A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 557 - 11/16/12 - 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
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildlife trivia correction/clarification
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- BLM Resource Advisory Councils
- Traditional energy
- 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)
--->News.bytes will not be produced next week. May all of our readers enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we'll see you the next week!
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Outdoor science made fun -- and easy" (News.bytes Extra)
It was "No Problem!" for dozens of young problem-solvers to get a head start on their science projects. At two Outdoor Science Workshops, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Youth Crew -- a group of young adults -- introduced elementary grade students to a new world of investigation.
"Juniper Flats community comes together to better the environment" (News.bytes Extra)
Tired of seeing graffiti and trash in a popular staging area called Renegade Rocks, members of the Juniper Flats community came together on Saturday Nov. 10 to continue returning the area to a more natural state. The work day was organized by BLM Barstow Field Office Biological Technician Miguel Mejia, Friends of Juniper Flats Director Jennifer Wilder and Rattlesnake Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Fire Captain Jason Schmidt. Assistance was provided by volunteers from the Friends group, fire department volunteers and the SCA WildCorp.
"History speaks, on BLM El Centro's public lands" (News.bytes Extra)
Visitors recreating at the Painted Gorge area of El Centro's West Desert over Veteran's Day weekend were surprised and intrigued to find an unusual camp – a replica canvas tent depicting the role of the General Land Office (GLO) in the distribution of public lands at the turn of the 19th century. Today's BLM is a direct descendant of the GLO, established in 1946 when the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service merged.
"PCAS Field Trip to McCoy Springs Archaeological Site" (News.bytes Extra)
A BLM archaeologist recently led an interpretive hike for Pacific Coast Archaeological Society members to McCoy Springs archaeological site in eastern Riverside County -- the premiere petroglyph site in Southern California's Colorado Desert, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features more than 1,700 panels of rock art.
"Junior pheasant hunts set for public land along Sacramento River" (BLM, 11/13/12)
Young bird hunters will test their skills in special pheasant hunts planned for Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18, at the Paynes Creek Wetlands in the Sacramento River Bend Area north of Red Bluff. Permits are still available for 4 pheasant hunts open to hunters 15 years old and younger.
"A new gateway to public lands off Hwy. 68" (Salinas Californian, 11/15/12)
A new trailhead with safer and easier access to the Fort Ord National Monument is set to open as soon as Dec. 7. Until it opens, "hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and others have been using an adjacent space belonging to Caltrans, to park their vehicles before heading out onto the open lands."
"Fort Ord National Monument" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
"BLM and Sierra Club Mission Outdoors commemorate Veterans Day with Photo and Essay Contest for Military Service Members and Families" (BLM, 11/11/12)
This contest, centered on the theme "What My Public Lands Mean to Me," encourages veterans, active-duty military, and their families to submit photos, essays and video about their experiences and memories of time spent outside on America's public lands. Entries will be accepted through Thursday, Dec. 6. Beginning Dec. 7 (Pearl Harbor Day) and through Dec. 14, members of the public will be able to vote for their favorite entries. The three most popular entries will be featured on the BLM and Sierra Club websites and social media platforms, and receive an outdoor support kit from the Sierra Club.
RELATED: "Military and Veterans Photo/Essay Contest"
"America's Great Outdoors: Salazar Announces Fee Free Days at National Parks, Other Public Lands for 2013" (Department of the Interior, 11/13/12)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced dates in 2013 ranging from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Veterans Day when more than 2,000 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other federal lands will offer free admittance to everyone.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Explore on the Mule Mountain Pass Trail, open to foot traffic, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There are many new and improved trails in the Swasey Drive Recreation Area. Most trails are rugged and unmarked, encouraging self-discovery. Bring plenty of water and be aware of poison oak.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Ringtails were once used by miners to:
(a.) Locate quartz deposits, which are associated with gold.
(b.) Dig up edible mushrooms.
(c.) Kill mice around their homes.
(d.) Keep their feet warm while sleeping.
