A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 380 - 4/29/09

US Marine Corps color guard members stand at attention while awaiting their awards Alaskan dog sled crosses the snow Western rattlesnake coiled up outside Thad Miller interacts with a mustang Tony Shaw, BLM advisory council

- Virtual Visitor: BLM in Alaska
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: Community forest, desert train, jobs, much more
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Grazing regulations, ESA, Office of Youth

This issue of News.bytes is online at:

Moose in an Alaskan swampAlaskan dog sled crosses the snowVIRTUAL VISITOR: Alaska
Welcome again to Virtual Visitor, a recurring feature in News.Bytes and an invitation to learn about what the BLM is doing in other states. In California, there are 15.2 million acres of BLM public lands for you to use, share, and appreciate. This month we visit the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska, where the BLM administers approximately 80 million surface acres of federal public land -- an area larger than the State of New Mexico.

Due to a human error, last week's issue of News.bytes was not sent out from the usual News.bytes email address. This led some recipients' email services to temporarily block receipt. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Western rattlesnake coiled up outside
western rattlesnake

Western rattlesnakes hibernate during the winter. They are active during mild and warm weather (which is now, in many places in California). What do they do during the summer?
(a.) Migrate
(b.) Pronate
(c.) Congregate
(d.) Estivate
(e.) Procreate
(f.) Refrigerate

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


US Marine Corps color guard members stand at attention while awaiting their awardsA adoptible mustang"U.S. Marine Corps receives three palomino mustangs at L.A. Equestrian Center WH&B adoption" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program presented the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard with three Palomino mustangs and honored it with a Proclamation of Appreciation during a formal presentation at the wild horse and burro adoption event at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The proclamation thanked the U.S. Marine Corps for 25 years of service promoting the WH&B program.

Thad Miller interacts with a mustangThree burros await adoption"Bad economy brings down horse ownership" (Contra Cost Times/Inside Bay Area, 4/27/09)
"Jim Sauger adopted two wild horses last weekend, adding to the existing horses, goats, cows, birds, dogs, cats and even a tortoise at his Livermore home ... But officials say fewer people are adopting the wild horses, and many others who already have horses are trying to hand them off."

BLM volunteer Dave Miller presents a mustang to a visitor"Livermore wild horse and burro adoption event" (News.bytes Extra)
Ten horses and six burros were adopted at the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro adoption April 25-26 in Livermore. The adoption was held in conjunction with the California State Horseman’s Spring Stampede.

"Earth Day mustang" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM volunteers Michele and Steve DeCamp let attendees at the Loomis Earth Day event see a mustang up close.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Napa" (BLM-California news release, 4/28/09)
Residents of the Napa Valley and surrounding areas have the opportunity to adopt a wild horse or burro during the Napa Mustang Days celebration, Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16. The BLM will offer 30 mustangs and about 10 wild burros. A preview begins Friday at 2 p.m.  Adoptions begin with an hour of silent bidding at 9 a.m. Saturday, with remaining animals available for a $125 fee after 10 a.m.

"Pickens says horse sanctuary slowed" (Associated Press in Capital Press, 4/23/09)
"Madeleine Pickens says her plan to create a wild horse sanctuary in the West has been slowed but not derailed by the worst economy in a generation and a changing-of-the-guard in Washington, D.C. The wife of Dallas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens said discussions with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management have stalled as the agency awaits appointment of a new director..."


Bicyclists on a trail in Weaverville Community Forest"Could other north state communities follow example of Weaverville Community Forest?"
(Redding Record Searchlight, 4/26/09)
"The best way to reduce fire danger in the woods close to a town is to put the community in control of forest management. That's the theory behind a unique program called the Weaverville Community Forest in Trinity County ... The community forest has garnered national praise, with the U.S. Department of the Interior set to give its founders the Cooperation Conservation Award next month."

"DesertXpress -- Las Vegas to Victorville" (Federal Railroad Administration)
The Federal Railroad Administration, as the federal lead for the environmental review of DesertXpress High-Speed Passenger Train project, is holding hearings this week in Nevada and California. BLM and the National Park Service are cooperating agencies on the Environmental Impact Statement. Comments on the Draft EIS are due to the FRA by May 22, 2009. The hearings are in Barstow today, and Victorville Thursday. Times and locations -- and links to the Draft EIS -- can be found in the document by following the link below.

Artist's sketch of the DesertXpress train crossing the desertRELATED: "Vegas to Calif. high-speed train on the fast track" (KVBC-TV Las Vegas, 4/28/09)
"We may be as little as five years away from having a high-speed train that you can take from Las Vegas to Southern California ... DesertXpress says it's ready to break ground on the high-speed rail train by next year. It would travel at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour between Las Vegas and Victorville, traveling mostly on tracks built next to the I-15 freeway."

