A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 318 - 2/13/08

Horses head up a rocky trail Flowers in the monument - see - the photo is online at the Palm Springs Desert Sun Kirk Halford at a salt tram Anna's hummingbird, from a photo by U.S. Forest Service OHV pulls away a rusting junk car

- BLM-California employee wins national award
- Wildflowers in southern California
- More recreation on public lands
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros:
      - Taking to the rocky trail
      - Upcoming adoption event
- Volunteers clean up
- Looting the historical record
- Headlines and highlights:
      - High Desert goes Hollywood
      - Furnace Creek
      - Emergency drill
      - Grazing fee
      - Jobs
      - and more...
- Meet your Advisory Council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Kirk Halford at a salt tramEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Kirk Halford ...
...of BLM-California's Bishop Field Office received the award for "Outstanding Public Land Professional" from the Public Lands Foundation in Washington, D.C. on February 7. The award recognized his many years of service in cultural resource management. Read more about his full and varied career in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile::

"Kirk Halford - 'Outstanding Public Land Professional'" (News.bytes Extra)
Photo from the award ceremony, and part of the story behind the award.

"National Public Lands Foundation honors BLM employees for special professional achievement" (BLM national news release, 2/7/08)
Bureau of Land Management Director Jim Caswell recognized two BLM employees at a Washington, D.C., reception held by the Public Lands Foundation, which presented national awards to the recipients for their dedication and professionalism in public lands management. Dennis Stenger, recently retired from the BLM in Wyoming, was named Outstanding Public Lands Professional Manager for 2007 and Kirk Halford, lead archaeologist in the BLM’s Bishop, California, Field Office since 1994, was named Outstanding Public Lands Professional Technician for 2007.

WILDFLOWERS: Southern California

Flowers in the monument - see - the photo is online at the Palm Springs Desert Sun"Valley may be awash in color" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/7/08)
"The recent rainfall in the valley has caused its share of problems - but also brought with it the promise of a colorful spring. 'We've had enough rain to have a good wildflower year,' said Jim Cornett....'We're going to start seeing a lot of flowers by Feb. 15.'....The National Monument visitors center on Highway 74 is holding a wildflower celebration event Feb. 16 and guided walks every Friday in March. Several plants near the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center are starting to bloom, including cacti, chuparosa, brittlebush and desert lavender, Program Director Scott Segal said."

RELATED: "Wildflower Celebration 2008" (Friends of the Desert Mountains)
"The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center will be the location of a fun, free event for outdoor enthusiasts and family members of all ages to participate in on Saturday, February 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With the theme of 'Come Meet the Sunflower Family', the free event will feature wildflower-related photography, & plant workshops, guided hikes & nature walks, live music, plein air artists, wildflower illustrations, frontier displays, live animals, and book signings by renowned local authors."

RELATED: "Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

Wildflower in the Dumont Dunes with more scattered flowers in the backgroundWildflower reports for Southern California parks 2008" (Desert USA)
"On February 7 we went to the Dumont Dunes, north of Baker. We wanted to walk across and photograph the dunes....We continued on to the south end of the dunes where there was a spectacular field of flowers, desert sunflower, sand verbena and dune evening primrose. These flowers had the dunes in the background as a nice photo subject. Pictures below. A word to the wise. Dumont Dunes is for ATVs...." The writer also notes that the flowers last week were in a limited area. "Other nearby areas had no flowers."

RELATED: "Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM-California, Barstow Field Office)
This is is "an exciting and remote area for off-highway vehicle recreation." The vegetation here consists of creosote scrub, some annual grasses, and  wildflowers in the spring. The low elevation in the area makes for warm to extremely hot conditions in spring and summer. Early spring wildflower displays in this vicinity can be quite impressive.


Leading a hike"Guided hikes let you enjoy seeing nature with pals" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/7/08)
"Segal is the charismatic leader of Thursday Morning Hikes, a free activity hosted by Friends of the Desert Mountains. It's a little bit of a workout, a little bit of a nature lesson, and a lot of fun. The weekly guided hikes begin at 8:30 a.m. through April. During the hotter months (May through September), hikes start at 6 a.m. All hikes begin at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center on Highway 74 in Palm Desert, four miles south of Highway 111."

"Trail of the week" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/12/08)
"The Bradshaw Trail is located in Southeastern Riverside County, with a small segment in Imperial County. This east-west trail begins about 12 miles east of the community of North Shore near the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Its eastern end is about 14 miles southwest of Blythe near the Colorado River and runs 70 miles....For more information, contact: Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office...."


Anna's hummingbird, from a photo by U.S. Forest Service

How did Anna's hummingbird get its name?
(a.) It was discovered by an ornithologist who admired the painter Anna Mary Robertson -- better known as "Grandma Moses"
(b.) It was named after an amateur birdwatcher who first brought it to the attention of her ornithologist neighbor
(c.) It was named after an ornithologist's hairdresser with very quick styling skills
(d.) It was named after an Italian duchess whose husband had it in his collection
(e.) It was named after a ballerina of the 19th century famed for her delicate grace
(f.) Because of its unusual shape, it was named after Anne Boleyn -- who was rumored to have six fingers
(g.) It was named after the restaurant where the ornithologist who discovered it first ate a "real" meal, after camping out in the wilderness for a month with only camp food

------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes...and with it, links to more information -- including just-published information confirming that hummingbirds chirp with their tails.


