A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 376 - 4/1/09

close-up of black-tailed jackrabbit highlights its big ears Journey to the Center of the Crater, like an old movie credit over a smoking crater Two bicyclists cross the new Salt Creek Bridge over the flowing creek A pink desert willow in bloom Close-up of Norvie Enns

- Funny.bytes: A new edition!
- Free offer: Amboy Crater brochure
- Omnibus Public Lands Bill: California effects
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news
- Hot times on dry lake beds: Speed record, car drop
- Spring recreation on public lands: Morongo festival, Citizen Science, wildflower award, OHV's, hunting
- Alternative energy
- Headlines and highlights: Wild horse and burro adoption, report abandoned mines, advisory tour, jobs, more
- Meet your Advisory Council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Special firefighting fund

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Journey to the Center of the Crater, like an old movie credit over a smoking craterFunny.bytes graphicFUNNY.BYTES: "Journey to the Center of the Crater"
Generations of children gaze out onto Amboy Crater, wishing they could stop and take a look inside. Finally...
Funny.bytes is an occasional Flash video feature of News.bytes. It includes a sound track -- you may want to be ready to adjust the volume on your computer.

The flat-topped cone of Amboy Crater looms above desert plantsRELATED: "Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark " (BLM-California, Needles Field Office)
Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, Amboy Crater was recognized for its visual and geological significance. Although Amboy Crater is not unique, it is an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone. As a result of increased visitation, the Needles Field Office established a day use site. The entrance road to the parking area has been improved to provide access for all vehicles. This web page Includes information to know "before you go."

Part of the cover of the Amboy Crater brochureFREE OFFER: Amboy Crater brochure
While supplies last! Click the link and fill in the online form to request one. Includes a short history, directions to Amboy Crater, what to know before you go, and short descriptions of volcanic features to watch for.


"Obama Signs Major Land Conservation Law" (Washington Post, 3/30/09)
"President Obama signed a massive lands package into law today, protecting more than two million acres as wilderness and creating a new national system to conserve land held by the Bureau of Land Management. The measure, a collection of 170 different bills that represents the most significant wilderness law in at least 15 years..."
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view its content online,)

"President signs legislation that enhances protection for public lands in California" (BLM-California news release, 3/30/09)
BLM-managed lands detailed in the measure include more than 34,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra designated as the Granite Mountain Wilderness, 23,000 additional acres in the White Mountain Wilderness managed with the U.S. Forest Service, 26 miles of the Amargosa River designated as wild and scenic, and 84,000 acres in Riverside County now designated as wilderness.

"Remarks of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the signing of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009" (Department of the Interior news release, 3/30/09)

"Federal bill expands Riverside County wilderness areas" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/30/09)
"President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law legislation protecting 190,000 acres across Riverside County as designated wilderness areas."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Public gets a bill to protect its lands" (Sacramento Bee, 3/28/09)
"At last! Congress finally found a way to pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 without larding it up with controversial items ... This is a major victory for California."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view is content online.)


close-up of black-tailed jackrabbit highlights its big ears
Thumbnail from a photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

One of the creatures you may sight on your way to Amboy Crater is the black-tailed jackrabbit. Black-tailed jackrabbits were originally called:
(a.) "Peering rabbits" because of their large eyes
(b.) "Brown-tailed rabbits" from disagreements over their tail color
(c.) "Kangaroo rabbits" because of their impressive jumps
(d.) "Jackass rabbits" because of their large ears
(e.) "Jackalopes," in order to sell more of the famous southwestern postcards

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


Crew and spectators gather around GreenbirdWind-powered vehicle Greenbird flashes across the dry lake bed"British engineer blows away land speed wind record after 10-year quest" (The Daily Mail, 3/27/09)
At Ivanpah Dry Lake, managed by BLM-California's Needles Field Office: "A British engineer has smashed the land speed record for wind powered vehicles, becoming the fastest naturally powered human on the planet. Richard Jenkins clocked 126.1 mph in his Ecotricity 'Greenbird' powered only by 30 mph winds. He eclipsed the previous record of 116 mph, set by American Bob Schumacher ten years ago."

