A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 276 - 4/10/07

mountain lion Volunteers clean up at Bighorn Mountain Wilderness Employee Profile: Scott Swanson cows amid wildflowers in the Salinas area

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Earth Day resources for teachers
- Headlines and highlights

- New Field Manager Appointments
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items



mountain lion
From a photo by Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences

Unlike bobcats, mountain lions (also known as cougars):
(a.) Actively seek out human habitations for food
(b.) Try to avoid humans when possible
(c.) Drive away their young soon after they learn to hunt, at two months or so
(d.) Are nocturnal
(e.) Answer to the name "Robbie"
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"BLM Earth Day resources - 2007" (BLM California website)
Earth Week begins this year on April 16, culminating with Earth Day on April 22. Here again is a list of ideas and resources to help you develop entertaining and enlightening Earth Week projects for all age levels (repeated from an earlier issue of News.bytes).

Public lands in California offer a great backdrop for Earth Week Activities. Here are some past and current environmental education activities on BLM-managed public lands in California:

"Fish Slough Hands on the Land Program" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office)
"At weird and wonderful Fish Slough, the classroom comes alive. Fish Slough is a unique desert wetland with rare plants and fish, surrounded by fascinating geological features and archaeological sites - a mile north of Bishop. Together with the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education, the partners managing Fish Slough have created outdoor programs that introduce every 2nd grader and 4th grader in Bishop Elementary School to the wonders of Fish Slough."

RELATED: "Education programs" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office)
Links to more information on the Eastern Sierra Institute and "unique opportunities for students."

"Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program" (Hands on the Land website)
"A community-based program in Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley, California. Based primarily in an arid ecosystem, SEEP aims to give students an appreciation of natural ecosystems and to emphasize the importance of water conservation in the desert environment."

"Tracy Albrecht nominated for National Environmental Education award" (News.bytes Extra, issue 253, October 2006)
Tracy Albrecht, interpretive specialist with the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument near Palm Springs, has since won a Bureau of Land Management's Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education Award last year, presented by the National Association for Interpretation. She won a gold award "for her work in developing educational and public outreach programs, a model interpretive plan, a documentary film and a children’s book, all which greatly enhance the public’s awareness of the BLM’s cultural and natural resources."

"Tracy Rowland finalist for environmental education award" (News.bytes Extra, issue 251, September 2006)
Tracy Rowland has since won a Bureau of Land Management's Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education Award last year, presented by the National Association for Interpretation. As project manager for the San Joaquin River Gorge near Bakersfield, she won a silver award "for her dedicated work in developing a variety of cultural heritage and natural resource education programs, including the California version of the 'Get Energized!' energy program, and leadership in the development of the San Joaquin River Gorge 'Hands on the Land' field classroom."


Volunteers clean up at Bighorn Mountain Wilderness"Spring cleanup 2007" (News.bytes Extra)
This year “Spring Cleaning” took on a whole new meaning for the BLM's Barstow Field Office. Since January, they have hosted six cleanups on public land. Almost 1500 volunteers collected nearly 40 tons of trash (including 10 tons of recycled metal), pulled out six abandoned cars, put up signs for 2 kiosks, and signed several miles of trails.

cows amid wildflowers in the Salinas area"Wildflowers mark spring" (Salinas Californian, 4/5/07)
"Spring's arrival is heralded in the Salinas area by an explosion of color along Monterey County's hills and coastline. Orange, red, yellow, white and blue wildflowers have sprouted all over the region, splashing across coastal dunes, the Big Sur wilderness and hillsides from Fort Hunter Liggett to Fort Ord....'I think the color, diversity, arrangement of how the colors are mixed and matched, the definite diversity of color and how pinks, blues, reds and oranges mix together to make a painted landscape - that seems to be what takes people the most,' said Bruce Delgado, a federal Bureau of Land Management botanist based at Fort Ord."

RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office)

Arsenic Remediation Project Progresses at Red Mountain (BLM CA News Release, 4/5/07)
Progress is being made to remediate the impacts of arsenic contamination from historical mining operations on the public lands near Randsburg and Johannesburg in northwestern San Bernardino and northeastern Kern County.

"Protected Coastline Celebrated in Santa Cruz" (KPIX TV CBS, 4/6/07)
The Trust for Public Land held a dedication ceremony this week for a five-mile stretch of coastline just north of Santa Cruz that is now a protected area. Coast Dairies was bought by the trust in 1998 and the 407-acre coastal portion was given to the California State Parks in July 2006, Lampe reported. Another 5,701 acres will be transferred to the Bureau of Land management later this year.

"San Luis Obispo kicks out the U.N." (Los Angeles Times, 4/9/2007)
The effort to add 250,000 acres of desolate, virtually unknown California grassland [Carrizo Plain] to a U.N. list of "world heritage" sites has come to naught.

"Future of Carrizo Plain to be discussed at upcoming meetings" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/4/07)
"The government is inviting residents interested in the future of the Carrizo Plain to attend a series of planning meetings in April and May. The Bureau of Land Management is conducting the meetings, to hear what residents have to say about the future of the Carrizo Plain National Monument."

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument " (BLM California website)
Full of natural splendor and rich in human history, learn more about the Carrizo Plain.

