A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 553 - 10/18/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors: Events this weekend
- America's Great Outdoors
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Traditional energy
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items
- More wildlife stories from your public lands (and elsewhere)
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: This weekend
"Thousands of fish arriving at Coleman hatchery; salmon festival set for Saturday" (Redding Record Searchlight, 10/17/12)
"At this time of year the salmon in Battle Creek are packed in fin to fin, trying to get up the fish ladders into Coleman National Fish Hatchery. Come Saturday, hatchery visitors will be huddled shoulder to shoulder along the railings overlooking the creek as they try to get glimpses of the fish. Scott Hamelberg, fish hatchery project leader, said he expects as many as 5,000 people to show up for this year's 22nd annual Return of the Salmon Festival. Even with such a turnout, the fish will vastly outnumber the people, he said." The event includes more than 70
"Old Spanish Trail Days" (Old Spanish Trail Association)
Tecopa, Oct. 19-21: Includes tours to trail sites, games and learning for the kids, displays and educational materials and a barbeque. The BLM is a sponsor.
RELATED: "Old Spanish National Historic Trail" (BLM Arizona)
The Old Spanish National Historic Trail was used for trade between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. It crosses six states and 2,700 miles -- passing through red rock mesas and below snow capped peaks, fording untamed rivers, avoiding the immense depths of the Grand Canyon, and skirting the continent’s harshest deserts near Death Valley.
"'Voices of the Timber Industry'" (Eureka Times-Standard, 10/18/12)
"With the historic logging town of Falk in the background, the Timber Heritage Association and the Headwaters Forest Reserve, Bureau of Land Management, will co-host an event to celebrate oral histories of persons who worked in the timber industry. On Saturday at 1 p.m., Timber Heritage Association oral historian Renée Ross and Headwaters Reserve Ranger Julie Clark will join narrators who recorded their memories for the THA compilation 'Voices of the Timber Industry'."
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"National Fossil Day celebrated in Rainbow Basin" (News.bytes Extra)
National Fossil Day, Oct. 17, is celebrated to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils and to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values. One famous "fossil bed" is Rainbow Basin, an Area of Critical Environmental Concern north of Barstow. Fossil footprints of early elephants, goat-camels, giraffe camels and horses have been found here. Insects are preserved in such detail that compound eyes and trachea are present. Volunteers help to preserve recently-exposed fossils from erosion and expand the list of fossil plants.
"Fort Ord National Monument - Volunteer opportunities" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
Saturday, Oct. 27 on the Fort Ord National Monument, volunteers will help to restore and maintain trails, remove noxious weeds, and collect native seed. Download the information flyer and map with directions:
"New parking coming for Ord hikers" (Monterey County Herald, 10/16/12)
A new parking lot on Monterey-Salinas Highway will replace one "that has been frequented since 1996 by hikers, horse riders and others using Toro Park as a jumping-off point for recreational activity in the Fort Ord backcountry ... The new lot will be located farther to the southwest, and highway improvements will make it safer to get in and out of the parking area, ... Highway lanes are being widened, a center turn lane will be lengthened and a deceleration lane will make it safer to enter the parking area," Fort Ord National Monument manager Eric Morgan said.
"Photos: Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area, October 2012" (News.bytes Extra)
Photos taken last weekend show a few of the visitors on a guided tour near the light station and viewing California sea lions and seabirds of a large rock offshore, and photos of juvenile elephant seals hauled out on the beach nearby.
RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area tours" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
Public tours of the Piedras Blancas Light Station are offered September 1 through June 14 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Guided tours are the only public access to the station because of sensitive resource concerns and ongoing restoration activities. Check the website for more information.
RELATED: "Piedras Blancas elephant seal LiveCam" (Friends of the Elephant Seal)
Fall haul-out "is an important time for these juveniles. In addition to fixing the twice a year pattern of rookery visits, it gives these young seals experience with being on land and fasting, both essential to their adulthood." The population usually peaks in November of each year.