A cast member races away from a car as she is filmed from a helicopter"Mythbusters: Car versus gravity" (News.bytes Extra)
There are only a certain number of places where a helicopter can safely drop a car 4,000 feet to the ground -- and capture it on film. Luckily for a TV crew, one of those places is Cuddeback Dry Lake Bed, managed by BLM-California's Ridgecrest Field Office. Popular television show Mythbusters sets out to prove or disprove popular myths, or situations presented by the media in movies, TV shows or advertising. In this case, a commercial explores the concept: can a new car outrun gravity?


Sparky the fire safety mascot watches an award presentation"Spring fest loaded with fun" (Hi-Desert Star, 4/1/09)
"The annual Morongo Valley Spring Festival is a great place to mingle with friends old and new, drink in the beauty of nature and learn how to make a positive impact on the environment. From the flip of the first flapjack at the firefighters auxiliary breakfast to the final fond fare thee well’s, Saturday’s event was as perfect as the weather and a happy way to welcome in the season."

RELATED: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

A pink desert willow in bloomMother and son pose by a tall plant in the monument"Smithsonian Citizen Science Week..." (News.bytes Extra)
…is a week dedicated to connecting people with scientists to study the planet, its plant and animals. The event kicks off this Sunday, April 5, with a Family Fun Day with the theme "All About Wildflowers." The week's events include a wildflower walk at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, and workshops featuring the BLM's Tracy Albrecht, BLM-California's interpretive specialist at the Monument.

RELATED: "Test your knowledge" with the quiz on the BLM-California home page:

RELATED: "Trails and trailheads in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
If you enjoy a long walk for exercise or for pleasure, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument has a trail for you! Each of three areas has its own personality. Trails are rated as easy, moderate, or strenuous. Find one that fits you.

"Arcata Botanist Jennifer Wheeler Wins National Wildflower Conservation Award" (News.bytes Extra)
Jennifer Wheeler, botanist with the BLM’s Arcata Field Office, has received the Karl Urban Celebrating Wildflowers Award, a national honor recognizing her exemplary work conserving native plants through creativity, community involvement, volunteer programs and educational efforts.

"Turkey hunting, bass fishing outlook looking good" (Lake County Record-Bee, 3/26/09)
The month-long spring turkey hunting season started last weekend. "The general season runs through May 3 and there are wild turkeys everywhere. Lake County is considered one of the best turkey hunting areas in the state ... Most of the turkeys are located on private land, but there is also a good population on public lands. The Mendocino National Forest as well as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, such as the Cache Creek Wildlife Area, are awash in turkeys. The Knoxville Wildlife Area, located near the gold mine out of Lower Lake, also has a good population of turkeys."

"Closures announced during April events South Cow Mountain" (BLM-California news release, 3/31/09)
Closures during two weekends in April are needed for public safety. From Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5, the entire OHV area will be closed to the public during the North Bay Motorcycle Club’s Sawmill and Family enduro events. On Sunday, April 19, the Benmore and Boundary Ridge trails (numbered 23 and 25) will be closed to the public during the Sonoma County Sport Cycle Association’s Outlaw Hare Scramble.  Other roads and trails will remain open.

RELATED: "Cow Mountain Recreation Area" (BLM-California, Ukiah Field Office)


"Solar power project clears major hurdle" (Ridgecrest News Review, 3/26/09)
"After agreeing to a major design change, backers of a proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant have announced that they have eliminated a major objection to the project and are ready to proceed." Solar Millennium LLC planned to "present an overview of their reworked plans for the solar plant during [last week's] Steering Committee meeting at the Bureau of Land Management office in Ridgecrest. A local water district had raised concerns about "thousands of acre-feet of water the plant would boil off to cool its working fluid" and the company said it would substitute a "dry cooling" method.

"Cruel irony: Do renewable power plants threaten their surrounding environment?" (Scientific American, 3/25/09)
"Do the potential benefits of plants that use renewable sources such as wind and solar to generate energy outweigh the environmental damage that could be caused to make way for them? Californians are grappling with that very question as the state moves ahead with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to have utility companies generate one-third of the state's energy from renewable sources by 2020..." Includes a number of links to more information.

