A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 483 - 6/3/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors:
- Learning, work, contest and fun
- Get outdoors tip of the week
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Wildfire and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Meet your Advisory Council members
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National BLM and Department of the Interior items
This this issue of News.bytes is online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Students learn importance of natural resources" (News.bytes Extra)
With spring in the air, Lassen County teachers are turning their attention to the outdoors and the importance of instructing pupils on the importance of conserving natural resources. The BLM Eagle Lake Field Office has been joining other area agencies in lending support at a variety of field trips.
"ESYCC and BLM will start 4th summer of public lands projects" (News.bytes Extra)
The Eastern Sierra Youth Conservation Corps and the BLM's Bishop Field Office will be conducting summer work projects across the Eastern Sierra and the Owens Valley. The 2011 projects will include working with the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and Disabled Sports of the Eastern Sierra. This partnership began in 2008.
"Open to all: Deer Creek trail opens public lands" (The Nevada City Union, 6/1/11)
The 2.2 mile Deer Creek Tribute trail "jogs west from downtown Nevada City" across a new "landmark feature" -- a steel foot bridge. "The trail crisscrosses land belonging to Nevada City, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada County and Nevada Irrigation District, as well as a number of private properties ... For years, people have used the trails and ditches along the Tribute Trail for hiking and dog walking, often trespassing on private property. Building the trail made that crossing legal, thanks in large part to private property owners ... who offered use of their properties to build the trail."
"Share the Experience photo contest" (National Park Foundation)
Sponsored by the National Park Foundation in partnership with federal agencies including the BLM, "the contest showcases the more than 500 million acres of Federal Lands and draws entries from all across the United States. The Grand Prize includes a 4-day trip to a national park and the winning photo featured on the 2013 Federal Recreational Lands Pass!"
RELATED: "National Landscape Conservation System" (BLM California)
Start your quest for that contest-winning photo entry, with the Bureau of Land Management’s National Landscape Conservation System. From mountain heights to rugged ocean coastlines, within deep river canyons and across vast deserts, and featuring remote and wild as well as surprisingly accessible areas, the NLCS recognizes and protects some of the West’s most spectacular natural areas.
"Salazar supports President Obama's call for public involvement in stewardship action plans during National Oceans Month" (Department of the Interior press release, 6/2/11)
"President Obama has called upon all Americans to take action to protect, conserve and restore our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. "There is no better time than National Oceans Month to help shape a National Ocean Policy that ensures clean beaches, abundant seafood and wildlife, a robust economy and jobs, recreational opportunities and sustenance of our coastal communities."
RELATED: "Presidential Proclamation--National Oceans Month" (The White House, 6/2/11)
"During National Oceans Month, we celebrate the value of our oceans to American life and recognize the critical role they continue to play in our economic progress, national security, and natural heritage. Waterborne commerce, sustainable commercial fisheries, recreational fishing, boating, tourism, and energy production are all able to contribute to job growth and strengthen our economy because of the bounty of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes."
"America's Great Outdoors: Deputy Secretary Hayes, Senator Durbin announce designation of 41 new National Recreation Trails" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/2/11)
The 41 add almost 650 miles of trails to the National Trails System. Spanning 17 states, the land and water trails provide opportunities for communities to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors as part of a healthier lifestyle, the core principles behind President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiatives.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Volunteers
"Local climbing group cleans up remote recreation area" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the Allied Climbers of San Diego organized a clean up on Bureau of Land Management public lands near Jacumba, in the remote “Valley of the Moon” area. Thirty-five volunteers collected scrap metal, shooting debris, beverage containers and old tires in a five acre area on a Saturday last month.
"BLM-California volunteers win 'Making a Difference' award" (News.bytes Extra) California BLM volunteers Dee and Betty Zeller are winners of the 2011 BLM "Making a Difference" National Volunteer Award. The Zellers are volunteer hosts of the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, managed by the BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. As outstanding volunteers for 15 years, the Zellers were recognized in the Lifetime Achievement category.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Arboreal salamanders got their name...
(a.) because they are great climbers, with tails that can wrap around objects.
(b.) because they have great night vision, for hunting food in the dark.
(c.) because they find food (mainly insects) in the decaying centers of old trees.
(d.) because their tails glow in the dark, like the Arboreal Borealis.
(e.) from the tendency of the cinematographer who discovered them to film interminably dull pirate documentaries, or "arrrgh bore reels."
----> See answer -- and more wildlife stories from your public lands -- near the end of this issue.
"BLM approves desert power transmission project" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/26/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management approved a new substation and upgrades to 35 miles of transmission lines near the California-Nevada border that will be used to transfer electricity from energy projects around the Ivanpah Valley to utility customers ... The new Ivanpah substation will be located in California and will serve as a connector hub for the solar energy produced in the Ivanpah Valley area...."