"California 'Green' project makes critics see red" (Los Angeles Times, 4/9/07)
The DWP's proposed energy corridor, to bring nonpolluting power to L.A., would traverse a national forest and wildlife preserves.

"Environmental groups oppose "(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/4/07)
"Plans by the city of Los Angeles to generate "green" energy by tapping into geothermal fields near the Salton Sea came under fire Wednesday from several Inland environmental and community groups. The groups are concerned that a network of transmission towers and roads will be built along corridors that cut through the San Bernardino National Forest, parks, nature preserves and sensitive areas within the purview of the Bureau of Land Management."
(May require free registration.)

"Counting heads at Dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/6/07)
More than 1 million off-highway vehicle enthusiasts visit the area each year for outdoor fun...[t]he United Desert Gateway, a nonprofit group that promotes desert recreational activities in and around Imperial County, has hired Aerial Mapping Co., a Phoenix-based firm to fly over the dunes and take high-resolution pictures. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for tracking visitor counts at the dunes. The agency does so using magnetic counters that are buried underneath Gecko Road and other pathways to the dunes.

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California website)
Links to more information on the Imperial Sand Dunes recreation area.

"Celebrating Easter in the Mecca Hills Wilderness" (The Press-Enterprise, 4/6/07)
A person could hike the vast Mecca Hills Wilderness for hours, even days, seeing only arid jagged rocks, smelling only desert lavender and creosote bush, hearing only occasional chirps and twitters of wildlife. But the hills are never lonely on Easter Sunday when an estimated 4,000 people fill the canyons to celebrate spring.
Download story podcast

RELATED: "Mecca Hills Wilderness" (BLM California website)
Links to more information on Mecca Hills wilderness area, located in Riverside County. http://www.blm.gov/ca/pa/wilderness/wa/areas/mecca_hills.html

BLM Imposes Fire Restrictions (BLM CA News Release, 4/10/07)
Precautionary fire restrictions on public land managed by the Hollister Field Office; no vehicles, campfires or open flames will be allowed on BLM lands in the Panoche, Griswold, Tumey, and Ciervo Hills, effective April 15.

"Wildfire threatens homes" (Bakersfield Californian, 4/6/07)
A fast-moving, lightning-sparked wildfire threatened but did not damage several homes east of Isabella Lake near Walker Pass Friday night. The fire had scorched more than 700 acres as of 8 p.m. Friday, according to Debbie Santiago, spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Land Management.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
BLM California is currently accepting applications for an Administrative Technician, Archaeologist, Wildlife Biologist, various Fire positions, and more.


Tim Smith Named New BLM Bakersfield Field Manager (BLM CA News Release, 4/9/07)
We welcome Tim Smith back to California.  He has a wealth of experience as an outdoor recreation planner and recreation program manager where he led state and national level groups on important strategic planning for the bureau.   

John Kalish Named New BLM Palm Springs South Coast Field Manager (BLM CA News Release, 4/9/07)
John Kalish brings a wealth of experience in working with other federal, state, and county officials and agencies to build seamless partnerships that benefit all those involved.

Employee Profile: Scott SwansonEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Scott Swanson...
... is a law enforcement ranger with BLM's El Centro Field Office. He started in a law enforcement with the U.S. Border Patrol in 2002.  He came to BLM in  2006 and patrols the Glamis Dunes recreation area. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

April 14-15 - Wild Horse & Burro Adoption at Ingalls Park, Norco, California

April 14, 21, and 28 - Wildflower Tours at Pine Hill Preserve

April 28 and May 5 - Free, Guided Wildflower Hikes

April 28-29 - Wild Horse & Burro Adoption in Medford,Oregon


"One-stop Web site for planning trips to federal recreation sites" (North County Times, 4/7/07)
A new Web site makes it easier to plan trips to federal recreation sites, from monuments and historic attractions to forests, parks and scenic byways.

(b.) Try to avoid humans when possible

SOURCE: "Mountain lion - Felis concolor" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Unlike bobcats, mountain lions (also called cougars) try to avoid humans when possible....As human populations increase, mountain lion habitat gets taken over by housing communities....as their environment becomes encroached the animals feel more threatened and occasional attacks occur.

RELATED: "Finding justice in the flesh" (Los Angeles Times, 3/30/07)
CSI Wildlife at the California Department of Fish and Game forensics laboratory : "In 1995, the lab became one of the first state wildlife facilities in the country to use DNA evidence to positively identify wild animals that attack humans and livestock, and to prosecute poachers....In animal-attack cases, their work exonerates animals nearly as often as it convicts them." In a rare attack on a human, the lab was able to determine that hunters had tracked down the right suspect. In another suspected mountain-lion attack, the lab recommended an autopsy -- and the "coroner discovered three bullet holes in the man's head. The carnage to the body was done by coyotes and bears after his death."
(May require free registration.)

RELATED: "Mammals: mountain lion (puma, cougar) (San Diego Zoo Animal Bytes)
"Mountain lion, puma, cougar, panther—this cat is known by more names than just about any other mammal!...So how did it get so many names? Mostly because it has such a large range, and people from different countries have called it different things."

ALSO: "Bobcat - Lynx rufus" (BLM California wildlife database)
"The young begin hunting at about one month and leave their mothers soon after that....Be careful if you see one - these cats are not as afraid of humans as some of California's other wild cats!"

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

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