A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 477 - 4/21/11

water runs across rocks in a river Sparky the fire dog and Smokey Bear wave to the camera construction workers work on large solar units close-up of a burro grazing on green grass close up of smiling man


- America's Great Outdoors:
      - Photographs from the NLCS, ATV classes, recreation events and more
      - Employee profile
      - Volunteers
      - Wildflowers
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National item: Mining near the Grand Canyon
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


water runs across rocks in a rivera huge rock looms in the distance behind blooming orange poppies"Wild and beautiful: The National Landscape Conservation System" (Parade Magazine, 4/18/11)
This week's cover story features photos by Bob Wick, BLM-California's
National Landscape Conservation System Co-Lead and Volunteer Coordinator. The photos are from BLM-managed lands across the country, including Central California's Carrizo Plain and Northern California's Trinity River.

a man stands in front of a dune buggy and speaks with studentsa boy looks closely at a poster he is holding"ATV Safety Classes a huge success" (News.bytes Extra)
ATV Safety Certification courses offered through the El Centro Field Office at popular OHV recreation areas proved to be a huge success this past season. Over 380 students participated in the training, funded through a CA OHMVR grant obtained by the American Desert Foundation.

America's Great Outdoors logo sports snow-capped peaks"Birding, tidepool walks will kick off King Range summer hike series"(BLM news, 4/15/11)
Songbirds and tidepool life will be featured in free guided outings in the King Range National Conservation Area on Saturday, May 7 and Saturday, May 21.

"Test your knowledge of the region's birds" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/20/11)
"Novice or experienced bird watchers can compete in the 2nd annual Earth Day Birding Challenge hosted by the Friends of the Desert Mountains. The 24-hour competition from midnight to midnight Saturday benefits the Friends efforts to provide habitat for birds in the Coachella Valley ... A winner's trophy will be presented at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center."

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Includes a link to an "electronic brochure" with information and an interactive map.

students stand and sit in classroom"Young filmmakers gather at Fortuna Theatre May 7 event to feature locally produced film" (The Humboldt Beacon, 4/20/11)
The Young Media Makers 11th Annual Big Screen Showcase is "the only juried show of youth made movies in the North Coast area" -- or perhaps in California. Winners are sent to the youth Division of the Chicago International Film Festival. This year's showcase includes a team from the Redway School, with a project for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

"Work Continues On Clear Creek Greenway" (anewscafe, 4/15/11)
"Improvements continue at Clear Creek Greenway, the trail system and recreation area located between Redding and Igo. The Bureau of Land Management recently installed a number of signs to guide people to trailheads and parking areas ... The BLM is also finishing up work on a new parking lot for the Cloverdale trailhead...."

close up of smiling manEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Bob Wick...
Every wonder who’s behind all those gorgeous photos of BLM-managed land throughout California and the West? Meet Bob Wick, co-lead for BLM-California’s National Landscape Conservation System and BLM volunteer coordinator -- and an accomplished amateur photographer.


a man rolls a wheelbarrow to a trash pile being picked up by a power loadera woman dumps a crate of trash into a dumpster"Volunteers clean up at Blind Canyon, Big Morongo Canyon ACEC" (News.byes Extra)
Volunteers helped clean up trash and illegally-dumped items this past Saturday, April 16 in Blind Canyon, at the north end of the city of Desert Hot Springs. The cleanup was co-hosted by the Bureau of Land Management's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, in cooperation with the City of Desert Hot Springs, Desert Valley Disposal, and Mission Springs Water District. Blind Canyon is part of the 31,000-acre Big Morongo Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

a discarded boot lies on the ground"Groups to pick up trash at Vista Point on Highway 74" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/20/11)
"Vista Point is a regular stopping point for motorists who like to get out, sit on the rock wall and gaze at the Coachella Valley below. But the desert scenery is not the only view. The area is frequently littered with broken bottles, plastic cups, uneaten food, paper goods, old shoes and other items discarded by people who ignore the 'No Littering' signs." Two volunteer groups will clean up the area and more, an effort proposed by Jim Foote, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument manager for the Bureau of Land Management.


purple flowers in a grassy fielda few purple flowers stand out against a wetland"Wildflower Reports 2011 - Southern California" (Desert USA)
Photos and wildflower reports from members of the public -- including last weekend at the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

RELATED: "Wildflowers and sightseeing, Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
Some roads were still muddy and impassable -- but some wildflowers are showing up.

two purple flowers against a dark background"Wildflower Reports 2011 - Northern California and Oregon" (Desert USA)
A few wildflower reports from northern California are starting to come in.

