A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 481 - 5/20/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors:
- Wildflowers, sightseeing, hikes, more
- Get Outside to America's Great Outdoors
- FREE OFFER: Poster
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Off-highway vehicles
- 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
- Department of the Interior: Bay-Delta water
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Ode to Carrizo Plain" (Santa Barbara Independent, 5/19/11)
"The last hill offered wide-open views of the vast Carrizo Plain National Monument. Below me, two dots moved slowly across the sweeping grasslands, a pair of pronghorn antelope bulls browsed the valley floor ... What happens when where you are converges with where you want to be? That question is answered every time I hang a left off Highway 166 onto Soda Lake Road, and I'm swallowed up in the silence of this remote wilderness. The national monument turned 10 years old in April...."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species, and is an area culturally important to Native Americans. The San Andreas fault, which has carved valleys, created and moved mountains, is seen close-up in subtle alignment of ridges, ravines and normally dry ponds.
"Ridgecrest holds First Annual Desert Wildflower Festival" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM played a large part in Ridgecrest's First Annual Desert Wildflower Festival last month. For decades Ridgecrest's Maturango Museum has held an event in which docents display hundreds of wildflower species, gathered within 50 miles by volunteers with BLM permits. This year's event added activities from geocaching to wildflower photography, plus presentations, exhibitor booths and more.
"Pining for lupine" (Salinas Californian, 5/20/11)
"Something colorful is missing this spring along the Highway 68 corridor. Lupine, the most prominent symbol of wildflower season, is a no-show" including "a spot famous to photographers and artists for its abundance of flowers punctuated by grazing cattle." BLM botanist Bruce Delgado says, "It's the grasses from Europe ... They've out-competed the wildflowers for space, light and water." But there are still wildflowers to see if you know where to look. Delgado rates the wildflower season "a 6 on a scale of 1-to-10."
"Wildflower update - Mid-May 2011" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
On Wednesday May 11, I went about 8 or 9 miles out the Fish Slough Road, there are some great carpets of yellow and white flowers out that there. The dominant things blooming include scale bud, desert dandelion, Venus blazing star and desert pincushion. Apricot globe mallow, lupine and camissonia are also blooming. Wild iris are starting to bloom in meadows and pastures around the Bishop and Round Valley area.
"Birding, tidepool walks will kick off King Range summer hike series"(BLM news)
This weekend: On May 21, hikers can learn about the fascinating life within the North Coast's tidepools when BLM Interpretive Specialist Rachel Sowards-Thompson leads a walk starting at 8:30 a.m. in Shelter Cove.
"Art inspired by nature on display at Fortuna Library" (The Humboldt Beacon, 5/18/11)
Working with two local artists and art educators, "students created screen prints, relief prints of plants, and drawings of landscapes and mammals" for the "What is an Old Growth Coastal Redwood Forest?" program funded by a Save the Redwoods League education grant." The BLM is among local agencies and groups mentoring the students.
|GET OUTSIDE to America's Great Outdoors...
...camp at the Pit River Campground on the largest river in Northeastern California. The river flows through large mountain valleys and cuts its way through massive basalt flows to form incredible canyons. The campground offers sites with tables, fire rings under large pine, oak, and ash trees. Fishing is available in the river as well as in several large reservoirs and lakes nearby.
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Cameron Park at high risk for wildfire, California officials say" (Sacramento Bee, 5/15/11)
"Cameron Park sits on land that Cal Fire -- the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection -- deems highly hazardous for wildfire ... A plant preserve full of wildfire fuel overlooks the town ... Despite those risks," Cameron Park added "about 17,000 homes to risky areas from 2000 to 2010, according to a Bee analysis ... the Bureau of Land Management recently built a 100-foot firebreak between Cameron Park and the preserve. The break 'will slow fire down,' said Brian Mulhollen, a bureau fuels management specialist. 'It will not stop it. It buys time.'"
