A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 359 - 11/26/08

Buggies are almost specks on the vast Imperial Sand Dunes A wild turkey in the wild, by Michigan Department of Natural Resources Burns Brimhall (left) holding a plaque Smole rises from a fire earlier this year near Redding Portrait of Madeleine Pickens juxtaposed with wild horses in the wild

- Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
- Recreation and resources: Thanksgiving dunes opener, hiking, hot tub damage
- Not for educators only: Wild turkey day (Wildlife trivia)
- Wild horses and burros
- Energy: Renewable energy, western energy corridor
- Wildfire fighting and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Pot farm damage, county payments, desert tortoises, more
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Buggies are almost specks on the vast Imperial Sand Dunes"Law enforcement gears up for dunes weekend"
(Imperial Valley Press, 11/24/08)
"Law enforcement officials are preparing for an unpredictable Thanksgiving weekend at the Imperial Sand Dunes over the next four days. While initially predicted crowds were thought to be about half or three-quarters the size of previous years, the dip in gas prices could mean more people decide to come down ... the Sheriff’s Office, along with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, is doing the same preparations it has in previous years — namely making sure there are plenty of officers in the area."
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RELATED: "Navy says stay away from bombing range" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/25/08)
"As law enforcement agencies prepare for thousands of off-roaders to flood the dunes in the next several months, the U.S. military has its own cause for concern. One of the Navy’s most-used aerial bombing targets is directly adjacent to the Superstition recreational area, and with most flight missions scheduled during the fall and winter, interference because of trespassers on the range is a constant concern."
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"Packing trash home not likely to be successful" (Yuma Sun, 11/24/08)
Editorial: ""[E]ach winter thousands of people descend on our area to enjoy the sand dunes ... all these people will generate trash - lots of it ... the Bureau of Land Management plans to eliminate trash collection in the Imperial Sand Dunes starting in late January ... the new motto will be 'Pack It Home' - meaning whatever visitors bring to the recreation area must be taken back with them, including their trash. While it is an admirable idea, it is likely the agency will spend more time and money trying to enforce the requirement than if it had simply continued to collect the trash in the first place."

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)
Includes information about fees and permits, directions, rules and regulations and more.

Hikers explore a trail in the Palm Springs area"Hundreds take to city's trails"
(Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/19/08)
"More than 200 people attended the third annual La Quinta Trails Day ... where they took hourly guided hikes, went geocaching, watched presentations and viewed the stars on a warm and windy day ... The free, family-friendly event at the Cove Oasis offered presentations from the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument staff, Coachella Valley Community Trails Alliance members and local author Philip Ferranti who wrote '140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs.' City bike and trails maps were handed out..."

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains rise abruptly from the desert floor, reaching an elevation of 10,834 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto. Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the National Monument significantly contributes to the Coachella Valley's lure as a popular resort and retirement community.

"Saving the meadows in hot tub land" (Mammoth Times, 11/24/08)
"Years of devastation to the meadows surrounding the alkali ponds near one of the best known and most favorite of all hot tubs in the Long Valley Caldera has caused the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to take action. No one really knows exactly when Hilltop Hot Tub was created but what is known is that years of abuse by hot tub seekers, doing whatever they could to make the trek from their cars to the hot water, took its toll on the land."


A wild turkey in the wild, by Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Thumbnail from a photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources

There may be a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving, but watch out for their wild cousins! A wild turkey just might:
(a.) Give you turkey flu
(b.) Bite you back
(c.) Transmit gobbler fever
(d.) Beat the stuffing out of you
(e.) Make you gain weight

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


Portrait of Madeleine Pickens juxtaposed with wild horses in the wild"Person of the week: Madeleine Pickens" (ABC News, 11/21/08)
"Above all, Madeleine Pickens, wife of oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, is an animal lover ... So when Pickens heard that thousands of wild mustangs might be euthanized, she wouldn't sit still for it ... Wild horses, which date back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, roam free on federal land in 10 western states and share that land with herds of cattle. To ensure that there is enough food for both wild horses and domestic cows, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management thins the herds ... By law, if they can't be auctioned or adopted, they are to be slaughtered."

RELATED: "Horse reprieve?" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/21/08)
Editorial: "The federal Bureau of Land Management needs to proceed carefully in transferring thousands of wild horses into private hands. But the bureau is at the point of killing 'excess' animals or selling them for slaughter. If prospective caretakers can assure humane treatment of the animals, the bureau should grant them ownership. Madeleine Pickens ... announced Tuesday that she has offered to rescue as many as 30,000 horses and burros now in captivity under the bureau's Wild Horse and Burro Program."
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"Recommendations of BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board" (BLM news release, 11/17/08)
Lists 19 recommendations that the BLM's citizen-based National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board made to the Bureau at its meeting in Reno, Nevada, on Monday, November 17, 2008. The BLM will take these recommendations under advisement and will provide feedback to the Board at its next meeting, which is currently scheduled for February 23, 2009, in Reno.