"2011 wildflower hotline" (Theodore Payne Foundation)
Wildflower reports updated on Fridays. April 15: "The warm weather we have been waiting for has arrived, but brings with it a mixed blessing. Flowers at lower elevations will now quickly fade, but others we are eager to see for the first time are just beginning their spring bloom. This next week is California Native Plant Week, so do get out to celebrate the flowers!"

"California Native Plant Week: April 16-24, 2011" (California Native Plant Society)
California Native Plant Week -- a week dedicated to "the appreciation, education, and conservation of California's fabulous flora" -- continues with statewide events through this Sunday, April 24.

"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 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.


wildlife trivia question mark
What is an orange-throated whiptail?
(a.) a bird
(b.) a lizard
(c.) a snake
(d.) a close cousin of the skunk
(e.) a type of fruit-flavored milkshake popular in the Midwest – and the official drink of the 10th Annual Running of the Refrigerators in Terre Haute, Indiana

------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Horses, burros available for adoption in Livermore" (BLM news, 4/14/11)
silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroResidents of the Livermore area will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families at the Livermore Rodeo Grounds on Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1. BLM is holding the adoption in conjunction with the California State Horseman’s Spring Stampede -- and is encouraging people to come out and enjoy both events. Anyone can preview the animals when they arrive at about 4 p.m. Friday, April 30.

a man on horseback leads a string of burros past a corralclose-up of a burro grazing on green grass"Humans show bonds with horses and burros at Chico event" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM's wild horse and burro adoption event in Chico on April 16 was a good showcase of the close bond that develops between equines and their adopted human families. During the event, five mustangs and two burros went to new North Valley homes, where the bonding process will begin yet again.

wild horses in a corrala man and daughter look at wild horses in a corral"Equine adoption today in Chico" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 4/16/11)
Click the link in the story, to see video from the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption event last weekend at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico.

"What will be the fate of the mustang?" (Chico News & Review, 4/21/11)
"Local advocates worry about the future of America’s iconic wild horses" -- the author interviews horse enthusiasts and a BLM spokesman at the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption event in Chico.

"US judge denies BLM bid to dismiss wild horse suit" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/20/11)
"Horse protection advocates claimed a rare legal victory in their larger effort to end federal roundups of free-roaming mustangs on public lands in the West ... U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. ruled in Sacramento that In Defense of Animals and others can move forward with their lawsuit accusing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of violating laws protecting the animals on the range when they gathered more than 1,700 horses and burros near the California-Nevada line last year."

"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.


a group of people watch as smoke billows out of a trailerSparky the fire dog and Smokey Bear wave to the camera"Second annual Wildfire Safety Expo planned for April 30" (Lake County News, 4/21/11)
The BLM is a partner in Lake County’s second annual Wildfire Safety Expo, to be held Saturday, April 30 in Kelseyville. "Presented by the Lake County Fire Safe Council, this free community event will provide information to homeowners to help them prepare for a wildfire." Said project coordinator Linda Juntunen: "Along with fire safety information, we have quite a few activities lined-up that we think both adults and children will enjoy."

flames engulf an ocotillo bushuniformed men carry a flag-draped coffin"Storm brings light rain to burned North Texas area" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21/11)
"Wildfires, including several still burning, have scorched more than 1.4 million acres, or 2,100 square miles, in Texas since Jan. 1, according to the Texas Forest Service ... Personnel from more than a half-dozen federal agencies -- including the Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management — have been battling some massive fires, including a 150,000-acre fire in Coke County north of San Angelo."

firefighters clear charred tree limbsa man stands amid the burned ruins of his home"State News" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Front page links to current stories and photos of the Texas wildfires. Two firefighters have died fighting the wildfires.

sketch of how to minimize fire danger to house"Take responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
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 by taking responsibility today.

