A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 340 - 7/16/08

A view of Piedras Blancas from the sea A pickup truck sits partially buried in mud from the flash flood A view from the Lost Coast along the shore Employee Profile: Pam Marble With the Basin Complex Fire in Big Sur burning in the background, California condor No. 94 takes off along deserted Highway 1

- Spotlight on Partners: Piedras Blancas Light Station Association
- Wildfire news
- Post-wildfire danger: mudslides
- Wildfire prevention
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Power line: Green Path North
- Power Line: Sunrise Powerlink
- Recreation: North Coast, Headwaters
- Headlines and highlights: Wild horses, mining claims, marijuana bust
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events


A view of Piedras Blancas from the seaSPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: The Piedras Blancas Light Station Association...
...one of BLM-California’s newest partners, grew out of a strong group of volunteers and enthusiastic grass-roots supporters of a very special and unusual piece of public lands -- a 19-acre jewel jutting into the Pacific Ocean on California’s Central Coast. The Association was founded in 2004 “to support the restoration, preservation and protection of the Piedras Blancas Light Station, and to provide opportunities for research and education about the history, culture, and ecology of the site."

"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. In the early 1870's, this location was chosen to fill the gap between the lighthouses at Point Conception and Point Sur. The Piedras Blancas site offers a unique opportunity to educate a wide array of publics to the beauty and fragile nature of Coastal environments.


"National fire news" (National Interagency fire center)
"July 16, 2008: Firefighters were able to contain seven large fires yesterday, four in Washington and one each in Idaho, California, and Maine. Moderate weather conditions in California have helped firefighters make excellent progress toward containment goals. Currently, 30 large fires or complexes have burned more than 730,000 acres."
This website Includes national fire news, plus details by state. This site is updated daily during fire season.

"Wildfire updates" (Sacramento Bee, 7/16/08)
Includes links to wildfire news, photo gallery, interactive map of Northern California wildfires and information on health risks of smoke.
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.

"Bombing the blazes" (Grass Valley/Nevada City Union, 7/15/08)
"You don't have to be at the scene of wildfires to fight them. Just ask Chicago Park resident Ken Hood ... the state's aviation and fire equipment manager for the Bureau of Land Management ... in Sacramento. When more than 800 fires broke out across Northern California on June 21, he got busy and has pulled 12- to 16-hour days ever since, coordinating local and state fire resources ... To get enough resources, Hood has been bringing fire engines from all 50 states into California on C5A military jumbo jets, rail cars and flatbed trucks. 'It's easier to move equipment across the country and fly the crews in,' Hood said. "That way they're fresh because they don't have to drive cross-country and then start fighting fires."

"Waging ground, air war on fires is Herculean effort" (Ventura County Star, 7/12/08)
"Fighting and winning the battle against a wildfire is much like fighting a war: It takes lots of boots on the ground and tactical assaults from the air. Maj. Bryan Allen is a commander in the air war against the numerous wildfires plaguing California ... As in war, the battle against a wildfire is ultimately won on the ground, Allen said. Firefighters must not only build fire lines, they also must carefully inspect the ground, making sure all embers are extinguished. But having support from the air 'really helps,' Allen said. 'I have no doubt that all of these wildfires would have been much worse were it not for all the fire retardant dropped in and around them.'"

"Secretary Kempthorne strengthens Interior's wildland firefighting efforts for California, the West" (Department of the Interior news release, 7/11/08)
"Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today issued two orders that will strengthen Interior’s wildland firefighting resources to help address severe conditions in California and bolster efforts across the West during this year’s wildfire season. The actions could make several hundred additional employees available to assist in wildland fire suppression and support activities."

With the Basin Complex Fire in Big Sur burning in the background, California condor No. 94 takes off along deserted Highway 1"Fires in California devastate wildlife, sensitive habitats"
(San Luis Obispo Tribune, 7/12/08)
"With 1,781 fires burning across the state, this summer is shaping up to be one of the worst wildfire seasons on record in California. Biologists and land managers say these fires do more than blacken hillsides and threaten homes. They also kill wildlife and destroy habitat that can take years to recover. Fire is a natural part of California’s ecosystems, and wildlife has evolved strategies to deal with it. However, many of the wildfires that burn nowadays grow so big and are so hot that animals cannot escape them...."