"Last call for Bizz Johnson bike shuttle" (Lassen County Times)
"As the final two weekends of the Bizz Johnson bike shuttle approach, visitors and locals alike may want to consider taking the opportunity to enjoy the fall splendor along the trail. At 8 a.m. on both Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27, riders may catch the shuttle from the Historic Susanville Railroad Depot ... The BLM provides a truck and trailer to shuttle bikes from Susanville and Lassen Rural Bus transports hikers and bike riders [to] allow people to arrange one-way trips on the trail without having to plan their own vehicle shuttles."
"Dunes ready for season" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/14/12)
"The Bureau of Land Management encourages duners and off-road enthusiasts who visit the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area to be safe while having fun in the sun during the 2012-2013 season. 'We want to emphasize safety when recreating in America's great outdoors," said Margaret Goodro, field manager of BLM's El Centro Office."
"Ivanpah Dry Lake" (BLM Needles Field Office)
As of Oct. 15: Both east and west sides of Ivanpah Dry Lake are closed due to flooding.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Which of the following numbers is most significant, relating to desert iguanas?
(a.) 15 (inches) - the desert iguana has the longest tail of any desert-dwelling lizard.
(b.) 20 (feet) - the deepest known burrow of a desert-dwelling lizard, was dug by a desert iguana.
(c.) 50 (years) - of all desert lizards, the longest-lived was a desert iguana.
(d.) 115 (degrees) - of all lizards, the desert iguana survives the hottest temperature.
(e.) 103 (percent) - of desert iguanas say their opinions were changed by pre-election debates.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
"Seneca receives Operator of the Year award"(BLM, 10/18/12)
Seneca Resources Corp. was recognized Tuesday as the Bureau of Land Management’s 2012 California Operator of the Year at the 2012 Oil and Gas Conference in Bakersfield. The award honors a California operator that utilizes best management practices to help achieve safe, environmentally responsible resource development by preventing, avoiding, or mitigating adverse environmental or social impacts. The acknowledgement is also based on overall lease operation and lease compliance. Seneca is the wholly owned exploration and production subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company.
"Amid protests, report finds no harm from fracking" (Los Angeles Times, 10/16/12)
"A new report on hydraulic fracking at the Inglewood Oil Field found that the controversial oil extraction method used at two wells did not have significant effects on the environment or on the health of those living near the 1,200-acre site. More than 200 residents of the Baldwin Hills area turned out Monday evening to hear the findings and question the author of the environmental impact study ... As the findings of the yearlong report were announced by its author ... some residents shook their heads in disbelief, some jotted down notes, while others held up signs that read 'Stop Fracking Now' and 'Stop the Insanity'."
"Environmentalists sue California oil regulators over fracking" (Los Angeles Times, 10/16/12)
"A coalition of environmental advocates has filed suit against California oil regulators over the controversial method of oil extraction called hydraulic fracturing, accusing state officials of illegally "rubber-stamping" drilling permits without performing key environmental reviews."
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Federal plan designed to create large solar energy plants" (Los Angeles Times, 10/13/12)
"The Obama administration has formally adopted a plan to help create large-scale solar energy plants, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S. and opening an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants. The plan places 445 square miles of public land in play for utility-scale solar facilities."
RELATED: "Obama Administration approves roadmap for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands" (Department of the Interior, 10/12/12)
As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to expand domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar finalized a program for spurring development of solar energy on public lands in six western states. The Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy development provides a blueprint for utility-scale solar energy permitting in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah by establishing solar energy zones with access to existing or planned transmission, incentives for development within those zones, and a process through which to consider additional zones and solar projects.
RELATED: "Interior Approves Public Lands Solar Plan" (KCET, 10/15/12)
The plan is "for developing solar energy facilities on almost 20 million acres of public lands in six states -- nearly a million acres of that in California ... 766,078 acres in California have been designated variance zones, in which solar facilities may be built provided they pass standard environmental review, and a few extra hurdles imposed by the Bureau of Land Management."
RELATED: "Renewable energy: US takes new tack with 'solar energy zones'" (Christian Science Monitor, 10/14/12)
"Instead of approving such large renewable energy projects on a case-by-case basis where developers want to build them, the energy zones will guide development to areas that are high in solar energy, close to transmission lines, and have, in the Interior Department's words, 'relatively low conflict with biological, cultural, and historic resources.' The road map also excludes 79 million acres of federal land as being inappropriate for development and another 19 million acres as 'variance' areas where the government would continue to decide solar projects case by case."
