A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 382 - 5/13/09

Man holds up huge dead sturgeon Close up of Mo the mustang A dog shows how he won the kissing contest John Steward waves his new cowboy hat as Interior Secretary Salazar visits the show Portrait photo of Suzanne Noble

- Wild horses and burros: Mustang Days, Mustang Challenge, adoption events, award winner
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfire season
- Recreation and issues
- Alternative energy
- Headlines and highlights: Community Forest award, more
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Secretary Salazar on "The Daily Show"

This issue of News.bytes is online at:


Mike Kerson on his mustang"Napa Mustang Days allows locals to adopt horses and burros" (Napa Valley Register, 5/12/09)
"Mike and Nancy Kerson are the proud owners of a piece of the old West. They describe it as unbelievable, a respectful experience and a chance to have a piece of Americana ... The Kersons, of Napa, are the owners of four wild mustangs, two burros, a donkey and a mule that they adopted through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ... Napa County residents will have an opportunity to participate in the adoption program on May 15-16 during Napa Mustang Days, which are being held in conjunction with the Napa Valley Horseman’s Association 70th anniversary."

RELATED: "Free horse training demonstrations, clinics scheduled for Napa" (BLM-California news release, 4/28/09)
Napa Valley area horse enthusiasts can brush up their horse training skills at free gentling demonstrations and clinics to be held Saturday, May 16, as part of the Napa Mustang Days celebration. Highlight of the celebration will be the opportunity to adopt a mustang or wild burro from a group of 40 animals, (30 horses and 10 burros) offered by the Bureau of Land Management. Seven horses have been halter trained.

"Mustangs, trainers challenge equine stereotypes; Competitive-bid auction follows trail challenge" (BLM-California news release, 5/5/09)
In the Norco Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge this week, 27 trainers will test skills in a competition through downtown Norco and nearby foothills as they cross streams and encounter obstacles. The Rural Trail Challenge is Friday, May 15; the Urban Trail Challenge is on Saturday. Both competitions are free to the public. -- In a typical BLM wild horse and burro adoption, mustangs have yet to be trained or gentled. However, through competitive bid at noon on Sunday May 17, adopters will take home 29 formerly wild horses who have been trained by 27 of the West Coast's best horsemen and women.

Close up of Mo the mustang"BLM 'staffer' heads to a new career" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM adjunct staffer Mo is about to begin his third career. After an illustrious career with the BLM, Mo has chosen the field of entertainment as his next endeavor.  He is accepting a permanent posting at the San Diego Zoo...

Lauren West and her mustang"Adopter molds a champion" (News.bytes Extra)
When Lauren West adopted a 2-year-old mustang, she never imagined it would take her to a state gymkhana championship.She adopted Dixie Running Star 14 years ago at an adoption in Vallejo, her first mustang.

"North state horses are victims of economy" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/11/09)
A northern California horseshoer says the slumping economy with its layoffs and home foreclosures, coupled with higher feed and boarding costs, is forcing some horse owners to sell their animals - even offering to give them away on Craigslist."

"Proposed wild horse holding facilities criticized" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/10/09)
"Federal land managers have announced plans for two more long-term holding facilities for wild horses, a move criticized by animal advocates who say it will leave more mustangs in permanent captivity than on the range. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for the facilities that would together hold up to 6,000 mustangs because existing ones are full..."


A close-up of a white sturgeon
white sturgeon, from a photo by California Dept. of Fish and Game

Which two of the following words might be correctly used to describe the white sturgeon?
(a.) Diminutive
(b.) Combative
(c.) Hyperactive
(d.) Aggressive
(e.) Acquisitive
(f.) Primitive
(g.) Massive
(h.) Expletive

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


A firefighter checks the clearance around a home"So Cal fire ignites need to protect Auburn homes" (Auburn Journal, 5/12/09)
"Just as weather conditions are making it difficult for firefighters fighting a blaze in Santa Barbara, the Auburn area has the potential for the same type of problem ... homeowners are being asked to clear defensible space around their homes and set up an evacuation plan ... Debra Hein, interagency fire-mitigation specialist for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, said, 'there are a lot of myths' about what defensible space looks like."

RELATED: "Take responsibility..."
"Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space!"

Take Responsibility --- will your home survive a wildfire"Community Wildfire Protection Plan Guidance" (California Fire Alliance)
How to create a plan for your community -- to reduce the risk of wildfires. Links to many resources.

Firefighter holds tree needles that pose a fire hazard"Easier to place blame than to move your woodpile" (Tehachapi News, 5/11/09)
"The destructive wildfire raging throughout last week in Santa Barbara illustrated the lessons the Greater Tehachapi Firesafe Council has been working hard to bring to the public. The message is simple: Homeowners can protect their rural homes against wildfires with some analysis, planning and weekend labor ... Homeowners, the experts said, need to take responsibility for the safety of their homes." BLM-California helps sponsor fire-safe councils around the state.

