A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 532 - 5/24/12
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Fort Ord National Monument dedication - and FREE POSTER
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- River recreation
- 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
- Other BLM states
- More wildlife news
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
|FORT ORD NATIONAL MONUMENT DEDICATION (and Free Poster)
"More than 400 help dedicate Fort Ord National Monument" (News.bytes Extra)
More than 400 military families, cyclists, hikers and other community members joined Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey at a dedication event for the nation’s newest National Monument – the 14,560-acre Fort Ord National Monument near Monterey. Joining them at the event on Saturday, May 19, Armed Forces Day were Rep. Sam Farr; Garrison Commander Col. Joel J. Clark; Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and BLM California State Director Jim Kenna.
"Old Army base gets a new role" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/20/12)
More photos from the dedication ceremony. Taking part in the ceremony were the Presidio of Monterey Color Guard, and Sgt. Allen McDonald, 88, who was stationed at Fort Ord during World War II -- among others.
FREE OFFER: Sign up online for a free poster of the nation’s newest National Monument – the 14,560-acre Fort Ord National Monument near Monterey, California.
The new monument, created by Presidential Proclamation on April 20, 2012, is managed by the BLM’s Hollister Field Office and plays a vital part in the protection of rare species of plants and animals. There is also 86 miles of trail used by hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, wildlife and wildflower photographers and nature enthusiasts. Supplies are limited!
"Fort Ord National Monument hosts Sheep Appreciation Day" (BLM, 5/23/12)
This weekend: Visitors to the Fort Ord National Monument will be able to get a close look at the work done by our wooly friends during "Sheep Appreciation Day" Saturday, May 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors will be able to meet the sheep owner, sheep herders from Peru, and real sheep dogs. Activities include a presentation on dogs’ prey drive pack mentality,a sheep-shearing demonstration, a wool spinning demonstration and a dog behavior talk. Sheep owner Pete Yriarte will speak about caring for the 2,500 Fort Ord sheep.
|More from AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Sierra Nevada Geotourism MapGuide"
Sierra Nevada residents have recommended scenic vistas, historic sites, cultural events, recreation spots and more, for this travel guide to the Sierra Nevada. An interactive map features 250 destinations, with photos, travel tips, scenic highways, topographic features, and a QR scan code to connect smart phones to the Web site. The Guide is a partnership between National Geographic, the Sierra Business Council and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, with many "project collaborators and supporters" including the BLM. Residents can continue to add recommendations.
"Route 66 designated Scenic Highway from Oro Grande to Arizona Line" (Highland Community News, 5/22/12)
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to designate San Bernardino County Route 66 "as a scenic route from Oro Grande, just north of Victorville, to the Arizona state line. 'Route 66 is a historical and cultural icon that is celebrated both in America and around the world,' said Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt." The board also approved an agreement among the County, the BLM and "other educational, historical, business and resource groups to become a partnering agency with the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow," as a way of "improving awareness of the desert’s historical, cultural and ecologic treasures."
RELATED: "Historic Route 66" (BLM Needles Field Office)
ALSO RELATED: "Desert Discovery Center"
"Spring Clean-Up 2012 a Success!" (Friends of El Mirage, May 2012)
About 175 volunteers tackled a variety of projects at the Spring Clean-up at El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area. Among other tasks, crews were sent out "to paint the shade ramadas and picnic tables, push giant magnets on wheels around and collect the nails, bolts, and wire that seem to inevitably gather around campgrounds, install new signs along the roads, and groom the lake bed .... some crews were just out there picking up trash .... About 30 volunteer kids were bussed in from the Desert Discovery Center, eager to help and to attend the Jr. Ranger Program." BLM Barstow Ranger Art Basulto "had his usual amazing display of animals (both alive and stuffed) ready for the kids" after they picked up trash.
"18th annual Lassen-Applegate Emigrant Trail ride" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/24/12)
"The High Rock Trekkers four-wheel-drive club will lead its 18th annual Lassen-Applegate Emigrant Trail Ride July 19 to 23. The 200-mile trip begins near Imlay, Nev., and follows the same wagon train route used by Peter Lassen in 1849. The trail winds through the Black Rock Desert, High Rock Canyon, Double Hot Springs and Soldier Meadows to end in Surprise Valley, near Cedarville in Modoc County. This was an alternate route used by early pioneers to reach central Oregon." The event operates under a permit from the BLM.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...View a variety of desert plants and wildflowers at the Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area. Located southwest of the Yuha Desert on Highway 98, this fenced area has excellent stands of crucifixion thorn, ironwood, palo verde, ocotillo, mesquite, and creosote. When nature provides sufficient winter rains, an abundance of wildflowers and blooms from a variety of desert plants can be seen. Flat terrain offers easy hiking, but bring your own water.
