A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 396 - 8/20/09

A young girl in sunglasses shows off the paper bird hat she colored herself Poster for the Headwaters Forest Reserve 10th anniversary shows tall trees viewed from the ground A marbled murrellet swims in the water Mocah the burro shows more interest in the camera than his handler Employee Profile: close-up of Charlie Wright at his desk


- Free offer: Headwaters poster
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Take it Outside and the Imperial Sand Dunes
      - Kids and adults learn about the California Coastal National Monument
- National Public Lands Day
- Mining claims
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Renewable energy: Solar and geothermal
- Renewable energy: Power lines
- Recreation
- Headlines and highlights: Oil and gas, tortoises, cultural sites, jobs, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: New BLM deputy director, BLM moving, mercury contamination
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Poster for the Headwaters Forest Reserve 10th anniversary shows tall trees viewed from the groundFREE POSTER: Headwaters 10th anniversary
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Headwaters Forest Reserve. This 10th anniversary poster looks up among ancient trees in the Preserve. We are offering these free to the first 200 News.bytes readers to ask for them. These posters always go quickly -- so follow the link below and fill in the form online. Remember to include your mailing address!


A marbled murrellet swims in the water
a marbled murrelet
One of the birds you might see flying overhead in the Headwaters Forest Reserve is the marbled murrelet. What might it be doing there?
(a.) Flying low, on the lookout for rotting tree trunks that might contain its favorite delicacy, termites.
(b.) Looking for a fork in a tree branch where it can build its nest with mud and sticks.
(c.) Flying among the trees looking for dead tree branches to carry back to the coast, to build nests.
(d.) Commuting up to 50 miles away to the sea to dive for fish and bring them back to their young, nesting in the trees.
(e.) Auditioning for "America's Next Top Murrelet" on the All Birds All The Time cable network.
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Take it Outside OHV logo - Dog with gogglesTAKE IT OUTSIDE AT THE IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

"Your dune-dog adventure starts here!" (BLM-California web page)
Calling all Kids! Visit our new Take it Outside pages and learn some neat stuff about the dunes! With a new season coming up, now's the time to brush up on your dune savvy. Join Sheila -- the dune dog -- as she Takes YOU Outside!


A young girl in sunglasses shows off the paper bird hat she colored herselfanother bird hat on a girl wearing a pink cap"Visitors to the 4th Coastal Discovery Fair learn about the California Coastal National Monument"
(News.bytes Extra)
The Coastal Discovery Fair, held last month in San Simeon, featured more than a dozen agencies and organizations with activities for kids. At the BLM booth, more than 100 kids colored, cut and assembled pelican headbands while their parents, or grandparents, discussed the California Coastal National Monument with BLM representatives.

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM-California)


"Volunteers welcome to help a cleanup project at historic Bitner Ranch"(BLM-California news release, 8/13/09)
Volunteers are welcome to camp the night before helping BLM staff at a historic northern Washoe County, Nev. ranch, as an observance of National Public Lands Day. The day-long project is Saturday, Aug. 29, 58 miles east of Cedarville, Calif. Volunteers will help clean up construction debris, build fences, remove brush, install signs and repair roads. The BLM will provide tools and safety gear, and a barbecue meal on the project day. More details:

More National Public Lands Day events sponsored by BLM-California -- perhaps one is in your area:


"Mining claim maintenance fees due Sept. 1, 2009" (BLM-California news release, 8/18/09)
The deadline for filing annual mining claim fees with the Bureau of Land Management is Tuesday, September 1, 2009.  All mining claimants who wish to hold on to mining claims on federal public lands through 2010 must pay a $140 maintenance fee or file a maintenance fee waiver certificate on or before September 1st.

"Glimmer of Gold Rush dies: State bans suction dredging" (Associated Press and Grass Valley Union, 8/7/09)
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Thursday that temporarily bans miners from using gasoline-powered dredges to glean flecks of gold from river bottoms. The measure allows time for an environmental review to determine how much the popular form of small-scale mining harms salmon." BLM regulations require compliance with state law, including having a state permit top operate dredging equipment. Questions regarding instream dredging should be directed to the California Department of Fish and Game.

RELATED: "Moratorium on instream suction dredge mining, effective immediately" (California Department of Fish and Game news release, 8/6/09)
"The ban will be in effect until the Department of Fish and Game completes a court-ordered environmental review of its permitting program, expected in late summer 2011."


