A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 372 - 3/4/09

A bighorn sheep looks to its right Potential wind energy workers look up at spinning turbine blades President Barack Obama speaks to Dept. of Interior employees, as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar looks on Another scene amid tall trees at Headwaters Forest Reserve BLM California Desert Advisory Council member Meg Grossglass, portrait

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news: Bighorn sheep, Mojave Max, more
- Headwaters Forest Preserve: More on 10th anniversary
- Wild horses and burros: Adoption event, news
- Advisory councils: Seeking members
- Meet your advisory council members
- Headlines and highlights: Bodie gold, Carrizo plan, OHV grant comments, jobs, more
- California drought
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: 160th anniversary, President visits, stimulus package

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


A bighorn sheep looks to its right
Thumbnail from a photo by Albert P. Bekker, California Academy of Sciences

Bighorn sheep can be very difficult to see in the wild -- as many volunteers in the story below found out. Why?
(a.) They have especially acute hearing and flee at the slightest sound -- no matter how quiet people try to be.
(b.) They have keen eyesight from having to pick their way over rocky cliffs -- and can spot humans before humans can spot them.
(c.) They live on and around rocky cliffs that are inaccessible to most predators -- and humans.
(d.) They have a keen sense of smell -- and can easily pick up animal (and human) smells in a rocky terrain with few competing odors.
(e.) The Cloak of Invisibility

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


A volunteer uses binoculars to check for bighorn sheepsketch of a bighorn, with table of numbers"Bighorn sheep census count shows signs of the species' improvement"
(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/3/09)
"Volunteers who hiked up Cucamonga Canyon on Sunday might not believe it, but preliminary results from a count of the San Gabriel Mountains bighorn sheep that day seem to indicate the population continues to rebound from a low point in 2000 ... Fortunately, about 100 other volunteers scattered from Cattleman Canyon above Ontario to the Lytle Creek area, reported seeing 50 sheep. A helicopter crew that scoured the region counted 202 of the elusive animals."

"Mojave Max emerged February 24, 2009" (National Park Service news release)
"California’s Mojave Max emerged from hibernation on February 24, at 1:52 p.m. Max is a female desert tortoise of approximately 30 year of age who had been slumbering through the winter in her burrow at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California ... The Mojave Max Emergence Contest began in Nevada as a way for the public to learn about desert tortoises and what can be done to help this threatened species. In 2005 the Desert Managers Group began a California version of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest. The object of the contest is to guess when Mojave Max will emerge from her burrow after her long winter sleep ... Entries are being tabulated and the official winner(s) are in the process of being notified."

"New BLM web cam at Cosumnes River Preserve offers birds’ eye view" (Galt Herald, 3/4/09)
"If you can’t go to the birds, the birds will come to you over the Internet, courtesy of a new web cam at the Cosumnes River Preserve provided by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a partner at the preserve ... The web cam website includes several recent photos captured by the camera and a large photo that is updated every 30 seconds ... Best wildlife viewing occurs October through February, when waterfowl and other water birds spend their winters at the preserve. The web cam operates 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily."


Scene from Headwater Reserve on the newspaper's coverAnother scene amid tall trees at Headwaters Forest Reserve"Headwaters Forest at 10" (North Coast Journal, 2/26/09)
"In 1999, the public bought an irreplaceable treasure. And some problems. And some things we still don't understand."

"BLM, partners marking 10th anniversary of Headwaters acquisition" (BLM-California news release, 2/26/09)
Improved public access, forest improvements and miles of stream restoration are among the accomplishments completed in the Headwaters Forest Reserve since its transfer into public ownership 10 years ago. Through the coming year, the U. S. Bureau of Land Management and California Department of Fish and Game will share information about the anniversary, and encourage people to learn more about the important headwaters ecosystems when they visit to hike, bike, or just enjoy the grandeur of the reserve and its groves of thousand-year-old redwoods.

"Test your knowledge" (BLM-California)
Answer the quiz question about Headwaters Forest Reserve, on BLM-California's home page.


"Horses, burros available for adoption in Turlock" (BLM-California news release, 2/25/09)
Residents of the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22. The BLM will offer 40 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. Friday, March 20.

