A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 379 - 4/23/09

Close-up purplish bloom of a blue dicks Close-up of a young adopted horse Mom protestor holds her daughter in a polar bear suit A long-tailed weasel on the Carrizo Plain Kathy Hardy poses outside

- National Landscape Conservation System: King Range, Carrizo Plain
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Our readers write: Bears and bees
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildflowers
- Other recreation on public lands
- Energy and renewable energy
- A new "Gold Rush"
- Headlines and highlights: Earth Day pelicans, protection database, lawsuits, jobs
- Employee Profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: President, Student Conservation Association, Interior nominee

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Small scan of the King Range wilderness posterFREE POSTERS: King Range Wilderness
To the first 200 to request them, we are offering this poster, with a view looking north into the King Range Wilderness from the bluffs above Black Sands Beach. The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act of 2006 designated 42,585 acres of the King Range National Conservation Area as wilderness.

"King Range National Conservation Area - Wilderness"
(BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)
The King Range includes California's largest stretch of unroaded coastline known as the Lost Coast. Visitors come from throughout the nation to hike the 25-mile Lost Coast Trail. This is an area of extremes ... rain can top 200 inches annually, and mountain peaks rise to 4,000 feet, within a few miles of the coastline. The nation's first National Conservation Area will celebrate it's 40th anniversary next year.

Carrizo Plain National Monument signA long-tailed weasel on the Carrizo Plain"Saving the silence" (Santa Barbara Independent, 4/16/09)
"Facing threats from inside and out, the Carrizo Plain National Monument prepares for the future ... Although it remains tranquil, it’s never been a more critical time for determining the future of the Carrizo Plain." An extensive feature story with photos.

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)

"Carrizo Plain National Monument to offer new historic ranch tour" (The Taft Independent, 4/17/09)
A new tour is being offered on the Carrizo Plain National Monument: "The El Saucito Ranch has the distinction of having the oldest standing historic house on the Monument and is the only ranch on the monument to have been occupied from the pioneer period to modern time. Historic sites such as the El Saucito Ranch are special places that tell us a story about the heritage of California." The tour will be offered May 3.


A long-tailed weasel on a rocky ledge
Long-tailed weasel
- Thumbnail from a photo by Alden M. Johnson, California Academy of Sciences

One animal found on the Carrizo Plain National Monument is the long-tailed weasel.
In what way do these animals “live in the lap of luxury?”
(a.) They gather shiny objects to decorate their dens, sometimes including jewelry from residences.
(b.) They eat exotic food like fish eggs they grab from shallow streams – a sort of “caviar.”
(c.) They compete in building huge dens, much larger than they need for shelter.
(d.) Many live in “penthouse suites” - nests high in the dense branches of Carrizo Plain oak trees.
(e.) They live among many furs (not just their own).
(f.) Many people are convinced that weasels absconded with their stock market investments.
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


David Price III, Director, Kern County Resource Management Agency:
"I enjoy reading your articles and the question about the black bear was interesting, especially about them eating bees. I went to the website you displayed and they had no explanation. It may seem like an odd question, but do you know if they eat bees, do they get stung?"

Actually, that's a very good question -- and one your News.bytes editor did not find a definitive answer to with some web research. One writer suggested that black bears live in more or less constant pain from damaged teeth, fights with other bears, and more.

Here is a more complete answer from Amy Fesnock, our BLM-California threatened and endangered species lead:

"You are correct in that wildlife generally lead a more painful life and just 'deal with it.' And yes, black bears do get stung while eating honey (and bees). In order for a bee to sting an animal it has be able to position its stinger correctly -- so you should not assume that a bear eating a hive would be stung by all of the bees, but it does get stung by some. The film footage I have seen of black bears tearing into a hive has them being stung on the nose and lips, with the bear shaking its head and rubbing its paw at its face then continuing to eat and the bees continuing to attack. If the hive is very large and there are hundred of bees attacking, the bear will abandon its quest after a couple of bites of honey."


Courtney Hobson strokes the main of her mustangClose-up of a young adopted horse"Extreme Mustang Makeover" (Victorville Daily Press, 4/16/09)
"The image of the old west cowboy breaking horses by throwing on a saddle and riding the wild bucking bronco into submission has given way to modern horse training that uses patience and relationship building. ... We’re working with their natural instincts, and it’s more about establishing a relationship versus breaking them,' said Courtney Hobson, a horse trainer in Phelan. Hobson is one of 33 specially selected horse trainers who were given a wild mustang by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in mid-February as part of a training competition. They have 90 days to gentle and train the mustang."

LaDonna Smith of the American Mustang Foundation with GTScott Drake and Kit Veerkamp with GT"Georgetown Divide group seeks land for work with wild horses" (Sacramento Bee, 4/17/09)
"A home on the range might be best for the iconic mustang. But a stopover on El Dorado County's Georgetown Divide could make the transition to domestic life easier for wild horses removed from public lands." Jason Williams, BLM compliance specialist, said the proposed center would be a boon for the federal agency."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Free training demonstration offered during Livermore wild horse and burro adoption" (BLM-California news release, 4/20/09)
A northern California horse trainer will offer free tips and advice on gentling wild horses, when the BLM offers 40 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption in Livermore, on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26. Thad Waltman will show techniques useful for animals adopted from the BLM, or for horses already at home. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. on Friday, April 24. BLM is holding the adoption in conjunction with the California State Horseman’s Spring Stampede.

