A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 386 - 6/10/09

close-up of spiky flat-tailed horned lizard A girl dons a green plastic makeshift cap A man rides his horse in the hills A boy holds a western bluebird box that he just painted Horses pull a fire tender with two riders


- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Environmental Education: Ocean Day
- More volunteers
- Renewable energy
- TANC power line proposal
- Headlines and highlights: Cadiz, Glamis gold, jobs, more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: BLM director nominee, 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps, carbon capture
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


Horses pull a fire tender with two riders"BLM fire horse brigade wins blue ribbon at Bishop's Mule Days" (News.bytes Extra)
Bishop’s “Mule Days” hosts what is considered to be the largest non-motorized parade in the world. This year, Jim Wilkins brought his matched pair of Belgium draft horses to drive BLM’s horse-drawn water tender in the parade. The tender is an Amish-built replica of an 1870s-era fire apparatus wagon. This is the eleventh year for the 19- and 21-year-old mares, named J.C. and Katy.

A man rides his horse in the hills"Mustang stole this cowboy's heart" (Sacramento Bee, 6/5/09)
"This is a story about what happens when mustang and cowboy unexpectedly come together." Ja Allen and his horse, Faith, trained together for the Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge, and formed a special bond. "I've had lots of horses come and go, but something about this horse is different," Allen said. Note: A version of this story that ran previously in the Fresno Bee, was included in an earlier issue of News.bytes.
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RELATED: "Extreme Mustang Makeover" (Western States Horse Expo)
The Extreme Mustang Makeover returns to the Western States Horse Expo this weekend, June 12-14 in Sacramento. The BLM will hold a wild horse adoption event during the Expo.

"BLM sets meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for June 15 in Sacramento" (BLM news release, 5/18/09 - repeated)
The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet on Monday, June 15 in Sacramento to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. 

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Salinas" (BLM-California news release, 5/22/09)
The BLM brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Salinas Rodeo Grounds 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.


Close-up of a grayish, flat lizard on grayish sand
Photo by Tyler Grant, Bureau of Land Management
What habitat does the flat-tailed horned lizard require?
(a.) rocky ledges with scattered desert scrub, so they can warm themselves on the rocks but hide in the vegetation
(b.) wetlands and streambanks, so their skins can remain moist
(c.) fine sand and little vegetation, so they can burrow beneath the surface
(d.) north-facing forested hillsides, as they rely on moss as their primary food supply
(e.) Flatland, because they don’t need the other dimensions
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


A girl dons a green plastic makeshift capStudents gather on the beach after working"Ocean Day 2009 involves 800 students in Humboldt Bay dune and beach ecology" (News.bytes Extra)
About 800 children from schools in the Eureka area converged on the South Spit of Humboldt Bay Thursday, June 4, for the annual Ocean Day cleanup and celebration. A partnership of BLM-California's Arcata Field Office and Friends of the Dunes, the environmental education event focuses on the significance of dune and beach ecosystems.


A boy holds a western bluebird box that he just painted workers follow a wheelbarrow of supplies as they head in to lunch"National Trails Day event attracts more than 70 volunteers" (News.bytes Extra)
More than 70 volunteers participated in a National Trails Day community service project at Magnolia Ranch near Coloma, sponsored by the American River Conservancy, REI and the BLM. Volunteers repaired multi-use trails, removed invasive plants, installed hitching posts and planted oak trees. Younger volunteers built and painted bluebird boxes which were installed on fence posts.


"Joint geothermal lease sale planned in California, Nevada and Utah" (BLM new release, 6/8/09)
To help meet the nation's renewable energy goals, the Bureau of Land Management in California, Nevada and Utah will hold a combined geothermal lease sale in Reno on Tuesday, July 14, 2009. BLM-California will offer for lease 15 parcels covering more than 11,392 acres in Imperial and Sonoma counties.

"BLM and Energy Commission initiate environmental review of solar project in California desert" (BLM-California news release, 6/8/09)
The Bureau of Land Management plans to conduct a joint environmental review with the California Energy Commission on the impacts of a proposed solar energy project, Stirling Energy System's Solar One, in San Bernardino County. The company has applied to BLM for a right-of-way to construct a concentrated solar thermal power plant facility on an estimated 8,230 acres, about 37 miles east of Barstow.

"Cities struggle with access to green energy sources" (PBS NewsHour, 6/9/09)
"In cities across the country, officials are faced with the task of getting renewable energy from the outskirts of town to the urban centers where demand is greatest. NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports from Los Angeles." The show visits some renewable energy projects proposed for the Mojave Desert, and addresses the debate over power lines to get that power to large cities. Includes transcript, and link to video.