Mocah the burro shows more interest in the camera than his handlerA dog rides a mustang"Volunteers show off mustangs and burros at fair" (News.bytes Extra)
Visitors to the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley this year got a first-hand look at mustangs, burros and their trainers. Volunteers, with some assistance from Bureau of Land Management staff, gave demonstrations and staffed a booth to provide information on the wild horse and burro adoption program.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Buellton" (BLM-California news release, 8/18/09)
On Saturday Sept. 12, the BLM will offer about 20 horses 18 months and younger and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about noon on Friday, Sept. 11. The event gates will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

"Officials to round up wild burros" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/17/09)
"Federal officials plan to use helicopters next month to round up wild burros south of Death Valley National Park ... The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will be in charge of removing the burros from the Panamint, Slate and Centennial ranges, northwest of Fort Irwin Army training center. Fort Irwin spokesman John Wagstaffe said the roundup is necessary to keep the animals from damaging springs used by native wildlife in the area."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

"BLM to hold public meeting on wild horse gather plans" (BLM-California news release, 8/19/09)
Staff from the Bureau of Land Management will discuss upcoming wild horse gathering operations, including use of vehicles and helicopters, in a public meeting Wednesday, Sept. 2, in Susanville. BLM range management specialists from the Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices will provide details and answer questions about this year’s planned gathers on public land in far northwest Nevada and northeast California.


"Yuba Fire: Full containment near" (Grass Valley Union, 8/20/09)
"Favorable winds helped firefighters gain ground around the fire Wednesday, and they cut fire lines across steep, rocky terrain to reach around the blaze. The fire has reached 3,891 acres and structures are no longer threatened."

"30,000 marijuana plants found at site linked to Santa Barbara County fire" (Los Angeles Times, 8/18/09)
"Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown ... said investigators believe the La Brea fire was started by Mexican drug traffickers because of the size of the marijuana garden and the equipment found at the campsite where the fire began."

"Take Responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
"Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space!" The BLM is a member of the California Fire Alliance.

"National Fire News" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during fire season.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Solar and geothermal

"2 solar projects to power homes" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/18/09)
"Southern California Edison officials signed 20-year contracts with First Solar Inc. to purchase power from a 250-megawatt facility planned near Desert Center in Riverside County and a 300-megawatt plant called Stateline planned near the Nevada border in northeast San Bernardino County. Both projects still need to win approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management and the California Public Utilities Commission, but officials hope to be operating by 2015."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Follow sun into desert for richest source of solar power"(Sacramento Bee, 8/16/09)
Op-Ed by Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress: "I have little doubt that the solar resource can be tapped in a way that can preserve the desert tortoise, but I have no doubt whatsoever that failing to take advantage of the massive solar resource in the California desert -- and in deserts around the country and around the planet -- will wipe out a large fraction of the species on this planet."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

"A boost for photovoltaics in California deal" (The New York Times, 8/18/09)
"Southern California Edison on Tuesday announced a deal to buy 550 megawatts of electricity from two massive photovoltaic solar farms to be built in the Mojave Desert by First Solar ... on desert property managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ... the projects must undergo a detailed environmental review."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Water board approves agreement with Solar Millennium" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 8/13/09)
"The Indian Wells Valley Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved a water supply agreement with energy investment group Solar Millennium ... this agreement, which promises delivery of 1,500 acre feet of water during construction of the firm’s proposed local thermal plant and 165 acre ft. annually for 30 years ... is necessary for Solar Millennium to meet a September application deadline for submission of a project proposal to the California Energy Commission and Bureau of Land Management - for construction of two local solar thermal plants with a capacity of 242 megawatts on 3,950 acres..."

"The cost of building a solar powered economy" (Las Vegas Sun, 8/16/09)
Logistical problems in developing solar power "are playing out in such places as this 500-square-mile stretch of desert south of Beatty running roughly from U.S. Highway 95 down the California border where about 1,500 people live and where 18 companies have active applications to transform federal lands for energy generation. Plus, there’s the issue of water."

"Geothermal power search holds promise, threat" (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/16/09)
In the Geysers north of San Francisco, "more than a dozen older geothermal plants ... tap underground pockets of steam to turn turbines and generate electricity." But AltaRock plans to to fracture deeper rocks and pump in water to create steam. "Geologists monitoring the $17 million project say it will create earthquakes, but most will be too small to notice. If it pans out, the technique could work most anywhere. Geothermal energy, which produces almost no greenhouse gas emissions, would no longer be limited to rare places like The Geysers that have steam or super-heated water underground."


