A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 334 - 6/5/08

Beverly Vreeland with mustang Diamond View of a wind turbine from below Tule elk - from a photo by California Academy of Sciences  The BLM's Greg Wilkerson at the entrance to an old mine Employee profile: Amy Dumas with mustang

- Mustang Challenge 2008 in Sacramento: It's here!
- More mustangs
- Employee profile
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Energy and renewable energy
- Wildfire and prevention
- Headlines and highlights:
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

MUSTANG CHALLENGE 2008 in Sacramento: It's here!
This weekend: the Western States Mustang Challenge is coming to the Western States Horse Expo for the first time. Thirty top trainers have had 90 days to train wild mustangs, and will compete for $7500 in prizes June 6-7 at Cal Expo in Sacramento. Trainers and horses will be evaluated in a series of tasks, simulating trail riding and recreational riding situations:

Beverly Vreeland with mustang Diamond"Livermore trainer ready for Mustang Challenge this weekend" (Inside Bay Area/Tri-Valley Herald, 6/2/08)
"With just days to go before their day in the spotlight at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, Beverly Vreeland and her mustang Diamond are finishing up a three-month training regimen that transformed the once-wild mare into a choreographed dancer. 'Is she ready?' Vreeland said. 'I would say, "yes."' Includes a link to a narrated slide show of Beverly and Diamond.
(Note: The event is at the Cal Expo, not at Arco Arena.)
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.)


Dixie with mustang Gracie"Horse sense" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/31/08)
"Teaching a wild horse to mind people, cross bridges and vault over obstacles in three months -- that's the challenge for horse trainers competing in the Western States Mustang Challenge. And a Lewiston woman and her nephew are up for it."

"Mustang Challenge adoption follows the Mustang Challenge Finals on Saturday night" (BLM-California news release, 6/4/08)
Thirty former wild mustangs that have undergone special training will be offered for adoption by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the conclusion of the "Mustang Challenge" at the Western State Horse Expo at Cal Expo in Sacramento on Saturday, June 7.  


Employee profile: Amy Dumas with mustangEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Amy Dumas...
...is the wild horse and burro program lead for BLM-CAlifornia. Amy is a transplant from Wilmington, Delaware, where at the age of three, she rode her first horse.  She was hooked!  From then on she was a horse junkie. Read more:

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Ridgecrest" (BLM-California news release, 5/30/08)
These living legends are available for adoption at the Ridgecrest regional wild horse and burro corrals in Ridgecrest, California, on June 7.  Spectators are welcome. There are 70 young animals available for adoption, 40 yearling fillies, studs and geldings, 20 mares and gelding between the ages of two and four years, and 10 jack and jenny burros.  The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health.

"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 of national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for June 30 in Reno" (BLM news release, 5/29/08)
The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet on Monday, June 30 to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on western public rangelands. The advisory board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law mandates the protection, management, and control of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to support them. 


Tule elk - from a photo by California Academy of Sciences
Thumbnail from a photo by Robert Potts for the California Academy of Sciences

How do tule elk take care of their newborn calves?
(a.) The herd forms a circle around the newborns, until the calves are fast enough to run with the herd
(b.) The cow leaves the herd until the weak, helpless calf is strong enough to run with the herd
(c.) The calves are able to stand and run at full speed within an hour of birth, so it is not an issue
(d.) The mother cow and father bull elk take turns watching their youngster while the other parent grazes
(e.) The father builds an elk nest or "elk-aerie" high up in the limbs of a sturdy oak tree, and the mother carries the newborn to their new home much like a lioness carries her cubs

------> See answer -- and a related story -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


View of a wind turbine from below"Renewable-energy push puts all eyes on desert" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/3/08)
"Speculators have filed applications to develop more than 1 million acres of desert in Southern California with solar, wind and geothermal power plants, setting up a classic clash over land use with environmentalists and off-road enthusiasts. They have submitted at least 130 proposals with the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees all of the territory, in recent years and especially since 2007. The interest is so hot that even if many of the projects fall through, the remaining ones would change the look of the arid landscape."

"Renewable energy projects meet opposition from environmentalists" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/2/08)
"A rush to build environmentally friendly renewable energy in the windy, sunny Inland region has stirred up some unlikely foes: environmentalists. They say the projects mean new transmission lines and towers across some of the very mountains and desert vistas people have fought to protect."

