A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 388 - 6/24/09

A gray whale breaches the surface A student sits in a trench in the ground Bitteroot blossoms A small bulldozer works in a field Mustangs carry black plastic trash bags


- California Coastal National Monument and the NLCS
     - Free offer: California Coastal National Monument poster
     - Downloadable brochures
     - "America's forgotten lands"
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Coastal
      - Wildlife question update
      - National Pollinator Week
- Recreation on public lands
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Renewable energy
- Law enforcement issues
- Headlines and highlights: Earthquake research, jobs
- Meet your advisory committee members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: United We Serve, BLM and DOI appointments, more
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


A view of the Trinidad Gateway poster with large rocks at the ocean's edgeFree offer: California Coastal National Monument poster
This poster shows a scene off the northern coast of California, near Trinidad. We are offering these to the first 200 News.bytes readers to ask for them. Follow the link below and fill in the form online - remember to include your mailing address!

"Gateways..." (BLM-California)
...to the California Coastal National Monument can be areas, towns, cities, or communities that have infrastructure and interest in providing visitor information and services. The BLM is developing Gateway partnerships that follow the principles of geotourism - tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, including its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

"California Coastal National Monument brochures" (BLM-California)
Downloadable and printable brochures with more useful information about the National Monument and two current gateways. (Brochures are in PDF format.)

California coastal information continues with the Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week -- and find more coastal stories with the wildlife trivia answer!

A view of the Pacific Coast off the King RangeRELATED: "America's forgotten lands" (Conde Nast Traveler, July 2009)
"The lands of the NLCS, largely unknown to most Americans, range from the Carrizo Plain National Monument, the largest remaining grassland in California, to the rock cliffs of Arizona's Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southern Idaho, which has North America's densest population of raptors."

"The National Landscape Conservation System"(BLM-California)
The BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System contains some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. It includes over 850 federally recognized areas and approximately 27 million acres of National Conservation Areas, National Monuments, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Historic and Scenic Trails.


A gray whale breaches the surface
Thumbnail from a photo by NOAA
How far do gray whales migrate?
(a.) about 100 miles each way, from southern to central California
(b.) about 400 miles each way, from southern to northern California
(c.) almost 1200 miles each, from Mexico to Washington state
(d.) about 10,000 miles round trip
(e.) they don’t
(f.) so far north into cold water, that they turn into blue whales

------> See answer -- and a story about life-size whale photos!-- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


close-up of bumpy skin of arroyo toadThank you to Dr. Glenn R. Stewart, Professor Emeritus of Zoology and Environmental Science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, for an update on last week's Wildlife Trivia Question:
"The Arroyo Toad has been recognized as a full species for over 10 years now and commonly is known by the scientific name, Bufo californicus." (Our web page included the name Bufo microscaphus californicus, but that dated from when it was considered a subspecies of the southwestern toad.)

"The Arroyo Toad's range (coastal California from Monterey County south to northwestern Baja California, Mexico) is widely disjunct from populations in Arizona New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. These populations, known as the Arizona Toad, formerly went by the subspecific name Bufo microscaphus microscaphus. With the species split, they are now recognized as the full species, Bufo microscaphus."

Dr. Stewart also points out that species names continue to change as researchers, often by analyzing DNA, discover more about evolutionary relationships. For instance, research has led to "
the generic name for most Nearctic toads being changed from the long-used and familiar Bufo to Anaxyrus. However, I would recommend sticking with Bufo until Anaxyrus becomes more commonly used."

Poster shows plants that need pollinating"Celebrate National Pollinator Week with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service" (People, Land & Water, Department of the Interior)
This week: "Often we may not notice the hummingbirds, bats, bees, beetles, butterflies, and flies that carry pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar. Yet without them, wildlife would have fewer nutritious berries and seeds, and we would miss many fruits, vegetables, and nuts, like blueberries, squash, and almonds -- not to mention chocolate and coffee -- all of which depend on pollinators." Links to an "online clubhouse," an activity guide for grades 3 to 6, video, podcasts and more.


