A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 361 - 12/11/08

A coyote with mouth hanging open Mountain bikers on the Fort Ord public lands Mojave Max close up of head An agent rides a former wild horse Noël Ann Stephens with chuckwalla

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Desert tortoise contest
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Twentynine Palms, Tulelake monument, Fort Ord burn, jobs, more
- Wild horses and burros
- Employee profile
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: New Cabinet, conservation, concealed weapons policy

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

A coyote with mouth hanging open
Thumbnail from a photo by California Department of Fish and Game

Coyotes eat -- among other things -- mice, rats, and lagomorphs. What is a lagomorph?
(a.) A type of mammal including gophers, voles and shrews
(b.) A type of mammal including rabbits, hares and pikas
(c.) A type of amphibian including salamanders and treefrogs
(d.) A type of reptile including lizards, geckos and chuckwallas
(e.) A type of aromatic fungus that grows on rotting logs
(f.) A type of snail
(g.) An energetic person who suddenly loses all strength when asked to help with the chores -- from the Italian word "lago" meaning "lazy" and “morph” in its meaning as "change".

------> See answer -- and stories about increasing human-coyote encounters -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

MORE WILDLIFE: Desert tortoises

Mojave Max close up of head"Desert Manager's Group and The Living Desert partner for California's Mojave Max Emergence Contest"
(Desert Manager's Group news release, 12/3/08)
"This year California will have its own desert tortoise to mark the beginning of spring. California’s Mojave Max will reside at The Living Desert in Palm Desert ... The object of the contest is to guess when Mojave Max will emerge from his burrow for the first time after a long winter sleep ... Any student in grades 1-12 may enter the contest [online] ... Students submitting the closest guess, one from each county, will be declared winners. Eligibility for awards is restricted to students enrolled in public, private, and registered home schools in the following counties in California: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego."
Note: PDF file:

RELATED: "The official site of Mojave Max" (MojaveMax.com)
More information -- register at this site to enter the contest.


"Pressure to build transmission lines imperils farmland" (California Farm Bureau, 12/10/08)
"An increased demand for electricity and renewable energy has resulted in a number of utility-proposed transmission line projects being considered throughout the state. While farmers and ranchers appreciate the need for improving the electric grid, they worry that some of the transmission projects could treat farmland as a thruway and unnecessarily remove prime land from production." References proposed Sunrise Powerlink and Green Path North, both of which would partially cross lands managed by BLM-California.

RELATED: "San Diego Gas & Electric Company's Sunrise Powerlink Project" (State of California Public Utilities Commission)
"The CPUC is the CEQA lead agency and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the lead agency under NEPA."

"Solar power must replace lost habitat" San Bernardino County Sun, 12/6/08)
Op-Ed: "Solar power is a preferred resource if we are to reverse global warming. Yet solar power, as with other energy resources, carries costs to our natural environment. The siting of solar power plants in the desert, in particular, will have adverse impacts on the desert tortoise and its habitat. The Ivanpah solar power plants proposed by Solar Partners, a subsidiary of Bright Source Energy, will permanently destroy 3,700 acres of prime tortoise habitat on public lands in the Eastern Mojave administered by the Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "Energy resources" (BLM-California)
Includes links to information on biomass, geothermal, solar and wind power.


"Marine expansion plans don't sit well with off-roaders" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/4/08)
"Off-roading enthusiasts and military officials appeared to be on a collision course Thursday at a meeting hosted by the Marine Corps, which plans a major expansion of its training center at Twentynine Palms. The Marines shared five expansion scenarios for enlarging the center, but the one that works best for maneuvers and live-fire training takes in all or part of the Johnson Valley, a 189,000-acre mecca for off-roaders in the San Bernardino County desert southeast of Barstow. The revelation didn't go over well with many of the 167 people..."
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.

RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area " (BLM-California, Barstow Field Office)

Guard tower and grounds at the World War II Tulelake Center"Tule Lake Segregation Center granted monument status" (Mount Shasta Herald, 12/11/08)
"The decision is heralded by many as a major step towards recognizing the injustices perpetrated against Japanese Americans by the United States government during World War II."

RELATED: "Establishment of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument " (White House proclamation archives)
The sites include five in the area of the Pearl Harbor attacks of December 7, 1941; three in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, "the site of the only land battle fought in North America during World War II"; and in California, the Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark and nearby Camp Tule Lake, were both used to house Japanese-Americans relocated from the west coast of the United States.

