A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 558 - 11/30/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- FREE OFFER: 2013 BLM California planner
- Imperial Sand Dunes season
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Petroglyph theft/vandalism
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable 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)
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|FREE OFFER to the public: 2013 BLM California planner...
...featuring BLM California National Conservation Lands of the National Landscape Conservation System. Each month features a photograph highlighting one of these dramatic California landscapes. Sign up now, while limited supplies last! Limit one per person, please.
|IMPERIAL SAND DUNES SEASON
"Thousands of riders rip up the California desert on dune buggies to celebrate Thanksgiving” (Daily Mail UK, 11/26/12)
"Thousands of thrill-seekers kicked up a storm in dune buggies on the Imperial Sand Dunes to celebrate Thanksgiving ... Visitors flocked to the mounds of golden sand which have accumulated in the far corner of the south east of the state - around 150,000 people attended in 2011 and this year is estimated to have a similar turn-out." With many photos, plus a video.
"Partners make it happen at the Imperial Sand Dunes" (News.bytes Extra)
Keeping the crowds safe over a busy weekend like Thanksgiving requires extra help, and partner agencies like the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Forest Service and the Imperial County Sheriff's Office stepped up to assist the Bureau of Land Management. Visiting staff from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, were also on hand to assist BLM park rangers with requests for medical aid.
"Dunes Thanksgiving weekend numbers down" (Yuma Sun, 11/26/12)
While attendance was down at the Imperial Sand Dunes this four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there were still 92 medical-related calls ... According to Joya Szalwinski, a park ranger for the El Centro Field Office, there were 131,404 visitors to the dunes during the holiday weekend, compared with 142,000 during the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
"Our View: Numbers down again at dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/27/12)
"Taken as a body of evidence, the avid dunes-goer is not going to miss out on an opportunity to head out to the desert. Who is being impacted is the casual dunes user, who given a choice where to use their entertainment dollar, is not going to choose Glamis or Buttercup Valley. Still, we believe the economy, gas prices and more rules and regulations thanks to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management have also eaten into the numbers."
"Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Explosives safety awareness..." (BLM California)
...on the former California-Arizona Maneuver Area. Watch the video and learn.
"Redding business organizes OHV area cleanup project" (News.bytes Extra)
A crew of about 20 Redding area residents braved a stormy day recently for a cleanup project at the Chappie-Shasta Off Highway Vehicle Area. They hauled away two trailer loads of trash, and are planning more cleanup events. The event was promoted and organized by Ross Glave, owner of a Redding four-wheel-drive shop.
"Special pheasant hunts set for public land along Sacramento River" (BLM, 11/27/12)
The Shasta Sportsmen's Club will host a special pheasant hunt for women, Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Payne's Creek Wetlands north of Red Bluff. Men are welcome to accompany their female hunting buddies.
"Pacific Crest offers colorful trek for Autumn" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/24/12)
"Hike the Pacific Crest Trail south from the Boulder Oaks campground and you'll encounter ... lots of big boulders and beautiful oaks. Lining the few riparian habitats along streams -- mostly dry in the fall -- you'll also enjoy our fall color, bright yellow, in the stately cottonwood trees with their heart-shaped leaves as well as the arroyo willow trees." The 2,650-mile PCT "crosses national monuments, national parks, national forests, Bureau of Land Management land, federally designated wilderness areas, state and county parks and tribal lands along the way."
RELATED: "Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: Owens Peak Segment" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...See the endangered bald eagle, a winter resident in the Red Hills -- 7,100 acres of public land just south of the historic town of Chinese Camp in Tuolumne County. The Red Hills are noticeably different from the surrounding countryside. The natural serpentine in the area causes the plant assemblage to be limited to those species that are tolerant of such minerals. An interpretive nature trail makes for a great hiking, horseback riding, wildflower viewing, birding, and mountain biking adventure.
"Petroglyph thefts near Bishop stun federal authorities, Paiutes" (Los Angeles Times, 11/18/12)
"Ancient hunters and gatherers etched vivid petroglyphs on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that withstood winds, flash floods and earthquakes for more than 3,500 years. Thieves needed only a few hours to cut them down and haul them away. Federal authorities say at least four petroglyphs have been taken from the site. A fifth was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides. A sixth had been removed and broken during the theft, then propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot. Dozens of other petroglyphs were scarred by hammer strikes and saw cuts."
"Six ancient works of art stolen from Volcanic Tablelands" (Mammoth Times, 11/30/12)
"This was a very selfish act,” said BLM archaeologist Greg Haverstock. "Thousands of visitors come each year to see these sites, and in a few hours, these people forever impacted this resource. The damage to the site is virtually irreversible, and the artifacts that were stolen are irreplaceable. The damaged site was a pristine example of Great Basin rock art and hunter-gatherer domestic, religious, and subsistence activities."
"Photos: Petroglyphs sacred to Paiute-Shoshone tribes stolen in Bishop, Calif." (KPCC, 11/20/12)
With audio interview: "To explain more about the theft, we're joined by Greg Haverstock, archaeologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Bishop, Calif."
