A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 547 - 9/7/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors: Volunteer
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items
- Other wildlife stories
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Volunteer
Volunteer this weekend at Cosumnes River Preserve (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
This weekend: Saturday, Sept. 8: Volunteers will be doing habitat restoration and road access maintenance, getting an early start on National Public Lands Day.
"National Public Lands Day 2012" (BLM California)
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the largest volunteer event for America's public lands. NPLD is held on a Saturday in late September when thousands of Americans volunteer to improve and enhance our nation's public lands. National Public Lands Day 2012 will officially take place on September 29, 2012. In BLM California, NPLD events will also take place on other days during the fall.
"Lend A Hand With The Merced River Cleanup On September 15, 2012" (Sierra Sun Times, 9/4/12)
"The community is invited to join in the Kim Evans Memorial Great Sierra River Clean Up on Saturday, September 15." This yearly event is a joint effort of the BLM and a number of organizations. "People of all ages and abilities can participate. The Merced River has provided summer fun and recreation for locals as well as visitors from around the world. A few hours of your time will help maintain its health and world-famous good looks! The half-day event takes place over the entire Sierra Nevada and coincides with the California Coastal Clean Up as well."
"Cosumnes River Preserve's Volunteer Naturalist Program" (Cosumnes River Preserve.org)
Do you love talking to people about nature? Are you always watching birds, taking walks, reading up on your local flora and fauna? After training, you will be walking around the Cosumnes River Preserve wearing a volunteer vest, leading guided walks, and teaching kids about nature inside the exhibit room, all while enjoying the great outdoors!
"Volunteer opportunities in the Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
The BLM is looking for dedicated individuals to be campground hosts in several of the Imperial Sand Dunes' popular areas.
"Eagle Scout builds Native American shelter for National Monument" (News.bytes Extra)
Friends and staff of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument are thrilled to now have a Native American shelter, called a Kish, at the Monument Visitor Center. A local Eagle Scout constructed the Kish project with Boy Scout helpers and other volunteers to honor this area's Cahuilla Tribal peoples. This tribute to the local Native American culture can be seen at the National Monument Visitor Center on Highway 74 in Palm Desert California.
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"BLM Releases Imperial Sand Dunes Proposed Recreation Area Management Plan" (BLM, 9/7/12)
The BLM today released the Imperial Sand Dunes Proposed Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) and Final Environmental Impact Statement. The RAMP also includes proposed amendments to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan. The RAMP provides guidance for the management of approximately 215,000 acres of BLM-administered public lands in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and surrounding public lands in southeastern Imperial County, Calif.
"A close look at the California Coastal National Monument" (News.bytes Extra)
While the California Coastal National Monument offers magnificent scenic vistas from the mainland, getting a closer look at the rocks and islets can be a challenge. Recently, students from the Trinidad area on the North Coast had the opportunity to take to the sea and get a closer look at the monument and its inhabitants.
RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California)
"Closure lifted on Pacific Crest Trail in Jawbone area" (BLM news, 8/31/12)
The BLM has lifted its closure order on a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail that was implemented on August 12 in response to the Jawbone Complex Fire that was burning across the trail. The trail is now accessible by the public from Highway 58 in the south to the Jawbone Trail Road/Sequoia National Forest boundary to the north. The public is reminded that the only legal routes of travel within the area are those roads and trails that are designated and marked on the ground with brown numbered signs. Please help the natural post-fire recovery processes to take place by staying on the designated roads and trails.
"Fire officials urge hunters to be careful with fire" (BLM news, 9/4/12)
With smoldering wildfires a constant reminder of extreme fire dangers and various northern California hunting seasons underway, officials at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center are urging hunters to be extremely careful with any use of fire outdoors. Fire restrictions now in effect prohibit all campfires, except in developed and posted recreation sites in the Lassen, Modoc and Plumas national forests and BLM public lands in the north state.