"Harvest the wind with Tule project" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/29/11)
Editorial: "San Diego has the opportunity for a wind farm producing 10 percent of the region’s electricity needs, at rates cheaper than solar, and closer to the local grid than many alternatives. The project is the proposed $500 million Tule Wind Farm near Interstate 8 where mountains meet desert close to Boulevard. One hundred turbines would produce 200 megawatts of electricity, enough for 130,000 households ....This is a renewable energy project the region needs. We endorse building the Tule Wind Farm."
"Plan for giant turbines near I-10 exit in Palm Springs generating controversy" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/27/11)
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians recently announced a wind farm with two turbines that would "generate enough electricity to power 2,000 homes and dwarf the Inland Empire's tallest building" on "83 acres of tribal land ... While some people view the windmills as an iconic gateway to the Coachella Valley for tourists, others ... deem them too large ... With their blades at the high-noon position, the two 265-foot-tall turbines would top out at 451 feet...."
RELATED: "Windmills an icon of valley goals for renewable energy" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/2/11)
"Windmills are icons of the Coachella Valley and its longtime leadership in renewable energy ... The San Gorgonio Pass is second only to the Tehachapis in California as a source of wind power. At its peak, the Pass had more than 4,000 windmills ... There are about 3,000 now, but they generate much more power because of technological advances. Windmills must be placed carefully, but they are welcomed in our valley."
RELATED: "Wind Energy in the San Gorgonio Pass Area " (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office manages nineteen wind energy right-of-way grants in this area. The San Gorgonio Pass area is very suitable for wind energy development due to steady westerly winds in this area that are funneled between the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountain Ranges.
"Groups sue solar company over San Luis Obispo County project" (KCET Los Angeles, 5/31/11)
Near but not on BLM-managed lands: "Three plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit challenging ... California Valley Solar Ranch ... slated to begin construction in August on seven square miles of private land.
Opponents point to the area as a home to 34 endangered and threatened species, as well as designated core habitat for three animals: the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, San Joaquin kit fox and giant kangaroo rat. In fact, the Carrizo Plain is home to more threatened and endangered species than anywhere else in California."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
"Solar energy plans pit green vs. green" (USA Today, 6/1/11)
"Plans to create huge solar energy plants in the deserts of California, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere in the West are pitting one green point of view vs. another."
|WILDFIRE AND PREVENTION
"Cove Fire 100 percent contained" (Kern Valley Sun, 5/29/11)
The Cove Fire near Lake Isabella burned 1,122 acres. "No one was injured, though about 400 homes were evacuated and a stretch of Highway 178 was closed for a time ... one structure had some damage, but none were destroyed."
RELATED: "Wildfire near Lake Isabella spreads past 1,300 acres" (Bakersfield Californian, 5/27/11)
"An uncontrolled wildfire here grew past 1,300 acres Friday night, forcing the evacuation of more than 400 homes around this community near Lake Isabella." With photos.
"Arson determined to be the cause of 15-acre blaze" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/26/11)
"Arson has been ruled the cause of a 15-acre fire that injured one person, scorched a vehicle and burned several power poles" last week near Indio. "Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department had 16 combined engines at the scene, including three specialized units from Idyllwild, Morongo and the Bureau of Land Management."
"Mittry Lake, Avenue 7E reopens" (Yuma Sun, 6/1/11)
The Laguna Fire "burned 547 acres of riparian habitat" along the California-Arizona border. "The Betty's Kitchen Watchable Wildlife Area ... heavily damaged by the fire, remains closed indefinitely due to public safety issues" including "ash pits" underground that can stay hot "for several weeks." The BLM, Quechan Indian Tribe and Bureau of Indian Affairs "are working together to rehabilitate the acres destroyed in the blaze."
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC)
Current wildfire information, updated Monday - Friday during wildfire season.
"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
"Cowboy trains mustang for adoption competition" (The Coloradoan, 5/31/11)
Don Champion of Carr, Colorado "certainly looks the part" of a cowboy and horse trainer. He is training My-T-Mouse, a "4-year-old, 1,000-pound bay gelding" for the regional Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Collins, Colo. Includes slide show with 15 photos.
"Napa Mustang Days"
Canceled -- at least for now -- due concerns over the EHV-1 virus. "Check back often to see if we are able to set a re-schedule date." Napa Mustang Days is a partnership between Napa Valley Horsemen's Association, the Bureau of Land Management, and the California Wild Horse and Burro Volunteer's Association
"Pony Express re-enactment postponed due to virus" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/31/11)
"For the first time in its 32-year history, the National Pony Express Association is postponing its annual reenactment of the famous ride from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento this summer due to an outbreak of the equine herpes virus EHV-1." Cases of EHV-1 have been confirmed in several western states including California. "Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management asked horse owners to keep their animals off federal lands if there was any possibility they'd been exposed to the virus."
