A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 365 - 1/14/09

thumbnail of sandhill crane for a photo by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission CCC worker Levi Smith, 20, uses a chain saw to cut brush Friday as part of a fuel-reduction project Sandy Klein oversees her mustang Nochecita's painting Photo along the California Coastal National Monument, part of the NLCS Employee profile: Laurie Morrow stands by one of the quilts she made

- Spotlight on Partners: Cosumnes River Preserve
- Galt Winter Bird Festival
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Current legislation affecting the BLM
- Confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary-designate to be videocast
- Imperial Sand Dunes: Cleanup this weekend, trash pickup, filming on the dunes
- Renewable energy: Solar, geothermal, power line issues
- Wild horses and burros: Mustangs for Marines, artistic mustang
- Headlines and highlights: BLM website changes, CCC in peril, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

SPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: Cosumnes River Preserve
Birds fly at sunrise at Cosumnes River PreserveTo understand the unusual partnership at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Sacramento, you need to consider an ownership map. With each partner or owner a different color, the map looks like a patchwork quilt, with the Preserve stitched together in colorful mosaic. It may look disorganized, but the opposite is true -- it is built on shared responsibility, trust, and a long-term vision for preserving one of California's last undammed rivers, critical habitat for migrating birds, and one of the last remnant intact oak woodland forests in the Central Valley.


Sand hill cranes at Cosumnes River Preserve"Galt Winter Bird Festival" (City of Galt)
Saturday, Jan. 17 at McCaffery Middle School in Galt, with field trips to the Cosumnes River Preserve. Unfortunately, Cosumnes River Preserve tours are now full during the festival -- but you can still enjoy live entertainment, visit the bird festival youth art gallery, take part in activities such as a decoy carving seminar, and listen to guest speakers. Plus, more than 4 1/2 miles of trail will be open to the public at the Cosumnes River Preserve. .

"Winter Bird Festival on Saturday" (Galt Herald, 1/14/09)
"For hundreds of bird enthusiasts, last year’s Galt Winter Bird Festival was the highlight of their bird watching and bird admiring year, and organizers of the 2009 event say they expect even more bird lovers and family fun at this year’s festival ... through displays, hands-on activities and presentations... in addition to the fantastic indoor opportunities to learn and to share, the festival also offers each visitor the amazing opportunity to take a short trip out to the Cosumnes River Preserve and see dozens of bird species who call Galt and the surrounding area home for the winter in their natural habitat, feeding, nesting and raising their young before it is time to migrate for the summer."

Cosumnes River Preserve during the festival: More than 4.5 miles of trails including the boardwalk, river walk trail, crane viewing platform, and wetlands walk trail will be open to the public. The viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk will be closed. The trails are open to the public everyday from dawn to dusk, the Visitor center is open on weekends typically from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on weekdays as staffing permits.

Trees loom out of the fog at Cosumnes River Preserve"Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
There are also "excellent" viewing opportunities on Desmond and Bruceville Roads near the Visitor Center and with a Staten Island driving tour of wetlands and bird viewing from your vehicle. The Wetlands Walk trail and crane viewing platform provide access to all including mobility-impaired visitors. The River Walk trail is a natural (dirt trail) 3.1 mile loop trail that takes visitors through a variety of habitat types, including savanna/oak woodland, riparian, and wetland habitats. The trails are open to the public every day from dawn to dusk, the Visitor center is open on weekends typically from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on weekdays as staffing permits.

thumbnail of sandhill crane for a photo by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
from a photo by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

The Cosumnes River Preserve is home to more than 250 species of birds, including greater sandhill cranes, a species listed as threatened with extinction by the State of California. How do sandhill cranes resemble many humans? (choose as many as you think apply)
(a.) Large numbers of them live in California only during the winter
(b.) Their height approaches that of the average human adult
(c.) Both parents help raise the children until they leave home
(d.) Many mating pairs stay together for life
(e.) They tend to wear more gray during the winter
(f.) Their mating rituals include large numbers congregating at a dance
(g.) They can usually fly at about two months old