"Modest flows bode well for summer river rafting season"(Sacramento Bee, 5/20/12)
"Each whitewater season has its own profile. For 2012, late spring and summer river-running looks to be benign, filled with sun and fun, reasonably safe, and of surprisingly long duration. Especially if you compare 2012 with last year, when a double- deep snowpack created an embarrassment of riches. Too many rivers ran too cold and too high for too long. It was mid-summer before recreational users could really enjoy their sports. In contrast, this year the watchword is: Get out there right now, and begin enjoying yourself."
"River recreation" (BLM California)
Rivers that cross BLM California lands offer a variety of recreation -- from whitewater runs for experienced users only. to canoe trips, fly fishing, wildlife viewing. Be sure to note the river safety trips.
"Life jackets can save yours" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/20/12)
"The three most dangerous days of the year in the outdoors arrive next weekend. Nine months of pent-up energy ... will be unleashed in a 72-hour span over Memorial Day weekend .... many will venture out on a power boat, sailboat, kayak, raft, dingy, pram, inner tube ... anything that floats. Sooner or later, you'll end up in the drink. Problem is, gravity wins. If you find yourself in the water with no easy way to extract yourself, you will eventually get tired, sink and end up in the vicinity of Davy Jones Locker. Unless, that is, you wear a life jacket. Then you can usually keep your head above water long enough to get pulled out."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Fire officials warn of high fire season danger" (News 10 Sacramento, 5/23/12)
"Fire officials said this year could be a very busy fire season as the fire potential is above normal in areas throughout the state. Cal Fire has responded to more than 1,000 fires this year. That's more than twice the amount of fires compared to the same time period a year ago .... The heightened alert this year is partly due to the dry conditions and warm temperatures. Budget cuts are another problem for many agencies."
"2012 wildfire season officially kicks off" (KERO Bakersfield, 5/21/12)
"From Arizona to Northern California, firefighters are keeping busy, which is a trend officials said could continue right here in Kern County."
"Authorities think illegal burn sparked Nevada fire" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/24/12)
"A wildfire that destroyed two homes in a rural neighborhood near the California-Nevada line may have been caused by an illegal burn that had been smoldering at a private residence since the weekend, investigators said." The fire "consumed about 7,000 acres of mostly sagebrush, cheat grass, juniper and pinion as it burned in the mountains within miles of another residential area in rural Lyon County, about 60 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe .... the sheriff's office, Nevada state fire marshal and U.S. Bureau of Land Management were continuing to investigate."
"TRE Wildfire now 7,500 acres, 15% contained"(KTVN Reno, 5/24/12)
The "7,500-acre wildfire burning in Topaz Ranch Estates remains 15% contained as of Thursday morning. Officials expect full containment by Saturday, May 26. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared the fire a major disaster." Firefighters "say the fire is moving northeast, away from the Topaz Ranch Estates neighborhood." A voluntary evacuation is in effect for some area residents.
"Topaz Ranch Estate fire at 7,500 acres, burning a mile from homes in Lyon County" (Reno Gazette-Journal at News 10 Sacramento, 5/24/12)
More photos from the wildfire.
"Smoke takes toll on workers at outdoor businesses"(Las Vegas Sun, 5/23/12)
"The relatively dry winter and record-breaking spring temperatures have created conditions that are ripe for wildfires across the state, officials said. Already this year, local wildland firefighters responded to 162 wildfires that burned more than 5,700 acres of public lands, said Kirsten Cannon, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman."
"Hurricane wildfire burns 2,200 acres of southwestern Utah" (Salt Lake Tribune, 5/23/12)
A nighttime attack on a Hurricane-area wildfire gave firefighters the upper hand on the approximately 2,200-acre blaze in spite of winds that kicked up in a Utah’s tinder-dry high desert Wednesday.
