A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 533 - 5/31/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Cute burros!
- America's Great Outdoors
- America's Great Outdoors: Fort Ord National Monument
- America's Great Outdoors: On the water
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Kenna's Corner: BLM State Director speaks on the BLM and conservation
- 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 BLM California News.bytes is online at:
That's right, they've got cuteness --and they're not afraid to use it. And neither are we! We're trying to get some attention here. So visit us on Facebook and hit "Like" on your favorite burro or burros!
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"BLM honors volunteers with 2012 'Making a Difference' National Awards" (BLM, 5/24/12)
This year's prestigious "Making a Difference" National Volunteer Awards -- for outstanding volunteer service or volunteer leadership on BLM-managed lands -- included three California winners among four individuals, three couples, one group, and one BLM employee. The winners were selected for their exceptional contributions to conservation and management on public lands. A national panel of BLM specialists and partner representatives selected the award winners from a record number of nominees submitted by BLM state offices.
RELATED: "Volunteer winners" (BLM)
Profiles of the winners of the "Making a Difference" awards -- including California winners East High School (working with the BLM's Arcata field office); Bill Baker (working with the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument) and winning BLM employee Martha "Marty" Dickes with the BLM's Ridgecrest field office.
RELATED: "Fortuna's East High School receives national BLM recognition" (BLM, 5/30/12)
Students from East High School in Fortuna have received national recognition for their volunteer work at the Headwaters Forest Reserve on California’s North Coast.
"Kenna visits BLM Eastern Sierra, drops in on Mule Days" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM California State Director Jim Kenna visited sights in the Eastern Sierra from Bridgeport to Lone Pine and participated in Mule Days in Bishop last week. Kenna visited with a local fire crew and a representative of the Marine Corps training facility, toured a geothermal facility and met with BLM Bishop Field Office employees.
RELATED: "General Land Office anniversary commemorated at Mule Days" (News.bytes Extra)
Mule Days also gave children and adults a chance to learn about the General Land Office, as the BLM commemorated its anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act, which was administered by the GLO and the BLM.
"Redding BLM, partners are getting children outside" (News.bytes Extra)
Offer grade school pupils the chance to study aquatic macro invertebrates, and you probably won’t generate howls of excitement. Give those same children a chance to get outside near a creek, and you'll probably light up some faces-- and set them up to learn about their environment. That was the idea behind a partnership involving the BLM Redding Field Office, French Gulch School and the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District that connects kids with the outdoors...
"Big Sunday group sponsors Girl Scouts trail restoration" (News.bytes Extra)
Coachella Valley Girl Scouts and their parents restored a trail shortcut in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The project was on a popular loop trail near the National Monument Visitor Center. The objective was to reduce erosion to an interesting linear wash feature.
"America's Great Outdoors: Salazar, Jarvis announce designation of 54 new national recreation trails" (Department of Interior, 5/31/12)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the designation of 54 trails as national recreation trails -- including two in California -- adding almost 1,400 miles of trails to the National Trails System. Spanning 23 states, the land and water trails provide opportunities for communities to connect to the great outdoors.
"Get Outside - What will you do today?" (National Wildlife Federation)
Includes links to "Nature Find," an interactive map to search for parks, outdoor spaces and events in your area - A guide to "help parents overcome obstacles to getting kids outdoors" - The Great American Backyard Campout (June 23) and more.
RELATED: "The Dirt on Dirt: How getting dirty outdoors benefits kids" (National Wildlife Federation, April, 2012)
"Only two decades ago, kids made forts with sticks and mud, waded up to their knees in streams. How many do that now? .... Dirt and germs can actually be good for kids." PDF file:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Fort Ord National Monument
"Miles of scenic trails at Monterey County's Fort Ord" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/30/12)
"This is a paradise for hikers, with 86 miles of trails through a native landscape ranging from streams to coastal scrub to thick woods to the classic California golden grassy hills studded with billowing oak trees, all framed by views that go on forever. Many of the trails are especially well suited for mountain biking and horseback riding. A couple of special treats: Fort Ord entry and parking are free, and dogs are allowed off-leash except in posted sheep-grazing areas." With 15 photos.
