A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 333 - 5/29/08
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Mustang Challenge - almost here!
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Environmental education at Sand Canyon
- Recreation on public lands: S. Yuba River, gold panning, light station
- Energy on public lands: Solar, geothermal, Sunrise
- BLM-managed lands in wilderness bills
- Volunteers: Moose Anderson Days
- Wildfire danger
- Headlines and highlights: Clear Creek, editorial view, current job openings
- Scam falsely cites BLM
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- Department of the Interior items: More DOI offices on the Internet, earthquakes, water
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
MUSTANG CHALLENGE 2008 - It's almost time!
Thirty-two top trainers have 100 days to gentle and train mustangs -- then compete for $7500 in prizes. They will meet at the Western States Horse Expo in less than two weeks -- June 6-8 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento.
"Mustang adopter says patience, love and music are keys to winning the hearts of mustangs" (News.bytes Extra)
Mt. Shasta mustang owner Roxanne Talltree has some sound, and maybe unusual, advice for new wild horse adopters: Patience, trust, leadership and love -- and maybe a little music -- are the keys to converting a wild horse into the “best equine partner you will ever have. They love music,” she says of wild horses, “especially soothing music.” But Roxanne’s advice to new horse owners goes much deeper, focusing on trust and understanding as the basis for building a good relationship.
"Horses, burros up for adoption at Litchfield Corrals" (BLM-California news release, 5/28/08)
An outstanding selection of 50 wild horses and burros will be available to the public when the BLM holds a special adoption event, Saturday, June 14, at the Litchfield Corrals east of Susanville. Adoption gates open at 8 a.m. and the adoption gets underway with an hour of silent bidding beginning at 9. Animals not taken during bidding will be offered for a $125 adoption fee. Anyone interested can preview the animals from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Friday, June 13.
"BLM sets meeting for National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for June 30 in Reno" (BLM national news release, 5/29/08)
The board will discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
California mountain kingsnake - from a photo by John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
In a popular film series which shall remain nameless, the hero hates snakes. Say he comes across a California mountain kingsnake: Which of the following rhymes should he remember?
a. Blue in the morning, babies aforming (a bluish tinge on the underside means the snake is pregnant and about to lay lots of eggs)
b. Formed in a coil, already on boil; straight as a rail, don't turn pale (if this snake is coiled, it is ready to strike; if it is uncoiled, it is ready to flee)
c. Likes to date and eats its mate (the female kingsnake is not monogamous, and sometimes kills its mate – or anything or anyone else around -- to feed its babies)
d. Red on black, friend of Jack; red on yellow, kill a fellow (this snake is not venomous, but one that looks similar is)
e. Lines around the block, residuals rock; sense a washout, get your cash out (if you're a slithering actor in a movie you're sure will be a hit, hold out for a percentage of gross; if you're sure it'll flop, get out now with any cash you can get)
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program winds up season" (News.bytes Extra)
Sand Canyon is an ideal setting to explore aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Through Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program, students observe the variety of life in the canyon today -- such as birds. "Everyone gets excited when they spot a hawk soaring above them or a shrike perched in a treetop, scanning the desert floor for an unsuspecting lizard," says an organizer. Students also hear about the primitive living conditions of the family who lived in Sand Canyon in the 1930s and 1940s -- and see some of their tools in action.
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"South Yuba River hike is gloriously off the beaten path" (Sacramento Bee, 5/29/08)
"We had hiked five miles of the 15-mile South Yuba National Trail, which cuts through public acreage overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. We walked through immense stands of emerald ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and incense cedar, and groves of twisted oak with bark darkened by lichen and moss ... The river was glittering-green and clear, with patches of whitewater and deep, darker-green holes ideal for diving into. The water rushed around boulders millions of years old, and those two elements meeting made the soothing whoosh! of nature's voice."
(Note: this site may require free registration to view its content.)
RELATED: "BLM manages many remote, pristine recreation lands no other agencies wanted" (Sacramento Bee, 5/29/08)
"If you're looking for new recreational options this summer, the Bureau of Land Management has opportunities on the public land it shepherds. Like what? Well, hiking, river rafting, fishing, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, geocaching. Come winter, you can throw in snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing ... But first, just what is the BLM?"
(Note: this site may require free registration to view its content.)
