A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 475 - 4/8/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Wildflowers ... finally!
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outside in America's Great Outdoors
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National items: Potential shutdown, fracking forums
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
WILDFLOWERS ... FINALLY!
After a slow start in most of the state, wildflowers are starting to pop up. Once they peak, they usually don't last long.
"In Fort Ord, blooming comes after burning" (The Salinas Californian, 4/2/11)
"A military tank sits rusting at a crossroad, along with random scraps of metal riddled with holes caused by high-powered guns and explosives ... left over from military training during the old Fort Ord's decades as an Army base. But offering a sharp contrast to the shards of military leftovers and the hazards of yet-to-be-found explosives, the restricted zone is home to the beauty of some of the world's rarest -- including some endangered -- wildflowers and plants.
RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands"(BLM Hollister Field Office)
Located on the former Fort Ord military base, here the Bureau of Land Management protects and manages 35 species of rare plants and animals along with their native coastal habitats. Habitat preservation and conservation are primary missions ... but there are also more than 86 miles of trails for the public to explore on foot, bike or horseback. Click on the "plants" link for links to photos and information about plants found here.
"Wildflower walk planned at Alabama Hills" (BLM news, 4/6/11)
This Friday: Martin Oliver, BLM botanist, and Steve McLaughlin with the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will lead the tour. This is one of the chapter's annual wildflower walks. Flowers now showing include scarlet milk-vetch, tidy tips, desert pincushion, Easter bonnets, desert paintbrush, yellow throats, and more.
"Wildflowers" (Sacramento Bee)
Links to wildflower-related stories, including photos, locations to spot wildflowers, tips and tricks for wildflower photography and more.
RELATED: "Here come the wildflowers -- finally" (Sacramento Bee, 4/3/11)
"...this past week's sunshine served as a warm wake-up call. Soon, nature's annual wildflower show will blanket our valley and hillsides ... It's actually quite spectacular in places already,' said Davis' Glen Holstein of the California Native Plants Society. "I was down in Kern County and saw a solid carpet of wildflowers like I've never seen before'." Includes links to wildflower viewing hotspots, and more.
BUT: "With wet weather, wildflower season in limbo" (Sacramento Bee, 4/3/11)
"Just when we thought the wildflowers would have a chance to take off, we get another cold and wet storm this week. Go figure. Some prognosticators are calling for a great wildflower season because of the rain. Others are saying it will be a poor season. The truth is nobody knows ... The late bloom will likely coincide with our usual snap-of-the-finger switch from winter to summer. That will fry the young blossoms. If you want to shoot wildflowers, get out there now."
"BLM to offer wildflower hikes at Cache Creek" (BLM news, 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.
"Wildflowers" (BLM-California website)
Links to wildflower pages for public lands managed by BLM-California, plus other areas.
"Wildflower Reports 2011 - Southern California" (Desert USA)
An active site this week, with quite a few wildflower reports and photos from members of the public -- including the Carrizo Plain. Follow the link to Northern California and mountain sites -- also with some recent updates and photos.
"2011 wildflower hotline" (Theodore Payne Foundation)
April 1: "Warmer weather is finally firing up the wildflower bloom all over southern California, so get out and enjoy the season." Reports from around southern California, including the eastern Sierra. "New reports posted each Friday through the end of May."
"California Native Plant Week: April 16-24, 2011" (California Native Plant Society)
"California Native Plant Week (CNPW) is a week dedicated to the appreciation, education, and conservation of California's fabulous flora ... California Native Plant Society promotes CNPW through native plant sales, wildflower shows, gardening workshops, lectures, hikes, garden tours, and many more events. CNPS chapters throughout California will be hosting statewide events from April 16-24."
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Some BLM trails ready for spring - others still in midst of winter" (News.bytes Extra)
With spring in the air, hikers and mountain bikers are itching to get back out to their favorite public land trails, and some BLM-managed trails are ready to accommodate them. But the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail in the northeast corner of the state still boasts good cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, especially at higher elevations.
"Palm Springs' 'goat trails' by mountain bike" (Los Angeles Times, 4/3/11)
"Rocky and mostly barren, the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains southwest of Palm Springs offer terrain hospitable only to king snakes, lizards and tortoises. Shade is almost nonexistent, and jagged rocks and barrel cactuses welcome visitors with stinging jabs to the feet and shins. Still, this is ideal habitat for bighorn sheep and mountain bikers ... the sheep are endangered but the bikers are flourishing."
