Issue 502 - 10/13/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for Educators Only: California Archaeology Month, Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Employee Profile: Rolla Queen, Archaeologist, California Desert District
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wild Horses and Burros
- Renewable energy
- America's Great Outdoors
- 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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NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|CALIFORNIA ARCHAEOLOGY MONTH
October is California Archaeology Month
California Archaeology Month is sponsored by the Society for California Archaeology and integrates with California's kindergarten through Grade 12 curriculum on Native American and California history.
"Calendar of Archaeology Events"
Find Archaeology events in your area!
FUNNY.BYTES: "Curse of the Stolen Artifacts"
Protectors of ancient artifacts reach across the centuries -- to the dismay of modern-day plunderers. Based on a true story.
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues. Note: this link will work in browsers that have the "Flash" plug-in -- which should be most browsers.
Visit the Fish Slough Petroglyph Site
Go In the Field with an archaeologist and visit a petroglyph site that dates back to 5,000 years ago. See petroglyphs, evidences of habitation, rock rings, and more.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Mammals that are highly adapted to the 'fossorial' lifestyle typically have large front feet, short tails, and short necks. What is it these animals are more adapted to than other animals?
a. digging or burrowing
d. break dancing (the short neck reduces the risk of neck injury)
e. imitating garden gnomes
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...walk, bike or ride the Fandago Pass, a segment of the California National Historic Trail. Many pioneers documented the experiences, thoughts and feelings as they survived the fearsome Black Rock desert in late summer, came through rugged High Rock Canyon, viewed "the elephant" overlooking Surprise Valley and then made the spectacular steep climb up Fandango Pass. Because this region remains essentially as it was 150 years ago, the present-day explorer can relive the emigrant trail experience.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild Horse Roundup Set for Oct. 15" (BLM News, 10/5/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management has announced that operations will begin Saturday, Oct. 15, to round up excess wild horses from public lands in northwest Nevada, about 40 miles east of Cedarville, Calif. The BLM said about 1,300 wild horses will be gathered and about 1,090 removed from the range to bring populations to within the appropriate management level range of 258 to 451 animals."
Follow us for daily updates on the High Rock Complex Wild Horse and Burro Roundup:
"National Academy of Sciences to study wild-horse roundups" (Los Angeles Times, 10/12/11)
"A National Academy of Sciences panel is set to hear official presentations and public comment to begin its independent review of the federal Wild Horse and Burro Management Program. The first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27 in Reno."
"THE WEST: Feds begin horse, burro roundup" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/11/11)
"The federal land officials spurred new controversy with the announcement that about 6,000 wild horses and burros would be rounded up on public lands in six western states, including California, mostly within the next four months. Horses and burros have few predators, and the size of a herd can double in four years, officials with the Bureau of Land Management say. Reducing the size prevents starvation and leaves more grazing foods available for other wildlife, such as deer and bighorn sheep, they say."
RELATED: "Wild Horses and Hard Choices" (New York Times, 10/11/11)
A Green Blog about Energy and the Environment: "In 1971, Congress responded to growing public pressure by passing the Wild Horse and Burro Act, which reaffirmed that the animals were 'living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.'
The act granted ownership of all American wild horses to the federal government and established more than 300 herd management areas that are now administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The bureau has since been tasked with managing the wild horse populations and mitigating their effects on ecosystems."
"BLM to remove some 6,000 more wild horses in West" (San Jose Mercury News, 10/8/11)
"Federal land managers have announced plans to remove nearly 6,000 more wild horses from the range across the West in the next few months, including some 3,500 mustangs in Nevada.
Bureau of Land Management officials said roundups also are planned in Arizona, California, Montana, Utah and Wyoming through the winter to protect rangelands and wildlife habitat from the impact of overpopulated horse herds. Activists accuse the BLM of removing the animals to appease ranchers, whose cattle compete for forage with horses. But BLM officials said advocacy groups' calls for a moratorium on all BLM gathers are unrealistic because horse herds grow at an average rate of 20 percent a year and can double in size every four years. Public rangelands are not able to withstand the impacts from overpopulated herds, which include soil erosion, sedimentation of streams, and damage to wildlife habitat, they added."
