A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 515 - 1/26/11
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
- Renewable energy
- Wildfires and prevention
- BLM advisory groups
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items
- More wildlife news from your public lands
This issue of BLM-California News.bytes is online at:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"5th Annual Winter Bird Festival" (City of Galt)
This weekend - Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012: "The City of Galt in Collaboration with the Cosumnes River Preserve and Galt Joint Union Elementary School District are pleased to bring you the 5th Annual Winter Bird Festival. Many migratory and resident birds call Galt their winter home .... Guided Tours offer an exciting opportunity to see the winter birds that call the Central Valley home! Hop on a bus and have your binoculars ready!" Call to register.
RELATED: "Galt bird festival a prime destination for photographers"(Sacramento Bee, 1/24/12)
"Bird watching and bird photography are popular in Central California ... our valleys are one of the nation's largest wintering grounds for migratory and resident birds. The great Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys are prime winter destinations or stops along the Pacific Flyway for birds migrating south for the winter from Alaska and Western Canada .... the city of Galt and the Cosumnes River Preserve host a full day of guided tours to the preserve so visitors can photograph or watch the birds. There will also be fun and educational activities at the festival site, McCaffrey Middle School in Galt."
RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
Nestled in the heart of California's Central Valley, The Preserve is a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Over 250 species of birds have been sighted on or near the Preserve, including the State-listed threatened Swainson hawk, greater and lesser sandhill cranes, Canada geese and numerous ducks.
"BLM offers bald eagle hikes at Cache Creek" (BLM news, 1/18/12)
Hikes will be held, Jan. 21 and 28, and Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Hikes will be cancelled in rainy weather. Those interested in participating should reserve space for a specific date -- the hikes are limited to 25 participants each and fill quickly.
"CCC willow planting at Toro Creek; State Directors on hand" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM-California State Director Jim Kenna and California Conservation Corps Director David Muraki got a first-hand look at a restoration project underway on BLM’s Fort Ord Public Lands last week. The two agencies have a long-standing partnership. Young adults from the California Conservation Corps' Monterey Bay Center, under direction of the BLM, are planting willow cuttings along the banks of Toro Creek to help stabilize the stream banks and reduce the risk of flooding.
RELATED: "Local activists head to D.C. to push for Fort Ord National Monument" (Monterey County Weekly, 1/26/12)
"With more than 60 public agencies and a dozen-plus citizens’ groups claiming a stake in the former Fort Ord, consensus on how to manage it is as rare as the black legless lizard. So the solidarity in a push to designate up to 14,650 acres as a national monument is something of a shocker; stakeholders from Fort Ord Reuse Authority to the Sierra Club are asking the feds to protect the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Ford Ord acreage in perpetuity."
RELATED: "Soapbox: A veteran's perspective: Make Fort Ord a national monument" (Salinas Californian, 1/24/12)
OpEd: "Fort Ord is an important part of our country's military history, with a role that stretches back almost 100 years. Established in 1917, generations of Americans served at Fort Ord — with regiments fighting in World War II and protecting California's coastline after the attack on Pearl Harbor .... A monument designation at Fort Ord would mean jobs, a boost to our state's economy, and the preservation of a natural treasure for generations to come .... Mark Starr is the program director for the Vet Voice Foundation. He is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom."
RELATED: "Fort Ord Public Lands Area of Critical Environmental Concern" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
"Youth Corps teams to restore America's Great Outdoors" (News.bytes Extra)
Twenty-four student interns from the American Conservation Experience - Public Lands Restoration Youth Corps Team will spend time restoring the desert of impacts caused by illegal off-highway vehicle activity on public lands managed by the BLM's El Centro Field Office. Fourteen interns will tackle both the East Mesa and Yuha Desert area, with the remaining ten working on routes off of Hyduke Mine and Indian Pass Roads.
RELATED: "El Centro Field Office" (BLM California)
"Interpretive hikes to view natural arches planned for the Alabama Hills in February" (BLM news, 1/23/12)
Hikes will be on Saturday, Feb. 11 and on Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 18 and 19 (weather permitting). There are hundreds of arches in the Alabama Hills. Hikers can find out what geologic processes lead to their formation, and view several arches in a seldom visited corner of the hills including the elegant 'Hitching Post' Arch. There will also be an option to make the hike a loop, passing historical movie locations and even more arches.
