A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 373 - 3/11/09

Big brown bat resting The new manager of Headwaters, Chris Heppe, walks among the trees "Lucky Linda" rides Shelby the mustang Scarlett locoweed - flowers in the area of BLM-California's Bishop Field Office Employee Profile: Close-up of Ashley Conrad-Saydah

- Headwaters Forest Reserve: 10th anniversary celebration
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news
- Wildflowers on public lands
- More recreation on public lands
- Wild horses and burros: Mustang Challenge, adoption events, more
- Energy and renewable energy: Interior Secretary's order, wind energy, geothermal, oil and gas, more
- Employee Profile: Renewable energy
- Mining: Gold, gravel
- Planning , advisory councils: Carrizo, RAC meetings
- Headlines and highlights: Border fence, Australian wildfires, jobs, much more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Omnibus lands bill fails vote

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

HEADWATERS FOREST RESERVE: 10th anniversary celebration

"Happy birthday, Headwaters"
(Eureka Times-Standard, 3/5/09)
Editorial: "It seems slightly strange to be honoring the 10th anniversary of a forest that is actually thousands of years in the making, yet here we are. A decade ago, officials from government, business and the environmental community came together and saved an irreplaceable stretch of old-growth redwood forest."

The new manager of Headwaters, Chris Heppe, walks among the treesLooking down at a forest of trees in Headwaters"A decade after Headwaters deal, truce comes to Northern California redwood country" (San Jose Mercury News, 3/8/09)
"Today, the misty forest is a national preserve. Some of its trees are more than 320 feet tall — higher than the Statue of Liberty — and were growing during the Roman empire. But because of concerns over endangered species, the federal government has sharply limited public access, with only one year-round public trail into the forest. There is no visitor center and last year just 10,300 pilgrims came to this wooden cathedral, a fraction of the amount who visit Bay Area beaches on a single sunny weekend. Still, many believe all the battles and the costs went to a worthy cause." Includes slide show with 23 photos.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"A decade into Headwaters" (Eureka Times-Standard, 3/5/09)
"Ten years after the controversial purchase of the Headwaters Forest, some of the personalities behind the conservation deal gathered Wednesday to celebrate in the redwoods along the South Fork of the Elk River ... Negotiators, state and federal agency representatives and activists gathered in an old train barn BLM recently moved from the other side of the river and rebuilt as an educational center."

BLM-California Arcata Field Manager Linda Roush leads a group on a tour of Headwaters"Celebrating 10 years of Headwaters Forest Reserve" (News.bytes Extra)
Representatives of government agencies, timber companies and the environmental community gathered March 4 at the Headwaters Forest Reserve near Eureka to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Forest's transfer to public ownership. The BLM's Arcata Field Office organized the celebration -- the first event in the Forest Reserve Education Center -- as a kick off for a year of observances of the milestone. Transfer into public ownership culminated years of controversy over the fate of the forest.


Big brown bat resting Big brown bat resting - thumbnail from a photo by Dr. Robert Thomas and Margaret Orr, California Academy of Sciences

In the desert, bats:
(a.) can’t find insects, so they rely on Joshua Tree needles for food
(b.) are the only flying animal to make noises
(c.) are the main predators of salamanders
(d.) are more likely to fly around during the day, than in other environments
(e.) are the main pollinators of giant cacti
(f.) commonly jam the navigation equipment of UFOs with their "bat sonar," and are widely believed responsible for one of their more well-known UFO crashes in Roswell, New Mexico

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


White fungus surrounds the noses of hibernating bats in a cave"Heaters might stave off doom for bats: researchers"
(Associated Press on Google News, 3/5/09)
"Bats afflicted with a mysterious and deadly disorder might be able to make it through winter with the help of heated boxes placed in hibernation caves, a pair of researchers say. The biologists stress that the boxes being tested this winter are not intended to cure 'white-nose syndrome', which has killed upward of a half million bats in three winters from New England to West Virginia." The ailment has not been found on bats in California, but News.bytes has reported on this syndrome before, as bats are an important part of California's wildlife. Includes links to more information.