"Public speaks on solar project" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/24/08)
"Imperial County Supervisor Gary Wyatt was emphatic when expressing his support for Stirling Energy’s solar project to representatives from the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management on Monday ... CEC hearing officer Raoul Renaud, however, cautioned that the project has not yet been approved and said the CEC and BLM were still in the opening phases of the approval process. While the majority of the speakers spoke in support of the project, there were those that had concerns with it."
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"Agencies publish final Environmental Impact Statement on energy corridor designation in the West" (BLM national news release, 11/26/08)
Four Federal agencies today released a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement proposing to designate more than 6,000 miles of energy transport corridors on Federal lands in 11 Western States. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Defense prepared the Final PEIS as part of their work to implement Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The proposed energy corridors would facilitate future siting of oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines, as well as electricity transmission and distribution facilities on Federal lands in the West to meet the region’s increasing energy demands while mitigating potential harmful effects to the environment.

"Energy dreams?" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/22/08)
"The difference between a political stunt and a realistic goal is practicality. And Californians will not know which category the governor's new renewable energy proposal falls into until he fleshes out the plan's details. The governor's goals require overcoming daunting obstacles, and the specifics will be a crucial gauge of feasibility. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ... calls for the California Energy Commission and the state Department of Fish and Game to create a 'one-stop' permit process for new renewable energy, and wants better coordination with the federal Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to speed up approvals."
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Burns Brimhall (left) holding a plaque"Brimhall selected as Kern 2008 Firefighter of the Year" (News.bytes Extra)
The Kern Valley Exchange Club honored three local firefighters and their families during the Second Annual Interagency Firefighter of the Year Awards dinner on Monday night November 17, 2008.  The Bakersfield Field Office fire program selected South Fork Fire Captain 3133, Burns Brimhall, for this award. 

Smole rises from a fire earlier this year near ReddingA worker checks a tree in a burned-our area near Redding"Round table participants offer views on fire management in north state forests" (Redding Record Searchlight, 9/23/08)
"Smoke from this summer's momentous wildfires in the north state has long since cleared, but burning issues remain. They include questions of how the wildlands became so primed for fire, whether the fire fight was managed properly and what to do now to heal the land and prevent another such summer. In an effort to find answers to these questions, the Record Searchlight recently gathered a round table of experts with diverse points of view on our forests and the best ways to keep them healthy." Participants included Tim Bradley, a fire management officer for the Bureau of Land Management.


"$139 million distributed to state and county governments in full compensation for FY 2008 Payments in Lieu of Taxes" (BLM news release, 11/20/08)
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today that the Department of the Interior has distributed an additional $138.7 million in supplemental payments to about 2,200 county and other local governments, providing them full compensation for taxes that could not be levied on federal lands in their jurisdictions during fiscal year 2008.

"Pot farms a growing problem" (KPBS San Diego, 11/25/08)
"The Drug Enforcement Administration says outdoor marijuana growing operations are damaging public and private land in San Diego County. So far this year, a local-federal task force has found nearly 200 outdoor illegal marijuana growing operations in the county ... DEA Agent William Sherman says more than one-third of those plants were found growing on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management property."

"Unintended consequences" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/22/08)
Columnist: "When man tampers with nature, all too often the results are disastrous. That certainly was the case with the relocation of desert tortoises last spring to expand Fort Irwin by 131,000 acres ... it resulted in the deaths of about 90 tortoises that were attacked by coyotes ... Now the tortoises face another threat. The Marine Corps wants to expand the Twentynine Palms Air Ground Combat Center onto an off-road recreation area. If displaced off-roaders push the government to open desert land now closed to off-roading, more tortoise habitat could be lost."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view this content online.)

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

Dec. 6 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain National Monument advisory committee meeting
Palm Desert

Dec. 10 - Oil and gas lease sale

Dec. 12 - Imperial Sand Dunes Technical Review Team meeting
El Centro

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) Bite you back (okay, "make you gain weight" is also an acceptable answer - especially if one chases you into a donut shop - see next item).

SOURCE: "The case of the terrorist turkeys" (National Wildlife, Oct./Nov. 2008)
"When a woman traveled into densely-populated Brookline, Mass. "to see her optician, she dropped coins in a parking meter and turned around to find herself facing an aggressive gobbler that followed her over commuter train tracks, through oncoming cars and down the sidewalk, pecking at her behind until she reached her destination. A tom that later confronted ... a visiting New Yorker, on the same street may have been the same belligerent turkey. She took refuge in a Dunkin’ Donuts shop."

RELATED: "Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)" (Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
"In spite of its large size and rather awkward appearance, the wild turkey is a powerful flier, reaching speeds of up to 55 mph over short distances. Turkeys will most often fly hard and fast up through the treetops, then set their wings and glide back to the ground. Benjamin Franklin wanted wild turkeys to be our national symbol instead of the bald eagle. He felt that the stately, majestic qualities of the wild turkey would make it a fine symbol for the new country ... Wild turkeys are found in many areas across the U.S. and part of Ontario ... However, this is following a major re-introduction effort that was first successful after four failed attempts."

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Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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