Wildfires can leave dangerous conditions long after they are gone, as land stripped of vegetation increases danger of mudslides. A wildfire last year, plus a recent heavy summer rainstorm, combined to create a massive flash flood and mud slide this week near the Sierra Nevada town of Independence. More flash floods followed recent wildfires and thunderstorms in southern California.

Mud surrounds a house in the Sierra Nevada"Flash flood, mud slide wreak havoc" (Inyo Register, 7/15/08)
"A torrential summer downpour, coupled with barren earth left by last year’s Inyo Complex Fire, forced dozens of Independence residents from their homes over the weekend and prompted local authorities to declare a state of emergency as a massive mud slide made its way from the Sierra into Fort Independence. Some lost everything on Saturday, as the mud slide carved its way down Oak Creek and across U.S. 395, taking homes, vehicles, trees and boulders with it."

"Mud, boulders destroy hatchery" (Los Angeles Times, 7/15/08)
"A massive weekend debris flow in the Eastern Sierra, triggered by a monsoon-like storm, destroyed 25 homes and wiped out the entire stock of one of California's oldest fish hatcheries along U.S. 395, authorities said Monday."
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.)

"California mountain towns clean up mud flows" (Associated Press on Google News, 7/15/08)
"Bulldozers worked Tuesday to reopen roads and clear tons of mud left by flash floods after thunderstorms unleashed downpours on mountain slopes burned bare by California wildfires. An evacuation warning remained in effect for about 80 homes in the Erskine Creek area of Lake Isabella, a community near a forest fire about 90 miles north of Los Angeles ... Cleanup crews were still busy in the Inyo County town of Independence, below the eastern flank of the Sierra, where rain falling on the scars of wildfires last year triggered flash floods Saturday, damaging homes and covering U.S. 395...."

"Chocolatey river to be around for weeks" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/16/08)
"It could take two to three weeks for the Kern River, murky from rain-swept ash and dirt, to run clear again, local water managers said Tuesday. Weekend storms in the Lake Isabella area washed debris from the Piute fire into tributaries that empty into the Kern below the Isabella Dam." Includes photos and video.

A pickup truck sits partially buried in mud from the flash flood"Mudslide threats follow wildfires" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM-California is among the agencies working to repair damage in the eastern Sierra, helping to supply materials to rebuild roads washed out by the flood and to re-channel a creekbed. BLM personnel helping to map the devastation took these photos:


"A distant danger - County officials learn lessons from response to the Electra fire" (Amador Ledger Dispatch, 7/15/08)
"California has always had a fire season ... Now there is no more fire season," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently said. 'We have fires all year round. What we see now means that we will need more resources.' ... The Amador Fire Safe Council ... has partnered with numerous state and federal agencies" to educate people and help them create defensible space around their homes. "The Bureau of Land Management funded completion of four firebreaks ... The U.S. Forest Service financed senior citizens' defensible space projects...."

"Fire restrictions start July 25 on BLM lands, Modoc Forest" (BLM-California news release, 7/10/08)
Fire season restrictions on outdoor use of fire and firewood cutting begin Friday, July 25, on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands and the Modoc National Forest. The restrictions apply to the entire forest and to public lands managed by the BLM Alturas, Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices in Modoc, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Washoe counties.


Pacific shrew - from a photo by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences
Pacific shrew

Why is it so unusual that the Pacific shrew is nocturnal?
(a.) because all other shrew species are diurnal
(b.) because most shrews need to eat constantly in order to stay alive
(c.) because it is so cold in their environment
(d.) because it is so hot in their environment
(e.) because they are so vulnerable to owls in their habitat, and would be safer venturing out during the day
(f.) Because they appear to be working diligently at their day jobs, and are generally rated quite highly by their supervisors

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


"Critics assail Green Plan North proposal" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/15/08)
"Green Path North, a proposed transmission line that would funnel renewable energy from the Salton Sea area to Los Angeles and Orange counties, has some questioning exactly how "green" the project really is. On July 19 in Yucca Valley, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power representatives are expected to meet with concerned residents and environmentalists about the up to 313 miles of power lines that would run through the Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree National Park, as well as Riverside and San Bernardino counties ... If approved, the project is expected to be completed by 2020. According to the utility's report to the Bureau of Land Management, the Salton Sea is the 'largest untapped geothermal resource in the state of California.'"