(e.) Attract dates to the Miners' Prom.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA UPDATE/CORRECTION
Here at News.bytes, we strive to maintain scientific accuracy in the Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week - even the silly ones. So, a bit of a correction to last week's questions/answers: Townsend's big-eared bats do in fact eat moths. However, it is unlikely they have much chance to eat webbing clothes moths, or case-making clothes moths - the moths that eat wool clothing are very small compared to moths that bats would usually find and eat.
Thanks to James M. Bryant, Curator of Natural History in the Museum Department for the City of Riverside for pointing this out. And no putting bats in your closets to protect your wool clothing!
- Your News.bytes Editor
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"BLM releases draft environmental document for 33-MW geothermal project near Mammoth Lakes" (BLM, 11/16/12)
The BLM issued a Draft Joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR) analyzing a proposal to develop additional geothermal resources near Mammoth Lakes in Mono County. A 60-day public comment period runs through Jan. 15, 2013. Public meetings will be held. The proposed 33-megawatt Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project would be built on the Inyo National Forest within existing federal geothermal leases and private lands. It would include construction of a new geothermal power plant and substation, up to 16 new production/injection wells, multiple pipelines and access roads.
"Public Utilities Commission Approves Utilities' Renewable Energy Plans" (KCET, 11/8/12)
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) "approved the renewable energy procurement plans for the state's largest utilities, a necessary milestone in the companies' goal of meeting their renewable energy obligations under California law ... Under the state's 'RPS Procurement' procedure, the utilities can now issue requests for offers from producers of renewably sourced electricity. Utilities choose winning bids based on lowest cost and 'best fit,' then the CPUC and an independent evaluator will review the bids selected by each utility. The CPUC then signs off (or not) on contracts between the bidders and the utilities.
"California should lead oil-shale revolution" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/15/12)
Editorial: The U.S. "is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer, thanks to improved methods of hydraulic fracturing -- aka, fracking -- that make it far easier to get to oil shale supplies ... California can lead this energy revolution if its leaders have the foresight to make it happen, creating many tens of thousands of jobs and vast new wealth ... Our state's shale resource extends from the eastern edge of Silicon Valley south to Kern County. On Dec. 12, the federal Bureau of Land Management is set to auction off drilling rights to nearly 18,000 acres in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties."
RELATED: "Competitive oil & gas lease sales & results for Calendar Year 2012" (BLM)
Includes links to more information on the Dec. 12 oil and gas lease sale.
"BLM plan emphasizes continued oil shale and tar sands research, demonstration and development" (BLM, 11/9/12)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a proposed plan to promote research, demonstration and development (RD&D) of oil shale and tar sand resources on BLM-administered land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The final programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) and plan amendments would make nearly 700,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming available for research and development of oil shale, and about 130,000 acres in Utah for activities related to tar sands.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM's wild horse management at a crossroad" (Salt Lake Tribune, 11/11/12)
They are seen as an icon of the West, living history of a big, bold land that still stirs the American imagination. But the wild horses that roam federal rangeland across 10 Western states and the Bureau of Land Management that oversees them stand at a precarious crossroad. On one hand, the BLM will begin considering neutering horses on the range as a way to keep down populations. On the other, thinning herds too much will lead to a lack of genetic diversity that could threaten future generations.
"BLM concludes Wassuk Wild Horse Gather" ( BLM Nevada, 11/13/12)
The BLM Carson City District, Stillwater Field Office concluded the Wassuk Wild Horse Gather on Monday, November 12. The preliminary numbers of animals gathered are 457 wild horses. Because of poor body condition of the majority of the gathered horses, along with impacts of overpopulation and drought, the horses planned to be released back to the range, including mares planned to be vaccinated with fertility control, were instead removed. The gather area was located 12 miles southeast of Yerington, Nev., and west of Walker Lake.
