. Links to more information.
"Stay Out and Stay Alive: OHVs and abandoned mines" (BLM Nevada on YouTube)
Public service video (one minute).
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Military seeks OHV area for exercises" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/25/11)
"Under the Marines' preferred plan to expand the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, the military would control 146,667 acres in the Johnson Valley that now is a designated off-highway vehicle recreation area. The valley draws tens of thousands of off-road enthusiasts each year ... The proposal is among six alternatives being considered by the military to prepare troops for desert and urban warfare ... The military's environmental impact statement will be open to public comments through May 26."
RELATED: "29 Palms training land acquisition/airspace establishment draft EIS available for public review" (U.S. Marine Corps news, 2/24/11)
"The Department of the Navy, on behalf of the Marine Corps, has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement ... Potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed expansion of the training range at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., are evaluated in the Draft EIS ... Comments may be submitted at a public meeting or in writing ... All written comments must be postmarked or received by May 26, 2011, to be considered in the Final EIS." Follow link at the bottom to make comments.
RELATED: "The U.S. Marine Corps invites you..." (U.S. Marine Corps notice)
"... to participate in the 29Palms Training Land Acquisition/Airspace Establishment EIS Process and Draft Conformity Determinations ... The Navy has also completed a Clean Air Act conformity evaluation, as prescribed by Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) Rule 2002 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s General Conformity Rule ... Comments on the Conformity Determinations must be received or postmarked by March 28, 2011." PDF file:
"High school drama students assist with fire training class" (News.bytes Extra)
Drama class students from Lassen High School in Susanville used their considerable talents to help train federal employees aspiring to work in incident information, during an "Introduction to Incident Information" class held in Susanville last month. A big part of the weeklong class is a simulation, the Pitchfork Fire in this case, in which the federal students work in teams responding to information requests typical on a fire or other major incident. That's where the drama students come in:
"BLM plans public meeting on proposed Clear Creek mineral entry withdrawal" (BLM news release, 3/9/11)
The Bureau of Land Management will hold a public meeting April 12 at 6 p.m. at the Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office concerning a proposed withdrawal from mineral entry for Clear Creek Management Area.
"Supes invoke coordination status" (Lassen County Times, 3/8/11)
"Lassen County’s Board of Supervisors wants a place at the table and the right to be heard when state and federal agencies such as the Lassen National Forest consider the appropriate use of public lands by its constituents. From now on it will ... District 5 Supervisor Jack Hanson ... had to point out the county already enjoys coordinating status with some agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and has signed memorandums of understanding with other state and federal agencies."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
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