A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 357 - 11/13/08
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Veterans Day: Remembering WWII training camp
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Environment education: Cosumnes River Preserve
- Outdoor recreation
- Headlines and highlights: Forester tour, Alabama Hills spirit, marijuana arrest, jobs
- Abandoned mine hazards: Parks, public lands
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Wild horse report
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
...this past Tuesday was a day to remember and honor the men and women who have served this country in the military. Visitors to the California desert can see where more than a million of these soldiers trained for harsh conditions in World War II. BLM-California is working to preserve these historical remains for the benefit of future generations.
World War II Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area" (BLM-California, Needles Field Office)
In the earliest days of World War II, the War Department realized the necessity for troops well trained under harsh conditions to withstand the rigors of battle over rough terrain and in inhospitable climates. This simulated theater of operation was the largest military training ground in the history of military maneuvers. These young troops would carry that early training on to victory in the sands of North Africa, the mud and mire to Europe, the ice and snow of Alaska, and even into the Pacific jungles. Although most of the structures were removed, much of the infrastructure, including rock-lined streets, staging areas, flag circles, and tent areas remain.
"PUC hears case for, against Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/8/08)
Sunrise Powerlink: "Whether San Diego Gas & Electric Co. should build a massive power line into the Imperial Valley goes to the heart of a debate that's gripping California and the country as it works to wean itself from fossil fuels. Is it better to rely on huge solar, wind and geothermal power plants far away or generate that power close to where it is needed? ... The commission could vote as early as Dec. 4 on whether to let SDG&E build a 123-mile, $1.7 billion power line through rural East County. It heard from both sides during a 2½ -hour hearing [Friday] in San Francisco."
"Progress seen in battle against energy path" (Hi-Desert Star, 11/7/08)
"The California Desert Coalition gave the citizens of the Morongo Basin a progress report on the fight against the Green Path North energy project ...
Proposed to tap the geothermal resources of Salton Sea, the towers would cut through Desert Hot Springs, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, Pioneertown’s Pipes Canyon Preserve and the hills along Old Woman Springs Road that wind through Yucca Mesa, Flamingo Heights, Landers and Johnson Valley, up to Hesperia’s aging power lines and on to ... Los Angeles ... The BLM is the lead agency on the project, in charge of 60 percent of the real estate where the towers would go."
RELATED: "Residents meet to speak out against power lines" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/7/08)
"Residents of Desert Hot Springs and the high desert are bracing for a long fight against Los Angeles power officials over a proposed transmission line corridor that could cut through local wildland preserves. About 100 people attended a meeting in Yucca Valley [last week] opposing Green Path North, a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power proposal to carry geothermal energy from the Salton Sea to Los Angeles and Orange counties."
"BLM/Energy Commission seek public input on Solar 2 project in El Centro" (BLM-California news release, 11/12/08)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct a public scoping meeting on Monday, Nov. 24, 2008, in El Centro on Stirling Energy Systems’ (SES) application to construct and operate its Solar Two project on public lands near Plaster City in Imperial County. The California Energy Commission will jointly conduct a public informational hearing and public site visit on the proposal the same afternoon.
"BLM releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for proposed wind energy project" (BLM-California news release, 11/7/08)
The final environmental impact statement analyzing a proposed wind energy project in Palm Springs, California, has been released by the Bureau of Land Management. Upon completion of a 30-day review period, the BLM will prepare and issue a decision. Mountain View Power Partners IV, LLC has applied for a right-of-way on public lands and a conditional use permit on private lands to construct a wind energy generating facility in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County. The project site is west of Indian Avenue and is within the corporate boundary of Palm Springs.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Roses are red, violets are lavender,
Is a pipistrelle a bird, mouse, bat or salamander?
