A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 527 - 4/19/12
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- 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
"Desert Discovery Center re-opens" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/17/12)
The Desert Discovery Center opened its doors this week, after " the first stage of a five-year renovation project." The center "will eventually add new exhibits, trails and an amphitheater to the museum .... To celebrate its re-opening, the center will be hosting the annual Earth Day event Saturday where they will feature many recycling, art, and learning activities...."
Earth Day Fair at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Friday, April 20, 12 to 4 p.m. The Fair will "highlight the Navy's ongoing efforts to protect the environment and provide an activity where employees and the general public can pick up information about the various ways they can 'reduce, reuse and recycle.' Participating community organizations include the Bureau of Land Management." The Fair "is open to the community but still requires that a day pass be acquired from Pass & ID prior to entering the installation."
"Hobo Camp, Pit River Campground Opening in Time for Fishing Season" (BLM California, 4/12/12)
The Hobo Camp day use area near Susanville and the Pit River Campground near Fall River Mills will be opening later this month, in time for the start of stream fishing season which begins April 28 in northeast California. Hobo Camp will open April 21 for the annual Junior Fishing Derby sponsored by the Lassen Sportsmen’s Club. The Pit River Campground opens April 27, with seven campsites, a group camping area, a fishing area accessible for those with mobility difficulties, and a kayak launch site.
"Many campgrounds to open in support of start of fishing season" (Lassen National Forest, 4/13/12)
Lassen National Forest will "soon open campgrounds near prime fishing waters in support of the 2012 Fishing Season." There should be "plenty of camp sites available to meet the anticipated demand by the April 28 opening day of trout season .... Dispersed camping is also allowed in the forest. However, visitors are reminded to keep their vehicles on existing roadways" and that "a California campfire permit is required for campfires away from developed campgrounds. Permits are free and can be picked up at any CalFire, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, or Forest Service office."
RELATED: "Eagle Lake" (BLM California)
Eagle Lake is 5100 feet above sea level in north eastern California about 16 miles north of Susanville in Lassen County. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake wholly in California. Land management around the lake is approximately 50% U.S. Forest Service, 35% Bureau of Land Management and 15% Private.
"Ferndale students pitch in to improve Lost Coast Headlands" (News.bytes Extra
Students from Ferndale High School spent an entire day cleaning up and improving public lands in their North Coast backyard. About 40 students joined with BLM staff members April 6 to work on trails in the Lost Coast Headlands area. They repaired winter storm damage, built water bars, and cleared invasive weeds. A group of four students put their woodworking skills to good use building wood duck boxes. Others worked on developing a video public service announcement that will be part of the Outdoors Cool campaign that encourages young people to get outside and discover nature.
"1st annual Alabama Hills Day a success" (News.bytes Extra)
More than 200 people attended the 1st annual Alabama Hills Day at the Lone Pine Museum of Film History last weekend. Dozens of attendees attended each of the presentations in the theater, as well as field trips into the Alabama Hills. The Alabama Hills includes almost 30,000 acres west of Lone Pine managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office. The 2nd annual Alabama Hills Day has been scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2013 - mark your calendars!
"Car and Truck Race draws thousands to Plaster City" (News.bytes Extra)
Almost 4,000 spectators showed up to watch 112 vehicles start High Desert Racing’s Imperial 250 at BLM’s Plaster City OHV Open Area. Those who stayed through the long race day saw only 51 vehicles finish. More than half the vehicles dropped out as breakdowns dogged them or were unable to finish the required laps....
"Little feet, little trails. Get ’em on trails at an early age, Boise dad says" (Idaho Statesman, 4/19/12)
"When it comes to hiking with kids, no matter how young they are, just go for it. That’s the attitude of hiking dad Michael Lanza of Boise, who believes it’s important to get kids on the trail at an early age and keep nurturing a long-term love for the outdoors." Some of his tips for hiking with kids: "As soon as children are able to walk, give away that baby stroller .... When hiking with pre-school and pre-teen kids, adjust your agenda and expectations to satisfy their interests and make it fun for them .... Remember that young kids need to rest and refuel with food and water much more frequently than adults" ... and more.
RELATED: "Youth in the Great Outdoors"
"Get out .... get smart .... get a job" in the outdoors. Links to events, education resources and current job openings. Also links to profiles of interns who have outdoor jobs. Part of an initiative "to help millions of young Americans reconnect with our natural and cultural heritage, put thousands of young people to work in the great outdoors, and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders."
