A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 370 - 2/19/09

Portrait of Mike Pool A snow goose, from a photo by U.S. Forest Service A man stands over a gaping mouth to an abandoned mine Bridget Powell of Norco kisses her horse, a mustang from Nevada she plans on entering into the Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge BLM California Desert Advisory Council member Richard Holliday

- Headlines and highlights: New acting BLM director, stimulus mine cleanup, more
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news
- National Landscape Conservation System: Online brochure, potential addition
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Imperial Sand Dunes
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Secretary of the Interior

This issue of News.bytes is online at:


Portrait of Mike Pool"BLM taps Californian Mike Pool as Acting National Director" (BLM-California news release, 2/18/09)
Mike Pool, California State Director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, has been tapped to serve as the agency's acting national Director in Washington D.C., effective March 1. Pool, 55, a career veteran, has served more than 34 years with BLM, starting at the field office level and working his way up through a variety of assignments in Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington D.C., and the Department of the Interior.

RELATED: "Mike Pool, State Director"(BLM-California)
Biography of BLM-California's state director and new acting national director.

A man stands over a gaping mouth to an abandoned mineA man looks into the mine shaft where a young girl fell to her death and her sister was badly injured"Stimulus bill expected to restart mine cleanup" (Associated Press in San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/15/09)
"Efforts to clean up one of the West's most enduring and dangerous legacies - tens of thousands of abandoned hardrock mines, many dating to the 19th century - should get a boost from the economic stimulus bill ... The final bill ... contains more than $1.5 billion for construction and maintenance projects in the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the Forest Service. That includes addressing pollution and safety hazards caused by abandoned mines on public lands."

"Interior deploys firefighters to assist Australia with raging wildland fires" (Department of the Interior news release, 2/13/09)
"The Department of the Interior will immediately deploy 29 experienced wildland firefighters to Australia to help battle raging wildfires in Victoria State ... The Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service also is sending about 31 wildland firefighters as part of the United States assistance ... The wildland firefighters Interior is sending include 18 from the Bureau of Land Management; five from the National Park Service; three from the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and three from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service." BLM-California firefighter Ron Woychack is among those deployed to Australia.

"Last piece purchased for South Fork American River Trail" (Sacramento Bee, 2/19/09)
" Hikers, bicyclists and equestrians soon will be able to trek between Folsom Lake and Highway 49 near Coloma, following a trail along the south fork of the American River. The nonprofit American River Conservancy announced that it has acquired the last of 16 riverfront parcels needed to complete the 20-mile South Fork American River Trail Project ... The trail will skirt the northern edge of the Pine Hill Ecological Preserve, home to several species of rare plants ... the conservancy is working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to ensure that the trail does not encroach on rare-plant habitat."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

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.

"BLM extends comment period on desert tortoise translocation near Fort Irwin" (BLM-California news release, 2/19/09)
The Bureau of Land Management, together with the U.S. Army's Fort Irwin National Training Center, has extended a scoping period another 15 days to March 5, 2009 to gather public comments on issues associated with the translocation plan and associated environmental assessment being prepared to move the endangered desert tortoises from the Army's active training area to nearby public and private lands.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include petroleum engineering technician, planning and environmental coordinator, fire lookouts, and wildland firefighters.


A snow goose, from a photo by U.S. Forest Service
Thumbnail of snow goose from a photo by U.S. Forest Service

One bird you may see migrating through the Cosumnes River Preserve at this time of year is the snow goose. Where does the snow goose breed?
(a.) At the Cosumnes River Preserve, during their seasonal stay there
(b.) Along the western Canadian coast
(c.) Along the far northern coast of North America, into the arctic
(d.) In the mountains of South America, at the end of their winter migration
(e.) Indoors

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


"New BLM webcam at Cosumnes River Preserve offers bird's eye view" (BLM-California news release, 2/17/09)
"The preserve is one of the prime destinations for birdwatchers in the Sacramento area," said Bill Haigh, manager of the Bureau of Land Management's Folsom Field Office. "With the webcam, anyone with internet access will be able to see what birds are at the preserve." The webcam website includes several recent photos captured by the camera and a large photo that is updated every 30 seconds.

A recent view of birds at the Cosumnes River PreserveAnother view from the webcam at the PreserveRELATED:
"Cosumnes River Preserve - live webcam" (BLM-California)
Live photo from the Preserve, plus some recent photos captured by the webcam.

"For migrating birds, Merced County is paradise" (Merced Sun-Star, 2/14/09)
Wetlands are key to supporting migrating birds: "On a Wednesday morning in mid-February, snow geese flew in by the tens of thousands, and they weren't the only species found on the wetlands that day. Paddling along in the canals along the dirt roads that snake through the wetlands were white-nosed coots, tundra swans that gathered by the thousands far from the road and white pelicans soared in silently, coasting on wings that barely moved. Sand hill cranes jumped and clacked and showed their wings, warily watching people." Like Cosumnes River Preserve, "Merced County is home to some of the last wetlands in the Central Valley portion of the Pacific Flyway ... More than 95 percent of California's wetlands have been lost to urbanization, farming or draining."

