A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 368 - 2/4/09

A marbled murrelet in the water, from a photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Towering trees in Headwaters Forest Reserve A plaque in front, with the light station in the background An abandoned building in Garnet ghost town Desert Advisory Council member James Fitzpatrick

- Free offer: Poster
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- National Landscape Conservation System areas
- Virtual visitor to other BLM states: Montana/Dakotas
- Energy: Renewable energy, gas and oil
- Headlines and highlights: BLM office moves, trail plan, road lawsuit, jobs, more
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events

This issue of News.bytes is online at:

Towering trees in Headwaters Forest ReserveFREE OFFER: Headwaters Forest Reserve posters
To celebrate the upcoming 10th anniversary (March 1) of the acquisition of the Headwaters Forest Reserve by the federal and state governments, we are giving away -- to the first 200 News.bytes readers to request them -- a poster of towering trees in the Reserve.

RELATED: "Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is 7,472 acres of public land located 6 miles southeast of Eureka, CA. The reserve is set aside to protect and preserve the ecological and wildlife values in the area, particularly the stands of old-growth redwood that provide habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet, and the stream systems that provide habitat for threatened coho salmon.


A marbled murrelet in the water, from a photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
From a photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Marbled murrelets were spotted last year in an area of Headwaters Forest Reserve where they had not been seen before.
The 2008 Headwaters Manager's Report states, "This may be an anomaly but it may also mean that murrelets are searching for or finding new nesting opportunities in that area." What are marbled murrelet nests like?
(a.) Elaborate sculptures of mud, stuck to the underside of tree branches or houses
(b.) Masses of branches arranged in rafts that float on the water of lakes or ponds
(c.) Just a shallow hole scooped in the mud, amid reeds in a coastal marsh
(d.) Just a spot of moss on a wide branch, where the birds balance their eggs
(e.) Elaborate stack of round objects, called "aggies," arranged in layers called "keepsies"
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Video: Visiting the Piedras Blancas Light Station" (Los Angeles Times, February 2009)
A video reporter visits the light station, talks with manager Jim Boucher and provides a glimpse of the surrounding area. (about 2 1/2 minutes)
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station"
(BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Piedras Blancas is located on California's central coast, just north of San Simeon. In the early 1870's, this location was chosen to fill the gap between the lighthouses at Point Conception and Point Sur. Piedras Blancas lighthouse was operated by employees of the US Lighthouse Service until 1939. Structural damage to the tower and new technology eventually replaced many of the functions of the lightkeepers as they became automated. The Coast Guard subsequently relinquished control and management to the Bureau of Land Management on October 12, 2001.

"First-ever Carrizo Plain National Monument plan tilts toward wildlife food and away from livestock grazing"
(San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/1/09)
"Eight years after the sprawling and ecologically diverse grasslands in San Luis Obispo County’s southeastern corner became the Carrizo Plain National Monument, its first comprehensive management plan has been introduced ... The new plan reduces the amount of grazing that will be allowed, giving wildlife first dibs. The 206,000 acres of public land within the monument contain ... one of California’s greatest concentrations of rare and endangered species ... The Bureau of Land Management is the lead custodian of the monument and author of the management plan."

A view down toward Soda Lake, in the Carrizo Plain National MonumentRELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
The Carrizo Plain, 100 airline miles north of Los Angeles, is an area by-passed by time. Soda Lake, its centerpiece, is a glistening bed of white salt, set within a vast open grassland, rimmed by mountains. The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species, and is an area culturally important to Native Americans. It is traversed by the San Andreas fault...

"Amargosa River bill will only affect California" (Pahrump Valley Times, 1/30/09)
"The passage in the U.S. Senate of the Omnibus Public Lands Bill of 2009, including the designation of wild and scenic river status for the Amargosa River in California, was like a dream come true for the newly-formed Amargosa Conservancy. Across the state line, however, Nevada District 36 Assemblyman Ed Goedhart ... said, 'It's an expansion of locking people out of not only public lands but also being able to utilize their own property and water rights, such as people in Amargosa Valley'."

