A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 555 - 11/2/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- From our Facebook page
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- 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
"Winter comes to the high desert" (News.bytes Extra)
A fall snowstorm last week provided needed moisture and beautiful scenes on public lands along the California-Nevada border northeast of Susanville. Up to six inches of snow blanketed the high country that was burned in the 315,000-acre Rush Fire in August.
"BLM director visits Lost Coast and Baker Creek stream project" (Redwood Times, 10/30/12)
BLM California State Director Jim Kenna "visited the Lost Coast last week to hear a short presentation on watershed management and tour a streambed restoration project near Whitethorn, where Baker Creek feeds into the headwaters of the Mattole River. Baker Creek is the site of a streambed rehabilitation project creating off-channel habitat for coho salmon and raising the surrounding water table to increase water flow year-round."
"Piedras Blancas twilight tour" (News.bytes Extra)
At the Twilight Tour on Saturday, October 27 at the Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area: The evening was gorgeous, the moon was spectacular, the enactments were excellent, and the buses did a great job of getting everyone in and out on time.
RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area - Tours " (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
"New hiking trail comes to the Desert Discovery Center" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 10/20/12)
"A small group of young volunteers from across the country are spearheading the creation of a permanent hiking trail next to the Desert Discovery Center this week. The trail, which will be a tenth of a mile long and wheelchair accessible, will be open to the public to learn about desert plant and animal life, history and geology. It will also connect with other walking trails in the city, including paths to the hospital, senior center and elementary school ... For more on the Desert Discovery Center... on federal land run by the Bureau of Land Management, visit www.DesertDiscoveryCenter.com."
"BLM Showcases Science in the California Desert" (News.bytes Extra)
More than 100 scientists, students, faculty, and natural resource managers convened for the 2nd California Desert Research Symposium at the University of Redlands, Oct. 27. Several of the research projects presented there were conducted on units of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) and other public lands in the California Desert Conservation Area. Promoting science and using the National Conservation Lands of the NLCS as outdoor laboratories are goals of the BLM’s NLCS Strategy.
"Historical Old Banner toll road still shimmers" (North County Times, 10/27/12)
"Private property surrounds this Bureau of Land Management land, so hikers and equestrians must be respectful here and observe those boundaries. But once you’re on the trail, the views down into Banner and ahead into the desert and Granite Mountain are splendid, as are the return views coming back up the hill of Volcan Mountain." The trail follows a toll road built to serve miners during the area's 1870 gold rush.
"Sacramento River float trip planned Nov. 3" (Red Bluff Daily News, 10/29/12)
"The Sacramento River Preservation Trust and Associated Students Adventure Outings are co-sponsoring a Sacramento River float on Saturday, Nov. 3. The float will cover 9 miles of the Sacramento River between Jellys Ferry and Bend just north of Red Bluff. It will be an all day event from 8 a.m. to about 5 p.m. Before embarking a representative for the Bureau of Land Management, will give a brief talk about the area."
GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Boulder the Volcanic Tableland! The Tableland offers exceptional bouldering opportunities, because of its unique geologic features formed by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of the Long Valley Caldera 750,000 years ago. This once barren tableau has evolved to support a unique and fragile environment that takes a keen eye and time to appreciate. It has taken millennia for this environment to evolve and it will take responsible recreational users to preserve it into perpetuity - so enjoy and protect this place!
|FROM OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES
BLM California on Facebook: Recently featuring seasonal, spooky Halloween photos from your BLM lands and resources: The Cosumnes River Preserve in California ... The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah ... the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana.
My Public Lands (BLM National Tumblr account)
Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands ... in words and photos.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Mustangs and burros looking for homes" (BLM, 10/31/12)
A stable full of young mustangs and burros (jennies) are looking for new homes through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. On Saturday Nov. 10, the Sundance Ranch in Redlands will host a BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All animals are healthy and are up-to-date with vaccinations and deworming. They also have a current Coggins test.