Wild horses on the land near the Carson River, Nevada"House panel takes up bill to protect wild horses" (Associated Press on Google News, 3/3/09)
"The wife of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens says her proposal for a wild horse sanctuary in the West would be good for the country and save the government close to a billion dollars over the next decade. Madeleine Pickens told a House subcommittee on Tuesday that the proposed sanctuary for 30,000 wild horses would create a 'living museum' for an icon of the American West ... But a top federal official said the Pickens plan -- initially welcomed as a way to save thousands of horses from being euthanized -- is 'problematic' and not viable as proposed."

A Utah boy makes friends with a wild horse at an adoption event"Economy sours West's wild horse adoption market" (Associated Press in Google News, 3/4/09)
"In 2002, more than 7,700 were adopted nationwide. Last year, as part of a steady decline, it was 3,700. And so far this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, only 713 have been adopted, according to BLM figures. It's a discouraging development for an agency that relies on adoptions to help keep wild populations in check and is out of room at long-term holding facilities for unadopted horses."


Map of proposed Green Path North power line route"New Green Path North proposal would avoid sensitive desert areas" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/26/09)
"A new route proposed for a controversial power line would sidestep sensitive Mojave Desert land by running towers parallel to existing lines along Interstate 10 and through San Timoteo Canyon to Lytle Creek. The seventh and latest potential route for the Green Path North project to carry renewable energy to Los Angeles was confirmed Thursday by city Department of Water and Power officials. It won cautious praise from desert preservationists who have been fighting to keep high-voltage transmission towers off of public land and wilderness areas near Joshua Tree National Park."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "New path on the table"
(Redlands Daily Facts, 3/1/09)
"The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed another route for its controversial Green Path North project that would bypass pristine desert land in the High Desert and closely parallel the 10 Freeway. The newly proposed route, about 80 miles in length, would run 230-kilovolt power lines westward from just below Desert Hot Springs in Riverside County to Lytle Creek ... Environmentalists, however, still remain wary. The new route could impact about 370 properties along the 10 Freeway, 16 of which are homes."

"Wind energy still slow in California"
(San Jose Mercury News, 2/26/09)
"Wind energy had a banner year in 2008, as 8.3 gigawatts worth of turbines -- enough to power 2 million U.S. homes - was added to the grid nationally. But the company behind one of the two wind energy projects completed last year in California, which formally dedicates the project today, doesn't expect more than a handful of these projects to be built in California in the near future. Blame the credit crunch, a frustrating state permitting process, and the lack of transmission access in places where the wind blows best in California..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)


"Wind-testing-tower permit process eased" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/26/09)
"[San Diego] County supervisors passed an ordinance yesterday that will make it easier to get approval for wind-testing towers, but they cautioned that allowing the needle-thin towers doesn't mean they'll approve giant wind turbines ... The towers ... are used to determine whether enough wind is available to justify constructing turbines that harness the energy of the wind to produce electricity ... Iberdrola Renewables ... has two wind-testing towers on federal Bureau of Land Management land in McCain Valley and two others on Ewiiaapaayp tribal land ... Another company, Invenergy, has been stymied in its efforts to develop wind projects in San Diego County because of the cost and delay in getting approval for the wind-testing towers..."

Potential wind energy workers look up at spinning turbine bladesStudents sit in a classroom equipped with a wind turbine unit"Wind-power industry seeks trained workforce" (Los Angeles Times, 3/1/09)
"This is Wind Technology Boot Camp at Cerro Coso Community College, where eight weeks of study and $1,000 in tuition might lead to a job repairing mammoth wind turbines like the ones sprouting up across this region. The work requires smarts and stamina. It is potentially dangerous ... As in previous recessions, this economic downturn is boosting enrollment at community colleges and vocational schools. Classrooms are swelling with workers from hard-hit industries who are looking to change careers. Educators say the difference this time is the surging interest in so-called green-collar jobs. President Obama wants to create 5 million of them over the next decade. What isn't clear is how the U.S. is going to prepare this workforce."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)


"BLM seeks members for Northwest California Advisory Council" (BLM-California news release, 2/27/09)
Four seats are open, in three membership categories. Deadline for nominations is Monday, April 13.

