A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 543 - 8/9/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Wildfires and prevention
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week: Route 66
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- California water
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National, other BLM state and Department of the Interior items
- More wildlife items
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is also online at:
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Wildland fires char northeastern corner of California" (Sacramento Bee, 8/9/12)
The wildfires are complicated by "strong winds and remote, steep terrain ... The Chips fire is burning from the Feather River Canyon north into a rugged and unroaded area near Lake Almanor ... About 60 miles north of the Chips fire, a lightning-sparked blaze burning in Lassen Volcanic National Park has blackened more than 2,000 acres ... The largest of the north state's wildland fires is a 41,000-acre blaze east of Eagleville in Modoc County. The Lost fire, started Sunday by lightning, is burning through habitat critical for sage grouse, wild horses and wildlife."
"Lost Fire Info" (BLM Twitter)
SR34 is now open to travel, public is advised to travel SR34 with caution due to emergency vehicle traffic. Watch for other BLM California updates on our Twitter feed:
"California incidents" (InciWeb)
Current and recent wildfires (and prescribed fires) - including the current Lost Fire.
"Fire near Mono Lake at 1,000 acres, 15 percent contained" (Mammoth Times, 8/9/12)
"A thunderstorm that passed through the Eastern Sierra Wednesday afternoon ignited a lightning fire about five miles southeast of Mono Lake, north of Highway 120, on Bureau of Land Management public lands The Indian Fire is burning in sagebrush and grass and is currently about 1,000 acres."
"Experts to share how to make homes more fire resistant" (Ramona Sentinel, 8/7/12)
"'Making Your Home More Fire Resistant' is the title of a three-hour event hosted by Ramona West End Fire Safe Council on Saturday, Aug. 25."
"Take responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
In California, the number of homes and businesses are growing in the Wildland Urban Interface -- and fire is an increasing threat. Reduce your home's fire danger and prevent wildfires from spreading by taking responsibility today.
"Fire Information" (National Interagency Fire Center)
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, "is the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC, including the BLM.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Teens help manage BLM Barstow fossils resources" (News.bytes Extra)
Ninth-graders Hanna and Zach Larsen took part in two seasons of paleontological (fossil) resource management with the BLM's Barstow Field Office - and used the first-hand evidence they gathered to win medals at their school and at the California State Science Fair. Their investigation used bones and fossils from the Miocene Barstow Formation to reconstruct the type of environment from that period. Fossils in the Miocene Barstow Formation can only be collected under BLM permit, and must be curated into an accredited museum.
"Amphibian Quest featured in next King Range summer hike"(BLM, 8/1/12)
A free, guided discovery hike to learn about amphibian habitat near the abandoned Queen Peak Mine will be offered Saturday, August 18. Hike leader David LaFever, a BLM forest ecologist at the King Range National Conservation Area, will lead the outing by exploring two different amphibian habitats, Bear Creek and the pond at the Queen Peak Mine. Hikers should be prepared for a moderate three-mile roundtrip hike that will cross Bear Creek.
RELATED: "King Range National Conservation Area amphibians" (BLM California on Facebook)
Photos of a few of the amphibians you might encounter in the King Range NCA, such as on the Amphibian Quest hike listed above.
"Damage Control: Wash Road Repairs Underway" (News.bytes Extra)
More than two weeks after a summer storm hammered Wash Road and the Glamis Flats area of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, work continues to repair the damage it caused. With the busy dunes season right around the corner, maintenance crews operating heavy equipment are bringing in loads of dirt to fill in road areas that have been washed out, undercut, or pitted with large gaping holes. Once repairs to Wash Road are complete, the crew will begin to repair damage incurred to the restrooms at Glamis Flats.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Drive Historic Route 66 and experience the pioneering spirit of emigrants that traveled west across the United States. The highway passes through many sites worth visiting, including Amboy Crater -- a 250 foot high crater consisting of two lava dams holding back "dry" lava lakes. Along the route, be sure to visit the small town of Ludlow, population 10, which started as a water stop for the railroad and still provides services for desert travelers. And this weekend, Victorville, California hosts the Route 66 Festival.