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...camp Tuttle Creek! Visitors can set up camp all year long at the Tuttle Creek Campground and enjoy plenty of opportunities for exploring, hiking, and sightseeing. The campgrounds are surrounded by the impressive peaks of the Alabama Hills and Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountain Ranges.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
northern river otter
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Northern river otters usually…
(a.) …line the floors of their tunnels with rushes, to protect their skin.
(b.) …find homes in caverns on the banks of rivers.
(c.) …hollow out living areas in thick stands of riverbank brush.
(d.) …build dens with entrances on land and in the water.
(e.) …dislike being lumped together with southern beach otters, by clueless tourists from Back East.
See answer - and more about wildlife - near the end of this News.bytes.
"BLM releases environmental study for proposed Riverside County Solar Project" (BLM California, 4/13/12)
The BLM released for public comment a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed enXco Desert Harvest Solar Farm Project in Riverside County, to be built on about 1,280 acres of public land about six miles north of Desert Center and including a substation, administration building, operations and maintenance facilities, transmission line, and temporary construction lay-down areas. The project's 220-kilovolt transmission would connect with Southern California Edison’s proposed Red Bluff Substation.
RELATED: "Reading the Desert Harvest draft EIS -- and green schools" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/17/12)
"The problem with the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental impact statements for large-scale solar projects is their length." The draft EIS for the enXco Desert Harvest project "is a case in point." A "quick eyeballing" puts the page count "well over 1,000 .... So, I have started chipping away at the report’s most important sections so you won’t have to. The goal is to have a reasonable understanding of ... the main issues" by May 14, when the BLM will hold two public meetings.
"BLM seeks public comment on Campo Verde Gen-Tie" (BLM California, 4/13/12)
The BLM is seeking public comment on a proposed one-mile generation-interconnection (gen-tie) transmission line that would cross federal lands approximately eight miles southwest of El Centro, Calif. About 4/10 of the line would be on public land. If approved, Campo Verde Solar, LLC, would build the line to transport renewable electrical energy from the proposed Campo Verde Solar Photovoltaic facility to San Diego Gas and Electric’s Imperial Valley Substation. The PV facility would be located on approximately 1,990 acres of disturbed private land that is currently used for agriculture.
"BrightSource officials begin relocation of tortoises" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/17/12)
"Biologists for a solar project near the Nevada state line this week began relocating desert tortoises displaced by construction and said every possible precaution is being taken to ensure the animals successfully reestablish themselves nearby .... The 52 biologists working for BrightSource are relocating more than 150 tortoises, following strict guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Desert Tortoise Recovery Office."
"Nesting hawks delay power line work" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/15/12)
"At least five pairs of red-tailed hawks are nesting in the path of a transmission line upgrade needed to connect a solar energy development in northeast San Bernardino County to the power grid, federal officials said. The presence of the hawks could delay some of the work for months, but a spokesman for BrightSource Energy Co. said the company still plans to begin delivering electricity early next year from the 5.6-square-mile solar plant in the Ivanpah Valley, near Primm, Nev."
"A Walk through the wind farm with Iberdrola” (East County Magazine, 4/15/12)
Iberdrola Renewables' Tule Wind energy facility in the McCain Valley is set for a May 18 County Planning Commission hearing, and an expected June hearing before the Board of Supervisors. "Much has been written about concerns raised by citizens over potential impacts on views, wildlife, campgrounds, and fire risk for the region. Seeking to address those concerns and clarify efforts at mitigation, Iberdrola contacted [East County Magazine] and sent two representatives to tour the site with our editor and answer questions posed."
“Wind ordinance hits turbulence: planning commission postpones action amid concerns from all sides" (East County Magazine, 4/15/12)
The San Diego County Planning Commission voted last week "to postpone action on a proposed wind ordinance" after several hours of testimony. "On one hand, wind industry representatives contended that setbacks and low frequency noise standards proposed would effectively bar most industrial-scale wind projects in our region. On the other hand, rural residents voiced fears that the ordinance did not go far enough to protect health and safety , as well as to preserve many of East County’s most scenic areas that fall within a 'wind resources' map."