"County roundup: Carrizo Plain" (San Luis Obispo County Tribune, 4/3/11)
"April 11 is the deadline to register for a guided tour of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 16, attendees will learn about the plain's native wildflowers, wildlife and geological features. The event, hosted by the Santa Margarita Western Gateway Committee........"
"Officials consider restrooms for park" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/6/11)
"The 27.5-acre park ... has a tennis court, four pickleball courts, a picnic area and trails that lead into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Commissioners want to add more trails to the park as well but say the restrooms are a higher priority ... A Bureau of Land Management representative is being asked to attend the commission's May meeting to discuss how to design and maintain more trails."
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the National Monument significantly contributes to the Coachella Valley's lure as a popular resort and retirement community. It is also a desirable backcountry destination that can be accessed via trails from both the valley floor and the alpine village of Idyllwild.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
||WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
There once was a student of myotis
who didn't have a clue which it is --
a lizard, a rat,
a gopher, a bat,
a wild-looking hat,
an even wilder cat --
or even what it really ought to is.
What is a myotis?
(f.) wild-looking hat
->See answer -- and more wildlife stories -- near the end of this issue
WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"A pleasant ride takes a scary turn, but Cricket saves the day" (Ramona Patch, 4/2/11)
"Cricket, my wild mustang, amazes me all the time. What's even more amazing to me is that I've had her for 8 1/2 years, and she is still full of surprises. I've trained her to be a great trail horse ... and we've been all over Southern California and have had many wonderful experiences, but I have never trained her to deal with a bucking horse, cattle or any of that." Includes links to earlier stories about this mustang adopted from the BLM.
"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Redlands" (BLM news, 4/5/11)
This weekend: Strength, endurance, and spirit are qualities embodied in wild horses and burros that roam America's rangelands. These living legends are available for adoption at Sundance Ranch in Redlands on Saturday, April 9 -- and preview Friday, April 8 -- through the Bureau of Land Management Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program.
"Horses and inmates tame each other"(Los Angeles Times, 3/27/11)
"For 25 years," the BLM has sent "thousands of wild mustangs it rounds up each year to the East Canon Correctional Complex ... for an unusual effort called the Wild Horse Inmate Program. The horses come from herds across the West, the majority from Nevada, Wyoming and California. Once they arrive at the prison's vast acreage they are checked over and their fates determined: They are trained as pets or working ranch horses to be offered for adoption, or they are set loose in long-term pastures scattered across the country."
"Red Bluff adoption event places 14 mustangs and four burros" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program and the Redding Field Office's recreation program were on hand in Red Bluff on April 2 and 3, offering equines and recreation information to visitors at the Back Country Horsemen of California's 2011 Rendezvous.
"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Chico" (BLM news, 3/31/11)
Saturday, April 16: Wild horses and burros from public land ranges in northeast California and northwest Nevada will be available for adoption at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. The U. S. Bureau of Land Management will offer 30 mustang mares, geldings, colts and fillies ranging in age from about 1 to 5 years old. The BLM expects to offer 10 wild burros of all ages.
"California wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM-California website)
This schedule is subject to change. Please check back frequently or call the contact numbers listed. Visit our Litchfield or Ridgecrest Corrals Monday through Friday during business hours. If you wish to adopt during your visit, please schedule an appointment so we may provide you better service.
"Catch a glimpse of the Old West outside Las Vegas" (San Diego Union Tribune, 4/3/11)
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, near Las Vegas: "Twenty-five minutes west of the lights, the gambling and the shows of the Strip, a giant ridge of red-orange, pink and tan mountain cuts across the desert. If you're lucky on your visit to Red Rock Canyon, you'll see wildflowers in bloom or Joshua trees draped with snow. If you're very lucky, you'll glimpse wild burros along state Route 159, and they'll stick around long enough for you to pull over and get a closer look."
