A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 275 - 4/4/07

A snowy owl visits Humboldt Bay's South Spit A groundhog magician at Just for kids: Soil biological communities Mary Roche, Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument Advisory Comittee Stanley the robot tries to solve the equation of less energy meets more demand wild horses at an adoption

- Funny.bytes: Need energy?
- Alternative energy
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Earth Day and environmental education: Soils
      - Wildlife "Extra"
- Horses and burros
- Carrizo Plain nomination withdrawn
- Headlines and highlights: Knoxville cleanup, South Cow Mountain closure, volunteer guides needed, jobs, more
- Meet your advisory committee members
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: One-stop federal reservations

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Stanley the robot tries to solve the equation of less energy meets more demandFUNNY.BYTES: Need energy?
Stan the robot tries to solve the problem of "less available energy meets greater demand." Will his solution please the audience?
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Note: this link will work in browsers that have the Macromedia/Adobe "Flash" plug-in -- which should be most browsers. Warning: soundtrack: you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.


"Wind energy project faces turbulent forces" (Bakersfield Californian, 3/31/07)
"Massive wind energy project...between Tehachapi and Mojave....Completion is forecast for 2014. But first, Southern California Edison, which signed a 20 year contract to purchase the power, must receive approval to build new transmission lines, upgrade existing lines and add two substations to disperse the power to homes....If all goes as planned with the transmission lines, the project will still need an environmental impact report, approval for part of the development on Bureau of Land Management land and county approval."

RELATED: "A mighty wind" (Bakersfield Californian, 3/31/07)
"Tehachapi area may see nation's largest wind energy project....Love them or hate them, wind turbines are an integral part of the landscape here. And even more wind energy is in the works...."

RELATED: "Wind farm, transmission facility could spark jobs, create tax base" (Bakersfield Californian, 3/31/07)
"A proposed wind farm and transmission facility will generate more than clean energy, if approved. Officials anticipate more than 500 construction and 300 long-term jobs, a boost in property taxes, and 1,500 megawatts of power."

"Powerlink report didn't consider forest official's comments" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/30/07)
"Comments from forest officials criticizing possible routes for the proposed Sunrise Powerlink through large parts of the Cleveland National Forest were not considered by a state agency before it decided to keep those options open....officials for the Cleveland National Forest were late gathering their comments and asked for a three-week extension to respond."


A snowy owl makes a rare visit to Humboldt Bay's South Spit
From a photo courtesy Ron LeValley, Mad River Biologists

Which of the following statements about the snowy owl is false?
(a.) Snowy owls sometimes don't bother to migrate south
(b.) Snowy owls have been found in cave paintings in Europe
(c.) Like most owls, snowy owls hunt better at night
(d.) The snowy owl is the heaviest North America owl
(e.) Snowy owls catch and eat flying ducks
(f.) Snowy owls try not to nest in the snow
(g.) More lemmings are eaten by snowy owls, than jump off cliffs
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes --
AND learn about a very special sighting of a snowy owl in northern California.


A groundhog magician at Just for kids: Soil biological communities"Just for kids: Soil biological communities" (BLM National Science and Technology Center)
From "What is soil?" to "Amazing Facts" -- the "Just for Kids" module was developed for students aged nine to 11. But both younger and older students may find specific parts of the site of interest. (See the "teacher info" button on this page for more details.)

"Soil biological communities: The dirt on dirt"
Follow the links for more information about soils, "biological soil crusts," the bacteria that live in soils, and more.


"Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office web pages)
Located in western El Dorado County, Pine Hill Preserve is home to a collection of eight rare plant species. Three of these plant species grow nowhere else in the world, and two other grow in only a few other places. These rare plants grow only on the "Rescue soils," named after the nearby community of Rescue, California. Rescue soils have unusual properties derived from the underlying gabbro rock."

"Ione tertiary oxisol soil ACEC" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office web pages)
An Oxisol is an intensely weathered mineral soil typically associated with tropical environments. The Ione Formation represents the only occurrence of an Oxisol in the continental United States.


wild horses at an adoption"Wild horses, burros available in Norco" (BLM California news release, 3/28/07)
Wild mustangs and burros will be offered to qualified adopters at Ingalls Park in Norco, Calif. on April 14 and 15 through the Bureau of Land Management Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. There are sixty mustangs and twenty burros available for adoption.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Medford" (BLM California news release, 4/2/07)
Residents of southern Oregon and northern California will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Medford area Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29. The BLM will offer 20 horses, mostly yearlings, and 26 burros for public adoption.  Prospective adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. Friday, April 27.


