A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 283 - 5/30/07

This burrowing owl in Port Aransas Texas was using a storm drain for a burrow volunteer Dave Freeman led his pack string through the festival grounds Robert Lyman of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee Volunteers load trash bags onto waiting pickup trucks A student removes non-native grass at the South Spit

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Students, scouts Take it Outside to help public lands
- Wild horses and burros: Adoptions, stories
- Hitting the trails
- Headlines and highlights: 4-wheel safety, corral arson, more
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Interior Secretary seeks balance; wind energy debate


This burrowing owl in Port Aransas Texas was using a storm drain for a burrow
From a photo by U.S. Geological Survey

What is one difference between burrowing owls in California, and those found in Florida?
(a.) California burrowing owls usually install old snakeskins outside their burrows, to scare away predators
(b.) California burrowing owls rarely construct their own burrows
(c.) California burrowing owls prefer to dig their burrows in the soft mud of riverbanks, but these risk being inundated by late-spring floods
(d.) California burrowing owls don't use burrows at all, preferring to nest in trees and shrubs
(e.) California burrowing owls share nests with other owls
(f.) California burrowing owls are more likely to have purchased their burrows with risky creative financing, such as adjustable-rate subprime balloon mortgages
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


A student removes non-native grass at the South Spit"Students remove invasive grasses on Ocean Day" (News.bytes Extra)
Staff from the Bureau of Land Management's Arcata Field Office and volunteers from Friends of Dunes continued their three-year-old Ocean Day partnership as they led more than 750 elementary school children, teachers and parents in efforts to remove invasive European beach grass from the sand dunes on Humboldt Bay's South Spit near Eureka. Classes from 18 schools took part, pulling invasive plants from a seven-acre area and then forming a giant "aerial art" illustration on the sand.

Volunteers load trash bags onto waiting pickup trucks"Scouts clean up entrance to Ivanpah Dry Lake" (News.bytes Extra)
Troop 321 from Las Vegas recently volunteered to help the Needles BLM field office employees spruce up the entrance into Ivanpah Dry Lake. Located on the California/Nevada border in Primm, Nevada, the dry lake is closed to motorized activities and is world-renowned for wind-powered events such as wind sailing and kite buggying.


volunteer Dave Freeman led his pack string through the festival grounds"Napa hosts 'Meet the Mustangs Day'" (News.bytes Extra)
The atmosphere of a country carnival filled the Napa Valley Horsemen's Association grounds May 19, as the Horsemen's Association and BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program hosted "Meet the Mustangs Day." Opportunities to adopt mustangs and burros were part of the fun. The event, a celebration of all things associated with mustangs and burros, drew a crowd of nearly 500 equine enthusiasts and those who were just curious about these Living Legends of the West.

"Using native horsepower along northern border" (Los Angeles Times, 5/27/07)
"The latest recruits in the effort to tighten security along the rugged U.S.-Canadian border are well qualified for their new jobs. Before training, Roscoe and Felix roamed remote stretches of Northern California and Wyoming, as their ancestors have for centuries....Known for their sure-footedness, strength and endurance, mustangs also represent potential savings for the federal government. They are adopted for $125 each from the federal Bureau of Land Management and are trained by prison inmates in Cañon City, Colo., for $900."
(May require free registration.)

"Take Pride in America announces recipients of the 2007 national award for federal land managers" (Take Pride in America.gov, 5/29/07)
"Presented annually, Take Pride in America’s National Awards recognize outstanding volunteer projects and efforts in a variety of categories." This year's winners include Tom. Pogacnik, BLM California's Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager. "These individuals join a list of 12 previously announced volunteers who will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on July 19."
PDF file, 58 kilobytes:

"Wild horses, burros available for adoption in King City" (BLM California news release, 5/10/07)
Young and healthy wild horses and burros, direct from public ranges, will be looking for new homes when the Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption June 9 at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds. he BLM will offer 30 horses ranging in age from under 1 to about 5 years old along with 10 burros.

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule - 2007"(BLM California website)
Including June 2 at BLM's Ridgecrest Corrals.

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM national website)


"Celebrate National Trails Day June 2" (Red Bluff Daily News, 5/25/07)
"The Lassen Land and Trails Trust, Bureau of Land Management, and the Lassen National Forest are hosting a National Trails Day event in Susanville. To kick off the event there will be a Bike the Bizz bicycle ride, wildflower walk, guided bird hike, Art in Nature exploration class, yoga class and a mountain bike tour of Susanville Ranch Park."