"Citizen board recommends BLM sterilize wild horses" (Associated Press at ABC News, 10/31/12)
"The federal agency charged with managing wild horses and burros that roam freely across 11 Western states should consider sterilizing some mares to control booming mustang populations and protect rangelands, a citizen advisory panel recommended." The BLM "has long struggled with how to manage growing horse herds on public lands, which can double naturally within five years if left unchecked ... the agency currently has more horses in captivity than are left roaming the range, forcing the emphasis to shift to population control rather than roundups. Nearly 60 percent of the agency's entire budget for the wild horse program is spent on housing horses."
"BLM to Begin Gathering Wild Horses in the Wassuk Herd Management Area" (BLM Nevada, 10/25/12)
The BLM Carson City District, Stillwater Field Office will begin gathering horses from the Wassuk Herd Management Area on Nov. 3. The BLM will gather approximately 500 wild horses and remove approximately 250 excess wild horses from the range. As many as 250 wild horses will be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located 12 miles southeast of Yerington, Nev., and west of Walker Lake. The gather is expected to last approximately 13 days.
BLM WHB Program (BLM National Twitter account)
The BLM's official twitter account for wild horse and burro gather updates. Gather updates from all states will now be tweeted here.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
Northern saw-whet owl
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Northern saw-whet owls often:
(a.) "Migrate" by moving to higher or lower locations nearby.
(b.) "Talk" to others of their species with a type of dance.
(c.) "Sing" imitations of other animal mating calls, in order to lure prey.
(d.) Eat "leftovers" of prey not finished by Northern goshawks.
(e.) Appear as spokesanimals for anti-snoring products in Japanese TV commercials, their "voice" usually done by former California Governor and media personality Arnold Schwarzenegger.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Another solar plant proposed near Mojave National Preserve" (KCET, 10/23/12)
"The Caithness Soda Mountain Solar Project would straddle Interstate 15 in an undeveloped area southwest of Baker … The project would be sited entirely on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM will be overseeing the project's environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act, and is now accepting the usual scoping period comments to influence the scope of the eventual Environmental Impact Report. Comments will be accepted until November 23, 2012."
"CPUC makes split decision on BrightSource Desert projects" (KCET, 10/25/12)
"The good news is that the California Public Utilities Commission today unanimously approved two agreements under which Southern California Edison would buy power from BrightSource projects starting as early as 2015. The bad news is that BrightSource and Edison had five contracts up for review by the Commission, and two is all they got."
"Proposed solar energy zone will be win-win" (Yuma Sun, 10/29/12)
Editorial: "It looks as if Yuma County is on track to gain more acreage for solar-power projects. The Bureau of Land Management is considering designating a 2,550-acre site near Agua Caliente as a solar energy zone, in an effort to speed up renewable-energy projects. Yuma County has an abundance of sunshine -- in fact, we have over 350 days of it a year ... it makes sense to take advantage of our best natural resource – sunshine. Projects such as this one will bring much-needed jobs to the Yuma area while harnessing energy from a renewable resource. It's a win-win situation for Yuma County."
"Some Central Calif. Landowners May Not Have Say On 'Fracking'" (KCBS San Francisco, 10/27/12)
The BLM "has a mandate to auction off mineral rights whenever there is interest and right now there’s a lot" in approximately 17,000 acres under the Monterey shale. A BLM auction "is coming up in December and 82 percent of those 17,000 acres of mineral rights are under private land."
"I-Team: Oil Discovered in Nevada (Part 2)" (KLAS Las Vegas, 10/27/12)
An Irish company financed by small investors has accomplished what American oil giants have been unable to do: It struck oil in central Nevada ... If the predictions are confirmed, the discovery could transform the Nevada economy."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Lake County Fire Chiefs: Seconds count!" (Lake County News, 10/28/12)
"In an emergency, whether it’s a medical crisis or a house fire, minutes and seconds count. Time matters. Mere seconds can be the difference in whether a life is saved or a home is lost. We’ve seen the truth of that in our county during this busy and dangerous fire season." Some tips.