"Sheepherders, border collies run the show at Sheep Appreciation Day on Fort Ord" (Monterey County Herald, 5/29/12)
"A small pack of border collies ... seemed eager to show off their skills for a fascinated crowd of about 80 spectators" at the Fort Ord National Monument last weekend -- moving 1,400 sheep "with startling efficiency." The event, called Sheep Appreciation Day, was staged by Bureau of Land Management botanist and Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado." The sheeps' job is to graze on Fort Ord lands for five months a year, "effectively ridding the land of non-native foliage while trimming the native plants to a healthy length."
"Volunteers needed to patrol Fort Ord bike trails" (KION TV Monterey, 5/29/12)
"Tom McKay's come pretty close to walking up and down every one of the 83 trails on Fort Ord's public land. He's a volunteer patrolman for the Bicycle Equestrian Trails Assistance, or BETA" that helps the BLM with "trail etiquette" to make sure horseback riders, bikers, and hikers "get along on the trails." The group is looking for more members as "eyes and ears out on the trails."
RELATED: "Join BETA" (Bicycle Equestrian Trails Assistance)
We welcome enthusiastic volunteers who enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding on the many miles of trails" at Fort Ord. BETA members also take First Aid and CPR training, to help those on the Fort Ord trails.
"Fort Ord National Monument" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
On April 20, 2012, President Obama signed a Proclamation to designate the Fort Ord National Monument, which holds some of the last undeveloped natural wildlands on the Monterey Peninsula.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: On the water
"Rafting season in full flow" (Union Democrat, 5/24/12)
"Rafting season will likely be shorter than normal on most California rivers due to less-than-expected snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, but water levels are excellent for the time being .... Rafting tours have been running nearly every day on the Merced and Stanislaus rivers for the past month. "
"River recreation" (BLM California)
Rivers that cross BLM California lands offer a variety of recreation -- from whitewater runs for experienced users only, to stretches suitable for canoe trips, fly fishing and wildlife viewing. Be sure to note the river safety tips.
"SYRCL to help parks department manage river" (Nevada City Union, 5/30/12)
"A local environmental nonprofit will attempt to help park officials manage the South Yuba River State Park in times of extreme budget constraints for the state government. The executive director of the South Yuba River Citizens League said, "As advocates for the preservation of the river, the River Ambassador program is one-way that SYRCL volunteers can partner with State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management to maintain the river's natural beauty."
RELATED: "South Yuba River" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
The South Yuba River combines history, scenic beauty, and whitewater excitement. This Gold Country river flashes and dances through an intricate minefield of boulders on its downstream journey.
"Effort escalates to halt mussels' spread in North Coast lakes" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/28/12)
"The effort to prevent an invasive species of mussels from getting into Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, which could result in the lakes being closed to all recreation, began this weekend with an educational campaign aimed at boaters."
RELATED: "Quagga mussels' spread creates quandary" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/28/12)
Quagga mussels were first discovered in Lake Mead five years ago, and now number in the "hundreds of trillions." .... If boaters aren't careful, they could wind up taking quaggas home with them and never know they are doing it .... The real threat is the babies, also known as veligers. Invisible but plentiful, they could - and likely do - exist in even the smallest puddles of lake water." The key thing to know, says a researcher, is "Don't bring Lake Mead water home or to another lake, river or stream."
RELATED: "Efforts to prevent spread of quagga mussels work" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/6/12)
"An unspoken alliance between boaters and local agencies is crushing the biggest threat ever faced at recreation lakes in Northern California. In four years since invasive quagga and zebra mussels showed up in San Benito County in central California, volunteer and mandatory programs have kept the mussel confined to points south. Vigilance by boat owners and inspection programs by local agencies at key lakes have stopped the invasion."
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Celebrate National Trails Day June 2, with outings to these BLM-managed areas:
June 2 - Guided hike - King Range National Conservation Area
June 2 - Bizz Johnson Trail bus shuttle service begins
"National Trails Day events" (American Hiking Society)
Saturday, June 2, 2012 is a day to "participate in a local hike, dog walk, cycling event, horseback ride, trail maintenance project, paddle trip, health fair, geocaching activity, photo safari, birdwatching expedition, and more." Click on the map to find events near you.