"S.B. County could be next stop for wind power" (San Bernardino County Sun, 5/30/08)
"A number of proposals have been submitted to the state Bureau of Land Management, but one - a proposal that would build up to 28 turbines six miles east of Apple Valley and is the farthest along in the approval process - could be San Bernardino County's first wind farm. The company behind the $130 million plan, Granite Mountain Wind in Redlands, says it will help California meet its goal of producing 20 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2010. The proposal's 410-foot ridgeline turbines, however, have created controversy...." Links to photo gallery and video.

"Solar energy projects audited"
(Associated Press in Las Vegas Review Journal, 5/30/08)
"The federal government is launching a broad-scale environmental analysis of solar energy projects on public land in six Western states. The Bureau of Land Management said Thursday that it will consider whether to establish a systemwide program for large-scale solar energy projects. It will work with the Department of Energy on exploring potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah."

"Navy discusses geothermal project" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/29/08)
"The United States Navy is in the opening stages of exploring the possibility of constructing a geothermal plant in the Superstition Mountain area. And should it be built, it would have little, if any, impact on off-highway vehicle use" said Navy officials. "The project area the Navy will be studying before moving forward with a project in the Superstition area covers 3,110 acres of Navy land in the Superstition area that is utilized by Naval Air Facility El Centro. The study will also cover 2,830 acres of adjacent Bureau of Land Management land."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content.)

"Drilling our way out of rising oil prices" (CNN Money, 5/30/08)
"The U.S. has huge amounts of untapped oil, but pesky politicians and environmentalists won't let us get it. That's a common cry heard from some lawmakers and nearly everyone working at an oil and gas company ... But given the amount of time it would take to get new drilling projects up and running, and the relatively small amount of oil they'd likely yield, most analysts say more drilling in the U.S. would do little to help solve the world's dual energy challenge of meeting rising demand while cutting greenhouse gasses."

"Power-line opponents ask for new report" (North County Times, 6/4/08)
"Opponents of San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s $1.5 billion power line say the draft report examining its environmental impacts is flawed and they are asking for a rewrite ... opponents maintained the 7,500-page report is flawed because it contains incomplete information about wildfires and wildlife, and fails to examine a potential power-line expansion along Highway 76. The request to recirculate the draft comes on the eve of the anticipated release of the report's revised, final version this month and, if granted, could delay the project several months. A decision from the California Public Utilities Commission is anticipated in August."

RELATED: "Editorial: Energy giant's ad blitz missing mark" (North County Times, 5/29/08)
Editorial: "The deceptive, misleading 'Your Choice' mini-blitz going on is San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s public relations effort to tout its massive $1.5 billion transmission line proposal dubbed the Sunrise Powerlink. The campaign is being portrayed as a grass-roots effort; it isn't. The 'choice' is literally painted as one of darkened skies vs. clean air; it isn't. The blitz implies the decision is resting in the public's hands; it isn't. And the whole deal is being paid for by all of us; that's normal."

"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.


"Community is invited to discuss fire protection strategy" (Calaveras Pine Tree Net, 6/1/08)
"Fire Safe Council President Jerry Tannhauser today announced the Highway 108 FireSafe Council is inviting residents and homeowners in the Tuolumne area to meet and discuss fire protection, emergency preparedness, and fire prevention measures needed to protect life, property, and resources from wildland fires ... The general area surrounding Tuolumne consists of private land located in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), with portions bordering tribal, BLM, and FS land." BLM-California works with fire safe councils around the state.

"Hwy 108 Fire Safe Council meeting set for June 5" (My Mother Lode News, 6/2/08)
Tuolumne area: "Thursday's meeting will feature a program focused on the important role fire plays in reducing flammable fuels and maintaining the ecological balance of landscapes within Yosemite National Park ... During the second half of the program the Fire Safe Council will listen and discuss ideas and comments from residents ... to help fire agencies better identify the existing wildland fire danger present on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, tribal lands ... and adjacent private property..."

"Brush fire burns through 146 acres" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/4/08)
"Four firefighters suffered minor injuries Tuesday battling a brush fire that blackened about 146 acres of grassland southeast of the Temescal Valley area ... About 190 firefighters from Corona, Riverside County, San Diego County and March Air Reserve Base responded to the blaze. Bureau of Land Management crews also responded ... The cause has yet to be determined."

