A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 286 - 6/20/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- More wildlife news: Burrowing owls, birds, tule elk
- Historic Route 66 restoration news
- Wild horse and burro adoptions
- Wildfire danger continues
- Recreation on public lands
- Alternative energy
- Headlines and highlights: BLM releases NE California plan; last call for public lands bids, In Lieu of Taxes, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
See Sacramento Bee story below for this photograph.
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
In what way are burrowing owl nests/burrows distinctive?
(a.) the owls' burrows often extend under the water table and back up again, foiling predators with an underwater section
(b.) the owls arrange small rocks and sticks in designs around the entrance
(c.) the owls line the entrance with material such as cow manure, insect parts, cotton, dead toads, plastic and tin foil
(d.) the owls build V-shaped burrows with two entrances converging at one point
(e.) the owls seek out underground burrows with active wasps' nests, to help deter any mammals that would prey on their young
(f.) the owls express a preference for imported Swedish furniture with which to furnish their burrows, often camping out for hours before the grand opening of new stores offering such goods
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"Birdies par for the course" (Sacramento Bee, 6/16/07)
"At nest site No. 17, also known as the fifth-hole tee at Wildhorse Golf Course in Davis, Kimberly West had something of a birdie binge of her own. Volunteer bird counter West tallied nine burrowing owls, a state species of special concern....In the past few years...the bird's numbers have been largely stable in town because of the efforts of the Burrowing Owl Preservation Society...golf course managers and land use decisions that preserved open space."
(May require free registration.)
"Home on the range" (Taft Midway Driller, 6/15/07)
"Part of the elk population at the Tule Elk State Reserve north of Taft is being relocated to a new home to the west. The California Department of Fish and Game, aided by volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, took eight bulls from the reserve and moved them to a remote area in the southwest area of Carrizo Plain National Monument earlier this month. A similar operation is planned in mid July and a larger capture will move some of the cows and calves in the fall."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument biological resources" (BLM California. Bakersfield Field Office)
"Owls could lose land" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 6/16/07)
"On the heels of a proposal to shotgun owls competing with the northwest spotted owl, federal fish and wildlife managers this week suggested cutting the acreage labeled "critical habitat" for the owl by 1.5 million acres....But the proposal, which is subject to two months of public comment, is reigniting some of the oldest issues in the decadeslong debate about what protections should be in place to help the owl recover -- chiefly, whether old growth forest should be preserved for the sake of the owl."
"Number of birds in state declining" (Los Angeles Times, 6/15/07)
"Many bird species commonly found in California have suffered steep population declines, as much as 96%, part of a nationwide trend that is due in large part to diminished habitat, according to a study that for the first time combines 40 years of data."
(Free registration may be required.)
RELATED: "Some common birds get a lot less common" (Sacramento Bee, 6/15/07)
"Public alarm over dwindling U.S. bird populations has mostly focused on the ups and downs of a few relatively rare, hard-hit species -- the charismatic bald eagles, peregrine falcons and California condors. Researchers for the National Audubon Society released figures Thursday that they say illustrate a broader, less noticed problem: the steady decline of a variety of more common birds." Includes charts and photos.
(Free registration may be required.)
HISTORIC ROUTE 66
"Route 66 motel to be restored" (Victorville Daily Press, 6/15/07)
"Albert Okura, the businessman who bought and restored the original McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, formed a partnership Thursday to restore Roy’s motel, café and gas station on Route 66. The California Route 66 Preservation Foundation and the Bureau of Land Management made the announcement in the tiny community of Amboy, halfway between Barstow and Needles on Route 66."
"Route 66 partnership aims to restore historic landmark" (News.bytes Extra)
The California Route 66 Preservation Foundation, in association with the Bureau of Land Management's California Desert District, has announced a partnership with Albert Okura, owner of Roy’s Motel, Café and gas station in Amboy, to save and restore one of America’s most endangered historic places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation this week named historic Route 66 Motels as one of America’s "11 Most Endangered" historic resources.
"Route 66 hotels stamped historic" (USA Today, 6/15/07)
"The mom-and-pop motels along the two-lane highway through the Southwest are among 11 sites added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Naming a site historic does not give it any official protection." Said the president of the trust: "The list is intended to dramatize the different kinds of threats to different kinds of places in American history....Route 66 motels represent an important part of the American experience. Route 66 was the way West starting with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s until the arrivals of superhighways in the 1970s."