"BLM Announces Fall-Winter Wild Horse and Burro Gather Schedule" (BLM News, 10/7/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management today announced its tentative fall-winter schedule for gathering wild horses and burros from overpopulated herds on Western public rangelands. The gathers are needed to bring herd sizes into balance with other rangeland resources and uses, as required by Federal law and approved land-use plans. Along with removals, the fall-winter gathers will be used to apply a fertility- control vaccine during the ideal time (from November through February) for maximum efficacy."
RELATED: "National Wild Horse and Burro Tentative Gather Schedule Fiscal Year 2012" (BLM National website)
"Each year, the BLM gathers thousands of wild horses and burros to protect land health. The excess animals are transported to BLM holding facilities where they are prepared for adoption through the agency's adoption program. This table contains information about planned gathers for FY 2012."
"BLM's 'Director's Challenge' Initiative Will Enhance Volunteer Opportunities on Western Rangelands" (BLM News, 10/11/11)
"[T]he Bureau of Land Management is announcing its “Director's Challenge” initiative to expand volunteer participation in monitoring and sustaining the health of wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs). More specifically, this volunteer program is aimed at engaging members of the public in monitoring, conducting inventories, and restoring natural resources on BLM-managed HMAs throughout the West.The Director’s Challenge initiative will offer citizen-based science opportunities that enhance both the BLM’s and stakeholders’ knowledge of resource conditions on public lands. Under this initiative, BLM field offices may receive up to $25,000 to implement projects that will engage citizen stakeholders in addressing land health issues within the HMAs."
"First displaced tortoise released" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/8/11)
"A biologist captured this desert tortoise in May so she wouldn't be crushed by the heavy machinery now building a 5.6-square-mile solar energy project in a Mojave Desert valley in northeastern San Bernardino County. Yet she never adapted to captivity. Again and again, she attempted to climb her pen’s wire mesh fence, only to fall onto her back. So, with special permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , she was returned to the wild last week – the first and only desert tortoise to be relocated since the Obama administration approved six large-scale solar projects for public desert lands in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Another 127 tortoises displaced by the BrightSource Energy Co. project must remain in pens for the winter, even though federal Bureau Land Management and company officials had expected to release many of them this fall."
"Draft environmental study for proposed Walker Ridge wind project postponed" (Lake County News, 10/9/11)
"The release of a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Walker Ridge Wind Project in Lake and Colusa counties has been postponed until 2012. The delay will allow the project proponent, AltaGas Renewable Energy Pacific Inc., time to complete a revised plan of development, according to a statement from the Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Walker Ridge Wind Proposal Draft Environmental Study Postponed" (BLM News, 10/7/11)
"The release of a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Walker Ridge Wind Project in Lake and Colusa counties has been postponed.The delay will allow the project proponent, AltaGas Renewable Energy Pacific, Inc., time to complete a revised plan of development. The Ukiah Field Office Resource Management Plan identified the Indian Valley Management area, which includes Walker Ridge, as available for wind energy development."
"Cables Strung across roads in Ocotillo by Powerlink Helicopters Endanger Off-Road Vehicles, Motorcyclist Contends" (East County Magazine, 10/9/11)
"ECM [East County Magazine] has received photos and an e-mail from Jim Pelley, a motorcyclist who reports finding metal cables strung two feet off the ground across roadways in Ocotillo frequented by off-road vehicle enthusiasts. The cables were attached to an SDG&E helicopter “pulling cables from tower to tower, 'Pelley reports.'”
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Storm soaks area as sunshine forecast to return today" (Redding Record Searchlight, 10/10/11)
"Some 50 outdoor writers meeting in Redding for a conference planned to spend Monday morning touring the new bicycle and walking paths on Bureau of Land Management property in the foothills west and northwest of town.The writers were supposed to follow the bike ride with a kayak tour of Whiskeytown Lake. Monday's chilly downpour ruined those plans, said Karen Whitaker, director of tourism for the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association."
