A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 306 - 11/7/07

Burrowing owl outside a storm drain Ashley and her new burro inspect each other Point Loma commander and BLM California state director shake hands after signing the agreement Mustang at the Litchfield Corral - available for adoption BLM California's Eric Morgan, manager of the Fort Ord public lands

- Energy transport corridor designations
- Alternative energy on public lands
- Funny.bytes revisited: Milt and Sandy
- Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - California energy and public lands workshop
      - Test your BLM knowledge with our online quiz
- Wild horse and burro adoptions:
      - Ashley finds her burro
      - Preview photos online
- Recreation on public lands
- Wildfire aftereffects
- Headlines and highlights: Piedras plans, mine cleanup, Navy agreement, reward, plants, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Agencies public draft environmental impact statement on energy transport corridor designations in 11 western states" (BLM news release, 11/8/07)
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and Defense today released for public review and comment a draft programmatic environmental impact statement proposing designation of energy transport corridors on federal lands in 11 western states in accordance with Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The proposed energy corridors would facilitate future siting of oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution on federal lands in the West to help address growing energy demand while protecting the environment.

"View/download individual state right of way base maps" (West-wide energy corridor programmatic EIS information center)
View or download state base maps -- including California -- "that highlight which Proposed Section 368 Energy Corridors follow existing transportation and utility rights of way across each of the eleven Western States. These maps also show federal land ownership, state and Tribal lands, major topographic features, cities and towns, and major roads and highways." Maps are in PDF format, and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

"West-wide energy corridor programmatic EIS information center"
Links to more information.


"Solar plant to be built near Nevada border" (Victorville Daily Press, 11/3/07)
"The California Energy Commission accepted an application Thursday from BrightSource Energy Inc. to build a 300-megawatt solar generating complex on Ivanpah Dry Lake near the Nevada border. If approved, the Ivanpah facility will be the first large solar energy plant built in the state since 1991, according to a statement from the commission....Ivanpah was chosen due to its proximity to power transmission lines and the availability of 200 acres of flat desert space. The site will be leased from the Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "BLM announces intent to prepare Environmental Impact Statement for solar energy project" (BLM California news release, 11/6/07)
The proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System consists of three concentrating solar-powered steam, electricity generating plants and related facilities, covering about 3,400 acres of public lands in San Bernardino County, 4.5 miles southwest of Primm, Nev.  The project proposes to produce between 100 and 400 megawatts and consists of four applications to BLM for rights-of-way (ROW) for use of the public lands...."

"Latest U.S. energy plan: Use power of oceans" (McClatchy Newspapers in Contra Costa Times)
"The federal government is entertaining bids beginning this week for companies to put testing equipment, such as meteorological towers, in the ocean waters to gather data on wind, wave or current energy.... The sight of rows of spinning wind turbines has become a common one in flat, blustery locales such as Oklahoma and parts of California. If the Interior's plan comes to fruition, such a sight could be seen offshore as well....wave energy has the most potential on the Pacific Coast, between Washington and Northern California, said Interior officials Monday."
(Site may require free registration.)

RELATED: "The Interior Department releases alternative energy environmental impact statement and announces offshore alternative energy initiative" (Department of the Interior news release, 11/5/07)
"Offshore Alternative Energy is a new and highly anticipated frontier for the nation, as well as a new regulatory program for the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Service," Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said. "This is an important step in fostering a new industry offshore that will diversify our Nation’s power supplies and open up new avenues to supply renewable energy to areas that may otherwise have limited options onshore."

Funny.bytes graphicFunny.bytes Milt and Sandy: BLM ranger with off-roadersFUNNY.BYTES revisited: "Milt and Sandy"
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Note: this link will use the Macromedia/Adobe "Flash" plug-in of your web browser. Warning: soundtrack - you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.


"Dune smart: Wear your gear" (Yuma Sun, 11/4/07)
"Sand dunes can be hard and they change from week to week because of blowing winds, so the best advice for duners is to cover their head and limbs with protective gear, said Lori Vandersloot, director of emergency services at Yuma Regional Medical Center. She cautioned that variable weather conditions can turn what was once a sand dune into a pit. 'We've had people say, "'I just went over a hill and there was nothing there"....'"

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California, El Centro Field Office)

"Our opinion: We need to use our dunes wisely" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/31/07)
"Twenty years ago there might have been 25,000 people using the dunes on a big weekend. Now there might be 10 times that number, according to some estimates. With so many people crowded into such a small area...there is going to be trouble sometimes....If Imperial County residents using the dunes are abusing substances or otherwise behaving unsafely, it only will reinforce the stereotypes about our people and our area. So if you are a local who uses the dunes, be wise."

