A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 273 - 3/21/07

California poppies Humboldt on horseback - overlooking the ocean a vermilion flycatcher on a tree branch Bill Havert, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee Working with a wild mustang

- Feature: California wildflowers
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Earth Day education resources
- Outdoor recreation
- Sunrise Powerlink
- Carrizo Plain
- Headlines and highlights: Wild horse and burro adoption, new Needles manager, more
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Supreme Court case

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Wildflowers" (BLM California web pages)
Springtime brings wildflowers to wide areas of California. This year is no exception - although drought has reduced blooms in parts of southern California. This page links to wildflower-related information on BLM California field office web pages. These pages are meant as a general guide -- for up-to-date information on current wildflower conditions, contact BLM offices mentioned at these websites, or see some of the sites listed below.

"Adventure of the week: The hunt is on for spring color" (Sacramento Bee, 3/15/07)
"That old rhyme about April showers and May flowers wasn't written about California. This mid-March weekend marks the beginning of wildflower season along the length of the state, from the mass plantings of Daffodil Hill near Volcano in the Sierra foothills to the natural drifts of wildflowers that color the state from the high mountains to the coast to the southern deserts. The relative lack of rain in California this year means that some more sensitive areas won't have the blooms that have characterized years past, but most will be worth visiting."
(May require free registration.)

"Finding wildflowers in a drought year" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3.16/07)
"It's March in the desert and time to head out and view fields of colorful wildflowers on the dunes, in the washes and everywhere on the valley floor. But not this spring....January, February and March are usually the valley's wettest months but this year we have not received any significant precipitation....All is not lost, however....There is a little good news on the wildflower horizon...Here are five places where I have found plants in bloom, in spite of the drought." Includes links to wildflower photos from previous years.

RELATED: "Coachella Valley Preserve" (BLM California, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office web pages)
Referred to in the above article.

"Wildflower Hotline " (Theodore Payne Foundation)
Recent wildflower reports. Includes a telephone hotline from March through September. Also includes "wildflower site links" to a long list of California areas, many of which you can contact for current information.

"Desert wildflower watch" (DesertUSA)
Posts reader reports on wildflower spots.

"California wildflower hotsheet"
This is a privately-maintained website with tips from readers on blooms in California.

See also: "Selected upcoming events" near the end of this issue: Wildflower walks at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center


a vermilion flycatcher on a tree branch

On which of these BLM-managed lands is one of the rare populations of the Vermillion Flycatcher found?
(a.) near Piedras Blancas
(b.) in the Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
(c.) on the Fort Ord public lands
(d.) at the Big Morongo Preserve
(e.) in the King Range National Conservation Area
(f.) at Cow Mountain
(g.) at Honey Sugar Maple Flats -- catching many, many flies
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Earth Week begins this year on April 16, culminating with Earth Day on April 22. What a perfect opportunity to incorporate environmental education into classroom curricula, extra-curricular group activities, and family outings. BLM-managed public lands in California offer a great backdrop for Earth Week Activities. Here’s a list of ideas and resources to help you develop entertaining and enlightening Earth Week projects for all age levels.


"Paradise Preserved" (Sunset Magazine on MSNBC, 3/20/07)
"If you love the outdoors, if you love the American West, if you love wildflowers, wild creatures, and wide-open spaces -- well, you're going to love the 10 wild areas Sunset celebrates in our 2007 Environmental Awards." Included on the list: "Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act....275,000 acres of new wilderness....managed by the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management."

Humboldt on horseback - overlooking the ocean"Humboldt on horseback" (Eureka Times-Standard, 3/15/07)
"We have been itching to get out to the South Jetty with 'the ponies' for most of the winter. It's a bit more of a drive for us from Arcata than some of our other favorite places....The South Jetty recreation area is a rather complex, but successful, management plan that includes BLM, county and state agencies. There is hunting, fishing, horseback riding, birding, boating, beachcombing, picnicking and more in this nine-mile-or-so stretch of beach and dunes."

RELATED: "South Spit Cooperative Management Area" (BLM California, Arcata Field Office web pages)
The South Spit is a place where visitors can spread out and find a quiet place to slow down for awhile, and enjoy one of Northern California's magnificent beaches.

BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the proposed power line.

"Alternate Powerlink pathway rejected" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17/07)
"The Public Utilities Commission has scrapped a proposed route for the Sunrise Powerlink that would have taken the line across private property in Borrego Springs and through an environmentally sensitive area called Tubb Canyon. The decision was part of a lengthy ruling issued yesterday by the state commission that will decide if the 500-kilovolt line will be built and where."

"CPUC finalizes power-line alternatives" (North County Times, 3/17/07)
"Power plants in metropolitan San Diego, underground wires in Santa Ysabel and routes across Anza-Borrego Desert State Park will be studied as alternatives to San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s proposed power line, a state regulatory agency decided Friday. At the same time, the California Public Utilities Commission announced that it had axed potential routes for the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line through Julian and Borrego Springs and across Volcan Mountain."

