A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 355 - 10/29/08

Pallid bat with wings outstretched A lok through a wagon wheel at the Modoc Tablelands Placing charges to blast close a dangerous entrance to an abandoned mine Horses at an earlier southern California adoption event Bicyclists cross a bridge on the Bizz Johnson Trail, framed by yellow foliage behind them

- Anniversary of the Archeological Resource Protection Act
- In the field: Manager with petroglyphs
- Recreation and issues
- Wild horse and burro adoption
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Bats!
- Abandoned mine lands
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Invaders, El Mirage visitor center, lots more!
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Anniversary of the Archeological Resource Protection Act - October 31, 1979" (News.bytes Extra)
This week marks the 29th anniversary of the passage of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. The passage of ARPA was applauded by the archaeological community as it expands the protections provided by the Antiquities Act of 1906, by protecting archaeological resources and sites located on public and Indian lands from looting and destruction of archaeological resources.

Kirk Halford points at petroglyphs at Fish SloughIN THE FIELD
"In the Field" is an video visit with a BLM-California manager at work in the field. In this issue, visit with Kirk Halford at the Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern as he takes you on a tour of one of the earliest recorded petroglyph sites in the western United States. A fitting way to mark the anniversary of ARPA (above).


A lok through a wagon wheel at the Modoc TablelandsA stagecoach travels part of the Modoc trail"Modoc Line to add 85 miles of trail to Northeast California" (News.bytes Extra)
Government and private partners in northeast California gathered along a rugged stretch of the Modoc-Lassen County line to celebrate a new Rail-Trail conversion. The group marked the transfer of an 85-mile stretch of former railroad into ownership of the Lassen Land and Trails Trust. A plan will now be developed to consider uses, non-motorized and motorized, that would be appropriate. The trail route crosses public and private land, with about 50 miles on public land managed by the BLM. Officials hope the route will one day connect to the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail (see next item below).

Bicyclists cross a bridge on the Bizz Johnson Trail, framed by yellow foliage behind themFoliage in mostly yellows along the Susanville River"Fall colors ride attracts Bizz bicyclists" (News.btes Extra)
Fall has taken hold on northeast California, and the colors are brilliant along the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail.  The Eagle Lake Field Office's annual fall colors bike ride, a 26-mile cruise from Westwood to Susanville, attracted more than 50 riders on Saturday, Oct. 25. While fall colors are peaking now, there are still plenty of good riding opportunities before winter weather has trail visitors storing their bikes and digging out the cross country skis. 

"Two off-roading routes near Randsburg to reopen" (Bakersfield Californian, 10/27/08)
"The Kern County Sheriff’s Department off-road team will team up with the Bureau of Land Management starting Nov. 1 to open up two mountainous routes in the Rand Mountains, about 100 miles east of Bakersfield near Randsburg."

RELATED: "Rand Mountain off-road trails re-open Nov. 1" (Tehachapi News, 10/28/08)
"Two off-road trails in the Rand Mountain Management Area that have been closed while the Bureau of Land Management worked on a court-ordered environmental protection program will re-open Nov. 1. For the 10 a.m. inaugural ceremony, Kern County Supervisors Don Maben and John McQuiston will join BLM employees, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Off-Road Vehicle Team, off-road vehicle recreational users and the public at the southern end of the Rand Mountain Management Area..."

RELATED: "BLM to launch Rand Mountain education and permit program" (BLM-California news release, 10/28/08)
Phase I will feature a no-cost permit to operate a motorized vehicle in the RMMA issued by an authorized BLM representative. The permit package will include a map of the designated open route network within the RMMA as well as educational information on resource issues in the area. Phase II, to begin in approximately one year, will expand the permit program to include a fee to cover the administrative costs of the program.

Two bicyclists and a runner along the of the Sacramento Rail Trail"Landmarks linked with new path" (Redding Record Searchlight, 10/30/08)
"Completion of a new section of trail now ties together two of the north state's landmarks - the Sundial Bridge and Shasta Dam. 'There was a 3-mile gap there that you just couldn't do,' said Steven Anderson, manager of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Redding field office."


