A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 307 - 11/15/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Focus: Imperial Sand Dunes, continued
- Free offer: Imperial Sand Dunes poster
- Employee profile
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildlife and the Bay Area oil spill
- Wild horse and burro adoption this weekend
- Historic preservation: WWII Patton training camp
Wildfire recovery and prevention
- Fort Ord on TV
- Energy on and across public lands
- Recreation on public lands
- Volunteers: Happy Boulders
- Headlines and highlights: Yuba Goldfields emergency order, wilderness proposal, mining reform, more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: GeoCommunicator updated
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
From a photo by National Marine Mammal Laboratory
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
How long can a female Steller Sea Lion live in the wild?
(a.) 2 years
(b.) 5 years
(c.) 10 years
(d.) 20 years
(e.) 30 years
(f.) Just until Spring Break is over -- then they head back to college and hope their parents don't see them when the DVD comes out
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
Sea lions are among the marine life threatened by the recent large oil spill in San Francisco Bay -- see the following section:
OIL SPILL AND WILDLIFE
"Since the Cosco Busan container ship hit the Bay Bridge and dumped 58,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel oil into the bay, the deadly black goo has tarred thousands of birds and dozens of marine mammals..." The spill is also impacting the California Coastal National Monument, managed by the BLM.
"Spill puts hundreds of thousands of migrating birds at risk" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/07)
"As cleanup crews struggle to pick up the oil that ebbs and flows in San Francisco Bay, wildlife experts worry about the 1.6 million shorebirds and waterfowl that come here every winter like clockwork for the good food and the mild climate....the deadly black goo has tarred thousands of birds and dozens of marine mammals....Sea lions and harbor seals have also been exposed...." Links to photos, video and map.
"For birds coated with oil, a medical exam, then a wash" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/10/07)
The scoter -- a sea duck -- "became a victim of the calamity - though a relatively fortunate one. He was among the first 75 patients being treated at the center, which normally rehabilitates sick and injured birds but was forced into triage mode...to begin dealing with untold numbers of avian casualties." Includes almost a dozen photos, and a link to video.
"A group effort in care for oiled birds" (Marin Independent Journal, 11/13/07)
"To date, more than 120 oiled birds have been funneled through the center. Of that total, half arrived dead or had to be euthanized, two remain at the center for treatment and the others were prepped for cleaning elsewhere." Includes link to video of bird cleanup, and links to many related stories.
"Volunteers rush through training, start cleanup" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13/07)
Five days after the spill, volunteers could attend "two emergency training sessions...that condensed the usual three-day session into four hours. Pressure from the public...and from elected officials forced the state Department of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response to hold the sessions after the agency's toll-free volunteer number was inundated with callers." Includes "how to help" links -- "Some agencies may not need volunteers immediately but will need them after the first rush of interest fades."
"California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California website)
The BLM is working closely with oil spill response teams, to assess the impact of this oil spill on the California Coastal National Monument. Spanning the entire 1,100 mile length of the California coastline, the California Coastal National Monument is comprised of more than 20,000 BLM administered islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles. The Monument includes those public lands that are exposed above mean high tide, within the corridor extending 12 nautical miles from the shoreline between Mexico and Oregon.
Oil spill updates:
California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response has updates, press releases, maps and photos:
The U.S. Coast Guard has photos, news and information at:
University of California at Davis, Oiled Wildlife Care Network: posts updated bird casualty numbers:
WILD HORSE AND BURRO ADOPTION THIS WEEKEND
"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 BLM ’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.
RELATED: "Litchfield Corral adoption catalog" (BLM California website)
This web page includes the preview photos of the mustangs and burros available this weekend, as described in the news release above:
HISTORICAL PRESERVATION: Patton training camps
The Palm Springs Desert Sun stories include photos, a link to a 16-photo gallery, a map of the Desert Training Center, plus links to video of a veteran's recollections of the training and video of the General Patton Memorial Museum.
"Battle ready: How the desert helped win WWII" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/11/07)
"A vast expanse of unforgiving desert just east of the Coachella Valley helped save the world two generations ago. It was here in 1942, during some of the darkest days of World War II, that the Desert Training Center was created....museum supporters, as well as the federal Bureau of Land Management, are fighting to protect the last physical remnants of the desert's role in World War II."