RELATED: "Preventing bat illness: a potential solution?" (Audubon Magazine, 3/5/09)
"Some scientists think that the fungus causes the bats to rouse from hibernation, which requires a lot of energy. The bats then burn their fat reserve and starve to death."


Scarlett locoweed - flowers in the area of BLM-California's Bishop Field OfficeYellow wildflowers spread across the ground with the Eastern Sierra in the background"Wildflower update - Mid-March through end of April 2009" (BLM-California, Bishop Field Office)
Desert wildflowers are beginning to appear at the southern end of the Owens Valley. Key spots to check out are the Alabama Hills and the southern alluvial fans of the Sierra Nevada. Includes links to more information, including a timeline for the usual peak blooming periods for wildflowers in the Eastern Sierra and surrounding deserts.

RELATED: "BLM announces Eastern Sierra wildflower outings for Spring 2009" (BLM-California news release, 3/10/09)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will hold tours this spring to view wildflowers in the Eastern Sierras. Tours will be: Friday Field Trips to the Alabama Hills - April 3 and 17, and Friday Field Trip to the Bodie Hills - June 19.

"BLM offers spring tours at Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM-California news release, 3/10/09)
The BLM's Folsom Field Office has scheduled six springtime guided field trips to view wildflowers and other features at the Pine Hill Preserve in western El Dorado County. The schedule starts with an April 25 field trip geared toward birding. Trips geared toward other topics are planned for May 2, May 16, May 30 and June 6. All trips are limited to 30 participants. Participants must pre-register with the BLM.

"Wildflowers and sightseeing, Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
"2009 wildflower status" updated as of March 9.

A desert wildflower at sunset, near Yuma"Wildflowers put on a display for area residents" (Yuma Sun, 3/7/09)
Near the California border with Arizona: "Depending on the amount and frequency of winter rainfall, the county's deserts become carpeted with purple, pink, yellow and white wildflowers. And this winter has proved to be particularly bountiful and colorful. The Bureau of Land Management said the flowers reach full bloom from mid-March to mid-April" but "that it is only a rule of thumb. An early onset of warm weather could cause the flowers to die off or lose their color earlier in usual."


Mountain bikes on a trail on Fort Ord Public Lands"Mountain biking on Ft. Ord Public Lands: Beware the old explosives" (Los Angeles Times, 3/12/09)
"[M]ilitary explosives are potential -- although rare -- hazards on the hiking and biking trails of the Ft. Ord Public Lands, a 7,200-acre recreational area about 10 miles east of Monterey ... I reached the trail head out of breath and sweating, but grinning like the Cheshire Cat. I left hoping this was the start of a new American trend: Shuttered military bases are converted to hiking and mountain biking playgrounds."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Recreation on Fort Ord public lands" (BLM-California, Hollister Field Office)

The moon sets over Cosumnes River Preserve Wednesday morning 3/11/09"Photo: Moon heads to bed after a bright night" (Sacramento Bee, 3/12/09)
The moon sets over the Cosumnes River Preserve in Galt at 7:23 a.m. Wednesday. If you can't witness the preserve's natural beauty in person, a webcam offers a large photo that is updated every 30 seconds. Note: This is a "photo of the day" and may only be available online today.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve - live webcam" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
The Cosumnes River Preserve is a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Over 250 species of birds have been sighted on or near the Preserve. Best wildlife viewing occurs October through February, when waterfowl and other water birds spend their winters at the Preserve. Webcam operates 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily.

A kayaker tackles whitewater on the Mokelumne River"Mokelumne River plan flowing with criticism" (Stockton Record, 3/11/09)
"[T]hree miles of white water on the Mokelumne River below the Highway 49 Bridge ... known as the Middle Bar Run, as well as part of the Electra Run above the bridge, would be drowned under a proposal by the East Bay Municipal Utility District to raise the level of Pardee Reservoir by 33 feet." An existing "boating takeout, as well as one soon-to-be-built with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. funds on Bureau of Land Management land just west of the Highway 49 Bridge, would be submerged by the proposed Pardee expansion."