RELATED: "Solar power, and tortoises too" (Los Angeles Times, 10/16/12)
Editorial: "Protecting threatened species is important. So is developing clean power. It is possible to do both, and the federal plan strikes a pretty good compromise among competing interests. In the end, the desert tortoise's future depends at least as much on our ability to slow the progress of climate change as to shield its habitat."
"Massive turbines rise in Ocotillo" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/14/12)
Efren Ramos of El Centro "is one of some 350 people, about half of them local, who are employed by Pattern Energy and its Ocotillo Wind Express ... once commissioned, these wind turbines roughly the size of 40-story tall buildings and blades the size of a 747 Boeing passenger jet won’t power mills; they will power about 94,000 homes in San Diego, according to U.S. Bureau of Land Management figures. "
"“Want to learn more about California energy? Try this great map resource" (KCET, 10/12/12)
"Ever find yourself wanting to know where solar, wind, or other renewable energy facilities are in California? Or where the state's nukes, natural gas pipelines, and oil refineries might be? Your task just got a lot easier, thanks to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) ... The EIA is working on an online tool, now available in a beta version, that allows you to explore interactive maps of the energy infrastructure in all 50 states."
"Desert fossil discovery reveals surprises" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/15/12)
"A solar energy company planning a development in eastern Riverside County has discovered a rare Mojave Desert treasure-trove of Ice Age fossils, including a clutch of desert tortoise eggs believed to be the first found in California. Paleontologists are buzzing about pieces of ivory from a mammoth tusk, the teeth of ancient horses and other indications of large vertebrate animals seldom found in California, they said."
"BLM Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Silver State Solar South Project near Primm" (BLM Nevada, 10/15/12)
The BLM Las Vegas Field Office is initiating a 90-day comment period to solicit review and comment on a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and a proposed amendment to the Las Vegas Resource Management Plan (LVRMP) addressing a proposed solar energy facility near Primm, Nevada. The right-of-way application area encompasses approximately 13,183 acres of BLM-administered public lands. The permanent footprint of the project as proposed would be 2,290 acres.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Mustangs show their stuff at UC Davis Horse Day" (News.bytes Extra)
Each year, the University of California at Davis Equine Studies Department hosts an open house of their program. Faculty and guest speakers also present demonstrations on horse health and management. This year, BLM wild horse and burro volunteer Alyssa Radtke was invited to speak about wild horses, and she brought along more volunteers to show off their adoptable mustangs.
"Horses from BLM Corrals off to new homes via Internet adoption program" (News.bytes Extra)
Wild horses are moving from the BLM’s corrals near Susanville, Calif. to new homes -- mostly in the Midwest -- thanks to mustang enthusiasts who used the BLM’s internet adoption program. A total of 19 horses were adopted from the Litchfield Corrals in an internet offering that ran from Sept. 29 through Oct. 10. Wranglers have completed hoof trimming and given vaccination booster shots for the adopted horses, and will be trucking them to adopter pickup points at BLM corrals in Rock Springs, Wyo. and Elm Creek, Neb. Three of the mustangs found homes in northern California.
"Grass Valley burro adoption" (BLM California Facebook page)
Three wild burros found homes at an adoption event in Grass Valley last weekend, Oct. 13-14. Here are some photos, including "Sheriff Buckshot."
"BLM sets meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for October 29-30 in Salt Lake City" (BLM, 10/18/12)
The board will meet to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. The Advisory Board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Stay out, stay alive! BLM El Centro secures 18 abandoned mines" (News.bytes Extra)
News.bytes readers may recall a distinctive photo from 2006, as an off-highway vehicle was removed by crane from an abandoned mine shaft. The driver and passenger were trapped for 20 hours before being rescued. Luckily, the only injury was a broken arm. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has secured that abandoned mine shaft in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains
"BLM hosts additional Bodie Hills vegetation restoration public field trip" (BLM, 10/12/12)
The BLM Bishop Field Office will host a public field trip to the Green Creek area near Bridgeport for an overview of the Bodie Hills vegetation conditions and to view examples of treatments proposed in the Bodie Hills Upland Vegetation Restoration Project. The field trip is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1, weather depending.