"WWII museum kicks off $2M fundraising effort" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/11/07)
"Gen. George S. Patton's time in the desert comes to life through a treasure-trove of artifacts at the General Patton Memorial Museum off Interstate 10 at Chiriaco Summit, about 30 miles east of Indio. The museum opened on Veterans Day in 1988 and features not only items from the Desert Training Center and World War II but also other U.S. wars....Most of the remnants of the Desert Training Center are on BLM-managed land."
"What Patton achieved was 'monumental'" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/11/07)
"Though Gen. George S. Patton Jr. is known for a rough, tough, profanity-spewing, flamboyant image, his greatest accomplishments were as a trainer of troops. Patton's development of the Desert Training Center is a testimony to his training abilities - as is the gallant performance of the troops who went through the facility, said retired Army Lt. Col. Carlo D'Este." Said Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Rolla Queen, "You can literally go out in the desert and follow Patton's manual on training chapter by chapter."
"World War II Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area" (BLM California, Needles Field Office)
In the earliest days of World War II, when this Nation was thrust into the greatest global conflict the world has ever seen, the War Department realized the necessity for troops well trained under harsh conditions to withstand the rigors of battle over rough terrain and in inhospitable climates. A site near Shavers Summit (now known as Chiriaco Summit) between Indio and Desert Center, was selected as the headquarters of the Desert Training Center. This site, called Camp Young, was the world's largest Army post.
WILDFIRE RECOVERY AND PREVENTION
"BLM rescinds emergency closure of public lands in eastern San Diego County"(BLM California news release, 11/9/07)
The Bureau of Land Management has rescinded the emergency closure of public lands in the McCain Valley Conservation Area to include Cottonwood Campground, Lark Canyon Campground and Lark Canyon Day Use OHV Area as of Friday, November 9, 2007. Year-round fire restrictions apply to all public lands within the California Desert District regardless of stage restrictions and are applicable year round.
"Editorial: Ideas for fire-safe developments are no secret" (Sacramento Bee, 11/9/07)
"Now that the Southern California fires of October are contained, after burning nearly 1,800 houses and 490,000 acres, Californians are continuing to assess some of the lessons learned....In the past, these areas caught fire every decade. If people continue to build in what is called the 'wildland/urban interface,' the edges of naturally fire-prone forests and dry grasslands, they have to learn to live with the risk of fire. Protection from wildfire, as the commission noted in 2004, cannot simply rely on increased funding for equipment and firefighters."
"California Fire Safe Council"
Information on protecting your home and your community from wildfire. Click on the link, "Info for homeowners" to download brochures on getting ready for fire season, fire-safe landscaping and more. The Fire Safe Council includes 50 public and private organizations, with major support from the Bureau of Land Management.
"Prioritizing fire prevention" (Sierra Sun, 11/8/07)
"Evaluating risky hot spots around the county, the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is prioritizing fire-prevention projects in its search for funding.....the council is asking county residents what they see as important enough to protect....To tackle fuels-reduction projects more aggressively...the council is now setting priorities as it applies for grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management...."
"Many agencies support Southern California burn assessment" (Federal Emergency Management Agency news release, 11/10/07)
"More than a dozen federal, state and local agencies" including the BLM "are pulling together to inventory the scorched earth of Southern California from the recent wildfires. Their goal is to assess burned areas and prescribe treatments to lessen threats to life and property from rainy season flooding and debris flows. Teams of foresters, biologists, hydrologists, engineers, and other technical experts" are examining land as part of 10 Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams.
FORT ORD ON TV
"Bay Area Backroads: Fort Ord" (Bay Area Backroads, 11/10/07)
"Fort Ord served as a training ground for troops in every conflict from World War II to Desert Storm. The base was closed in 1994. Now it’s gradually being converted to civilian use and many civilians -- myself included -- are discovering a previously hidden outdoor treasure....'The entire base was about 28,000 acres, which is about 3,000 acres larger than the entire city of San Francisco' says Eric Morgan, Fort Ord Manager for the Federal Bureau of Land Management, or BLM. Eventually, more than half of the old base will be turned over to the BLM to be preserved as open space." Includes links to more information about the area, plus a video, "Big Sur drive trip."
"Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office)
Links to a variety of information.
ENERGY ON OR ACROSS PUBLIC LANDS
"BLM asks for oil industry expressions of interest" (BLM California news release, 11/14/07)
The BLM is planning for upcoming competitive oil and gas lease sales and is required by law to periodically lease federal land for oil and gas exploration and development. One way BLM learns of parcels that may be offered for lease is directly from the oil and gas industry through the expression of interest.