BLM California's State Director Jim Kenna offers some background on conservation and the BLM, not just as a history lesson, but "to talk about the American concept of conservation, and how it is so intrinsically tied to who we are as a people." (This YouTube video selection was edited from his Oath of Office ceremony earlier this year.)
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
western diamondback rattlesnake
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Western diamondback rattlesnakes…
(a.) …are the most poisonous snakes in California.
(b.) …are the largest rattlesnakes in California.
(c.) ...do not have any known predators.
(d.) …are more active in hot weather, when their mammal prey is more sluggish.
(e.) …gave us noted cardshark Diamond "Slim Jim" Indio Fats, whose star faded as his sport of choice migrated online -- and he found that although he could track and capture just about any California pocket mouse, he was unable to handle the logistics of a simple computer mouse.
See answer -- and more wildlife stories -- near the end of this News.bytes.
"BLM announces the availability of draft environmental document for proposed McCoy Solar Energy Project Near Blythe" (BLM, 5/29/12)
The McCoy Solar Energy Plant in Riverside County would be a photovoltaic solar facility that could generate up to 750 megawatts of power with ancillary facilities including a generation-tie line, access road and switch yard. The precise generation capacity will depend on the technology selected and efficiencies available at the time of a rights-of-way authorization. The MSEP would require approximately 7,700 acres of public lands. The solar power plant area itself would require about 4,893 acres.
"BLM announces public meetings for Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area Near Ridgecrest" (BLM, 5/29/12)
The HGLA consists of an estimated 22,805 acres of BLM-administered public lands; this area also includes the area subject to three pending geothermal lease applications for approximately 4,500 acres of BLM-administered public lands. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement analyzes the potential environmental, social, and economic effects of several alternatives and issues raised during the public scoping process.
"Report details NextEra solar plant's impact" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/29/12)
"The Bureau of Land Management has released the draft environmental impact report for NextEra Energy's McCoy solar project, to be on public land 13 miles northwest of Blythe. The release of the draft begins a 90-day public comment period that will end Aug. 23. The BLM will hold two public meetings — still to be scheduled — during this time to allow residents and groups to provide input on the report."
"Wind farms considering detection systems to prevent bird deaths" (Los Angeles Times, 5/28/12)
"Adding bird detection systems could protect wind farms from litigation in case of deaths of threatened species."
"New lawsuit against Ocotillo Express filed" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/26/12)
One lawsuit against "an approved a 112-wind-turbine project set to be built east of Ocotillo ... comes just days after a federal court in San Diego denied a motion for a temporary restraining order filed by the Quechan Indian Tribe. The tribe is still pursuing a full injunction in court ....The Ocotillo Express LLC Wind Energy Project was approved by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors last month and recently received the Bureau of Land Management’s right-of-way for construction. "
"Third Lawsuit Filed Over Ocotillo Express Wind" (East County Magazine, 5/27/12)
This lawsuit against the Imperial County Board of Supervisors and Pattern Energy, to stop construction of the project, alleges "that Supervisors’ approval violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and that the Final Environmental Impact Report failed to analyze off-site or distributed generation alternatives such as rooftop solar."
"Assessment of Tecopa Road solar project released" (Pahrump Valley Times, 5/30/12)
"preliminary staff assessment" reporst that the Hidden Hills solar project "could comply with applicable laws and regulations if mitigation measures were implemented." BrightSource Energy plans a 500-megawatt solar power plant "on 3,200 acres of private property on the California side of the border" about nine miles south of Pahrump." The project would be on private land "and thus doesn't have to acquire permits from the BLM, except for a planned transmission line" to connect with the California grid."
"530-mi. power-line plan stirring up rural passions" (Arizona Daily Star, 5/29/12)
"A proposed power-line system to deliver renewable energy across the Southwest could disturb habitat for sensitive species, harm more than 300 cultural sites, damage scenic views and increase fire risk while it's being built, a new federal environmental report says. But the Bureau of Land Management report also says that many of these impacts could be eased or otherwise mitigated by careful planning." The SunZia line would run across "seven New Mexico counties and four Arizona counties."