"As wild horses breed, a voice for contraception" (New York Times, 4/20/09)
"Last summer federal officials said they had so many wild horses in captivity ... It costs $27 million a year to care for the animals, according to the Bureau of Land Management ... The real answer, according to Jay F. Kirkpatrick, director of the nonprofit science and conservation center at ZooMontana in Billings, is an immunocontraceptive ... 'What do you with excess dogs and cats? You spay and neuter'."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)


Close-up purplish bloom of a blue dicksClose-up of bright red coast paintbrush"Salinas-area wildflower season a good one" (Salinas Californian, 4/17/09)
"Wildflowers have burst into bloom along the green slopes throughout Monterey County in a profusion that promises greater beauty to come, say those in step with nature's ways. 'Every week, there are more and more wildflowers,' Tammy Jakl said. 'It's a good sign.' Jakl is an interpretive park ranger for the Bureau of Land Management, the BLM. The bureau oversees the rough-cut public lands on the former Fort Ord."

Yellow wildflowers close upTrees frame a field of yellow wildflowers"Wildflowers blooming at higher Desert elevations" (Victorville Daily Press, 4/17/09)
"There’s one way to tell when spring arrives in the desert: Look for the wildflowers. Experts say wildflowers are currently blooming at higher elevations throughout the Mojave Desert and wider areas of California, while lower elevations may have already past their seasonal peak."

"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.

"Wildflower Update – 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.


"A hiker's perspective on Glascock Mountain"
(Woodland Daily Democrat, 4/21/09)
"One of my favorite hikes and locations is Glascock Mountain, in northwestern Yolo County. It is a little over 3,200 acres of Bureau of Land Management-managed public lands. The mountain was legally or physically inaccessible until 2001, when the BLM purchased a parcel further up Highway 16, giving public access to the public lands via the Billy's Hill route." The author imparts advice on hiking the area, and tells of its horse thief history.

"BLM Pit River Campground reopens April 24" (BLM-California news release, 4/23/09)
Just in time for the opening of California’s stream fishing season, the Bureau of Land Management’s Pit River Campground will re-open Friday, April 24.  Fishing season begins Saturday, April 25.

"Fort Sage OHV Area will be closed during weekend races" (BLM-California news release, 4/23/09)
The Fort Sage Off Highway Vehicle Area near Doyle will be closed to public riding and driving Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, during the Cinco de Mayo 100 motorcycle race.

"Point of Crowley Lake Access temporarily closed by BLM to keep out quagga mussels" (BLM-California news release, 4/22/09)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, will close a spur access point in Mono County to Crowley Lake effective Friday, April 24, to prevent watercraft potentially carrying Quagga (zebra) mussels from entering the lake. The closure will be through Oct. 31.

"Save the American River Trail" (American River Conservancy on YubaNet, 4/16/09)
While marking the route for the new South Fork American River Trail, "the American River Conservancy and its partner the BLM ran into a significant and unexpected obstacle. Dead center on the trail corridor ... was a significant population of federally-listed rare plants..." Moving the trail route was a problem. To the south: "very steep and dangerous ground." To the north: private property. The conservancy is now working to "purchase a 40 acre portion of the adjoining 160 acre parcel and reroute the trail outside of rare plant habitat, away from steep canyon terrain and back into gently- sloped oak woodland."


Solar panels on the desert floorA pupfish in a desert pool"Desert clash in West over solar potential, water" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/18/09)
"A westward dash to power electricity-hungry cities by cashing in on the desert's most abundant resource -- sunshine -- is clashing with efforts to protect the tiny pupfish and desert tortoise and stinginess over the region's rarest resource: water.

Mom protestor holds her daughter in a polar bear suit"Critics of offshore drilling pack Calif. hearing" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/16/09)
"Environmentalists dressed as polar bears, sea turtles and jellyfish were among dozens of people who packed a public hearing Thursday to press Interior Secretary Ken Salazar not to open new areas of the West Coast to oil drilling. The public forum ... also drew state and federal lawmakers concerned about the effects any expansion of offshore drilling could have on the region's economy and natural beauty."

RELATED: "Offshore drilling foes protest federal plan" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/17/09)
"A panel of congressional delegates, along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman, coastal county political leaders and citizens told Salazar they didn't want the risk of spills and industrial activity for a short-term supply of crude oil."

