A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 478 - 4/29/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors:
- Dunes walkabout, coastal display, hikes, night sky
- BLM takes part in Earth Day activities
- Get outside to America's Great Outdoors
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfire and prevention: It's time!
- Advisory Councils: Tours, meetings
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Honors
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Wild dunes walkabout" (News.bytes Extra)
Girl Scout Troops joined BLM staff for a hike into the sand hills of the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness. Amid a blaze of yellow wildflowers, the scouts and their parents discovered evidence of the abundance of life in this part of the Imperial Sand Dunes. Lizard and insect tracks led to burrows and washes … a creosote bush sheltered a large iguana … and a red-tailed hawk rode the thermals overhead.
RELATED: "North Algodones Dunes Wilderness" (BLM California)
The Algodones Sand Dunes System covers 1,000 square miles, making it one of the largest dune complexes in North America. The wilderness is divided into two distinct zones. On the west side are the primary dunes, the largest and tallest dunes composed of relatively coarse sand. On the east are the secondary dunes, smaller and composed of generally finer sands carried further east by prevailing winds.
"Off-road enthusiasts opt for Glamis during Easter weekend" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/24/11)
Gadi Flores of Hemet "braved the gusty winds and heavy traffic with friends in tow to do some off-road riding Saturday at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. He wasn’t alone. 'Just to have fun in the sand,” Flores replied when asked about his Easter weekend getaway. “You don’t get to do this very often.' An untold number of other ATV enthusiasts felt the same way when they trekked from all over to enjoy the pleasures of the desert under sunny skies as the traditional Easter break began to wind down."
RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the Imperial Sand Dunes system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. Widely known as "Glamis" and a favorite location for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, the dunes also offer fabulous scenery, opportunities for solitude, and a home to rare plants and animals.
"Look Who’s Rockin!" (News.bytes Extra)
While the Coachella Valley hosted 50,000 heavy metal rockers for a seven hour long music festival last weekend, BLM interpretive staff promoted another type of ‘rocker’ -- those who live and feed on the off shore rocks and small islands of California.
"Birding, tidepool walks will kick off King Range summer hikes"(BLM, 4/15/11)
Songbirds and tidepool life will be featured in free guided outings in the King Range National Conservation Area in May. On May 7, an expert on migratory songbirds will show how to identify songbirds that migrate each year from Latin America to the King Range. On May 21, hikers can learn about the fascinating life within the North Coast’s tidepools when the BLM's Rachel Sowards-Thompson leads a walk from Shelter Cove.
"The 7 best SoCal desert locations for night sky viewing" (KCET Los Angeles, 4/21/11)
"Located in the proposed Mojave Trails National Monument off Route 66 is Amboy Crater, a 250-foot high volcanic cinder cone with 24 square miles of lava flow beyond it. This great night-sky spot was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1973."
RELATED: "Amboy Crater" (BLM Needles Field Office)
When it was designated a National Natural Landmark, Amboy Crater was recognized for its visual and geological significance. Although Amboy Crater is not unique, it is an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone.
"2011 fee-free days set for BLM-administered public lands" (BLM news, 4/29/11)
The Bureau of Land Management, in conjunction with other agencies within the Department of the Interior, will waive recreation-related fees for visitors to the National System of Public Lands on the first day of summer, June 21; National Public Lands Day, which is scheduled for September 24; and the Veterans Day holiday weekend, November 11-13. These fee-free days also apply to areas managed within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System.
"BLM seeking volunteers for cache-in-trash out cleanup day on the Sacramento River Rail-Trail April 30" (BLM news, 4/22/11)
This weekend: The Bureau of Land Management’s Redding Field Office and the Redding GeoCachers club are looking for volunteers to help clean up an old dump site next to the FB Trail segment of the Sacramento River Rail Trail, in a project set for Saturday, April 30.This is what geocachers call a CITO – “Cache In Trash Out” project.
"Volunteer and help keep Vista Point clean" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/27/11)
This weekend: "Volunteers will gather to pick up trash along the hillside at Vista Point on Highway 74 above Palm Desert from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Anyone who wants to help should bring gloves, sunscreen and hats and wear sturdy shoes, said Jim Foote, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument manager for the Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Thumbs Up: Keep our scenic drive scenic, please" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/22/11)
Editorial Board: "Garo Green and Mark Manning of Rancho Mirage are heroes. They've signed up to keep Scenic Highway 74 tidy. Also known as the Pines to Palms Highway, it's one of the most beautiful and winding drives in the area, following the watershed of Carrizo Creek. But many of the turnouts, especially Vista Point, are often strewn with trash."
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
|BLM AT EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES
"California Coastal National Monument part of Cabrillo College Watsonville Earth Day celebration" (News.bytes Extra)
In spite of overcast skies, cold winds and smoke from the Apple Growers Cold Storage warehouse fire, Cabrillo College completed its Earth Week celebration on Earth Day on April 22 at its Watsonville campus on the east side of the downtown plaza.