"Utility: Green Path is necessary road into future" (Hi-Desert Star, 7/16/08)
"Green Path North would connect as-yet-unbuilt geothermal energy plants in the Salton Sea to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s existing transmission lines in Hesperia. The path would require new access roads, microwave communication sites and a new switching station near Desert Hot Springs. A June 2 report to the Bureau of Land Management from the Los Angeles DWP states the goal of all the Green Path partners is to select a route that meets project objectives 'with the least impact on the environment and surrounding communities.'"

"Green Path opposition made firm" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/16/08)
"Riverside County supervisors announced their opposition Tuesday to a Los Angeles utility's plan to build an extensive corridor of power lines across portions of the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin, saying the construction could harm fragile habitats and endangered species there. Supervisors passed a resolution urging the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to pursue alternate routes for the Green Path North Project...."

"Green Path meeting a must for everyone" (Hi-Desert Star, 7/16/08)
Editorial: "This Saturday will offer the long-awaited chance to question at least a few of the people who are behind the Green Path North proposal to build a corridor of high-voltage power lines that could run through the Hi-Desert. We encourage everyone who lives in the Morongo Basin to take full advantage of this opportunity. Whether you put yourself in the for, against or neutral camp, this is your chance to hear what the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and its partners have to say about a project that, if it comes to fruition, could effect profound changes in the Hi-Desert."


"Small solar projects planned by SDG&E" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/12/08)
"San Diego Gas & Electric, which has been assailed by critics for its proposed Sunrise Powerlink and industrial-size renewable energy plants, may finally be seeing the light. SDG&E officials said yesterday that they plan to develop a series of small solar energy projects throughout the region, billing the estimated $250 million effort as the largest solar power initiative in San Diego." The effort will start with solar panels on parking structures at a shopping mall being renovated.

"Supplemental environmental information released for Sunrise Powerlink" (BLM-California news release, 7/11/08)
A supplement to the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and revised environmental impact report (EIR) for the proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line from El Centro to San Diego has been jointly published by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and is available for further comment. The document is being recirculated due to receipt of new information since the draft EIS/EIR was released in January 2008.

"Sunrise solar power line deserves careful consideration" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/13/08)
Editorial: "How we decide to use alternative energy is important because the Coachella Valley is a prime location for a number of considerations, including solar, geothermal and, of course, wind power ... We agree that the environmental groups are raising good points about the Sunrise Powerlink and, again, we need a collaborative approach. We must examine all the options, but if we don't have adequate delivery mechanisms, we can't fully take advantage of alternative forms of energy. As long as it is never used to bring 'dirty energy' in from outside power plants, the Sunrise solar power line deserves consideration."


"Getting lost on the coast"
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/14/08)
"Shelter Cove is a largely undiscovered getaway on the Lost Coast, the longest undeveloped stretch of coast in California ... Located 175 miles from Santa Rosa, Shelter Cove last week saw its share of visitors seeking respite from the summer heat and the oppressive smoke from inland wildfires ... Being as remote as it is, Shelter Cove may not hold much attraction for some kids, or even for restless adults ... The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which administers the King Range Conservation Area around Shelter Cove, recommends backpackers take three days to walk the trail from the Mattole because of soft sand and slippery rocks."

A view from the Lost Coast along the shoreRELATED: "King Range National Conservation Area/The Lost Coast" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)
The King Range covers 68,000 acres and extends along 35 miles of coastline between the mouth of the Mattole River and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Please note the fire restrictions, and check for wildfire conditions before traveling to this area. Due to fire damage and high winds, hundreds of trees have fallen across King Range trails. Some trails have been minimally maintained (passable with rocks and debris on the trail).