"Nine arrests made during dunes season-opening weekend" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/30/07)
"Authorities arrested nine people since the past weekend as more than an estimated 50,000 revelers arrived at the Imperial County Sand Dunes Recreational Area, an official said....About 150 officers with both the federal government and agencies in the Imperial Valley have beefed up the ranks to oversee the crowds...."


"Board of supervisors: Illegal dump sites found" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/7/07)
"Daphne Greene, the state’s deputy director of off-highway motor vehicle recreation, during a presentation Tuesday said...because of the high number of visitors that recreate in Imperial County for off-highway vehicle purposes...the grant requests by the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management El Centro Sector will likely be fully met. The Sheriff’s Office requested $500,000 in OHV funding and the BLM requested $495,000."


Burrowing owl outside a storm drain
Thumbnail from a photo by U.S. Geological Survey

One way to learn about owls is to examine "pellets." What are pellets, and what can they tell us?
(a.) Pellets are tiny round balls of feather bits that stick together as the owl grooms itself; chemical analysis can tell us what pollutants the owl has been exposed to.
(b.) Pellets are round bits of excrement; they can tell us what the owl eats.
(c.) Pellets are round growths on the backs of young owls' legs, which fall off as they age; scientists do not know yet what they can tell us.
(d.) Pellets are bits of prey that owls cannot digest and regurgitate, they can tell us what the owl eats.
(e.) Pellets are round balls of mud that burrowing owls use to build up the entrance to their burrows; the type of dirt in these pellets can help determine how wide a particular owl's range is.
(f.) Pellets are the hides of animals that owls leave around their burrows, that tell us how large the prey they can overcome.
(g.) Pellets are compressed sawdust, ground up corncobs, or other combustible materials including wheat, sunflower seeds and even cherry pits; they can tell us how this owl heats its burrow.

------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

California energy and public lands workshop

BLM and the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project announce the upcoming Energy and Public Lands Workshop to be held in Auberry. Classroom teachers (K-12) will have a unique opportunity to learn energy in a fun and exciting way! The workshop will be held November 16, 2007. To register, fax the form -- at the link below -- by Nov. 9 - that's Friday.
PDF file, 160 kilobytes:

Test your knowledge...
...of BLM California. Who designates BLM's National Conservation Areas. To check your answer in our online interactive quiz, see the BLM California homepage:


Ashley and her new burro inspect each other"Ashley takes home a new burro" (News.bytes Extra)
The morning was sunny and calm, the rising sun peaking through a row of trees. Horses and burros grazed quietly in the Bureau of Land Management adoption pens in Colusa. It was a perfect, quiet time for 11-year-old Ashley to ponder one of the biggest decisions of her life: which burro would become her very own?

"BLM offers horses, burros for adoption at Litchfield corrals" (BLM California news release, 10/31/07)
Wild horses and burros, healthy and ready to train, will be offered for public adoption Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Bureau of Land Management’s Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, 20 miles east of Susanville. Gates open at 8 a.m. and the event begins at 9 a.m. with an hour of silent bidding. Animals not taken during bidding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for a $125 adoption fee. The BLM will offer 20 weanling colts and fillies, plus five mares and five geldings between 2 and 5 years old and 10 burros.

"Prospective horse, burro adopters can preview animals online" (BLM California news release, 11/6/07)
Horse and burro enthusiasts considering adopting an animal from an upcoming Bureau of Land Management adoption event in northern California can use the Internet to get a preview look at nearly 40 available animals. Photos of most of the mustangs and burros available on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Litchfield, Calif. corrals are posted online -- just follow the link.

Mustang at the Litchfield Corral - available for adoptionTwo burros available for adoption at the Litchfield CorralsRELATED: "Litchfield Corral adoption catalog" (BLM California website)
This web page includes the preview photos of the mustangs and burros available Nov. 17, as described in the news release above.


"Paradise Lost" (Forbes, 11/12/07 edition)
"Wild and windswept, a remote stretch of California coastline draws surfers who want to rise above the ordinary....The wildest stretch of U.S. shoreline south of Alaska is California's lost coast, a 25-mile-long burl of rock thrust into, and pounded by, the Pacific. Its craggy coves host the best point break in North America -- best, if not for its giant, peeling surf and nearby mountain peaks, then for its lack of competing surfers....The only way to get here, other than by boat, is to hike 9 miles of shoreline serrated by cliffs and impassable at high tide. Nine miles is a long way to lug a surfboard on your back (plus camping equipment)."