A small bulldozer works in a field A small bulldozer works near a large tree on a grassy hillside"The Good Life: Before it's a trail, it's an obstacle course" (Sacramento Bee, 6/21/09)
"This is the prized final piece to what will likely become a recreational wonderland along some of Northern California's most dazzling river canyons, and it's something the BLM and the American River Conservancy have been working on for 20 years ... there will be a hiking, biking and equestrian (in spots) path from Coloma and the place gold was discovered all the way to Old Sacramento."
(Note: This news site may require free registration before viewing its content online.)

Bitteroot blossomsPurple flowers on Inyo bush lupine"Summer wildflower viewing in the Eastern Sierra" (BLM-California, Bishop Field Office)
Here are the current Hotspots for June/July 2009: Despite the spotty annual flower show this year the perennials, especially at higher elevations (6,000 ft. and above) are starting to pop. Bitterbrush with it’s yellow flowers are bursting along the Hwy. 395 corridor from Bishop north and hillsides often are graced with the familiar mule’s years, and arrow-leaf balsam root. The silver lupine is following and tufts of low-growing perennial cushion plants are making their appearance in the Bodie Hills.

"Where can folks go off-riding?" (Imperial Valley Press, 6/21/09)
"With more opportunities to visit the dunes and have fun off-road during the summer, I’ve learned that there can be more danger too. Where are some safer spots for my family and friends and I to use our ATV’s and dirt bikes?" Answer: "It’s kind of surprising that you’re planning on using the summer months ... for off-road vehicle use. The heat down here can be brutal; an hour’s worth in the sun with no water can easily kill the average person, so [read these precautions] ... The Bureau of Land Management has some excellent sites for you to try out..."

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes news" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)
Buttercup and Cahuilla Ranger Stations have closed for the season. Purchase all permits prior to arrival. See you in October!

"Lightning Safety Week: June 21-27, 2009" (National Weather Service)

"When thunder roars, go indoors! Lightning kills or injures hundreds each year. There have been 9 deaths in just the first half of June alone. Includes links to a new 30-second video on a teen struck by lightning, safety brochures and posters to download, and a wealth of other lightning safety resources.


Man leans on fence with mustang in background]Close-up of a mustang's face"Wild horses for adoption" (Monterey County Herald, 6/20/09)
"[I]f the horses have no training, they've got no bad habits either, according to Art DiGrazia, wild horse and burro operations specialist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The BLM brought 40 colts and fillies to [last week's event in Salinas] ... They have been familiarized with humans, but are not halter-broken or trained for riding or driving, DiGrazia said. However, he added, they usually have no trouble hopping into a trailer and going somewhere."

Man on horsebackMustang waves yellow flyer in its mouth"Mustangs adopted in Salinas" (News.bytes Extra)
Mustang lovers braved the cool, overcast weather Saturday to adopt five mustangs at the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption in Salinas.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Angels Camp" (BLM-California news release, 6/22/09)
Residents of the Sierra foothills and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the BLM brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 11. The BLM will offer 30 horses, mostly yearlings, and three burros for public adoption. Halter-gentled horses, from yearlings to adult horses, will be included in the adoption.

"BLM mulls options for mustangs" (Red Bluff Daily News, 6/22/09)
"Documents obtained from the Bureau of Land Management ... that detail management options which include destroying animals have outraged wild horse advocates. But the BLM said euthanasia remains 'a last resort option' ... The report was undertaken after the Government Accountability Office found the BLM out of compliance with the 1978 amendments to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act."


Sketch if a house surrounded by defensible space"Homeowner checklist - how to make your home fire safe" (California Fire Safe Council)
Inside and outside, from design and construction to landscaping and items to place in each room.
PDF file, 2 pages, 250 kilobytes:

"BLM Ukiah Field Office announces seasonal fire restrictions" (BLM-California news release, 6/18/09)
Fire season restrictions on campfires and off-road driving go into effect June 29, for public lands managed by the (BLM in Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Yolo, Colusa, Glenn and Solano counties. The restrictions are designed to lessen the danger of human-caused fires and will remain in effect until cooler weather reduces fire risk.

"BLM fire prevention closure on July 4 at Crowley Lake North Landing" (BLM-California news release, 6/18/09)
BLM's Bishop Field Office will close approximately 2,500 acres of public lands near the Crowley Lake North Shore/North Landing for the entire day of July 4 and a portion of July 5. This is a preventative measure to minimize the risk of fire, enhance public safety and protect sensitive habitat when many people go to Crowley for the fireworks display.