"BLM statement on outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1)" (BLM national news release, 5/26/11)
The Bureau has been working with state and federal animal health officials to help protect the health and well-being of wild horses and burros on the range and in BLM holding facilities. No BLM-managed wild horses or burros on the range or at BLM facilities are known to have been exposed or affected by the neurologic EHV-1 outbreak at this time. However, the Bureau is consulting and coordinating with animal health officials regarding the movement of wild horses and burros and scheduling of events such as adoptions.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Zzyzx: A nice place to visit ..." (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/29/11)
"... but you can’t stay at this scientific outpost in the Mojave Desert. Well, first off, there is no town. The sole resident of the place between Barstow and the Nevada state line is the Desert Studies Center, a field station operated by a handful of California state universities to teach about and research the local environment." Zzyzx's founder "was arrested in 1974 for unauthorized use of federal land and for violation of food and drug laws." The BLM authorized California State University to establish joint management of the oasis.
"Photos: Historic Japanese Colony restored" (KXTV Sacramento, 5/21/11)
"The Wakamatsu Colony is believed to be the first commercial operation involving the earliest Japanese immigrants." The American River Conservancy and the Wakamatsu Foundation "purchased the 200 acres of land and some of the original structures" for restoration and "hope to establish the Wakamatsu Colony as a state historical park." Links to 16-photo slide show.
RELATED: "Statement for the Record, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks - S. 177, Gold Hill-Wakamatsu Preservation Act" (Department of the Interior website)
Congressional testimony on a Senate Bill "which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the Gold Hill Ranch -- by donation, exchange, or purchase from a willing seller with donated or appropriated funds -- to preserve it as a site of historical and cultural value ... The BLM supports the goals of the bill but notes that BLM can make this acquisition under its existing authorities, and we would like to work with the sponsor and the Committee to clarify S. 177."
"Carrizo Advisory Committee plans June meeting" (BLM news, 6/2/11)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee will meet June 25 at the Carrisa Elementary School to discuss management planning for the monument, including updated information on implementation of the Carrizo Plain National Monument Resource Management Plan and the Environmental Impact Statement.
"BLM steps up enforcement at Clear Creek Management Area due to increased trespass activity"(BLM news, 6/1/11)
The BLM has increased law enforcement patrols due to increasing resource and property damage caused by unauthorized motorcycle use. Motorcyclists have cut a three-mile trespass trail across public lands in the CCMA to access the area currently closed to public use. BLM law enforcement rangers patrol the area and will cite individuals riding or driving in the closed areas.
"Off-road commission: Don’t grow base at all" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/28/11)
"The state Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission will not support the proposed Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center expansion into Johnson Valley’s off-road areas." It passed the resolution "a day after members toured several miles of the recreation area. 'All the alternatives create displacement of recreational users, which will over-tax other areas and make it hard to maintain safety,' said Phil Jenkins, chief of the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. Jenkins noted that during the Tuesday tour, the officials were impressed by the pristine condition of the recreational area."
"Ruby Pipeline to Oregon on line by July" (Casper, Wyo. Star-Tribune, 5/26/11)
The $3 billion, 680-mile Ruby Pipeline between Wyoming and Oregon "is nearing completion" with "close to 90 percent of the pipeline installed ... The 42-inch pipe will stretch from Wyoming across the northern parts of Utah and Nevada before reaching an interconnect point near Malin, Ore." The pipeline"will allow gas from the Rockies to compete for West Coast customers, particularly those in Northern California and the San Francisco area."
"MSHA urges outdoor enthusiasts to steer clear of mines and quarries" (Mine Safety and Health Administration)
"Each year, numerous children and adults are injured or killed while engaging in recreational pursuits at active and abandoned mine sites around the country. In 1999, MSHA launched 'Stay Out-Stay Alive,' a public safety campaign, to educate people unfamiliar with mining about the hazards that exist at sand and gravel pits, underground mines and water-filled quarries."
RELATED: "Stay Out! Stay Alive!" (Mine Safety and Health Administration)
More information, and links to additional resources.
"Catch-22 in California budget language may doom suction dredge mining" (Sacramento Bee, 6/2/11)
"Controversial suction dredge mining ... has been halted by a moratorium since 2009. Budget language ... in both houses of the California Legislature would extend the moratorium for five years, or until there are sufficient regulations to mitigate all impacts of the dredging and a fee structure to cover program costs. At the same time, the language would prohibit the state Department of Fish and Game -- which administers suction dredging -- from spending any money to develop regulations to end the moratorium." BLM regulations require compliance with state law, including having a permit from the California Department of Fish and Game to operate suction dredging equipment.