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


"Federal wilderness protection for California land moves forward" (Los Angeles Times, 1/12/09)
"Large swaths of California wild lands would gain federal wilderness protection under legislation that took a step toward approval in the U.S. Senate during a rare Sunday session ... It would designate as wilderness -- the government's highest protection -- about 190,000 acres in Riverside County, including parts of Joshua Tree National Park; about 450,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra and San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles; and about 90,000 acres in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks..."
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"Plan to set aside more wilderness land advances in U.S. Senate" (Bloomberg News, 1/11/09)
"The U.S. Senate, in its first order of business this year, advanced a $10 billion conservation plan that would set aside more than 2 million acres of natural wilderness and protect 1,000 miles of scenic rivers. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, the first piece of legislation considered by the new Senate, combines about 160 individual environmental bills in nearly 1,300 pages ... The Senate will debate and vote on the bill’s passage this week." Part of the bill would codify the the National Landscape Conservation System, managed by the BLM.

"Massive lands bill clears filibuster" (Washington Times, 1/12/09)
"Senate Democrats flexed their new legislative muscle Sunday, using the first vote of the new Congress to break a Republican filibuster from the previous session of Congress, and advance a wide-ranging land-conservation measure. The omnibus land bill would preserve more than 2 million acres of land, establish new layers of bureaucracy in the Bureau of Land Management..."

Photo along the California Coastal National Monument, part of the NLCSSoda Lake on Carrizo Plain National Monument"National Landscape Conservation System" (BLM-California)
The Bureau of Land Management’s National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) contains some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. It includes over 850 federally recognized areas and approximately 27 million acres of National Conservation Areas, National Monuments, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Historic and Scenic Trails. Includes links to NLCS areas in California.

"U.S. Senate bill will protect 190,000 acres in Riverside County" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/12/09)
"Locally, it adds extra protection to the San Bernardino National Forest, Joshua Tree National Park and the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument..."

"Lawmakers stand up for our desert" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/14/09)
Editorial: "Anyone who has ever seen Joshua Tree National Park at dusk or during the blooming of the wildflowers knows we have a unique desert paradise in our backyards. This desert landscape can and should be protected. Since 2007, we have supported legislation to expand the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and protect some 190,000 acres in Riverside County, including wilderness areas in the Joshua Tree National Park, San Bernardino National Forest and the Pinto Mountains."

"Senate moves wilderness bill forward" (Idyllwild Town Crier, 1/15/09)
"The bill creates four new wilderness areas, adds 31 miles of rivers to the National Wild and Scenic River system, and expands the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument."

A scene in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument"Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000 “in order to preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational, and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and to secure now and for future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy the magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources in these mountains and to recreate therein.”

"Tuolumne Me-Wuk land transfer bill heads to Senate" (My Mother Lode News, 1/10/09)
"A federal bill that would transfer three small parcels of land from the Bureau of Land Management to a trust fund for the Tuolumne Me-Wuk Tribe passed through the House during the 110th Congress and [was] expected to be voted on in the Senate on Sunday."


"Full Committee Hearing: to consider the nomination of Ken Salazar to be Secretary of the Interior" (United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources)
"Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 09:30 AM. The purpose of this hearing is to consider the nomination of Ken Salazar to be Secretary of the Interior ... This hearing will be webcast."

RELATED: "Live webcast"(United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources)
Requires Adobe Flash Player to view video.


"Annual dunes cleanup event set for weekend" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/13/09)
"United Desert Gateway invites local residents to the 12th annual San Dunes Clean-up on Saturday. The annual cleanup is an important date on any duner’s calendar and is vital to the sustainability of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. This event not only keeps the dunes clean and open for all to enjoy, but is fun for the entire family ... To participate, come to one of the listed registration sites, beginning at 8 a.m. to register and pick up your trash bags."
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"Imperial Sand Dunes cleanup Saturday"
(Imperial Valley News and KXO Radio, 1/13/09)
"The 12th Annual Sand Dunes Cleanup is set for Saturday January 17, 2009 at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area near Glamis.The event is sponsored by United Desert Gateway , a non-profit organization comprised of the Brawley, El Centro and Yuma Chambers of Commerce in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and other organizations. "

"Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)
More information about the dunes, and about the cleanup this Saturday, Jan. 17.

