A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 377 - 4/8/09

Robot female sage grouse on model train track Tide pools just beyond the waves on the Palos Verdes Peninsula A mustang gentler shows off a mustang he has worked with California poppes bloom orange near the Pacific Ocean Close-up of Jim Foote

- Spotlight on Partners: Palos Verdes Peninsula
- Wildflowers
- More recreation on public lands
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Alternative energy
- Alternative energy controversy
- Headlines and highlights: Area 51, cleanup, artwork
- Employee Profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Internship report, new deputy assistant secretary

This issue of News.bytes online at:

SPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: Palos Verdes Peninsula
Tide pools just beyond the waves on the Palos Verdes PeninsulaA scenic rock visible from a fishing access point on the Palos Verdes PeninsulaA dozen community and governmental agencies met in late March at the City of Rancho Palos Verdes’ Point Vicente Park and Interpretative Center to form the Palos Verdes Peninsula Gateway of the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM). The Gateway is a collaborative partnership to assist BLM with the preservation, stewardship, and appreciation of the CCNM, as well as to advance the understanding and protection of California’s coastal and ocean resources.


California poppes bloom orange near the Pacific OceanCoast paintbrush in bloom, Monterey County, California"Explosion of color: Great year for wildflowers in county" (Monterey County Herald, 4/6/09)
"Brilliant blue and white sky lupines. Vibrant red Indian warriors. Bright yellow footsteps of spring and sun cups. White-tipped tidy tips and shining yellow Contra Costa goldfields. Multi-hued wild lilac. Orange California poppies. Months after wildfires charred thousands of acres, Monterey County is ablaze again, this time with a colorful eruption of wildflowers, many freed by nature's own renewal process ... Bruce Delgado, botanist with the Bureau of Land Management at Fort Ord and a member of the California Native Plant Society, said, 'There's a diversity, too, of flowers. Some that haven't shown up for decades sometimes'."

"Group walks explore preserve’s beauties" (Hi-Desert Star, 4/8/09)
"Naturalists will host a walk offering spectacular views along Yucca Ridge at 9 a.m. April 18, at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Hikers will see spring wildflowers such as the desert mallow, desert dandelions, Mojave yucca, Mormon tea and various species of cactus." The Preserve is managed by the BLM.

"Wildflower hotline" (Theodore Payne Foundation)
Updates on wildflower conditions from southern through central California, sponsored for the 27th year by this non-profit, "dedicated to the preservation of wildflowers and California native plants." Includes reports from lands that BLM-California manages or co-manages -- the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Coachella Valley Preserve, Merced River Canyon and the Rademacher Hills.

"Wildflowers" (BLM-California)
Information about spots where wildflowers can generally be found on lands managed by BLM-California.


"BLM to open Copley Mountain access at Chappie-Shasta OHV Area" (BLM-California news release, 4/3/09)
The Copley Mountain Staging Area within the Chappie-Shasta Off Highway Vehicle area northwest of Redding will reopen Saturday, April 11. The area had been closed since last summer because of damage caused by the 22,000-acre Motion Fire. The staging area has facilities for motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle unloading and provides access to the network of roads and trails within the OHV area.

"Bureau of Land Management announces 'Dog Day' at Fort Ord" (BLM-California news release, 4/2/09)
The fifth annual "Dog Day" event is scheduled for May 9, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Fort Ord public lands managed by the BLM. The festival is free. According to BLM Park Ranger Tammy Jakl, who is organizing the event, this is the fifth "Dog Day" event held on the BLM's Fort Ord public lands and builds upon the successful event held the last four years. "Dog Day is a chance to celebrate the great outdoors with your canine companion in a beautiful setting at Fort Ord," she said.

Gold panners at a stream"New gold rush hits California" (USA Today, 4/6/09)
"More than 150 years after the great Gold Rush that propelled California's development, the prospect of striking it rich prospecting for gold remains very much alive. Panners are appearing at streambeds due to the price of gold, the poor economy, and a 10.5% statewide unemployment rate that leaves a lot of people with time on their hands, officials say."

"Use extreme caution when hunting, hiking in woods" (Lake County Record-Bee, 4/7/09)
"Spring is the time when outdoorsmen and women visit the national forests and other public lands, especially turkey hunters. It is also the time for planting marijuana and that could spell trouble for those who enjoy the great outdoors ... Most of the illegal pot gardens are located in the Mendocino National Forest and on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands ... If you're a hunter or a hiker and have traveled a mile or more off the road, chances are you have passed near a marijuana garden and were never aware of it."

"Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service seeking grants" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 4/7/09)
"Both the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service are seeking grant money to help with off-highway vehicle programs on their lands. The BLM held a public meeting several weeks ago to talk about the status of its application for state grant money to help with operations at the Cow Mountain Recreation Area. 'It is too easy to love a place to death,' Gary Sharpe, Associate Field Manager said. With closures of the Clear Creek area, use at Cow Mountain has seen a spike, Sharpe stated."