RELATED: "Welcome to the King Range National Conservation Area 'The Lost Coast'" (BLM California, Arcata Field Office)

"BLM waives recreation-related fees for veterans on Veterans Day" (BLM California news release, 11/5/07)
The Bureau of Land Management will waive recreation-related fees for veterans and military personnel, along with their families, on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11. BLM Director Jim Caswell, a Vietnam veteran, encouraged veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces to recreate on BLM-managed or other federal lands on November 11, saying, “This is a small, but special way of saying thanks to all who have served or are currently serving to defend our country and safeguard our liberties.”

"Closure extended on Cleveland National Forest" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/2/07)
"Waterfowl hunting will resume at Barrett and Sutherland lakes this week. That's the good news. The bad news is the U.S. Forest Service has extended the closure of Cleveland National Forest lands and recreation facilities because of this weekend's predicted Santa Ana winds and continued fire danger in Southern California....With Bureau of Land Management lands also closed, hunters, hikers and other outdoorsmen and women have reduced options for recreation at least until the agencies reopen the lands. Thus far, four fires have scorched large tracts of the Cleveland National Forest here and in Orange County."


Site manager and volunteer at the Piedras Blancas Lighstation"BLM plan lights the way at Piedras Blancas Light Station" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11/1/07)
"Management plan calls for more public tours and lays out ways to restore structures and prevent shoreline erosion."

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)

Carrizo Plain Advisory Committee members discuss planning issues while on a tour of the monument"Partners join for Carrizo planning tour" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management and the managing partners of the Carrizo Plain National Monument -- The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game -- in conjunction with the Monument Advisory Committee, toured the east side of the monument to see and discuss the varied resources as part of the planning process.

"BLM will hold public meeting on Oathill Extension Mine cleanup" (BLM California news release, 11/7/07)
Proposed cleanup plans for the Oat Hill Extension Mercury Mine near the Napa-Lake county line will be discussed at the meeting Nov. 14. Officials from the U. S. Bureau of Land Management will explain the mercury contamination issues at the mine, describe removal alternatives, discuss engineering evaluations and present cost analysis information.  Public comments will be accepted.


"Concern shifting from fire to erosion" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/7/07)
"Act 1: the fire. Act 2: the rain. Efforts are under way to help minimize soil erosion and flows of mud and debris that could occur when rain pelts areas denuded by the recent infernos....Federal agencies plan to begin their emergency stabilization work at...Indian reservations in North County....After finishing their work on tribal lands, the erosion specialists will focus on properties managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management."

"Frequent fires slow nature's rebound time" (Los Angeles Times, 11/4/07)
"Wildfires that tore through more than half a million acres in Southern California have left hundreds of homes vulnerable to mudslides and may have wiped out critical habitat for fast-dwindling species, wildlife and emergency management officials said....Federal and local authorities are scrambling to stabilize hillsides before winter rain arrives, hoping to prevent landslides...."

"Lassen Volcanic National Park plans to ignite 100 acres" (Lassen County News, 11/8/07)
"The National Park Service, with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, plans to ignite a 100-acre portion of the Stonehenge unit on Thursday, Nov. 8, depending on weather conditions.... Superintendent Darlene Koontz said, "The national policy of using fire as a tool will help decrease risks to life, property and protect natural and cultural resources.'"

"Public hearing today on fire safety in county" (Nevada City Union, 11/8/07)
"Residents can meet with fire officials tonight to identify areas of concern as part of a plan being developed by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County." The BLM helps fund the council, as well as many others throughout the state.


"BLM needs information on hazardous waste dumping at Cow Mountain" (BLM California news release, 11/6/07)
Officials at the U. S. Bureau of Land Management are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for dumping a petroleum product into a drainage culvert at South Cow Mountain east of Ukiah.

RELATED: "Cow Mountain Recreation Area" (BLM California, Ukiah Field Office)

Point Loma commander and BLM California state director shake hands after signing the agreement"Point Loma Naval Base joins BLM in coastal protection" (News.bytes Extra)
On a rocky bluff overlooking the scenic Pacific Ocean near San Diego, BLM State Director Mike Pool joined Navy Rear Admiral Len Hering to sign a joint agreement to strengthen protection of the federally-managed rocks and islands near the Point Loma Naval Base.