"BLM announces fire restrictions for lands managed by Hollister Field Office" (BLM-California news release, 5/11/09)
No vehicles, campfires or open flames will be allowed on BLM lands in the Panoche, Griswold, Tumey and Ciervo Hills, effective 15 May, 2009. Restrictions are needed due to dry fuels and fire danger throughout central California.

"BLM announces fire restrictions along the Colorado River" (BLM-California news release, 5/13/09)
These lands include portions of Imperial and Riverside counties in California, as well as portions of Yuma and La Paz counties in Arizona. The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices is prohibited, as is the welding or use of any torch or metal-cutting implement.

"Dedication planned at BLM fire station in Taft" (BLM-California news release, 5/13/09)
The Bureau of Land Management's Midway fire crew will begin operating this year from the crew's new quarters in Taft. The public is invited to help dedicate the fire station this Friday, May 15.

A worker takes a chainsaw to a burned tree"Forest debates rage on after a fire" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/10/09)
"While wildfire can drastically change the look of a forest, the debates over how to manage it afterward are just as heated as those that preceded the flames. At issue is salvage logging, thinning and replanting. Salvage logging and replanting efforts on federal land often draw the same legal challenges from environmental groups as do timber sales and thinning projects."


A dog tows a girl on a scootA dog shows how he won the kissing contest"Dogs, humans show off at annual Fort Ord festivities" (Monterey Herald, 5/10/09)
"Saturday's tail-wagging contest at 'Dog Day at Fort Ord' was won by an enthusiastic little guy named Ivan -- mostly dachshund, probably with a little corgi in there somewhere -- who swept away the competition with a zippy little appendage that waved to and fro so emphatically that most of the other dogs could only stand and admire."

RELATED: "Fort Ord Public Lands" (BLM-California, Hollister Field Office)

"A different world in the foothills" (Sacramento Bee, 5/7/09)
"Beyond the rare flora, the blue oak foothills and chaparral of Pine Hill Preserve offer the sounds of 100 bird species at one time or another during the year. You might also hear a coyote, spot signs of a gray fox or even – as a couple of people have learned to their surprise over the past year -- come quite a bit closer than you expected to a mother black bear and her cub."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

Three ATV riders at come down a dune"No increased fee at Dunes ... yet" (Yuma Sun, 5/11/09)
"Off-roaders won't have to pay higher permit fees when they visit the Imperial Sand Dunes this season, at least for now. According to David Briery of the Bureau of Land Management California Public Affairs office, the agency has withdrawn a proposal to increase the permit fees at the Dunes until the general public can comment on it."

RELATED: "BLM delays proposed fee increase for Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM-California news release, 5/7/09)

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)

Man throwing food to rainbow trout in the hatchery at Conway Ranch"Conway Ranch opens to the public" (Mammoth Times, 5/7/09)
Conway Ranch is now open to the public. It is a 1,037-acre parcel of land and water ... One hundred sixty acres of the ranch is located on the west side of U.S. 395 ... The remaining acres are on the east side of U.S. 395, 220 acres of which is owned by the Bureau of Land Management." The Conway Ranch Foundation plans to offer tours, interpretive programs and fishing in its eastern Sierra location.

"Helicopter and 4-wheel drive tours coming to Taft back country" (The Taft Independent, 5/8/09)
"Local businessman Ryan Van Trees plans to launch back country tours of West Kern County with some advice from Taft resident Darrell Melton. The tours would take in such sites as the Temblor Range, San Andreas Fault and the Carrizo Plain National Monument."

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


"Consensus elusive on proposed desert solar projects" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/11/09)
"Members of Congress who came to this desert community Monday to build consensus on solar energy development found they had a ways to go ... Dozens of companies have submitted applications to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for solar projects on nearly 600,000 acres in the California desert. Some environmental groups worry that the developments will harm endangered wildlife and disrupt desert vistas."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Field hearing, "Solar energy development on federal lands: The road to consensus"
Statement of Jim Abbott, BLM-California Acting State Director, before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Note: Click on the link at the following web page, to open a PDF file with the testimony.

RELATED: "Panel reviews solar options" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/12/09)
"Witnesses in a congressional subcommittee hearing Monday said multi-agency cooperation is needed to strike a balance between developing solar energy and environmental preservation ... While the panelists [including BLM representatives] agree more renewable energy is needed, how efficiently it can happen and at what environmental cost remains to be seen."

"Red tape barrier to projects" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/8/09)
"Coordinating state and local and federal governments will be key in reducing many of the roadblocks facing renewable energy development, panelists said on the final day of the Imperial Valley’s Renewable Energy Summit."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"State begins review of solar project east of Barstow" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/8/09)
"The California Energy Commission is beginning to review a large-scale solar project proposed for construction in the desert east of Barstow. The Stirling Energy Systems Solar One project, if completed, would generate a projected 850 megawatts of electricity to power about 600,000 homes per year in Southern California at peak hours, through about 34,000 solar dishes ... The California Energy Commission and Bureau of Land Management will work together on separate portions of the review process."