"Interior designates 27 new National Landmarks" (Department of the Interior, 10/17/12)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the designation of 26 national historic landmarks and one national natural landmark as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States -- including California sites: the César E. Chávez National Monument at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz in Keene, the Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District at Point Reyes Station, Knight’s Ferry Bridge, Stanislaus County, and the United States Post Office and Court Houses in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"Interior Department honors 2012 'Partners in Conservation' Award Winners" (Department of the Interior, 10/18/12)
Together, the 17 award recipients represent more than 700 individuals and organizations from across the United States that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement.
"Deputies focus on off-roading" (Hi-Desert Star, 10/17/12)
"Morongo Basin - Twelve people were ticketed on off-roading violations during an enforcement operation Saturday, Oct. 13 ... County code enforcement officers, sheriff’s deputies and rangers from the Bureau of Land Management took part ... Law enforcement personnel contacted about 60 OHV users. They wrote 12 citations for charges including failure to wear a helmet, registration violations, possession of an open alcohol container and land-use violations ... Others not cited were educated on legal OHV use areas and OHV safety."
"DWP sues to limit its spending on Owens Lake" (Los Angeles Times, 10/13/12)
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power filed a lawsuit Friday that would limit its spending on measures to stop massive dust storms at Owens Lake. The agency argues that the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District is unreasonable to order the DWP to eliminate dust on 2.9 miles of remote, geologically challenging lake bed ... The 100-square-mile lake east of Sequoia National Park was transformed into dusty salt flats after 1913, when its supply of snowmelt and spring water was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct."
RELATED: "LADWP takes state and federal air regulators to court over Owens Lake dust pollution" (KPCC, 10/15/12)
"Each day, the DWP puts more than a Rose Bowl’s worth of water on Owens Lake's dry lake bed in the eastern Sierra. It does it to keep the dust down ... LADWP maintains it would like to explore new modes of dust control. State agencies have countered that they're not opposed to that happening, but they would like to see proof that the new control measures work as well as what's currently allowed."
"Water, water, not everywhere" (Wall Street Journal, 10/15/12)
"Few people in the world are more water-conscious than California farmers. The state leads the nation in farm revenue and produces nearly half of the domestic supply of fruits, nuts and vegetables ... Yet California is one of the driest states in the U.S., getting an average of just 22 inches of precipitation annually compared with more than 40 inches for states like Missouri and New York. And, with nearly 40 million people, California is also the most populous state -- meaning there's a lot of competition for that precious rain and snow."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"The nature of Las Vegas" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/14/12)
"Mere miles" from the wild life of Las Vegas, "there’s real wildlife amid nature’s calm -- mule deer, wild burros, bighorn sheep and other creatures inhabit pine tree-shaded mountains, towering sandstone cliffs and desolate desert terrain." Visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area "is like journeying to Mars ... There’s a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, 2,000 rock-climbing routes, camping, mountain biking and horseback riding. "
"Hartman Rocks! BLM recreation area a paradise for mountain bikers" (Aspen Times,
"Last year, we 'discovered' the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area south of Gunnison and had so much fun we returned last month ... There are more than 20 trails criss-crossing 8,000 acres of land looked after by the Bureau of Land Management. No single trail is all that long, but you're constantly coming up with new combinations. Strung together, you can ride for miles and miles. The fun of learning the trails is determining which way you want to ride them. It does make a difference."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) 115 (degrees) - of all lizards, the desert iguana survives the hottest temperature.
SOURCE: "Desert iguana - Dipsosaurus dorsalis" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Tenuous water supply shrinks this year at Valley wildlife refuges" (Sacramento Bee, 10/15/12)
"In addition to their ecological importance, the Sacramento Valley's public wildlife refuges attract more than 200,000 visitors per year, including hunters, anglers and bird lovers. They are one of the only options for outdoor lovers who can't afford a pricey duck club membership or an exotic bird-watching safari. This year, 80 percent of the Sutter refuge remains dry. That means about 2,000 acres of potential habitat is nearly empty of bird life. Ponds normally busy with squawking ducks and geese are dried to a crisp in the October sun."
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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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