"Boosters look for upside of a down economy" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/26/09)
"Short-term, boosters tout Imperial County's flat land, water, energy, housing and labor, all of which comes cheaper here than in other parts of California. Long-term, they pitch it as the place to develop renewable energy plants that would provide the West with solar, wind and geothermal power. This is where the 123-mile Sunrise Powerlink project would originate if it goes ahead, transmitting enough power for 685,000 homes to San Diego County. It's also where Phoenix-based Stirling Energy Systems is seeking state approval to build the world's largest solar energy plant."

"BLM works with partners to seal abandoned mines" (BLM-California news release, 4/21/09)
Two potentially deadly mine shafts in California’s Mojave Desert have been sealed as a result of a new Bureau of Land Management public/private partnership called Fix A Shaft Today! (FAST!). These shafts are among approximately 165,000 mine features on more than 47,000 abandoned mine sites in California, according to the California Department of Conservation Abandoned Mine Lands Unit.

"BLM announces public scoping for abandoned mine lands programmatic environmental assessment"
(BLM-California news release, 4/21/09)
The Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District Office, is giving notice to initiate a public scoping period and conduct public meetings to identify issues and formulate alternatives for a programmatic environmental assessment. It will address remediation of physical safety hazards associated with abandoned mined lands on public lands managed by the BLM. Public meetings will be held on May 27 and May 28.

"Wilderness memorial dedicated to Bill Ingram" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 4/24/09)
"On April 18, 2009, at noon, the Bureau of Land Management, Friends of Jawbone, and the Ingram Family devoted a favorite lunch site in remembrance to an ex-employee, William (Bill) Ingram III, who passed on in 2006, and to his wife, Vicki. This site is found in the Rand Mountains Management Area..."

"Alliance to promote Mother Road" (Needles Desert Star, 4/27/09)
"A proposed Mother Road National Monument project may soon regain positive recognition for Needles. The 'driveable monument' concept is all about preserving a 70-mile section of historic Route 66 between Needles and Barstow in the Mojave Desert." The proposal would also apply to BLM-managed lands in the area.

"BLM gives Moss notice to vacate premises" (Mammoth Times, 4/24/09)
BLM determines that land use plans do not allow for dozens of farm animals to be kept on a parcel for unofficial 4-H programs, but is proceeding slowly so alternate arrangements can be made.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include outdoor recreation planner, business support assistant, wildland firefighter positions and more.

Tony Shaw, BLM advisory councilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Tony Shaw...
...represents the public-at-large on BLM's Northwest California Advisory Council. His work experience has given him an intimate understanding of the functional relationships of government and private industry. Read more:

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

May 2 - Spring tour at Pine Hill Preserve
Cameron Park

May 2 - Native plant identification and uses
Clear Creek

May 2-3 - El Mirage Days Clean Up and Poker Run
El Mirage

May 7 - Geothermal workshop


"Secretary Salazar creates new Office of Youth at Interior" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/28/09)
The new Office of Youth is "to provide Department-wide leadership for programs to educate, engage and employ youth. 'We can and must do more to use our great landscapes as classrooms and as pathways to opportunity for our children,' Secretary Salazar said in announcing the order at an an all-employee meeting..."

"BLM announces clarification of application on livestock regulations" (BLM national news release, 4/24/09)
The Bureau of Land Management is announcing that, for purposes of legal clarification, the agency is applying livestock grazing regulations that were in effect prior to July 12, 2006, when the BLM published a set of grazing regulations that were intended to revise the existing rangeland regulations. Implementation of the 2006 regulations was subsequently enjoined by a ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

"Salazar and Locke to restore scientific consultations under the Endangered Species Act to protect species and their habitats" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/28/09)
"Their decision requires federal agencies to once again consult with federal wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- the two agencies that administer the ESA -- before taking any action that may affect threatened or endangered species."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Estivate (Estivation is a state of lowered metabolism during hot seasons or drought)

SOURCE: "Western rattlesnake - Crotalis viridi" (BLM California wildlife database)
These snakes tend to be nocturnal, but they may be active whenever temperatures are mild to warm. They estivate during the hot weather and hibernate during the cold weather. During these times they seek shelter in rock crevices, under logs and bushes, or in abandoned mammal burrows.

RELATED: "Rattler's reputation takes a toxic turn for the worse" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/20/09)
Warmer weather brings out rattlesnakes -- and reports that they may be biting more people, and with a stronger venom. "That's bad news for potential bite victims and arguably worse news for rattlesnakes, but some herpetologists and snake experts question whether the phenomenon is real ... San Diego County is home to four species of rattlesnake: the speckled, the red diamond, the sidewinder and the southern Pacific, which is a subspecies of the western rattlesnake and the most abundant rattler in the region."

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