A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 486 - 6/23/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Wildfires and prevention
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Free Offer: NLCS poster, North Fork American Wild & Scenic River
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National BLM and Department of the Interior items: PILT, Cobell, economy
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Wet weather may delay fire season, but produced much vegetation to burn"(Sacramento Bee, 6/18/11)
"Heavy rain and near-record snowfall will likely delay the brunt of California's fire season, but the wet weather also means there's a tremendous amount of grass ready to burn in more places than usual, fire officials warned .... Federal and state firefighting officials, though, are especially concerned about Southern California desert areas such as Death Valley that have seen another year of unlikely vegetation growth. 'We are seeing fuels grow where we haven't seen them for years,' said Paul Bannister, fire management officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
"Officials offer wildfire outlook" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/17/11)
"A cool, wet spring will likely produce a slow start for the fire season in the north state. That doesn't mean this summer will be fire free though, state and federal fire officials said .... 'Don't let the weather in California deceive you,' said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. ' Every year has the potential to have large damaging fires'."
"Wildfire Preparedness Expo" (Mendocino County Fire Safe Council)
Saturday, July 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Includes information on protecting your home from wildfires. The BLM will be taking part.
"Crews bring Antelope fire under control" (Bakersfield Californian, 6/20/11)
"Dying winds allowed firefighters to take control Monday of the Antelope Fire, a 5,196-acre, 19-mile circumference wildfire that broke out by an oil field near Lost Hills Sunday and spread west into San Luis Obispo County. Fire crews and equipment were pouring out of western Kern County by the early afternoon as firefighters began mopping up around charred grasslands and blackened hillsides in the Temblor Mountains."
"Large grass fire west of Woody under control" (Bakersfield Californian, 6/21/11)
"The Quinn Fire quickly spread because of strong winds in the area. Kern County fire crews were assisted by crews from the Bureau of Land Management and Tulare County Cal Fire," and kept the fire to 3,145 acres.
"Fire officials stress caution for July Fourth Holiday" (BLM news, 6/17/11)
Northeast California fire officials are reminding area residents and visitors to be careful with fire and fireworks when they celebrate Independence Day. Spring may have been cool, but conditions are starting to dry out. It is illegal to possess or use fireworks, including those sold at fireworks stands, in national forests, national parks and on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
"UC San Diego receives NSF support for wildfire modeling and prevention" (East County Magazine, 6/22/11)
"Wildfires are increasing in both absolute number and severity in the American southwest and this trend is predicted to continue over decades to come. Wildfire prevention has now become a major priority, and scientists at the University of California, San Diego have received federal funding to devise descriptive and predictive simulation tools to help prevent or suppress wildfires."
"Fire fighters battling blazes in the Southwest are relying on high-tech tools" (NextGov, 6/20/11)
"Intense physical labor has gone into fighting forest fires ravaging the Southwest this year, including the ... Track Fire straddling the New Mexico-Colorado border ... Management of that effort relies on a variety of high-tech tools and satellite-fed computer systems, said Robert Cordts, planning chief for the multiagency Incident Management Team here."
"The big business of battling wildfires"(Fortune at CNN Money, 6/22/11)
As the Wallow fire continues to rage in Arizona, federal, state, and municipal entities are working around the clock to contain it. But there's another group of increasingly important firefighters battling the blaze: private contractors. While governmental agencies are responsible for coordinating wildfire management efforts, the physical operations of containment are increasingly the domain of private business."
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC)
Current wildfire information, updated Monday - Friday during wildfire season.
"InciWeb" (Incident Information System)
An "interagency all-risk incident information management system."
"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.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"BLM stresses safety for Susan River recreation"(BLM news, 6/20/11)
Thanks to a heavy mountain snowpack, wet spring and quickly rising temperatures, the Susan River near Susanville is flowing higher, faster and colder than normal for early summer. The BLM is advising anyone recreating on the river to be careful. Those taking to the water in kayaks, rafts, canoes and even inner tubes should wear life jackets or life vests, helmets and shoes suitable for rocks and swift current. They should be constantly alert for hazards.