Horses head up a rocky trailA high point on the trip"Mustangs and a mule take to the rocky trail" (News.bytes Extra)
Mustangs have a reputation for endurance and Mark Montgomery thinks they’ve earned it. From July 8 to August 1, he took a pack string with five mustangs and one mule from Yosemite National Park to Horseshoe Meadows southeast of Mount Whitney, a 240-mile trip, without incident. “We were on a real rocky trail each day from 8,000 to 13,000 feet,” he said.

"BLM offers horses, burros for adoption at Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals" (BLM-California news release, 1/30/08)
Wild horses and burros, healthy and ready to train, will be offered for public adoption Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Bureau of Land Management’s Ridgecrest  Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals. The BLM will offer 40 weanling colts and fillies, mares and geldings between 2 and 5 years old, plus 10 burros -- five jennies and five jacks.  Free delivery within 200 miles of the facility is offered during this adoption. This is a special fee wild horse adoption.  Mares will be $25 each and weanlings, $75 each, or $50 each for two or more.

RELATED: "Wild horse and burro adoption at the Ridgecrest Corrals - February 23, 2008" (Repeated from last week's News.bytes)
Hear about the adoption here. (Follow the link, then "mouse over" the thumbnail photo of the horse once, to start the sound -- click on it to stop).

"Tough breeds of livestock disappearing: Saving them before it is too late" (Science Daily, 2/13/08)
Phil Sponenberg, professor of veterinary medicine, "has spent more than 30 years working to make sure certain living pieces of history -- some dating to the 15th century -- don’t become extinct. Sponenberg's brand of living history comes in the form of various rare strains of livestock, which were involved in events like Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Caribbean Islands and the Spanish conquest of the Americas....The Bureau of Land Management contacts him to identify Spanish-type horses in wild herds to help the bureau conserve the horses."


OHV pulls away a rusting junk carA volunteer picks up trash"Volunteers clean up with BLM at Surprise Canyon" (News.bytes extra)
Earlier this month, 69 volunteers from many organizations plus 13 Student Conservation Association interns came together for the second cleanup of the Chris Wicht Camp, in Surprise Canyon of the Panamint Mountains.


"Southwestern treasures" (Washington Times, 2/8/08)
The Anasazi Indians "grew primitive crops, invented a hunting weapon known as atlatl, domesticated animals, and built breathtaking cliff dwellings and ceremonial houses known as kivas. Remnants of this civilization are being discovered on the vast expanse of the Southwest, from the Mojave Desert in California to the pueblo villages in northern New Mexico and from the mesas of Arizona to the canyonlands of southern Utah." But their legacy is being looted. "'Half of them are just methamphetamine addicts who want some money to feed their drug habit. But behind them are serious art dealers, often with international connections.'"

"N.M. artifacts turn up in smuggling probe" (Santa Fe New Mexican, 2/10/08)
"A ceramic pot and a 1,000-year-old ladle looted from El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico are among the stolen artifacts identified in a five-year federal investigation into the smuggling and sale of Asian and American Indian antiquities. Late last month, dozens of federal agents raided a Los Angeles gallery and four museums in Southern California...." One suspect allegedly told an investigator that a "man took him to look for antiquities on BLM land, 'where you had to watch out for the BLM rangers,' the warrant says."


"High Desert goes Hollywood" (Victorville Daily Press, 2/10/08)
"The local economy could get a multi-million dollar boost with the potential opening of 24 locations throughout the High Desert to be used for filming, said Sheri Davis, director of the Inland Empire Film Commission. Since 1995, there have been 58 feature films shot in San Bernardino County’s 1st District, which includes the entire Victor Valley. Although many of the lands maintained by the Bureau of Land Management are approved for certain commercial use, only four major locations allow filming, said Davis."

"First responders hold drill to ready to handle disasters" (KGTV San Diego, 2/9/08)
Short video news report. About 60 emergency rescue workers from eight agencies including the Bureau of Land Management cooperate in a training drill. The scenario included rescuing 10 victims with various degrees of injuries.

"Furnace Creek Road revisited" (Inyo Register, 2/7/08)
"When it comes to public lands, few disagree with the premise that they belong to everyone; it’s how they’re accessed and used that causes the disagreements to pile up. Even just a procedural announcement by the Bureau of Land Management’s Ridgecrest office last week drew comments of support and consternation from both sides concerned with off-highway vehicle access in the Furnace Creek area of the eastern White Mountains. The assessment will initiate a new review on whether to reopen a road into the area that is currently closed."