Renewable energy graphics represent solar, wind and geothermal power, plus transmission linesRENEWABLE ENERGY

"California tosses out solar power plant lawsuit" (Reuters, 4/14/11)
"California's supreme court refused to consider a lawsuit filed by an influential environmental group seeking to delay construction of a solar plant because it might harm rare plant and animal species. The state supreme court said it would not review the Sierra Club's complaint against the Calico Solar Project -- one of a string of lawsuits accusing solar power plant projects across the largest U.S. state of harming the environment."

locator map of Brightsource solar power project"Tortoise finds curtail solar-site construction" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/19/11)
"Federal officials have told a solar developer to stop work on two-thirds of a construction site in northeast San Bernardino County because no more tortoises can be disturbed. Until wildlife authorities reassess the tortoise population, work on the $2.1 billion project -- hailed by the Obama administration -- is limited to a 2-square-mile area cleared of the protected reptiles last fall. BrightSource Solar's entire work site, on public land near Primm, Nev., is 5.6 square miles."

RELATED: "BrightSource: Tortoise issue won't delay project completion" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/21/11)
"Despite a temporary halt called by the Bureau of Land Management for some of the construction at the Ivanpah solar facility, a BrightSource Energy spokesperson said the project is still on track for completion in 2013 ... BrightSource spokesman Keely Wachs said in a prepared statement that only fencing and the use of a road at Ivanpah units 2 and 3 have been discontinued and power from the project is still expected to come online in 2013."

"Mojave Desert: Balance the needs of solar power and tortoises" (Los Angeles Times, 4/16/11)
Editorial: "California's deserts are prized by clean energy providers. But fragile ecosystems must be protected." The editorial urges "the use of private land" for solar energy projects, but also urges the BLM to "work with local governments and the California Energy Commission to streamline the permit process for energy development on private land and provide incentives for building in the western Mojave ... open up its own lands in those areas ... and "preserve large, contiguous areas of the desert's most pristine lands."

"BLM announces final environmental review for solar project in Riverside County" (BLM news, 4/15/11)
The Bureau of Land Management released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project in Riverside County. Desert Sunlight Holding, LLC has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct a 550-megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility, transmission line and associated facilities on about 4,165 acres of public lands near the rural community of Desert Center and Interstate 10.

construction workers work on large solar units"Solar project east of Indio wins $2.1 billion loan guarantee from Department of Energy" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/19/11)
"One of four solar energy projects planned for the desert east of Indio has received a loan guarantee of $2.1 billion from the federal government, the largest financial commitment the Department of Energy has offered to a solar project.The 1,000-megawatt Solar Millennium project, to be built on public land 60 miles east of Indio, is 'another sign that California is the center of solar,' U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said...."

"Solar plant could lead to 1,000-plus construction jobs" (San Bernardino County Sun, 4/18/11)
"The hiring of about 300 laborers and craftsmen to build a new solar power plant in northeast San Bernardino County may provide some relief to the persistent job shortage in the High Desert's construction industry, a labor leader said."

RELATED: "Federal agency moving on solar projects" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/17/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management is proposing solar development energy zones that could be a boon to Imperial County’s economy, says a local official."

magazine cover: "Solar Showdown"solar panels lined up on the desert floor"Are new solar power projects anti-environmental?" (Miller-McCune, 4/18/11)
"Big money, big energy and big environmentalism join forces to support big solar energy projects on federal land in the Southwest. But could these 'green' projects actually be anti-environmental boondoggles in the making? ... The BLM approved nine solar projects in California and Nevada in 2010 and continues to review other applications -- more than 120 in all -- but only a handful may actually be built...."