"Seeking disclosure on fracking" (New York Times, 5/30/12)
"As the controversial oil and gas drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing continues to spread, governments around the world are grappling with how to regulate it. What should happen to the waste...? What taxes should oil and natural gas companies pay? What about earthquakes and air pollution? One regulatory trend is becoming well-established: requirements that drilling companies disclose information about the chemicals used in fracking," including bills in several states, and proposed Department of Interior regulations.
"California Senate rejects 'fracking' legislation" (Los Angeles Times, 5/30/12)
The California Senate rejected a bill to require "energy firms to notify property owners before using hydraulic fracturing to tap oil deposits on or near their land. The legislation, SB 1054, was pushed ... as the first step toward collecting information and increasing awareness about a controversial extraction technique that state regulators are only now beginning to tackle. Currently, California does not require oil companies to disclose where they use the procedure or what chemicals they inject into the ground. Other states have imposed moratoriums and drawn up rules after toxic chemicals were discovered in drinking water near 'fracking' operations.
"House Cmte examines domestic regulation of 'fracking'" (C-Span, 5/31/12)
The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform will "focus specifically on the oil and gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' which has seen a recent boom in Pennsylvania and other parts areas east of the Mississippi." Scheduled witnesses include BLM Acting Director Mike Pool.
"Fracking's interstate pollution needs U.S. rules, scientist says" (Bloomberg Business, 5/31/12)
"Air and water pollution from natural gas and oil production using hydraulic fracturing moves across state lines, so the drilling should be regulated by the federal government, a Cornell University scientist said."
"Agency promotes global shale gas standards" (Houston Chronicle, 5/29/12)
The International Energy Agency called for "global standards on shale gas production to mitigate environmental effects and stem public opposition. The independent organization said the world is on the cusp of a "golden age of gas" that could be hampered by environmental and health concerns fueled by rapid expansion of the fossil fuel's production .... concerns about air and water pollution have followed the industry globally, leading to effective bans on shale gas production in some places."
WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Horses, burros find new homes in Santa Rosa area" (News.bytes Extra)
Residents of the Santa Rosa area provided new homes for 14 horses and five burros, when the BLM brought its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds over the weekend of May 19. The BLM’s next California adoption opportunity is June 9 and 10 at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.
"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.
"Kids teach wild mustangs to respond to human touch in Placer County"(Sacramento Bee, 5/30/12)
"As Rose Ellis, 14, gently pulled the sparkly purple hula hoop to the side, Nike, her yearling mustang, responded flawlessly, moving away from the pressure and turning her body." The technique "begins to teach the horse, who just two weeks ago had hardly been touched by humans, to respond to the contact of reins." Rose is "one of more than 60 kids across the country participating in the Mustang Heritage Foundation's mustang challenge. They have 120 days to prepare a year-old horse that had scant human contact to perform a series of guidance maneuvers. Unlike the adult challenge, which takes place over 90 days, the children, ages 8 to 18, do not ride the horses."
"Extreme Mustang Makeover - Norco, California" (Extreme Mustang Makeover)
Links to overall final scores and adoption results of the Norco event, for which trainers had 90 days to train BLM mustangs and compete in a trail challenge through the hills and streets of Norco. Watch for a photo feature on the competition in next week's News.bytes.
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Fire season off to a roaring start" (KQED San Francisco, 5/24/12)
"Get ready for what might be a nasty season for wildfires in California. Though few have made big news so far, CalFire says that its crews have already responded to more than 1,000 fires this spring -- that’s double the pace from a year ago and well ahead of the five-year average." Budget cuts have reduced the number of firefighters.
"Fire burns in Temblors southwest of Taft" (Taft Midway Driller, 5/28/12)
"Fire broke out in the Temblor Range southwest of Taft Sunday afternoon, burning close to 100 acres before it was contained." Firefighters from Kern County and Bureau of Land Management responded, and the "the first major brushfire of the season" in the area was "fully contained at 5 p.m. after burning 93 acres."
"BLM announces fire restrictions for lands managed by Redding Field Office" (BLM, 5/29/12)
The Bureau of Land Management on June 4 will implement fire restrictions for lands managed by the Redding Field Office in Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Trinity and Siskiyou counties. The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. The restrictions are needed because of dry fuels and increasing fire danger in the north state region.