"County OKs OHV funds for dunes trash contract" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/13/09)
"Trash service will continue in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area through this off-road season after the Imperial County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved allocating funds to avoid a stoppage ... The Bureau of Land Management announced in September it would no longer pay for trash service due to a lack of funding. The BLM has a $400,000 contract with Mission Disposal for trash services that expires in February ... Supervisor Wally Leimgruber, who represents the dunes area, said discussions will continue with BLM to identify possible funding sources for trash service."

Location manager Michael Burmeister says Glamis was chosen because it resembles Iraq"Desert has plenty to offer" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/8/09)
"In the desolation of Imperial County’s sand dunes lies an oasis for film production. With nothing but desert for miles and the landscape of mountains that can be edited out later, the latest film to take up a brief residence here is 'Men Who Stare at Goats.' The feature film is based on a book by Jon Ronson and has a star-studded cast including George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges ... Imperial County was a last-minute addition after the film’s final days of production were snowed out while on location in New Mexico. Four days of production in the dunes near Glamis wrapped up Thursday, funneling an estimated $300,000 into the local economy as the crew stayed in local hotels, ate at local restaurants and the production utilized local businesses..."
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Artist rendering of Ivanpah solar power facility proposed for Mojave Desert"The rush for gigawatts in the desert explodes" (Greentech Media, 1/9/09)
"Although the economy is in the dumps, there's been a 78% jump in applications to build solar projects on BLM land in the last six months ...Overall, there are 107 applications for the BLM land in California, 71 applications in Nevada and 35 in Arizona ... New Mexico, Utah and Colorado make up the rest. ... only 2 projects are far enough along to undergo environmental reviews, a critical juncture in the permitting process. The two projects come from BrightSource Energy in Oakland, Calif., and Stirling Energy Systems in Phoenix, Ariz. Both are proposing solar-thermal power plants which, unlike rooftop solar panels, use the sun's heat to generate electricity." The two projects are in the Mojave Desert and Imperial County.

"Geothermal future" (New York Times, 1/13/09)
Editorial: "[T]he Bureau of Land Management issued a decision last month that would open up as many as 190 million acres to leases for geothermal exploration and development. These lands are mostly in the West, where hot rock lies closer to the surface than it generally does in the East. ... Geothermal development must not be allowed to foster another drilling free-for-all of the kind we’ve seen during the past decade. Done right, it could help free the country of the grievous environmental burden of coal-burning power plants. Done wrong, it could create grievous environmental problems of its own. Mindful of the dangers, the next administration should commit to developing this extraordinary resource."
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"City managers hold off on Green Path North resolution" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/9/09)
"Coachella Valley’s city managers today decided to hold off any making a public stand for or against the controversial Green Path North proposal. Officials, meeting as the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ technical advisory committee, said it was premature to make any decision until more was known about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposed transmission-line project." A committee urged the managers "to pass a resolution saying the agency is “significantly concerned” with the proposal." Several of the routes being discussed would cross BLM-managed lands.

"Southland plans to increase renewable energy" (KESQ-TV Palm Springs, 1/10/09)
"On Saturday, a meeting was held at the Palm Desert Civic Center to discuss future renewable energy plans here in the Golden State. Not all desert residents are excited about the possibility of renewable energy passing by their homes" including proposed power lines, and large wind- and solar-energy projects.

"SDG&E powering ahead" (San Diego Business Journal)
"With the state Public Utilities Commission’s December approval of its Sunrise Powerlink project, San Diego Gas & Electric is moving forward with plans for a $1.9 billion, 123-mile high-voltage transmission line that would connect solar, wind and geothermal power-generation in East County and the Imperial Valley to regional customers ... Once the utility receives a decision from the Bureau of Land Management ... it hopes to break ground in mid-2010, says Briscoe. It is expected to be completed in 2012."