"BLM gets an earful about the Ivanpah Valley" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/1/11)
Solar energy developers see "some of the most ample sunshine in the world" that "can help provide clean energy for a nation trying to ease its dependence on fossil fuels." Environmentalists see "an important and sensitive ecosystem, home to protected desert tortoises, a species that already has lost most of its habitat." Others see the area "as a logical pathway for high-speed trains and a new natural gas pipeline. U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials hosted a meeting ... to hear concerns and comments from some of those competing interests."
"Public scoping meetings scheduled, comment period extended for proposed geothermal project near Mammoth" (BLM news, 4/1/11)
The Bureau of Land Management, in cooperation with the Inyo National Forest and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, will hold two public scoping meetings to gather input on a proposal to develop additional geothermal resources near Mammoth Lakes in Mono County. The BLM also has extended the public comment period 15 days to May 9, 2011. Meetings are planned for April 18 and 19.
"Questions emerge over tax breaks for solar project" (Las Vegas Sun, 4/3/11)
Story questions tax breaks for Copper Mountain Solar, a Nevada project that is for now "the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the United States" and will transmit its electricity to California. "Temporary construction jobs created: 350 ... Nevadans employed: 262 ... Solar power coming to Nevada: 0 ... Parts manufactured in Nevada: 0 ... Permanent jobs created: 5 ... State incentives developer Sempra Generation received: $12 million ... Gov. Brian Sandoval says the public money was well spent."
"Departments of Energy and Interior announce $26.6 million in funding to develop advanced hydropower technologies" (Department of the Interior press release, 4/5/11)
The $26.6 million in funding is focused on development of innovative technologies that can produce power more efficiently, reduce costs and increase sustainable hydropower generation at sites not previously considered practical. "These funding opportunities will help unlock innovative approaches to hydropower development that emphasize sustainable, clean power generation while reducing environmental impacts," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
|WILDFIRE AND PREVENTION
"Smokey Bear's match safety program teaches fire safety at area schools" (USDA Forest Service news release, 4/5/11)
"During the month of March, some 650 local kindergarten and first grade students got to learn about match and lighter safety from Smokey Bear and several of his helpers, which included employees of the Lassen and Plumas National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and CalFire."
"Critics say fire reimbursements subsidize California's fire danger" (The Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/6/11)
"As tens of thousands of Californians moved into inherently fire-prone areas, the federal government paid out more than $300 million in the past decade to reimburse the state for the costs of battling flames to save homes. By helping to pay firefighting costs, the government is creating a disincentive for communities to do more to stem the flow of people and homes into the most endangered areas, some experts and officials said."
"BLM plans pile burning at Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM news, 4/4/11)
The Bureau of Land Management's Mother Lode Field Office plans to start pile burning April 11 at the Pine Hill Preserve in western El Dorado County if conditions allow. “The management of fuel loading at strategic areas of the Pine Hill Preserve allows us to reduce high levels of fuel near residences and will help us to protect the unique biological diversity that exists within the preserve lands,” said Brian Mulhollen, BLM fuels management specialist.
Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space. In California, the number of homes and businesses is growing in the Wildland Urban Interface -- and fire is an increasing threat. Reduce your home's fire danger and prevent wildfires from spreading by taking responsibility today.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Meetings set on base expansion" (The Hi-Desert Star, 4/6/11)
"If you have opinions about the proposed expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, you will have a chance to air them next week. The public is invited to a meeting concerning the draft environmental impact statement addressing the proposed expansion, from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 12 in the Bell Center at Copper Mountain College, 6162 Rotary Way in Joshua Tree ... According to the draft impact statement, the area is a mix of Bureau of Land Management land and private property but most of the private property is neither fenced nor identified by signage."
"State agency opposes airport expansion near Sacramento County preserve" (Sacramento Bee, 4/7/11)
"The California State Lands Commission took a formal stance Wednesday against a planned airport expansion next to a nature preserve in southern Sacramento County. The move was not a surprise, as the commission and other owners of the Cosumnes River Preserve have appealed an environmental impact study that cleared the way for an expansion of Mustang Airport north of Galt ... The state, the Nature Conservancy and others own the 46,000-acre preserve."
RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
The Cosumnes River Preserve is home to California's largest remaining valley oak riparian forest, and is one of the few protected wetland habitat areas in the state. Nine partners, including the BLM work cooperate on the Preserve.