A type 3 solar installation in the California desertBLM official Mike Nedd tours a desert power plant"BLM official tours California energy sites" (News.bytes Extra)
Mike Nedd, BLM assistant director for minerals and realty management, participated in a tour of energy-related facilities and engaged in a discussion of energy issues faced by BLM California last week. The tour highlighted both renewable and traditional energy sources.

"Large solar energy plant opens near Bakersfield" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/23/08)
"The first of what could be many new, large solar thermal power plants in California opened Thursday north of Bakersfield, on a patch of private land surrounded by almond orchards. The California Energy Commission is studying proposals for five other large solar thermal plants, capable of generating a total of 1,512 megawatts (enough for more than 1.1 million homes). And the federal Bureau of Land Management, which has jurisdiction over much of the Southern California desert, has received requests from developers to build 34 more plants, with a potential output of 24,000 megawatts. "

"Solar complex's backers want project fast-tracked" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/08)
"A company ... is pressing regulators to speed up a review of its proposed $2 billion solar-energy complex ... BrightSource Energy is seeking permission to build three solar-power plants on nearly 6 square miles of federal land along the Nevada state line -- the first ever on Bureau of Land Management property. The BrightSource project is one of dozens seeking to claim more than 1,000 square miles of federal land in California for solar-power generation ... With the potential to be the first large-scale solar plant on BLM property, the complex review is being closely watched since it will set the stage for others that follow. "

RELATED: "BrightSource’s Massive Solar Projects Facing Approval Delay" (New York Times, 10/27/08)
"BrightSource, a solar startup that is looking to build some of the first massive solar projects in the California desert, is facing a possible regulatory delay and has been attending hearings on how to streamline the approval process ... BrightSource had been aiming to have its solar project approved by the end of October, but both the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) need to conduct environmental assessments and give approval."

"U.S. expands geothermal energy plan" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 10/23/08)
"The Interior Department plans to make available 190 million acres of federal land in a dozen Western states for development of geothermal energy projects - a move that could produce enough electricity for 5.5 million homes. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said Wednesday that under a leasing program, as many as 270 communities could benefit from direct use of geothermal energy, generated from intense heat deep beneath the Earth."

RELATED: "Big plans for geothermal energy"
(Los Angeles Times, 10/22/08)
"Vast stretches of federal land in the West would be open to geothermal energy development under a plan released by U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Wednesday. The plan identifies 190 million acres -- nearly twice the size of California -- that would be available for geothermal leasing in 12 Western states ... All of Nevada, much of Idaho and Oregon and good chunks of California, Colorado and New Mexico have geothermal potential, based on heat flow maps."
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its content online.

RELATED: "Kempthorne launches initiative to spur geothermal energy and power generation on federal lands" (BLM news release, 10/22/08)
"Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced a plan to make more than 190 million acres of federal land in 12 western states available for development of geothermal energy resources, an initiative that could increase electric generation capacity from geothermal resources ten times over. 'Geothermal energy will play a key role in powering America's energy future,' Kempthorne said, 'and 90 percent of our nation's geothermal resources are found on federal lands.'"

RELATED: "Geothermal" (BLM-California website)
Production of steam and hot water from 22 producing geothermal leases on public lands in California generated over 4.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2005; enough for over 500,000 people. The Geysers field in Lake and Sonoma Counties produces 46 percent of the total royalties from federal geothermal leases in California, with Coso Hot Springs in Inyo County at 34 percent, and East Mesa in Imperial County at 17 percent.

From a map of potential southern route of Sunrise Powerlink"SDG&E warms to south route for Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/23/08)
"While much of the talk about the Sunrise Powerlink has focused on the environmental harm that it could do to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and scenic parts of North County, there's a growing possibility the huge power poles will wind up to the south. San Diego Gas & Electric Co. executives, who as recently as this summer told regulators that a southern route was not feasible, now say they would be willing to go along with any decision by the California Public Utilities Commission."

