A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 498 - 9/16/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Renewable energy
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"El Centro's LTVA and Imperial Sand Dunes season begins! " (News.bytes Extra)
Every year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered at BLM's Long Term Visitor Areas, where visitors may camp for as long as seven months. Three LTVAs opened for winter visitors on yesterday. The Imperial Sand Dunes launches the new season when its ranger stations open on Sept. 30. Fee permits may be purchased at the ranger stations -- but visitors can save money by purchasing fee permits off-site or on-line.
"Finding traction for Redding area's bicyclists" (aNewsCafe.com, 9/12/11)
Columnist: "About 150 miles of paved and unpaved recreational trails invite bicyclists in the Redding area," the result of agencies including the BLM and individuals. "The Sacramento River Trail is at the heart of the system, and recent extensions have only increased the trail's popularity and practical usefulness ... By capitalizing on the new trails, bike lanes and related facilities, and on the interest of bike riders, cycling could continue to grow as a recreational pursuit, a legitimate form of transportation and as a basis for economic growth." (First of three related stories)
"Blazing the trail: North State riders played an early role in mountain biking" (aNewsCafe.com, 9/13/11)
"Thirty-plus years ago, the concept of taking a knobby-tired bicycle on dirt trails was just starting to gain ground ... but the North State staked an early claim to the sport ... In 1981, the Whiskeytown Downhill, a grueling 36-mile cross-country race, put the region on the map as a prime off-road cycling destination" with "the first organized mountain-bike race in the country." With a lot of history to build on, an area bike shop manager says, "The new trail systems the BLM has put in have the potential for exploding us as far as being a mountain-biking destination."
"A shared vision, spanning decades: The Redding Area's trail system" (aNewsCafe.com, 9/14/11)
"[W]hile the BLM's Redding field office still oversees grazing, timber harvesting, mining, and salmon restoration, its top priority is now recreation. 'It's probably a tie between motorized and non-motorized,' said Steve Anderson, who manages the BLM's Redding operation. 'This is the way the land lies. You've got 85,000 acres in Shasta County, and most of it is associated with water or close to people. It's a natural for recreation.' To exemplify his point, Anderson cited what the BLM calls the 'interlakes' area around Keswick Reservoir, where the agency has developed more than 30 miles of non-motorized trails."
"Bizz Johnson ARRA project receives environmental award" (News.bytes Extra)
A project to rebuild an historic railroad trestle on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail has received an environmental excellence award from the Federal Highway Administration. The project, completed last fall, was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"Alabama Hills community spirit day planned" (BLM news, 9/14/11)
The Alabama Hills Film Festival and the Bureau of Land Management's Bishop Field Office will sponsor a cleanup of the Alabama Hills on Saturday, Sept. 24. The event will prepare the area for the Lone Pine Film Festival on Oct. 8 - 10. This event coincides with National Public Lands Day.
"Cosumnes River Preserve waterfowl hunt opportunity" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
The BLM is seeking proposals from qualified organizations interested in administering the Cosumnes River Preserve waterfowl hunts during the 2011-2012 season. The organization that is selected to administer the hunting program will be issued a Special Recreation Use Permit to administer hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays at Cougar Wetland Unit in Galt.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...volunteer at Fort Ord Public Lands this month in honor of National Public Lands Day. Help to restore critical habitat, maintain recreation trails or participate in other exciting projects. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (831) 630-5035 or the Fort Ord Public Lands Project Office at (831) 394-8314 for more information.
"Fort Ord Public Lands - Recreation" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
The BLM Fort Ord Public Lands offer world-class recreation for residents and visitors to the Central California Coast. Lands on the former Fort Ord offer 86 miles of trail on 7,200 acres open every day from dawn to dusk for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, wildlife/wildflower photographers and nature enthusiasts. Visitors can walk or ride the narrow single track trails of the grassland hills or the generous winding trails through oak woodlands and maritime chaparral.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
close-up of a Mojave green rattlesnake
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Which of these is true about Mojave rattlesnake young?
(a.) They are venomous straight out of the shell.
(b.) They are born live and not from eggs.
(c.) They are never the same color as either parent.
(d.) They practice biting insects, until they are old enough to bite large animals.
(e.) As babies, they are fascinated by rattles and keep trying to grab their own tails.
See answer -- and more on rattlesnakes -- near the end of this issue.