"BLM to begin Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather" (BLM Nevada, 11/14/12)
The Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather will begin on or about Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. The Owyhee complex is located approximately 60 miles north of Midas in Elko and Humboldt counties and is comprised of the Owyhee, Snowstorm Mountains, Little Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek Herd Management Areas (HMAs). The exact dates are subject to change based on weather and gather operations. A Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been established and the BLM will also post daily gather information on its website.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Phone seized in pot raid leads to network of growers" (NBC 7 San Diego, 11/14/12)
"Two years ago, officials stumbled on an illegal marijuana crop growing about a mile from a paved road in the Laguna Mountains. The September 2010 raid netted 28,000 marijuana plants and a cell phone packed with contact names and numbers. That discovery in turn launched a two-year investigation into illegal marijuana grow operations on federal and state land in San Diego County. Tens of thousands of illegal marijuana plants were seized in raids on eight covert farms officials said Wednesday. Some of those farms were in public forests and parks. Agents seized 45,000 illegal marijuana plants in all."
RELATED: "Marijuana ring linked to Mexican drug gang busted" (North County Times, 11/14/12)
"Agencies involved in the investigation were the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Internal Revenue Service, San Diego County Sheriff's Department and San Diego Police Department."
"Nevada Congressman Amodei tours Lost Fire area" (News.bytes Extra)
Congressman Mark Amodei of Nevada's second district toured public lands burned in the Lost Fire and discussed restoration plans with members of the Surprise Field Office staff on Monday, Nov. 5. The fire was entirely on Washoe County lands that are part of the congressman's district.
"BLM offers reward in archaeological/ceremonial site destruction" (BLM, 11/6/12)
The BLM Bishop Field Office is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest/conviction of the responsible individuals who damaged petroglyph panels at a major rock art site on the Volcanic Tableland north of Bishop. The perpetrators removed or damaged rock art at five locations within the site. (repeated from last week)
RELATED: Reward poster (PDF):
"BLM gives public last chance to weigh in on OHV routes" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 11/14/12)
"Another round of discussions and presentations is scheduled Saturday for public input on the future development of public land access. The Bureau of Land Management will host its last meeting regarding the Ridgecrest and El Paso Mountain Travel Management subregions that are part of the West Mojave (WEMO) Management Plan."
"BLM lifts campfire restrictions in the California desert" (BLM, 11/15/12)
Effective November 15, the BLM's California Desert District has lifted its campfire restrictions on all BLM-managed public lands in southern California within the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA).
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|NATIONAL, NEARBY STATES AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"As Shortage Worsens, We Visit the Federal Helium Reserve" (Popular Mechanics, 11/12/12)
Popular Mechanics visits "the vast underground storehouse" where the BLM maintains the Federal Helium Reserve. "The BLM expects the worldwide demand for helium, currently about 6.2 billion cubic feet per year, to increase about 10 percent in the coming years. But the world's helium supply has been in trouble ... Here in the U.S. there is only enough helium left in the government reserve near Amarillo to last about another three years. The reasons are both technological and political."
"Climate change could force grazing cuts in Nevada, West" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 11/13/12)
"Significant reductions in grazing on public land -- in some places outright elimination of the activity -- is justified because of the impacts of a warming climate, scientists say in a new report. A large decrease in the amount of grazing allowed on public land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service could help offset stress on rangeland in Nevada and across the West that is being worsened by climate change, scientists said in a report released today."
"Site stewards safeguard ice age treasures in Upper Las Vegas Wash" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/13/12)
Retired schoolteacher Pat Weidknecht "is part of a small army of volunteers recruited to keep an eye on the fossil-rich swath of federal land where researchers are trying to unlock the mysteries of climate change and mass extinction at the end of the last ice age. More than 75 valley residents have been trained as site stewards by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and its research partners from the San Bernardino County Museum in California."
|SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Information on events at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument can be found at:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) Kill mice around their homes.
SOURCE: "Ringtail - Bassariscus astutus" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Feds close to lifting sea otter ban off SoCal coast: Environmental report calls attempts to keep otters out of Southern California waters 'futile'" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 11/12/12)
"Southern sea otters are one step closer to swimming into coastal waters south of Santa Barbara. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday released the final environmental report prior to a decision on lifting a 24-year-old ban on the marine mammals off the Southern California coast. The agency favors ending the prohibition that left otters without the federal protections they enjoy north of Point Conception. A final decision is expected by the end of the year."
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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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