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"Oak trees go nuts"(Sacramento Bee, 11/8/08)
Northern California oak trees "produce a second consecutive banner year of acorns. While scientists can explain all kinds of things, they can only guess at what's going on here -- how all the many oak trees seem to be in cahoots ... and dispense acorns by the millions ... a 'mast year' ... season in which trees produce fruit in much greater numbers than normal ... All these acorns are an opportunity to gather, store and eventually plant them in an effort to rebuild forests wiped away by agriculture. That was the goal Thursday at the Cosumnes River Preserve, where 100 Galt third-graders learned about this nutty rarity, then took to grabbing acorns in the shadows of 70-year-old valley oaks on the 46,000-acre property."
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RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
The Cosumnes River Preserve is home to California's largest remaining valley oak riparian forest, and is one of the few protected wetland habitat areas in the state. The Preserve includes central valley grasslands, vernal pools, wetlands and valley oak forests.
"Trail of the Month: November 2008" (Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)
California's Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail: "California's coastal climes, though famous for Mediterranean summers and mild winters, don't often produce much variation throughout the year. Yet if you head a few hundred miles northeast of San Francisco -- just east of the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges -- you'll find craggy canyons and upland forests that cycle through four distinct seasons. And you won't find better exposure to these changes than on the 25.4-mile Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail, which carves through the Susan River Canyon between the communities of Susanville and Westwood."
RELATED: "Bizz Johnson Trail" (BLM-California, Eagle Lake Field Office)
The Bizz Johnson Trail is in northeastern California, along the Susan River in Lassen County. The main trail head is at the old Railroad Depot in the City of Susanville, about 90 miles north of Reno and about 90 miles east of Red Bluff, California.
"Trails take hiatus" (Monterey County Herald, 11/9/08)
"The Fort Ord Reuse Authority plans to cut off public access to 3,300 acres of land that for more than a decade have provided a popular network of recreation trails for runners, cyclists, equestrians, biologists, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts ... The closure does not eliminate outdoor options at Fort Ord, since it only cuts off about 15 percent of accessible trails ... The Bureau of Land Management controls more than 7,000 acres with an 85-mile trail network in the former army base's eastern area." The area being closed is "is the 15 percent closest to where people live."
RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM-California, Hollister Field Office)
Come and enjoy some of the last undeveloped natural, public lands on the Monterey Peninsula, located on the former Fort Ord military base. Here the Bureau of Land Management protects and manages 35 species of rare plants and animals and their native coastal habitats. While habitat preservation and enhancement are primary missions at Fort Ord, there are also more than 50 miles of trails for the public to explore on foot, on bike or on horseback.
"Another big step for a superb path" (Sacramento Bee, 11/13/08)
"Environmental damage left by an old mining operation near Redding healed a little bit more recently with the opening of a new recreation trail along the Sacramento River. The trail links Redding to Shasta Lake, a popular recreation area that draws thousands every season; a three-mile section of the trail in the Keswick Dam area just downriver from Shasta Dam was recently completed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The new section connects the existing trail that runs south from near Shasta Dam to one that reaches north from the Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The result is a 13-mile river trail."
"BLM begins wet weather closure policy for South Cow Mountain" (BLM-California news release, 11/6/08)
With the arrival of the rainy season, the Bureau of Land Management's Ukiah Field Office has implemented its annual wet weather closure policy for the South Cow Mountain Off Highway Vehicle Area. Off highway vehicle enthusiasts should call the BLM Ukiah Field Office at (707) 468-4000 to check on conditions before visiting the area.
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Foresters tour BLM forest health projects and geothermal/wood-fired power plant" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the Society of American Foresters visited the Susanville area to learn about forest health and fire hazard reduction projects on BLM-managed public lands. They also toured a biomass power plant, as part of the SAF annual convention in Reno. They learned how the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office is using stewardship contracting on projects to reduce wildfire dangers and improve the health of pine stands in the wildland urban interface.