"Construction begins on new Headwaters trail parking area" (BLM-California news release, 7/14/08)
Construction has gotten underway on a new parking area at the Elk River Trail in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, requiring closure of the trailhead and trail until Monday, July 28. The parking area will be redesigned to improve efficiency and to meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project will use "low impact development" techniques.


"Last summer roundup under way for Nevada mustangs" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 7/14/08)
"About half the 30,000 wild horses in the United States live in Nevada. The rest are in California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. Federal officials want to lower that number to about 27,000. Susie Stokke, manager of the Nevada BLM roundup program, said the horses are brought into captivity because of scarce food and water on the range. Though the horses are healthy, the large population could die from starvation or thirst later in the summer."

"Mustang proposal stuns" (Red Bluff Daily News, 7/14/08)
"Area residents love their mustangs, and many are horrified by a proposal to use euthanasia to curb the wild horse population. 'The only reason a horse should be put down is if it has no quality of life left,' said Linda Richards. 'If it's in pain or suffering, not because it's a mustang' ... Amy Dumas, program manager for the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program in California, said people should remember the proposal is only being considered and the BLM does not want to use euthanasia unnecessarily."

"Delay sought on proposal to euthanize wild horses" (Associated Press in Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/12/08)
"Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, urged the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to refrain from action until after the scheduled September release of a General Accountability Office report on the agency's management of wild horses ... Agency officials have said they're faced with tough choices because wild horses have overpopulated public lands in the West and they no longer can afford to care for the number of animals that have been rounded up."

"Mining claims/sites filing instructions for 2009 - due on or before September 1, 2008" (BLM-California website)
What must be paid or filed? Pay the 2009 Maintenance Fee of $125 per claim, mill site, and/or tunnel site, on or before September 1, 2008, OR File a 2009 Maintenance Fee Payment Waiver Certification, Form 3830­2, (commonly referred to as the Small Miner's Waiver) on or before September 1, 2008. Note: Because Sept. 1 is a holiday this year, applications will be accepted until Sept. 2. Follow the link for more information:

"Test your knowledge"
Take the interactive quiz on BLM-California's homepage. Currently: "The BLM manages three National Monuments in California: the Santa Rosa/San Jacinto Mountains, Carrizo Plain and the _____ National Monuments."

Marijuana growers left a lot of trash behind"14,929 pot plants found in Tuolumne County" (KCRA-TV Sacramento, 7/11/08)
"The Tuolumne Narcotics Team, officers from the Department of Justice CAMP Team and agents from the Bureau of Land Management participated in the investigation and eradication" of two marijuana gardens found off Highway 49. Includes four photos.

"BLM sees the light, lifts application ban" (San Bernardino County Sun, 7/13/08)
"It's telling that the Bureau of Land Management has shelved a month-old moratorium on applications for solar-power projects in the High Desert and other sun-drenched areas of the West. Telling, we say, because the moratorium wasn't needed in the first place ... We thank the BLM for lifting the brakes on projects aimed at helping us meet our demands for energy, particularly when rising gas prices are fueling uneasiness in so many American households. But we also call on the agency to do all it can to protect pristine desert wildlands. Alternative energy programs are vital to our future, but we must not sacrifice our natural resources in our pursuit of greener pastures."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current postings include archaeologist, archaeologist technician/aid, biology technician/aid and survey aid/technician.

Employee Profile: Pam MarbleEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Pamela Marble...
...is fairly new to the BLM and is still learning about her duties in the branch of geographic services. But she also brought with her knowledge of something that is new to the BLM. Read more:

Check our online calendar at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) because most shrews need to eat constantly in order to stay alive

SOURCE: "Pacific Shrew - Sorex pacificus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Most shrews are active day and night to fulfill their dietary requirements, but Pacific shrews are truly nocturnal in that they have very low activity during the day. At night, these animals exhibit high activity levels.

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Bureau of Land Management
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