A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 274 - 3/28/07

a Yuma clapper rail Arbor Day learning Poppies highlight a flower-filled meadow in the Cache Creek Natural Area Employee profile: Jason Lowe Wind turbines in the Palm Springs area

- Not for educators only:
      - Environmental education and Earth Day
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Land sale to benefit lands
- Energy controversies
- Headlines and highlights: Wind energy controversy, jobs, more
- Carrizo Plain
- Employee profile

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:



"BLM, Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve offer free outings" (BLM California news release, 3/26/07)
Topics ranging from bird watching to stream-bottom bugs will highlight a series of free outdoor walks to be offered this spring by the Bureau of Land Management and the Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve. "These are great outings for the whole family," said Bill Kuntz, an outdoor recreation planner with the BLM's Redding Field Office. "They offer opportunities to learn about our natural surroundings from leading nature experts." Outings include dates in April, May and June.

Poppies highlight a flower-filled meadow in the Cache Creek Natural Area"Cache Creek Discovery Day 2007" (BLM California, Ukiah Field Office)
A day filled with natural resource discovery awaits northern California residents of all ages, when the Bureau of Land Management, resource conservation districts and other partners host Cache Creek Discovery Day on Saturday, May 19. Billed as a time to “celebrate watershed stewardship,” the event is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is part of the statewide observance of May as “Watershed Awareness Month.”

RELATED: "Classroom activities: Watersheds" (BLM California website)
"Watersheds all around" and "watershed scavenger hunt" classroom activities based on a magazine article by BLM staff.

RELATED: "Classroom activities: Ecosystems" (BLM California website)
This list of activities includes a unit on watersheds. Earth Week begins this year on April 16, culminating with Earth Day on April 22. BLM-managed public lands in California offer a great backdrop for Earth Week Activities. News.bytes again presents a list of resources to help incorporate environmental education into classroom curricula, extra-curricular group activities, and family outings:

Arbor Day learning"Arbor Day celebration brings students closer to nature" (Fontana Herald News, 3/22/07)
BLM's California Desert District public contact representative Noel Stephens presented information to elementary school students at the City of Fontana event. Stephens "introduced the concept of 'survival of the strongest'," where children tried to pick up chips scattered in front of them. "But, she said, after the chips had been gathered, 'the animals all would have died because they weren't able to gather enough food. For each of them to survive they would need 100 chips each.' A sobering reality, but vital for children to understand why some birds and animals survive and others become extinct."

a Yuma clapper rail

The Yuma Clapper Rail has a very distinctive call -- which of the following is true?
(a.) It makes a long, one-note sound like a train whistle.
(b.) It makes a sort of cackle, with a series of clacking sounds.
(c.) It is actually a mute bird without a call -- but it does make "clicks" by snapping its bill.
(d.) It claps its wings to signal other birds, using a code of short and long pauses.
(e.) It makes a shrill, wavy sound like a theremin.
(f.) Its call is a somewhat tinny mimicking of the most famous notes from the "William Tell Overture," apparently overheard and adapted by one of these birds in the 1950s from a television episode of "The Lone Ranger."
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"BLM proposes to sell land near Palm Springs" (BLM California news release, 3/22/07)
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to sell approximately 274 acres of public land in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County. The public land proposed for sale, encompassing 51 parcels, are mostly small, 5-acre tracts of public land in areas known as Sky Valley and Indio Hills. This is the first competitive sale of federal public land in California for more than a decade, and the proposed sale will benefit Riverside County’s multi-species habitat conservation plan.

"Land sale to protect species" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/23/07)
"Sell the land to save the land. That's the strategy the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management is using in its effort to protect 27 desert animal and plant species. The bureau announced Thursday plans to sell roughly 274 acres of public land in the Coachella Valley...."

"Coachella Valley proposed sale of public lands" (BLM California Desert District web pages)
Draft list of parcels, maps, additional information.


Wind turbines in the Palm Springs area"Turbines fan debate over wind energy" (Los Angeles Times, 3/25/07)
"A proposal to build about 50 windmills next to Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument has aroused passions in a region already dotted with 3,000 windmills, with opponents charging that the wind energy industry has neither delivered the promised power nor spared the environment....Claude Kirby, a real estate agent for the Palm Springs office of the Bureau of Land Management, said the early days of wind power were problematic....the new, mammoth wind turbines have quieter blades that turn slowly to protect birds, can capture far more energy and do not break down as often."
(May require free registration.)

"Green Path renewable energy project hits roadblock" (KPBS San Diego, 3/27/07)
"A plan to send renewable energy from the Imperial Valley to San Diego is being delayed. The Green Path project would link up with the proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line... The Imperial Irrigation District Board voted to temporarily stop contract negotiations....The Imperial Valley has geothermal, solar and wind sources that SDG&E and other utilities want to use." Includes link to audio report. BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the proposed Sunrise Powerlink.

RELATED: "Green Path project talks will wait" (Imperial Valley Press, 3/27/07)
"The future of the Green Path projects now depend on an independent review as the Imperial Irrigation District has called off all negotiations until the findings of the review are released....Controversy has surrounded the Green Path Southwest project over questions like where the line will be located and what impact it will have on local farm land."