"Seed shortage poses problem in wake of big fire year in Northern Nevada" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/28/12)
"Nevada’s range faces a double whammy of woes, charred by an epic fire season made worse by a shortage of seed to restore a damaged landscape. Some agencies report a significant lack of seed -- particularly sagebrush seed -- available on the market while drought conditions are hampering the ability of unburned sagebrush to reproduce so new seed can be harvested."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"DWP sues air district over Owens Valley dust rules" (Los Angeles Times, 10/27/12)
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power "argues that its ratepayers have already spent $1.2 billion for vegetation, gravel and flooding of Owens Lake that have reduced dust pollution by 90% ... The DWP claims that it is responsible for dust arising only from the roughly 42 square miles of the lake bed exposed since 1913," when water was sent to Los Angeles. "The utility says the State Lands Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management should be responsible for the remaining 10 square miles of the area." The lawsuit was triggered by "a recent order that the DWP eliminate dust on an additional 2.9 miles of lake bed, a job the utility says could cost DWP ratepayers as much as $400 million."
RELATED: "Former LADWP manager responds to recent lawsuit" (Mammoth Times, 10/26/12)
"We spent nine years setting this up," said David Freeman, general manager of the LADWP from 1997 to 2007 and interim general manager from 2009 to 2011. "They want a return to 'Chinatown.' I did a lot of work to repair the relationships up there and in one fell swoop, they are destroying it." Marty Adams, LADWP’s water operations manager, "said Freeman -- and the Eastern Sierra as a whole -- may not fully understand the situation. '...we’ve done three times as much as what we agreed to when he was the general manager,' he said. '...But now we believe we are being asked to do more than what we are legally required to do...""
"Demand on Temblors grows, so BLM starts paying attention" (Taft Midway Driller, 10/31/12)
The Temblors in Kern County are "managed by the Bureau of Management, and have for decades been largely forgotten by all but those who use them ... The Temblors have been used for more than 100 years as grazing land. Oil and gas exploration and production followed along with hunting, target shooting and off-road vehicle use ... Trying to balance all the interests as more and more demands are put on the land is one of the goals of the BLM's resource management plan currently being put together."
"Humboldt shark attack victim punched shark, rode wave back to shore; Surfer: No hard feelings toward likely great white" (Eureka Times-Standard, 11/1/12)
"It wasn't until surfer Scott Stephens punched the shark on the side of its head that it relented and let go, seconds after biting him and pulling him underwater off the North Jetty. Stephens sat upright Wednesday during a press conference, smiling and joking as he recounted the harrowing attack ... which happened off the North Jetty around noon Tuesday." The man was surfing in an area locally known as the Bunker Surf Spot, off the North Jetty, Humboldt Bay. The BLM Arcata Field Office manages the Samoa Dunes for a variety of recreation uses. It is popular with surfers.
"Public land access back up for discussion" (Ridgecrest News Review, 10/31/12)
"A court ruling that sent the Bureau of Land Management back to the drawing board has reopened what agency officials say will be a collaborative process with the public to gather information and eventually help determine route access in the El Paso Mountains and surrounding areas. While BLM officials said they are eager to incorporate public input, a packed audience at a meeting last week and a tone characterized by audience and moderators alike as 'spirited' are testament to the lingering distrust among citizens. Robert Pawelek, acting field manager for the Ridgecrest BLM office, said that the meeting was the first of several workshops to gather public input in the 'travel management planning process'."
"Continued use of aerial range critical to MCAS" (Yuma Sun, 10/26/12)
Editorial: The Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range "is even now going through a periodic process to get permission from Congress to remain open. One consideration in the renewal process is who oversees the 459,000 acres of land. Right now there is a complex checkerboard of oversight by two agencies, the Department of the Navy and the Bureau of Land Management ... It makes sense to put it all under the Navy since its primary purpose is military training."
"Environmentalists sue over Cadiz water project " (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/1/12)
"Four environmental groups filed their second lawsuit against San Bernardino County ... over a hotly contested proposal to pump water from Mojave Desert aquifers and send it to cities across the state. The Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project would extract groundwater from an open valley beneath 45,000 acres that Los Angeles-based Cadiz Inc. owns south of the Marble Mountains, 40 miles east of Twentynine Palms. The area lies between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park in eastern San Bernardino County."
"Water main break erodes hiking trail above Presidio of Monterey" (Monterey County Herald, 10/29/12)
"Portions of the erosion channeled down the hillside from the water main have been filled in with gravel and the washout has been bridged with earth over a pipe. The flow exposed old pipes and other long-buried parts of the water system."