RELATED: "Bush declares Tulelake relocation center part of national monument" (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/6/08)
"A presidential proclamation designating the Tulelake Relocation and Segregation Center near Newell in Siskiyou County as part of a World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument was signed Friday by President George W. Bush ... The U.S. Department of the Interior will manage the national monument through the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

A burn earlier today, to clear brush at Fort Ord"The Fort Ord burn is on" (Monterey County Herald, 12/10/08)
"The scheduled prescribed burn on former Fort Ord land began today ... the Fort Ord Base Realignment and Closure Office had planned to begin the burn on approximately 140 acres in an area not accessible to the public by vehicle ... The Army periodically conducts burns to clear vegetation in areas used for training with live ammunition when Fort Ord was an active base. Burning off the vegetation allows munitions-removal experts to safely enter zones pocked with left-over ordnance and explosives, some of which may not have been detonated. After the land is swept for munitions, the Army will be able to transfer it to the Bureau of Land Management, which will preserve it as natural habitat..."

RELATED: "Former Fort Ord environmental cleanup" (Fort Ord Base Reuse Authority)
More information, periodic updates and links to other resources related to the cleanup.

Mountain bikers on the Fort Ord public landsRELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM-California, Hollister Field Office)
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.

"Feds to move Hollister BLM office; affects 30 workers" (Hollister Freelance, 12/10/08)
"Opened since 1981, the Hollister Field Office for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will close and the operation will move to Marina, according to a statement released from the local branch of the National Federation of Federal Employees."

Note: BLM is reviewing a number of options for its Hollister Field Office to improve efficiency and public access. No decisions have been made, including selection of a new office location, however, the greater Marina area is being considered. This is the very beginning of the process and further information will be shared with employees, union representatives, community leaders, and constituents as details are available. The BLM's Hollister Field Office manages 315,000 acres of public lands in 10 counties with 40 employees.

"Small town sees big role in future" (Stockton Record, 12/6/08)
"It sounds like an action thriller movie plot: a band of unlikely allies joins forces in a depressed former logging town to thwart grave robbers, restore the town's industrial base and battle global climate change. But the two dozen state, local, federal and nonprofit agency leaders who met ... are deadly serious. And they say the new administration about to be sworn in in Washington as well as anticipated federal spending to create jobs, repair infrastructure and aid conversion to a more energy-efficient economy make this the time to craft a plan and set it in motion." Participants included BLM-California Folsom Field Office Manager Bill Haigh.

"BLM seeking comments for new King Range wilderness plan" (BLM-California news release, 12/8/08)
The BLM is seeking public comments on issues that should be addressed as the agency develops a wilderness management plan for the King Range National Conservation Area (NCA) on the northern California coast. The Northern California Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, approved by Congress and signed into law in October 2006, designated 42,585 acres in the King Range NCA as wilderness. The wilderness plan is required to ensure that wilderness values are protected.

RELATED: "King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)

"Target shooter sentenced in Telegraph Fire" (Fresno Bee, 12/4/08)
"The 29-year-old man convicted of starting the 34,000-acre Telegraph fire was sentenced Thursday to three years of summary probation and 60 hours of community service ... The relentless blaze destroyed 30 homes, cost the state more than $37 million to fight and resulted in millions of dollars of property damage. Nobody was seriously injured ... District Attorney Robert Brown said [the man] could eventually be ordered to pay astronomical restitution costs, possibly in the millions."
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view this content online.)

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include law enforcement rangers, fire lookouts and firefighters.


"Region's U.S. Border Patrol mustangs to march in D.C." (Spokane, WA Spokesman Review, 12/8/08)
"Mustangs that were running wild less than two years ago will be part of next month’s inaugural parade for Barack Obama. The formerly wild horses are part of the U.S. Border Patrol’s mounted unit, which operates out of ... Inland Northwest locations ... The agency adopts horses captured and auctioned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for $125, then has them trained by inmates in a rehabilitation program with the Colorado state prison system at a cost of about $900 each."

"Wild horses and burros" (BLM-California)
Wild horses and burros are managed in California in accordance with the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. This act gave the Bureau of Land Management the responsibility to protect wild horses and burros while ensuring their populations are managed to maintain or restore a thriving ecological balance.