"Roy’s owner, preservation group form partnership" (Route 66 News, 6/15/07)
"[T]he partnership allows Okura to take advantage of the foundation’s partners — the Bureau of Land Management and San Bernardino County — to streamline the reopening process."
"National Trust names historic Route 66 motels one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" (National Trust for Historic Preservation news release, 6/14/07)
"It’s been called 'The Mother Road,' and 'America’s Main Street' and though it was officially designated as U.S. Highway 66 in 1927, most know it by its more familiar moniker: Route 66. This internationally-recognized American icon conjures images of 1950s family vacations with quirky roadside attractions and mom-and-pop motels. The nation’s first all-weather highway linking Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 gained fame as the shortest year-round route between the Midwest and the Pacific Coast...."
"Funny.bytes: Route 66 - The adventure" (BLM California website)
Take a cartoon drive along America's Mother Road, with our two road adventurers.
This is a repeat showing of a recent Funny.bytes -- an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Warning: soundtrack: you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.
WILDFIRE DANGER CONTINUES
"BLM special fire restrictions in Foothill Region" (BLM California news release, 6/15/07)
Due to extreme dry conditions, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is implementing fire restrictions on all BLM-managed public lands within the Folsom Field Office boundary. This includes BLM-managed public lands in Nevada, Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Mariposa Counties, a total of about 230,000 acres. The fire restrictions will be effective on Monday, June 18, 2007, and will remain effective until further notice.
BLM seasonal fire restrictions -- earlier announcements (BLM California news releases):
...in Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Trinity and Siskiyou counties:
...in Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Yolo, Colusa, Glenn and Solano counties.
...in the California desert:
...in Central California:
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during wildfire season.
"InciWeb - Incident Information System" (Interagency website)
Current information on wildfires and other emergencies, nationwide.
"Lawmakers vow to get funds back to reduce fire threat" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/20/07)
"As California braces for a potentially severe wildfire season, lawmakers on Capitol Hill say the federal government would spend less money on fighting fires if it spent more time and energy on preventing them....About 5 million homes exist in California's fire hazard areas, where population appears to grow faster than the statewide rate."
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Spreading trail network opens the land to all" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/16/07)
Editorial: "Ramblers of all stripes —horseback riders, mountain bikers, casual weekend dog-walkers — owe a debt of thanks to the Bureau of Land Management and the private bands of trail elves who have been opening new paths into some of the Redding area’s most scenic spots."
"BLM to begin improvement at Headwaters' Elk River Trail" (BLM California news release, 6/18/07)
Crews and heavy equipment will begin working on improvements to the Elk River Trail at the Headwaters Forest Reserve next week, resulting in a trail closure that will run from Monday, June 25 until Friday, July 20. Projects will include trail upgrades to make the route accessible for the disabled, stabilization work and improvements to stream crossings.
RELATED: "Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM California, Arcata Field Office)
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is 7,500 acres of public land located 6 miles southeast of Eureka. The reserve is set aside to protect and preserve the ecological and wildlife values in the area, particularly the stands of old-growth redwood that provide habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet, and the stream systems that provide habitat for threatened coho salmon. The northern end of the Headwaters Forest Reserve is open to the public for day use only, from dawn to dusk. The south end of the reserve can be accessed through guided hikes conducted between mid-May through mid-November.
"Riverside County rules frustrate off-roaders" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/17/07)
Sheriff says "off-roading is a major issue at every community meeting he attends....Enforcement is being stepped up in response to complaints....There is the lingering impression...that Riverside County is some remote 'cowboy' territory where anything goes....At the same time...he sympathizes with those who ask for accessible, legal places to ride....Mona Daniels, a Bureau of Land Management outdoor recreation planner, said there are trails in eastern Riverside County open to off-roaders on motorbikes, quads and the like. She said anyone who wants information about those trails may meet with a BLM recreation planner."
"County to fine trespassing OHVs" (Anderson Valley Post, 6/20/07)
"The hills of Telephone Gulch... just west of the Anderson City limits are streaked bald with trails from recreational off-highway vehicles (OHVs). Homeowners have complained to the county of OHV activity and of the dust clouds they kick up in the summertime. The area has also become an illegal dumping ground for appliances and abandoned vehicles. County agencies are working together to shut down illegal OHV activity in Shasta County...." As a legal alternative, "Approximately 10 miles northwest of Redding, the Chappie-Shasta OHV Area offers over 200 miles of trails for OHV use."