RELATED: "Legislative push to end California gold rush has miners panning environmental rules" (Fox News, 6/1/11)
Suction dredging for gold in river beds: "California's Legislature is trying to slash funding after learning that new rules devised by regulators to protect fish would cost taxpayers $1.8 million each year for permitting, administration, inspection and enforcement. The state collects only $373,000 in permit fees, creating a deficit that lawmakers say is too costly to overcome."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:
June 4 - Plant tour - Pine Hill Preserve
June 6 - Public meeting on proposed wind energy right of way application - Benton
June 8 - Oil and gas competitive lease auction
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"'Wild lands' policy reversed after GOP pressure" (MSNBC, 6/1/11)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a memo ... to his agency that officials will not designate any public lands as 'wild lands' ... the agency will work with members of Congress to develop recommendations for managing millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West. The memo came after a budget deal approved by Congress prevented the Interior Department from spending money to implement the wilderness policy ... The December plan replaced a 2003 policy -- dubbed by critics as 'No More Wilderness' -- that opened Western lands to commercial development."
RELATED: "Salazar outlines broad opportunities for common ground on wilderness" (BLM national news, 6/1/11)
"The protection of America’s wilderness for hunting, fishing, and backcountry recreation should be a unifying issue that mobilizes us to a common purpose," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "We will focus our effort on building consensus around locally-supported initiatives and working with Members to advance their priorities for wilderness designations in their states and districts. Together, we can advance America’s proud wilderness legacy for future generations."
Testimony of BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn Burke before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, on S. 375, Good Neighbor Forestry Act (May 25, 2011)
"The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to enter into cooperative agreements or contracts with a state forester to provide forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and protection services on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management .... The Administration supports Good Neighbor Authority, but we believe further study and analysis are needed to better understand the interplay of state and federal contracting and labor law and regulation before expansion of the authority is authorized."
Testimony of BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn Burke before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on S. 714, Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization (May 25, 2011)
"The Administration strongly supports S. 714 and encourages the Congress to move swiftly to reauthorize the FLTFA. Over the past decade, the Department of the Interior has made a number of important acquisitions using the FLTFA’s provisions. Reauthorization of the FLTFA will allow us to continue to use this critical tool for enhancing our Nation’s treasured landscapes."
"Interior secures authorization to talk with tribal leaders on land consolidation provisions of Cobell Settlement" (Department of the Interior press release, 6/1/11)
A federal judge, in response to a motion on behalf of the Department of the Interior, has granted permission for Interior officials to begin communicating with class members on land trust consolidation provisions of the Cobell Settlement agreement. The Department will soon publish a Federal Register notice announcing its intent to begin formal government-to-government consultations with tribal leaders.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) because they are great climbers, with tails that can wrap around objects.
SOURCE: "Arboreal Salamander - Aneides lugubris" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife stories from your public lands:
"Officials plan to exterminate county's wild pigs" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/1/11)
Public hunting has not controlled the spread of feral pigs in San Diego County. "Officials see the pigs as a threat to fragile ecosystems and public health and safety. Environmentalists worry about the damage wild pigs will do to the county’s sensitive habitat, much of it rebounding from Southern California’s catastrophic wildfires of the last decade." The public may comment until June 26 on plans to eradicate the feral pigs. After June 26, "a draft environmental assessment will be drawn up, and the public will have another 30 days to comment on that draft document."
RELATED: "Reduction of wild pig impacts" (Cleveland National Forest)
Links to "Reduction of Wild Pig Impacts Scoping Letter" (PDF, 133kb) with more information on commenting on the project.
RELATED: "Rooting and foraging effects of wild pigs on tree regeneration and acorn survival in California's oak woodland ecosystems" (US Forest Service)
A research paper.
"Songbirds tweak their tunes in different ways to cope with clamor" (Physorg.com, 5/26/11)
"Grey vireos cope with noise by singing longer songs with higher maximum frequencies than their counterparts at quiet sites. In contrast, Plumbeous vireos in the same noisy areas sing shorter songs with higher minimum frequencies." With sound files contrasting the vireos' songs.
"The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve has new features for its avid bird-watchers" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/31/11)
"More than 250 species" of migrating birds stop over at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve near Las Vegas. "Avid bird-watchers" can enjoy $1.9 million of recent renovations, "with all but $100,000 coming via grant from the Bureau of Land Management through the sale of public lands as authorized by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act...."
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