RELATED: "Route 66 Festival" (Victorville Daily Press, 8/3/12)
Starting Thursday, Victorville will host the 2012 Route 66 International Festival, “which is expected to attract more than 50,000 Mother Road enthusiasts from around the world. The festival, which runs through Aug. 12, is held each year in one of eight states the Mother Road runs through.” Many of the activities will take place Aug. 10-11 in Victorville and in Barstow, including a vintage car show and Route 66 foods festival.
RELATED: "Route 66 International Festival 2012"
More details. This event is produced by the California Historic Route 66 Association.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Horses, burros, available for adoption in Redlands" (BLM, 8/3/12)
This weekend: There is a mule out there looking for a good home. So are two burros and eight horses. On Saturday August 11, the Sundance Ranch in Redlands will host a BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption from 9am to 2pm.
"Mustangs compete in Tevis Cup" (News.bytes Extra)
A buckskin mustang mare crossed the finish line Sunday with 11 minutes to spare in the 57th Tevis Cup. In the Tevis Cup, riders have 24 hours to cover the 100-mile trail from Robie Equestrian Park near Truckee to Auburn. "Sweet BLM Gold" or "Sweetie" was the last horse to cross the line by the deadline. Sweetie is owned by Sue Walz of Greenwood and was ridden by Judy Houle of Penn Valley. Although it was Sweetie’s first Tevis Cup, this was the 14th successful finish for Houle.
"Do it!: Mustang makeovers" (Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle, 8/5/12)
"Emma Minteer has lost count of the number of times she’s seen the movie Hidalgo … The story of legendary American distance rider Frank Hopkins and his great mustang, Hidalgo, winning a 3,000-mile race of survival across the Arabian desert against pure-bred horses never ceases to stir something inside Minteer … Next weekend, Minteer will take part in a contest called Extreme Mustang Makeover in Gloucester County, N.J., against 22 other trainers who, like her, were selected to take possession of a captured mustang in early May and given approximately 90 days to turn wild into mild. New Jersey is one of six competition sites across the country and it’s the first time one is being held in the Northeast."
"Border Patrol’s Laredo sector gets seven new agents on horse patrol" (Government Security News, 8/6/12)
The Laredo Sector Horse Patrol currently has eighteen horses, most of them "named by local elementary students ... The Border Patrol has used horses since it began in 1924, but has aimed to beef up mounted patrols along the border in the last few years, finding cost efficiencies in the equines. It re-established the Laredo Horse Patrol January 2010 and the agency said the program has had a positive impact on its operations in the Laredo Sector."
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
Pacific giant salamander
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
The Pacific giant salamander...
(a.) ...doesn't really merit being called that, as it only grows to about three inches long.
(b.) ...can eat its weight in slugs nearly every day.
(c.) ...spends most of its life buried in leaves and mud in hollows at the edges of streams.
(d.) ...can rotate its eye sockets in almost a complete circle.
(e.) ...can grow to a length of more than one foot.
(f.) ...once terrorized the remote California logging town of Odds Bodkins during its battle for supremacy with a giant lizard, as recorded in the documentary, Godzilla Versus the Pacific Giant Salamander.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
"Solar, wind power get Pentagon boost" (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/6/12)
"The U.S. Defense Department will encourage companies to build solar power plants and wind farms on 16 million acres of open land surrounding military bases, making each base less dependent on the nation's aging electricity grid ... [and] help the military cut its $4 billion annual energy bill and help insulate bases from blackouts ... Officials from the Bureau of Land Management and the Defense Department will create a pilot process for issuing solar development permits at California's Fort Irwin in San Bernardino County, the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona and the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona."