RELATED: "Nevada City man wrote the book on hiking South Yuba River" (Sacramento Bee, 5/29/08)
"The Bureau of Land Management has a big job managing millions of acres of public land nationwide. For Californians, that means diverse recreational opportunities. For instance, we recently hiked 10 miles of the South Yuba National Trail, which parallels the Yuba River. That was only one of many trails that can be found along the length of the Yuba."
(Note: this site may require free registration to view its content.)
RELATED: "South Yuba Trail" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
Includes a link to a map of the trail.
RELATED: "Recreation" (BLM-California website)
Recreation opportunities are as varied as the landscapes you will visit in the Golden State.
"Getting gold" (Lodi News-Sentinel, 5/24/08)
"The price of gold had just hit $1,000 an ounce for the first time, and the man had taken three weeks off from his job in Sacramento to try his luck at gold panning. He walked into the mining store with a bucket in each hand and asked manager Dennis Robnett if he paid for gold. Robnett took one look at the buckets full of gold-like material and broke the bad news: If they held real gold, the man wouldn't be able to lift them. In other words, he'd spent three weeks mining fool's gold." But a declining economy and rising price for gold has more people looking to strike it rich. The article advises first checking if a spot has a mining claim with the BLM, or any gold could be confiscated.
"Cambria: much more than quaint" (Inside Bay Area/Contra Costa Times, 5/25/08)
Travel article: "The town of Cambria didn't invent the word 'quaint,' but it has certainly embraced it ... Along Main Street, see the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse lens, one of only two Fresnel lenses of its kind. To see the lighthouse where it once operated, go 13 miles north of town. Tours are every Tuesday and Thursday promptly at 10 a.m. ... call for details)."
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view its content.)
RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Piedras Blancas is located on California's central coast, just north of San Simeon. The point is named for a white rock out cropping located just off the end of the point.
The Bureau of Land Management has assumed administrative control and is in the process of initiating restoration and stabilization efforts.
ENERGY AND PUBLIC LANDS
"BLM initiates environmental analysis of solar energy development" (BLM national news release, 5/29/08)
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase domestic energy production and ensure greater energy security, the Bureau of Land Management has initiated a joint programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) with the Department of Energy to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with solar energy development on BLM-managed public land in six western States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. During work on the PEIS, the BLM will focus attention on the 125 applications already received for rights-of-way for solar energy development ... for land covering almost one million acres and with the potential to generate 70 billion watts of electricity, or enough to power 20 million average American homes.
RELATED: "Go solar California!" (California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission)
The California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and California Department of Fish and Game have already indicated that they plan to participate as cooperating agencies. For more information on California's solar initiative:
RELATED: "Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate solar energy development" (Federal Register Notice, 5/29/08)
RELATED: "BLM-California Solar energy projects" (BLM-California Desert District)
Includes an informational, unofficial map of applications, plus more information.
RELATED: "Solar thermal getting its day in the sun" (Bloomberg News in Arizona Republic, 5/28/08)
"Along a dusty two-lane highway in California's Mojave Desert, 550,000 mirrors point skyward to make steam for electricity. Google Inc., Chevron Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are betting this energy will become cheaper than coal ... Chevron, Goldman Sachs, FPL, PG&E and other companies have filed more than 50 applications with the Bureau of Land Management to lease government-owned desert property for solar-power systems."
"BLM announces intent to prepare Environmental Impact Statement for West Fry Wind Energy Project" (BLM-California news release, 5/23/08)
The West Fry Wind Project proposes to install approximately 34 wind turbines and ancillary electric facilities on approximately 3,100 acres of public lands in the West Fry Mountains, within the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area northeast of Lucerne Valley, in San Bernardino County. The project will produce between 51 and 60 megawatts of power during normal operation. West Fry Wind, LLC has applied for a right-of-way from the BLM for the development and operation of the project.
"BLM announces availability of oil and gas lease auction environmental assessment" (BLM-California news release, 5/23/08)
The environmental assessment (EA) is for the oil and gas lease auction scheduled for September10. A 30-day public review and comment period runs from today to June 23. The EA has been prepared to analyze the environmental impacts of leasing the mineral estate for oil and gas exploration and development. The lands considered for competitive lease auction are located in Kern County and in Kings County.