"Lawsuit settled, Nevada's first wind energy project proceeds" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/17/12)
"An environmental lawsuit has been settled and the turbines are going up at Nevada's first wind energy project, about 300 miles north of Las Vegas. The Spring Valley Wind farm, a "$225 million project by San Francisco-based Pattern Energy will use 66 turbines -- each roughly the height of a 30-story building -- to generate 150 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply about 45,000 homes" and has a 20-year contract to supply NV Energy. But "environmentalists still aren't happy with the arrangement."
"Sun crash: Solar energy 'green rush' slows down in desert" (KCET Los Angeles, 4/18/12)
Guest columnist: "The true death knell for large desert solar is almost inevitable and it's the second of the two baseline issues that plague the desert solar gold rushers. Without market intervention by the government, utility-scale desert solar must compete with wholesale prices of electricity from other forms of power generation. As the widespread adoption of 'fracking' has pushed natural gas prices way down, it's really difficult to produce solar power cheaply enough to compete."
"Former NASA scientist proposes solar-power generating satellite" (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 4/15/12)
"Solar facilities take up a lot of space" and "clouds and fog sometimes get in the way. Those limitations have driven many facilities out into California's deserts, where vacant land is cheap and plentiful and clouds rarely fill the sky. But a former scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory thinks he can do even better - by sending solar-generating stations into space" where they "could receive almost-continuous sunlight and would never be shrouded in clouds, unlike Earth-based brethren ...."
"Fracking data flows from Kern oil fields" (Bakersfield Californian, 4/16/12)
"As fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, becomes more common in California and especially Kern County, state lawmakers, regulators and environmentalists are pushing for greater transparency regarding the practice. Already some oil producers are responding by voluntarily posting information about their fracking operations to an online national database, fracfocus.org."
"California fracking bill would protect industry 'trade secrets'" (Los Angeles Times, 4/18/12)
"A California lawmaker working to pass the Golden State's first hydraulic fracturing rules has watered down his landmark legislation, hoping to overcome industry opposition to a measure that would force energy companies to disclose the mysterious mix of chemicals they inject into the ground to tap oil deposits. The legislation stalled last year after objections by industry that full disclosure of 'fracking' chemicals would reveal proprietary 'recipes'."
"Wyoming governor to Interior: Defer to states on gas ‘fracking’" (The Hill, 4/16/12)
"Wyoming’s GOP governor is urging the Interior Department to defer to state regulation of natural gas 'fracking' rather than impose new federal regulations that he contends could stymie drilling. Gov. Matthew Mead's letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar calls his state's regulations protective of public health and the environment. It adds to GOP and gas industry criticism of the Obama administration over upcoming rules to govern fracking on federal lands."
"Statements on the President’s Executive Order supporting safe and responsible development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources" (The White House, 4/13/12)
Responses from the American Chemistry Council, American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, America's Natural Gas Alliance and a number of other groups, to the President's announcement that the Administration will create a new interagency working group to support safe and responsible development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources and associated infrastructure to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Horses, burros available for adoption in San Jose this weekend" (BLM California, 4/17/12)
This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22: Thirty horses will be available for adoption: 10 yearling geldings, 10 yearling fillies, five geldings 2-3 years old and five mares 2-3 years old. Five Jack burros and five Jenny burros also will be offered for adoption. Horses will be from the High Rock area’s Fox Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, Wall Canyon and Bitner herd management areas. Horses can be previewed on Friday, April 20, from 2-5 p.m.
"BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program" (BLM Facebook page)
Photos and updates of horses and their adopters, from around the West.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Final King Range wilderness management plan now available" (BLM California, 4/17/12)
A management plan for wilderness within the King Range National Conservation Area and the adjacent rocks and islands off Northern California’s Lost Coast is now available to the public. The management plan provides site specific objectives for the BLM’s management of 42,585 acres designated as wilderness under the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act of 2006.
“Supervisors adopt resolution in support of Berryessa Snow Mountain Conservation Area” (Lake County Record-Bee, 4/17/12)
More than 270,000 acres of the 321,000-acre proposed conservation area would be in Lake County, with the rest in Napa, Yolo and Mendocino counties. The supervisor who placed the proposal on the agenda "said three federal agencies, the BLM, Bureau of Reclamation and Mendocino National Forest, would work together. She said this would be a good thing because they could unite to address issues affecting the region, such as illegal marijuana grow sites, invasive species and water pollution."
