A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 378 - 4/15/09

A black bear saunters in the snow Orange layers of poppies line a trail along the Merced River A student watches grunion hatch  A bighorn sheep stand atop a peak Close-up of Sean Curtis

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news: Bighorn sheep, Li'l Smokey, sage grouse
- Energy and alternative energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Alabama Hills
- Wildflowers
- OHV recreation
- Headlines and highlights: Desert OHV tour, coastal kiosk, jobs, more
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Stimulus water, Public Land Service Corps Act

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


A black bear saunters in the snow
Thumbnail from a photo by Tom Brakefield, California Academy of Sciences

Two of the following statements about black bears are true. Which two?
(a.) Most black bears are timid and will not fight unless threatened
(b.) They mostly hunt during the day, and retreat to secluded areas to sleep at night
(c.) They eat bees
(d.) Leaving food out for them helps them survive
(e.) They most commonly hibernate in caves
(f.) The Black Bear Fund receives a royalty payment on each sale of Gummi bears
-- but only for the licorice ones
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


A bighorn sheep stand atop a peak"Bighorn sheep's protected habitat to shrink 55%" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/14/09)
"The rebounding but still endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep will lose 55 percent of its federally protected habitat, a development that will likely trigger a lawsuit from environmentalists. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials will announce their downsizing strategy for the iconic animal today." Much of the peninsular bighorn's sheep is on BLM-managed lands.

RELATED: "Plan to trim sheep habitat draws fire" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/14/09)
"Conservation groups blasted a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal that more than halves the amount of protected habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep from 2001 levels.
The new proposal abandons protections for migration corridors, steep slopes, intervening alluvial terraces and canyon bottoms -- all critical for the bighorn's survival and recovery," conservation groups said.

RELATED: "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revises critical habitat for peninsular bighorn sheep" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service news release, 4/14/09)
"Approximately 376,938 acres of habitat in portions of Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial counties, California are included in the revised final designation. This is a reduction of approximately 467,959 acres from the original 2001 critical habitat designation."

"Li'l Smokey awake and apparently well" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/10/09)
Update on a bear cub whose story has previously been reported in News.bytes: "An American black bear who was returned into the wild in early February after being rescued last summer from a smoldering north state forest, Li'l Smokey has awakened from his hibernation slumber." Li'l Smokey was discovered on BLM-managed lands.

"Suit says grazing, drilling rules threaten bird" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/12/09)
"Conservationists say federal rules that allow livestock grazing and oil and gas development across 25 million acres of public land in the West are illegal because they fail to acknowledge the harm being done to sage grouse. A lawsuit recently filed in federal court accuses the Bureau of Land Management of violating two major environmental laws and its own regulations by allowing commercial activities to continue on those lands in California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah."


"New chapter in offshore oil debate on North Coast" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 4/12/09)
"The three-decade war over oil drilling on the North Coast is shifting to a more measured consideration of wind and wave power generators along the rugged and scenic seascape." A 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara led to a ban on oil drilling on the California coast, a ban lifted last year. "Gas prices above $4 a gallon drove that decision ... Now fears of global warming are driving a national re-examination of how best to tap the energy potential along the nation’s coasts. Those perspectives will collide Thursday at a public meeting in San Francisco called by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar..."

RELATED: "Hearing puts spotlight on offshore drilling" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/15/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be in San Francisco on Thursday to hear what the nation's biggest energy companies and the public think of the federal government's plan to open up California's pristine coastal waters to oil drilling for the first time in more than 20 years."

"My View: Solar development and deserts can – and must – coexist" (Sacramento Bee, 4/13/09)
OpEd by Shannon Eddy, executive director of the Large-Scale Solar Association, a nonpartisan solar advocacy group: "The Mojave Desert is a vital resource to California and the nation. Its 25 million acres embrace important desert ecosystems, historic, scenic vistas and diverse recreation areas. This vast area also contains one of the world's premier solar energy resources ... If managed wisely, development of environmentally responsible solar projects in California's deserts can both serve as a model for sustainable growth, and provide future generations with clean energy, jobs and a protected wilderness environment."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Our opinion: Keep the fine money local" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/11/09)
Editorial: "We believe it is better than nothing, but a new bill proposed by Assemblyman Manuel Perez still does not go far enough. The bill would require companies to pay fines if they import power from Mexico -- which would happen mostly on the new Sunrise Powerlink, also known as Green Path. Let us point out the obvious: Brown power from Mexico is anything but green, or renewable and clean."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Marine power not ready for prime time, experts say" (Greenwire at New York Times, 4/14/09)
"Technology for tapping ocean waves, tides and rivers for electricity is far from commercial viability and lagging well behind wind, solar and other fledgling power sectors, a panel of experts said last week..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Courts will overturn Sunrise Powerlink approval, consumer attorney predicts to crowd of 600 protestors in Alpine" (East County Magazine, 4/8/09)
"The project could also be stopped by any one of three federal agencies: the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, or the Fish & Game Department."


"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)
This weekend: 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 and potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, the BLM will present the U.S. Marine Corps 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.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Livermore" (BLM-California news release, 4/2/09)
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.

"Wild horses & burros" (BLM-California website)
Links to more information, including the two California corrals where horses can be adopted by appointment.

"Wild horse & burro requirements" (BLM national website)
Requirements to adopt a wild horse or burro from the BLM.


"Alabama Hills stewardship public meeting announced" (BLM-California news release, 4/8/09)
The community of Lone Pine and the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will hold a short public meeting April 23 in Lone Pine regarding management of the Alabama Hills. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss stewardship actions completed to date and to discuss future actions proposed for the management of the hills.