"Public attacks proposed 600-mile power line through Northern California" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/14/09)
"Nearly 200 Shasta and Tehama County residents" asked officials "skeptical and sometimes hostile questions about a proposed 600-mile line that would cut through north state forests" from "Lassen County to Santa Clara ... linking the Pacific Northwest to municipal utilities belonging to the Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC), which includes Redding and 14 others..." Parts of the proposed lines would cross lands managed by BLM-California.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Groups must weigh power versus forests" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/19/09)
Editorial: "The agencies proposing to install 600 miles of high-voltage power lines had better be ready for a fight, because residents along the route are ready to give it to them. Most importantly, they should be prepared to explain why it's even necessary that they cut through as much forest as currently envisioned."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"U.S. to clear way for offshore wind farms"(Chicago Tribune, 4/22/09)
"The Interior Department has finalized sweeping rules that clear the way for the first offshore wind turbines to be erected along the Atlantic Coast, the most aggressive move yet from an administration that hopes to shift the nation's offshore energy goals from oil to wind powe ... Developers have also proposed projects in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Pacific Ocean, which boasts some of the nation's strongest offshore wind."

RELATED: "President Obama, Secretary Salazar announce framework for renewable energy development on the U.S. outer continental shelf" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/22/09)
With links to more information.


A gold mining instructor heads away from a stream"Modern gold prospectors see glint of hope in Sierra foothills" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/22/09)
"When construction work dried up in Tennessee, concrete finisher Steve Biorck headed west to the place where fortunes tumble down mountain streams. In California's Sierra Nevada foothills, there's still gold, and a new rush is under way to find it. Not since the Great Depression have so many hard-luck people been lured by the prospect of prospecting. The recession and high gold prices are helping to fuel the latest gold craze, especially among workers who have lost jobs."

"Push to halt gold dredging" (Nevada City Union, 4/22/09)
"California Indian tribes and environmental groups are preparing for a showdown with the state Department of Fish and Game and recreational miners who use suction dredging operations to find gold. The Nevada City-based group Sierra Fund is supporting the Karuk tribe on the Klamath River and in urging Fish and Game to stop issuing suction dredging permits until more scientific study can determine the health impacts of dredging on fish and the people who eat them ... In the Sierra Nevada, mercury left from mining operations 150 years ago remains in a number of reservoirs and rivers ... Suction dredging operations are a regular sight in the Yuba River along Highway 49 in Sierra County."


Children make pelican hats at the BLM tableClose-up of a pelican hat"California Coastal National Monument participates in Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Earth Day Program"
(News.bytes Extra)
Pelican headbands and California Coastal National Monument brochures were the popular items at BLM’s California Coastal National Monument table during the Earth Day Program at City of Los Angeles’ Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro last weekend. About 1,000 people of all ages attended. See more:

"What's protected, what not: New protected areas database for United States' land now available"
(U.S. Geological Survey news release, 4/21/09)
"Getting a picture of the status of conservation efforts in the United States has just been made easier thanks to a just-released database that allows wildlife and conservation professionals to visit a single place to find comprehensive information on protected areas." The BLM was part of a partnership that produced the database.

"Lawyers ask judge to split sweeping grazing suit" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/16/09)
"The federal government is asking a judge to break apart a sweeping lawsuit that accuses federal land managers of putting grazing and energy interests ahead of preserving sage grouse across millions of acres of public land in six western states. The lawsuit, filed last year in U.S. District Court here, challenges 16 separate land use plans developed by the Bureau of Land Management to manage 25 million acres in Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and northern California."

"Winnemem Wintu tribe files lawsuit against feds" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/20/09)
"A north state American Indian tribe filed a lawsuit late Sunday against six federal agencies, saying the agencies have caused destruction or damage to cultural sites in Shasta County ... The suit was filed against the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack."

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

Kathy Hardy poses outsideEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Kathryn Hardy...
...is BLM's manager for the new Central California District. Her first permanent jobs were as an archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service, and she has since managed several different types of programs. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

April 25 - Spring tours - birding
Pine Hill Preserve

April 25 - Cosumnes River Preserve and habitat restoration team events

April 25-26
- Early bird watchers at the Clear Creek Greenway
Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve


President Obama joins Student Conservation Association members"Obama joins students to lend a hand at park" (Associated Press on Google News, 4/21/09)
"President Barack Obama on Tuesday rolled up his sleeves and got his shoes muddy as he, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton planted trees at a national park site along the Anacostia River in northeast Washington ... Obama and Biden were joined by their wives and volunteers from the Student Conservation Association and local public high schools. The association's volunteers annually provide more than 2 million hours of conservation service at sites in all 50 states."

RELATED: "BLM, California State Parks and the Student Conservation Association" (News.bytes Spotlight on Partners, 5/31/06)
BLM-California has a strong partnership with the SCA, whose students work on natural resource projects -- as illustrated in this News.bytes feature from 2006:

"Interior appointee faces major energy and mining questions" (Arizona Range News, 4/15/09)
"On April 7, Ned Farquhar was named deputy assistant secretary of the Land and Minerals Management for the Department of the Interior ... Farquhar will be assisting Secretary Ken Salazar ... in 'providing oversight to the Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The article quotes Farquhar's priorities.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) They live among many furs (not just their own).

SOURCE: "Long-tailed Weasel - Mustela frenata" (BLM California wildlife database)
Long-tailed weasels live in dens, but they rarely construct their own. They typically live in the abandoned dens of squirrels, moles, and gophers. Within the den it constructs a nest lined with the fur from various prey species.

RELATED: "Mustela frenata - long-tailed weasel" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More photos and 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
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

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