"BLM announces availability of oil and gas lease auction environmental assessment" (BLM California news release, 11/12/07)
The Bureau of Land Management has completed the environmental assessment for the oil and gas lease auction scheduled for March 12, 2008. A 30-day public review and comment period runs from November 13, 2007 to December 13, 2007.
"Power links in peril?" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/13/07)
"As fires raced across Southern California last month, San Diego Gas & Electric officials feared the blazes would cause a worst-case scenario: severing the county from the U.S. electricity power grid....The local utility has previously characterized San Diego's vulnerability to transmission disruptions as so severe that it proposes to build another major power line, the controversial $1.5 billion Sunrise Powerlink, which would cross many of the areas that burned in the wildfires."
RELATED: "Line opponents' new reports cite fires" (North County Times, 11/12/07)
"Opponents of a power line proposed for the North County backcountry filed reports over the weekend charging that this fall's wildfires illustrated dramatically the need to scrap the $1.3 billion line....blazes knocked out both of the existing major transmission lines that bring electricity into the county...and all of the wires that come in from the east via the Southwest Powerlink near Interstate 8. Meanwhile, the 198,000-acre Witch Creek fire tore through the territory that would be crossed by the proposed Sunrise Powerlink wires."
RELATED: "Power lines get little priority in fire prevention" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/11/07)
Preventing fires caused by downed or arcing power lines is given so little priority that no one organization – not utilities, fire departments or regulators – is responsible for creating and enforcing a comprehensive strategy to try to solve the problem....In its application before regulators, SDG&E said the fire risk from the Sunrise project would be 'less than significant.'"
"Stirling takes the Fifth" (Renewable Energy Access.com, 11/12/07)
Writer relates her problems trying to get information on a solar energy project from Stirling Energy Systems. An employee told her "that the company was about to submit a plan to the Bureau of Land Management for permits to build its solar dishes on about 5,000 acres of public land in Imperial County, which are needed for the SDG&E deal. He was unable to provide an update on the Edison-Stirling deal, saying it apparently was hung up on transmission issues."
"New power plant planned at Geysers" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 11/1507)
"ThermaSource, a Santa Rosa geothermal company, has won a contract to drill wells that would supply steam to a new power plant projected to begin operations in 2010 at The Geysers." The BLM manages geothermal leases at the Geysers field in Lake and Sonoma counties.
RELATED: "Geothermal energy" (BLM California website)
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Recreation Resource Advisory Committee holds its first meeting" (News.bytes Extra)
The Pacific Southwest Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) held its first meeting on November 5 and 6 in Sacramento. The RRAC is a citizen's Federal Advisory Committee that provides recommendations on creating new or changing existing recreation fees managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in California. Their next meeting is planned for Jan. 14-15 in southern California.
"Stay on target" (Napa Valley Register, 11/15/07)
"Pickin’s are slim for target shooters in Napa County. There’s the Napa Gun Club and some land owned by the Bureau of Land Management where target shooting is permitted....Shooters must bring their own targets and remove the debris when they leave. BLM Park Ranger Larry Ames said this rules out any glass targets, since you can’t clean up all of the glass and you’d be shattering if you left it behind. He said target shooters must clean up their used shells, too."
"Fall fowl: Fall turkey hunts take shooters far afield" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/11/07)
"The key to the 16-day fall season -- which opened Saturday and runs through Nov. 25 -- is stalking. Work your favorite area, always on the lookout for a flock....In the north state, hunters can try their luck on public lands, including the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service."
(Site may require free registration.)
"Pheasant hunts open" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/11/07)
"Time is running out for junior and women hunters who want to bag a couple of pheasant during one of the most popular north state shooting events. The Shasta County Sportsmen's Association, in conjunction with the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, will sponsor its junior and women's pheasant hunts this fall at the Bend Area of the Sacramento River Recreation Area. The junior hunt is set for Nov. 17 and 18; the women's only hunt is Dec. 1."
"Outdoors briefs: Space available for disabled pheasant hunt" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/15/07)
"A few slots are open for disabled hunters who would like to bag a couple of pheasant Dec. 2. The Shasta County Sportsmen's Association, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, will sponsor its first disabled pheasant hunt at the Bend Area of the Sacramento River Recreation Area."