"Will these keep the lights on?" (San Diego Weekly Reader, 5/28/08)
"The Sunrise Powerlink gleamed for the first time in Sempra Energy’s eye on November 1, 2002 ... According to the presentation that day, the transmission line would have two major advantages. It would connect the Southern California electricity grid to potential geothermal, wind, and solar energy sources in the Imperial Valley. And the line would be able to transmit power from two power generation plants in Mexicali ... An enormous amount of newspaper reportage has been devoted to the project so far. But the drip, drip, drip of stories detailing ever-new aspects of a growing Sunrise controversy makes it difficult to assess the project as a whole." A lengthy story on the proposal.
RELATED: "San Diego Gas & Electric Company's Sunrise Powerlink Project" (State of California Public Utilities Commission)
The CPUC is the lead agency for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Draft EIR/EIS was released to the public on January 3, 2008.
BLM-MANAGED LANDS IN WILDERNESS BILLS
"Bipartisan support for wilderness bill" (Inyo Register, 5/27/08)
"In bipartisan legislation recently introduced in both bodies of the U.S. Congress, more than 400,000 acres of wilderness in Inyo and Mono counties and 45 miles of the Owens River headwaters and Death Valley's Amargosa River could have their wild heritage preserved. In addition, there could also be another 40,000-plus acres of wilderness and several more miles of 'wild and scenic river' protected in the northern San Gabriel Mountains in the Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valleys of Southern California." The BLM administers several areas mentioned in the bills.
"Wilderness compromise surprises both sides" (Sierra Wave, 5/27/08)
"When Congressman Buck McKeon visited the Eastern Sierra two weeks ago, the word on the street was that his wilderness legislation was dead in the water, and years of haggling and compromise between environmentalists and the motorized community seemed a monumental waste of time. But ... the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Rural Heritage Act (H.R. 6156), a wilderness bill ... would establish over 470,000 acres of wilderness throughout the Eastern Sierra and the White Mountains, as well as wilderness in Los Angeles County ... [Senator] Barbara Boxer simultaneously introduced a Senate version of the same bill (S. 3069), which McKeon also believes has a good chance of passing and will put the legislation on the fast track to the President. "
"Amargosa River would be protected by D.C. bills" (Pahrump Valley Times, 5/28/08)
A "wild and scenic river" designation " would fulfill a dream for many years of some residents of southeastern Inyo County like Brian Brown, owner of the China Ranch Date Farm, and a founding member of the Amargosa Conservancy. It would protect flows on 23 miles of the river from Shoshone to Dumont Dunes...."
WILDFIRE AND PREVENTION
"Help firefighters decide what to save in wildland fire" (Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 5/28/08)
"Local wildfire prevention specialists know exactly where the fire hot spots are, and how close they are to your home. What they don’t know is what you would have them save first, whether it’s unique animal habitat, remote utilities or a breathtaking grove of oaks. That’s why the local non-profit Fire Safe Council, Fire Safe Sonoma, has organized a series of community meetings ... the information will be used to create a County-wide Wildfire Protection Plan, or CCWP." The BLM helped fund the plan and Fire Safe Councils throughout California.
"States agree on Tahoe area fire prevention" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/28/08)
"A state of emergency was declared Tuesday in the Lake Tahoe basin by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, who took the advice of a two-state commission that declared the region ripe for catastrophic fire. The emergency declarations mean more money and resources will be sunk into fuel removal projects, fire department personnel and fire prevention techniques over the next 10 years in an attempt to reduce the threat to life and property." One concern was "catastrophic fires like the Angora Fire, which destroyed 254 homes last year" despite the efforts of firefighters including the BLM.
RELATED: "A Tahoe fire alarm" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/29/08)
Editorial: "On the same day firefighters boxed in a Santa Cruz Mountains fire, state and federal leaders offered a report on last summer's devastating blaze in South Lake Tahoe. In case anyone missed the message, this is fire season in ever-combustible California ... more must be done, and that means finding money for fireproofing the edges of populated areas."
"Agencies will open Fire Season Monday, June 2" (BLM-California/Susanville Interagency Fire Center news release, 5/28/08)
Dry conditions have prompted officials at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center to declare the northeast California wildfire season officially open Monday, June 2. The "official" fire season announcement informs people that fire risks are increasing as the weather warms. "We had a record dry spring, and vegetation is drying"” said Craig Kincaid, a co-manager at SIFC. "Dry grass carries fire quickly, so there is potential for a very active fire season. We urge everyone to think about fire safety anytime they are outdoors."
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Continuing the discussion of Clear Creek" (News.bytes Extra)
About 110 members of the public, mainly off-highway vehicle users, discussed the future management of the Clear Creek Management Area at a scoping meeting May 21 in San Jose. The CCMA encompasses approximately 63,000 acres of public lands in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties. The alternatives developed will be analyzed in a resource management plan and environmental impact statement for the area.