"Aliens gave Jefferson native instructions for his Integratron" (Ashtabula, Ohio Star Beacon, 10/28/12)
"It rises 38 feet above the Mojave Desert, an 'acoustically perfect tabernacle and energy machine sited on a powerful geomagnetic vortex'." George Van Tassel worked on it from 1954 to 1978, and "claimed that he was building a human rejuvenation machine ...The Integratron became a Noah’s Ark for a generation fearful of an alien invasion or nuclear war" and "a rallying point for those who believed in the UFO phenomenon ... After Van Tassel’s death, his family abandoned the site and the Bureau of Land Management bulldozed all the buildings at the airfield, except the Integratron. The structure still stands and is open for tours and rentals."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|WATCH FOR IT NEXT WEEK...
El Mirage Halloween: Before the shadows of the Moon descended on the El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area this past Saturday, visitors were treated with messages of conservation and safety (and of course, candy).
National Public Lands Day – Fargo Canyon Road Cleanup: On Saturday, Oct. 27, the BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office hosted a volunteer cleanup event along Fargo Canyon Road -- the second of two National Public Lands Day events held by this office.
Fort Ord National Monument Celebrates Partner National Make A Difference Day: More than 100 veterans, recreationists, and nature enthusiasts joined the BLM at the Fort Ord National Monument during National Make A Difference Day on October 27, 2012 -- to help with service projects or enjoy a guided sneak peek tour into future Monument lands.
BLM Barstow Employees Volunteer at the L.A. County Fair: The L.A. County Fair buzzed with excitement on National Public Lands Day 2012 last month. Children pulled their parents through the gateway to the America’s Great Outdoors area.
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Agency data centers will never be the same" (Government Computer News, 10/26/12)
"Government data centers are entering a period of radical change, triggered by budget limitations, the growth of mobile devices, cloud services and federal mandates for system consolidation ... IT systems engineers are rethinking the design and functions of all government data centers ..." The Department of the Interior "has consolidated 33 data centers since October 2010, and is expected to consolidate up to 13 more by the end of 2012." The "BLM is using power metering tools to help measure the energy efficiency cost savings and benefits ... from the consolidation efforts that could be a blueprint for other DOI agencies."
"Utah sees dramatic decrease in marijuana grows in 2012" (KSL Salt Lake City, 11/1/12)
"Marijuana growing operations historically have been big business on Utah's public lands, but a new approach by law enforcement is changing that, according to a federal attorney."The U.S. Attorney for Utah "credits the decrease in marijuana operations on public lands to a new strategy that involves a partnership between local law enforcement, the federal government, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) "Migrate" by moving to higher or lower locations nearby.
SOURCE: "Northern saw-whet owl in the Saline Valley" (News.bytes Extra)
Northern saw-whet owls are only 7 to 8 inches tall, about the size of the American robin. BLM Ridgecrest Field Office biologist Shelley Ellis, and retired California Department of Fish and Game biologist Denyse Racine were lucky enough to see this tiny owl in McElvoy Canyon in Saline Valley, where it was sleeping in streamside shrubbery.
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Annual Sandhill Crane Festival lands in Lodi this weekend" (Lodi Sentinel, 10/31/12)
"Celebrating the return of the stunning cranes to their winter habitat, the Sandhill Crane Festival will give bird lovers an opportunity to learn about the animals as well as see them in person. The 16th annual festival runs Friday through Sunday. Admission to the festival at Hutchins Street Square is free, but there will be fees for the crane tours and some of the workshops."
RELATED: "Sandhill Crane Festival"
"Zebra mussels and quagga mussels threaten California water systems" (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Green Blog, 10/24/12)
"These two invasive, freshwater Eurasian mussels... could have a profound impact on California’s lakes and water distribution systems ... They attach themselves to water conveyance systems -- pumps, pipes, dams, aqueducts, and fish hatcheries -- and proliferate." According to UC Davis professor Ted Grosholz, an expert on invasive species, "our drinking water and agricultural irrigation systems could be shut down quickly by these organisms."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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