"Mittry Lake brush fire now 40 percent contained" (Yuma Sun, 5/19/11)
The Laguna Fire started Wednesday and "is burning salt cedar, willow, cottonwood and mesquite in the Colorado River riparian area. The fire started in California and hopped the river into Arizona ... The fire has destroyed a historic abandoned cabin known as 'Pappin House' and portions of Betty's Kitchen Watchable Wildlife Area and Interpretive Trail near Laguna Dam."
"Fire restrictions going into effect for the California desert" (BLM news, 5/13/11)
As of Monday, May 16, the Bureau of Land Management issued fire restrictions on public lands in the California desert, including requiring permits for campfires and barbecues. Above normal rainfall this winter and spring has produced prolific growth of desert vegetation, including highly flammable invasive grasses. Historically, these conditions have fueled very large wildfires.
"San Clemente resident shares work on extreme job" (San Clemente Times, 5/12/11)
"In 2007 and 2010, Patrick Drummy, 30, of San Clemente served in one of 110 elite inter-agency Hotshot Crews across the country tasked with battling wildfires in the remotest and most difficult terrain imaginable. 'It's just an intense job,' he said. 'You're blazing hot, fighting a fire in your face or you're freezing cold.' ... Interagency Hotshot Crews are drawn from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, various Native American tribes, and the states of Alaska and Utah."
RELATED: "National Interagency Fire Center"
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, is the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC. Decisions are made using the interagency cooperation concept because NIFC has no single director or manager.
"Potential shelters or safe zones identified in Ramona for next big fire" (Ramona Patch, 5/17/11)
"Seventy-eight percent of people in this town have said ... that they don't have ... or don't understand" the City of Ramona's evacuation plans, a resident said. He said the current plan "is like a phone book" and "we need a one-page plan." The Firesafe Council of San Diego County "helped the Sheriff's Department create a two-sided one-page evacuation document, which has a map on the back." The BLM helps to support many of the Fire Safe Councils in California.
"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.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
This weekend: Wild horse and burro adoption in Redlands - see our upcoming events calendar:
Late-breaking notice: The wild horse and burro adoption scheduled for Tulare on June 4 and 5 has been postponed due to concerns over the outbreak of equine virus (see next item). Watch next week's News.bytes for more details.
"Owners warned after outbreak of fatal horse virus" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/17/11)
"Horse owners and organizations nationwide" are shutting down shows and events to help stop the spread of "a deadly horse virus outbreak that began in Utah ... So far, at least 17 horses in Idaho, Utah, Colorado, California, Washington and Canada have been infected with the highly contagious Equine Herpes Virus-1, and at least three have died ... In Utah, the Bureau of Land Management announced it is postponing its 13th annual Wild Horse and Burro Festival until August because of the outbreak."
RELATED: "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.
"Border Patrol agents become new horse patrol unit" (KOLD-TV Benson, AZ, 5/18/11)
U.S. Border Patrol agents completed a two-weeks course "which prepared them to ... train other agents for Horse Patrol duties. The daily training consisted of 10-12 hours of overall horsemanship consisting of classroom work, learning about horse anatomy and riding techniques ... Three of the six horses ridden by the graduating students came from the Border Patrol's Noble Mustang Project" which adopts horses from the BLM. "The horses, ranging in age from 3-5 years, are highly trained and well suited for patrolling in harsh border environments."
"BLM announces three selections for National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board" (BLM national news, 5/16/11)
The BLM has selected Robert Bray, Ph.D., as a new appointee for the category of Wild Horse and Burro Research, James Stephenson as a new appointee for the category of Natural Resource Management, and Julie Gleason as a new appointee for the category of Public Interest (with knowledge of equine behavior). These individuals will each serve three-year terms as members of the Advisory Board.