"Salazar hosts first offshore renewable energy workshop, announces efforts to strengthen migratory bird protections" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/4/09)
"At the first of twelve regional public workshops on the Obama Administration’s new offshore renewable energy program for the Outer Continental Shelf, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the Department’s Minerals Management Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have signed an agreement to strengthen the Department’s efforts to protect and conserve migratory bird species during offshore renewable energy development."


"High-wire act; TANC power-line proposal runs into resistance" (Chico News and Review, 6/4/09)
"Beyond the fence surrounding Charles and Margie Ball’s neatly landscaped back yard in Capay, rows of newly planted sunflowers stretch for a half-mile into the distance ... But when the Balls look at their field, they see something else altogether, at least in their imaginations: giant metal towers bestriding the land, five to a mile, connected by thick cables of electricity lines crackling and humming day and night." A proposed 600-mile power line to transmit power south from future solar and wind projects in northeastern California would cross BLM-managed lands.

"TANC plans were hidden in plain sight" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/7/09)
The Transmission Agency of Northern California, or TANC, went from an obscure organization to a household epithet in just a few short weeks this spring as it announced plans to build new power lines across the north state and down to the San Francisco Bay area.
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"Power line comment period is extended 60 days" (Stockton Record, 6/3/09)
"Agency officials have said its initial plans were broadly drawn on large-scale maps," leading to errors. "Even the Manteca Chamber of Commerce board of directors recently voted its formal opposition 'due to the potential substantial detrimental effect upon the quality of life and the property values of the citizens of Manteca'."
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"Sides sound off on powerline project" (Capital Press, 6/4/09)
"The California Cattlemen's Association has urged the Transmission Agency of Northern California to consider using underground power lines and to further evaluate the impacts to private and public rangelands and not just intensive croplands."

"Big crowd opposes power line"(Livermore Independent, 6/5/09)
A Livermore meeting drew 190 people, "nearly all of whom indicated opposition to the proposal."


"Officials forecast fierce fire season" (Inyo Register, 6/8/09)
"[J]ust because Inyo County has seen its fair share of rain the past few weeks doesn’t mean residents are out of the woods when it comes to wild fires."

"Take Responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
"Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space!"

"Lake County Community Wildfire Protection Plan"
The BLM works with Lake County and other communities in California to develop wildfire protection plans and support Fire Safe Councils. Comments on this plan are due July 1.

"BLM to use goats for fuel reduction in Swasey Recreation Area" (BLM-California news release, 6/10/09)
The goats will be used to reduce grasses and brush in shaded fuel breaks that have already been built, strengthening and expanding them.  It is part of a long-range fuel management strategy that uses several fuel treatment methods, including mechanical removal of brush, small trees and grasses.

"Bills aim to ease fire risk for construction in wildland areas" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/3/09)
"The Legislature approved two bills ... meant to make counties pay more attention to fire risk when considering proposals to build in wildland areas." One would affect proposed housing subdivisions.The other would require county general plans to include wildfire information.
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"Underground water storage plan draws fresh concern" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/7/09)
"A Los Angeles company with huge landholdings in the California deserts has resurrected its controversial plan to store vast amounts of Colorado River water under the ground, for public agencies to use in dry spells." Critics said Cadiz would pump out critical desert groundwater. "But the new proposal has already been endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger." The earlier plan would have required BLM rights-of-way permits.

"Goldcorp loses bid for $50 million in compensation from U.S." (Bloomberg News, 6/9/09)
"Goldcorp Inc., Canada’s largest gold mining company, lost its bid for $50 million in compensation it sought because U.S. environmental restrictions limited its operations. Glamis Gold Ltd., which was purchased by Vancouver-based Goldcorp in 2006, filed the case under the rules of the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing that environmental regulations made it impossible to extract gold from a mine it owns the rights to in the California desert." U.S. environmental restrictions (both federal and State of California) would have limited the operation.

RELATED: "Tribe calls mining ruling a victory" (Yuma Sun, 6/9/09)
"The Quechan Indian Tribe's long-standing fight to protect a sacred site from being mined for gold received a government decision Tuesday that tribal leaders call a major victory, both politically and spiritually. A NAFTA tribunal announced its decision Tuesday to uphold state and federal actions that would regulate hard-rock or open-pit mining by GoldCorp Inc. (formerly Glamis Gold) at an area northwest of Yuma known as Indian Pass ... The land remains undeveloped and is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."

"Monterey County seeks delay of leases for oil, gas exploration by BLM" (Monterey County Herald, 6/10/09)
"Just delay, baby, delay. That was the message from Monterey County supervisors to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over the pending auction of oil and gas exploration leases on about 35,000 acres in South County ... County supervisors voted unanimously Monday to ask the federal agency to hold off the lease sale for at least three months to give county planners time to weigh the possible impacts."