"Legislature passes bills to limit new homes in fire-risk areas" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/29/08)
"Motivated by recent disastrous Southern California fires, the measures -- one in the state Senate, the other in the Assembly -- mark the most significant attempt by lawmakers to push for the same type of state oversight of building in fire-prone wildland that exists for building in places with questionable water supplies or flood risk ... A Press-Enterprise review last year found that Riverside County had issued building permits to more than 650 homes in high-fire-risk zones during the year following the Esperanza Fire, which killed five U.S. firefighters south of Banning who were protecting an unoccupied home."
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The BLM's Greg Wilkerson at the entrance to an old mine"Forgotten mines, hidden hazards" (Fresno Bee, 6/1/08)
"The discovery of gold in 1848 put California on the map and helped inspire its glamorous nickname -- "The Golden State." But today, more than 47,000 abandoned mines are a treacherous legacy of the search for gold and other minerals and metals. Thousands of holes burrow into the Sierra foothills and around the six-county region ... Some worry that more mine tragedies could result from an emerging trend. With the price of gold soaring, and the economy lagging, California may see a fresh wave of gold fever. 'Every day, people come in and ask us: 'Where can I find the gold and get rich?' said Gregg Wilkerson, senior mining geologist in the Bakersfield office of the federal Bureau of Land Management."
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RELATED: "Abandoned mine lands "
(BLM-California website)
Nearly 13,000 mine properties in California and northwest Nevada are listed in the Bureau of Mines Mineral Industries Location System (MILS) database as on land managed by BLM-California. An estimated additional 5,000 sites not recorded in the database are likely on BLM land. Of these 18,000, an estimated 3,000 significant properties contain hazardous substances or physical features and/or have environmental problems.

"Teen drinking targeted by local government" (Sierra Wave, 6/3/08)
"Government agencies in Inyo County have joined together to curb underage drinking and parties on public lands like the Buttermilks or along the Owens River. The Bishop Police, Inyo County Sheriff’s department, and county health officials have teamed up with the land managers at BLM, the forest service and DWP to make sure that teens act responsibly on public lands."

"ICE task force being launched in Imperial Valley" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/4/08)
"A task force designed to target criminal organizations is being launched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Imperial Valley to combat cross-border crime ... The new force will be made up of officers from federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Bureau of Land Management and Mexico's Secretariat of Public Safety."

"BLM and County extend scoping period for Calnev project" (BLM-California news release, 5/28/08)
The Bureau of Land Management, together with the County of San Bernardino, announces the extension of the public scoping period and an additional public scoping meeting for the Joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report on the proposed Calnev Pipeline Expansion Project from Colton, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. The public scoping period has been extended to July 1, 2008. An additional scoping meeting will be held on June 18, 2008.

"Judge won't hear dispute on fireworks"(Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 5/30/08)
"A Mendocino County judge Friday declined to intervene in a brouhaha between Gualala fireworks supporters and the state Coastal Commission. At issue is whether the fireworks display, established two years ago, has a negative effect on birds nesting on Gualala Point Island about 100 yards offshore of the Sea Ranch development. The issue has split Gualala, a small coastal community straddling the Sonoma-Mendocino county line."

BACKGROUND: "Gualala July 4 fireworks fight goes to court today" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/30/08)
" A two-year battle over the fireworks that bother birds at Gualala's Fourth of July celebration has made its way into the courts. Fireworks proponents filed a request Thursday in Mendocino County Superior Court to stop the California Coastal Commission from ordering a halt to the fireworks when it meets June 11. " An attorney "doubts the fireworks are causing seabirds to abandon their nests on Gualala Point Island, located 100 yards offshore from the Sea Ranch. The claim of an island exodus is behind the commission's demand for a permit.The island is part of the California Coastal National Monument Program and is protected by the federal Bureau of Land Management."

"Valley leaders sign off on 75-year wildlife habitat plan" (Palm Springs Desert Sun,
"After 12 years of debate and negotiation, Coachella Valley officials on Monday gave final approval to the historic, desert-wide habitat plan. The federal permits and conditions for the 75-year plan unanimously passed both the Coachella Valley Association of Governments' Executive Committee and the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission during a joint meeting in Palm Desert ... With Monday's vote - expected to be the last needed from local officials - the plan now goes to federal officials for their final approvals. State officials also are finalizing the plan." BLM is one of many partners that helped develop the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include physical science technician and engineering technician (petroleum).


"Hitting the (off) road" (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/29/08)
"Sport survives venue threats, other challenges: Summer's almost here, and if you just bought a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or owned one already, California's cool mountain backcountry or seaside sand dunes may beckon. Go to the dunes near Pismo Beach or the Imperial Sand Dunes near Brawley, and you'll probably have company."