REMINDER: "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.


A mustang for the Norco Extreme Mustang Trail ChallengeA mustang for Norco's Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge"Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge" (BLM-California website)
The Bureau of Land Management provided wild mustangs from the hills of Nevada for the first-of-its-kind "Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge." Thirty-four approved horse trainers, selected through the Mustang Heritage Foundation picked-up a pre-assigned (by computer) mustang on February 13-14 at BLM’s Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Ridgecrest, California. Each trainer has until May 15 to train their horse before returning to the George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in Norco, California to compete in the Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge.

"Lucky Linda" pets Shelby"Lucky Linda" rides Shelby the mustang"Yucaipa's Lucky Linda has a mustang dilemma" (Yucaipa Now, 3/9/09)
"Two weeks ago, Linda Smerber's horse-loving friends saddled her with the nickname, 'Lucky Linda.' Yah, I'm lucky one, she thought, as she unloaded a kicking, biting, wild Mustang from her horse trailer into her corral ... Smerber picked up the Mustang from the Bureau of Land Management in Ridgecrest on Feb. 14 and agreed to train the three-year-old mare ... Amazingly, even to Smerber, in 21 days Shelby has emerged from this wild Mustang which feared humans, into a gentle, riding horse ... 'She's the smartest horse I've been around in 40 years,' Smerber said. 'I have a new respect for Mustangs since I got Shelby'." Includes four photos.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Hesperia"
(BLM-California news release, 3/5/09)
Strength, endurance, and spirit are qualities embodied in wild horses and burros that roam America’s rangelands. These living legends are available for adoption in Hesperia, on March 13-14, through the BLM's Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. Spectators are welcome. There are 40 young animals available for adoption, 30 wild horses, and 10 burros. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada and are in excellent health. Animals arrive at noon on Friday, March 13.

RELATED: Hear two short radio announcements for wild horse and burro adoption event...
Meet Cliff, who owns Keno the mustang and Sam, who talks about his mustang, Spud.

"Free horse training demonstrations scheduled for Turlock" (BLM-California news release, 3/6/09)
A northern California horse trainer will offer free tips and advice on gentling wild horses, when the BLM brings its wild horse and burro adoption program to Turlock, Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22. Thad Waltman, of Susanville, will show techniques useful for animals adopted from the BLM, or for horses already in the corrals at home. He will demonstrate gentle methods of horse training at various times during both days of the adoption event, offering 40 mustangs and 10 burros.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Placerville" (BLM-California news release, 3/10/09)
Residents of the Sierra foothills 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 Placerville, on Saturday, April 4. The BLM will offer 50 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. on Friday, April 3.

"Vision for wild horse sanctuary hits economic roadblock" (The Washington Post, 3/6/09)
"The gauzy dream of Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, to save thousands of wild horses from government slaughter and turn them free in an 'ecosanctuary' is crashing against the reality of bureaucracy and recession ... Now ... Pickens says philanthropic donations are as dry as tumbleweed and she wants the federal government to pay her about $15 million a year to care for the horses she would take off its hands."

"Congressional testimony: H.R. 1018, Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act" (BLM national news site, 3/3/09)
Statement of Ed Roberson, Assistant Director for Renewable Resources and Planning for the Bureau of Land Management, to the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. (Follow link to PDF document.)


"Secretary Salazar issues order to spur renewable energy development on U.S. public lands" (BLM national news release, 3/11/09)
Citing the critical need to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, build a clean energy economy and create new jobs, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today issued a secretarial order making the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the department. "More so than ever, with job losses continuing to mount, we need to steer the country onto a new energy path," Salazar said. "One that creates new jobs and puts America out front in new, growing industries, one that promotes investment and innovation here at home and one that makes wise use of our domestic resources."