LAST CHANCE FOR YOUR INPUT ON ISSUE 500
Do you recall a a favorite feature subject from the past 497 issues of News.bytes? A favorite wildlife trivia item? Let us know -- we will pick several of your ideas to feature in our upcoming 500th issue of News.bytes. Send your ideas to our new email address:
(Please specify if we should use your name or just initials and your city or town.
"BLM initiates environmental review of solar project in Riverside County" (BLM news, 9/16/11)
enXco has requested a right-of-way to develop the Desert Harvest Solar Project, a photovoltaic generating facility with a footprint of approximately 1,280 acres. The 150-megawatt solar project would be near Desert Center in Riverside County. The overall site layout and generalized land uses would include a substation, an administration building, operations and maintenance facilities, a transmission line, and temporary construction lay down areas.
"Solar Trust says it's not abandoning Blythe project" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/14/11)
Solar Trust of America CEO Uwe T. Schmidt visited "to calm fears about the company's commitment to its Blythe solar project and whether the 1,000-megawatt plant will ever deliver the hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic growth originally promised." Schmidt said, "It's not a pull-out; it's a change of technology." The "switch from more complex and expensive solar thermal troughs to photovoltaic panels" will cause delays, but he said that "the company's goal is to have the project repermitted and privately financed by fourth quarter of 2012. It will submit a revised development plan to the Bureau of Land Management within three months."
"BLM rapped for silencing citizens" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/13/11)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has decided to allow members of the public to speak during meetings held to gather public comments. A brouhaha developed after an Aug. 31 meeting in Primm, Nev. The point of the meeting was to gather public input on environmental concerns related to a planned solar development. But people, some of whom drove hundreds of miles to express their views, were not allowed to speak and instead were told to write their thoughts on pieces of paper and submit them."
"Energy news" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 9/11/11)
"The Abengoa Mojave Solar project near Hinkley has broken ground and is ahead of schedule." It "needs to be in a certified construction period by the end of the month -- which means a full, active construction site -- to quality for its federal loans." Also, "First Solar will host a meeting in Barstow next Monday discuss the development of its 300-megawatt Stateline Solar Farm near the California/Nevada border." And "The California Assembly passed a bill that allows a state agency to trade land with the federal government for alternative energy projects."
"Could Sunrise Powerlink have prevented blackout?" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/10/11)
&E has "pitched its Sunrise Powerlink ... as a critical safeguard against blackouts." The outage that hit more than 4 million people San Diego and Imperial County areas "sparked renewed questions about the value of the $1.9 billion line." A San Diego Gas & Electric spokesman said "it's too soon to assess the role a completed Powerlink would have played ... Critics of the line, which will import electricity into San Diego from Imperial Valley, consider the outage a stark reminder of the need to develop local sources of energy." Sections of the power line will cross BLM-managed lands.
"The power struggle for Wyoming's wind" (Fortune Magazine-CNN Money, 9/14/11)
"The best wind in America is in Wyoming ... a door-snapping, heart-pounding wind." It "is also harsh and divisive," causing fights "over policy, taxes on wind farms, and the legal rights of the companies that want to build the networks of power lines and towers needed to move electricity to Oregon, Nevada, and California." Power Co. of Wyoming is developing a 1,000-turbine wind farm that can generate 2,500 megawatts, enough power for a medium-size city." TransWest Express, "wants to build a $3 billion line to carry all that power to southern Nevada and on to California." The line would cross public and private lands in several states.
RELATED: "TransWest Express Transmission Line Project" (BLM Wyoming)
TransWest Express, LLC, has filed an application for a right-of-way to construct and operate a 600kV overhead direct current transmission line to cross public and private lands for the TransWest Express 600kV Project. The extra high voltage line is designed to carry renewable power generated in Wyoming to the Desert Southwest.
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Busy firefighting week on Shasta-Trinity National Forest" (Mount Shasta Herald, 9/15/11)
"The Shasta-Trinity National Forest on Thursday reported 714 lightning strikes during the past three days. Most of the 22 wild fires that resulted were contained to a quarter-acre or less ... As of Thursday afternoon, 20 of the fires were contained, controlled or out."
"Non-local resources savior to crews fighting East Texas wildfires" (Longview, Texas, News-Journal, 9/16/11)
"As fire danger has continued to grow across East Texas, the region has become a top destination of firefighting resources from across the nation. Hundreds of firefighters and support personnel have arrived in East Texas to combat fast-moving wildfires that have consumed tens of thousands of acres, destroyed homes and claimed lives. And without federal help in support of local firefighting efforts, officials said, much bigger swaths of East Texas would be in flames."