RELATED: "Stage set for southern power line"
(North County Times and The Californian, 10/30/08)
"The curtain is expected to rise Friday on the long-awaited proposed decision on San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s controversial $1.5 billion Sunrise power line. And observers say the stage is set for an alternate southern San Diego County route to be recommended by California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge Jean Vieth."

"BLM plans oil and gas competitive least auction" (BLM-California news release, 10/27/08)
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct an auction of oil and gas leases on federal land on Dec. 10 in Bakersfield. The competitive lease auction involves 10 parcels for a total of 5,352.68 of public lands in Kern County.

"2008 Oil & Gas Conference"
(Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce)
"An informal forum where oil and gas operators can dialogue with regulatory agencies, the 12th Biennial Oil and Gas Conference takes place on Thursday, Oct. 30, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ... The morning session kicks off with regulatory and policy updates by agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, and the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board of California plus a presentation on 'Greenhouse Gases and a Low Carbon Future: What AB32 means to you'."

"Biennial oil and gas conference planned in Bakersfield
" (BLM-California news release, 10/27/08)
"The conference is designed to provide an informal forum where oil and gas operators can interface with regulatory agency staff," said Jeff Prude, Bureau of Land Management petroleum engineer and conference organizer. The conference will conclude with the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s annual Energy Committee luncheon, with a presentation by oil company executives. For more information, contact Prude at (661) 391-6140 or Randy Adams with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources at (661) 334-3672.


Horses at an earlier southern California adoption event"Wild horses, burros to be up for adoption at Beaumont event" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/29/08)
"The federal government will make 30 young wild horses and 10 burros available for adoption Friday and Saturday in Beaumont, part of an ongoing effort to control the population of the animals on public lands in the West. The horses have been weaned, wormed and vaccinated and are in good health, say officials with the Bureau of Land Management. The animals were captured in Nevada along Highway 50 and at Nellis Air Force Base."
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"Wild horses and burros offered for adoption in Beaumont" (BLM-California news release, 10/9/08)
The adoption event will be at the Noble Creek Arena in Beaumont  on Oct. 31- Nov. 1. Animals arrive at noon on Friday, Oct. 31, and potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. BLM staff will approve adoption applications beginning 8 a.m. on Saturday; the  lottery adoption starts at 9 a.m., followed by first come, first served. 

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM-California)

Pallid bat with wings outstretched
Photo from a thumbnail from Arizona Fish and Game

Less than one-half of one percent of bats carry rabies. But what is the best way to avoid contracting rabies from those that do?
(a.) avoid bridge underpasses and caves
(b.) do not try to handle them
(c.) wear garlands of garlic cloves
(d.) do not carry bat food in your pocket
(e.) cut off your hair so no bats get tangled in it
(f.) Eat spicy foods just before Halloween so they’re less likely to drink your blood

------> See answer -- and more about bats and Halloween!-- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


Placing charges to blast close a dangerous entrance to an abandoned mine"Blasts close hazardous 'Southern Belle' abandoned mine" (News.bytes Extra)
Two years ago, the BLM constructed a bat-compatible gate on one shaft of the abandoned Southern Belle mine. But that left 17 more openings at three sites. The openings were so unstable – because of extremely brittle rock and crumbly soil surrounding them -- that it was impossible to construct bat-compatible gates. The openings were too large and on too steep a slope to carry foam for a solid closure. One option: blasting the openings shut.

"Gold mining's toxic legacy earns education effort"
(Nevada City Union, 10/22/08)
"In the heart of the Mother Lode ... public awareness remains low on the health risks associated with toxins left behind from historic gold mining operations ... [A] nonprofit community group is beginning to break that silence through education and policy change ... In recent years, numerous state, local and federal land agencies have poured millions of dollars into the clean up of old mine sites. Nevada Irrigation District has started a pilot project to remove mercury laden sediment from one of its reservoirs, the Bureau of Land Management is studying the effects suction dredging by recreational miners has on the release of environmental mercury into the Yuba River, and Empire Mine has spent years cleaning up its trails at the state park."