"Clear Creek study: Asbestos dangers can be prevented" (Hollister Free Lance, 4/5/11)
"A new study, funded and promoted by the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division in California, has called into question the dangers of asbestos exposure in Clear Creek Management Area ... The Bureau of Land Management closed the popular OHV recreation park in 2008 out of fears of asbestos exposure from serpentine rock" found in an EPA study. "OHV advocates have expressed a desire for the land to be reopened ... Holding rallies in front of the BLM Hollister branch office, and sending letters to a constant stream of public officials, enthusiasts wanted the public land back."
"BLM seeks applications for recreation permit subgroup" (BLM news, 4/5/11)
Persons interested in serving on the subgroup should meet at least one of the following qualifications pertaining to Special Recreation Permits: be an event permittee, an event participant, or a representative of four-wheel, dual sport, equestrian, or other interests requiring SRPs.
"Cemex bill will have another go in Congress" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 4/8/11)
Santa Clarita officials have long opposed plans to mine more gravel Soledad Canyon. They hope the Soledad Canyon High Desert, California Public Lands Conservation and Management Act of 2011 "would cancel Cemex’s sand and gravel mining leases at a Bureau of Land Management site ... and withdraw the site from future mining." The BLM would be directed to compensate Cemex for its loss through a land sale.
"30-day comment period for Hollister Field Office oil and gas lease sale environmental assessment" (BLM news, 4/1/11)
The Bureau of Land Management's Hollister Field Office has completed the environmental assessment for a proposed competitive oil and gas lease sale scheduled for September 14. A 30-day public review and comment period runs through April 30.
"Desert high-speed train draws detractors" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/1/11)
"With one month left before federal officials finalize plans for a high-speed train from Victorville to Las Vegas, opponents of the project worry it will take money from High Desert cities and potentially destroy pristine landscapes and sensitive wildlife. The Federal Railroad Administration ... unveiled the final environmental report last week ... Supporters and opponents have one month to review the environmental report and respond." Planned routes would include some BLM rights-of-way.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- at:
April 9 - Wildflower hike
April 12,13,14 - Public meetings for proposed Marine Base expansion
April 15-16 - Mustang seminar and clinic
"Government Agency shutdown plan details: What is my agency’s plan if the government shuts down?" (Washington Post, 4/8/11)
Department of the Interior Press Secretary Kendra Barkoff issued a statement regarding preparations in case of a government shutdown. (The BLM is within the Department of the Interior.)
"BLM to hold regional forums on hydraulic fracturing in natural gas production"
Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey announced a series of regional public forums in late April to further discuss the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques to stimulate natural gas production on Federal lands. The sessions will be held in Bismarck, North Dakota; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Denver, Colorado. These locations will help to highlight increased regional interest in natural gas development on Federal lands and other areas where the BLM has responsibility for mineral leasing.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
SOURCE: "Cave Myotis - Myotis velifer" (BLM California wildlife database)
Like all bats, cave myotis are a very important component of our ecosystem. Bats are natural predators of the insects that are considered to be agricultural pests. Without bats, farmers would be forced to increase their use of chemical pesticides, which could increase the price of our produce and cause negative effects on other wildlife. In desert habitats, bats are the primary pollinators of giant cacti.
More wildlife news from your public lands:
"Fungus sweeps across the country, killing bats" (Los Angeles Times, 4/3/11)
"The mood is heavy with anxiety as biologists Marikay Ramsey and Debbie Buecher search for signs of white-nose syndrome, a novel, infectious and lethal cold-loving fungus that digests the skin and wings of hibernating bats and smudges their muzzles with a powdery white growth. 'These bats look fine, which is a relief,' U.S. Bureau of Land Management endangered animal specialist Ramsey said ... 'But we still worry...' Since it was discovered in New York four years ago, the fungus has swept across 17 states as far west as Oklahoma, killing a million bats." With video.
RELATED: "Photographer's journal: Bat cave assignment" (Los Angeles Times, 4/2/11)
"Los Angeles Times staff writer Louis Sahagun and I met up with cave experts and biologists from the Bureau of Land Management and we began our journey into the caverns of the Fort Stanton Cave near Ruidoso, N.M. Equipped with full jump suits, heavy-duty kneepads, gloves, helmets with headlamps and extra flashlights, we made our descent into the cave." More photos and another video.
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