"Differing Scenarios for South Bay Demolition Emerge" (Voice of San Diego, 3/28/07)
"San Diego Gas & Electric says the bay-front [South Bay Power Plant] -- required to stay open until replacement electricity comes online -- could be torn down if two things are built: A power plant in Otay Mesa and the controversial Sunrise Powerlink, a $1.4 billion power line connecting San Diego with Imperial County. If the Powerlink isn't built, smaller plants to meet peak demand could be instead built, the company says....Demolishing the plant would rid Chula Vista of a major pollution source and open up a vast swath of real estate for redevelopment, including a potential Chargers stadium."


"BLM closes Kettleman Hills to off-highway vehicle use" (BLM California news release, 3/28/07)
The Bureau of Land Management is closing public lands to off-highway vehicle use in the Kettleman Hills area in southern Fresno County to prevent damage to natural resources, including endangered species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and San Joaquin woolythreads. The closure is effective March 26, 2007 for the Kettleman Hills portion of the Panoche/Coalinga Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

"Shooting hours restricted during fuel break construction" (BLM California news release, 3/22/07)
Hours will be reduced at a public shooting range on Iron Mountain Road west of Redding for five days next month, while crews complete a fire safety project, including a fuel break. The Bureau of Land Management announced that the range will be closed to shooting between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20. Shooters will be allowed to use the range before 8 a.m. and after 4:30 p.m. on those days.

"Call of the wild (turkey)" (Stockton Record, 3/28/07)
"Hunting season begins Saturday.... If you're lucky, a landowner may have had problems with wild turkeys.... Obtaining maps that show Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management tracts of public property is another way to find a place to hunt."

"County stonewalling conservation efforts" (San Bernardino County Sun, 3/26/07)
"For three years, San Bernardino County has quietly blocked nonprofit land conservancies from acquiring tax-defaulted desert land and giving it to federal preserves....San Bernardino County's 1st District has long had an uneasy relationship with the federal agencies that own more than 8 million acres of its territory, suing over road access and other land-use issues. In 2001, the county excoriated the Bureau of Land Management's decision to remove ranchers from its Mojave Desert lands as part of a plan to protect desert tortoises."

"Sunrise at Table Mountain" (Sonora Union Democrat, 3/23/07)
"Table Mountain is a springtime favorite for hikers, climbers, and those looking for wildflowers in bloom....Peggy Cranston, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management...said the mountain is popular year-round, with spectacular views of New Melones Reservoir. But springtime, she added, is prime time for enjoying an array of wildflowers and vernal pools." But please respect the privately-owned land around the mountain.

"Upcoming wild horse and burro adoptions" (BLM California website)
The next adoption is April 14-15 in Norco, followed April 28 by an adoption event at BLM's Ridgecrest corrals.

"Man indicted on charges of having guns, grenade" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/28/07)
"Feb. 10...a Bureau of Land Management ranger in the Carrizo Wash area of the Anza-Borrego Desert...was responding to a report of automatic gunfire."

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


"Editorial: Carrizo craziness" (Sacramento Bee, 3/26/07)
Editorial: " This world heritage designation would be an honor. It might even help Taft diversify its image."

"World Heritage Site: U.N. presence in Carrizo Plain raises doubts here" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/24/07)
"Some San Luis Obispo County residents who live in or near the Carrizo Plain National Monument have joined a growing debate that questions a proposed United Nations designation of the land."

"Supervisors vote against Carrizo Plain's U.N. designation" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/28/07)
"County supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday not to support the nomination of the Carrizo Plain National Monument as a World Heritage site, dealing a strong blow to the proposal's chances....Supervisors said local residents had not had time to consider the pros and cons of the proposal, which first became public Jan. 27. The deadline to nominate a site is April 1."

"Editorial: Carrizo Plain as U.N. heritage site may help county" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/23/07)
"The region bordering Kern County on the eastern edge of the county is a living reminder of what the San Joaquin Valley once was before irrigation and farming changed its complexion: A treasure trove of endangered species, perennial grasslands and native American pictographs going back more than 10,000 years....Being home to one of the world's unique sites should only enhance our county's prestige while adding value through new visitor dollars."

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

Employee profile: Jason LoweEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jason Lowe...
...works as a wildlife biologist out of BLM's Hollister Field Office. You can't help but feel the enthusiasm for his work, helping to protect wildlife and enhance the environment. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

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

April 14-15 - Wild horse and burro adoption

(b.) It makes a sort of cackle, with a series of clacking sounds.

SOURCE: "Yuma Clapper Rail - Rallus longirostris yumanensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
The Clapper Rail gives a loud, sharp call consisting of a series of "kek" or "clack" notes that are strung together in a cackling fashion. Their calls have an odd ventriloqual quality, and calls of single birds often sound as if multiple birds are calling. The distinctive "kek kek kek" call of 10 or more notes is generally heard at daybreak or sunset.

RELATED: "Sounds: Yuma clapper rail" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology's Animal Diversity Web)
Listen to a short recording of the Yuma clapper rail.

RELATED: "Yuma clapper rail, Rallus longirostris yumanensis" (BLM's California Desert District web pages)
A species account prepared for BLM's California Desert District by Michael A. Patten, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside. PDF file, 16 kilobytes:

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Bureau of Land Management
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