A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 374 - 3/19/09

A beavertail cactus in bloom in the desertA bobcat in a cage awaits return to the wildA hummingbird feeds at a bladder pod plant in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument One of the mustangs set to compete in the Norco event Patrick Lloyd Gunn of BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council

- Wildflowers
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Energy and renewable energy
- Advisory council meetings
- Meet your advisory council members
- Headlines and highlights: Proposed national monument, award winner, seeking hosts, jobs, more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Congressional testimony

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


A hummingbird feeds at a bladder pod plant in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National MonumentHikers in the monument"Science collaboration focuses on wildflowers, inland-area ecology" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/16/09)
"Citizen Science Week will be a collaboration ... Events will include a wildflowers First Sunday Program at the museum, a field trip and wildflower walk to the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, a lecture and book signing by ... the author of 'California's Fading
Wildflowers: Lost Legacy and Biological Invasions', a science day at the museum and a workshop day at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

A beavertail cactus in bloom in the desertAn evening primrose blooms amid the sands"Wildflowers" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Update March 16, 2009: The Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office offers several great locations for wildflower viewing for those looking for a scenic drive. With the rainfall pattern this year, you may not encounter vast carpets of wildflowers, but there is a wider variety of species to look for while hiking. As the season progresses, the bloom is expected to move to higher elevations.

A crucifixion thorn displays its thorns"Desert bounty - The Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area" (The Examiner, 3/14/09)
"On open land east of the Chocolate Mountains and southwest of the Yuha Desert contains the largest community of castela emoryi, better known as crucifixion thorn, in the state of California. Designated as the Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area, these are magnificent specimens growing to a height of 10 to 19 feet. The most distinctive feature about the plant is the 4-inch thorns protruding from every branch on its spindly trunk."

At the Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area, a namesake plants displays its thornsRELATED: "Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)
This fenced area has excellent stands of crucifixion thorn, ironwood, palo verde, ocotillo, mesquite, and creosote. Spring is usually the best time of year to visit the area. When nature provides sufficient winter rains, an abundance of wildflowers and blooms from a variety of desert plants can be seen.

A bobcat sits and watches
Thumbnail from a photo by Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences

Why should people be a bit wary of bobcats?
(a.) They are larger than other California wild cats.
(b.) They eat much more meat than other California wild cats.
(c.) They are attracted by the scent of perfumes.
(d.) They are not as afraid of humans as other California wild cats.
(e.) They have been known to overestimate the safety of derivatives, despite the volatile nature of these investments.

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


One of the mustangs set to compete in the Norco event"Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge" (BLM-California website)
The BLM provided wild mustangs from the hills of Nevada for the first-of-its-kind "Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge." Thirty-four approved horse trainers have until May 15 to train their horse before returning to Norco, California to compete.

See if a horse trainer from your area...

...is among 33 specially-selected horse trainers who have 90 days to gentle and train their assigned mustangs for the Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge competition -- May 15-17 in Norco. Trainers from California, Oregon, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona are participating in this event. Individual news releases for California trainers are on the BLM-California website:

"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 demonstrate gentle methods of horse training at various times during both days of the adoption event, which offers 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, as the BLM brings a wild horse and burro adoption event to Placerville, Saturday, April 4. The BLM will offer 50 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. on Friday, April 3.

"BLM statement regarding Madeleine Pickens' wild horse sanctuary proposal" (BLM national office)
"The Bureau of Land Management is grateful to Madeleine Pickens for her interest in helping the BLM deal with the challenges of managing wild horses and burros, both on and off Western public rangelands. The BLM is committed to continuing its discussions with Mrs. Pickens to address these challenges, which include the effective management of wild horses and burros and the protection of taxpayer dollars expended through the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program."


"Environmentalists, energy developers seeks balance in desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/17/09)
"Environmentalists, renewable energy developers, and regulatory officials on Tuesday hammered out ways to build solar, wind and geothermal projects in the Mojave Desert and still preserve the ecosystem." About 200 people attended the public meeting. One official said his company moved a proposed site from desert tortoise habitat and OHV areas to a site just off the interstate, on a recommendation by the BLM.

"Battle brewing over clean-energy delivery grids" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/15/09)
"President Obama's vision of a clean energy future of wind farms and solar plants comes with a catch: It will require thousands of miles of new high-voltage power lines to move the energy from where it's most abundant, in the California desert or the plains of the Midwest, to power-hungry urban centers. Obama's allies in Congress ... are pushing legislation that would give federal officials new authority to site those lines if states don't act quickly enough to expand the grid. The plan is raising concerns..."

"Sunrise Powerlink Faces Another Appeal" (KPBS San Diego, 3/12/09)
"The appeal claims the Bureau of Land Management used incomplete fire data when it approved the San Diego Gas and Electric project."

