A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 387 - 6/17/09

close-up of rough surface of arroyo toad A horse and rider approach an inflatable exercise ball Two butterflies on bright yellow flowers a man works the ground with a tool Close-up of Rusty Lee


- Wild horses
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Volunteers
- Wildfires and prevention
- Energy and renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Award winner, RAC tour, Deputy Secretary visit, jobs, more
- Desert train proposals
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: PILT, artifact looting arrests
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


A horse and rider approach an inflatable exercise ball"Trainer wins Extreme Mustang Makeover in tie-breaker" (News.bytes Extra)
Santa Maria horse trainer Katherine Cumberland and her mustang, Wendy, took top honors in the Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover competition Saturday in Sacramento. The pair narrowly edged out Action, Calif. trainer Joel Sheridan and his mount, Lilly Bet, in a 90-second "mustang smackdown," held after the two trainers tied in the competition of the top 11 trainer-mustang contestants. Following the event, participants in an BLM auction adopted all 22 horses offered, with Cumberland's Wendy commanding the top bid of $4,000.

RELATED: "Tie Brings Battle of the Sexes to Western States Mustang Makeover" (Western States Horse Expo, 6/16/09)
"It all boiled down to the dashing cowboy and the dazzling cowgirl. After two days of go-rounds and stiff competition from 20 other trainers looking for their share of the $7,500 purse, Californians Katherine Cumberland of Santa Maria, riding Wendy, and Joel Sheridan of Acton, riding Lilly Bet, grabbed the attention of the judges in very different ways at the Western States Mustang Makeover in Sacramento, June 12-13." Includes video.

a man leads his mustang on a halterRELATED: "Mustang trainers prepare to say goodbye" (KCRA-TV Sacramento, 6/14/09)
"Programs like Extreme Mustang Makeover are designed to keep herd size down and to find the horses a new home. It also is an education. 'They do have a little bit different temperament. They're interesting,' said horse trainer John Croon. 'It takes a lot of patience.' 'If you get on and just tell her what to do, she'll give you a fight,' said horse trainer Juliane Hanley. But the journey, frustrating at times, had an odd detour. 'You get attached to them. You bond with that horse,' said horse trainer John Croon." Includes video.

RELATED: "Santa Maria trainer wins Mustang Makeover" (BLM-California news release, 6/16/09)
Following a tie-breaking “mustang smackdown,” Katherine Cumberland and her mustang, Wendy, took first place at the Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover Saturday in Sacramento.

"Mustangs available for adoption in Salinas" (BLM-California news release, 6/15/09)
This weekend: Residents of the Salinas area will have the opportunity to add a horse to their families, when the BLM brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Salinas Rodeo Grounds on Saturday June 20. The BLM will offer about 40 horses, mostly yearlings, for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about noon on Friday, June 19.


close-up of rough surface of arroyo toad
thumbnail from a photo by John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences
Why are they called “arroyo” toads?
(a.) Their skin is filled with grooves that look like little canyons, but fill out as they find more water to drink.
(b.) The type of plants they eat grow in arroyos.
(c.) Arroyos provide water for them to breed.
(d.) Their mating call is like the sound of wind whistling through brush-filled arroyos.
(e.) The person who discovered them along seasonal streams couldn’t pronounce “ström,” the Swedish word for stream.

------> See answer and a related story near the end of this issue.


a man works the ground with a toolTwo men in yellow jackets work near a wood chipper"Volunteers improve oak woodland in Lacks Creek watershed" (News.bytes Extra)
A group of 40 volunteers joined BLM Arcata Field Office staff last Saturday to work on an oak woodland improvement project in the Lacks Creek watershed northeast of Eureka.  Match funding for the work was provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the  Mule Deer Foundation. The volunteers worked on a four-acre plot, removing conifer trees that have encroached into oak woodlands, impacting habitat for elk and deer.