"BLM asks public land visitors to be vigilant for illegal activities" (BLM California, 4/17/12)
As the spring and summer outdoor recreation seasons get into full swing, officials from the BLM are asking public land visitors in northeast California and northwest Nevada to watch for illegal activities including dumping, vandalism and potentially dangerous marijuana growing operations. BLM officials said marijuana growing is a major concern because it poses dangers for unsuspecting public land visitors and harms water sources and other natural resources.
"Expert educates public about avoiding harm in the Mojave" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/17/12)
"A hike can turn deadly, and there are a number of things that can go wrong. Surviving those challenges takes preparation. That's what Bob McKeever, former park ranger and a Marine, teaches park rangers and other personnel who work in the Mojave Desert." The Mojave's animals "will not harm you if you leave them alone ..... 'If you run into a rattlesnake, give it 10 feet of space,' said Jim Cribbs, park ranger with the Bureau of Land Management and the interagency volunteer coordinator. 'That way, it's happy, you're happy. You've had a National Geographic moment. Keep moving.'"
"Travelin' in Time: Wanted: photo of Horsetown, reward offered" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/13/12)
"The first settlement of Horsetown began on the north side of Clear Creek .... Today this area is home to the Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve ... on Bureau of Land Management land." A group is seeking "a genuine photograph of the town of Horsetown" to honor Dr. Gene Clark, who worked to create Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve " to retain, preserve, restore, and, if possible, augment the publicly owned lands surrounding Clear Creek in the vicinity of Saeltzer Dam and the site of Horsetown, Shasta County, Calif., and to manage them as a natural preserve for the public."
"Monday Newsmaker: Buford Crites leads Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy to protect desert, mountains" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/16/12)
Question and Answer session with the chairman of the California's Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, former Palm Desert mayor, 20-year member of Palm Desert City Council and board member of the Mojave Desert Land Trust and Friends of the Desert Mountains. Friends of the Desert Mountains was established in 1987 "to support 'exciting recreation, scenery, wildlife and clean mountain air all right in our backyard'" such as in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
"Another View: Cadiz project will employ sustainable groundwater practices" (Sacramento Bee, 4/19/12)
OpEd by Winston H. Hickox, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, is a principal with the consulting firm California Strategies: "As the former secretary of California's Environmental Protection Agency and a member of the Cadiz Inc. board of directors, I felt compelled to respond to John Bredehoeft and Newsha Ajami's mischaracterization of the Cadiz Valley Water Project and California groundwater policy." (The previous article ran in last week's News.bytes.)
RELATED: "Cadiz creates water out of thin air" (Victorville Daily Press, 4/15/12)
Guest columnist: "Call it 'thin water.' A small, private company called Cadiz Inc. in Los Angeles is in the process of creating water in California’s Mojave Desert -- like a magician, literally out of thin air. By selling that water wholesale, water agencies will be able nearly to double the amount of water sold because of an administrative mechanism called an 'Intentionally Created Surplus' as part of the Lower Colorado River Basin Operating Agreement."
"Anti-mining petition more than half way to goal" (Santa Clarita Signal, 4/18/12)
"At least 3,000 people" have signed a petition opposing sand and gravel mining by Cemex in Soledad Canyon and supporting Senate Bill S. 759 to allow a deal under which "Cemex abandons the Soledad Canyon mine" and "is compensated through the sale of three specific tracts of land north of Victorville and just west of Interstate 15."
"Volunteer working to restore sign" (Needles Desert Star, 4/16/12)
"It is because of his love of American history and historic Route 66 that Ed Klein opts to put his own time, money and energy into fixing various elements of the historic roadway and why he chose the 66 Motel neon sign in Needles as his latest project."
RELATED: "Historic Route 66" (BLM Needles Field Office)
Officially established on November 11, 1926, US Route 66 began in Chicago, Illinois and terminated in Los Angeles, California a distance of 2,448 miles. It was one of the original highways in the US highway system, and probably the most famous.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|MEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Judy Oliver...
...represents recreation interests on the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council. She is a public health nurse in Lassen County and loves the outdoors. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, horseback riding and off-highway driving....
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"A welcome mat to the world" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/19/12)
Guest column by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar: "Earlier this month, I scratched the back of an Indian rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo, one of the things you can do in San Diego and arguably nowhere else on the planet – at least without risking your life. It’s a reason the zoo is one of the centerpieces of a local tourism industry that pumps more than $17 billion into the city’s economy and supports 160,000 jobs in the area. As our nation’s economy continues to gain strength, tourism holds the promise of being an even bigger economic engine both here and across the country .... The more people who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work in places like San Diego. It’s that simple. I am confident that working together we can put out a welcome mat for the world."