"BLM joins Ridgecrest Earth Day celebration" (News.bytes Extra)
On April 21st, Cerro Coso Community College hosted their annual Earth Day Festival. BLM wildlife biologists Shelley Ellis and Carrie Woods joined many local organizations with informational tables. Shelley and Carrie passed out brochures on desert tortoises, local wildflowers, butterflies, and hiking in the area, and area maps and regulations out to interested recreationists such as off-highway vehicle enthusiasts.
|GET OUTSIDE to America's Great Outdoors...
...watch wildlife at Stornetta Public Lands, located along the Mendocino County coastline. They include over 2 miles of coastline, the estuary of the Garcia River and adjacent beach, and a small island accessible during low tide. The Garcia River is prime Coho and Chinook salmon habitat, and is a key recovery area in recent Endangered Species Act listings. Migratory waterfowl, shore birds, raptors, and several special status species may be found on the property.
"Wildflowers" (BLM California)
Links to wildflower information, tips and locations for viewing wildflowers on public lands in California.
April 28: "Search shaded areas for flourishing wildflowers -- dry weather is drying out grasses throughout our area. ... wildflowers in open areas will suffer. Flowers in shaded areas will continue to flourish but you will need electronic flash or higher ISOs to get the shot." Links to photos, locations to spot wildflowers, tips and tricks for wildflower photography and more.
"Wildflower Reports 2011 - Southern California" (Desert USA)
Photos and wildflower reports from members of the public.
"2011 wildflower hotline" (Theodore Payne Foundation)
Wildflower reports updated Fridays.
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Extreme Home Makeover -- defensible-space style" (BLM news, 4/25/11)
This weekend: Foothills residents can watch Saturday as one Grass Valley home gets an "Extreme Makeover," just in time for fire season. Representatives from the California Fire Alliance, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County and Chicago Park 4-H Club will help one homeowner create a defensible space around his home. Members of the public are welcome to watch and learn this Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to noon at 15384 Rattlesnake Road, Grass Valley.
"Fire fuel reduction at Pine Hill Preserve" (News.bytes Extra)
For the first time in almost a decade, the Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office is successfully burning fire fuels at Pine Hill Preserve in western El Dorado County. The prescribed burns are to reduce high levels of fuel near residences, protecting both homes and the unique biological diversity within the preserve.
"Fire Safe Council working to make LP safe from fire" (The Inyo Register, 4/26/11)
"Southern Inyo community members continue to cut and clear fields in and around Lone Pine to protect the town’s people and property from wildfires ... 'Our goal is to use our funding to create a break in the continuity of the fuels in and around Lone Pine,' the Fire Safe Council’s grant application states. 'This will not only slow a wildfire as it approaches the community, it will also give firefighters a safe area to prepare for structure protection'."
"Secretary Salazar, Director Abbey join Congressman Simpson in emphasizing safety, preparedness for 2011 fire season" (Department of the Interior news, 4/28/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey joined Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson at the National Interagency Fire Center to discuss federal firefighting assistance to Texas, where several large wildfires are burning; safety and preparedness for the current fire season; and a national strategy to address the mounting risks of wildfire around the nation.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild horse and burro help celebrate Earth Day in Loomis" (News.bytes Extra)
Loomis-area residents got a chance to learn about wild horses and burros as part of the Earth Day celebration in Loomis April 24. BLM volunteers Michele and Steve DeCamp brought Modoc the mustang and Millie the six-month-old burro to the event. Although it was Millie’s public debut, she worked the crowd like a pro...
"Horses, burros available for adoption in Livermore this weekend" (BLM news, 4/27/11)
This weekend: Residents 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.
"Wild horses and burros available for adoption at BLM's Ridgecrest Corrals" (BLM news, 4/25 11)
This weekend: These living legends are available for adoption at the Ridgecrest Corrals, April 29-30. Spectators are welcome. There are 30 young animals available for adoption, 20 wild horses, and 10 burros. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. Potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. BLM staff will approve adoption applications from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
"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.
"BLM, USGS begin new wild horse fertility control study" (BLM news, 4/26/11)
The Bureau of Land Management and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have begun a five-year wild horse contraceptive study at the BLM's short-term holding facility in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. The pasture breeding study will test the effectiveness of two formulations of an investigational contraceptive vaccine to determine if the treatment can reduce foaling rates in wild horse mares.
"Advisory Council members discuss alternative energy, horses and more" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council tackled an agenda with topics ranging from alternative energy to wild horses, when they met April 20 and 21 in Burney. They viewed the aftermath of a 2008 wildfire and visited towering wind turbines, among other sites.
"BLM Central California RAC members see issues first-hand" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the Bureau of Land Management’s Central California Resource Advisory Council saw issues facing the BLM’s Mother Lode Field Office during their meeting April 8-9 in Nevada City. RAC members held meetings both days and visited the Deer Creek and San Juan Ridge areas to see cooperative projects among BLM, other agencies and community groups.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Where do red-spotted toads prefer to live?