RELATED: View secretarial order (Department of the Interior news site, 3/11/09)
PDF file, 3 pages, 625 kilobytes:

"AP interview: Salazar pushes for wind energy" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday that the waters off the Atlantic coast hold some of the country's greatest wind energy potential, and he promised to move aggressively to develop plans to exploit the resource. In an interview with The Associated Press, Salazar called for the creation of 'renewable energy zones' to smooth development of offshore wind projects and to spur solar energy in the Southwest and onshore wind energy in the Great Plains."

"Barstow area sees influx of renewable energy applications"
(Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/10/09)
"With interest in wind and solar energy rising, the public lands surrounding Barstow appear likely to become a major player in renewable energy production. As of February, applications for wind and solar projects in the Barstow Field Office area of the Bureau of Land Management made up about 27 percent of applications pending statewide."

Wind turbines in southern California"Oregon firm scouts East County for wind farm site" (San Diego Business Journal, 3/9/09)
"An Oregon company is seeking approval to build a wind farm in eastern San Diego County by the end of next year. The 100 to 133 wind turbines could produce up to 200 megawatts of energy, enough to power 60,000 homes ... Most of the site 70 miles east of San Diego is on BLM property. The company also is negotiating with a couple of American Indian tribes for use of their land."

"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $63,000" (BLM-California news release, 3/11/09)
Eleven oil and gas lease parcels in Kern County were auctioned for a total of $63,223 in revenues, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office.

The sprawling Coso geothermal power plant"Coso investing $12 million-plus on merits of pump proposal" (Inyo Register, 3/7/09)
"Coso Operating Company, operators of the Coso Geothermal Plant, has requested a permit from the county to pump that water from its fallowed Hay Ranch property to replenish a depleting geothermal reservoir ... According to data from the Bureau of Land Management and county Water Department, when Hay Ranch was producing alfalfa on 500 acres, it used as much as 3,900 acre-feet per year with no adverse effects to Little Lake or other ground water users at that time."

"Groups seek $2.7 million for fighting power line" (North County Times, 3/7/09)
"Opponents of San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s power line have petitioned the state to compensate them for $2.7 million in costs they say they incurred over three years battling the Sunrise Powerlink -- costs that would be passed on to utility ratepayers." Sections of the proposed route would cross BLM-managed lands.

"Hearing on offshore drilling set for San Francisco" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/11/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will attend a public meeting next month in San Francisco as part of his effort to forge a new policy for offshore oil and gas development, including the California coast. Citizens, public officials, advocacy groups and energy producers are invited to attend the meeting and offer comments at the University of California at San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center on April 16. Similar meetings will be held in Atlantic City, N.J., New Orleans, La., and Anchorage, Alaska in the first two weeks of April."

Employee Profile: Close-up of Ashley Conrad-SaydahEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Ashley Conrad-Saydah...
... is the renewable energy project manager with BLM's California State Office. She says that years away from New York has not slowed her speech much -- apparently part of a fast pace that has led her to a variety of accomplishments. But she is still learning about government acronyms. Read More:


"Is there gold in these hills?" (Mammoth Times, 3/6/09)
"A standing-room-only crowd filled Bridgeport’s Memorial Hall ... to listen to the outline of a proposed mining exploration project on public lands. The Cougar Paramount Mineral Exploration Project is planned for the Bodie Hills Management Area, near the Paramount Mine site, which includes areas within the surrounding Bodie Wilderness Study Area. Exploration could begin as soon as August if approved by the BLM. The project would drill and collect core samples from 27 locations ... Although the room included opinions from both sides of the fence, the majority of Mono County residents were in favor of the exploration. If gold is found, it could boost the economy of Mono County."

"The Cemex struggle: Round 6" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 3/9/09)
"Within the next one to two months, Congressman Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon plans to introduce his sixth bill aimed at keeping a massive sand and gravel mine out of the Santa Clarita Valley. Its passage would effectively end a struggle the Santa Clarita City Council has waged since the 1990s ... While Santa Clarita owns the roughly 100 acres in Soledad Canyon for which the mine is proposed, Cemex has mineral rights granted by the federal Bureau of Land Management."