A volunteer displays her adopted mustang in a paradeA mustang gentler shows off a mustang he has worked with"Visitors meet gentled mustangs, take some home" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program rolled into Turlock March 21 and 22, as part of the Back Country Horsemen of California's statewide rendezvous.  Adopters took home 10 mustangs and two wild burros. See photos from the event.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption at L.A. Equestrian Center; Presentation of palomino mustangs to the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard" (BLM-California news release, 4/7/09)
There will be 40 wild horses and 10 burros available for adoption in Burbank, April, 17-19. Spectators are welcome. Animals arrive at noon on Friday, April 17, and potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, April 18, the BLM will present the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Mounted Color Guard with three Palomino mustangs. The USMC Color Guard travels all over the Western United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many other events.

A child reaches out to pet a mustang ridden by a U.S. MarineRELATED: "Wild Horse & Burro Program and the United States Marine Corps Color Guard" (BLM-California, wild horse and burro program)
The U.S. Marine Corps first adopted a Bureau of Land Management wild horse in 1988 for the Mounted Color Guard, a two-year old horse called “Okinawa.” In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Livermore" (BLM-California news release, 4/2/09)
Residents of the Livermore area will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Adoption Program to the Livermore Rodeo Grounds, on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26. The event is being held in conjunction with the California State Horseman’s Spring Stampede. 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. on Friday, April 24.


A male sage grouse displays for females
From a photo by Blair Parrot, BLM-California Surprise Field Office

Male sage grouse have two air sacs on their fronts, covered with olive-green skin and yellow combs. What is the purpose of these air sacs?
(a.) It allows the male to breathe underwater while trying to grab its favored diet of tiny fish.
(b.) The male inflates the sacs to attract female sage grouse during seasonal mating displays.
(c.) The size and shape of the colored areas identifies the group to which the male belongs – whether he is a member to be welcomed or a stranger to attack.
(d.) The male puffs up the sacs to frighten predators that might be stalking him.
(e.) The inflated air sacs create a camouflage screen of green and yellow irregular shapes, helping the sage grouse to remain hidden from predators.
(f.) They were permanently marked with these colors by accident, after an ill-advised attempt to use permanent dyes to brand themselves as extreme fans, before an Oregon State University football game.
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Wind turbines could more than meet U.S. electricity needs, report says" (Los Angeles Times, 4/3/09)
"Wind turbines off U.S. coastlines could potentially supply more than enough electricity to meet the nation's current demand, the Interior Department reported Thursday. Simply harnessing the wind in relatively shallow waters -- the most accessible and technically feasible sites for offshore turbines -- could produce at least 20% of the power demand for most coastal states, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said ... The biggest wind potential lies off the nation's Atlantic coast ... The report also notes large potential in the Pacific, including off the California coast, but said the area presented technical challenges."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Salazar: Wind power can replace 3,000 coal plants" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6/09)
"Windmills off the East Coast could generate the same amount of electricity as 3,000 coal-fired power plants, but oil and natural gas drilling will continue to be part of the nation's energy equation, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday."

RELATED: "Survey of available data on OCS resources and identification of data gaps: Executive summary" (U.S. Geological Survey and Minerals Management Service)
file, 15 pages, 2.2 megabytes:

"Calif. desert becomes home for renewable energy" (NPR Morning Edition, 4/3/09)
"The Bureau of Land Management has received 163 applications to build solar and wind projects on 1.6 million acres of federal land in California. Almost all of them are planned for the Imperial Valley and the desert region north of the valley. The vacant, sun-drenched, wind-swept floor of the Imperial Valley makes it a perfect candidate for wind and solar power. But it doesn't stop there. Its location -- along the San Andreas fault line, and the fact that part of the valley is below sea level -- means it's one of the few places in the country where geothermal power is widely available." Includes link to audio report.

"Public workshops for training on geothermal energy on federal land" (BLM-California news release, 4/3/09)
The public and members of the geothermal industry are encouraged to join the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service at seven regional trainings that are focused on the environmentally sound development of geothermal energy across the western U.S. A May 13 meeting will be held in Sacramento, and a May 5 meeting is slated for Reno.

"Solar project presents case to BLM" (Ridgecrest News Review, 4/2/09)
"During Thursday’s meeting of the Steering Committee at the Bureau of Land Management Ridgecrest Field Office, representatives of Solar Millennium LLC presented their updated plan for developing a solar-thermal power plant southwest of Ridgecrest." The company "has agreed to use dry cooling instead of wet cooling at the new plant. The design change will reduce the plant’s water use from more than 2,000 acre-feet per year to around 250 acre-feet per year. For comparison, the average local household uses approximately two-thirds of an acre-foot per year..."