Smoke fills the air above the hills"700 acres burn near Grapevine" (Bakersfield Now, 6/22/09)
"An attack by air stopped a fast-moving grass fire that burned about 700 acres Monday ... Crews say the blaze was probably started by arching electrical wires." The Kern County Fire Department and "a total of 56 firefighters responded to the scene, with contributions from the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service."


"Public voice concerns, questions about solar project" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 6/22/09)
"Representatives from local businesses, higher education, conservation groups and individual residents asked questions and gave their opinions on a proposed solar power project ... Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems transported two busloads of people ... to the proposed site for their Calico-Solar One power project ... What is now an empty stretch of desert may soon house 24,000 to 34,000 mirrored solar dishes." The companies have applications with the Bureau of Land Management and California Energy Commission.

Sunset behind a windmill and power line towers"Big power line controversy" (Modesto Bee, 6/21/09)
Editorial: "[L]andowners all the way from Lassen and Shasta to Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties are upset -- and angry -- at the prospect of a huge transmission line and towers crossing their property ... It will tarnish scenic vistas ... interfere with farming. And then there are lingering safety concerns about electromagnetic fields..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "REU director says energy credits won't meet city's needs"(Redding Record Searchlight, 6/18/09)
"Even if Redding Electric Utility could import all of its state-mandated 'green' energy via computer keystroke and wire transfer rather than transmission lines, the utility would still need to tap out-of-state power," its director said. "Redding would rely on new high-voltage wires like those proposed by the Transmission Agency of Northern California, or TANC..."

"Feasibility of biomass plant fueled by local support" (Grass Valley Union, 6/23/09)
"Biomass is plant material such as brush, pine needles and small trees that can be burned to produce electricity in a specialized plant; chipped into pellets for heating homes; or turned into liquid fuel ... A biomass plant in Nevada County could create jobs and take material from wildfire-prone lands choked with manzanita and small trees, while reducing the need for petroleum-based fuel." Supporters say supplying the plant would help reduce fire danger on lands including those managed by the BLM and private landowners. They want lawmakers to broaden the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, to help the effort.

"A road to renewables" (Las Vegas Sun, 6/18/09)
Editorial: "The Western Governors’ Association released a report ... identifying more than 50 locations for renewable energy development in the western United States, Canada and Mexico ... However, for the renewable plants to become viable, a network of electrical transmission lines will have to be built across the West, and that has long been a major obstacle ... Federal agencies should move quickly to help develop renewable energy projects in the West."

"Old problems for new energy" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 6/20/09)
Editorial: ".It would be a terrible shame - in this rush to go green - to see efforts to harness the West's wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energies create negative environmental impacts."


"More details emerge in Lassen County shootings" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/18/09)
"Members of the Lassen County anti-drug task force were scouting for illegal marijuana cultivation ... when they came across a pot garden, and a man with a rifle began shooting at them ... The drug task force included representatives from the Lassen County Sheriff's Office, Susanville Police Department and the federal Bureau of Land Management ... The garden was found on BLM land..."

RELATED: "Sergeant, deputy injured in north county gun battle" (Lassen County News, 6/17/09)
Lassen County Sheriff Steve Warren "said it’s typical for people to guard the marijuana, but the task force will find the camp, back out and then return with a team." But this time, "With the camp being in pretty heavy cover ... the task force instantly ended up on top of it."

Mustangs carry black plastic trash bagsCCC members in uniform scour the underbrush for trash "Mustangs again help clean up trash from marijuana garden" (News.bytes Extra)
Faced with hauling piles of drip irrigation tubing and bags of garbage up steep slopes in Mendocino County, the BLM's Ukiah Field Office called for some extra horsepower – mustangs. For the second year, Kenny Klee and his mustangs, Keno, Ranger and Casey, helped BLM haul out the remains of a pot-growing operation up a steep narrow trail through a thick growth of poison oak.