Large group poses next to large dumpster they filled"Volunteers help BLM clean up in Berdoo Canyon" (News.bytes Extra)
In celebration of Earth Day 2009, volunteers coordinated by Desert Adventures and the BLM gathered to clean up Berdoo Canyon in Coachella. Crews got to work removing discarded tires, mattresses, bed springs, and other large items that had been illegally dumped, as well as buckets full of broken glass, empty bottles and cans and shot gun shells.


"Take Responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
"Living in the wildland urban interface" -- links to information including a tip card, brochure, online video and more.

RELATED: "Disaster safety video: Wildfire" (Institute for Business and Home Safety)
How to protect your home from wildfire.

"Herger bill would fast-track forest clearing, logging" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/17/09)
"U.S. Rep. Wally Herger has drafted a bill that would allow local governments to declare a fire-risk emergency on federal forest land, putting them on a fast track to clearing and logging projects while bypassing lawsuits ... Herger's legislation seeks to implement clearing projects on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management acreage if the projects are identified 'at-risk' by a nearby community or watershed."


"Concerns grow about green energy project" (Oakdale Leader, 6/16/09)
"Over 150 local residents – most from the agriculture community – turned out June 11 ... for an update of a controversial $1.3 billion Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC) project and the agency’s plan to construct and upgrade roughly 600 miles of high-voltage electric transmission lines and associated facilities in Northern California." Proposed routes would cross BLM-managed lands.

"In a small fish, a large lesson in renewable energy's obstacles" (Wall Street Journal, 6/16/09)
One type of solar generating project proposed for public lands in the desert uses larges amounts of water, creating a dilemma. The BLM permitting process operates under "federal laws and regulations designed to control exploitation of federal lands or protect the habitats of endangered species" and the agency has more experience working with oil and gas permits.

"BLM postpones sale of oil and gas leases on South County land" (Monterey County Herald, 6/11/09)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday it would hold off on the proposed auction of oil and gas leases on about 35,000 acres in South County set for later this month. The announcement came two days after the Monterey County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to BLM officials requesting a three-month delay to give county planners more time to assess the potential impacts of the lease sales."

RELATED: "Editorial: BLM wise to delay South County leases" (Monterey County Herald, 6/12/09)
"Many of us are quick to pounce when government messes up. So here's a makeup of sorts, a 'way to go' to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for agreeing to slow the process of awarding oil and gas exploration leases in South County."


Jim Jennings at a desk"ARC salutes 2009 Legends Award winners" (American Recreation Coalition, 6/10/09)
Jim Jennings, outdoor recreation planner with BLM-California's Bishop Field Office, was the BLM's winner of the American Recreation Coalition's 2009 Legends Awards. The award is presented to one manager from each of seven federal agencies, "whose extraordinary personal efforts have made a real difference in enhancing outdoor recreation programs and resources."

"Lassen sheriff's sergeant shot, one suspect killed" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/17/09)
"One man is dead and six have been arrested after a gunbattle Tuesday afternoon near an illegal marijuana garden that sent a Lassen County sheriff's sergeant to the hospital with a gunshot wound and also injured a sheriff's deputy. The sergeant and the deputy were part of a task force investigating an illegal pot plantation ... just across the Lassen County line east of Burney." BLM agents were among those in the task force.

One board member points to a feature in a stand of aspen, as others look onTwo butterflies on bright yellow flowers"Advisory Council sees high desert management issues first-hand" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council toured public lands managed by the Alturas Field Office early this month, and discussed resource management issues. The group also endorsed plans by the Alturas, Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices to implement newly developed resource management (land use) plans.

David Hayes at the podium"DOI Deputy Secretary speaks to Sacramento employees" (News.bytes Extra)
Deputy Secretary David Hayes, newly confirmed by the U.S. Senate, visited the Cottage Way Federal Building June 12 and addressed about 100 Department of the Interior employees.

"BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council meeting postponed" (BLM-California news release, 6/12/09)
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) California Desert Advisory Council set for June 19-20 has been postponed. Although a new date has not been set, BLM plans to schedule it for a Friday/Saturday in August.

"BLM to lead guided hike to view Headwaters restoration projects" (BLM-California news release, 6/12/09)
This weekend: People interested in forest management and restoration can get a close up look at recent projects in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, when the Bureau of Land Management leads a free, guided hike Saturday, June 20.