"Network of trails provides hours of cycling in North State" (Lake Tahoe News, 1/22/12)
The writer enjoyed "nearly 10 miles of paved trails without ever getting onto a city street" and learned that "more than 80 miles of paved and natural surface bike-pedestrian paths are scattered throughout Redding. But they are also linked so it makes for a harmonious experience instead of some disjointed, annoying ride. Cyclists can go from the Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam on a paved route -- 17.5 miles one-way .... Redding’s trails are a collaborative project .... Where we were last weekend was on Bureau of Land Management property."
"Desert Hot Springs residents hosting community cleanup" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/25/12)
"Desert Hot Springs residents will host a community cleanup in Little Morongo Canyon on Saturday" from 8 to 11 a.m. "Organizers encourage participants to wear sturdy shoes and sunscreen, as well as work gloves and small tools like rakes or shovels." The BLM "will provide a shade tent, snacks and water for volunteers. Desert Valley Disposal and the city of Desert Hot Springs will also supply heavy equipment and trash bags."
"Administration continues push to promote tourism and access to outdoor recreation at inaugural meeting of FICOR Council" (Department of the Interior news, 1/20/12)
Improving the quality and quantity of information available online is one of the priorities identified by the public and discussed during the inaugural meeting of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation. As part of the meeting, the group announced an online effort to enhance access to information on public lands and outdoor recreation. FICOR was established through President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
RELATED: "Interagency tourism council takes its maiden voyage" (GovExec.com, 1/23/12)
The council "consists of senior leaders from the Agriculture, Commerce and Interior departments, the Army, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Among its first orders of business is improving the Recreation.gov website." A presidential order "tasks Commerce and Interior with leading the interagency task force to promote tourism; charges the State and Homeland Security departments with increasing visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40 percent this year and with expanding the Global Entry visa waiver program; and assigns to Commerce the creation and maintenance of the new website assembling information from across the government on visa and entry times in key U.S. tourist markets."
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...ride OHVs at Stoddard Valley Off-highway Vehicle Area, where you will enjoy steep rocky mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, winding sandy washes, and elevations that range from 5,000 feet on Stoddard Peak to 2,800 feet at Turtle Valley. This 53,000-acre open riding area will offer a challenge to every degree of expertise and type of vehicle from the motocross racers to the beginning Quad rider.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Which of the following is true? The female leaf-toed gecko…
(a.) …lays hundreds of eggs across a wide range, to increase survival odds of offspring.
(b.) …lays only one or two eggs, attached to the undersides of rocks.
(c.) …buries herself in the sand during the hottest part of the day.
(d.) …stays on sand and avoids rocks, which can damage her extra-sensitive leaf-shaped feet.
(e.) … can often be found hanging onto the branches of a shoe tree.
See answer -- and more wildlife items -- near the end of this News.bytes.
"The Great Green Rush: Desert solar energy leaving tortoise in the dust?" (KCET Los Angeles, 1/20/12)
"At first glance, the view along the interstate between Nevada and California might seem an odd place for a battle over protecting pristine desert habitat. Casinos and shopping outlets give way to towering transmission lines. This is the Ivanpah Valley, where a huge solar plant is under construction on public land." (Video and transcript.)
"Oakland company foresees more solar projects" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/20/12)
"Oakland-based BrightSource Energy Co. is about a year a way from generating electricity at the 5.6-square-mile solar site now under construction on public land in northeast San Bernardino County, but the company is also eying four more sites in the Southern California deserts .... One would be built southwest of Blythe and another in Inyo County at the Nevada state line west of Las Vegas.
Another two sites, both in the Mojave Desert, are under consideration but not decided upon ...."
"Silicon, silicone and next-gen solar" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/20/12)
An engineer for Dow Corning spoke at the the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s Renewable Energy Roundtable last week, "about how silicone can boost the production of electricity from silicon cells in solar panels" and could be "the next generation of solar panels." The company has been testing panels put together with silicone instead of an oil-based compound between the glass and silicon layers, and "the company has found that silicone panels produce more power and they operate at higher efficiency longer." One issue now will be to bring down the cost.