"Up the down staircase" (Banning/Beaumont Record Gazette, 5/17/07)
"This time of year, stalwart, intrepid or just plain foolish hikers come through the Pass Area....they are through-hikers on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail on an epic walk from Mexico to Canada through the mountain ranges that stretch the length of the West Coast. Through-hiking is extremely tough, and only 10 percent of the trail's users are through-hikers. Of that number, only a fraction actually complete the journey - perhaps a third." The writer says a bit of luck -- in the form of cooler weather - would help young hikers he encountered make it "through the arid, scrubby BLM land between Snow Creek and the Whitewater River."

RELATED: "Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail" (BLM California, Ridgecrest Field Office)
The Ridgecrest and Bakersfield field offices of the Bureau of Land Management manage over 180 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The trail crosses four designated wildernesses - the Bright Star, Kiavah, Owens Peak and Domelands. Elevations range from 4,000 feet in the south at Tylerhorse Canyon to 7,600 feet in the north at Bear Mountain. Temperatures in the summer months can range from 32°F. to over 100°F. and bring thunderstorms and possible flash floods.

RELATED: "Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
A summary of information, and a link to a Pacific Crest Trail map and guide.


guiding a 4x4 through a tight spot"Eagle Lake BLM takes four-wheel drive safety training" (News.bytes Extra)
People who drive vehicles in their work for the Bureau of Land Management find themselves in situations ranging from rugged back country trails to multi-lane freeways in urban areas. Recognizing the importance of driver safety in all situations, the BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office added a four-wheel-drive safety training course to their annual safety week training this year.

"Saga of the spotted owl not over yet" (Portland, Oregon Tribune, 5/29/07)
"It seems that the spotted owl, which was so controversial in the 1990s, is still a magnet for conflict. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on the new draft recovery plan for the spotted owl.....But before the public can voice an opinion, it needs to understand the draft plan and its implications, which is no mean feat."

"Canadian sentenced to 37 months for burning wild horse corrals" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/29/07)
"A Canadian animal rights activist was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Tuesday for helping a cell of the Animal Liberation Front set fire to federal wild horse corrals in Northern California....after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson in the 2001 fire at the Litchfield, Calif., U.S. Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals."

RELATED: "Arson defendant spared 'terrorist' label" (Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard)
"A radical environmentalist from Canada was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in federal prison after a judge suggested that he consider taking a class on the United States system of democracy."

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

Robert Lyman of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory CommitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Robert Lyman...
...represents Riverside County on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. Read more:

RELATED: "National Monument Advisory Committee to meet in Palm Desert" (BLM California news release, 5/29/07)
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee will meet Saturday, June 2, at 9 a.m. in the Palm Desert City Council Chambers.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

May 31 - June 1 - Northeast California Resource Advisory Council meeting
Burney, CA

June 1 - Geology field trip
Owens Valley to Mono Basin

June 2-3 and June 9-10 - Guided hikes
Headwaters Forest Reserve

June 5 - Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team meeting


"Government scraps species law changes" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/26/070
"Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said Friday he has scrapped a proposal that critics said would protect fewer rare plants and animals from extinction. Kempthorne said that while he doesn't think Congress should change the Endangered Species Act, the department is still looking for ways to change how the law is enforced."

"Wind energy debate continues" (United Press International, 5/25/07)
"Some wind industry officials say project standardization on a federal level might defuse opposition and smooth out kinks in the development process, but recently introduced legislation has been criticized."

"Putting plants online" (Baton Rouge, Louisiana Advocate, 5/27/07)
"A private landowner might use the database to pick plants for conservation or horticultural purposes but the information is used mainly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, formerly the Soil Conservation Service."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer -- and related websites
(b.) California burrowing owls rarely construct their own burrows

SOURCE: "Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia" (BLM California wildlife database)
Burrowing Owls in the western United States are only rarely known to construct their own burrows, in contrast to those in Florida. Many researchers and observers have noted a strong association between Burrowing Owls and burrowing mammals, especially ground squirrels. The species will also occupy man-made niches such as banks and ditches, piles of broken concrete, and even abandoned structures.

"Burrowing owl - Natural history and conservation in California" (Oregon State University)
Information from the Burrowing Owl Research Program, in which BLM California's Bakersfield Field Office takes part.
PDF file, 375 kilobytes:

"BURROWING OWL - Athene cunicularia" (BLM California, California Desert District)
A species account written for the BLM's California Desert District office.
PDF file, 30 kilobytes:

- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

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

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/caso/getnewsbytes.html.