NoŽl Ann Stephens with chuckwallaEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Noël Ann Stephens...
...says that every woman on both sides of her family were elementary school teachers, so she vowed not to be one. Now they laugh at her because she teaches environmental education as an extension of her public contact representative duties. Noël is perfectly fitted as the public contact representative in BLM's California Desert District Office. Read More:



"Officials: Obama chooses Chu for energy secretary"
(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/10/08)
"President-elect Barack Obama intends to round out his environmental and natural resources team with a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and three former Environmental Protection Agency officials from the Clinton administration ... Still unclear is whom Obama will tap for interior secretary. Officials close to the transition said support for John Berry, the director of the National Zoo and a former assistant secretary at the Interior Department, was growing. But these officials also said Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and California Rep. Mike Thompson were still in the running."

RELATED: "Obama team set on environment" (New York Times, 12/10/08)
More information, including Californians reportedly to be named to White House posts.
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.

"BLM announces key headquarters appointments" (BLM national news release, 12/10/08)
Janine Velasco, currently assistant director for human capital management, will be the new assistant director for business and fiscal resources, and Carole Carter-Pfisterer, currently in the Deputy Assistant Secretary’s Office of Human Capital, Performance and Partnership, will take over as assistant director, human capital management.

"Interior publishes final narrow changes to regulations, clarifies role of global processes in consultation" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/11/08)
"The Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce today sent joint final regulations to the Federal Register to clarify the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final regulations, which take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, represent a narrow update of existing regulations and incorporate changes based on comments received from the public after proposed regulations were published in August."

"BLM renews commitment to Conservation Districts"
(BLM national news release, 12/5/08)
"The Bureau of Land Management renewed its commitment to work with Conservation Districts by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)..." The MOU "recommitted the BLM and NACD to a collaborative partnership that works toward achieving common goals in developing and wisely managing federal and private land and water resources."

"Concealed weapons to be OK'd in national parks" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 12/6/08)
"The Interior Department ruled Friday that concealed firearms can be carried in most national parks and wildlife refuges, overturning a 25-year-old federal regulation restricting the practice." The ruling will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. "Loaded, concealed weapons will be allowed only if the visitor has a concealed weapons permit issued by the state in which the park is located..."

RELATED: "Interior announces final firearms policy update" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/5/08)
"The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) A type of mammal including rabbits, hares and pikas

"Coyote - Canis latrans" (BLM California wildlife database)
Information and links about coyotes.

"Order Lagomorpha" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More about lagomorphs.

Coyotes in the news:

"Residents reminded to not feed coyotes" Ventura County Star, 12/8/08)
"Animal control officials and wildlife experts are urging Ventura County residents not to leave food out for coyotes or try to attract them into populated areas. Authorities say feeding coyotes can make them more aggressive toward people and is against the law. 'It's the dumbest thing anyone could do,' said Kathy Jenks, director of Ventura County Animal Regulation. The warning follows unconfirmed reports that some Thousand Oaks residents might be feeding coyotes..."

Coyotes - "Keep Me Wild" brochure"Coyotes kill pets, scare mobile home park residents" (Orange County Register, 12/4/08)
"Coyotes have been seen in several suburban areas of Orange County including Los Alamitos, where the City Council hired trappers in September to capture and kill coyotes. Yorba Linda and Brea have coyote watch programs that allow residents to call in sightings to the city who keeps a log of the animals ... 'Generally speaking, humans are not prey to wildlife,' animal control spokesman Ryan Drabek said ... Residents have been advised to keep pets, food and water inside their homes and to get rid of brush that would make a den for the coyotes."

A coyote crosses an open area, in a video from KABC-TV Los Angeles"Coyotes encroaching in Orange County" (KABC-TV Los Angeles, 12/3/08)
"It's not unusual to see coyotes in urban areas of Southern California. But now the animals have invaded a mobile home park and have already killed several small pets ... Officials can only urge residents to avoid leaving water or food outside. If a coyote comes close, make noise, and take small pets and children inside. If it's acting aggressive, call authorities right away." With video.

"Keep me wild" (California Department of Fish and Game)
"Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control. They are by nature fearful of humans. If coyotes are given access to human food and garbage, their behavior changes. They lose caution and fear. They may cause property damage. They might threaten human safety. They might be killed."

"Coyote ugly?" (Santa Monica Mirror, 12/4/08)
Coyote attacks are rare, while "generally 10 or more people are killed and thousands attacked by dogs every year.” Still, some residents are demanding action. One "wants the city to trap and euthanize the coyotes, claming that since the nocturnal animals are appearing during the day and displaying a waning fear of humans, the problem will not take care of itself."

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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