"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.
"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."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Feds sued over deadly Mojave Desert off-road race" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/11)
"Spectators who were injured and the family of a man who was killed when a truck plowed into a crowd at a Mojave Desert off-road race sued Wednesday for wrongful death and negligence, blaming the driver, the race promoter and the federal government. The lawsuits ... seek unspecified damages that could total millions of dollars ... An internal review by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ... concluded that the agency failed to adequately monitor the race or properly follow procedures in granting permits to the race promoters."
RELATED: "Lawsuit: BLM negligent in off-road race deaths" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/14/11)
"A wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Diego is the first alleging federal officials contributed to the lax oversight of an off-road race last year where eight spectators were killed." Promoter MDR Racing "was also named in the lawsuits filed Wednesday, as was the driver of the truck that flipped into the crowd, Brett Sloppy. Most of the lawsuits filed Wednesday focused on the BLM's role in permitting and policing the event."
RELATED: "Locals fear consequences of off-road death lawsuit" (Imperial Valley Press, 9/16/11)
A week and a half shy of the first local off-road race of the season, some are worried that a lawsuit filed Wednesday could cause more problems for racing in the Imperial County desert ... 'I worry every day that this is going to be our last race',"said Paul Kirby, president of RoadRunner Offroad Racing Club president, an off-road motorcycle club that "organizes races in Imperial County's Plaster City and has had to deal with the new permitting process."
"Permits for off-road events frustrate racers, opponents" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/9/11)
The BLM is not charging promoters of off-road racers enough to "mitigate environmental damage caused by off-roaders," say some critics. A race fan says that "higher fees will kill off-road racing in Southern California, which a dedicated group of people enjoy. The BLM, he explained, is pricing off-roaders right off public lands." Both sides "agree they don't like the way the Bureau of Land Management is charging for off-road racing permits."
"Mojave Desert: Off-road routes under scrutiny" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/15/11)
"Federal land managers have scheduled two public meetings this month on their effort to decide which dirt roads and trails in the western Mojave Desert should be accessible to motorcycles, quads, jeeps and other off-road vehicles. In January, a federal judge ordered the Bureau Land Management to re-evaluate 5,098 miles of routes described in the agency's West Mojave Plan, adopted in 2006 after more than a decade of meetings and compromises. The plan covers 9.3 million acres that's mostly in San Bernardino County and generally between Joshua Tree National Park and Ridgecrest."
"BLM announces intent to prepare environmental document for motorized vehicle management in West Mojave planning area" (BLM news, 9/13/11)
The environmental document would analyze a proposed plan amendment and alternatives covering the management of motorized vehicles on public lands in the West Mojave area. A Notice of Intent to prepare the plan for areas in Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties published in the Federal Register Monday.
"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $250,000" (BLM news, 9/14/11)
Three oil and gas lease parcels in Fresno and Monterey counties were auctioned for a total of $257,051, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management Wednesday in Sacramento.
"Water debate" (Mariposa Weekly Gazette, 9/8/11)
The Merced Irrigation District and lawmakers "want to explore" raising the capacity of Lake McClure by "10 vertical feet" for irrigation and power generation. But that would mean removing Wild and Scenic River protection for "approximately 1,800 feet" of the Merced River. "'It would, for the first time, de-designate a segment of (Wild and Scenic) river previously designated by Congress,' Bureau of Land Management Director Robert V. Abbey told the House Natural Resources Committee on July 26," saying the BLM opposed the legislation.
"Advisory group explores coastal management, alternative energy and more" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council toured improvements at the former Centerville Naval Station during a stop at the Lost Coast Headlands area near Ferndale, learned a bit of area geology during a visit to the new Fleener Creek Trail and took part in a fire planning exercise.
"BLM hosts second Bodie Hills vegetation restoration public field trip" (BLM news, 9/14/11)
The Bureau of Land Management's Bishop Field Office will host a second public field trip, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, to view vegetation conditions proposed for treatment in the Bodie Hills Upland Vegetation Restoration Project and clarify the treatment methods.