A view across the Carrizo Plain across a fence"County rejects U.N. listing for Carrizo Plain" (Los Angeles Times, 3/31/07)
"Designation of Carrizo Plain near San Luis Obispo as a World Heritage site may have brought tourism dollars but residents are leery." Includes a photo gallery of nine images.
(May require free registration.)

"Local opposition stops Carrizo Plain designation" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/29/07)
"The Wilderness Society won't go ahead with its nomination of the Carrizo Plain National Monument as a UNESCO World Heritage site, blaming a lack of local support.... The decision came Wednesday, one day after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 not to support the nomination, amid divided reaction from local residents, and four days before the April 1 nomination deadline."

"Carrizo Heritage nomination pulled"(Taft Midway Driller, 3/30/07)
"Faced with mounting opposition from the east and west, the Wilderness Society has decided not to nominate Carrizo Plain National Monument for inclusion in the United Nations World Heritage site list. The conservation group announced its decision Wednesday, a day after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in opposition to the proposal and two weeks after the Taft City Council and Taft District Chamber of Commerce came out against it."

"BLM schedules scoping meetings for Carrizo Plain Plan" (BLM California news release, 4/4/07)
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct scoping meetings in Central California to gather input on issues to be addressed in the Carrizo Plain National Monument draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The meetings will be held in cooperation with the Monument Advisory Committee, and BLM's monument managing partners, The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game. Meetings are planned for April 24, May 1 and May 5.

"Another view: Facts missing on Carrizo Plains World Heritage Site designation" (Sacramento Bee, 4/1/07)
Op-Ed: A response to the Sacramento Bee's editorial on the Carrizo Plains (which ran in last week's issue of News.bytes), by the chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association.

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


An off-road motorcyclist pauses at an overlook in the Knoxville Recreation Area"Third annual Knoxville OHV Cleanup Day" (BLM California website)
The Napa County Sheriff's Department will be sponsoring its third annual Knoxville OHV Cleanup Day on Sunday, April 22. Volunteers will meet at 8:00 am at the Hunting Creek campground.  A barbecue lunch will be provided for those who RSVP. This is not a BLM-sponsored event, but cleans up a BLM-managed OHV area.

RELATED: "Knoxville Recreation Area" (BLM California website)
Due to its close proximity to the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area regions, and because of it's varied terrain, Knoxville's 17,700 acres attract many off-highway vehicle enthusiasts each year. Other popular activities in the area include hunting, target shooting, mountain bicycling, camping, and nature study. There is one developed campground, an OHV staging area and a designated pistol target shooting area.

"Community thanks officers" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 4/3/07)
"For 364 days out of the year, police officers, rangers, and patrollers deal with people who would rather not be dealt with at all. But Friday night was different. The people they dealt with issued a collective thank you.....at the 13th annual Respect for Law Recognition Dinner....Terry Allen was awarded as the BLM’s Ranger of the Year."

"South Cow Mountain area to be closed during prescribed burn" (BLM California news release, 4/2/07)
The South Cow Mountain Off Highway Vehicle Area near Ukiah will be closed through Friday, April 6, during a prescribed fire project.  The closure could be extended into the weekend if the fire is not completely out.

"BLM needs volunteers to lead hikes at Cache Creek, coastal bluffs" (BLM California news release, 4/2/07)
Hikers who want to share their knowledge and love of the outdoors have the opportunity to lead hikes on public lands in the Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake and Colusa counties and the Stornetta Public Lands on the Mendocino Coast. The Bureau of Land Management needs volunteers to lead outings at various times of the year.

"BLM and museum plan tour of Mono Basin and Owens Valley" (BLM California news release, 4/4/07)
The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in Bakersfield and the Bureau of Land Management are sponsoring a field trip that examines the interplay of glacial and volcanic forces over the past 600,000 years in the eastern Sierra Nevada. The field trip through Mono Basin and Owens Valley will run from April 13 through April 15.

"Big Morongo Preserve gets 40 acres" (Hi-Desert Star, 3/30/07)
"The county regional parks department made the grant, and like the other 240 acres of county land incorporated within the preserve boundaries, these lands will be managed as part of the preserve by the Palm Springs office of the Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "Watchable Wildlife site: Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM California, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office)
Nestled among the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the desert oasis at Big Morongo Canyon is one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian habitats in California. The upstream end of the canyon lies in the Mojave Desert, while its downstream portion opens into the Colorado Desert.

"BLM advisory council plans meeting in Exeter" (BLM California news release, 4/4/07)
Land management issues for the Bakersfield Field Office will be on the agenda when the Bureau of Land Management’s Central California Resource Advisory Council meets in Exeter on April 20 and 21.