An abandoned building in Garnet ghost townA view across to mountains from Sleeping Giant Wilderness Study AreaVIRTUAL VISITOR: Montana/Dakotas
Welcome again to Virtual Visitor, a recurring feature in News.Bytes and an invitation to learn about what the BLM is doing in other states. In California, there are 15.2 million acres of BLM public lands for you to use, share, and appreciate. This month we visit the Bureau of Land Management in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, where the BLM cares for 8.3 million acres of public land in the three states as well as a 47-million acre mineral estate.


"Green investment gets a slow, steady move-on" (San Bernardino County Sun, 1/31/09)
"Attracting enough smart people and investment capital to the Inland Empire might be the key to unlocking the area's green technology potential. While a foundation is being poured in the public sector to catapult the region into the green energy arena, there's still much to accomplish in the private sector, experts say ... Besides the multi-billion stimulus package coming up for a Senate vote, which includes millions of dollars for green energy projects, the Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday it will bring in staff at a Moreno Valley office to process solar, wind and geothermal applications for developing renewable energy projects on local public lands."

"BLM initiates renewable energy coordination offices" (BLM-California news release, 1/28/09)
Initially, BLM has set up two “Renewable Energy Coordination Offices,” one to cover northern California and one for southern California, to ensure timely processing and tracking of applications filed for wind and solar development, as well as continued development of geothermal resources. Team leaders have been appointed for both offices, which are co-located with BLM offices in Sacramento and Moreno Valley for efficiency.

"California's wind slowdown" (New York Times, 1/29/09)
"One of the interesting tidbits in Tuesday’s report was that Iowa had passed California to become the No. 2 state for wind power (though it is far behind Texas, the nation’s top wind producer).The chart at the top shows the top five wind power states and how their capacity has grown over the two years between 2006 and 2008. Iowa’s wind power capacity grew by 198 percent, Texas by 157 percent, and Minnesota and Washington grew quickly, too. The outlier is California, which saw just 7 percent growth in capacity over the same period. Why has California basically stalled, while other states have forged ahead?"

"Why Aren't More Geothermal Projects Moving Forward in California?" (Renewable Energy World, 2/3/09)
"Geothermal energy produces more power in California than wind and solar combined, comprising almost 5% of the state's electricity ... When I asked the question at a recent industry meeting, 'Why aren't more projects moving forward in California?' the response was rather quick and direct. While I could have expected a discussion of investment problems, the slow economy, or the need to develop new technology, what I was told was: leases and permits are simply not being issued. Here's one example I was given: a lease that won with a very substantial bid from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) almost two years ago was still waiting for a drilling permit to be issued."

"Clouds on SDG&E’s Sunny Plans" (San Diego Weekly Reader, 1/28/09)
Includes discussion of Sunrise Powerlink, electric transmission line that would cross portions of BLM-managed land.

"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM-California news release, 1/28/09)
The Bureau of Land Management is conducting an auction of oil and gas leases on federal land on March 11 in Bakersfield. The competitive lease auction involves 11 parcels for a total of 5,210.70 of public lands in Kern County.


"BLM Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office moves to new location" (BLM-California news release, 2/2/09)
The BLM officially closed its former office on Friday, January 30 and is scheduled to reopened at the new office at 1201 Bird Center Drive in Palm Springs on Monday February 9, 2009.

CCC workers at BLM-managed Samoa DunesManager Jim Boucher climbs onto the platform at the top of the light"CCC in the shadow of budget ax" (Redding Record Searchlight, 2/1/09)
"It wasn't long ago that Nathan Brown was homeless ... a job offer in Eureka ... fell through, leaving him without a prospect for employment or a place to live. Then he found the California Conservation Corps. On Thursday, Brown carefully wielded a rake-and-hoe tool called a Pulaski to uproot a small flowering plant called oxalis, which has longed invaded the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's native plant area on the Samoa Dunes near the North Jetty." The state says the CCC costs too much. "But the program's supporters say the state isn't taking into account the savings realized by the CCC workforce responding to wildfires and other disasters, or how many struggling young people would find themselves without a support program that aims to make them productive. Many locally have lodged their support of the CCC, which plays its greatest roles in rural counties."

Hikers cross a bridge on a new section of trail near Redding"Community input sought on parks and trails plan" (Redding Record Searchlight, 2/3/09)
"A new trail that connects Salt Creek with Highway 299, nearby subdivisions, the Sacramento River Trail and other non-motorized routes is just the kind of regional recreation link Shasta County's first Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan might ensure in the future. And this week, anyone can share ideas on how that plan should look ... The non-motorized route for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and connects a network of trails in the area, including the Middle Creek, Westside and Sacramento River trails, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Bill Kuntz said."