"Abandoned mine lands" (BLM-California)


"Petersen Fire contained after consuming nearly 1,200 acres in two states" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/28/08)
"Spot fires were all that remained Monday night of a 1,190-acre wildfire that roared across Petersen Mountain near Cold Springs on Sunday afternoon ... Reno Battalion Chief Joe Derousseau said ... the fire started west of Mud Springs Road in Cold Springs, charring 865 acres in Nevada before blackening an additional 325 acres in California ... 'It was reported there were people target shooting so that's believed to be the cause, but it's currently under investigation,' Derousseau said." BLM firefighters were among those called.

"Bureau of Land Management to conduct prescribed burn in Laguna Mountain area" (BLM-California news release, 10/27/08
The Bureau of Land Management's Hollister Field Office plans to conduct a prescribed burn in the Laguna Mountain area of Southern San Benito County. Twenty to 60 acres will be burned in October and November, weather permitting. Certain weather conditions must be met for the prescribed burn to take place and control smoke. The prescribed burns will be conducted to improve wildlife habitat and reduce hazard fuels (brush) in the area.

"SDG&E rethinking its fire risk cutoff plan" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/29/08)
San Diego Gas & Electric Co. is reconsidering its plan to shut off power to parts of the county to prevent wildfires after state regulators asked for more information about how it would be implemented. SDG&E spokeswoman Stephanie Donovan said yesterday the utility could decide whether to go forward with the controversial plan within a week ... After last year's wildfires, hundreds of burned-out homeowners sued the utility, saying its power lines sparked blazes responsible for much of the damage."


BLM-California State Director Mike Pool cuts a red ribbon with Barstow Field Office Manager Roxie Trost"Grand opening of the El Mirage Visitor Center" (News.bytes Extra)
The grand opening of the El Mirage Visitor Center took place on Oct 25, 2008. The ceremony, organized by the Friends of El Mirage and the BLM's Barstow Field Office, was attended by almost 300 people who enjoyed a fajita lunch and a firsthand look at the new facility. The El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area is located in the Mojave Desert on the western edge of San Bernardino County near the Los Angeles County Line. Receiving more than 83,000 visitors last year, the area provides for a variety of activities.

"Workers learn to spot mussels"(Redding Record Searchlight, 10/29/08)
"It isn't easy spotting the tiny, invasive mussels that could be a massive problem for the north state's waterways. 'All it takes is one,'" said a scientist. "So marina workers, state and federal scientists, and others who are hoping to keep quagga and zebra mussels out of the water here practiced ... by scouring a boat in search of small red stickers stuck in the mussels' favorite hiding places ... The invasive mussels spread quickly in waters without predators, clogging water diversions and collapsing the food ladder by taking out its bottom rung." BLM was among the agencies represented.

"Marines Corps' plans to acquire land raise residents' concerns" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/24/08)
"Desert residents said Thursday that they fear Marines Corps plans to expand the 932-square-mile Twentynine Palms combat training center will take their homes, curtail their off-road recreation and destroy wildlife habitat. More than 50 people attended the first of three public meetings the military and U.S. Bureau of Land Management are hosting this week to answer questions about the proposal to expand the training center by as much as two-thirds."
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RELATED: "Marines tell civilians base needs more land" (Yucca Valley Hi-Desert Star, 10/25/08)
"Citizens got the opportunity to question Marines and Bureau of Land Management supervisors about a proposal to expand the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center by hundreds of thousands of acres during a public-information gathering ... Several of the visitors said while they appreciate the Marines’ position, they don’t want to give up land or live with the noise from additional training that would result from the expansion. The proposed area covers much of the Johnson Valley off-roading recreational area."

"Wilderness Within Reach" (New York Times, 10/27/08)
Editorial: "It looks increasingly likely that both the Senate and the House will return to Washington after the election to address the economy and, possibly, to pass a new stimulus bill. If they do, we urge them to find time for one other piece of business -- a public lands bill that, at modest expense, could add nearly two million acres to the nation’s store of permanently protected wilderness."