"National Public Lands Day" (BLM California website)
Get outside in America's Great Outdoors and volunteers for an upcoming national Public Lands Day event. Volunteers are needed for events on October 15 at the King Range National Conservation Area and on October 22 at Fort Ord Public Lands near Monterey and Long Canyon near Desert Hot Springs.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Draft plan for BLM land going public" (Visalia Times-Delta, 10/12/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management has been holding focus groups in preparation for a series of public meetings on a new plan on how to manage more than 404,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral reserves spanning eight counties.The meetings are aimed at helping the public understand the draft Bakersfield Resource Management Plan, a hefty document that fills three volumes, and is designed to govern land management above and below the ground for the next 20 years."
RELATED: "Bakersfield Field Office
Resource Management Plan Revision " (BLM California)
"BLM is currently revising two existing plans Resource Management Plans (RMPs); the 1997 Caliente RMP and portions of the 1984 Hollister RMP, to address the availability of new data and updated policies, emerging issues, and changing circumstances that have occurred during the 14 plus years since the Record of Decisions for these plans were signed. The Planning Area, located in central California, comprises approximately 17 million acres of land. However, the Decision Area is approximately 400,000 acres of surface estate and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate. This does not include the California Coastal National Monument or the Carrizo Plain National Monument."
"Effects of mine bill feared" (Needles Hi-Desert Star, 10/8/11)
"A bill that would allow certain mines to forgo reclamation plans was made into law Wednesday.
Under previous law, a surface mining operation was considered idle if it scaled back its activity for one year or more, by more than 90 percent of the operation's previous maximum annual mineral production. Members of the Morongo Basin Conservation Association say the bill could allow the Eagle Mountain mining site to switch its status from abandoned to idle, giving way for future development that could jeopardize areas of Joshua Tree National Park."
"Calif. conservation groups feel effects of smaller budgets" (Sacramento Bee, 10/10/11)
"Nonprofit conservation groups have preserved tens of thousands of acres of land in California — wild places where both hikers and animals roam. Now, some of them say the economic slump could force them to scale back. It [The American River Conservancy]...built more than 27 miles of public recreation trails, including the new South Fork American River Trail, which opened last year between Salmon Falls Road and Highway 49."
RELATED: "Cronan Ranch" (BLM California)
"The land for this park and river trail corridor was purchased by the American River Conservancy, BLM and other partners over a period of 16 years and placed into public trust to be used for recreation and wildlife conservation. The purchase was made possible through generous donations by individuals, private foundations and government agencies, including the Wildlife Conservation Board and the California State Resources Agency."
RELATED: "Crowd attends dedication of important trail segment" (News.bytes, Issue 451)
"A long-awaited trail along the South Fork American River is now open.The 25-mile multi-recreational South Fork American River Trail was dedicated Sept. 30 with completion of the final 8 1/2-mile segment from Cronan Ranch to Salmon Falls."
"Five years after Esperanza wildfire, prevention efforts faltering" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/9/11)
"Funding cuts may put burn area at risk of another deadly blaze -
Five years since the Esperanza wildfire, key improvements called for in the aftermath of the deadly blaze still have not happened. To make matters worse, federal funding has been cut dramatically for programs designed to thin trees, reduce underbrush and prevent catastrophic wildfires in the mountains west of Palm Springs." Includes video.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
A new and improved USAJOBS is now available! BLM is accepting applications for a Geographic Information Specialist and a Fiscal Technician. Apply on-line:
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"National Landscape Conservation System Releases 15-Year Management Strategy " (BLM News, 10/11/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management...released a 15-year strategy to guide National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) land management efforts in coming years. The NLCS, which includes some of the most spectacular and special lands in America."
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
a. digging or burrowing
An example of a mammal highly adapted to the "fossorial" lifestyle is the mole...but California moles include one type that is NOT very good at the fossorial/digging lifestyle: the shrew-mole. It is also distinctive in size.
SOURCE: "Shrew-mole Neurotrichus gibbsii" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Shrew-moles are the smallest moles in North America and the forepaws are similar to those of shrews. Although they are not very adept at digging, they are proficient at climbing."
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