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

"Bizz Johnson Trail Shuttle Begins June 7" (BLM-California news release, 5/23/08)
"Hikers, cyclists and joggers can celebrate National Trails Day with a special Bizz Johnson Trail bus shuttle on Saturday, June 7. The trails day event is the first of three special shuttles scheduled this year. The shuttles allow people to arrange one-way trips on the trail without having to plan their own vehicle shuttles."

Reactions to legislation introduced into both bodies of Congress, that would include several BLM-managed areas. As reported in last week's News.bytes, issue 333:

"McKeon bill protects 42,000 acres" (Santa Clarita Signal, 5/29/08)
"Overlooking Sand Canyon and Canyon Country to the west and Magic Mountain and the Angeles National Forest to the east, McKeon discussed the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act, a bipartisan measure that protects some of the California's most pristine wild areas and expands local recreational opportunities, with wildlife enthusiasts and eco-friendly groups."

"Group feels 'betrayed' by Buck McKeon" (Inyo Register, 5/29/08)
"Reaction to the wilderness bill introduced by 25th District U.S. Congressman Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon runs the gamut from pleasant surprise to skepticism to anger. But there are Eastern Sierra residents who are not only feeling hot under the collar at McKeon’s bipartisan effort to gain wilderness protection and wild and scenic river status for locations within Inyo, Mono and Los Angeles counties, but also downright 'betrayed.'"

"McKeon rebuts critics' claims" (Inyo Register, 6/3/08)
"In the wake of Congressman Buck McKeon’s announcement last week that he has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to designate 400,000-plus acres of Eastern Sierra lands as wilderness, the lawmaker is defending himself against allegations from a group he once counted among his top supporters ... releasing a two-page statement in which he takes to task some of the more harsh claims..."

"New bill would protect wilderness and wild & scenic rivers in Eastern Sierra" (Mammoth Times, 5/29/08)
"Local residents applaud McKeon and Boxer's congressional bill to  designate 400,000-plus acres of Eastern Sierra as wilderness."

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

June 7 - Pine Hill Preserve Spring tour
Salmon Falls - must pre-register

June 10 - Alabama Hills stewardship meeting
Lone Pine

June 7-8 - Free guided hikes into Headwaters Forest Reserve
Meet in Fortuna - reservations required

---->and see more online at the link above!


"BLM: In search of history" (Federal Computer Week, 5/19/08)
"History runs deep at the General Land Office Web site, which debuted 10 years ago this month. The Bureau of Land Management ... site’s mission is to digitize more than 9 million documents related to public lands that have been transferred to private ownership during the past 200-plus years ... The team has digitized about 4.2 million records so far ... Now researchers who once had to wait two or three weeks for BLM staff to locate records often can find documents for themselves in a matter of seconds ... The legal language of its documents might be dry, but the collection provides an unusual perspective on the history of the country and its people."

"Off-roaders, environmentalists to square off in Congress" (Associated Press in Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/3/08)
"Environmental groups and off-road vehicle advocates plan to square off Thursday in the U.S. Senate on the three-year-old U.S. Forest Service effort to restrict where motorcycles, four-wheelers and other backcountry vehicles can drive on public land ... The hearing will also include discussion of travel planning on the Bureau of Land Management's 264 million acres."

"Wild horses aren't free" (Los Angeles Times, 6/2/08)
Op Ed: " It's not news that America is a cowboy nation, but it may surprise many that we are destroying the horse we rode in on." Opinion piece critical of wild horse removals from public lands.
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.)

RELATED: "Wild horse and burro management" (BLM national website)
The Bureau of Land Management protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. The BLM manages these living symbols of the Western spirit as part of its multiple-use mission under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) The cow leaves the herd until the weak, helpless calf is strong enough to run with the herd

SOURCE: "Tule Elk - Cervus elaphus nannodes" (BLM California wildlife database)
The cow leaves the herd at the time of birth and remains more or less solitary until the weak, helpless calf is strong enough to run with the herd. The calf rapidly gains strength, and within a few week sit can run swiftly with some endurance. Includes links to other sites.

Tule elk in Solano County - thumbnail from a news photo"Enduring elk" (Lodi News-Sentinel, 5/28/08)
"Just a few miles off of Highway 12, outside this busy city in Solano County roams one of the last herds of California elk. These tule elk, with their massive antlers, are among only 3,800 left in the world."

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