"Hunters hope to hone in on holiday birds" (Sonora Union Democrat, 11/9/07)
"In California -- in all counties except San Diego -- wild turkey hunting season opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 25.... 'I believe that near New Melones Lake, on the south side near Tuttletown ramp, there is some good BLM land that is accessible,' said an outdoorsman.... Hunters are wise, before taking to the field, to refer to the proper regulations from the DFG. Call 916-445-0411 for more information or visit the Web site www.dfg.ca.gov."
"Guide to hunting wild turkeys in California" (California Department of Fish and Game)
PDF file, 5.5 megabytes, 44 pages:
"Happy Boulders Trail Project" (BLM California volunteer program)
On November 4, a small group of volunteers took part in the "Coffee with a BLM Ranger/Happy Boulders Trail Project." American Alpine Club provided coffee for the participants, while the BLM provided tools and direction for maintenance of the Happy Boulders Hiking Trail.
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"Goldfields off-limits to off-road vehicles" (Marysville Appeal-Democrat, 11/15/07)
"The federal Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday 'temporarily' closed 160 acres of land in the Yuba Goldfields to off-road recreational vehicles, citing damage to salmon and steelhead trout spawning grounds in the Yuba River. The vehicles, apparently Quad Runners and possibly pickups, have been entering shallow, gravel-bottomed waters on the north and south sides of the river where fish spawn...."
RELATED: "Portions of Yuba Goldfields closed to off-highway vehicles" (BLM California news release, 11/13/07)
An emergency order was issued today by the Bureau of Land Management temporarily closing 160 acres of public land in the Yuba Goldfields area in Yuba County to the use of off-highway vehicles to protect threatened anadramous fish. It has been found that recreational off-road vehicles are entering the river area and damaging critical habitat, including spawning areas.
"Protection sought for Joshua Tree wilderness" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/14/07)
"About 200,000 acres of public land in and around the Coachella Valley would be designated as wilderness areas under a bill the House is considering. Such a designation provides the highest level of protection under federal law....The legislation would expand the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and designate nearly 40,000 acres in Joshua Tree National Park for conservation."
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
"Kern River Valley revitalization report; BLM warns of mining scam in Kern Valley" (Kern Valley Sun, 11/15/07)
"Gregg Wilkerson of the BLM said that three companies have started mining scams around the lake, where they stake mining claims on BLM and Forest Service land and then advertise them on eBay as vacation retreat property, misusing the mining law. This has created many problems for BLM and the people who have been duped by this scam, and residents are asked to beware of these advertised properties, as a mining claim is only good for extraction of the minerals on the land; a mining claim does not include ownership of the property."
"Mining reform misses county" (Hollister Pinnacle, 11/9/07)
"When the General Mining Act of 1872 was passed into law, mining activities in the West consisted of a man with a pick ax and a mule. Today, mining is a multi-billion dollar industry.... There are 19 active mines in San Benito County, said Byron Turner, planner for San Benito County. No mines in the county are governed by the Mining Act....the royalties would help pay to clean up after hard rock mining operations....The EPA estimates that there are about half a million abandoned mines on Bureau of Land Management Land, 35,000 on Forest Service land, and 2,500 on National Park Land...."
"Tulare County is No. 5 for seized pot" (Visalia Times-Delta, 11/14/07)
"Seizures of marijuana plants have reached record levels in California and Tulare County..." Of 330,984 plant seized in Tulare County, "most -- nearly 151,000 marijuana plants -- were found on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land" said Tulare County Sheriff's Capt. Dahl Cleek, "while more than 129,000 were found on U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service land."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:
November 17-18 - Junior pheasant hunt
November 18 - Randall Henderson trail hike
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS
"BLM enhances features and look of GeoCommunicator website"(BLM national news release, 11/9/07)
“Based on customer feedback, the bureau has given its popular NILS GeoCommunicator Website a bold new look,” said Michael D. (Mike) Nedd, the BLM’s assistant director for minerals, realty, and resource protection. “Through this redesign, the Website is now easier for navigating and finding the information that is most important to our users. The Website has also added many new features in response to the president’s Energy Policy Act of 2005, helping to ensure an even greater online experience for our users.”
GeoCommunicator is sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service. GeoCommunicator is the publication site for the Bureau of Land Management's National Integrated Land System (NILS).
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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