"Plant explorations in Yolo County" (Woodland Daily Democrat, 11/6/07)
"Although botanists have been collecting herbarium specimens in and around the Cache and Putah Creek watersheds for about 150 years, there are still botanical discoveries to be made" such as at "the Payne Ranch in southern Colusa County," managed by the BLM. "This wonderful place, just south of Bear Valley...is special, because large sections of the ranch have...a generally inhospitable plant environment. Many native California plants have adapted to tolerate such soils, whereas most non-native plants have not."

RELATED: "Paynes Creek" (BLM California, Redding Field Office)

"Folsom teen earns Eagle Scout honor" (Sacramento Bee, 11/1/07)
For his Eagle Scout project, teen helped "re-establish the property boundaries of Chung Wah Cemetery, a 2.5-acre national historical monument in Old Folsom....The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Folsom donated 150 T-posts needed to complete the project, and parents of Troop 134 members donated most of the necessary tools, including gloves and pliers...."

"Award presented for Granite Launch" (News.bytes Extra)
Back in News.byes issue 289, we showed the Granite Launch project on the lower Kern River that won an award for its innovative design and other criteria. The award was presented last month at the States Organization for Boating Access national conference in Idaho.

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

BLM California's Eric Morgan, manager of the Fort Ord public landsEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Eric Morgan...
...is the Fort Ord project manager for BLM California's Hollister Field Office. He came to the job because he heard about the great things that were happening at Fort Ord, and wanted to be part of it. Read more:

RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands " (BLM California, Hollister Field Office)
On some of the last undeveloped natural, public lands on the Monterey Peninsula, the BLM protects and manages 35 species of rare plants and animals and their native coastal habitats.  While habitat preservation and enhancement are primary missions at Fort Ord, there are also more than 50 miles of trails for the public to explore on foot, on bike or on horseback.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

November 10-11 - Guided hikes
Headwaters Forest Reserve

November 10 - In the woods, campfire program
Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Palm Desert

November 10-11 - Randall Henderson Trail hike
Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Palm Desert

November 14 - Public meeting, Oathill Extension Mine cleanup

...and more!

NATIONAL: 1872 Mining law

"House toughens mining standards" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/2/07)
"It could get tougher to mine for gold and other hard-rock minerals near Joshua Tree National Park if legislation passed by the House on Thursday becomes law. The 244-166 vote on the Hard-rock Mining and Reclamation Act was hailed by environmentalists and others who have been pushing for decades to reform the 1872 mining law governing the mining industry....Riverside County has gold, iron and gypsum deposits, according to Marc Springer, a geologist for the Bureau of Land Management in California."

"Mining law overhaul has prospects" (Los Angeles Times, 11/2/07)
"When a law was passed in 1872 to let miners extract minerals virtually for free from federal lands, it was meant to promote settlement of the West. With that goal long since accomplished, the House voted 244-166 on Thursday to overhaul the 135-year-old law, adding protections for the environment and, for the first time, requiring miners to pay royalties for the gold, silver, copper, uranium and other minerals they extract from public lands. The White House has threatened to veto the bill but also signaled willingness to negotiate."

"Reid seen as pivotal in debate over mining fees" (Gannett News Service in USA Today, 11/6/07)
"The mining industry likes to boast it helped build the West. Now they're threatening to leave if Congress makes them pay too much for minerals they've always extracted for free. At issue: a proposal in Congress to make mining companies pay a 4% royalty for billions of dollars worth of gold, copper and other minerals taken from public lands."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Pellets are bits of prey that owls cannot digest and regurgitate, they can tell us what the owl eats.

SOURCE: "Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia" (BLM California wildlife database)
One way to learn about what owls eat is to examine "pellets." Pellets are comprised of prey remains that the owl cannot digest. These remains, bones for example, are regurgitated in the form of pellets.
Includes links to sites with more information.


IN THE NEWS: "Scouts come to owls' defense" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/5/07)
"Richard Aldersley is doing his part to protect local burrowing owls -- and hoping to earn the rank of Eagle Scout while he's at it. As part of his Eagle Scout project, the 17-year-old Murrieta resident and a crew of about 10 scouts built 10 nesting boxes and, on Saturday, buried them on Riverside County Regional Park District land near Lake Skinner east of Temecula." Burrowing Owls in the western United States are only rarely known to construct their own burrows. Story includes photos, plus link to video report.
(Site may require free registration.)

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News.bytes published by
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