"It's time to prepare for wildfire" (East County Magazine, 5/27/12)
"Almost every jurisdiction requires homeowners to clear dry brush from around a residence; homeowners should check with their local fire departments for regulations specific to their communities. Creating defensible space protects a home while providing a safe area for firefighters."
"Would-be BLM firefighters must pass pack test - 45 pounds for 3 miles in 45 minutes" (Magic Valley Times-News Idaho, 5/30/12)
"The BLM hosts the fitness test every year right before the beginning of fire season. For new recruits, completing the test gives them the clearance to head to basic fire school, which starts next week .... On Tuesday, there were three groups of crew members that took turns walking the course at the College of Southern Idaho. While waiting for the first group to finish, firefighters cheered on fellow colleagues and swapped tips on how to complete in time .... fire crews aren't allowed to run the course." (with video)
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Central California RAC tours Bodie, discusses land issues" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the BLM’s Central California District Resource Advisory Council saw land management challenges in the Eastern Sierra during a meeting May 18 and 19 in Bridgeport. Topics included a new OHV area and sage grouse issues.
"BLM Resource Advisory Council meets June 13-14 in Cedarville" (BLM, 5/29/12)
Members of the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council will discuss wide-ranging natural resource conservation issues. On June 13, members will tour public lands.
"REACH hosts open house" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/26/12)
"The close-knit family of Imperial Valley emergency responders came together" for an open house "as part of National Emergency Medical Services Week. Employees from a wide variety of agencies such as El Centro Fire Department, the Bureau of Land Management and West Shores Ambulance came to the event where friends, family and members of the public enjoyed food, drinks and downtime together."
"$2.9M deal gives species safe habitat near Salton Sea" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/29/12)
"More than 2,100 acres of land along the Santa Rosa Mountains once owned by timber billionaire and former Coachella Valley resident Tim Blixseth will now be preserved as open habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep and other species." The land "is within the boundaries of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan."
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
"Vote may extend suction dredge fight" (Siskiyou Daily News, 5/30/12)
"Votes by two California legislative subcommittees on May 23 could extend the fight over the practice of suction dredging for gold in the state’s waterways, reversing earlier language that provided a 'sunset clause' that would end the current dredging moratorium in June, 2016."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Currrent listings include IT specialist, recreation technician, and many temporary positions.
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"California Trail Center offers glimpse of pioneer experience" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/27/12)
From 1841 to 1869, when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, "more than 250,000 people" in wagon trains carved "deep swales in the earth that would eventually be called the California Trail." The California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko, was built to "commemorate the trail and its importance to America." The Center is "the result of the hard work and dedication of several Elko groups and residents." The grand opening is this Saturday.
RELATED: "Trail Center now a year-round fixture" (Elko Daily Free Press, 5/29/12)
Exhibits include replica storefronts of Missouri storefronts where the California Trail started; a diorama with "life-like mannequins" showing life along the trail; and "interactive video" that tells the story of the Donner Party (actually the Donner-Reed party) stranded in the Sierra snow after they took the Hastings Cutoff. "Along with the chance to see the exhibits inside the center, there will be plenty of things to do out of doors during California Trail Days."
RELATED: "Elko Trail Days" (Elko Convention & Visitors Authority)
"California Trail Interpretive Center's Grand Opening and California Trail Days; June 2 & 3; 10-4; Free! Shoshone crafts - live oxen - Chautauqua - 1850s trail camp - Gold Rush music - trail shop
"Officers clean up pot farm site" (St. George, Utah Spectrum, 5/31/12)
"Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service are encouraging residents to be aware of illegal marijuana farms ... throughout Southern Utah."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) …are the largest rattlesnakes in California.
SOURCE: "Western diamondback rattlesnake - Crotalus atrox" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Rattlesnakes in California" (California Department of Fish and Game)
Rattlesnakes "are dangerous if provoked," but provide a service, eating "rodents, other reptiles, and insects." But "in California where rattlesnakes are found from sea level to the inland prairies and desert areas and to the mountains at elevations of more than 10,000 feet, enjoying the outdoors means learning how to avoid contact with rattlesnakes .... Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes strike when threatened or deliberately provoked, but given room they will retreat. Most snake bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing." Includes tips for safety and what to do if bitten.
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News.bytes published by
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