"BLM to seek public input for Bly Tunnel" (Lassen County News, 6/16/09)
"The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights "has left responsibility of what will happen to the tunnel to the Bureau of Land Management’s Eagle Lake Field Office. The office is now preparing to solicit comments from the public to help guide its decision on what will ultimately become of the tunnel."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include resource management specialist, biological science technician, outdoor recreation planner, recreation aid, motor vehicle operator, park ranger and more.


"Maglev or DesertXpress? One could be your new ride" (Las Vegas Sun, 6/14/09)
"Dreamers have long envisioned a fast train to whisk riders between Las Vegas and Southern California. But probably no one expected that, with $8 billion in federal money available for the smartest proposals across the country, two starkly different proposals ... would compete for the business. And neither proposal is perfect." Either route would cross BLM-managed lands. Includes links to related stories.

"Trade-offs between technologies include speed, cost"(Las Vegas Sun, 6/14/09)
Maglev supporters say it is "21st-century technology" versus the "19th century" DesertXpress. But "the maglev system is unproven in the United States, especially in a harsh desert environment." But DesertXpress would end at Victorville, "because the high-speed train can’t handle the steep grades of the Cajon Pass. The maglev train ... would end at Anaheim ... DesertXpress officials counter that it has a long-range plan to connect passenger traffic to the west through Palmdale ... DesertXpress officials say the maglev is too expensive to build; American Magline counters that its lower maintenance costs would even things out."

"Build rail for the future" (Las Vegas Sun, 6/16/09)
Editorial: "As reporters Lisa Mascaro and Richard Velotta reminded Las Vegas Sun readers Sunday, the city now has two competing high-speed-rail proposals that aim to connect Southern Nevada with Southern California. But only one of them, a magnetic levitation train that can travel up to 300 miles an hour, truly represents the future and can help advance this nation’s transportation system far beyond where it is today."

Close-up of Rusty LeeEMPLOYEE PROFILE : Rusty Lee...
...is manager of BLM-California's Needles Field Office Manager. Graduating from the Colorado School of Mines during a sharp downturn in the minerals markets, he was hired by BLM in the Winnemucca Field Office to do minerals inspections and enforcement and has since served with the departments of the Navy, Army, Agriculture and Interior. Read more:

Find more details online at:


"Secretary Salazar announces $381.6 million in 2009 PILT payments to local governments with federal lands"(Department of the Interior news release, 6/11/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that approximately 1,850 local governments with federal land in their jurisdictions will receive $381.6 million this year under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program to help offset forgone tax revenue."

"24 charged in crackdown on Native American artifact looting" (Los Angeles Times, 6/11/09)
"[F]ederal authorities Wednesday unsealed indictments against 24 people in what they called the largest investigation ever into the looting of Native American artifacts on public lands. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ...[said} that many of the stolen items, valued at $335,000, came from sacred burial sites. 'The message that we're sending is, we're not going to tolerate this kind of activity,' he said. The charges stem from a two-year undercover investigation into excavators and buyers of the artifacts..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Utah town's anger mounts over artifact arrests" (Los Angeles Times, 6/17/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar flew to Salt Lake City to announce the indictments ... The backlash started soon after.."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) Arroyos provide water for them to breed.

SOURCE: "Arroyo Toad - Bufo microscaphus californicus" (BLM California wildlife database)
They are often found near desert arroyos and washes that provide enough water for them to breed.

RELATED: "Summer pops" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/15/09)
"It's beginning to sound a lot like summer, the air filling with the cheeps and twitters ... the croaks and rasps, the howls and screams of local life ... The lesser nighthawk ... produces a soft purring that sounds very much like the Arroyo toad.' Not that you'll hear Arroyo toads much these days. Most local amphibians, like their counterparts worldwide, are suffering mightily from loss of habitat, pollution, invasive predators and disease. The Arroyo toad ... with its unusual trill, is on the international Red List of threatened species and rarely seen." Includes link to audio clips of several animals.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
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(916) 978-4600

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