RELATED: "BLM to revise proposed plan amendment on Furnace Creek" (BLM California news release, 2/1/08)
The Bureau of Land Management has withdrawn for revision its pending proposal regarding long-term management of a 3.75 mile-long portion of the Furnace Creek Road leading up to the Inyo National Forest boundary in Mono County. The road segment has been closed since 2003 to provide interim protection of sensitive resources. (Repeated from last week's News.bytes.)

"BLM crews plan burning project at North Eagle Lake" (BLM California news release, 2/7/08)
Fire crews from the U. S. Bureau of Land Management will be burning piles of tree limbs and brush Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 19 and 20, at the north shore of Eagle Lake. Burning will take place only on days when conditions allow for safe and successful burning.

"BLM and Forest Service announce 2008 grazing fee" (BLM national news release, 2/8/08)
The federal grazing fee for Western public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) in 2008, the same level as it was in 2007. The fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by the Forest Service.

"Carrizo advisory committee plans February meeting" (BLM-California news release, 2/11/08)
At this February 23 meeting, "Monument staff will present updated information on the progress on the draft Carrizo Plain National Monument Resource Management Plan and the Environmental Impact Statement," said Johna Hurl, BLM monument manager. "A preliminary preferred alternative being developed by the Carrizo managing partners – BLM, the California Department of Fish and Game and The Nature Conservancy - will be the focus of this meeting.”

"BLM field office announces seasonal firewood cutting closures" (BLM-California news release, 2/7/08)
Firewood cutting on public lands in northeast California is closed. Deep snow prevents access to cutting areas at high elevations, and mud is a problem at lower elevations.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include wildlife biologists, contact representative, law enforcement rangers, firefighting jobs and park ranger (river patrol).

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

February 16 and 23 - Guided bald eagle viewing hikes
Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County - call for reservations

February 18 - Nature hike to Indian Potrero
South Palm Springs

...and more!


"Take It Outside: Connect with your public lands" (People, Land and Water, the Department of the Interior online magazine)
"Recent trends show that our nation is becoming disconnected from the outdoors, and the effects of this disconnection are magnified in America’s young people....In fact, children in the United States. average just 30 minutes a week of unregulated time outdoors. By contrast, their weekly electronic media exposure is almost 45 hours a week." Includes links to resources.

RELATED: "It's a shame fewer people enjoy nature" (Chicago Tribune, 2/11/08)
"This is Pergams' third paper on this subject. The first, published in 2004, looked at the rate at which Americans were visiting U.S. national parks. Back then, Pergams and fellow researchers found that the per capita visits to national parks have declined since 1987....
After that study, Pergams said they got a lot of flak (my word, not theirs) from people who attributed the declining visits to such things as excessive park admissions fees and decaying infrastructure -- rather than people not wanting to get off their patooties."

"Feds wary of fire danger as climate warms" (Sierra Sun, 2/12/08)
"Efforts must be made around the West to treat fire-prone landscapes and try to prevent increasingly devastating fire seasons, a federal official said. Stopping the spread of cheatgrass and other invasive plants that help fuel fires will be expensive, but the move is increasingly critical as a warming climate creates longer and more intense fire seasons, said C. Stephen Allred, assistant secretary of the Interior." Allred spoke Monday to a convention of the National Association of Conservation Districts in Sparks, Nev.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) It was named after an Italian duchess whose husband had it in his collection.

SOURCES: "Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna" (BLM California wildlife database)
Anna's hummingbird was named for Anna De Belle Massena (1806-1896), wife of Prince Victor Massena, the Duke of Rivoli. Natural history collecting was a popular activity supported by many upper-class Europeans in the 1800s as evidence of good taste and progressive outlook. French naturalist Rene Primevere Lesson, who named the bird, discovered the first specimen among several birds collected for Prince Victor's private collection.

AND: "Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna" (The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History)
Summarizes how several birds were named, and who named them.

"How hummingbirds chirp: It's all in the tail" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/8/08)
"Christopher Clark went to Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley and got a bad case of poison oak. Then he tried a shoreline park in Albany, where his camera was stolen and sopping-wet dogs covered his field notes with muddy paw prints. Those were a few of the hurdles that Clark and colleague Teresa Feo overcame to produce a paper, just published in a prestigious British journal, exploring the physics of how birds make sound. The title of their UC Berkeley study sums it up: 'The Anna's hummingbird chirps with its tail: a new mechanism of sonation in birds.'" Includes photos and video.

"LiveScience video: Odd way to chirp" (LiveScience.com)
A short video related to the study above. (Note: Clips on this site are generally preceded by a short video commercial.)

"Anna's hummingbird - Calypte anna" (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Includes description, sounds, "cool facts," photo and link to "full detailed species account."

"Anna's Hummingbird Facts" (State of Washington NatureMapping Program)
"Animal Fact Sheet for Grades 7-12" hosted by the University of Washington. Includes summary of information about this species, plus links to many photos of Anna's hummingbird (including many copyrighted photos).

"Calypte anna - Anna's hummingbird" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information, plus several photos, from this "educational resource written largely by and for college students."

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