"NOVA: Power Surge" (PBS, 4/20/11)
"From solar panel factories in China to a carbon capture-and-storage facility in the Sahara desert to massive wind and solar installations in the United States, NOVA travels the globe to reveal the surprising technologies that just might turn back the clock on climate change." Includes images from U.S. solar, wind and geothermal power installations such as those on BLM-managed lands, and other sites such as an aspiring "solar city" in China." (Video, 53 minutes)


"Off-roaders voice displeasure with Marine Corps plan" (Victorville Desert Dispatch, 4/14/11)
"The Marine Corps is considering several alternatives for expanding its Twentynine Palms Air Ground Combat Center training area. Its preferred plan ... would permanently close most of the Johnson Valley OHV Area, with a smaller portion used by the Marines two months a year and another small portion permanently open to the public. The plan was unpopular among many of the 180 people who showed up in the first 90 minutes of the open-house-style meeting, with more expected as the night went on. They ranged from out-of-town business owners to off-roading enthusiasts to High Desert residents wondering how it will affect their daily lives."

RELATED: "Land acquisition/airspace establishment study" (U.S. Marine Corps)
Submit public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Study by May 26.

"BLM offering City of Taft park land at $10 per acre" (The Taft Independent, 4/15/11)
"The 541 acres of the area is impressive ... Through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act or buying the land outright, Taft could be given an opportunity to house a great area of land to not only bring in tourism but to enjoy on a daily basis." The local Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting to discuss ideas for a park on land the City would buy from the Bureau of Land Management.

RELATED: "BLM offering City of Taft 541 acre park site - Hidden costs could kill what is an excellent idea" (The Taft Independent, 4/15/11)
"It sounded to good to be true. The Bureau of Land Management was offering the City of Taft 541 acres of vacant land the BLM currently owns for $10 per acre ... Unfortunately, the cost far exceed the $10 advertised price. It seems that the BLM requires that the city purchase between 3 and 5 acres - the exact number has not been determined yet - for every acre it develops on the currently unused land."

"More money sought for dam removal" (Monterey County Herald, 4/18/11)
"Years of silt buildup has reduced San Clemente Dam's capacity to about about 125 acre-feet ... The California Coastal Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Board will consider approval of funds for the San Clemente Dam Removal project within the next six weeks ... California American Water, which will pay approximately $49 million of the $84 million dam removal and river rerouting coat, will transfer 928 acres it owns to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for permanent watershed conservation and compatible public access."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)

Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:

April 23 - Cache Creek wildflower hike - Limited to 25 participants

April 28-29 - BLM Northwest California Resource Advisory Council meeting - Ukiah

May 3 - Kanaka Valley community planning meeting - Cameron Park

May 6 - El Centro ATV safety Training - see locations

May 7 - Migratory songbird hike - King Range


"Mining claims could mar national park and wilderness area borders, report says"
(Los Angeles Times, 4/14/11)
"Mining companies have filed claims to the rights to copper, gold and other metals in addition to uranium in areas around Mt. Rushmore, Joshua Tree National Park and other famous refuges at an increased rate in the last five to seven years because of rising global prices," says a report by the Pew Environment Group. Claims in such sensitive places are facilitated by an outmoded 1872 law, critics say. The law allows corporations to stake out rights to federal lands for mining without a competitive bid and to extract resources without paying royalties."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) a lizard

SOURCE: "Orange-throated whiptail - Cnemidophorus hyperythrus" (BLM California wildlife database)
These lizards rummage around through leaf litter foraging for termites, their favorite food. If termites aren't abundant they will eat other available arthropods.

More wildlife news from your public lands:

ducklings follow a wood duck in the watera young man looks over a wood box mounted on a tree"Cottonwood man is for the birds" (Red Bluff Daily News, 4/19/11)
If you spot wood duck nesting boxes in the BLM-managed area around Paynes Creek, they include the work of Red Bluff native Trevor Siperek. "For his senior project he made nesting boxes for wood ducks and while he was home on leave the week of March 11 from the Coast Guard Academy, he spent time sprucing up the boxes."

RELATED: "Paynes Creek Watchable Wildlife Site" (BLM Redding Field Office)
Bands of oak, cottonwood, willow and blackberry line the banks of the Sacramento River where it meets Paynes Creek, offering perches for birds and cover for small mammals. The 3,700-acre Paynes Creek management area includes that intersection and other streams, wetlands and ponds, plus grassland and oak woodland. These features attract a variety of wildlife.
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Bureau of Land Management
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(916) 978-4600

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