RELATED: "BLM postpones June 23, 2009 oil and gas lease auction in Sacramento" (BLM-California news release, 6/10/09)
Citing the need for more extensive consultation with land owners, tribal leaders, and other community interests, the Bureau of Land Management has postponed its quarterly competitive oil and gas lease auction scheduled for June 23, 2009, at the Federal Building on Cottage Way in Sacramento.

"Improvement projects set to begin on Bizz Johnson Trail tunnels" (BLM-California news release, 6/4/09)
A project to improve two historic railroad tunnels on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail begins June 15, and will continue through the summer. The tunnels will be closed until Sept. 15, but bypass trails will allow full use of the trail between Susanville and Westwood.

"Bly Tunnel to be discussed in Eagle Lake Interagency Board of Directors meeting" (BLM-California news release, 6/10/09)
At the meeting Thursday, June 18 in Susanville, the Bureau of Land Management’s Eagle Lake Field Office will present information received from the California State Water Resources Control Board regarding rights to water flowing through a bypass pipe in the Bly Tunnel plug.

"National stewardship program meeting cancelled" (BLM-California news release, 6/9/09)
A national meeting of the Experimental Stewardship Program, which had been set for June 15-18 in Cedarville, has been cancelled. Advance registration numbers were too low to justify holding the meeting.

"BLM proposes competitive land sale of public lands in Tehama County" (BLM-California news release, 6/5/09)
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to offer 80 acres of public land in western Tehama County for competitive sale. The public is invited to submit comments regarding the proposed sale to the BLM's Redding Field Office by July 20, 2009.

"BLM announces upcoming prescribed burn in southern San Benito County" (BLM-California news release, 6/8/09)
BLM-California's Hollister Field Office will conduct a prescribed burn the week of June 15 to control the spread of yellow star thistle on public lands in the Clear Creek and Laguna Mt. areas of southern San Benito County. The prescribed fire will be conducted safely when the wind speeds are low and the weather is within the prescribed target ranges.

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

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

June 12-14 - Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover

June 13 - Cosumnes River Preserve wetlands work

June 14 - "Bugs on the bottom - stream bottom ecology in Clear Creek"
Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve


"Secretary Salazar lauds President's intention to nominate Bob Abbey for director of the Bureau of Land Management" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/9/09)
Bob Abbey is a veteran public land policy leader and chief architect of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative. Abbey has more than 32 years in public service, working with state and federal land management agencies before retiring from the federal government in July 2005. He served eight years as the Nevada State Director for the BLM.

"Secretary Salazar, joined by White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, lays groundwork for 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/8/09)
"'President Obama and I believe that during tough economic times, a new national youth program is needed to provide jobs, outdoor experiences and career opportunities for young people -- especially women, minorities, tribal and other underserved youth,' Salazar said ... The corps will be modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps that provided 3 million men with jobs in the 1930s. By comparison, the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps will include women as well as men and strive for greater diversity."

"Secretary Salazar: National geological carbon capture program can help develop cleaner energy, reduce greenhouse gases" (BLM news release, 6/3/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today sent Congress his recommendations for a national program to help reduce greenhouse gases by selecting appropriate underground geological formations on public lands to inject and store carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and other carbon-dioxide producing facilities."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) fine sand and little vegetation, so they can burrow beneath the surface

SOURCE: "Flat-tailed horned lizard - Phrynosoma mcallii" (BLM California wildlife database)
Flat-tailed honed lizards require habitats that offer fine sand with little vegetation. They burrow into the sand to avoid temperature extremes and stay for hours buried just beneath the surface. They prefer areas with creosote bush, but they are found in other desert habitats.

close-up of spiky flat-tailed horned lizardRELATED: "Flat-tailed horned lizard is between a rock and extinction" (Los Angeles Times, 6/1/09)
"'This is the last corner in the Coachella Valley that still has a population of these lizards,' said ... a research ecologist at UC Riverside and an expert on the secretive creature with a face that resembles the parched and thorny landscape it prefers. 'Nearly all of its habitat in this region has been lost since 1970.' ... the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its earlier decisions not to list it as an endangered species."
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A bear wanders a grassy neighborhood"Warm weather brings out wildlife, officials urge caution on Central Coast roads" (KSBY-TV San Luis Obispo, 6/4/09)
"As the weather warms, animals like deer and bears emerge from the woods and head into more rural areas looking for food and water. It's all part of Mother Nature's cycle, but it's also beginning to be a safety concern for residents who come into contact with the wild animals." Includes link to video.
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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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