"Elephant seals are an active bunch" (The Lompoc Record, 2/18/09)
"In keeping with the Valentine’s Day spirit, mating season is in full swing for the elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas rookery. The rookery -- north of San Simeon along Highway 1 -- is hopping with activity this time of year, with mother elephant seals nursing their pups and adult males asserting their dominance. On a recent chilly afternoon, the beach was awash with seals of all sizes. Some babies were crying out alone, some nursed and other, slightly older youngsters curled up with their peers."

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Piedras Blancas lighthouse was operated by employees of the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939 when the Coast Guard assumed command. Structural damage to the tower and new technology eventually replaced many of the functions of the light keepers as they became automated. The Coast Guard relinquished control of the Piedras Blancas Light Station to The Bureau of Land Management on October 12, 2001. The BLM is initiating restoration and stabilization efforts.


National Landscape Conservation - cover of brochure"Online brochure: The National Landscape Conservation System" (BLM-California)
BLM-California highlights the National Landscape Conservation System in a new publication. This brochure's color photos and descriptions showcase BLM-California's 173 units of the National Landscape Conservation System, established in 2000. These units are the "crown jewels" of the public lands in California and the nation. Copies of the brochure are available at local BLM offices, and online. Follow the link on the following webpage, to a seven page, 1.8-megabyte brochure in PDF form.

A view of the Amargosa River"Federal protection for Amargosa River may boost tourism in region" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/16/09)
"For much of its run from the Nevada high desert to the bottom of Death Valley, it is a dry ribbon under sun-bleached sky ... But ... Starting in the tiny town of Shoshone, Calif., 95 miles west of Las Vegas, the river rises to the surface and runs above ground for more than 25 miles, feeding narrow bands of green in a bone-colored landscape. It is here that an act of Congress soon could establish the first -- and perhaps only -- section of Wild and Scenic River in the Mojave Desert ... Advocates for the Amargosa hope that with some minimal funding, the BLM could work to halt erosion and the destructive spread of non-native tamarisk plants in the Amargosa Canyon." Includes link to audio slideshow.


"Could green kill the desert?" (Los Angeles Times, 2/15/09)
OpEd: "California's desert lands are in some ways a perfect fit with the renewable energy industries necessary to combat climate change. There's sun. There's wind. There's space. But without careful planning and regulation, these 'climate solutions' could irrevocably damage the planet they are intended to protect ... We know better than to rush. A cautious, informed and integrated approach will secure sustainable, clean energy without sacrificing the future of these precious lands."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

At a BrightSource facility in Israel's Negev Desert, mirrors reflect sunlight onto a tower to heat water that powers turbines to produce electricity."Solar firm announces big contract" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/12/09)
"Solar power's explosive growth in California may have been stunted by the credit crisis and the recession, but the boom isn't over yet. In what could be the world's largest solar deal to date, BrightSource Energy of Oakland announced Wednesday that it will sell Southern California Edison 1,300 megawatts of electricity from seven large solar plants planned for the California desert ... The first BrightSource plant covered by Wednesday's agreement will be built at the Ivanpah dry lakebed, close to the Nevada border in San Bernardino County."

RELATED: "Alternative energy: Solar" (BLM California Desert District Office)
The BLM, in conjunction with the California Energy Commission, is currently processing applications for three solar thermal power plants and shared infrastructure on federal lands located in the Ivanpah Valley, approximately 5 miles southwest of Primm, Nevada.

"Alternative energy still facing headwinds" (Washington Post, 2/17/09)
"The three-year fight over the Sunrise Powerlink ... typifies the serious challenges facing President Obama and many of the nation's governors as they tout the power of renewable energy to put people to work and rescue the planet from the effects of climate change. The nation's richest resources of renewable fuel -- primarily wind and solar -- lie in distant deserts, vast plains, and remote valleys and hilltops like this one, far from the populous cities where energy is most needed. Thousands of miles of new power lines will be required to bring renewable energy to cities and suburbs, a vast undertaking that will cost untold billions of dollars in public and private money and will require compromise by dueling interest groups and people..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Solar bill removing red tape in House again" (Newport Beach Daily Pilot, 2/11/09)
"[U.S. Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher’s bill, which he introduced in the last session as well, would let companies skip requirements to complete an environmental impact statement before building solar projects on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management."