"Donation fund established in petroglyph vandalism case" (BLM, 11/21/12)
The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association is accepting donations following destruction of petroglyph panels at a major rock art site north of Bishop. Donors should specify where they want to money to be used:
Petroglyph vandalism reward fund; Interpretive opportunities (to show how the damage has affected the overall panel); Adopt a camera for continued site monitoring/surveillance; Fund archeological site stewardship training and volunteer opportunities.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
white-tailed antelope squirrel
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
In what way is a white-footed antelope squirrel in winter like some snakes?
(a.) It gorges on one large meal, then sleeps while it digests
(b.) It cannot see well, but uses its sense of smell to track down prey
(c.) It basks in the sun, to soak up the heat
(d.) It overcomes its prey by constriction
(e.) If you don't leave it alone, it rattles its cute little white tail before it sinks its fangs into your ankle.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Proposed Wind Project Near Joshua Tree National Park Canceled" (KCET, 11/19/12)
"A proposed wind turbine installation that would have covered more than 63,000 acres of the California desert on the eastern edge of Joshua Tree National Park has been canceled by the Bureau of Land Management ... The project, which would have spanned the Cadiz and Palen valleys in the eastern desert, was canceled during its initial meteorological testing phase due to non-compliance with BLM reporting requirements." The project "would have begun with nine 197-foot meteorological testing towers."
"Solar power plants burden the counties that host them" (Los Angeles Times, 11/25/12)
"Eager for jobs and tax money, Mojave Desert counties welcomed big solar projects. But they may have been too optimistic. And expanding emergency services and infrastructure isn't cheap."
"BLM Extends Comment Period for Soda Mountain Solar Project" (BLM, 11/27/12)
The Bureau of Land Management is extending until Dec. 14, the public-scoping period for the Notice of Intent to conduct an environmental review on the impacts of the proposed Soda Mountain Solar Project about six miles southwest of Baker in San Bernardino County.
"Mojave Desert: Solar controversy ignites again" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/21/12)
"The arguments for and against a proposed solar farm on public land at the northwest edge of the Mojave National Preserve ring familiar. Soda Mountain Solar Project developers say it would create 350 megawatts of clean, carbon-free energy, enough to serve as many as 170,000 homes. The location is near transmission lines already serving Los Angeles, and the electricity would boost California's mandate to get 33 percent of its power from clean sources by 2020. But some environmentalists say the price of that power is too steep."
"BrightSource seeks changes in Ivanpah tortoise plan" (KCET, 11/29/12)
"BrightSource Energy, developer of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System now under construction in the California desert, wants to change how it mitigates its project effects on the federally threatened desert tortoise. The company filed a request last week to amend the project's permit with the California Energy Commission (CEC) allowing it to protect tortoise habitat elsewhere in the Mojave Desert rather than in the Ivanpah Valley, as the permit now requires."
"Report: California wind power is like taking 900,000 cards off roads" (KCET, 11/29/12)
"As the federal Wind Production Tax Credit comes ever closer to expiring on December 31, an environmental group has released a report detailing what it calls the major environmental benefits of wind development in danger of being lost should Congress fail to extend the tax credit."
"New items on the website" (California Energy Commission)
Includes links to projects involving BLM California, such as "Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility - Notice of Joint Workshop December 5 for the Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System, and Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility
RELATED: "Energy resources" (BLM California)
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM wishes all its four-legged friends happy homes for the holidays" (BLM, 11/29/12)
Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Nine mustangs and three young burros are looking for you, the perfect adopters, to give them good homes for the holidays. On Saturday December 8, 2012, the Sundance Ranch in Redlands will host a Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Adoption from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"Positively Northern Nevada: Marines adopt prison-trained mustangs for Mounted Color Guard" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 11/25/12)
"The Marine Mounted Color Guard is a sight to behold as it rides in parades all over the country, including the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. A few weeks ago, the Marines traveled to Carson City to pick up their newest recruits -- three palomino mustangs trained by prisoners at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center." The program pairs prisoners with wild mustangs from the BLM. "The Color Guard is based at the Marine Corps Logistic Base in Barstow, Calif."
"Wild horse advocates protest roundup of Murderers Creek herd in eastern Oregon" (Portland Oregonian, 11/23/12)
"Critics have sent more than 6,000 emails and letters" objecting to BLM "roundups over the next decade that would dramatically shrink the Murderers Creek wild horse herd ... The goal of federal wild horse managers is to allocate that rangeland to elk, deer, domestic cattle and other species, in addition to the mustangs ... 'The critics refuse to acknowledge that we have other missions and we are not just in the business of managing wild horses,' said Tom Gorey, a BLM spokesman in Washington, D.C. 'They are totally focused on the horses, to the exclusion of other resources and uses'."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"BLM Mother Lode Office plans pile burning in Calaveras County" (BLM, 11/26/12)
The Bureau of Land Management's Mother Lode Field Office plans to burn small piles of brush -- created while building fuel breaks -- in the West Point/Glencoe area of Calaveras County starting this week. Pile burning will continue through the winter as weather conditions allow.
