A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 564 - 1/24/13 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- Wild horses and burros
- 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 edition of BLM California News.bytes is online at:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Fabulous conditions await skiers at Bizz Johnson Trail" (News.bytes Extra)
Heavy snowfall in December and early January and continuing subfreezing temperatures have created ideal cross country skiing conditions on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail near Susanville. Improving on what nature has delivered, crews from the Lassen National Forest have groomed parts of the trail, setting cross country ski tracks.
"Movie Flat hike planned for Alabama Hills" (BLM, 1/18/13)
This Saturday, Jan. 26: the Bureau of Land Management will hold a hike to see movie locations in the Alabama Hills. The hike will take 1 to 1½ hours and is a relatively easy walk covering less than a mile. Each hiker should dress in layered clothing for a range of temperatures and windy conditions. Call for more information...
"'Stories of Creatures and People of the North Coast' is next in King Range Lecture Series" (BLM, 1/18/13)
Tuesday, Jan. 29: a free talk by local storyteller Ali Freedlund is at 7 p.m., at the Healy Senior Center in Redway. It is part of the annual winter lecture series offered by the Bureau of Land Management's King Range National Conservation Area and the Lost Coast Interpretive Association. Freedlund has lived on the north coast for over 30 years. She joined the North Coast Storytellers about five years ago when she began writing her own stories celebrating the beauty of the North Coast and its creatures.
"BLM keeps on coastin' in the desert" (News.bytes Extra)
Pelican Days was a fun weekend of fabulous birding, kayaking and family adventure sponsored by California State parks and the Sea and Desert Interpretive Association. The BLM Youth Crew from Palm Springs South Coast Field Office welcomed participants with a BLM information booth on both BLM's southern California national monuments. With a breathtaking background landscape of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, the youth team helped visitors learn more about the two native pelican species and offered tips on using binoculars.
"Desert cleanup - BLM Barstow Field Office" (News.bytes Extra)
Last fall, BLM staff from the Barstow Field Office identified several illegal individual dump sites on public lands near Victorville and Lucerne Valley. Hazardous waste included several 5-gallon containers of waste oil with water, soil that had been contaminated with waste oil from broken containers, and siding shingles containing asbestos. Non-hazardous waste included tires and common household trash. It costs taxpayer money to clean up dump sites. Also, some commonly dumped items create unsafe areas for people, degrade wildlife habitat, and sometimes even harm the environment.
"California Coastal National Monument – Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods conducted 'citizen science' seabird monitoring training for Sonoma Coast" (News.bytes Extra)
Needing to find a way to initiate a seabird monitoring program for the southern Sonoma coast, the California Coastal National Monument was able to provide the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods with some seed money to begin a "citizen science" effort. Last week, the Stewards completed initial training for 20 enthusiastic volunteersl.
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NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
What "unusual" food does a common kingsnake commonly eat?
(b.) small cacti
(c.) cow and deer droppings
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"Supervisors OK wind project with condor-protection requirements" (Bakersfield Californian, 1/22/13)
"Kern County supervisors approved the Alta East wind energy project near Mojave Tuesday, including a requirement that it use high-tech tools to protect condors ... Only 568 acres of the more than 2,592-acre project is under county jurisdiction. The rest is on public land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management." But "the restrictions Kern County placed on the project will apply to the sections on BLM land as well. Those restrictions include a new way of attempting to protect the endangered California condor from being hit by spinning turbine blades."
"New geothermal plant would bring benefits, risks" (Mammoth Times, 1/18/13)
"A brand new geothermal plant that will generate as much power as all three existing Ormat Technologies power plants east of Mammoth Lake is in the works." Last week, the BLM Bishop Field Office "extended the time to comment on the project to Jan. 30 ... The proposed plant, called the Casa Diablo IV plant, will include as many as 16 new wells and the pipeline to bring the geothermal brine from those wells to the plant ... The prospect of such a large pipeline running though one of Mammoth's most highly used recreation areas ... has alarmed local recreationists, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and others, prompting an influx of comments in recent weeks."