"Energy corridors designated in eleven western states" (BLM national news release, 1/14/09)
"The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management today signed a record of decision (ROD) amending 92 land use plans in support of the designation of more than 6,000 miles of energy transport corridors on Federal lands in 11 western states ... The PEIS identifies energy corridors to facilitate future siting of oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines, as well as renewable energy development projects and 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." Includes link to more information.

"Getting closer to a national transmission grid"
(The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2009)
Interview with official of a company that finances energy projects. Topics include the economic crisis' impact on energy projects, and how lack of national transmission lines hinder development of renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.


A Marine rides the latest mustang member of the Marine Color Guard"Nevada inmates tame horses for Marines" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 1/14/09)
"Three young wild horses from rangelands along the eastern Sierra joined the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard on Tuesday after four months of training by inmates at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, a long tradition between the agencies. 'We like to joke and say this is just going through boot camp, and once they've gone through boot camp, they start their service in the Marine Corps,' Gunnery Sgt. Pete McConnell said. After four months training at the correctional facility, the horses go to the Marine Corps Logistics Base outside Barstow, Calif., where they learn to march in formation and participate in presenting the colors for parades, shows and other formal occasions ... Since 1988, wild horses for the program have been provided by the Bureau of Land Management.

Sandy Klein oversees her mustang Nochecita's paintingKlein saw an abstract horse head in the painting, so added an eye, nostril and jaw"Equine aesthetics" (Bend, Oregon Bulletin, 1/12/09)
"Sandy Klein stands in front of an easel and examines the latest painting by a budding Bend artist. She notes the symmetry, which is unusual for this watercolorist’s abstract style. Then she critiques the piece. “It’s not her best work,” she says before reaching into her fanny pack, grabbing a handful of wet cob and feeding it to the young artist, who stands next to her. The artist in this case is Nochecita -- a 13-year-old mustang whose name means twilight, or dusk ... For Nochecita, painting is a far cry from her early life as a wild mustang in Nevada. The mare was captured as a yearling and adopted through a Bureau of Land Management program."

"Wild horses and burros" (BLM-California)
More information about the program.


"Attention all users" (BLM national website)
"On January 15, 2009, we will be changing the content of the left hand menu ... On that day, until the new structure is completely implemented, you may experience broken links or other problems using the left navigation. During this time, if there is information or other assistance needed, please contact your nearest BLM office."

CCC worker Levi Smith, 20, uses a chain saw to cut brush Friday as part of a fuel-reduction project"California Conservation Corps could disappear in budget cuts" (Redding Record Searchlight, 1/10/09)
"They fight fires, maintain trails and eradicate invasive plants - all for minimum wage - but Redding's 70 young California Conservation Corps workers will be laid off if a proposed state budget cut is made. In fact, the Redding-based CCC office that serves Chico, Yreka and Redding would have to close entirely ... The governor's proposal would transfer some CCC funding to 12 conservation corps programs, Pena said. However, the nearest one to Redding is in San Francisco. That's no help to local cities, federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), parks like the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and community organizers like Randy Smith."
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"Volunteer gardeners work to return Coast Dairies to native state" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1/11/09)
"In an oceanfront field where Laguna Creek meets the sea, more than 11,000 new plants are now nestled in the soil -- transforming a plot of land once used to cultivate artichokes and brussels sprouts back to its native landscape. Nearly 90 volunteers spent most of Saturday planting row upon row of plants native to California on the 4.5-acre plot as the State Parks system begins restoring seven miles of coastline north of Wilder Ranch known as Coast Dairies." Other lands from the former Coast Dairies is slated to be turned over to BLM-California.