A CCC member loads trash into a black garbage bagRELATED: "Marijuana garden cleanup on BLM land" (The Ukiah Daily Journal, 6/17/09)
"Work crews gathered up garbage ... at a marijuana growing operation hidden on Bureau of Land Management land in the scrub brush mountains southeast of Hopland ... The California Conservation Corps supplied the manpower for the cleanup." Three horses adopted from the BLM were hauling out trash from the site.

"Agencies hoping to prevent underage drinking this summer" (Inyo Register, 6/17/09)
A community works to keep students on summer vacation from abusing alcohol, which often happens at "boonie" parties in isolated areas out of the sight of roads. "[T]he Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service have taken it upon themselves to monitor for boonie parties and signs of such activity where illegal drinking and drug use may be occurring outdoors..."


A student sits in a trench in the groundA man and a woman look down into apparatus in a trench"Unlocking the secrets of California's past earthquakes" (Los Angeles Times, 6/21/09)
"Geologists are challenging the conventional wisdom about the section of the San Andreas fault in the Carrizo Plain. Their results could alter estimated probabilities of quakes in California ... Reporting from Carrizo Plain National Monument..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

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

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include project manager, resource management specialist and more.

Close-up of Norvie EnnsMEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Norvie Enns...
...is a new member of BLM's Northeastern California Resource Advisory Council, representing the public at large. Mr. Enns knows the public lands under the RAC’s purview very well through his outdoor pursuits, and has demonstrated a commitment to sound public land management in his past volunteer service to the BLM. Read more:

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

June 27 - Interpretive hike - tide pool exploration
King Range

June 27 - Water hyacinth paddle
Cosumnes River Preserve

July 14 - Joint geothermal lease sale (California, Nevada and Utah)
Reno, NV


"Secretary of the Interior Salazar kicks off President Obama's 'United We Serve' at Shenandoah National Park" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/22/09)
"President Obama announced 'United We Serve' on June 17 as a nationwide summer volunteer service initiative that will help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn ... More information is available on Serve.gov."

"Secretary Salazar names Sylvia V. Baca Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/18/09)
The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

"Secretary Salazar Lauds Senate’s Confirmation of Hilary Tompkins as Interior Solicitor" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/18/09)
As Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Hilary Tompkins is the agency’s top general counsel.

Close-up of Bob Abbey"Obama pick for BLM director gets positive, negative reaction"(Barstow Desert Dispatch, 6/19/09)
"President Barack Obama’s proposed nomination for the position of Bureau of Land Management director has generated mixed reactions from some of the folks who use the 3.2 million acres of public land surrounding Barstow."

"Oversight hearing, mountain pine beetles: Strategies for protecting the West" (6/16/09)
Statement of Herbert C. Forest, Associate Director of Natural Resource Stewardship and Science for the U.S. Department of the Interior, before the House Natural Resources, Subcommittees on Water and Power and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. Some areas of California are particularly hard hit by the mountain pine beetle..
Note: Click the link on the following page, to open the PDF file:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and California coastal wildlife
(e.) about 10,000 miles round trip

SOURCE: "Gray Whale - Eschrichtius robustus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Gray whales make one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal, traveling about 10,000 miles round trip.

Aerial view of the young gray whale"Marina whale heading towards Malibu" (City News Service on myFoxla.com, 6/21/09)
"The young grey whale that appeared ready to spend the summer in Marina Del Rey has departed for parts unknown..." The whale spent almost three weeks in the manmade harbor, while volunteers kept visitors from getting too close. The whale "was accompanied by a pod of about 50 bottlenose dolphins" as it headed north.

Front part of life-size photo of a whaleClose-up of the eye of a whale"Scotts Valley photographer looks into the eyes of whales" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 6/17/09)
"A self-taught underwater photographer" is taking full-sized photos of whales in the wild. Bryant Austin says photographers on a deadline sometimes chase whales and that means the whales look different in the photos. "If the whale is harassed, you get a wide eye, the white of the eye. But if it's relaxed, the eye is heavy-lidded, calm and mindful," he says. His first photo life-size composite photo measures 60 by 20 feet.

Close-up of an ill sea lion among rocks "Sick sea lions present a mystery" (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/19/09)
"Fluctuating ocean conditions may be depleting the food supply of young sea lions that are turning up skinny and ill on California beaches ... The animal strandings are so numerous that the newly expanded Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito can't keep up."
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Bureau of Land Management
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