Bridget Powell of Norco kisses her horse, a mustang from Nevada she plans on entering into the Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge"Norco trainers vie to tame wild Mustangs" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/17/09)
"After a few tentative steps and some snuffling at the ground, an unbroken 4-year-old mare stumbled out of Bridget Powell's trailer and into her first lessons as a domesticated horse on Friday. Powell and 35 other trainers will spend the next 90 days trying to turn wild mustangs into docile animals before converging in Norco in May to compete for $10,000 in prize money ... The federal Bureau of Land Management provides horses for the competition. Most trainers, including 12 Inland residents, picked up their horses Friday at a bureau facility in Ridgecrest."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

Bridget Powell gets to know her new mustangRELATED: "Norco woman tasked with training a wild mustang" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/17/09)
Video that accompanies the above story.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Wild horse funds drying up" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 2/13/09)
"Nevada's wild horses benefited for decades from money left to them by a Californian whose relatives said he was insane. Those funds finally are being used up..." The Nevada Commission for the Preservation of Wild Horses was "started with money willed to the animals by the late Leo Heil, of Sunnyvale, Calif. Cathy Barcomb, who heads the commission, said that what began as a $500,000 bequest from Heil, who died in 1972, will be gone by mid-2010 ... But she added the horses will be helped by groups such as the Mustang Heritage Foundation, which was started with Heil funds, and by individuals such as Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens."

"Lawmakers come to the rescue of wild horses" (Fox News, 2/14/09)
"Reps. Raul Grijalva,D-Ariz., and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., are trying to restore a 34-year-ban on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros after it was lifted four years ago. They introduced legislation following the Bureau of Land Management's controversial announcement last year that it is considering killing large numbers of wild horses taken from the rangeland."

RELATED: "H.R. 1018" (Library of Congress/Thomas)
"To amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to improve the management and long-term health of wild free-roaming horses and burros, and for other purposes."


"Compromise desirable in road closure" (Yuma Sun, 2/17/09)
Editorial: "Recreational users of the Imperial Sand Dunes are accustomed to public interests interfering with their use of the popular area, but now a private interest has become an issue. Union Pacific Railroad is planning on closing off access to a dirt road it owns in the dunes ... There are concerns about railroad liability, especially since two youths riding an ATV were killed there in 2007 when they ignored a signaling device and were hit by a train ... Perhaps the railroad would be willing to temporarily allow continued public access if a way was found to protect it from liability and with BLM's assurance it would build another access route within a limited time frame."

"Off-road vehicles ticketed" (Imperial Valley Press, 2/17/09)
"On Sunday, Bureau of Land Management rangers were ticketing off-road vehicles for driving on Ted Kipf Road. I’ve been driving on that road for 28 years and have never been ticketed until now ... We spoke to Steve Razo, public information officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, who told us off-road vehicles have never been allowed on Ted Kipf Road, but that a special enforcement or crackdown occurred over the weekend. ... the fact that Ted Kipf is a county road means no off-road vehicles."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Tips for making weekend in sun and sand more fun" (Yuma Sun, 2/13/09)
"One of the two holidays that bring the largest crowds to the Imperial Sand Dunes west of Yuma" was last weekend, but many more people will visit during the winter season. Michael Sommer, media affairs chairman for the American Sand Association, has a few reminders to help duners enjoy their fun in the sun and sand" including getting your permit, picking up a map with rules and regulations printed on it, having a whip antenna with a flag on it, and to not have glass containers of any type.

"Driver in agent's death held"(Imperial Valley Press, 2/13/09)
"A suspected drug smuggler is awaiting extradition after having been re-arrested in Mexico in connection with the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year ... at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area ... [Border Patrol Agent Luis] Aguilar was killed while trying to stop two vehicles that entered the U.S. illegally and had been suspected of carrying drugs. One of the vehicles, a Hummer, fatally struck Aguilar as he was placing a spike strip on the road. The Hummer was then driven to Mexico."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

BLM California Desert Advisory Council member Richard HollidayMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Richard Holliday...
...is a resident of Rancho Cucamonga and is the representative for recreation interests on the BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

February 24, 25 - Carrizo Plain National Monument, public meetings
See calendar and related news release for locations

Feb. 24 - "Fish of the Lost Coast" nature lecture
Whitethorn, King Range National Conservation Area

February 25 - Public meeting on proposed Bodie Hills mineral exploration

February 25, 26 - Travel management workshops by BLM Bakersfield Field Office
See calendar and related news release for locations

More events online


"Green enough?" (Newsweek, 2/21/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wasn't an instant hit with environmentalists, who said the former Colorado attorney general was soft on the Endangered Species Act, climate change and other important issues. Could some of his first moves soften the opposition? ...In an interview with NEWSWEEK's Daniel Stone and Daren Briscoe, Salazar suggested critics get to know his record better, and he promised to put science first."

"The secretaries, the stimulus and the grid" (New York Times, 2/18/09)
"President Dwight Eisenhower is remembered for creating the nation’s system of interstate highways. Judging from the enthusiasm of his secretaries for “smart grid” projects, perhaps President Barack Obama aspires to be known for transforming the nation’s electricity system. ... both the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, and the Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, emphasized the need to remake the grid system ... Mr. Salazar -- whose department manages about 20 percent of the land in this country -- said that the Interior Department stood ready to deal with issues of siting and transmission, which have been barriers to large-scale renewable energy development."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

(c.) Along the far northern coast of North America, into the arctic

SOURCE: "Snow Goose - Chen caerulescens" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Snow gees breed in large, often dense, colonies north of the tree line from extreme northeastern Russia along the coast and islands of arctic and subarctic North America to Northwestern Greenland."

- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/caso/getnewsbytes.html.