A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 384 - 5/28/09

California tiger salamander, black with light spots e Clampus Vitus members in red shirts pose next to new historical monument Wind power turbines stretch across a farm field A boy works a saw under supervision of a BLM employee Ja Allen rides mustang Faith on a grassy hillside


- Wildfires and prevention
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - BLM hosts student field trips
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: New historical monument, significant meetings, jobs, more
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


"Federal money will go toward BLM thinning projects" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/22/09)
"Federal economic stimulus funds headed to the north state to lower fire danger could create thinning projects that would fuel wood-burning power plants. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that $15 million will be spent on 55 projects in various states aimed at reducing the amount of brush and small trees on land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. About $250,000 of that amount will be spent on five projects planned by the BLM's Redding field office..."

Cartoon sketch of intact house next to burned houseFUNNY.BYTES ENCORE: The ant and the grasshopper
Funny.bytes graphicSee how personal choices make a difference in which house survives a wildfire in the "wildland/urban" interface -- and which does not. Inspired by true stories!
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues. Warning: soundtrack -- you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.

Defensible space sketch shows clearance around home"California Fire Alliance"
An interagency site including BLM-California, to help homeowners protect themselves from wildfire. Includes link to "Take Responsibility" information -- can your home survive a wildfire? "Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space!"

"Policymakers need to find new solutions to wildfire risk" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/24/09)
Editorial: "The extremes on both sides must be abandoned. Talk of hauling big trees out of deep wilderness will stop productive conversation; so will knee-jerk protectionism for every last tree in the forests around communities. Biomass power generation, turning fire-prone brush and debris into electrical power, should be expanded. Community leaders should copy the example of places like Weaverville, where the community has taken control of surrounding forest land and better managed it."

A fireman works on his equipment"Preparing for wildfires: Firefighting crews train together in AG" (Nipomo Adobe Press, 5/26/09)
With what could be one of California’s most dangerous fire seasons looming, more than 100 San Luis Obispo County firefighters converged on Arroyo Grande last Friday to hone their wildland firefighting skills" at "the annual Wildland Urban Interface Training that also will help various jurisdictions work together if the need arises."

Flames light up parts of hillside as darkness approaches"450 acres burn near historic gold mine"
(Hi-Desert Star, 5/27/09)
Firefighters contained a fire in Joshua Tree National Park after two days, evacuating 12 hikers in the process. No one was hurt in the fire, that involved personnel and equipment from several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management.


California tiger salamander, black with light spots
thumbnail from a photo by Joyce Gross
California tiger salamanders ______ in order to migrate to breeding sites.
(a.) store up energy by gorging on food over a period of days
(b.) fast for several days, to increase their mobility
(c.) become active during the first hot days of the year
(d.) come out from their underground burrows at night
(e.) download the latest updates to their tiny little GPS units

------> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue


Woman leads large group of childrenYoung students line up while one pets a horse"Northeast California school children greet spring with BLM field trips" (News.bytes Extra)
The long, cold winter is over, and a glorious northeast California spring has children anxious to get outside. The BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office is happy to oblige, and for the past few weeks has been conducting public land field trips for area schools. Different groups have learned first-hand about petroglyphs, wildlife, plants, and wild horses and burros.

A boy works a saw under supervision of a BLM employee"Trails Day Event involves 100 school children" (News.bytes Extra)
About 100 elementary school children learned about their environment and worked on a community service project during the annual Trails Days event at the BLM Upper Ridge Nature Preserve in Butte County during mid May. The event provides fifth graders with training in fire prevention and fire protection and offers them hands-on environmental education and nature study. The students work on maintenance projects and help cut firewood that is provided yearly to families in need.


"Draft Resources bill overhauls agency's leasing, royalties, ethics rules" (Greenwire in New York Times, 5/27/09)
"All federal energy and mineral leasing programs would be consolidated within one bureau in [the Department of the] Interior that would handle lease sales, inspection, enforcement and revenue collection. Specifically, the energy portions of the Minerals Management Service and the Bureau of Land Management -- including oil and gas, wind, wave and solar programs -- would be combined into one new agency called the 'Office of Federal Energy and Minerals Leasing'."

Wind power turbines stretch across a farm fieldHands hold flammable pellets made from garbage"With billions at stake, trying to expand the meaning of 'renewable energy'" (New York Times, 5/24/09)
"The definition of renewable energy seems clear cut: The sun continues to shine, so solar energy is renewable. The wind continues to blow, so wind turbines churn out renewable power. But industries are now pushing to have a growing number of other technologies categorized as renewable -- or at least as environmentally advantageous. They include nuclear power plants and the burning of garbage and even the waste from coal mines."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Chase for wind power turns to Oregon's public lands" (Portland Oregonian, 5/23/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued an order in March making renewable energy development one of his department's top priorities, putting pressure on employees at the ground level to expedite permits for potential wind farms. Nationwide, the BLM has already given the green light to 28 wind projects, mostly in California ... Critics of the push for public lands wind projects argue the government should complete a full review of where they are appropriate and not, and then steer development toward sites with less potential for conflict." Several of the issues cited extend across state lines.