"County scraps dumping ban" (San Bernardino County Sun, 3/29/07)
"After a seven-year feud over land rights in the desert, San Bernardino County is scrapping a punitive policy denying the Bureau of Land Management access to county dumps. In 2000, the county revoked the BLM's privilege to dump trash at county facilities in retaliation for the agency's decision to settle a lawsuit over desert tortoise habitat at the expense of a group of local ranchers."

"BLM to open firewood cutting areas" (BLM California news release, 4.4.07)
Firewood cutting areas on northeast California public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management will again be open beginning Monday, April 9.  Most cutting areas had been closed for the winter.BLM resource managers urged wood cutters to stay out of areas that are still muddy to avoid damaging natural resources.

"Supervisors approve contract to study safety communications plan" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/3/07)
Riverside County Board of Supervisors approve study of a new public safety communication network, including effectiveness and environmental impacts of roads, power lines, equipment sheds and radio towers. "Some of the proposed sites include lands under the management of the U.S. National Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the federal Bureau of Land Management."

"Energy Commission analysis says Klamath Dam removal, not upgrades, more beneficial than earlier projected" (California Energy Commission news release, 3/26/07)
"The California Energy Commission said today that removing four PacifiCorp hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River would be more beneficial than originally projected." BLM and the U.S. Forest Service are involved in the hydroelectric relicensing request.

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

Mary Roche, Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument Advisory ComitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Mary Roche...
... is the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee representative for the city of Indian Wells.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

April 14 - Wildflower tours
Pine Hill Preserve, western El Dorado County

April 14 and 15 - Wild horse and burro adoption

April 21 - Wildflower tours
Pine Hill Preserve, western El Dorado County


"One-stop online site posts info for outdoors" (San Bernardino County Sun, 3/30/07)
"Whether you're a biking, boating, camping or hiking buff, a new one-stop Internet site can steer you to thousands of nearby - or distant - recreational destinations and guarantee your stay....'I'm impressed,' said Brad Mastin, outdoor recreation planner with the U. S. Bureau of Land Management's Barstow field office. 'This Web site will make it simple for anyone to use our public lands for whatever activity interests them. 'It shows off-road vehicle recreation areas, like Stoddard and Johnson valleys and El Mirage dry lake in our area. For hikers and campers, it maps out Rainbow Basin and Owl Canyon'...."

RELATED: "Federal leaders launch new one-stop, interagency website for recreation reservations" (Department of the Interior news release, 3/28/07)
"Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns today demonstrated a one-stop internet site for making reservations and exploring federal recreation lands. This interagency web site allows the public to view photos and information on thousands of recreation sites....The public can also use the recreation.gov site to make reservations and payments online."

False: (c.) Like most owls, snowy owls hunt better at night

SOURCES: "Bird fact sheets: Snowy owl" (Hinterland Who's Who, Canadian Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Federation)
"Unlike most owls, which are nocturnal, or active only at night, the Snowy Owl is active during the day and at dawn and dusk. Because daylight is continuous within the Arctic Circle during much of the summer nesting season, this adaptation is not surprising."

"All about birds: Snowy owl" (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
With descriptions, a sound recording, photos, "cool facts" and more.


A snowy owl visits Humboldt Bay's South Spit"Snowy visitor" (News.bytes Wildlife Trivia Extra)
On the morning of March 26, 2007, Carol Wilson of Mad River biologists was on Humboldt Bay's South Spit -- managed by BLM's Arcata Field Office. While conducting snowy plover surveys there, she found another snowy creature -- a snowy owl.

"Snowy owl nestles in among snowy plovers" (Eureka Times-Standard, 3/29/07)
"While looking for snowy plovers on the South Spit Monday, Carol Wilson with Mad River Biologists spotted a snowy owl, hundreds of miles from its regular haunt and the first in Humboldt County in nearly three decades."

AND ABOUT THOSE LEMMINGS: Lemmings jumping off cliffs -- is it just a myth?

"Hinterland who's who: Lemmings" (Canadian Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Federation)
"In the mountainous terrain of Norway...when lemmings begin to move they tend to go downhill and get funneled into valleys. The result is that large numbers eventually reach the sea or a large lake. They may proceed onto sea or lake ice or jump into the water, which has given rise to the popular conception that they are committing mass suicide to relieve a problem of overpopulation. There is, however, no authentic account from the North American Arctic to back up such a belief."

"Tundra mice" (Denali Education Center)
"One of the most widespread misconceptions about lemmings is that they regularly commit mass suicide to relieve their overpopulation problems."

"White wilderness" (Snopes.com
"Claim: During the filming of the 1958 Disney nature documentary White Wilderness, the film crew induced lemmings into jumping off a cliff and into the sea in order to document their supposedly suicidal behavior. Status: True." This myth-debunking website cites a number of sources for this information.

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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