"Take responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
In California, the number of homes and businesses are growing in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) – and fire is an increasing threat. Reduce your home's fire danger and prevent wildfires from spreading by taking responsibility today.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM offering wild horses and burros for adoption in Clovis"(BLM, 5/23/12)
Wild horses from northwest Nevada ranges and wild burros from northeast California public lands will be available for adoption Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds in Clovis. The U. S. Bureau of Land Management will offer 30 mustangs ranging in age from 1 to 4, and 10 burros of all ages, in the event that runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive Friday, June 8, at 4 p.m.
"Lompoc horse reported missing" (Lompoc Record, 5/20/12)
"A Lompoc woman has lost her horse, and is enlisting the help of the public to find out what happened to it." Pennie Schuberg " lost her 19-year-old mustang, Earl, while riding at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park." She and her daughter Lindsie, 21, "were enjoying Mother’s Day together, but things turned bad when Lindsie broke her foot while riding her mare, EZ. Schuberg lost track of Earl, who was spooked and disappeared into the thick brush. Earl is a mustang, a wild horse" adopted from the BLM.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
(a.) Do not really fell trees, but build dams with trees downed by storms or damage.
(b.) Can stay under water for up to 15 minutes.
(c.) Like to chew on discarded food cans.
(d.) Do most of their dam building during the morning, before it gets too hot.
(e.) Have found a favorite treat in the new offering from World Snack Product Factories, Inc. -- Chipotle Bark-B-Q Roasted Wood Chips.
Answer -- and more wildlife stories -- at the end of this News.bytes.
"California ISO Board Green Lights Grid Upgrades" (East County Magazine, 5/21/12)
California Independent System Operator (ISO) Corporation Board of Governors approved 30 "transmission projects needed to maintain grid reliability .... The Plan also affirms, for a second year, that previously approved major transmission projects remain sufficient to meet California’s goal of using renewable resources to supply 33 percent of power use by 2020. ISO analysis shows approving additional green transmission at this point could potentially lead to overbuilding and stranded investments."
"Mojave Desert: Military wants to limit wind development" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/20/12)
"With a PowerPoint presentation and a dot of red light, military officials dropped a bomb on California’s wind energy industry at a recent public meeting. Using a laser pointer, a Navy official outlined on a map a vast area where the military wants to limit commercial wind development. The pointer swept across the Mojave Desert, skirting around Las Vegas, and edging near San Bernardino County’s High Desert communities and touching the southern Sierra Nevada range. Within that outline, energy companies have been conducting meteorological tests to develop at least 15 wind farms on public property under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau and Land Management."
"Judge denies temporary restraining order for Ocotillo Express Wind Project" (East County Magazine, 5/23/12)
"United States District Judge William Q. Hayes has denied a temporary restraining order sought by the Quechan Indians to halt the Ocotillo Express wind project."
"Coalition raises money for petroglyph studies" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/23/12)
"A local advocacy group is working to keep wind turbines out of what it says is a culturally and biologically significant area. Save Our Desert, a coalition aiming to stop Element Power’s efforts to put industrial-scale wind turbines in the undeveloped Black Lava and Flat Top Mesa buttes of Pipes Canyon and Pioneertown, is raising money to identify petroglyphs in the areas currently being tested for wind levels," especially "well-known cultural sites that need to be recognized by the Bureau of Land Management and the county."
"California agency says oil worker's death came after injection drilling started" (Sacramento Bee, 5/22/12)
"The Kern County sinkhole in which a Chevron oil worker died last June was in an area with spills and seeps dating back to the mid-1990s – about a year after oil producers started using a controversial kind of injection drilling there, state regulators said." More than a year after the death, "regulators have not determined an exact cause of the accident, though they have generally linked the eruptions of steam" where the worker died, and at other locations in the Midway-Sunset Oil Field "to a kind of drilling in which steam is pumped into shallow rock to loosen heavy crude."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"BLM California State Director plans Eastern Sierra visit" (BLM, 5/23/12)
Eastern Sierra residents will have an opportunity to meet Jim Kenna, Bureau of Land Management California State Director, during a visit to help celebrate Mule Days this week.
"BLM El Centro park rangers honored by Imperial County healthcare providers" (News.bytes Extra)
For being outstanding clinicians and having demonstrated professional dedication and service providing Emergency Medical Services to the citizens and visitors of Imperial County, Park Ranger Brian Puckett was awarded Paramedic of the Year and Park Ranger Daniel Baca was awarded with Basic Life Support Provider / EMT of the Year.