RELATED: "High temps send waters raging" (Mariposa Gazette, 6/16/11)
"A huge snowpack is melting this week as temperatures approach summer norms. And now, Mariposa County is under an indefinite flood warning because of it. On the Merced River, high flow will combine with cold water for weeks to come .... The combination is creating spectacular waterfall displays in Yosemite. It also creates challenging -- and potentially dangerous -- kayaking and rafting conditions. Swimming during these conditions is not a good idea, said Bureau of Land Management river expert Jeff Horn."
"Coastal Gardener: Nature's various gardens are breathtaking" (Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, 6/17/11)
"Our journey would take us to others of nature's gardens, but none as significant as an area known as the Carrizo Plain. Most Californians seldom visit this wide open space, which is 15 miles wide and 50 miles long … The plants and gardens of The Carrizo support a vast array of wildlife and we found much of it: pronghorn antelope, endangered giant kangaroo rats, four versions of owls, golden eagles, prairie falcons, several hawk species, northern Pacific rattlesnakes and my first sighting of wild badgers."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
When early explorers first entered the Carrizo Plain, they found a lush paradise of native grasses and colorful wildflowers. This broad, fertile valley sustained immense herds of tule elk and pronghorn antelope. California condors circled overhead, and intermittent pools provided food for waterfowl and shorebirds. Native Americans came to hunt the abundant game, and their many encampments dotted the plain. Today, the Carrizo Plain supports many threatened and endangered species.
"BLM Redding's Bill Kuntz a winner of 2011 Legends Award" (News.bytes Extra)
Redding Field Office Recreation Planner Bill Kuntz has received national recognition for his outstanding work in recreational trail development in the Redding area. The American Recreation Coalition presented Kuntz with a 2011 Legends Award during a ceremony held in Washington, DC on June 16 as part of Great Outdoors Week. Kuntz was one of seven federal land managers from across the country to receive the award. Kuntz was the BLM's sole award recipient.
RELATED: "Trails" (BLM Redding Field Office)
Visitors can find a variety of trails on the public lands managed by the BLM's Redding Field Office.
"Making a difference" (News.bytes Extra)
United Desert Gateway presented an award of appreciation to BLM employee Jennifer Whyte for her inspired vision in the creation of the annual Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area "Dunes Cleanup." In 1998 Whyte volunteered to coordinate a massive one-day volunteer cleanup effort and spent months organizing it, gathering donations, and spreading with word. The first event attracted more than 1,000 volunteers who collected over 2,000 bags of trash. The annual cleanup will celebrate 15 years in February.
"BLM helps Trinidad celebrate Fish Festival" (News.bytes Extra)
Children and adults enjoyed creating artistic fish prints by using real fish, as part of the Trinidad Fish Festival in the coastal community of Trinidad on June 19. BLM staff members, summer interns and a high school student helped staff the BLM booth. A local company donated fish for the art projects.
"Despite wind, 2,000 turn up in Trinidad to celebrate fish festival" (Eureka Times-Standard, 6/20/11)
During the Trinidad Fish Festival last weekend, the Chamber of Commerce sold an estimated 1,400 fish dinners. Kids also found entertainment, such as one who "brushed a coat of purple tempera paint over the scales of a small black bass. When he was done, members of the Bureau of Land Management's Arcata Field Office pressed a piece of white paper over the fish and came up with an exact print. Other kids made prints of a flounder, a rockfish and six other fish."
RELATED: "Merced River Recreation Area" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
Heed the warnings against swimming in the current cold, high river flows.
"Explore redwoods in the Whitethorn area" (Redwood Times, 6/21/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management and Lost Coast Interpretive Association will host a Living Giants: Redwoods hike on Saturday, June 25."
