A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 499 - 9/22/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Renewable energy
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items
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"More solar projects in line for approval" (The Desert Sun, 9/22/11)
Solar development east of the Coachella Valley suffered some setbacks in recent weeks...But that's not stopping solar developers from adding a second round of projects to the Riverside East solar zone between Joshua Tree National Park and Blythe. The Bureau of Land Management held a public meeting...on Florida- based NextEra Energy's McCoy solar project, which is planned for up to 750 megawatts of photovoltaic panels.
"Ocotillo residents sound off on wind energy project" (Imperial Valley Press, 9/18/11)
"More than 40 residents met Saturday morning with Imperial County Supervisor Jack Terrazas to voice their concerns over the Ocotillo Wind Energy Project. The proposed project by Pattern Energy is a 465-megawatt wind farm that would include 155 wind turbines on nearly 12,500 acres mostly owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Project (CACA 51552)" (BLM California)
The proposed Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Project has recently started the environmental review and public participation required by Federal law. The project is proposed to generate enough electricity to power almost 140,000 homes and employ 246 workers during the peak construction of phase one and 69 workers during phase two.
"Meeting muzzle? No" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/19/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management last week wisely altered its public meeting format. Attendees will now be able to address the audience and officials at meetings devoted to proposals for solar power, wind energy and other projects on public land."
"Salazar says solar push to continue" (CBS News, 9/21/11)
Salazar said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Solyndra Inc. case and a delay in the massive Blythe solar project in California illustrate the challenges facing the solar industry. But he remained upbeat about the potential for solar power.
"After solar company’s bankruptcy, area projects defend loans" (Desert Dispatch, 9/18/11)
"The late-August bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc. has created conversation among energy companies about the stability of the Department of Energy’s loan program. The Ivanpah Solar project, owned by Oakland-based BrightSource Energy, Inc., received a $1.37 billion DOE loan in February. The solar site near the California/Nevada border broke ground in October 2010 and is expected to be completed in 2013." Many of these projects will be developed on BLM public lands.
RELATED: "Approved Renewable Energy Projects " (BLM California)
"The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have begun a rapid and responsible move to large-scale renewable energy production on public lands. In 2010, Secretary Salazar approved the first large-scale solar energy plants ever to be built on public lands, six of which are in California. These six projects represent more than 3,000 megawatts of clean energy."
"BLM Announces Scoping Meetings for Proposed Solar Project in Riverside County" (BLM News, 9/19/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled three scoping meetings for the proposed 150-megawatt Desert Harvest solar project near Desert Center in Riverside County, Calif."
"BLM California's facilities are getting more energy efficient!" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM-California has been working hard over the last two years to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio through the development of wind, solar, geothermal, and transmission siting on BLM-managed public lands. So it comes as no surprise that our offices are also taking steps to be more energy efficient. Offices throughout the state have installed numerous solar panels at communications, recreation, and administrative sites in an effort to be more energy efficient.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
American beavers are stimulated to build new dams (or repair existing ones) simply by:
(a.) the sound of running water
(b.) the sound of falling trees
(c.) the odor of rotting wood
(d.) the taste of new foliage
(e.) the sight of autumn foliage turning colors
(f.) reports of rising mortgage rates
------> See answer -- and a story on the oldest beaver ever -- near the end of this issue.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"National Public Lands Day at Big Morongo Canyon" (BLM California)
Volunteers are needed Saturday, September 24, to assist BLM staff and local community groups with the removal of Scotch broom, an invasive plant species which has taken over parts of the Preserve. Volunteers will receive a NPLD t-shirt and a Fee Free pass good at any BLM, NPS, or FWS site that charges an entry fee.
Other National Public Lands Day Events will be held during September and October.
"Fall Color Hot Spots 2011" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
Friday, September 23, is the first day of Fall, and while it may feel like the start of Fall in the Eastern Sierra, the trees and foliage have not started to display their golds and reds. There are sporadic Aspens starting to show some gold, but the good displays of color are a couple of weeks off. Check back for updates.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...hike through the rugged eastern face of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Peak Wilderness Area. The mountainous terrain has deep, winding, open and expansive canyons, many which contain springs with extensive riparian vegetation. Watch for mule deer, golden eagle, and prairie falcon. Not sure where to begin? The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the wilderness area along the crest and western side.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Napa Mustang Days Festival" (News.bytes Extra)
Great weather, high enthusiasm and happy wild horse and burro adopters highlighted the annual Napa Mustang Days festival, held Sept. 16 through 18 in Napa. Over the weekend 22 mustangs and eight burros were placed into new adoptive homes.
"Families adopt horses, burros at Napa Mustang Days" (Napa Valley Register, 9/17/11)
"Horse enthusiasts of all ages were able to have a close look Saturday at wild horses and burros at the Napa Valley Horsemen’s Association, where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s wranglers had brought animals ready to be adopted.
Most of the animals were captured from Twin Peaks, an area that straddles Northern California and Nevada. By noon Saturday, 13 animals, including five burros, had been adopted under BLM’s Adopt a Horse or Burro program, which is designed to maintain healthy herds on public lands."
RELATED: "VIDEO: Horse and burro adoption at Napa Mustang Days" (Napa Valley Register, 9/17/11)
"The Register talks to BLM spokesman Jeff Fontana about this weekend's adoption event."
|FUNNY.BYTES: Coming soon...