"We need compromise in the Mojave Desert over alternative energy" (Oakland Tribune/Inside Bay Area, 4/8/09)
Editorial: "Who knew that one day 1 million or so acres of barren Mojave Desert would be so popular? Indeed, there is an interesting standoff brewing between a number of aspiring alternative energy entrepreneurs and a veteran senator who seeks to preserve the region. Yes, environmentalists against an environmentalist ...With careful planning, we're confident [Senator] Feinstein and new energy entrepreneurs can live happily together in the barren desert."

"Google shows alternative energy firms the way" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/2/09)
"Picking the right place for an immense solar power plant or wind farm is a tricky business, one that can turn natural allies into enemies. An open stretch of desert might look empty to a renewable-power developer who wants to blanket a few hundred acres with solar panels or mirrors. To environmentalists, the same spot could be vital habitat for an endangered lizard or bird - an ecosystem too delicate to touch. Now, a collaboration between Google and two leading environmental groups intends to head off those fights. A new mapping tool on Google Earth shows renewable-power developers where they can - and can't - build."

"Consumer group ready for Powerlink court fight" (KGTV San Diego, 4/7/09)
"The fight against the controversial Sunrise Powerlink is picking up steam -- to the tune of $500,000, 10News reported. The 123-mile line would deliver electricity to more than 600,000 homes, but one consumer watchdog group is preparing to fight the proposed transmission line."

"Coalition building in valley efforts to stop LADWP project" (KESQ TV Palm Springs, 4/6/09)
"The Coachella Valley Coalition announced the Turtle Club is joining the effort to put a stop to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power 'Green Path North transmission line project'. The project would construct power lines through residential and wildlife areas in Desert Hot Springs."


"BLM prevails in 'Area 51' lawsuit"
(Redding Record Searchlight, 4/8/09)
"A federal judge said that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management gave the proper 'hard look' to environmental issues and alternative actions before it completed a controversial land swap in 2006 ... the 216-acre parcel known as Area 51 was traded by the BLM for 566 acres in the Trinity River watershed ... There is a 60-day window for the groups that brought the suit to appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... The BLM traded away the parcel because it was difficult to maintain due to the proximity of homes, said Steve Anderson, manager of the BLM's Redding office."

"Community invited to attend herbicide workshop" (Calaveras County Pine Tree, 4/3/09)
"[T]he Highway 108 FireSafe Council is inviting homeowners in the Sonora area, as well as surrounding communities, to spend an interesting morning learning about herbicides as a tool to effectively reduce flammable vegetation and restore fire safe landscaping around homes. The workshop is scheduled to be held Saturday, April 18, 2009, from 9:00 am ... in Sonora." BLM-California helps support fire safe councils statewide.

"Great Falls cleanup day a success" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 4/4/09)
Earlier this year, 30 people joined the BLM to pick up trash, repair damage to hillside terrain and to install two fire rings.

"Creative trio" (Eureka Times-Standard, 4/3/09)
A Eureka art gallery is showing "silver gelatin photographic portraits" by Julie Clark, BLM ranger at Headwaters Forest Reserve.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include law enforcement ranger, contact representative, natural resources specialist, outdoor recreation planners, safety and occupational health manager, fire lookouts, and wildland firefighter positions.

Close-up of Jim FooteEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jim Foote...
...is manager of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. He worked a number of seasonal jobs with the BLM, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, before finally staying west with BLM-California. Read more:

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

April 9 - Public meeting on Engineered Geothermal System

April 15-16 - Management plan revision socioecomic workshops
Bakersfield, Lake Isabella

April 17 - Eastern Sierra wildflower outing
Bishop area

See the calendar online for more upcoming events


"Good government group criticizes agencies' use of internships" (Government Executive, 4/7/09)
"Federal agencies are failing to use internship programs effectively to identify and hire full-time employees, according to a new report from the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service ... Agencies ended up hiring only 6.6 percent of 2007 participants in the two largest paid federal internship programs ... Today, BLM hires 80 percent of SCEP interns. The bureau tracks the return on investment through the program to demonstrate that it is effective..."

"Secretary Salazar names Ned Farquhar deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/7/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named Ned Farquhar, a renewable energy and natural resource policy expert and former senior advisor on energy and the environment to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) The male inflates the sacs to attract female sage grouse during seasonal mating displays.

SOURCE: "Sage Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Males also exhibit two large, frontally directed air sacs of olive-green skin and yellow combs. Both are inflated during breeding display.

Robot female sage grouse on model train trackA researcher builds a sage grouse robotRELATED: "Robot spies on sage grouse"(Billings Gazette, 4/1/09)
A researcher from the University of California at Davis develops a "fembot." The female sage grouse decoy moving on a model railroad track will help get a closer look at the animal's "elaborate courtship displays." For instance, in a group of 60 sage grouse, the male with the best song and dance routine and the best location, mates 43 times. A few other males mate one to seven times. Most of the other males do not mate at all.

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