"County trying to put lid on illegal trash dumping" (Sonora Union Democrat, 9/8/11)
Tuolumne County officials "will continue to seek outside funding for various roadside illegal dump sites that pose environmental and health concerns. At the same time ... the county is looking to cooperate with other agencies to clean up dumps on public lands and catch some of the people who are dumping." Trash has been dumped along several roads in the county "as well as on multiple sites handled by the federal Bureau of Land Management. They tend to materialize on remote roads near turnouts where it's easy to pull off in a truck. People dump all kinds of waste -- car parts, motor oil, furniture, clothes. They often are just looking to take it somewhere easy and avoid dump fees..."
"Supervisors back desert protection bill" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/13/11)
Riverside County supervisors voted 4-0 "to formally support the California Desert Protection Act, a federal bill pending in Washington" that would expand Joshua Tree National Park and create the 133,524-acre Sand to Snow National Monument. The legislation also would protect 27 miles of the Whitewater River and designate a Mojave Trails National Monument that would be mostly in eastern San Bernardino County. The bill would affect some BLM-managed public lands.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include environmental protection specialist and realty specialist.
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Sept. 17 - "Fish of the Headwaters Forest Reserve" - near Eureka
Fish biologist David Fuller will discuss salmon habitat in the Elk River.
For details, call BLM Arcata Field Office at (707) 825-2300.
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Salazar announces addition of Chavez Home to National Register of Historic Places" (Department of the Interior news, 9/15/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (La Paz) – the place where labor leader Cesar E. Chavez lived and led the farm worker movement during his last 22 years – has been added to the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance.
Congressional testimony -- see link at end:
"Impacts to onshore jobs, revenue and energy: Review and status of Section 390 categorical exclusions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005" - Statement of BLM Deputy Director Mike Pool before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy & Minerals Resources.
Department of the Interior Statement for the record concerning six bills to amend the Act popularly known as the Antiquities Act of 1906
Legislative Hearing: H.R. 2834, the Recreational Fishing & Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act and H.R. 1444, concerning hunting and land management planning
Legislative Hearing: H.R. 2752, The BLM Live Internet Auctions Act
"2011 Congressional testimony" (BLM national office)
"Secretary Salazar names Michael R. Bromwich and Tommy P. Beaudreau to lead new DOI Bureaus" (Department of the Interior news, 9/16/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named current Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich to lead the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and current BOEMRE Senior Advisor Tommy P. Beaudreau to lead the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
"A wilderness ranger, age 21" (New York Times, 9/13/11)
A senior in college recounts his summer as a wilderness ranger for Humboldt National Forest. "Armed with a GPS unit, a topographic map and a satellite phone, a partner and I scrambled over hundreds of miles of rock and dirt in the mountain ranges of eastern Nevada, more often than not without trails to guide us, marking down locations of natural springs, abandoned mine shafts and areas affected by invasive species ... Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, has laid out plans for a 21st-century Youth Conservation Corps, which would greatly expand service and work opportunities for young people on public lands."
"I-Team: Pot Farm Raid on Mt. Charleston Nets 1,000 Plants" (KLAS-TV Las Vegas, 9/14/11)
BLM Nevada agents joined other agencies in destroying more than 1,000 marijuana plants at Mount Charleston, near Las Vegas. "Nevada growers are using the same techniques as those in the fertile northern California pot region. Water on the mountain is channeled and controlled, passing through a pipe until it's time to feed the plants."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) They are born live and not from eggs.
SOURCE: "Mojave rattlesnake - Crotalus scutulatus" (BLM California wildlife database)
In July or August, female Mojave rattlesnakes give birth to between two and 11 young. The young are born live (not from eggs).
Related wildlife news
"Training helps canines curb curiosity about rattlesnakes" (Ventura County Star, 9/3/11)
"Wildlife biologist Kevin Brennan and his dog Unkus were loping around Lake Hemet a few years ago when Unkus spotted something moving in the bushes. He followed his snout into the foliage, then leapt back. A rattlesnake sprang at the dog's face ... This rattlesnake versus canine incident is all too common in Southern California...."
"When dogs tangle with snakes" (New York Times, 9/8/11)
"As for first aid, there isn't much to do after a snake has struck other than rush the victim to the vet. Cold packs or tourniquets are not advised ... Trying to suck out the venom would result in such a small amount that it wouldn't make any difference ... If the bite is on a leg, it's best to carry the animal to the vet, keeping the limb lower than the heart. A rattlesnake vaccine is available, but, like antivenin, its effectiveness is debatable."
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