"County scurries to fix Tecopa Sewer Ponds before state funds go to waste" (The Inyo Register, 10/25/08)
"They have the technology. They have the capability. They even have the money. But before Inyo County can begin repairs on the Tecopa Sewer Pond, it must lease the property from the Bureau of Land Management. The Tecopa Sewer Pond has been leaking for a number of years, causing an environmental health hazard, but the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, up until this point ... did not have the resources to relocate the pond waste while the repairs are in progress."

"BLM Bishop proposes hill-climb area restoration project" (BLM-California news release, 10/28/08)
The Bureau of Land Management's Bishop Field Office is requesting comments by Nov. 21 on a proposed rehabilitation project in Mono County. BLM proposes to decommission and rehabilitate a motorized hill-climb area to restore important upland sage habitat and reduce a visual scar in Long Valley. Currently, the hill-climb accesses the south side of Doe Ridge. There are several other routes that can be used to access this area once the rehabilitation is complete.

"Record number of pot plants destroyed" (Sonora Union-Democrat, 10/29/08)
"Tuolumne County had its third record year in a row in marijuana eradication, despite being short two agents. Meanwhile, the number of plants Calaveras County agents found are down by two-thirds ... The Tuolumne Narcotics Team, with the help of the state Department of Justice CAMP, Bureau of Land Management and the Stanislaus National Forest, took out a total of 26 outdoor and three indoor gardens."

"Public Invited to Farris Grove Dedication at Hobo Camp" (BLM-California news release, 10/23/08)
A picnic area at Hobo Camp, a popular public land site along the Bizz Johnson Trail, will be named in honor of Susanville residents George and Diana Farris in a ceremony Friday, Oct. 31, at 1 p.m. The public is invited.

"Helendale, Victorville clash over land control" (Victorville Daily Press, 10/24/08)
An official with a neighboring town says "Victorville has pre-zoned areas as 'open space' that currently have open existing mines and have also pre-zoned land that currently belongs to the Bureau of Land Management."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include education center coordinator and realty specialist.

Details online at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) do not try to handle them

SOURCE: "Pallid Bat - Antrozous pallidus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Some bats may carry rabies, but not all. In fact, less than 1% of the population carries rabies. The best way to avoid contracting rabies from them is to not handle them. Bats typically only bite in self-defense and will leave humans alone unless provoked.


Three big brown bats at rest - thumbnail from a photo by Santa Barbara Independent"Don't be bat-freaked on Halloween"
(Santa Barbara Independent, 10/28/08)
"B-rate horror flicks portray bats drinking human blood and transforming into vampires. But as this Halloween approaches, bat experts from the state's Fish and Game Department work hard to demystify these benevolent flying creatures. This time of year, they quell people's fears that bats will descend upon their hair to make a nest or sneak in at night to give a rabies-infecting bite."

"Bats galore at the Discovery Science Center" (Los Angeles Times, 10/30/08)
"Bats, that staple of horror movies and haunted houses this time of year, have a hold on popular imagination as winged killers and bloodsucking beasts. But the truth is more intriguing, if somewhat tamer. Divided into two groups based on their size, these flying mammals consist of roughly 1,000 species. Of these, only three thrive on blood, and they find pigs and cows much tastier than humans..."
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"Fewer bats this Halloween: Scientists may be closing in on why" (The Boston Globe, 10/30/08)
"Bats are one of Halloween’s most enduring icons, but the mysterious creatures’ silhouettes against the moon are disappearing in the Northeast. A baffling illness has wiped out more than 75 percent of bat populations in the abandoned mines and ice-encased caves where they hibernate. Now, researchers are reporting today in the online edition of the journal Science that they think they are closing in on a cause: A cold-loving soil fungus that seems to thrive on several species of hibernating bats during the winter months. The white fungus is so noticeable on the bats, researchers last year dubbed the sickness 'white-nose syndrome'." The illness has not been found in California bats.

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