"California's general deer season set to open" (California Department of Fish and Game, 9/5/12)
"As autumn approaches, many of California’s deer hunters are preparing for the general season openers in mid-September and early October. Archery deer season has been in full swing with the first zone opening to archers in July."
"Saturday is license-free fishing day" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 9/7/12)
"Saturday is the second of California's two license-free fishing days. On that day, anyone can fish without the usual license requirement, which provides a low-cost way to give fishing a try. It also encourages anglers to take out non-fishing friends, family members and neighbors. All other seasonal and area closures, bag limits and gear restrictions are still in effect ... targeted fisheries that have a 'report card' requirement still do so." Also, "This year's deer hunting may require some extra scouting effort..."
"Recreation.gov" (Interagency website)
Discover the best American experiences, from the majestic outdoors to important historical and cultural landmarks. Get inspired to explore America! Links also to "Share the Experience Photo Contest" and more.
Visit the BLM California Facebook page...
...for updates from the Likely Fire now burning in Northeastern California, for photos from America's Great Outdoor exhibit at the Los Angeles County Fair, and more...
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Take a trip up to the Lost Coast - King Range National Conservation Area to bike, hike, birdwatch, hunt or learn about the Range’s natural history. The King Range offers a spectacular meeting of land and sea, certainly its dominant feature. Mountains seem to thrust straight out of the surf; a precipitous rise rarely surpassed on the continental U.S. coastline. King Peak, the highest point at 4,088 feet, is only three miles from the ocean!
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
A white-footed mouse has a somewhat unique approach to housekeeping:
(a.) It digs its nest among the roots of plants, which it then uses as food.
(b.) It digs a burrow with an entrance uphill from an exit, so rain from occasional storms runs through and cleans it out.
(c.) When its nest gets dirty, it moves out and builds a new one.
(d.) When too many white-footed mice move into the same burrow, they stage a bluffing contest to scare out the most timid among them.
(e.) It builds separate rooms in its burrow for eating, sleeping and engaging in mouseplay.
(f.) When choosing a mate, a male white-footed mouse will first test how clean the female’s burrow is by dragging one white foot along the floor. An eligible female will then throw the male out the entrance.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Mustangs and burros looking for homes" (BLM news, 9/4/12)
This weekend: Seven mustangs, two burros, and a mule are looking for new homes through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. On Saturday Sept. 8, the Sundance Ranch in Redlands will host a BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a preview on Friday, Sept. 7 from 1 to 5 p.m.
"Hallwood teens tame wild horses" (Marysville-Yuba City Appeal-Democrat, 9/4/12)
"Five months ago, the Sawaya sisters' horses were galloping across the open plains of Nevada, running wild with their herd and untouched by humans. Next week, the Hallwood teens hope to dazzle crowds in Fort Worth, Texas, as Shasta sits her equine frame into a chair and Amira passively allows herself to be pulled around by her tail at the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover. Sierra Sawaya, 18, and Mikaela Sawaya, 17, have worked diligently for the last four months to transform the horses 'from wild to willing,' putting in five hours a day to turn the yearlings into well-behaved and well-adjusted horses for the national competition."
"Unreliable water source triggers wild burro roundup" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/4/12)
"Wild burros have been rounded up from public land in the West to protect desert habitats for native species — and in some cases to protect the burros themselves. Such is the case in eastern San Bernardino County, where 56 burros died two years ago when the spring they depended on dried up. You can read about that here. Now, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to remove about 35 burros from the Piute Mountain Herd Area because the animals depend on that same water source, known as Fenner Spring."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Likely Fire now 30 percent contained"(BLM news, 9/6/12)
A wildfire near the northeast California community of Likely has blackened about 8,500 acres of rangeland and is now 30 percent contained. Officials estimate full containment by Sunday, Sept. 9. The Likely Fire is burning east of U. S. Highway 395 primarily in the Bureau of Land Management Tule Mountain Wilderness Study Area. It has forced evacuations at West Valley Reservoir camping areas, and is threatening 18 homes, two commercial properties and five outbuildings. No structures have been damaged or destroyed. The fire is burning near an underground natural gas pipeline and near the Modoc National Forest boundary.