"Proposed legislation could prevent some Barstow-area energy projects" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/31/09)
"A piece of proposed legislation that could shoot down a number of proposed solar and wind projects in the Mojave Desert is drawing mixed reactions. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced that she plans to introduce legislation that would designate a corridor of former railroad land between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park as a national monument. The exact boundaries of the proposed monument have not been publicly released, but about 600,000 acres of railroad-owned lands were purchased by or donated to the Department of Interior ... for conservation over the years..."

"Build solar! Build wind! ... but not in my desert" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/29/09)
Editorial: "Sen. Feinstein would 'protect' another chunk of the Mojave..."


"Free training demonstration offered during Placerville wild horse and burro adoption" (BLM-California news release, 3/30/09)
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 the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, Saturday, April 4. During the adoption event, the BLM will offer 50 mustangs, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for adoption.  Horse and burro fanciers can adopt animals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Animals will arrive at the fairgrounds for previewing at about 2 p.m. Friday, April 3.

Open mouth of an abandoned mine on a hillsideA fence surrounds a mine shaft, with warning signs nearby"Report those abandoned mine shafts!" (News.bytes Extra)
Early last month, a young man reported to the Jawbone Station Visitor Information Center, that he had fallen into the shaft of an abandoned mine. Luckily, he was unharmed, but he reported the incident so the opening could be fenced off.

Two bicyclists cross the new Salt Creek Bridge over the flowing creekAdvisory Council members hike among vegetation along the new Salt Creek Trail"Advisory Council lauds BLM field office, tours trail improvements" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council were on hand March 26, to congratulate the BLM's Redding Field Office for awards they received for efforts to improve public health in Shasta County. Prior to their business meeting, RAC members got the chance to see some of the recent recreational trail improvements on BLM-managed public lands in the Redding area.

"Abandoned oil tanks cleaned up northeast of Bakersfield" (KBAK-TV Bakersfield, 3/26/09)
"Three abandoned oil tanks northeast of Bakersfield are being cleaned up after a local man complained about possible hazards ... Experts immediately shared his concerns once they found out about the situation. 'If there's people that come up here, it could be an endangerment to them if they were to start messing around with the oil, or if someone were to get into one of the tank bottoms,' said Gabe Garcia, an assistant field manager with the Bureau of Land Management."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
A number of firefighting and fire lookout positions are open.

Close-up of Norvie EnnsMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Norvie Enns...
...represents the public-at-large on BLM's Northeast California Advisory Council. A retired aircraft mechanic trained at the Northrop Aeronautical Institute in Inglewood, California, Mr. Enns knows the public lands under the RAC’s purview very well through his outdoor pursuits. Read More:

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

April 3 - Wildflower field trip
Alabama Hills

April 4 - Finding your way - navigating with GPS
Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve

April 7 - Lecture series: "Reptiles and amphibians"

April 7 - Public meeting on proposed "Engineered Geothermal System" project


"House OKs special fund to fight wild fires" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 3/27/09)
"The U.S. House approved a bill Thursday to create a separate fund to pay for unbudgeted costs of fighting major wildfires on federal land. The bill, approved 412-3, sets up a reserve fund so the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service don’t have to pull money out of other parts of their budgets to pay for costs of fighting huge wildfires that have been increasingly more common in the last decade. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) "Jackass rabbits" because of their large ears

SOURCE: "Black-tailed Jackrabbit - Lepus californicus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Black-tailed jackrabbits are actually hares and not rabbits. Hares are bigger and have bigger ears. In fact, black-tailed jackrabbits were originally called "jackass rabbits" because their large ears resembled those of a donkey.


"Ninety years of birdwatchers' notes going online"
(CNN.com/technology, 3/26/09)
"More than 100 years ago, J.A. Loring had his eyes on the California sky and his hand on a pen. His hand-scribbled notes, along with those of 3,000 other 'citizen scientists,' are being scanned, transcribed and converted into a digital database for online access. 'These cards, once transcribed, will provide over 90 years of data -- an unprecedented amount of information...' said said Jessica Zelt, who coordinates the North American Bird Phenology Program" for the U.S. Geological Survey.

RELATED: "North American Phenology Program" (U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey)
"The North American Bird Phenology Program houses a unique and largely forgotten collection of six million Migration Observer Cards that illuminate migration patterns and population status of birds in North America. These handwritten cards contain almost all of what was known of bird status from the Second World War back to the later part of the 19th century."

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

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