"BLM requests public comments on geothermal project proposal" (BLM-California news release, 3/18/09)
The BLM’s Ukiah Field Office is soliciting comments on a draft environmental assessment for a proposed "Engineered Geothermal System" project at the Geysers geothermal field. The comment period will be open through April 17. A public meeting to discuss the project is scheduled for April 9 in Middletown.

"Coso Geo given green light to pump water" (Inyo Register, 3/17/09)
"After a marathon, nine-and-a-half-hour hearing Wednesday, the Inyo County Planning Commission voted unanimously to grant the Coso Operating Company permission to pump water and pipe it nine miles for use at its geothermal power plant to replenish a depleting geothermal reservoir." Part of the pipeline would cross BLM-managed lands.

"Obama’s energy goals increase work at Interior agencies" (Federal Times, 3/17/09)
"The Interior Department’s land agencies will see a big new workload in the coming months, reviewing new oil and gas lease applications and helping the government plan a new electric grid, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday ... the Bureau of Land Management has already issued seven new oil and gas leases in the nearly two months since he took office ... Salazar said BLM staffers are working with the administration to plan a route" to modernize the nation's energy grid.

Congressional testimony: "Oversight Hearing, Energy Development on the Public Lands and Outer Continental Shelf" (BLM national website, 3/17/09)
Statement of Ken Salazar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Click the link on the following page, to open the PDF document.


"BLM Northwest Resource Advisory Council meets March 26-27 in Redding" (BLM-California news release, 3/17/09)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Northwest California Resource Advisory Council will discuss various natural resource topics during a field tour and business session.  The tour and meeting are open to the public.

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

Patrick Lloyd Gunn of BLM's California Desert District Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Patrick Lloyd Gunn...
... is the representative for wildlife interests on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. Read More:


"Alliance proposes establishing Route 66 national monument"
(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/15/09)|
"Preservationists worried about military expansion and renewable energy development in the California desert are pitching a plan to create a vast national monument east of Twentynine Palms and protect 70 miles of historic Route 66." The "Mother Road National Monument ... could be twice as big as Joshua Tree National Park."

"Group sees 'violation of trust'" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/14/09)
"A land conservancy from Oak Glen spent years amassing $45 million in private donations and negotiating the purchase of more than a half-million unspoiled acres in the California desert so it could be turned over to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for protection. Now, the BLM is considering applications for wind turbines and solar-energy arrays on thousands of those acres."

"BLM-California's Doran wins rangeland management award" (News.bytes Extra)
Karen Doran of BLM-California’s Bakersfield Field Office has received a Rangeland Management Specialist Recognition Award.  The award was presented during the Society for Range Management 62nd Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico last month.

"BLM in Redding seeking hosts for campgrounds, day use areas" (BLM-California news release, 3/17/09)
Opportunities to live and work in beautiful northern California outdoor settings are being offered by the Bureau of Land Management in volunteer host positions in Shasta and Trinity counties. BLM volunteer hosts live on site in their own campers or camp trailers.  The BLM provides varying levels of water, septic, phone and power connections, depending on the site.  There is no salary, but the BLM provides allowances to cover living expenses.

An OHV rider jumps a dune at the Imperial Sand DunesBLM paramedic checks equipment"Midway Fire Station Personnel Provide EMS Coverage during 2008/2009 OHV Season at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (News.bytes Extra)
Personnel from BLM-California's Bakersfield Field Office help out with emergency medical care during the busy winter season at the Imperial Sand Dunes.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include ecologist, fire lookout and wildland firefighters.

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

March 20-21 - California Desert District Advisory Council meeting

March 20-21 - Central California Advisory Council meeting
Lone Pine

March 26-27 - Northwest California Resource Advisory Council meeting

March 24 - "Local history" presentation, Whitethorne Lecture Series

March 28- Spring natural history walk
Clear Creek


Congressional testimony: "Oversight Hearing, Restoring the Federal Public Lands Workforce" (BLM national office, 3/19/09)
Statement of Daniel N. Wenk, Acting Director, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. Includes information on "workforce issues that are being addressed by the Bureau of Land Management." Click the link on the following page, to open the PDF document.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) They are not as afraid of humans as other California wild cats.

SOURCE: "Bobcat - Lynx rufus" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Be careful if you see one - these cats are not as afraid of humans as some of California's other wild cats."

More on bobcats:

A bobcat in a cage awaits return to the wildA bobcat jumps as it is released from a cage after being relocated"Dodging cars, hanging tough: That's bobcat's life" (Orange County Register, 3/6/09)
"Orange County's bobcats prowl a knife's edge of life and death. In a hopeful sign for the secretive felines, they appear to inhabit far more of the tiny, damaged fragments of habitat alongside urban enclaves than scientists previously thought. But to get there, they cross busy streets that can become death traps..." Includes 17 photos, links to more information about bobcats and maps.

"Lynx rufus - Bobcat" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information, several photos plus a sketch, at this online "educational resource written largely by and for college students."

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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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