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK:
Take time for some birding, fishing, picnicking -- or just view the sights -- at the South Spit Cooperative Management Area. Find a quiet place to slow down for a while and enjoy one of Northern California's magnificent beaches. Stroll the coastal sands and watch hang gliders soar on the updrafts above Table Bluff or surfers ride the offshore swells.
|FREE OFFER: NLCS poster
While supplies last - sign up for this free poster of the North Fork American Wild and Scenic River. NOTE: Our free offers usually usually are all spoken for very quickly -- some readers tell us they are apparently gone before they even receive their issue of News.bytes. In an attempt to give everyone a fair chance, we will open this offer at 2:30 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) today, 6/23/11.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Speaking of badgers (see Carrizo Plain story above) ... more than one of the following answers may be correct. American badgers have a particular relationship with their dens, in that:
(a.) badgers live in one den for their entire lives.
(b.) badgers are not content with one den, but like to have several.
(c.) badgers don't like to visit their old dens, once their own musk smell builds up
badgers like to go back to their old dens to surprise new visitors.
(e.) badgers like to load up their dens with meat.
(f.) wildlife biologists refer to a male badger den as a "man cave."
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"Gov. Jerry Brown sees future in massive solar plant near Blythe" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/18/11)
California Gov. Jerry Brown "used ... the future site of one of the world's largest solar plants to issue a call for fiscal responsibility and investment in a green economy for the state's future." Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and "most speakers at the event focused on the economic benefits, for Blythe and Riverside County, as well as the country at large ... An American Indian group claiming the project will destroy historic geoglyphs unfurled banners and protested..."
RELATED: "Ground broken in Blythe for massive solar plant"(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 6/17/11)
The world's largest solar power plant will be "a major milestone in the nation's march toward a renewable energy world and a more stable economy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Friday during a groundbreaking ceremony."
"BLM plans field exam and public meetings on proposed energy right-of-way applications" (BLM news, 6/21/1)
The BLM’s Bishop Field Office will conduct a field exam and two public scoping meetings for the Ewind Farm and ENEL (Padoma) wind monitoring project areas within the Black Lake, Adobe Valley, and Granite Mountain areas west of Benton in eastern California. The field exam is set for Saturday, July 9 and a public scoping meeting for Monday, July 11.
"Abengoa Mojave Solar to receive $1.2 billion federal loan" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 6/17/11)
"The Department of Energy announced this week that it would be offering a conditional $1.2 billion federal loan for the Abengoa Mojave Solar project outside Hinkley. The 250 megawatt Mojave Solar project will be constructed on private, disturbed land near Harper Dry Lake and an already existing solar plant."
RELATED: "Abengoa Mojave Solar Power Plant (CACA 52096)" (BLM California)
The project is proposed for private land historically used for agriculture. The Department of Energy is heading the environmental review process, with the BLM acting as a cooperating agency.
"Grant funds Fresno State solar research project" (Fresno Business Journal, 6/17/11)
"California State University, Fresno will use a grant of nearly $300,000 to research the effect of solar projects in arid or dryland environments" and "help develop a scientific method" to assess impacts, "in order to ease and streamline the permitting process for such proposals. The work will be developed and tested at proposed locations of utility-scale solar energy projects that the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Bureau of Land Management identify."
"Federal judge hears arguments in Sunrise Powerlink hearing"(East County Magazine, 6/23/11)
"An attorney representing local groups opposed to Sunrise Powerlink presented arguments in U.S. District Court yesterday in San Diego, seeking to halt construction of the line on lands in East County owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management." The judge noted he was the fourth judge in the case and "that since he will be presiding over a trial starting up in an unrelated case, he could not predict how long a decision in this case will take."