"Vast US lands for energy projects" (Arizona Daily Star, 1/21/13)
"The U.S. Interior Department designated 192,100 acres of Arizona public land on Friday as having potential for large-scale wind- and solar-energy development ... The selected parcels are disturbed land, primarily used for agriculture, and also include land that the agency said was found to not have environmental or wildlife concerns. The areas have access to transmission lines and load centers, and are situated near urban areas with high electricity demand..."
RELATED: "Secretary Salazar finalizes plan to establish renewable energy zone on public lands in Arizona" (Department of the Interior, 1/18/13)
The publication of the Record of Decision (ROD) for this initiative, known as the Restoration Design Energy Project, caps a three-year, statewide environmental analysis of disturbed land and other areas with few known resource conflicts that could accommodate commercial renewable energy projects. The ROD also establishes the Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zone, the third solar zone on public lands in Arizona and the 18th nationwide.
"Federal judge hears Quechan Tribe's case on Ocotillo Wind Project harm to sacred sites" (East County Magazine, 1/21/13)
"The suit contends that the federal government failed to protect Native American cultural resources, including sacred sites, when it allowed the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility to be built. Moreover, Quechan contends that the federal government's reclassification of protected lands to accommodate the wind project was arbitrary--and that a similar decision to industrialize almost any public lands regardless of damage to resources could be done if the government's action is allowed to stand."
"CA Native American Heritage Commission issues report backing Viejas And Quechan claims Of Ocotoillo Wind Site harm to sacred sites" (East County Magazine, 1/22/13)
"The California Native American Heritage Commission (CNAH) has issued a report in support of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and the Quechan Indian Nation claims that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources including human remains and sacred sites."
"Big bet on Wyoming wind: Phil Anschutz's latest $9 billion idea" (Denver Post, 1/20/13)
Phil Anschutz "is looking to wager $9 billion on the fierce winds of Wyoming. Anschutz's Power Company of Wyoming is seeking to build the nation's largest wind farm and then ship the power to California over a 725-mile transmission line, the longest to be built in decades. California is the West's biggest renewable-energy market and a vital one for the project. The problem is that officials there say they don't want Anschutz's electricity. Gov. Jerry Brown has voiced a strong preference for in-state renewable-energy projects..."
"Obama officials delay 'fracking' rules" (The Hill, 1/18/13)
"The Interior Department is delaying planned rules that would impose new requirements on the controversial oil-and-gas production method called hydraulic fracturing. Interior said Friday that it will float a new version of draft rules first issued last May and take new comments on the proposal that will govern 'fracking' on public lands. 'In response to comments from stakeholders and the public, the [Bureau of Land Management] is making improvements to the draft proposal in order to maximize flexibility, facilitate coordination with state practices and ensure that operators on public lands implement best practices,' Interior spokesman Blake Androff said Friday."
"While California considers fracking rules, legal battles flare elsewhere" (Los Angeles Times, 1/22/13)
"As California considers rules for hydraulic fracturing, a legal battle in Wyoming over regulations for the controversial drilling process could underscore the flash points in the coming debate here. A coalition of environmental groups is suing the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission over that state's 'fracking' rules, arguing that regulators are rubber-stamping requests by oil and gas companies to keep secret certain chemicals they inject into the earth to break apart rock and release fossil fuels."
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM concludes Owyhee Complex wild horse gather" (BLM Nevada, 1/18/13)
The BLM successfully removed 871 wild horses from the herd management areas (HMAs) in the Complex, 140 were released back to the range within the Owyhee HMA and fertility control vaccine was applied to 46 mares prior to release. The appropriate management level, or AML, for the Complex, which is expressed as a low to high AML range, is 621 to 999 animals.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Hank Harrison, BLM Forester, retiring after 35-year career" (News.bytes Extra)
Developing a healthy forest, like making a fine wine, takes time. Just ask retiring BLM Forester Hank Harrison. When he began his career with the BLM in 1977, little did he know that the site of his very first timber sale would also be the location for his last project. And thanks to his care, the forest is aging quite nicely. "Forestry is a long-term proposition," Harrison says. "Some people view the forest as a snapshot. As a forester, I envision what the forest will look like in 50 or 100 years. My job was to be a good steward of the land so future generations have options."