"BLM seeks members for Northeast California Advisory Council" (BLM-California news release, 2/27/09)
Five seats are open, in three membership categories. Deadline for nominations is Monday, April 13.

"BLM seeks members for Central California Advisory Council" (BLM-California news release, 2/27/09)
Four seats are open, in three membership categories.

BLM California Desert Advisory Council member Meg Grossglass, portraitMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Meg Grossglass...
... is a representative for the public-at-large on the California Desert District Advisory Council.  She lives in Winchester and works for the Off-Road Business Association in land use, media relations and marketing. Read More:


"Meeting held, comments sought on proposed mineral exploration project in Bodie WSA" (News.bytes Extra)
About 90 people attended a public meeting February 25 in Bridgeport held by the Bureau of Land Management to discuss a proposed mineral exploration drilling project in the Bodie Wilderness Study Area and adjacent private lands. A number of people spoke in support of the project as a way to help the area economy. Other comments covered a variety of issues such as road maintenance and potential impacts to area residents of helicopter flights. Includes links to more information.

"BLM releases draft plan for Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California news release, 1/21/09)
The third of three public meetings to gather comments on the draft plan and draft environmental impact statement,. is scheduled for March 7 at the Carissa Plains School. (Repeated from earlier News.bytes)

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
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, which has carved valleys, created and moved mountains, and yet close up, is seen in a subtle alignment of ridges, ravines and normally dry ponds.

"BLM invites public review of OHV grant applications" (BLM-California news release, 3/2/09)
The public is invited to comment on the 2009 applications the Bureau of Land Management has submitted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. The public review and comment period will run through Wednesday, April 1. The OHV grant applications are an annual process that is a key part of the partnership between BLM and the state of California, which issues grants to a variety of entities to improve or mitigate off-highway vehicle recreation. Under this process, BLM applies for grants from the state each year to help fund and coordinate its OHV program.

Clouds surround Mount Konocti"Mt. Konocti master plan meetings begin in March" (Lake County News, 2/25/09)
"As it moves toward completing the purchase of property on Mt. Konocti, the county is planning a series of community meetings to create a master plan for the mountain ... The property will be open to the public for hiking and horseback riding on a multi-use trail. Mountain biking also is being considered, but may need a separate trail ... Before the land purchase is final and the property is open to the public ... the county wants to get the rules for the property's use set ... The Bureau of Land Management owns a significant portion of the mountain..."

RELATED: "Konocti acquisition moving forward" (Lake County Record-Bee, 2/27/09)
"Lake County's monumental acquisition of several large parcels on top of Mt. Konocti continues to move forward while fundraising and park-planning efforts begin ... According to [Lake County's Public Services Director Kim] Clymire, the long-term vision is to link the County-owned and BLM-owned parcels on the top and slopes of the mountain with Clear Lake State Park, a lakefront jewel that features complete visitor amenities including a boat launch and marina, lakefront campsites, hiking trails, and an impressive visitor center."

"Sheep are back to work on Fort Ord public lands" (BLM-California news release, 3/2/09)
More than 1,000 ewes and their lambs are back at work on the Bureau of Land Management’s Fort Ord Public Lands in Monterey County. The grazing program is part of a cooperative strategy to improve rangeland conditions in this ecologically unique area. "The sheep grazing program at Fort Ord has a proven track record at reducing wildfire hazards, and stimulating native plant regeneration. The sheep have also been effective in controlling invasive thistle populations," said Eric Morgan, BLM’s Fort Ord manager.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include assistant fire engine operator, fire lookout, other firefighting positions, and wildlife biologist.


"Secretary Salazar and Secretary Vilsack pledge coordinated federal response to California drought" (Department of the Interior news release, 2/26/09)
"Today Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of a Federal Drought Action Team that will work cooperatively to respond to communities facing significant drought. With California currently facing one of its worst droughts in decades, the Drought Action Team will work with Governor Schwarzenegger’s state drought response team to minimize the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the current drought."