"Alabama Hills Spirit Day 2008" (News.bytes Extra)
Even as the weather forecast called for rain, more than two dozen volunteers from Bishop to Lone Pine gathered the first Saturday of last month, sharing a free breakfast before piling into cars and driving out for Alabama Hills Spirit Day. This annual activity, sponsored by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and the Lone Pine Film Festival, with the support of the staff at the Bureau of Land Management, brings volunteers together for a day of cleaning up the popular Alabama Hills in anticipation of the Lone Pine Film Festival scheduled for the next weekend.
RELATED: "The Alabama Hills" (BLM-California, Bishop Field Office)
On May 24, 1969, the BLM dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land west of Lone Pine, as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. Management plans are being considered that will eventually include a scenic trail system that people may walk and enjoy this geologic phenomena at a leisurely pace. The full intent of the BLM management plan is to preserve the hills in as close to a natural state as possible, for the enjoyment of future generations of Americans.
"Raid nets 2 arrests" (Red Bluff Daily News, 11/11/08)
"A marijuana raid in Chapman Gulch on Thursday netted 815 marijuana plants and 500 pounds of processed marijuana, Tehama County Sheriff s Department reported. TCSD deputies and Bureau of Land Management agents entered the cultivation site near Paynes Creek in the eastern region of Tehama County and observed two people working..."
"Arcata resident gives BLM reward money to wildlife care center" (BLM-California news release, 11/6/08)
An Arcata area resident has donated reward money received from the Bureau of Land Management to the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center in Arcata. The $1,000 reward was for information that led to an arrest in the Jan. 15, 2008 theft of redwood rail fencing from the BLM’s Fleener Creek Trail overlook near Ferndale.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Natural resources specialist, fire lookouts and wildland firefighters are among current openings.
|ABANDONED MINE DANGERS
"Death Valley struggles to make abandoned mines safe" (Los Angeles Times, 11/6/08)
"Here in ghostly Skidoo, the holes and tunnels are everywhere, nearly a thousand of them puncturing mountains and cratering the desert ... No other park in the nation has as many abandoned mines as Death Valley. Officials put the number between 10,000 and 50,000 ... Now Death Valley and other parks are under increasing pressure to reduce the risks of those mines, risks that include falling, drowning, explosion and asphyxiation. At least 33 people have died between 1999 and 2007 in abandoned-mine accidents on federal and private land, experts say. Many of the openings are all but invisible."
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RELATED: "BLM and partners launch "Fix A Shaft Today (FAST)!" campaign" (BLM national website)
The Bureau of Land Management is launching a new campaign to mitigate and remediate abandoned mine land physical safety hazards specifically targeting AML sites located in the southwest desert states. While the FAST Campaign is in the early stages, state agencies in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have expressed interest and support. Plans are to invite members of the mining and offf-highway vehicle industries, volunteer and other non-government organizations to participate. Find the link to this information at:
RELATED: "Abandoned mine lands" (BLM-California)
BLM-California is working to reduce the risks of abandoned mines.
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:
Nov. 14 - Art Smith Trail hike
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Palm Desert
Nov. 14-15 - BLM California Desert Advisory Council meeting
Nov. 17 - National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting
Nov. 18 - History of conservation in the Coachella Valley
Nov. 19 - Desert survivors nature walk
|NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Report: Government must revise wild horse program" (Associated Press at Google News, 11/11/08)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management needs to consider euthanizing wild horses or selling many of them to reduce spiraling costs of keeping them in long-term holding pens, said a government report Monday. The report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said costs of caring for wild horses have skyrocketed in recent years and likely will account for 74 percent of the program's overall budget this year, or more than $27 million."
RELATED: "Bureau of Land Management: Effective Long-Term Options Needed to Manage Unadoptable Wild Horses" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)
Summary of report, plus links to full 81-page report, highlights page and accessible text.
RELATED: "Statement of the Bureau of Land Management on the Government Accountability Office's Report" (BLM news release, 11/10/08)
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
SOURCE: "Western Pipistrelle - Pipistrellus hesperus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Western pipistrelles are the smallest bats in the United States at less than four inches long. They are also one of the smallest mammals in the world, falling second only to shrews.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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