"Prominent power lines dim green enthusiasm for some" (Sacramento Bee, 5/11/09)
The "TANC" project "envisions stringing 600 miles of new lines from northeast California to Sacramento and the Bay Area." It "could help bring online new, renewable sources of power such as wind, solar and geothermal. But it negatively impacts residents, wildlife and ecosystems beneath long, wide power line corridors ... State energy officials identified Lassen County as the best site in Northern California for wind, solar and geothermal energy generation. The renewable-power plants don't exist yet, but officials are confident ... private industry will follow." But "opposition is spreading."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Sunrise plan hinges on forest impact" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/9/09)
"San Diego Gas & Electric planners are figuring where they want to place the towers for the Sunrise Powerlink. But ... SDG&E does not yet have permission to build it across the Cleveland National Forest ... Some 74 towers are planned on 19 miles across forest land. New roads will have to be cut and helicopter landing areas cleared. A key factor will be whether the 10,000-page environmental impact report and study commissioned by the Bureau of Land Management will suffice, or whether a new report is necessary."

RELATED: "Our Opinion: Ready for renewable energy action" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/9/09)
Editorial: "We realize there are all kinds of alternative energy projects that in one shape or another are in some stage of development, from conception to the environmental study process. But these are projects on paper. The reality is all these projects are moot without the Sunrise Powerlink, a San Diego Gas & Electric project that has stirred up much controversy but finally looks to be on track."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)


"Secretary Salazar announces Department of the Interior economic stimulus projects in California" (Department of the Interior news release, 5/12/09)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the Department of the Interior’s projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Across its Bureaus, the Department will invest $401.2 million in California. BLM-California funding of $36.3 million, includes construction to install photovoltaics at 17 BLM facilities and a critical health and safety radio tower and maintenance on trails.

"Secretary Salazar presents the Weaverville Community Forest Stewardship Project with Partners in Conservation Award" (Department of the Interior news release, 5/7/09)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today presented a Partners in Conservation Award to the Weaverville Community Forest Stewardship Project for their work in the town of Weaverville and on more than 1,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management public lands in northern California. The national awards are presented in Washington, D.C., to “those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others.”

"Is train wreck ahead in high-speed transportation battle?" (Las Vegas Sun, 5/11/09)
About 100 people attended a Federal Railroad Administration public hearing on a DesertXpress proposal for "an electric or diesel-electric train capable of traveling 150 mph between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas." Some asked if people would really drive to Victorville for a train ride to Las Vegas, "where they would have no vehicle." A competing magnetic levitation train would go all the way to Anaheim -- but at much greater cost.

"Marijuana garden found near Hopland" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/12/09)
"Mendocino County drug officers found a large marijuana garden growing on government land in the Hopland area and a large amount of garbage and environmental damage to the area ... 14,740 seedling marijuana plants were growing in the garden, found on Bureau of Land Management land in the Sheldon Creek area."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include administrative technicians, GIS specialist and wildland firefighters.

Portrait photo of Suzanne NobleMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Suzanne Noble...
...represents energy and mineral interests on BLM's Central California Advisory Council. She brings vast experience in public policy, environmental, regulatory and legislative issues related to the oil and gas industry. Read more:

See events and more details online at:


John Steward waves his new cowboy hat as Interior Secretary Salazar visits the showSecretary Salazar on "The Daily Show":
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar made an appearance on the Daily Show last week. The video is online at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(f.) Primitive
(g.) Massive
(Half a point for "(h.) Expletive" -- as many people may utter an expression of surprise if seeing one of these fish unexpectedly.

SOURCE: "White Sturgeon - Acipenser transmontanus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Sturgeons are an ancient family of fishes whose primitive features allow us to take a peek at the past. These fishes have a cartilaginous, rather than bony, skeleton ... large bony plates instead of scales ... and a forked tail with the top half extending farther than the bottom half. The white sturgeon can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh more than 1000 pounds.

Man holds up huge dead sturgeon"Huge sturgeon surfaces at Lake Shasta" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/7/09)
At Lake Shasta for bass fishing tournament, a six-foot, 200-pound man comes across a dead sturgeon "easily bigger than he was." Sturgeon have lived in the lake since before Shasta Dam was built. But they "have been unable to spawn in the lake since the mid-1960s when powerhouses erected on the Pit River cut them off from their spawning grounds ... thankfully for Lake Shasta's swimmers, sturgeon don't share the predatory reputation of their shark cousins."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"California outdoors Q&A" (California Department of Fish and Game)
Do not remove live sturgeon from the water for photographs -- for the safety of the fish and to avoid a citation. "Handling these behemoths with care is essential; they are the broodstock building future generations of these incredible fish for tomorrow’s anglers."

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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