RELATED: "U.S. Military's Big Plan For Renewable Energy Projects" (Forbes, 8/6/12)
"The U.S. Department of Defense plans to open up 16 million acres of its land for renewable energy development, which it hopes will create a boom of solar, wind and geothermal projects and provide clean power to military bases ... Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on promoting renewable energy generation projects on public land that has historically been restricted for military uses."
RELATED: "Interior and Defense Departments Join Forces to Promote Renewable Energy on Federal Lands" (Department of the Interior, 8/6/12)
"BrightSource Energy builds huge solar energy project in Ivanpah" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/6/12)
"To describe the solar towers rising out of the desert at BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah solar project, you have to use words that go beyond big -- huge, colossal, mammoth. The three 459-foot-tall towers -- one already surrounded by thousands of reflecting mirrors, or heliostats -- dominate the site off Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County, just a few miles from the Nevada border. By 2013, power should start flowing from the site, which will eventually pump out enough electricity to power 140,000 homes."
"Ivanpah solar project reaches construction halfway point" (KCET, 8/8/12)
"The gargantuan Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is officially halfway built, its developers announced yesterday. The 392-megawatt concentrating solar power tower project being built by BrightSource in cooperation with NRG Energy, Google, and Bechtel will be the world's largest solar power tower facility at completion, which is scheduled for 2013. The project is now at its employment peak, with upwards of 2,100 construction workers and support staff assigned to the site."
"Flood won't delay debut of solar farm near Blythe" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/8/12)
"A '100-year flood event' washed out roads and damaged equipment at a major solar project under construction west of Blythe last week. But officials with the Genesis Solar Project said Tuesday it remains on course to begin producing energy next year."
"'Massive' Flood Damage at Genesis Solar Project" (KCET, 8/6/12)
"According to representatives from the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management, a storm system that moved through the California Desert on July 31 did massive amounts of damage to NextEra's Genesis Solar Project near Ford Dry Lake in Riverside County." Drainage pipes under a dirt bridge "were apparently completely overwhelmed by the flood."
"County OKs permits for 2 major energy projects" (KSWB San Diego, 8/8/12)
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors "granted permits to the Tule Wind Power Project, which consists of up to 128 wind turbines on 725 acres in McCain Valley, and transmission lines that would carry power generated by wind turbines in Baja California to a San Diego Gas & Electric substation .... The Tule Wind Power Project encompasses land under jurisdiction of the county, federal Bureau of Land Management, Ewiiaapaayp Indian Reservation, Bureau of Indian Affairs and California State Lands Commission ... The portion considered by the supervisors consists of five turbines and various associated facilities."
"We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration announces seven major renewable energy infrastructure projects that would power 1.5 million homes to be expedited" (The White House, 8/7/12)
"As a part of his We Can’t Wait initiative, President Obama announced that seven nationally and regionally significant solar and wind energy projects will be expedited, including projects in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming. Together, these job-creating infrastructure projects would produce nearly 5,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy – enough to power approximately 1.5 million homes, and support the President’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand American made energy. "
"BLM extends comment period on oil and gas lease environmental assessment" (BLM, 8/2/12)
Hollister Field Office has extended the comment period for an environmental assessment for a proposed oil and gas lease auction scheduled for Dec. 12, 2012. The public review and comment period has been extended from Aug. 6 to Aug.21, 2012. The EA was prepared to analyze the environmental impacts of leasing the mineral estate for oil and gas exploration and development. The lands considered for competitive lease auction are located in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties.
"Special report: Aquifers shrink, nation digs deeper" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/4/12)
"Deep underground ... dreams are turning to dust. Few places in Southern California is that more evident than the desert sands of Borrego Springs, where residents, farmers and golf course operators are sucking about four times as much water from the ground each year as nature replaces... the community’s main aquifer could essentially run dry after a few more decades. That’s a dire possibility: A recent study showed it would be prohibitively expensive to build a pipeline to an outside source. Dimming prospects have left residents scared and angry in a town whose name now seems ironic ... Similar concerns are bubbling up along San Diego County’s backcountry and across the nation.