"Extortion and environmentalism" (Victorville Daily Press, 5/23/08)
Editorial: "The Bureau of Land Management’s California branch manages 15.2 million acres of public lands in the state, which works out to some 15 percent of California’s total surface area. But for environmentalist activists, that’s not enough. So it uses environmental protection pretexts to extort even more private land and place it off limits to the general populace. A case in point is what’s going on with offshore drilling in California." Offshore drilling is under the jurisdiction of another federal agency, the Minerals Management Service. The writer also cites a proposed solar power plant on private land mentioned by the Governor.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings Include firefighting jobs and land law examiner.
SCAM FALSELY CITES BLM
"Five facing charges in foreclosure scam case" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/22/08)
"It was promoted to struggling, mostly Hispanic homeowners as a way to beat foreclosure." The ringleader " allegedly told homeowners he would file a 'land grant' or a 'land patent' with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which gives the land back to the federal government and prevents the bank from taking back the property. After four years ... the 'statute of limitations' would run out and ... they could get the property back debt-free. The scheme is completely bogus, according to prosecutors, who say there hasn't been a legitimate land grant in the United States since the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848."
"Armed with antiquated maps, group allegedly sold bogus foreclosure fix" (Voice of San Diego, 5/23/08)
More details related to the above story, including the seminars used to sell the plan.
"Brown announces arrest of foreclosure rescue scam artists" (California Chronicle, 5/23/08)
"Federal Land Grant Company ... tricked desperate homeowners into
believing that they could protect their homes from foreclosure by deeding their property
to 'federal land grants.' Land grant transfers, used hundreds of years ago when the
United States was still acquiring land from other countries, are no longer recognized by
any court or county assessor ... State investigators confirmed from realty specialists in the Bureau of Land Management that a 'federal land grant' transfer is meaningless and there is no mechanism in California for establishing a land grant on privately held land."
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events! -- online at:
May 31 - Pine Hill Preserve spring tours - pre-registration required
May 31 and June 1, continuing - Free guided hikes - reservations required
Headwaters Forest Reserve
June 3 - Imperial Sand Dunes Technical Review Team meeting
BLM El Centro Field Office
June 6-8 - Western States Horse Expo Mustang Challenge and auction
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior Department offices reconnecting to the Internet" (Department of the Interior news release, 5/23/08)
"The agencies going back online are the Office of the Solicitor, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, the Office of Hearing and Appeals and the Office of Historical Trust Accounting. Employees of these offices will soon be able to provide services and conduct business online, including research, monitoring and oversight work, and communicate via email.... " The lack of access dates back to a Dec. 5, 2001 restraining order in a lawsuit against the Department of Interior.
"Earthquake drill 'merely credible', not worst-case scenario, scientist says" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/22/08)
"This fall's Southern California earthquake drill will look at the devastating effects of a magnitude 7.8 quake. But the area could be hit with a far stronger quake, experts told lawmakers at a congressional hearing Thursday." A decrease in funding "would hamper the collection of new and historical earthquake data that would help scientists better predict where quakes will hit and how many people will be affected." A congressman said he will ask Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne "whether the funding loss could be minimized."
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view its content.)
"Secretary Kempthorne announces $1.8 million in grants to water districts to improve delivery systems" (Department of the Interior news release, 5/27/08)
The grants are for ten projects to improve delivery systems in California, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
d. Red on black, friend of Jack; red on yellow, kill a fellow (this snake is not venomous, but one that looks similar is) -- see the next item for details:
SOURCE: "California Mountain Kingsnake - Lampropeltis zonata" (BLM California wildlife database)
Harmless California mountain kingsnakes are often confused with venomous western coral snakes, even though the western coral snake does not occur in California. One way to remember which one is dangerous is to think of this saying: Red on black, friend of Jack; Red on Yellow, kill a fellow! California mountain kingsnakes have red, white, and black stripes while western coral snakes typically have red, yellow, and black stripes. See photos of each at the following web page:
(Note: answer e. may also be true in some cases, but it is a bad rhyme. Also, creative types are notoriously bad at predicting what will succeed and what will fail.)
RELATED: "Lampropeltis zonata - California Mountain Kingsnake" (San Diego Natural History Museum)
More information and two photos.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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