Ja Allen rides mustang Faith on a grassy hillsideJa Allen and mustang in front of a red barn"Wild mustang finds trainer, friend" (Fresno Bee, 5/27/09)
"Cowboys and mustangs. Contrary to popular belief, neither has completely vanished into tumbleweed legend ... This is a story about what happens when mustang and cowboy unexpectedly come together." Ja Allen first met his mustang, Faith when he received her to train in the Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge. Much more than domestic horses, he says, "you make friends with them, and you're their buddy." Includes photos, plus video.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Local star - Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge" (The Examiner, 5/25/09)
"Ima Your Horse and trainer Sue Watkins of Lincoln, California are competing in the Extreme Mustang Challenge during the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, California on June 12-14 ... In this national training competition, each trainer is given a wild mustang and for 100 days, they work with each animal to gentle and train them." Includes links to the trainer's blog and YouTube video.

RELATED: "Extreme Mustang Makeover"
(Western States Horse Expo)
The Extreme Mustang Makeover returns to the Western States Horse Expo, June 12-14 in Sacramento.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Salinas" (BLM-California news release, 5/22/09)
Residents of the Salinas area will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Salinas Rodeo Grounds, Main Street and Laurel Drive, Salinas, on Saturday June 20. The BLM will offer about 30 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about noon on Friday, June 19.

"Co-winner declared in Norco mustang competition" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/22/09)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is changing how it checks out wild horses provided for adoptions and competitions ... in the future, mustangs' brands will be checked in the computer system to make sure they haven't been adopted and returned. Officials also will not supply for competition any mares that could be pregnant, after seven mares from a mixed group of 24 horses turned out to be carrying foals."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Test your knowledge" (BLM-California)
BLM-California's home page has a quiz on wild horses and burros in California. Find it here:


e Clampus Vitus members in red shirts pose next to new historical monumente Clampus Vitus initiates in blue shirts pick up desert trash"Group dedicates historical monument to 36th Evacuation Hospital at Desert Training Center" (News.bytes Extra)
Early this month, the Ancient and Honorable Order of E. Clampus Vitus, Billy Holcomb Chapter 109, descended upon the small town of Desert Center, California for their annual Spring Clampout event. The group installed and dedicated a concrete monument and brass plaque commemorating the site of the 36th Evacuation Hospital for the Desert Training Center. This group has also worked with the BLM to place markers at many other historical sites.

RELATED: "World War II Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area"(BLM-California, Needles Field Office)
In the earliest days of World War II, the War Department realized the necessity for troops well trained under harsh conditions to withstand the rigors of battle over rough terrain and in inhospitable climates. This simulated theater of operation in the California desert was the largest military training ground in the history of military maneuvers. Now the Bureau of Land Management, charged with managing the public lands on which the camps lie, is engaged in an effort to protect and interpret them.

"Open house, special events to celebrate Headwaters anniversary" (BLM-California news release, 5/19/09)
An open house at the Headwaters Forest Reserve will be held this Saturday, May 30, at the new Headwaters Education Center, kicking off a series of summer events celebrating the 10th anniversary of the reserve's establishment.

"National experimental stewardship meeting set for Cedarville, June 15-18" (BLM-California news release, 5/26/09)
This is a national meeting of the Experimental Stewardship Program, which focuses on improving public rangeland management. The Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee is hosting. The theme for the meeting is "Partnering for Restoration, Conservation and Production."  It is open to anyone interested in rangeland conservation and the program’s collaborative, inclusive approach.

"BLM announces meeting on proposed plan for Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California news release, 5/20/09)
The Bureau of Land Management will hold a public meeting June 12 to discuss a Proposed Resource Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The monument includes about 206,000 acres of public lands in San Luis Obispo and Kern counties.

"Eradicated: 2008 marijuana plant numbers"(The Willits News, 5/27/09)
"The Mendocino County Sheriff's Department eradicated more than 401,000 marijuana plants in 2008. Most large county seizures involve multiple local agencies and frequently state, federal and resources from other counties as well." More than 80,000 plants were found on BLM-managed lands in Mendocino County, along with 21 firearms at one site.

"DesertXpress execs say they can start building high-speed train to Vegas in 2010" (San Bernardino County Sun, 5/24/09)
"The DesertXpress idea is based on the assumption that Vegas-bound Southern Californians would be willing to pay to park their cars Victorville and forego the time and potential frustrations of freeway travel. The company says it can build the route with private funding. The proposed high speed rail route is separate from the proposal to establish a Maglev route from Las Vegas to Anaheim." Much of the proposed route would cross BLM-managed lands.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Check the latest listings online.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

May 28 - Public scoping meeting for abandoned mine lands
Yucca Valley

May 30 - Summer interpretive hike: "Seaweed"
King Range National Conservation Area

May 30 - Butterfly bonanza
Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve

May 30 - Spring tour, Pine Hill Preserve
Cameron Park

June 12-14 - Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) come out from their underground burrows at night

SOURCE: "California Tiger Salamander - Ambystoma tigrinum californiense" (BLM California wildlife database)
These salamanders come out from their underground burrows at night to migrate to breeding sites. In California, the migrations begin during the month of November when California tiger salamanders breed. Salamanders breed in temporary or permanent water.

RELATED: "DFG welcomes public comment on California Tiger Salamander" (California Department of Fish and Game, 5/18/09)
"The California Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment on a proposal to add the California tiger salamander... to California’s endangered species list ... DFG is interested in public comment about the California tiger salamander’s taxonomic status, ecology, biology, life history, management recommendations, distribution, abundance, threats and habitat ... All comments, data or other information must be submitted in writing by July 1, 2009."
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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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