"The Conversation: Conditions ripe for climate change brawl" (Sacramento Bee, 8/16/09)
Op-Ed by John Gamman and Scott McCreary, co-founders and principals of CONCUR Inc.: "California's move toward an environment-friendly future and green economy is being challenged by an unexpected source: a decision-making process that too often pits the concerns of local communities and conservationists against renewable energy developers." Two power lines mentioned would have crossed BLM-managed lands, plus "The Bureau of Land Management has received more than 150 applications for solar power plants, mostly in the California, Nevada and Arizona border area."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Plotting the path of renewable power lines" (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/14/09)
"A new state report tries to tackle one of the touchiest issues in California's effort to expand renewable power, suggesting possible routes for new transmission lines to carry electricity from wind farms and solar plants. Most of the proposed lines are in the Southern California desert, while one stretches to the Oregon border."

"Another huge power line may be planned for north state" (Redding Record Searchlight, 8/18/09)
"Examining how to connect the state to developing renewable power, the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) recently released a report that shows a potential new power transmission line running from the Oregon border through Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties and south to Tracy." A previous proposal by the Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC) that would have included routes across BLM-managed lands, ran into heavy local opposition.

"Sunrise opponents attempt to block high-voltage line" (San Diego Business Journal, 8/17/09)
"Sempra Energy CEO Donald Felsinger says he is confident that necessary regulatory approvals are lined up and construction will begin next summer on the $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink transmission project. But environmental watchdogs are appealing its validity in state courts ..." The BLM approved a right-of-way grant and temporary use permit to SDG&E with extensive mitigating terms and conditions.


"Bizz Johnson Trail tunnels reopened Saturday, Aug. 15" (BLM-California news release, 8/13/09)
Work to improve two historic railroad tunnels on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail has been completed a month ahead of schedule, and the tunnels reopened to the public on Saturday, Aug. 15. Work crews repaired old timbers, sealed concrete, improved drainage and sealed cracks in the tunnels that were built in 1914.

"Ceremony marks completion of Shasta-Trinity Trail in Whiskeytown" (Redding Record Searchlight, 8/16/09)
A "16-member Student Conservation Association crew ... spent nine weeks sweating in the north state's stifling summer heat to carve out the final segment of the Shasta-Trinity Trail." On Saturday, volunteers "celebrated its grand opening by placing a ceremonial 'golden spike' into a boulder near the new trailhead..." The trail is part of a larger plan connecting trails to adjacent BLM public lands, including the Swasey Recreation Trail.
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "Hard work and partnership build new trail" (Redding Record Searchlight, 8/15/09)
Editorial: "Even as a few hundred thousand visitors head to Whiskeytown Lake each year, relatively few head to the recreation area's high country. But there's one less excuse to stick by the lakeshore, as park officials ... hold a 'golden spike ceremony to dedicate a trail freshly blazed through some of Whiskeytown's most exhilarating but least explored country..."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Be prepared for anything in the Black Rock Desert" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 8/19/09)
Tom Miller "doesn't mind that after he drives for approximately three hours on paved roads, it will take three more hours to travel 15 miles on a road once used by covered wagons ... The Black Rock has breathtaking vistas and is filled with geological and historical splendor ... Miller warns anyone who wants to explore the area, which includes five mountain ranges, canyons and a vast playa, to be prepared for the conditions, especially roads and weather ... Being prepared is a warning echoed by Bureau of Land Management officials..."

RELATED: "Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area" (BLM-California, Surprise Field Office)
BLM-California's Surprise Field Office and BLM-Nevada's Winnemucca Field Office manage the NCA. Follow the link on this page:


"BLM announces availability of oil and gas lease auction environmental assessment" (BLM-California news release, 8/12/09)
The Bureau of Land Management has completed the environmental assessment for the oil and gas lease auction scheduled for December 9.  A 30-day public review and comment period runs from August 12 to September 11, 2009. The lands considered for competitive lease auction are located in Kern and Kings County.

"Public has more time to comment on proposed relocation of desert tortoises" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/14/09)
"Federal officials extended public comment on a plan to relocate desert tortoises for an Army expansion after being inundated with 20,000 protest e-mails ... The plan is to move [tortoises] from Ft. Irwin National Training Center, near Barstow, to public lands south and west of the military property so the Army can use 94,000 acres for training troops."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "BLM extends comment period for Army's desert tortoise translocation" (BLM-California news release, 8/13/09)
The public comment period is now extended to August 31, 2009. The Army's Fort Irwin National Training Center has requested authorization from the BLM to move desert tortoises from its expanded training facility approximately 50 miles north of Barstow onto public lands managed by the BLM's Barstow and Ridgecrest field offices.

RELATED: "Tortoise rush" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/12/09)
Editorial: "The desire to enlarge the training area at Ft. Irwin near Barstow should not run roughshod over the process for addressing environmental concerns. At the least, the Bureau of Land Management should extend the period for public comment to the normal 30 days. But the government should make no decision about the relocation until it has actual facts in hand -- facts that it does not have now."
(Note: This news source may require free registration to view its content online.)