RELATED: "SDG&E's Big Solar Failure" (Voice of San Diego, 6/20/11)
San Diego Gas & Electric proposed the Sunrise Powerlink in 2005 to bring renewable power from Imperial County, and soon announced "a landmark deal with an upstart, unproven solar dish company that promised to turn the desert sun into a major renewable energy source for San Diegans ... Now, almost six years later," Sunrise Powerlink is under construction, "but the solar project once closely linked to the transmission line has been sold twice, sucked up tens of millions of investor dollars and been cast aside by SDG&E..."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Oil on the range" (Monterey County Weekly, 6/23/11)
"Ranchers say old-school cattle raising doesn't pay the bills. Now, even some enviros are backing oil leases to save ranch land ... the oil industry’s footprint in the region faces scrutiny as the Bureau of Land Management plans to lease out about 2,600 acres between Lockwood and Bradley for oil exploration ... Ranchers who lease their land to oil companies worry that increasingly vocal South County activists could scare off additional oil exploration -- and with it, revenue they say they need to keep this land rural." Some residents express concern over possible "fracking."
"Off-roaders and Marines in contention for rugged desert" (Los Angeles Times, 6/18/11)
"Rough and rocky, Johnson Valley is considered the perfect place to test the mettle of men and their machines. An estimated 200,000 people a year flock to the desert valley for recreational pursuits: hiking, camping, rock-hounding, star-gazing and ... 'geocaching,' .... The Marine Corps, whose Twentynine Palms base is directly adjacent to Johnson Valley, also likes the valley's challenging terrain" and "would like to include the land inside the boundaries of its Air-Ground Combat Center as a training area for large-scale, live-fire exercises ... The land is controlled by the federal Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)
"BLM seeking public review and comment on King Range Wilderness Plan" (BLM news, 6/20/11)
The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public review and comments on a draft plan and environmental assessment for managing wilderness areas designated in the 2006 California Coast Wild Heritage Wilderness Act. The designation included two separate wilderness areas: the King Range Wilderness, which is entirely within the King Range National Conservation Area, and the Rocks and Islands Wilderness, which includes the adjacent rocks and islands offshore from the King Range...
"Explosive device found at illegal grow site"(Lake County Record-Bee, 6/22/11)
BLM agents joined the Lake County Sheriff's Marijuana Suppression Unit and other agents in eradicating more than 21,000 marijuana plants near the Sonoma County line. "Law enforcement urges people to be aware of their surroundings when venturing into wilderness areas and to immediately back out and notify authorities any time indications of a possible marijuana grow are discovered."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include geologist, supervisory resource management specialist, and several temporary seasonal job announcements.
|NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Local governments to receive $375 million to compensate for tax-exempt federal lands"
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that more than 1,850 local governments around the nation will receive payments totaling $375.2 million under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program this year to compensate them for non-taxable federal land in their jurisdictions.
"Secretary Salazar and Associate Attorney General Perrelli applaud final approval of Cobell Settlement" (Department of the Interior press release, 6/20/11)
Cobell v. Salazar, a long-running and contentious American Indian trust class-action lawsuit, has been pending for 15 years. The court’s approval of the $3.4 billion settlement paves the way for payments to be made to as many as a half-million individual American Indians who had Individual Indian Money accounts or an interest in trust or restricted land managed by the Department of the Interior.
"Interior programs supported 2 million jobs nationwide, contributed $363 billion in economic output during 2010" (Department of the Interior press release, 6/22/11)
The Department of the Interior’s wide range of recreational, conservation, energy, land and water management programs and activities supported more than 2 million American jobs and contributed about $363 billion to the Nation’s economic activity in fiscal year 2010, according to a departmental report using standard input-output economic modeling techniques.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) badgers are not content with one den, but like to have several.
badgers like to go back to their old dens to surprise new visitors.
(e.) badgers like to load up their dens with meat.
SOURCE: "American Badger - Taxidea taxus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Badgers are known to have separate dens for sleeping, giving birth, and for storing food. Some research suggests that badgers use a different den every day during the summer, a different den every few days in the fall, and only one den in the winter.
Excess meat is stored in dens for future use.
Badgers often revisit old dens to prey on the rodents that moved in after they left.
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