"Fuel break helps contain Robbers Fire"(News.bytes Extra)
A fuel break near Foresthill in the community of Iowa Hill built to help contain potential wildfires did just that during the Robbers Fire this summer. "The Indian Creek fuel break, which included the Kings Hill area, served as a strategic fuel break and containment line for the Robbers Fire," said Brian Mulhollen, battalion chief in the Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office.
"Fate of inmate fire crews at risk; prison realignment reduces low-risk inmate pool" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 9/4/12)
"As of August 19 there were 2,277 inmate firefighters actively working California fire lines" -- but many fewer may be available, "as lower-risk prisoners are sentenced to county jail instead. Since only 'low-risk' state prison inmates are allowed to serve in the fire camps, once current fire crew inmates finish their sentences there will be very few 'low-risk' prisoners left in prison to replace them."
"Can firefighting mules balance California's budget?" (BBC News, 8/28/12)
"California is suffering one of its worst summers for wildfires in recent memory. There are dozens of fires burning in the Golden State, and some won't be fully extinguished until the winter. It is an expensive business for a state that is suffering a serious financial crisis. But California has a little-known secret weapon when it comes to fighting fires. It's the pack mule, which the US Forest Service has used for decades to haul equipment and vital supplies in remote mountainous areas." (Video - 2:55)
"Wildfire budgeting tool scrapped after agency resources threatened" (Denver Post, 9/2/12)
"In 2001, Congress instructed the Forest Service and four Interior Department agencies -- Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs -- to develop a comprehensive plan for pooling their resources to use firefighting budgets as efficiently as possible." Among other things, the resulting plan "suggested taking money out of Alaska and putting more into the Sierra region in California ... the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the nation's largest, 'had a very large budget and almost no fires'." Critics say the model was rejected as "politically unacceptable." A Denver Post review of 20 years of reports, "from 1992 to midsummer 2012, found that California is by far the most dangerous place for firefighters..."
"Wildfires: Smoke linked to lower birth weights" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/5/12)
"Pregnant women exposed to wildfire smoke during Southern California’s epic 2003 fire season had babies with lower birth weights, UC Berkeley researchers have found."
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Geothermal energy's trouble competing with solar" (Forbes, 8/29/12)
"A geothermal power plant can deliver electricity day or night and help California utilities meet the state’s renewable energy mandate. But geothermal energy developers in California are feeling a bit left out these days." Among the issues: higher start-up costs, solar's highest productivity at times of day when air conditioning demand is also highest, and "utilities and state regulators are putting a premium on solar energy when they evaluate and approve power purchase agreements..."
"We got a gig! California solar takes the edge off peak energy demand" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/4/12)
"The impact of California’s utility-scale solar projects -- 1 megawatt and up -- helped the state get through its recent heat wave by pumping a full gigawatt of power into the grid." The California Independent System Operator "is claiming that’s a new national record for solar production. 'The beauty of solar power is it comes when you need it the most,' said Stephanie McCorkle, the ISO’s director of communication. 'Right at that air-conditioning rush hour, typically we see the peak of solar'.”
"Q&A: How capturing wasted energy can revive the Midwest" (Midwest Energy News, 9/7/12)
"Today, as much as 12 percent of the electricity in the United States is generated by recovering heat that would otherwise go to waste. This energy is produced in power plants but also in factories, hotels, hospitals and universities that use combined heat and power generation (CHP) ... last week President Obama signed an executive order challenging the nation to ramp up CHP by 50 percent within the decade. Obama called for installing 40 GW of new CHP -- the equivalent of 80 mid-sized coal plants -- in the United States by 2020."
"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM news, 6/20/12)
The BLM will offer eleven parcels encompassing approximately 5,179 acres of public lands in Kings and Kern counties during a competitive oil and gas lease auction on Wednesday, September 12 in Bakersfield.