"County sues to ensure Camp Rock Road access" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 1/28/09)
"In April 2003 the county filed an application with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for a 'recordable disclaimer,' which would establish its right of way on the road and give the county a legal record of its ownership. The application was never processed, and the county is now asking for a court order that would force the BLM to process it in a timely manner ... Alan Stein, deputy district manager of resources for the BLM’s California Desert District, said the BLM had been waiting to see how court cases involving right of ways established under the old mining law played out in other states before taking up San Bernardino County’s application."

"BLM seeks public comments on desert tortoise translocation near Fort Irwin"
(BLM-California news release, 2/4/09)
The Bureau of Land Management, together with the U.S. Army's Fort Irwin National Training Center, today announced a 15-day scoping period to gather public comments on what issues should be addressed in a translocation plan and associated environmental assessment being prepared regarding removal of desert tortoises from the Army's active training area to nearby public and private lands.

"Opportunity to work in partnership with public land agencies still available" (BLM-California news release, 2/4/09)
The deadline for submitting applications for the Pacific Southwest California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) has been extended to March 6, 2009. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are seeking applications for the following three positions on the 11 member RRAC: Winter motorized recreation such as snowmobiling; hunting and fishing; and motorized outfitting and guiding or local environmental groups.

"BLM and Forest Service announce 2009 grazing fee" (BLM-California news release, 1/30/09)
The federal grazing fee for 2009 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The grazing fee for 2009 is the same as it was in 2008.

"Alabama Hills stewardship group field trip" (BLM-California news release, 1/30/09)
The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office will conduct a field trip of the Alabama Hills on Saturday, February 7th. The purpose is to discuss proposed stewardship actions to be completed this year in the hills, said Chris Langley, Inyo County Film Commissioner.

"BLM to begin pile burning projects at Eagle Lake" (BLM-California news release, 1/26/09)
BLM fire crews plan to ignite about 50 slash piles beginning Wednesday, Feb. 4, and continue for several weeks. Piles will be burned only on days when weather allows for safe and successful burning. Crews will monitor the burn piles. The slash piles were created during woodland thinning projects aimed to reduce wildfire risk.

"El Dorado County must do more environmental review of Eskaton project, appeals court rules" (Sacramento Bee, 2/3/09)
"A state appellate court has determined that El Dorado County must conduct a more thorough environmental study for a largely completed development in Cameron Park ... The property is south of the Pine Hill Ecological Preserve, home to several species of rare plants, including some that grow nowhere else in the world ... The appellate court ... said the county and Judge Proud erred in disregarding comments submitted by experts from the state Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and federal Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
Located in western El Dorado County, Pine Hill Preserve is home to a collection of eight rare plant species. Three of the plant species that grow in the Pine Hill Preserve are endemic, which means they grow nowhere else in the world. Two more species are nearly endemic, with only a few plants found elsewhere. This assemblage of rare plants is part of a unique community confined to soils known as the Rescue soils, named after the nearby community of Rescue

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

Desert Advisory Council member James FitzpatrickMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: James Fitzpatrick...
...represents the public-at-large on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. Among other experience, he has over 25 years experience filming in the desert and mountains and was instrumental in advocating passage of Public law 106-206, which sets commercial filming fee structure for commercial filming activities on Department of Interior managed public lands.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

February 13-14 - Participants pick up horses for Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge

February 19-20
- Northeast California Resource Advisory Council meeting

February 24
- Carrizo Plain National Monument, public meeting

February 25 - Carrizo Plain National Monument, public meeting
San Luis Obispo

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Just a spot of moss on a wide branch, where the birds balance their eggs

SOURCE: "Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Murrelet nests aren’t really nests at all, at least not in the conventional sense. The birds simply tamp the moss on a wide branch and balance their single egg atop the indentation. During incubation of the egg, one adult sits on the nest while the other forages at sea. Every 24 hours at dawn they exchange incubation duties. Once hatched, the parents commute to the ocean, often several times per day, carrying back fish for their chick. But after only a month of doting, the chick is left to find its own way to sea, often over tens of miles of forest.

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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