"BLM extends deadlines for proposals to establish public-private wild horse ecosanctuaries" (BLM national news, 5/12/11)
The BLM extended to June 7 the deadline for submitting proposals for public-private partnerships to establish wild horse "ecosanctuaries." The ecosanctuaries, to be publicly accessible with a potential for ecotourism, would help the BLM feed and care for excess wild horses that have been removed from Western public rangelands.
"Four-wheel off-road racing returns to Valley" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/20/11)
"There were plenty of winners in Saturday's SoCal 250 held at Plaster City, from the Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts racing series based in Nevada. But the real winner was off-road racing in the Imperial Valley.This past weekend marked the return of four-wheel off-road racing to the Imperial Valley, a needed and welcomed return. “We were very pleased with the turnout, the number of entries,” SNORE race director Robert Gross said. “The spectators behaved themselves very well and we enjoyed the cooperation with the BLM.”"
RELATED: "Plaster City OHV Open Area" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
Approximately 17 miles west of El Centro, this Off-Highway Vehicle open area provides ample opportunity to test individual driving skill over a variety of terrain. Two staging areas, Plaster City East and Plaster City West, are popular primitive camping and day use areas. Limited use areas and military practice bombing targets are immediately adjacent to the open area. Please observe all posted signs and do not enter the bombing ranges.
"Marines invade Johnson Valley" (Big Bear Grizzly, 5/18/11)
"Off road and outdoor enthusiasts are doing their best to prevent losing the largest open area in the country to the Marine Corps. Johnson Valley is thousands of acres bordered by the San Bernardino Mountains, Lucerne Valley, Yucca Valley and the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. The Marine Corps states that Twentynine Palms is the only location in the country with the potential to expand the land area to meet training requirements for marine expeditionary brigades. What that means is taking over approximately 168,000 acres of open land now known as the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area."
RELATED: "Land Acquisition/Airspace Establishment Study" (U.S. Marines)
Public comment period on draft environmental impact study ends May 26.
RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
During courtship, male ringneck snakes:
(a.) bring the female gifts of live rats.
(b.) are often eaten by the female.
(c.) puff out a colorful sack just behind their heads.
(d.) bite the female on the neck.
(e.) haven't paid attention the rest of the year, and have no idea what the females want.
------> See answer -- and more wildlife news -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"BLM plans public meeting on proposed wind energy right of way applications" (BLM news, 5/20/11)
The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office will provide information and listen to comments on two proposed wind energy right of way applications in a public meeting Monday, June 6 in Benton.
The 200-foot tall wind monitoring towers are proposed for three-year testing periods. Instruments on these towers would collect wind speed and direction data and other weather information. The testing projects are proposed by Ewind Farm and Padoma within the Black Lake and Adobe Valley areas west of Benton. The companies have not submitted plans to develop wind energy projects.
"House GOP looking at alternative energy" (Medill News Service for UPI, 5/13/11)
"At a hearing Friday of the House Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., criticized the Obama administration's efforts to develop both renewable and traditional energy sources, characterizing them as showing an 'inherent distrust and opposition to conventional fossil fuels.' And administration catering to environmentalists has 'put a brake' on renewable energy, he said."
RELATED: "Lawmakers bash hurdles to renewable-energy projects" (USA Today, 5/14/11)
"Despite improvements in the past two years, renewable-energy development on public land isn't moving fast enough, lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Committee said Friday." Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, chairman of the panel's Energy and Minerals Subcommittee, said during a committee hearing that "the Bureau of Land Management has reserved less than 1 percent of its Western land for so-called 'solar energy zones,' where projects can be approved faster."
RELATED: "Salazar, Hayes, Bromwich testify on safe, responsible domestic oil and gas production" (Department of the Interior press release, 5/17/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar "testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding Interior's work to facilitate the development of oil and gas resources on the nation's Outer Continental Shelf and public lands" and "discussed the progress of reforms Interior is undertaking to strengthen management and oversight of energy development in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."
"The wrong sites for solar" (Los Angeles Times, 5/18/11)
Op-Ed from the board president and the director of the Western Lands Project: "...it makes no sense to destroy the desert for large solar projects, and even less sense to turn over precious public land to corporate interests ....