"Prescribed fire planned to improve snowy plover habitat" (BLM-California news release, 1/9/09)
The BLM will conduct a prescribed fire at the South Spit Cooperative Management Area to improve habitat for western snowy plovers and restore native plants. Crews plan to begin the 24-acre project Jan. 13, with completion targeted for early February.  Burning will take place only on days when weather conditions allow for a safe and successful burn. Smoke may be visible from the project area on the south side of Humboldt Bay.

"Modoc-Washoe Stewardship Committee meets Jan 21-22 in Cedarville" (BLM-California news release, 1/8/09)
On Jan. 21, the committee will discuss the grazing fee credit program, learn about opportunities for drought relief and hear a status report on the Bureau of Land Management wild horse and burro program. The Thursday session will include status reports from member agencies, discussion of the committee’s role in environmental review for range projects, an update on the Modoc National Forest’s noxious weed management environmental impact statement, and an update on the Sage Steppe Ecosystem Restoration Strategy.

"BLM moves into Taft" (Taft Midway Driller, 1/9/09)
"The Bureau of Land Management is starting to move into the old Taft City Fire Department Station. The BLM is leasing the station from the city and will use it to house firefighters and equipment it uses to fight wildland fires on BLM land throughout the area."

"Lawsuit seeks to prevent road reopening in Santa Rosa Mountains" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/11/09)
" The Sierra Club and two other environmental groups are suing to stop the federal government from reopening a dirt road near Palm Springs that runs through the mountain habitat of an endangered type of bighorn sheep. Dunn Road has not been used in about eight years. In that time, part of the route in the Santa Rosa Mountains has become a birthing area for a population of Peninsular bighorn sheep, said ... one of the plaintiffs ... The groups fear that policy changes made six years ago by the federal Bureau of Land Management could allow the road to be reopened for commercial vehicles such as Jeep tours."
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"Franklin Logging wins BLM Popcorn Timber Sale" (BLM-California news release, 1/8/09)
The company bid $117,870 for the 1.6 million board feet of ponderosa pine located on BLM-managed public lands in eastern Shasta County.

"All roads lead to Yuma this weekend" (Yuma Sun, 1/13/09)
Just across the California state line, in Yuma, Arizona: "The area's rich history will come to life with the Roads to Yuma Historical Trails Symposium to be held here over the weekend featuring speakers, slide show and tours ... a few seats are still available for those who want to learn more about the many trails that led people over the centuries to the Yuma Crossing of the Colorado River. The hope was to generate some interest in the history of the area and efforts to preserve and protect what remains of those early trails followed by explorers, soldiers, gold seekers and emigrants..." BLM-Arizona will host displays at the event.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include park ranger (interpretive), GIS specialist, human resource assistant, fire lookout and various wildland firefighter positions.

Employee profile: Laurie Morrow stands by one of the quilts she madeEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Laurie Morrow...
...has been a dedicated public servant for more than 24 years, most recently providing computer systems and website administration in BLM-California's Bishop office. But is is outside BLM where Laurie has provided a unique public service. Read More:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

January 24 - Central California RAC, Off-Highway Vehicle Subcommittee meeting

January 28 - Public workshop on Keyesville Area recreation
Lake Isabella

Correct: answers (a.) through (f.)
(a.) Throughout most of California these birds are only winter residents, arriving in large flocks around September and October and leaving around March and April.
(b.) The greater sandhill crane can get as tall as five feet, with a wingspan of seven feet
(c.) Both sexes take part in the entire breeding process, from nest building until the young become completely independent.
(d.) Sandhill crane pairs are monogamous, and many remain paired for life.
(e.) Courtship begins with an intricate dance that can include up to 80 individuals. During the dance the birds make loud calls and run towards each other with their wings extended.
(f.) The greater and lesser sandhill cranes have very similar winter plumages. The body and neck are almost entirely gray, although some individuals may have rust specks on the wings. The lesser sandhill crane is shorter, at up to four feet.
Note: the above are true of sandhill cranes. Some may argue that they are less typical of humans. Such as: "(f.) They tend to wear more gray during the winter."

SOURCE: "Sandhill Crane - Grus canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)

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