"BLM competitive oil and gas lease sale scheduled for Tuesday, September 11, 2012" (BLM Nevada, 9/5/12)
BLM Nevada is holding the lease sale in Reno, for parcels in the Ely District.
"For farms in the West, oil wells are thirsty rivals" (New York Times, 9/5/12)
Fracking: "A new race for water is rippling through the drought-scorched heartland, pitting farmers against oil and gas interests, driven by new drilling techniques that use powerful streams of water, sand and chemicals to crack the ground and release stores of oil and gas. A single such well can require five million gallons of water, and energy companies are flocking to water auctions, farm ponds, irrigation ditches and municipal fire hydrants to get what they need ... But industry officials say that critics are exaggerating the effect on water supplies."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"'A huge, huge mess'; officials talk environmental impacts of marijuana, and the need for more study, clean up" (Eureka Times-Standard, 9/2/12)
"When police raid a grow site, it's often the marijuana plants that garner the attention -- with headlines boldly stating how many thousands of plants were pulled from a remote section of a national or state park. But, it's the other items found at the grow sites that may actually pose a larger danger to the public."
"BLM staff uses mustangs to clean up marijuana garden site" (News.bytes Extra)
Trained mustangs from the BLM’s Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals were indispensable and cost saving tools when staff from the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office cleaned up a high desert marijuana garden in northeast California last month. Faced with a rugged, remote garden site inaccessible by vehicles, the Eagle Lake Office staff turned to the corrals, the horse-handling expertise of BLM wranglers and BLM’s group of trained wild horses for help in cleaning up the extensive growing site.
"Tour highlights dumping, hazardous materials on public lands in California" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management faces problems with illegal dumping and hazardous materials from marijuana plantations, to shot-up televisions, to marijuana grow sites. Georgette Fogle, policy analyst in the BLM's national Division of Environmental Quality and Protection, received a first hand-look at the problems during a tour of Central California last week -- including illegal dump sites in the western Sierra foothills, a marijuana grow site in Lake County and a former mercury mine on Walker Ridge.
"US Attorneys announce final statistics on Operation Mountain Sweep" (United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California, 9/5/12)
U.S. Attorneys "announced the final results in Operation Mountain Sweep, an eight-week, multi-agency and multistate marijuana operation targeting large-scale, illegal marijuana grows on public lands in seven states ... Law enforcement officers in California eradicated more than 130 marijuana grow sites on public lands, seizing at least 540,000 marijuana plants. The marijuana plants seized on public lands represent 65 percent of all marijuana plants seized in California since July 1. Huge amounts of trash, miles of irrigation line, and many pounds of fertilizer and pesticides were removed from grow sites on public lands."
"Modoc-Washoe Stewardship Committee meets Sept. 19-20 in Cedarville" (BLM news, 8/31/12)
Natural resource topics ranging from livestock grazing to wildland fires will highlight the agenda. On Sept. 19 the committee meets for a tour of public lands burned by the Lost Fire, which spread across more than 61,000 acres of wildlife habitat, grazing areas and wild horse habitat in southeast of Cedarville in early August. Discussion topics on the day-long trip will include emergency stabilization and restoration, and adjustments to livestock grazing management. The tour is open to member of the public with appropriate vehicles.
"Nominations requested for Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee" (BLM news, 9/5/12)
The 10-member committee advises the Bureau of Land Management on resource management issues at the monument, which sits on the border between San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. Nominations will be accepted until Nov. 5.
"Grant to fund Route 66 corridor management plan" (Needles Desert Star, 9/3/12)
"The BLM, California Historic Route 66 Association and the California Preservation Foundation worked together to develop the grant proposal." One goal "is to provide travel information to domestic and international visitors about the history, culture and natural landscapes as well as recreational opportunities available along the corridor. Other scenic byways tend to offer a variety of kiosks and other pullouts along the way to provide such information ... The historic route does appear to get a lot of attention overseas. Recently, the city was visited by a group of boys from England who’d heard about Route 66 via comedian Billy Connolly."