"Report highlights California's huge 'wave power' potential" (San Jose Mercury News, 1/19/12)
"A new report by the Department of Energy says that waves off California's 1,100-mile coastline could generate more than 140 terawatt hours of electricity a year -- enough to power 14 million homes -- if tidal and wave energy was developed to its maximum potential .... The Department of Energy is sponsoring three demonstration projects off the coast of Oregon, in Washington's Puget Sound area and in Maine .... The Energy Department's Water Power Program is trying to quantify the nation's potential water-power resources so that investors, developers and policymakers can make decisions about where to place them."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Fuels treatment reduces fire danger, helps local economy" (News.bytes Extra)
A fire fuels treatment demonstration project in Calaveras County by the Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office has helped reduce fire danger while supporting the local economy. Trees and brush were thinned on 157 acres near the town of West Point using local contractors, including Native American crews. The project generated biomass and timber.
"Elevated fire danger affecting local areas" (Bakersfield Californian, 1/20/12)
"The Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument, Tule River Reservation Fire Department, Kern County Fire Department and the Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Field Office want to remind the public of the elevated fire danger affecting the area .... The public is reminded to continue working on hazardous fuel reduction projects around homes and properties and continue to stay prepared throughout the winter season."
"Joint effort controls brush fire" (Lassen County Times, 1/25/12)
"Smoke could be seen for miles after flames broke out .... Although the cause of the 15- to 20-acre blaze has not been determined, a local resident likely caused it accidentally. According to Lassen County Office of Emergency Services Chief David Junette, numerous fire resources responded thanks to the mutual aid agreement" including the BLM. "With gusts of wind up to 40 miles per hour at times, the fire spread quickly over areas of sage and bitter brush" before firefighters contained it.
"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.
|BLM ADVISORY GROUPS
"BLM Desert Advisory Council to meet in Primm" (BLM news, 1/20/12)
The next field trip and meeting of the Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert Advisory Council will be held Feb. 10-11 in Primm, Nev., just across the California-Nevada border. The council will participate in a field tour of nearby BLM-managed public lands on Friday and meet in formal session on Saturday.
"BLM seeks nominees for California Desert Advisory Council" (BLM news, 1/19/12)
The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) California Desert District is soliciting nominations from the public for six members of its California Desert District Advisory Council to serve a three-year term. The council’s 15 members provide advice and recommendations to the BLM on the management of 11 million acres (17 thousand square miles) of public lands in eight counties of Southern California.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Ferndale" (BLM news, 1/23/12)
Wild horses from public ranges across northern California and northwest Nevada will be available for public adoption Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale, Calif. A wild burro will be available as well. The animals, from the Red Rock Lakes, Buckhorn and High Rock Complex herd management areas, will be available for a $125 adoption fee on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at the fairgrounds Friday, Feb. 10, at about 4 p.m.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"BLM seeking public input on Mojave dirt roads" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/20/12))
"The BLM designated routes on public land in the region in 2006, but a judge asked the agency to come up with more information to support the range of alternatives and the choices that were made .... BLM staff wants to hear from people, especially those familiar with the areas, about specific issues, access needs, recommendations or other information about routes in the region. Maps of existing routes will be available at the meetings...."
"BLM gets new vehicles" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/26/12)
"The Bureau of Land Management got a boost this week with the donation of two new vehicles from the Imperial Valley Cycle Center and Polaris Industries for rescue and safety use ... Between 1.2 million and 1.4 million visitors come to the dunes each year, and the BLM El Centro office responds to 400 to 500 medical calls a year in addition to all the visitor contacts."
"Fight between local hikers, feds escalates"(Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/21/12)
"As hiker displeasure with the closure of a portion of the popular Bump and Grind trail continues to simmer, another trail closure controversy has erupted in the mountains above Palm Desert. The federal Bureau of Land Management last week installed a sign prohibiting dogs on the uppermost half-mile of the Hopalong Cassidy trail to where a well-known landmark, a lighted cross, shines at night on private property in the Santa Rosa Mountains. Like the closure of the top portion of the Bump and Grind trail, the BLM action is designed to protect endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep populations...."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Obama backs fracking to create 600,000 jobs, vows safe drilling" (Bloomberg News at San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25/12)
"President Barack Obama, in a State of the Union address delivered 11 months before election day, pushed drilling for natural gas in shale formations as a potential boost to the economy. Environmental groups that are a key Democratic constituency fear natural-gas fracking poses risks to water supplies, and Obama said the drive for new drilling would be accompanied by regulations to ensure 'safe drilling practices.' Those would include a requirement that companies operating on public lands disclose the chemicals used in the fracking fluid."