"BLM announces landscape approach for public land management" (BLM National, 4/13/12)
The BLM released an update on a bureauwide initiative that is helping the agency evaluate and respond to public land issues such as wildfire, energy development, and climate change while continuing to promote the smart use of the public lands. The Landscape Approach for Managing the Public Lands will help the BLM respond to an increasing demand for the use of the public lands for recreation and energy development, which often support local economies in the West.
"Local four-wheeler group wraps up desert cleanup season " (Lake Havasu, AZ News-Herald, 4/17/12)
The Havasu 4 Wheelers off-road group wrapped up its desert cleanup season with "an abandoned vehicle round up." When 30 volunteers, "only one of five targeted vehicles was left to dig out. Unidentified members of the community had already stepped up to do the work not knowing the wrecks were on the organization’s removal list." A club spokesman said, "It was a pleasant surprise for us that someone took the initiative to help out." he said the anonymous helpers "were inspired to help out after learning of the club’s recent desert cleanup efforts."
"121-year-old western Colorado mining flume clings to its secrets" (Denver Post, 4/14/12)
Fans of "the mysterious structure known as the Hanging Flume ... wake in the middle of the night to puzzle over how enterprising but misguided gold seekers pinned a 10-mile-long wooden water chute to a sheer cliff to create a hydraulic gold separator." "About a dozen of them -- engineers, scientists, archaeologists, industrial riggers, carpenters and historians -- gathered at a cliff edge ... '50 miles from nowhere' to remake history." They "are here to test theories by rebuilding a 48-foot-long section of the flume in much the same way they think it was done in the late 1880s."
"Feds withdraw LNG pipeline approval" (Medford Mail Triune, 4/17/12)
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission "withdrew its 2009 authorization" for Jordan Cove Energy Project to build a pipeline across southern Oregon, and a liquefied natural gas terminal near Coos Bay, after the company said it would export the gas to Asian markets. If approved again, the pipeline would cross about "100 miles of private property ... state and county lands" and "some 30 miles of national forestland and 40 miles of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land. All told, about 675 parcels would be crossed by the pipeline." It would connect to the Ruby Pipeline and carry natural gas from Wyoming.
BLM New Mexico:
"Geovic looking for rare earth on Otero Mesa" (Alomogordo Daily News, 4/14/12)
Geovic Mining Corporation is "finding promising veins of rare earth metals, which are mostly supplied by China at this time ... are used in the manufacture of cell phones and many other electronics ....Geovic has been in the process of making a mine at Wind Mountain on Otero Mesa for three or four years and is still a long way from mining operations, estimating it could take another eight to 12 years to get to the actual mining."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) …build dens with entrances on land and in the water.
SOURCE: "Northern River Otter - Lontra canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands and elsewhere:
"River otters rebounding with hospitable habitat" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/15/12)
"Otters were once found in almost every creek and lake in Northern California, but their numbers seriously dwindled ... because of hunting, habitat loss and pollution." But thanks to "the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, California environmental laws, antihunting regulations and open space preservation, otters, though "still threatened ... appear to be rebounding .... From Antioch to Tomales Bay, park visitors have reported otters rolling in mud, gnawing on crayfish, sliding down rocks and generally partying on the creek banks." One group started an "Otter Spotter website."
"Finally, Mojave Max decides, it’s spring" (Las Vegas Sun, 4/17/12)
"In case you hadn't noticed: Spring has officially arrived in Southern Nevada. Mojave Max, the famous desert tortoise, emerged from his burrow at 12:41 p.m. today to herald the official arrival of spring in the desert. It is, according to officials with the Clark County Desert Conservation Program and the federal Bureau of Land Management, the latest he has come out since 2000." California's Mojave Maxine emerged on Feb. 25.
"New shrimp-like species found in New Mexico cave" (Associated Press at KRQE, 4/17/12)
"The species of amphipod was unknown" until "about a month ago ... said Jim Goodbar, the Bureau of Land Management's senior cave specialist .... Blind, about a half-inch long and almost translucent, the amphipod was found in a subterranean pool inside a cave no more than 80 feet from the surface. The cave had been explored before, but samples had never been taken of the water until a biological inventory was done as part of plans to expand potash mining in the area."
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