"BLM to lift Whitewater Canyon closure: (BLM, 11/26/12)
The Bureau of Land Management is lifting the closure of more than 4,000 acres of public land in Whitewater Canyon effective Monday, Dec. 3. The closure has been in effect to help protect the canyon's valued landscape from potential wildfires.
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"New Residents Move in to Litchfield Corrals" (News.bytes Extra)
A temporarily displaced group of llamas has taken up residence alongside wild mustangs and burros at the BLM's Litchfield Corrals near Susanville. Wranglers at the facility have set aside pen space just for the llamas. The group of llamas includes animals of all ages.
"SLO man to be honored by state for historic preservation work" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11/26/12)
"Robert C. Pavlik of San Luis Obispo has received a statewide award for excellence in historic preservation. Pavlik, 56, a senior environmental planner with Caltrans, will receive the Governor's Historic Preservation Award on Thursday at a ceremony in the ballroom of the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento ... Over the past 25 years, much of Pavlik's efforts have focused on the Carrizo Plain and the national monument there. He was instrumental in helping the Bureau of Land Management develop a resource management plan for the 206,000-acre monument."
"Public gets final input on WEMO CAPA" (Siskiyou Daily News, 11/21/12)
"The Bureau of Land Management held the last of its four workshops on the El Paso Collaborative Access Planning Area ...coming full circle to its first meeting held in the same location. A calmer group brought up several concerns during the meeting, a departure from a much more spirited first group the first time around."
"Feds' spotted owl ruling draws criticism; 9.5 million acres for birds exclude private forest land" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/21/12)
"The federal government's decision to set aside 9.5 million acres as critical to the survival of the northern spotted owl drew mostly criticism Wednesday from environmental and forestry officials ... for excluding private forest land from areas considered critical habitat for the spotted owl, which is listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act ... The area considered critical habitat is comprised mainly of U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management land in California, Oregon and Washington."
"Discovering the Old Spanish Trail in Barstow" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/19/12))
"A group of Barstow history enthusiasts and participants from as far as Utah met this weekend in a workshop to study the old Spanish trail that runs directly through Barstow and was the first major trail that existed between Santa Fe and Los Angeles."
"'Choose your beaches well'; local agencies highlight water safety after drowning deaths" (Eureka Times-Standard, 11/28/12)
Visitors to Northern California beaches -- including BLM areas such as the Lost Coast and California Coastal National Monument -- need to be aware of "sneaker" waves that can be much larger than other waves in the area. Three people drowned trying to rescue their dog from the surf near Orick. Their dog survived on its own. A founder of the Water Safety Coalition said, "going after pets or loved ones is a common way for people to end up in treacherous surf, but attempted rescues usually compound the problem and dogs are more likely to survive than humans. 'Dogs almost always get out.”
"Woman accused of eco-terrorism surrenders at U.S. border" (Fox 13 Seattle, 11/29/12)
"An alleged eco-terrorist turned herself into FBI custody Thursday at the international border in Blaine, Wash., after more than a decade on the lam ... charges include her alleged participation in a 1997 arson at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Harney County near Burns, Ore., and a 1998 attempted arson at the offices of U.S. Forest Industries Inc. in Medford, Ore."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Listings include firefighting positions.
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"National Public Lands Day celebration in Lake Havasu City" (BLM Nevada, 11/20/12)
The BLM and Lake Havasu City have teamed up to do some maintenance in SARA Park, and invite volunteers to the event on Saturday, Dec. 1.
"Rangeland scientist disputes study critical of grazing" (Capital Press, 11/27/12)
"A USDA rangeland scientist disputes findings in a recently published report that grazing on public lands exacerbates the effects of climate change."
|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.) It basks in the sun, to soak up the heat
SOURCE: "White-tailed Antelope Squirrel - Ammospermophilus leucurus" (BLM California wildlife database)
In winter these squirrels are often seen basking in the middle of the day, trying to soak up as much of the sun's heat as possible.
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Desert tortoises raised at Twentynine Palms Marine base" (Palm Springs Desert Sun,
The Marine Corps is hoping to deploy some four-footed recruits in the Mojave Desert — about 500 threatened desert tortoises. It's a serious shell game that aims to help save the species from extinction. The hatchlings live in a special 5-acre facility at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. The Desert Tortoise Head-Start Facility is protected from predators by wire and netting. The $100,000-a-year program is funded by the Defense Department. It began in 2006 under a partnership between the Marine Corps and UCLA.
"Antelope squirrels get ready for winter" (KCET, 11/28/12)
"Here's a Mojave Desert living pro-tip: don't leave your jackalope on the porch in November. If you do, the antelope squirrels will strip off its fur to line their nests. I found this out the hard way this week when I went out on our back porch to investigate the source of the loud scraping sound that had our cat ready to dive through the screen door."
"Escrow closes on land for bighorns" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/27/12)
"Escrow closed Tuesday to finalize protection of 2,748 acres of land formerly owned by billionaire Tim Blixseth in and along the Santa Rosa Mountains ... The parcels will be preserved as open space and habitat for the mountain range's endangered population of Peninsular bighorn sheep and other species."
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News.bytes published by
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