Renewable energy development is crucial to America's future. But the Obama administration is moving backward by sacrificing public lands for solar development. With better siting and technological options available, we can have a renewable energy program that reflects 21st century values by not destroying the very environment we hope to protect."
"Sunny day real estate" (The Inland Empire Weekly, 5/12/11)
"Question: When is an environmentally-friendly source of energy not-so environmentally friendly? Answer: When it's solar-powered. The rush to create new sources of 'green,' renewable power has led to the ultimate irony: vast expanses of pristine desert habitat currently stand threatened to be turned into enormous industrial landscapes as a result of solar energy development that is expected to turn portions of California's rugged, arid regions into 'Solar City'."
"Protestors shell Mojave solar plant" (KQED blog, 5/18/11)
"Protestors picketed in front of BrightSource Energy's corporate headquarters to protest "What some have billed as the world's largest solar project in the Mojave ... determined to preserve the Mojave desert and keep solar projects local."
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"The '3 Rs,' BLM-style" (News.bytes Extra)
Traditionally, the 3 "Rs" represent Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic -- but BLM California recently redefined the 3 Rs as caReers, oppoRtunities and Reaching Out. Edward Harris Jr. Middle School hosted a Traveling Space Museum, the California Highway Patrol, Sacramento Police Department and the Bureau of Land Management as an outreach opportunity to pique students' interest in careers in math, science and other fields.
"U.S.-Mexico Border Field Coordinating Committee meets in El Centro area" (News.bytes Extra)
Sixty representatives from the U.S. and Mexico participated in the biannual meeting of the Department of the Interior U.S.-Mexico Border Field Coordinating Committee in El Centro. Presentations included cooperative conservation strategies for the flat-tailed horned lizard, lessons learned from the 7.2 Mexicali earthquake, a renewable energy panel, and more. A field tour included a stop along the Anza National Historic Trail, a tour of Imperial Valley College Desert Museum and a visit to Airport Mesa.
"Endangered plant found only in SB County gets protected habitat" (Redlands Daily Facts, 5/18/11)
The Center for Biological Diversity won a victory Wednesday for an endangered plant found in only four places on Earth, all of them in San Bernardino County's High Desert. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set aside 14,069 acres of habitat north of Barstow and near Fort Irwin for preservation of the Lane Mountain milk-vetch."The plants are on Fort Irwin and BLM-managed land.
"Professional soccer player get to 10 years in prison" (KERO Bakersfield, 5/16/11)
Two men were "each sentenced to 10 years in prison ... followed by five years of supervised release, for a conspiracy to cultivate and distribute marijuana." The two had admitted "that they were involved in the cultivation of approximately 6,540 marijuana plants on Bureau of Land Management land in the Piute Mountain area of Kern County" and were in possession of weapons when law enforcement officers searched the site.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
May 21 (preview May 20) - Wild horse and burro adoption - Redlands
May 21 - Plant tour - Pine Hill Preserve
May 21 - "Geology Stroll" - Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve
May 22 - "Bugs on the bottom" - Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve
May 29 - "Butterfly Bonanza" - Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve
|DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior Deputy Secretary Hayes and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan announce $9.1 million to fund collaborative projects for Bay-Delta water use efficiencies"
Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan "announced that by working together to leverage monies for water delivery agencies and agricultural producers in California's Central Valley, agencies of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture will provide $9.1 million in funding to five water/power delivery districts to save water, improve water management and create new supplies for agricultural irrigation."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) bite the female on the neck.
SOURCE: "Ringneck snake - Diadophis punctatus" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands:
"Fish and Wildlife Service unveils national plan to combat deadly white-nose syndrome in bats" (Department of the Interior press release, 5/17/11)
"The Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today unveiled a national management plan to address the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than a million hibernating bats in eastern North America since it was discovered near Albany, New York in 2006."
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