"Is this Mojave water project worth the risk?" (Los Angeles Times, 8/6/12)
Editorial: "The debates over water often are complicated and weighted by competing and compelling interests. But all water projects are not the same, and one that deserves special scrutiny is a recent proposal to draw thousands of acre-feet of water out of an aquifer that sits beneath the Mojave Desert and send it to users throughout the region ... The project has been pursued for more than a decade by Keith Brackpool, an influential Southern California businessman ... If approved, it would clear the way for Brackpool and his company,Cadiz Inc., to sell enough water every year to serve 100,000 homes. Cadiz could make $1 billion to $2 billion over the 50-year span of the deal.
"Tiny river monsters threaten state waters" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/7/12)
"Quagga and zebra mussels might be called the twins of destruction in threatening California lakes, rivers and its water delivery systems."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Mining claim maintenance fees due Sept. 4, 2012" (BLM, 8/3/12)
The deadline for filing annual mining claim fees with the Bureau of Land Management this year is Tuesday, September 4. All mining claimants who wish to hold on to mining claims on federal public lands through 2013 must pay a $140 maintenance fee or file a maintenance fee waiver certificate on or before September 4. Because September 1 falls on a Saturday this year, and Monday, September 3 is a holiday, the BLM will accept yearly filings through September 4.
"Legislation opens door for motorized use at Clear Creek" (San Benito County Today, 8/7/12)
"Legislation introduced last week from Congressman Sam Farr, D-Carmel, could spur reopening for 243 miles designated for off-road motorized vehicles in the Clear Creek Management Area. The once popular recreation area in southern San Benito County and western Fresno County has been shuttered to the general public since May 2008 when the Bureau of Land Management commenced a temporary closure due to Environmental Protection Agency studies making the case for dangerous levels of cancer-causing asbestos, largely in 31,000 acres referred to as the serpentine area."
"Marine base expansion: Running out of room in The Mojave" (KCET, 8/8/12)
"The Navy released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the long-planned expansion of its Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base two weeks ago. Despite a sustained campaign of opposition, it looks as though the Marines intend to plant their flag on more than half of the Johnson Valley off-road vehicle recreation area. The protest period for the EIS ends August 25, after which the EPA will evaluate the EIS and Congress must make a decision. Off-roaders and locals are upset and the battle is almost certainly far from over."
RELATED: "Marines hoping to march west" (Lucerne Valley Leader, 8/7/12)
"Despite a chorus of opposition from local citizens and leaders, the U.S. Marine Corps has decided it wants to go west. The Department of the Navy has completed the final environmental impact statement on the plans for expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. Visit www.marines.mil/unit/29palms/las to review the document and to submit public comments online."
RELATED: "Tortoises will be moved, monitored if base expands" (Hi-Desert Star, 8/7/12)
"It takes minutes to trash the desert, but centuries to repair" (KCET, 8/7/12)
"This land has clearly been used for illegal dumping for decades. Walk along the main illegal roads and you walk between rows of large piles of debris, ten yards on either side. Some of the piles are large enough to be seen in Google Maps' satellite view, and were obviously brought in by dumptruck ... You will walk past unspeakably vile places ... Off-road vehicle enthusiasts and environmental activists have a decades-long history of conflict, but the majority of off-roaders might well find this place as appallingly ill-treated as I do."
"Chico State wilderness program in jeopardy" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 8/5/12)
"A program that prepares Chico State University students for careers leading wilderness trips is threatened by campus budget cuts. Students who major in outdoor education study the environment and leadership skills," including service projects for the BLM.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Goshutes to protest BLM’s apparent OK of Las Vegas water plan" (Salt Lake Tribune, 8/4/12)
The Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation plans to protest an "apparent decision" by the BLM "to OK pumping and piping desert groundwater to Las Vegas. In a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released Friday, the BLM appears poised to grant the Southern Nevada Water Authority rights of way allowing the pumping of groundwater from four eastern Nevada valleys to Las Vegas."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
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