"Visit the famed Old Woman Meteorite" (San Bernardino County Sun, 1/12/13)
"It weighs more than 6,000 pounds and is 38 inches high by 30 inches wide." Part of it "was removed for scientific analysis and also for permanent display at The Smithsonian ... It was discovered in 1975 by three prospectors seeking their fortune in the Old Woman Mountains." The Old Woman Meteorite is on display in the Desert Discover Center, where "Children's paintings and drawings give the entire place a feeling of youth and there is no entry charge, which adds to the attraction."
"Petroglyph reward, donations near $10,000" (Sierra Wave, 1/24/13)
"Just under $10,000 has now been donated to a fund related to the major theft and vandalism of ancient rock art near Bishop last November. Bureau of Land Management investigators continue to work on the case that gained global attention. More than one suspect used a power saw, generators and ladders to cut out and take at least four ancient petroglyphs, leaving dozens of others damaged."
"Marines will help cut fire risk at oasis" (Hi-Desert Star, 1/24/13)
"National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management fire crews, with help from some local Marines, will work to reduce the risk of wildfire at the Oasis of Mara on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The work will involve the NPS and BLM fire crews along with Marines from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center who are being trained in Basic Wildland Firefighting, and mechanically thinning specific locations ... The Oasis of Mara is identified as a priority area for hazardous fuel reduction to reduce the risk of fire to the park and the community."
"Officials say shooting at popular site is illegal" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/24/13)
Sheriff officials say "a popular location for target practice near Temecula that visitors thought was on public land is actually private property ... Recreational shooters have used the spot for years, believing the area was controlled by the federal Bureau of Land Management and that target practice there was lawful..." It is not.
RELATED: "Shooters warned off vacant parcel" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/24/13)
Sheriff officials "posted a link to an area map depicting the prohibited site" and warned that continuing to use the site could lead to arrest for trespassing.
"'Don't move a mussel'" (Lake Havasu News, 1/18/13)
Boaters can reduce the time for invasive species inpections at state border stations this upcoming boating season -- including the "dreaded two-hour quarantine -- to a mere 30 seconds. The fast-track could be achieved through the Lake Havasu Marine Association's new sticker program ... On an average weekend, the Needles, Calif., border inspection station is responsible for inspecting trucks, moving trucks, docks in transport, and watercraft. In a border station's peak eight-hour shift, as many as 500 boats are inspected. In California, about 150,000 boats are inspected annually."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Check our current postings online.
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"BLM and Western States Land Commissioners Association renew commitment to partnership" (BLM, 1/11/13)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Western States Land Commissioners Association have renewed their longstanding partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding that provides the next step in recognizing the importance of landscape-level approaches to land and resources management across state and federal boundaries.
"Nearly 100 people become US citizens in Las Vegas" (KTNV Las Vegas, 1/21/13)
"Ninety-eight people from 38 different countries took the Oath of Allegiance and received their citizenship" during a naturalization ceremony at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor's Center.
RELATED: "Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area" (BLM Nevada)
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
SOURCE: "Common kingsnake - Lampropeltis getulus" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Tule elk making a comeback in Little Lake Valley" (Willits News, 1/18/13)
"In the year 1800 about 500,000 Tule elk occupied much of Central California, from the Sierra foothills to the coast and from the headwaters of the Sacramento River south to the Tehachapi Mountains ... Hide and tallow hunters eradicated the vast herds, and by 1873--when laws were passed protecting them, most considered the species to be extinct. DNA evidence suggests there might have been only one mated pair remaining anywhere." There are now "21 herds of Tule elk within California, totaling 3,800 animals, as of the latest published count in 2007," including in the BLM's King Range National Conservation Area.
RELATED: "Tule Elk - Cervus elaphus nannodes" (BLM California wildlife database)
Two areas managed by BLM California where tule elk have been re-introduced are the the Carrizo Plain National Monument and Cache Creek Natural Area.
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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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