"Environmental groups sue over Cadiz water project" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/31/12)
"Four environmental groups filed a lawsuit Friday, Aug. 31, against San Bernardino County and an Orange County water district to challenge a controversial groundwater mining project in the Mojave Desert. The crux of the lawsuit is the question of which agency should serve as lead on the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project, which would pump 16 billion gallons of groundwater per year from ancient aquifers."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
No current listings as of today's posting.
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"BLM releases yearly updates to mineral cost recovery fee schedule" (BLM, 9/7/12)
The BLM will publish in the Federal Register on Monday, Sept. 10, the final rule updating the fees it charges to recover costs incurred in processing documents associated with oil, gas, coal, and solid mineral activities. The updated fees cover costs for actions, including lease applications, name changes, corporate mergers, and lease consolidations and reinstatements.
"Burning Man festival in Nevada draws a peak crowd of 52,385, well within BLM’s cap of 60,900" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/2/12)
"The Burning Man festival on the Nevada desert drew crowds well within the maximum attendance cap allowed by federal land managers ... Last year, BLM officials placed organizers on probation and threatened to pull their license after finding them in non-compliance for exceeding the attendance cap at the 2011 festival."
"Cool fossils and hot rocks" (New York Times, 8/31/12)
A team searching for dinosaur fossils -- with research permits from the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Utah -- also comes across artifacts from the "uranium mining rush" of the 1950s and 60s.
RELATED: "Gone fishin'" (New York Times, 9/7/12)
Continued from the item above: "Footprints are a key tool in a paleontologists’ arsenal because they can tell us how the animal moved, how big it was, whether it congregated in groups, and other evidence of behavior."
"BLM announces winner of 2012 Rangeland Stewardship Award" (BLM news, 9/6/12)
BLM's Rangeland Stewardship Award for 2012 went to the 16-member Kirby Creek Coordinated Resource Management Group from Worland, Wyoming. BLM-Nevada State Director Amy Lueders presented the award on behalf of BLM Acting Director Mike Pool at the annual fall meeting of the rancher-based Public Lands Council, which met in Winnemucca, Nevada.
"Central 'sagebrush rebellion' case suffers defeat" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/1/12)
"At issue before the courts was whether private ranchers have a constitutionally protected ownership stake in public lands, and whether federal overseers of those lands — in this case the U.S. Forest Service and BLM — illegally stripped the ranchers of that property. Government land managers, enforcing environmental laws meant to improve conservation and public access to these lands, have curtailed unfettered grazing through issuing permits that regulate the number of cattle allowed in an area."
"The last homesteader returns to Beatrice" (Beatrice, AK Daily Sun, 9/1/12)
Ken Deardorff of Alaska was "the last man to receive land filed under the Homestead Act of 1862. Deardorff’s homestead was located in Stony River, Alaska. His claim was filed on May 16, 1974."
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
More information on the following events at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument can be found at:
Sept. 8 - Star Party, hosted by Astronomical Society of the Desert
Sept. 12 - Ernie Maxwell hike - free guided hike in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountain ranges
Sept. 14 - "What's up there" - Informative talk on animals of the forest
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) When its nest gets dirty, it moves out and builds a new one.
SOURCE: "White-footed mouse - Peromyscus leucopus" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Rare California seabird reported breeding off Mendocino Coast" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 9/1/12)
"Scientists surveying rocky islands this week off the Mendocino County coast within the California Coastal National Monument made a remarkable discovery - several breeding sites for the Ashy Storm-Petrel, a rare and declining seabird not reported nesting in this area since 1926. The shy grey bird hides and nests in shoreline rock crevices as deep as seven or eight feet and only emerges at dawn and dusk to avoid predators, mostly other birds. They fish in the ocean, 'flitting like butterflies on the surface,' according to Anna Weinstein, seabird program manager of Audubon California in Emeryville."
"Stanford biologist and computer scientist discover the 'anternet'" (Stanford University Engineering, 8/24/12)
Two Stanford researchers discovered that a species of harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) "determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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