"Wet February helps water supply, but not enough" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/3/09)
"The storms pounding the Bay Area and blanketing the Sierra Nevada with snow have brought California back from the brink of the worst drought in state history, but the drenching is not enough to assure adequate water supplies this summer, state water officials said Monday ... Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought emergency last week and urged cities to reduce water use by 20 percent as experts predicted that snowmelt runoff this spring will be just 57 percent of normal. The latest snow survey does not change the dire predictions..."

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

March 7 - Musical planting event
Fort Ord public lands

March 7 - Carrizo Plain public meeting
Carrisa Plains School

March 10 - Lecture series: "Mammals"

March 11 - Oil and gas lease auction

March 13-14 - Horse pick-up for the Western States Mustang Challenge


President Barack Obama speaks to Dept. of Interior employees, as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar looks on"President Obama, Secretary Salazar lead celebration of Interior's 160th anniversary" (Department of the Interior news release, 3/3/09)
"President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar marked the 160th Anniversary of the Department of the Interior today in a ceremony ... In addition to the 600 employees who packed the auditorium to watch the event, Department employees around the nation watched via satellite broadcast or listened via teleconference bridge. The Department was established on March 3, 1849." Includes the remarks of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar as prepared for delivery.

RELATED: Transcript of remarks, audio, photos
Links to transcripts of the President's and Secretary's remarks, audio of their remarks and additional photos from the 160th anniversary celebration, are on the Department of the Interior's homepage at:

RELATED: Department of the Interior 160th anniversary
The Department of the Interior is BLM's "parent" agency. Some California connections with the Department's 160th anniversary:
- The Department of the Interior was created in 1849, the year made famous by the California Gold Rush.
- William P. Clark was the only California native appointed Secretary of the Interior. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and served Nov. 18, 1983 - Feb. 7, 1985.
- Two other former Secretaries of the Interior are listed as "appointed from California":
Franklin K. Lane served 1913 to 1920 (he was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada); - Ray Lyman Wilbur served 1929 to 1933 (he was born in Iowa).

For more information on its history, see the "DOI History" on the Department of the Interior website:

The National Park Service also hosts an online book about "The Department of Everything Else":

"Obama reverses Bush on species protection measure"
(Washington Post, 3/4/09)
Announced during the Department of the Interior 160th anniversary celebration: "In a move that will subject a number of government projects to enhanced environmental and scientific scrutiny, President Obama is restoring a requirement that U.S. agencies consult with independent federal experts to determine whether their actions might harm threatened and endangered species." Includes one-minute video of the President's announcement, that may be preceded by a short advertisement.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Polluted mines as economic engines? Obama admin says 'yes'" (Greenwire at New York Times, 2/26/09)
"Together, the Interior and Agriculture departments expect to set off a hiring boom among idled industry and agricultural workers whose charge will be to clean up thousands of abandoned hardrock mines that once formed the backbone of the region's economy, but whose greater legacy is one of toxic wastes and thousands of miles of contaminated rivers, creeks and streams. Three agencies -- the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service -- are working to finalize the list of cleanup projects to be funded with $105 million in stimulus money. Nearly half of the money, $50 million, will go the Park Service ... The remaining funds will be split between BLM and the Forest Service, at $30 million and $25 million, respectively..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"President recommends $12 billion for Interior in Fiscal Year 2010 budget proposal" (Department of the Interior news release, 2/26/09)
"The president's 2010 Budget includes $12 billion for the Department of the Interior to undertake initiatives to promote energy security with a focus on clean renewable sources and strategies to address climate change, protect and preserve America's national parks and public lands, strengthen Native American communities, enhance outdoor opportunities for young people, and. conserve wetlands and wildlife habitat."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) They live on and around rocky cliffs that are inaccessible to most predators -- and humans.

SOURCE: "Bighorn Sheep - Ovis canadensis" (BLM California wildlife database)
Bighorn sheep are among the hardest animals to find because they typically live on and around rocky cliffs that are inaccessible to humans and most predators. You are more likely to spot these animals in the winter when they migrate to the valleys.

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

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