...but what is it? Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues. Note: This animation has a sound track - you may need to adjust the sound level on your computer.
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Off-roaders fight to reopen Clear Creek" (KGO-TV San Francisco, 9/21/11)
People who love off-road vehicles are fighting to get one of their favorite parks re-opened. The Clear Creek Management Area straddles the San Benito and Fresno County lines. The area was closed because of high levels of asbestos, but some say they're being robbed of their right to enjoy public land by an overblown risk. The Bureau of Land Management controls the land and ordered all off-road vehicles out after the Environmental Protection Agency found potentially-dangerous levels of naturally-occurring asbestos in the soil.
RELATED: "Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM California)
Based on the results of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) Asbestos Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessment, the Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office issued a Temporary Closure effective May 1, 2008, to all forms of entry and public use for approximately 31,000 acres of public lands in the CCMA to protect public health and safety.
"Imperial Sand Dunes at the Sand Sports Super Show!" (News.bytes Extra)
"For the 13th straight year, staff from the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area participated in the Sand Sports Super Show at the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, CA. BLM employees staffing the booth handed out over a thousand Frisbees sporting OHV safety messages, hundreds of kid-friendly Take it Outside! Family Activity card sets, and the newly reprinted dunes map."
"Eroding walls in Goldfields along Yuba River a flood threat" (Yuba-Sutter Appeal Democrat, 9/19/11)
"The Yuba Goldfields represent a potential flood threat to much of south Yuba County, according to a study presented at a special workshop of the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority on Monday afternoon. Because a wall along the Yuba River is eroding significantly in some places, and because practices by mining companies in the Goldfields have inadvertently created natural paths for water to follow, a 100-year flood event could cause flooding from the Goldfields, though more slowly and less deeply than a levee breach elsewhere in the county. [T]he land in the Goldfields is owned by the corps, the Bureau of Land Management and private entities."
"Boxer joins push for San Diego wilderness" (Sign On San Diego, 9/19/11)
"U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Monday introduced the Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Act of 2011, which would expand two existing wilderness areas in northern San Diego County. The bill is a Senate companion to legislation introduced in January and in the last Congress by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista."
"Wilderness release bill would remove lands from limbo, foster local control" (Bakersfield Californian, 9/19/11)
"Several decades ago, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service began to inventory their lands and recommended a combined 43 million acres as unsuitable for wilderness, meaning they didn't have the characteristics to qualify them for wilderness preservation. In classic Washington style, Congress never acted on these recommendations, leaving these lands under restrictive management practices that severely limit access and activities." Op-ed from Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
"Congress attacking conservation efforts" (Bakersfield Californian, 9/19/11)
"[T]he Antiquities Act grants presidential authority to declare a national monument. Used by many presidents from each political party, the act established the framework for preserving America's natural heritage. Areas such as...[the] Carrizo Plain were preserved under this act. GOP congressional leaders like McCarthy are leading the efforts to repeal this authority."
"Public lands debate heads to Capitol " (Fresno Bee, 9/17/11)
"The conflict over public lands will surge again...as congressional Republicans showcase their unhappiness over environmental restrictions they consider excessive.
The legislation by McCarthy, the House majority whip, would lift current interim protections from 6.6 million acres of Bureau of Land Management property."
"Dream Bike Projects: What’s Coming? What’s Not?" (A News Cafe, 9/19/11)
"Here's a look at some of the potential bike paths and routes that people are talking about most for the Redding area."
"BLM releases draft plan for managing 1.6 million acres in Central California" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 9/20/11)
"The plan includes areas in the Irish Hills in San Luis Obispo, Salinas River and various locations officially labeled as being of critical environmental concern, such as some in Los Osos, at Point Sal, Tierra Redonda and Upper Cuyama. Public comment on the draft plan’s 'goals, objectives and management actions' will be taken through Dec. 9. Land-use issues covered by the plan include recreation, endangered species and energy development."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
BLM is currently accepting applications for an Environmental Protection Specialist and a Realty Specialist. Apply on-line at:
NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior's New Wild Horse Chief Confronts Growing Herds, Ballooning Costs" (New York Times, 9/20/11)
"Joan Guilfoyle is the federal official in charge of stemming the growth of more than 38,000 wild horses and burros that roam 34 million acres over 10 Western states...[H]er agency risks a public lashing from lawmakers and horse advocates who say corralling them is costly and potentially harmful to the animals. Leave the horses alone, however, and the agency risks a backlash from agricultural communities and their lawmakers, who argue unchecked herd growth could harm the range and other wildlife.
Such is the challenge awaiting Guilfoyle, who last month became BLM's new chief of wild horses and burros."
"Interior Department releases Klamath dam statement" (Sacramento Bee, 9/21/11)
"The Interior Department says removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon would help boost salmon runs in a river marked by poor water quality and fish disease."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) the sound of running water
SOURCE: "American Beaver - Castor canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
The main job of American beavers is dam building. In fact, the sound of running water will stimulate beavers to build new dams or to repair old ones.
RELATED: "N. America's earlier beaver found near Dayville" (KTVZ-TV Redmond, Oregon, 9/19/11)
"A new fossil find near Dayville in Eastern Oregon represents the earliest record of living beavers in North America, the Bureau of Land Management announced Monday. A pair of teeth was found on BLM land near Dayville by BLM staff during the course of their normal duties. These teeth come from the Rattlesnake Formation and are between 7 and 7.3 million years old."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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