"Comment sought on planning for Carrizo Plain National Monument" (News.bytes Extra)
Meetings at Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo and Carrisa Plain drew about 40 people to discuss planning for the Carrizo Plains National Monument. The Bureau of Land Management has released for public review and comment a draft resource management plan/draft environmental impact statement for about 206,000 acres of public lands. To ensure that they will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the draft RMP/EIS by April 23.

"National monument advisory committee to meet in Palm Desert" (BLM-California news release, 3/5/09)
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee will meet Monday, March 16, at 3 p.m. The public comment period begins at 4 p.m.

"BLM advisory council plans meeting in Lone Pine" (BLM-California news release, 3/10/09)
Land management issues for the Bishop Field Office will be on the agenda when the Bureau of Land Management's Central California Resource Advisory Council meets in Lone Pine on March 20-21. One afternoon session will be a tour of the Alabama Hills.

Also see "Selected Upcoming Events" below for more advisory committee meeting dates.


A section of border fence at the Imperial Sand Dunes"Border arrests drop to 1970s levels" (Los Angeles Times, 3/8/09)
"With the economy in tatters and security beefed up at the U.S.-Mexico border, fewer people are willing to cross illegally ... Few places illustrate the dramatic turn of events as clearly as San Luis Rio Colorado and its sister communities across the border in Yuma County and the southeastern tip of California ... The sector now has one of the longest stretches of contiguous border fencing in the U.S., including a 13-mile, towering steel barrier that sits atop California's Imperial Sand Dunes."

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)

"Helping Australia recover from wildfires" (News.bytes Extra)
On Sunday, February 15, 2009, 60 wildfire specialists from the United States arrived in Melbourne at the request of the Australian government to assist, supplement, and support Victoria State agencies with their bushfire firefighting and recovery efforts during unprecedented fire activity. on Woychak, planning section chief of BLM's Southern California Desert District, is working in planning and has been developing a Fire Suppression Rehabilitation Plan that includes both short-term and long-term options.

"Nick’s Interns program seeks applicants" (Redwood Times, 3/4/09)
"This unique program provides environmental work opportunities for high school students. Those who are motivated to learn, work hard, be part of a team, and make a valuable contribution are encouraged to apply for summer internships. Interns take part in a variety of projects such as stream restoration, habitat assessment surveys, trail building, fire fuels reduction, native seed collection, and invasive species removal." Participating agencies include the BLM.

"Sheep shape: Fort Ord herd chows down on weeds, thistles and non-native grasses" (Monterey County Herald, 3/5/09)
"Pet owners and bicyclists are asked to keep their eyes peeled during the next four months for 500 to 1,000 sheep that will graze at various locations on the former Fort Ord. The grazing is an annual chow-down that keeps the sheep fed and helps the natural environment in the 2,500-acre area. The woolly animals ... are utilized each year by the Bureau of Land Management to clear selected areas of weeds, thistles and non-native grasses. The plan has worked effectively since the BLM received the property in 1996."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include many firefighting positions.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:

March 20 - California Desert District Advisory Council meeting

More online at link above.


"Wilderness bill stymied over gun rights"
(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 3/11/09)
"The House on Wednesday defeated a bill to set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as protected wilderness -- the victim of a renewed Republican push to allow concealed, loaded weapons in national parks. A majority of House members supported the wilderness bill, but the measure was defeated because it did not receive the needed two-thirds vote. The vote was 282-144 in favor -- two votes short of approval."

"Planning for damage from climate change"
(Federal Times, 3/10/09)
"The government needs a comprehensive plan to address the potential damage of climate change on forests, parks and other federal lands, experts agree. Land-holding agencies such as the Forest Service, National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management have begun assessing the impact of climate change on public lands, but no comprehensive strategy exists for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or mitigating the harm of rising global temperatures."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) are the main pollinators of giant cacti

SOURCE: "Big Brown Bat - Eptesicus fuscus" (BLM California wildlife database)
In desert habitats, bats are the primary pollinators of giant cacti.

"Eptesicus fuscus - big brown bat" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information plus several photos, on this website -- an "educational resource written largely by and for college students."

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