RELATED: "Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM California, Redding Field Office)
"The Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway area offers 200 miles of roads and trails over 52,000 acres for off-road enthusiasts. Elevation within this area ranges from 600 to 5000 feet with a wide variety of topography, soil, and vegetation types. The southeastern portions offer rocky and challenging terrain, while the more remote northwestern portions offer scenic views of Mt. Shasta, Lake Shasta, and the Trinity Alps."
"Visitor center's grand opening on tap" (Inyo Register, 6/18/07)
Two new visitor centers in the Eastern Sierra will be hold grand openings, Friday for the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and Saturday for the Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine. The BLM has been one of the partners in the Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine for more than 30 years.
"BLM launches effort to facilitate renewable energy development on federal lands" (BLM national news release, 6/13/07)
"In response to the increased national demand for clean renewable energy, the Bureau of Land Management announced it will prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) analyzing areas with high potential for geothermal energy development....The entire west is being considered, including areas in northwestern Nevada, northeastern California, and the Raft River Basin in Oregon."
"SDG&E: Consumer group plan 'crumbles under microscope'" (North County Times, 6/15/07)
"San Diego County's electric utility went on the offensive Friday in defending its proposed power line, saying a consumer group's alternate plan for keeping the lights on is a collection of 'Band-Aids and quick fixes' that won't significantly curb costs. The comments came as state regulators are reviewing a plan for San Diego Gas & Electric Sunrise Powerlink, a 150-mile superhighway of electricity that would run from El Centro to San Diego." BLM California is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the proposed power line.
RELATED: "Consumer group disputes SDG&E claim" (North County Times, 6/19/07)
"The head of a consumer watchdog group Tuesday defended the group's support for a $120 million alternative to the $1.3 billion power line San Diego Gas & Electric Co. wants to build across the desert and mountain backcountry. Responding to utility charges over the weekend that the group grossly underestimated costs, Michael Shames, executive director for the Utility Consumers' Action Network, stood by its $120 million estimate."
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"BLM releases proposed plans for Northeast California public lands" (BLM California news release, 6/15/07)
Proposed plans for the management of nearly three million acres of public land in northeast California and far northwest Nevada have been released by the Bureau of Land Management. The proposed resource management plans and final environmental impact statements contain broad guidance for resource conservation on lands managed by the agency’s Alturas, Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices. They address wide ranging topics and are intended to provide management guidance for 15 to 20 years. A public protest period begins Friday, June 15, and continues until Saturday, July 14, 2007.
"California to receive $21 million from Interior under federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program" (BLM California news release, 6/15/07)
California county governments with federal land in their jurisdictions will receive more than $21 million this year in compensation for forgone tax revenue, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today. Under the federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, a total of over $232 million is distributed to about 1,850 local governments whose jurisdictions contain tax-exempt federal lands.
"Yuba: Speed up process" (Marysville Appeal-Democrat, 6/20/07)
"The Yuba Goldfields remains a site of controversy, but the Yuba County Board of Supervisors is trying to speed up the legal process to clear it up." The board asked the Bureau of Land Management 'to encourage expediting the hearing process for the Yuba Goldfields legal dispute between the bureau and Western Aggregates....the county is anxious to resolve the dispute to 'increase recreation opportunities, improve roads, restore natural areas and establish a job training center for heavy equipment operators'."
"Stewardship Steering Committee to host range monitoring training" (BLM California news release, 6/18/07)
Members of the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Program will study rangeland monitoring techniques in a training program Friday, June 29, on public range areas near Cedarville. The daylong session is open to livestock grazing permit holders and anyone interested in learning about rangeland monitoring methods. Participants must provide their own high clearance vehicle, lunch and water.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) the owls line the entrance with material such as cow manure, insect parts, cotton, dead toads, plastic and tin foil
SOURCE: "Natural history of burrowing owls" (Oregon State University)
Information from the Burrowing Owl Research Program, in which BLM California's Bakersfield Field Office takes part: "Nest burrows are very distinctive because the owls line the entrance with material such as cow manure, insect parts, cotton, dead toads, plastic and tin foil."
PDF file, 375 kilobytes:
"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 - Athene cunicularia" (BLM California, California Desert District)
A species account written for the BLM's California Desert District office.
PDF file, 30 kilobytes:
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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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