(a.) old-growth forest habitats with many decaying logs
(b.) rocky desert habitats near streams and oases
(c.) urban dumps and trash processing centers
(d.) rocky coastline, just above the reach of high tide
(e.) as far away as possible from plaid toads
---->See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"Solar: California's new gold rush" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/24/11)
"It's been called California's second gold rush: the clamor by large solar companies to stake a claim in southern California's open deserts and capture one of its most abundant resources -- sunlight. While many cheer the cleaner energy and economic possibilities utility-scale solar development may bring to a job-starved region, some environmentalists, Native Americans and others are critical of the process, saying it's running roughshod over threatened plant and animal species and culturally sensitive areas."
RELATED: "Tribes: Solar projects tread on sacred Indian grounds" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/24/11)
In 2008, La Cuna de Aztlan Protection Circle, "a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the Blythe Giant Intaglios ... entered into a collaborative agreement with the federal Bureau of Land Management to help protect the geoglyphs and several hundred other sacred sites along the Colorado River from Needles to Yuma, Ariz. Now La Cuna is suing the BLM and four solar projects -- the Blythe, Ivanpah, Calico and Genesis projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties."
"Environmentalists, green industries at odds over San Bernardino County desert development" (San Bernardino County Sun, 4/22/11)
"Seeking to preserve 600,000 acres of pristine desert land in Southern California for public use, the Wildlands Conservancy raised $40 million to buy the land and transfer it to federal stewardship" under BLM management. Now the conservancy "is watching as developers line up to turn an area that has never seen a bulldozer's blade into immense wind and solar farms."
"Shining the light on solar projects" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/24/11)
Summary of solar thermal versus photovoltaic power plants, arguments for large-scale solar projects, pro and con.
"Endangered tortoises slow push for power" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/25/11)
"The recent push by the federal and state governments to develop solar across tens of thousands of acres of public land is a grand experiment not only in the viability of solar as a major power source, but in whether it can be implemented in the desert without significant harm to the environment. That's already proven problematic on one of the large solar projects furthest along in construction."
"BLM facilitates renewable energy development on public lands through rules" (BLM news, 4/25/11)
In support of the Administration’s work to develop environmentally-responsible renewable energy on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management moved to facilitate right-of-way applications for lands with wind and solar energy development potential. Specifically, the BLM published in the Federal Register rules that would allow the BLM, when necessary for the orderly administration of the public lands, to temporarily segregate lands in a wind or solar energy right-of-way application from the location of mining claims or other land appropriations.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Public comment period extended for Hollister Field Office oil and gas lease sale environmental assessment" (BLM news, 4/27/11)
A 30-day public review and comment period for a proposed oil and gas lease in Monterey County has been extended to May 6. 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, 2011 and is requesting public comments.
"Rolling on the river" (Stockton Record, 4/29/11)
One of the largest rafting outfitters in the United States is based in Calaveras County, yet there are no commercial rafting trips on any of the county's rivers. That may soon change as the federal Bureau of Land Management considers an experimental three-year program that would grant limited commercial permits to raft the Mokelumne River near Mokelumne Hill.
"Parking project planned by Mokelumne River Bridge at State Route 49" (BLM news, 4/22/11)
"Signs on 50,000 miles of OHV routes almost complete" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/25/11)
There may be periodic minor traffic delays on State Route 49 at the Mokelumne River this summer due to construction of a new parking lot. The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office expects to start work on the Big Bar parking project in early May and finish it in late August. It will provide 18 parking spaces for rafting put in/take out and river recreation use.
"The Bureau of Land Management has been working to place signs telling people which off-road routes are open and which are closed on three million acres within the western Mojave Desert for about eight years and now has a deadline to finish the signs before July" to comply with "a federal judge’s ruling in January about the West Mojave Plan."
"BLM announces community planning meetings for Kanaka Valley" (BLM news, 4/27/11)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office will hold public meetings in Cameron Park in May, June and July for the community-based management plan of the Kanaka Valley area near the Pine Hill Preserve.
"BLM schedules scoping meeting on Mono City Road" (BLM news, 4/22/11)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will conduct a public scoping meeting on May 10 in Mono City regarding a proposed emergency ingress and egress road.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
May 3 - Kanaka Valley community planning meeting - Cameron Park
May 6-7 - El Centro ATV safety Training - see locations
May 7 - Migratory songbird hike - King Range
May 15 - Native plant identification and uses - Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve
| DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior Department receives honors for financial reporting" (Department of the Interior news, 4/28/11)
The Association of Government Accountants recently awarded the Department of the Interior their Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting, the group’s highest form of recognition in Federal government management reporting. This follows on the Interior Department receiving, for the 14th consecutive year, a favorable audit opinion from KPMG LLP, an independent certified public accounting firm and the Department’s external auditor.
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