Proud sponsors point to the new sign"Taft Carrizo Plain visitor center signs posted on state highways" (The Taft Independent, 8/14/09)
The Rotary Club raised funds for the Taft Chamber of Commerce, to put up signs directing visitors to the Carrizo Plain National Monument Visitor Center. "The city of Taft has been designated the 'Gateway to the Carrizo Plain' by the Bureau of Land Management, managers of the local national monument."

"Notice of environmental assessment for cultural resources restoration project" (BLM-California news release, 8/18/09)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will be preparing an environmental assessment to address the restoration of a damaged petroglyph site around the Crater Mountain area near Big Pine.

"Museum offers lecture on Serrano sites" (Redlands Daily Facts, 8/19/09)
A volunteer archaeological surveyor for the Bureau of Land Management will give a presentation on 'Serrano Indians - the desert connections' Aug. 26 at the San Bernardino County Museum. Britt W. Wilson has worked with several agencies " to record more than 200 new sites throughout the Southern California region including village sites, rock art sites, rock shelters and milling sites."

"BLM's Central California Advisory Council plans meeting in Cambria" (BLM-California news release,8/19/09)
Land management issues for the Bakersfield Field Office will be on the agenda when the advisory council meets Sept. 11-12. On the agenda are a tour of Piedras Blancas Light Station, an OHV subgroup meeting vote, resource management plans for the Carrizo Plain National Monument and BLM’s Bakersfield Field Office, an update of statewide BLM issues and reports from BLM Central California managers.

"13,000 pot plants found in Whitewater raid" (Banning Record Gazette, 8/15/09)
"The gardens were found growing on Bureau of Land management property and nearby private property. Officers discovered that growers had built five dams to poach the water from a nearby running creek."

"Authorities destroy 1,622 pot plants across region" (Porterville Recorder, 8/19/09)
Authorities on Wednesday destroyed more than 1,000 marijuana plants being cultivated on California Bureau of Land Management lands.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include wildlife biologist, engineering equipment operator, law enforcement ranger, petroleum engineering technician, recreation aid and more!

Close-up of Charlie Wright at his deskEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Charlie Wright...
... is a realty specialist with BLM-California's Eagle Lake Field Office, but part of him remains loyal to his San Diego hometown. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

Aug. 21- Sept. 7 - Camp Smokey at the California State Fair

Aug. 27 - Alabama Hills Stewardship public meeting

Aug. 28-29 - California Desert District Advisory Council meeting

Sept. 26 - National Public Lands Day

Sept. 26 - National Wild Horse Adoption Day


"Marcilynn Burke named deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management" (BLM news release, 8/17/09)
BLM Director Robert Abbey announced Marcilynn Burke, an attorney and professor at the University of Houston Law Center, as deputy director for policy of the BLM.

"Bureau of Land Management to move into 20 M St. SE" (Washington Business Journal, 8/13/09)
The BLM "expects it will occupy the second to sixth floors" of a Washington, D.C. office building has been largely empty since it was completed two years ago ... It sits across from the Navy Yard Metro Station, two blocks from Nationals Park."

RELATED: "Big tenant near ballpark" (Washington Times, 8/13/09)
The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District hopes the move will encourage others to occupy office space in the area, and "help to bring new retail and entertainment options."

"Survey reveals mercury contamination in fish nationwide" (Department of the Interior news release, 8/19/09)
"Scientists detected mercury contamination in every fish sampled in 291 streams across the country, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study released today." Fish in the western U.S. have been known to contain elevated levels of mercury as an effect of mining.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Commuting up to 50 miles away to the sea to dive for fish and bring them back to their young, nesting in the trees.

SOURCE: "Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Murrelets have a unique nesting strategy that requires them to commute tens of miles inland ... Nests have been found inland from the coast up to a distance of 50 miles in Washington State ... During incubation of the egg, one adult sits on the nest while the other forages at sea. Every 24 hours at dawn they exchange incubation duties. Once hatched, the parents commute to the ocean, often several times per day, carrying back fish for their chick. But after only a month of doting, the chick is left to find its own way to sea.


A bear lounges on a lawn"Napping bear takes 'cool break'" (KSBW-TV Monterey, 8/19/09)
A northern California resident said she did a "double take" when she saw a bear napping in her back yard Monday." About 10 minutes later, the bear "walked down a canyon that backs up to her back yard. The canyon is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "Public safety regarding black bears" (California Department of Fish and Game)
Includes links to information -- follow the link to "Be Bear Aware" for a printable brochure on what to do and not to do, prevention tips and more..
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