"Cleaning up the toxic legacy of the Gold Rush" (Capital Public Radio, 5/21/12)
"More than a century after the Gold Rush, California is still dealing with the toxic remnants of the mining industry. There are an estimated 47,000 abandoned mines in the state; some of the more heavily polluted sites are located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Now one small community is taking action."
RELATED: "Abandoned mine lands" (BLM California)
BLM California's Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program has approximately 18,000 abandoned mine sites on public lands. Many of the AML’s on BLM’s public lands are a result of California’s historic gold rush. Public lands that contain abandoned mine sites consist of physical and environmental safety hazards.
"BLM Resource Advisory Council meets June 13-14 in Cedarville" (BLM, 5/23/12)
Members of the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council will discuss wide-ranging natural resource conservation issues, when they meet. A field tour of public lands is scheduled for June 13. Members of the public are welcome, but see the news release for details.
"Hastings says 'no' to easing earmarks designation for Cemex mine" (Santa Clarita Signal, 5/17/12)
The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee told a delegation of Santa Clarita Valley residents that "there was nothing that could be done to remove the proposed Cemex mine site from the House list of 'earmarks'." When the group asked Chairman Doc Hastings "if he could offer alternative plans for banning the mine, his response was, 'If we can think of something, we'll come back to you,' Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar said."
"Sold-out Burning Man festival spawns spinoffs" (McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 5/24/12)
"For years, the organization behind the counterculture festival Burning Man has been urging participants to live year-round by the ideals espoused during its week-long occupation of the Nevada Black Rock Desert" on BLM-managed lands. "A sudden ticket shortage just might be kicking that effort into high gear. Last weekend, as many as 800 people descended on a private makeshift campground in this Modoc County town for Lunar Burn – a first-year event loosely patterned after Burning Man." With photos.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|OTHER BLM STATES
"Vandalism Harms 5,000 Year Old Petroglyphs "(KUTV Utah, 5/22/12)
"Archaeologists warn that rock art in Southern Utah is in danger because of frequent vandalism. The Bureau of Land Management says this spring has brought an increase of graffiti at the site of the petroglyphs, which have been around for thousands of years .... The panels of petroglyphs sit high above the Santa Clara River, giving us a glimpse into the lives ancient inhabitants. 'Once these are gone, the message that these people were trying to send will be gone with it,' Bureau of Land Management ranger Scott Lowrey, said.
"School credited for saving ancient pot" (KRQE Albuquerque, 5/23/12)
"During a packed assembly in the school gym Tuesday the students received a plaque and a picture from the Bureau of Land Management for what federal specialists are calling a significant find." The pot "is believed to be a water vessel between 900 and 1,000 years old. They didn't touch the pot, but carefully covered it and called authorities. 'These young kids are to be commended for absolutely doing the right thing,' Edwin Singleton of the BLM said."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) Can stay under water for up to 15 minutes.
SOURCE: "American Beaver - Castor canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Reintroduced beavers branching out in San Pedro" (Arizona Daily Star, 5/20/12)
"Beavers are doing really well right now" on the San Pedro River in southern Arizona, said Marcia Radke, a BLM wildlife biologist. "We're estimating the beaver population at about 100," she said. "That's a big change since just a few beavers were reintroduced into the river beginning in 1999 - about a century after trappers wiped out the last native beavers there. Beaver dams ... play a role in maintaining the vitality of the river, and also appear to benefit some types of vegetation. The dams cause river water to 'pond' and slow down long enough to soak into the aquifer."
"Tunnel, fence near Shingle Springs to help critters cross Hwy. 50 safely" (Sacramento Bee, 5/19/12)
"On a wooded and wildlife-rich stretch of Highway 50 in the foothills, Caltrans is about to launch an unusual road safety experiment -- for critters and drivers alike. The agency is building the Sacramento region's first deer and large-animal road crossing, a $1.6 million tunnel and fence project, in hopes of reducing the amount of roadkill in the Highway 50 corridor .... biologists acknowledge they can't be sure how well it will work."
"Mountain lion killed in downtown Santa Monica" (Sacramento Bee, 5/22/12)
Police "made multiple attempts to try and subdue the young male cat, including use of a tranquilizer and a pepper ball, before killing it." The mountain lion had found its way to a "downtown Santa Monica office building courtyard near an outdoor mall and a bluff-top park that offers tourists views of the ocean and the city's famed pier."
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