RELATED: "President Obama's energy plan panned by both sides" (USA Today, 1/25/12)
A "made-in-America energy agenda that calls for more offshore oil drilling, natural gas development and clean-energy investments" is "not winning kudos from either the oil industry or environmental groups. 'There's nothing new here,' says Rayola Dougher of the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, arguing he's trying to sound in favor of oil exploration while seeking to raise taxes on the oil industry .... 'His speech touted the development of so-called clean energy, but it may as well have been written by the oil and gas industry,' says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, a safety advocacy group" who said fracking should be banned.
"National strategy proposed to respond to climate change's impacts on fish, wildlife, plants" (Department of Interior news, 1/19/12)
In partnership with state, tribal, and federal agency partners, the Obama Administration released the first draft national strategy to help decision makers and resource managers prepare for and help reduce the impacts of climate change on species, ecosystems, and the people and economies that depend on them. The public is encouraged to to review the document and provide comments.
"Interior Issues Draft Overview Report on Klamath Dam Removal Studies" (DOI news, 1/24/12)
The Interior Department published a draft report summarizing two years of scientific and technical studies conducted to help inform the Secretary of the Interior on a forthcoming decision on whether to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, per the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) of 2010.
BLM Arizona: "Off-road group fences off mine shafts" (Lake Havasu, AZ News-Herald, 1/26/12)
"Lake Havasu City-based off-road group, Havasu 4 Wheelers, teamed up with Bureau of Land Management officials Tuesday to fence off open vertical mine shafts in the area. The project, in its third year, focuses on closing off nearby shafts that present major hazards to inattentive desert visitors including suffocation from poisonous gases, fall injuries, shaft cave-ins, and harmful health effects from bat guano, said Bruce Spiers, of Havasu 4 Wheelers. In all, 10 mine shafts were fenced. 'We had a great time,' Spiers said. 'It was a lot of hard work'."
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) …lays only one or two eggs, attached to the undersides of rocks.
SOURCE: "Leaf-toed gecko - Phyllodactylus xanti" (BLM California wildlife database)
Other wildlife news from your public lands and elsewhere:
"Kit foxes fall victim to distemper at NextEra Genesis solar site" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/26/12)
"An outbreak of canine distemper among desert kit foxes near the Genesis solar project off Interstate 10 east of the Coachella Valley has triggered a state and federal investigation to find the cause of the disease and protect the animals near all solar projects in the region .... The deaths are the first documented cases of canine distemper in wild desert kit foxes .... In response to the outbreak, Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management have launched an investigation involving the trapping, tagging and vaccinating 39 kit foxes."
"Federal action urged against bird-killing pipes" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/26/12)
"A national conservation group is calling on the federal government to end a little-known but widespread threat to birds, particularly in Nevada: the use of hollow plastic pipes to mark mining claims. In a letter sent Wednesday to Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey and U.S. Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell, the American Bird Conservancy demanded action to remove or cap such markers, which are blamed for trapping and killing perhaps millions of birds."
"Wandering wolf OR7 tracked in same area as California's last wild wolf, in 1924" (Sacramento Bee, 1/25/12)
"California's new wild wolf resident generally has been on the move since arriving one month ago. But the wolf known as OR7 has spent a lot of time lately in the same region where the state's last known wild wolf was killed in 1924. That would be an area north of Honey Lake in southeastern Lassen County. A trapper killed what is thought to be the state's last known wild wolf in that area, near the town of Litchfield, in 1924."
"Tahoe cubs get a second chance" (Sacramento Bee, 1/25/12)
"The life of a Lake Tahoe bear is a continual dance with death .... because their lives are so closely intertwined with those of humans." Last week, "two yearling male bears got a second chance after being found last spring, injured and emaciated, in South Lake Tahoe. The cubs are not siblings. One was probably hit by a car, left for dead by its mother, but revived enough to stagger into a neighborhood, wildlife officials said. The other likely was orphaned, and began visiting Sierra House Elementary School in South Lake Tahoe ...."
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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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