Sunrise Powerlink options narrowed" (KPBS radio online, 3/16/07)
"The California Public Utilities Commission has narrowed the alternatives for the proposed Sunrise Powerlink project. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has details." (Links to mp3 sound file with the news report.)

"Sticker shock: Case for power line confronts economics" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/21/07)
Editorial: " It seemed like a slam-dunk in 2005 when San Diego Gas & Electric proposed its Sunrise Powerlink, a $1.3 billion project to bring electricity into North County from Imperial County along 150 miles of high-voltage lines....Regulators say they need more data. So does the public. But it seems clear that reducing San Diego's dependence on fossil fuel will be very expensive."

"SDG&E's proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission project" (California Public Utilities Commission website)
More information on the application and approval process.


"Oil, U.N. homage don't mix" (Sacramento Bee, 3/18/07)
"For the Taft Chamber of Commerce, designation of the Carrizo Plain National Monument as a World Heritage Site seemed like a good idea -- until the oil industry weighed in. That’s when local support for nominating the 250,000-acre monument for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designation dried up for the 8,500-resident town searching desperately for anything to broaden its oil-based economy."
(May require free registration.)

"Carrizo Plain resolution is delayed" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/19/07)
"A political storm is gathering over the Carrizo Plain, which environmentalists want recognized internationally as a special site and oil companies want left alone. County Supervisor Jim Patterson, whose district includes part of the plain, said Monday that he would pull a resolution off today’s Board of Supervisors agenda that would have supported making the Carrizo Plain National Monument a United Nations World Heritage site."

"Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office web pages)


"Sterling White selected as BLM Needles Field Office manager" (BLM California news release, 3/19/07)
Sterling White is the new manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Needles Field Office, which oversees 3.3 million acres of public land in eastern San Bernardino County. White brings with him extensive experience in fire, range, energy, weeds, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, vegetation, soil, water and air programs.

Working with a wild mustang"Wild horse gentling training offered at Turlock adoption" (BLM California news release, 3/19/07)
A northern California horse trainer will offer free tips and advice on gentling wild horses when the Bureau of Land Management brings its wild horse and burro adoption program to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock Saturday and Sunday.

"Residents gathered to talk about new management plan discuss what makes the Hills so near and dear in first place" (Inyo Register, 3/13/07)
BLM's Bishop Field Office holds a public meeting to discuss "community stewardship" of the Alabama Hills.

RELATED: "Scenic and back-country byways: The Alabama Hills" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office webpages)
Some background and history of this area east of the Sierra.

"Public meetings scheduled for proposed geothermal project" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
The BLM scheduled three open houses to gather comments on the draft environmental impact statement, which analyzes the proposed leasing of approximately 14,731 acres of BLM-managed public lands for geothermal exploration and development in the Truckhaven area located in western Imperial County. Two of the meetings are scheduled for today. (Repeated from earlier News.bytes.)

"Nevada takes steps to protect butterfly" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 3/20/07)
"Federal land managers working to keep a rare Nevada butterfly off the list of endangered species have closed scores of off-road vehicle trails at one of the biggest, most popular sand dunes in the West....The emergency order replaces a voluntary measure the U.S. Bureau of Land Management imposed two years ago on a portion of up to 200 miles of trails that run through shrubs and other vegetation that is home to the Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly, the BLM said." The OHV area is popular with northern Californians.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)

Bill Havert, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory CommitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Bill Havert...
... is the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee representative for the Coachella Valley Mountain Conservancy. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

March 21 - Geothermal public meetings
See listings for locations

March 24 - Wild horse and burro adoption

March 23-24 and 30-31 - Wildflower walks
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center


"High Court hears case on right to sue federal employees" (GovExec.com, 3/20/07)
"The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case that raises significant issues about the ability of private citizens to sue government employees. In the case, Wilkie v. Robbins, a Wyoming rancher charged that officers at the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management retaliated against him after he refused to give the agency access to his land."

RELATED: "Sending swarms to harass our people" (Orange County Register, 3/21/07)
Editorial: "If the Supreme Court sides with the Bureau of Land Management, then the rule of law will be eroded, and we will all be subject to the whims of the most abusive government officials. A decision is not expected until early summer."
(May require free registration.)

(d.) at the Big Morongo Preserve

SOURCE: "Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus" (Species account prepared for BLM's California Desert District)
"This species breeds regularly (up to 3 pairs) in Morongo Valley (San Bernardino County; Garrett and Dunn, 1981; Patten, 1995), at both Covington Park and the northern edge of the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve." PDF file, 20 kilobytes.

RELATED: "Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus" (BLM California wildlife database)

RELATED: "Watchable wildlife site: Big Morongo Preserve" (BLM California website)
Nestled among the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the desert oasis at Big Morongo Canyon is one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian (stream) habitats in California. Includes a link to a list of birds spotted at the Preserve.

RELATED: "Vermilion flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus" (U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter)
Identification tips and (copyrighted) photos of males and females.

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

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