Student volunteers work on the ground below the Alabama HillsYellow flowers blanket the ground, with the snow-capped Inyo Mountains in the background"Volunteers, visitors take to the Alabama Hills" (News.bytes Extra)
On March 28, a group of 15 Boy Scouts showed up for volunteer work in the Alabama Hills. The busy Saturday also saw many visitors to the Alabama Hills, a nice display of wildflowers, and a film crew building an outdoor set.


A desert star in bloom"Wildflower show now playing in Death Valley"
(Inyo Register, 4/8/09)
"Spring has arrived in the Owens Valley ... with wildflowers already beginning to blanket areas of the Volcanic Tablelands north of Bishop ... Maybe it’s the contrast between the bright hues of the blooms and foliage against a backdrop of the seeming wasteland of the desert that makes the valley so attractive." A Death Valley National Park spokesperson "suggested that to get the best view, people venture outside their cars and get out amongst the predominate Desert Gold, and look closely at the desert playa to find the other flowers, stunted but still alive." And check national park and BLM websites for "selected hikes and maps of wildflower viewing hotspots."

RELATED: "Wildflower Update – Mid-March through end of April 2009" (BLM-California, Bishop Field Office)
Key spots to check out are the Alabama Hills and the southern alluvial fans of the Sierra Nevada. Includes photos of some of the distinctive wildflowers you may see, and information on wildflower hotspots in the area.

Orange layers of poppies line a trail along the Merced RiverOrange poppies blanket sections of hillside along the Merced River"Merced River Canyon and Hite's Cove poppies 2009" (Sierra Sun Times, 4/8/09)
A recent photo slide show including Merced River Canyon. The Merced River Recreation Area, managed by BLM-California's Folsom Field Office, has reopened after damage from last year's Telegraph Fire, but a road in the area remains closed.

RELATED: "Merced Wild and Scenic River" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)

"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.


"Off-roaders revved up over opening of OHV park" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/9/09)
"Shasta County dirt bike enthusiasts have reason to celebrate this weekend. For the first time since wildfire forced its closure last summer, most of the popular Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Shasta Dam will reopen Saturday ... Officials from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service urge riders and drivers to use caution, stay on roads and trails, and avoid driving on fire lines or closed routes. Areas remaining closed will be posted."

RELATED: "Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM-California, Redding Field Office)

A rider on a two-wheeler ATV passes a vendor's stand in the Imperial Sand Dunes"Vendor: Slow dunes weekend" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/12/09)
Businesses that cater Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area visitors say business was down half or more, compared to Easter weekend last year. “We are considered part of the entertainment industry and entertainment is the first one cut when the economy gets tight,” said one.

"Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)


Off-roaders tackle a rocky passage"BLM desert advisory members visit Johnson Valley, take OHV tour" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM’s California Desert District Advisory Council (DAC) meeting last month began at the BLM’s Barstow Field Office, with DAC members meeting BLM field office staff. Then DAC members boarded a Discovery Trails Bus for a 69-mile trek across the desert to Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area. A large group of Off-Road driving experts then provided the assembled members, BLM staff and interested members of the public with an up close and personal look at a terrain feature rock crawlers affectionately call the "Hammers."

A student watches grunion hatch"California Coastal National Monument kiosk placed at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium" (News.bytes Extra)
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium now has a permanent California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) exhibit.  In late March, representatives from BLM’s California Desert District, the Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office, and monument manager, Rick Hanks, presented the aquarium with the three-sided CCNM kiosk.

"Fundraising effort to purchase Mt. Konocti ramps up" (Lake County News, 4/12/09)
"Lake County now has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire 1,520 acres, putting much of the mountain top into public hands for perpetuity. The ultimate goal – to link the County and Bureau of Land Management-owned land with Clear Lake State Park, making it possible to develop access from Clear Lake to the top of Mt. Konocti. Public donations through September will benefit the acquisition and allow the future purchase of additional properties."

"BLM cautions public regarding border violence" (BLM-California news release, 4/9/09)
The international border with Mexico is becoming of increasing concern due to an increase in dangerous illegal activities and an escalating trend in border violence, including the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. The BLM El Centro Field Office advises: Visitors to BLM public lands along the California-Mexico border need to be aware of activities around them. Note the safety tips in this news release:

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)

Close-up of Sean CurtisMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Sean Rhodes Curtis...
...is a member of BLM's Northeast California Advisory Council. He is the resource analyst for Modoc County, advising the board of supervisors on natural resource issues. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

April 16 - Management plan revision socioeconomic workshop
Lake Isabella

April 17 - Eastern Sierra wildflower outing
Bishop area

April 18 - Public meeting, Central California Resource Advisory Council Off-Highway Vehicle Subcommittee

See the calendar online for more upcoming events


"Interior Secretary announces drought aid for Calif"
(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/15/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pledged $260 million in federal stimulus money Wednesday to help California address its water shortages and aging infrastructure. The money is part of the $1 billion announced by the Bureau of Reclamation for water projects intended to create jobs across the West."

"Congressional testimony: H.R. 1612, the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009" (BLM national news, 4/2/09)
Statement of Will Shafroth, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior. The bill "would amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to expand the authorization of the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce to provide service-learning opportunities on public lands, help restore the Nation’s natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources, train a new generation of public land managers and enthusiasts, and promote the value of public service."
Note: Click on the link to open the PDF file containing the testimony (107 kilobytes, 10 pages).

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) Most black bears are timid and will not fight unless threatened
(c.) They eat bees

SOURCE: "Black Bear - Ursus americanus" (BLM California wildlife database)

"Ursus americanus - American black bear" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More photos and more information, at this "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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