A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 400 - 9/16/09

top view of a gecko on sand A photo titled "trust" shows a hand petting a mustang A wilderness scene highlights a lone bright red flower on a rocky landscape Two burros await adoption Close-up photo of Mark Conley, profiled employee


- Wilderness Act anniversary:
      - Free offer: Wilderness Study Area poster
      - Wilderness and the National Landscape Conservation System
      - Employee profile
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- National Public Lands Day
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Energy and renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Desert tortoises, north coast geotourism, jobs, more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Climate change strategy
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


"National Wilderness Month, 2009"
(White House news release, 9/3/09)
"The American wilderness has inspired wonder and imagination for centuries and is an irreplaceable part of our Nation's heritage. Even before the birth of the United States, visitors from near and far were struck by its splendor and purity. The unaltered American landscape stood apart from any other in the world. During the years of westward expansion, the wilderness frontier became synonymous with pioneer values of steadfastness and rugged independence. This month, we celebrate this history and renew our commitment to preserving the American wilderness for future generations."

Small photo of the Tunnison Wilderness Study Area poster shows petroglyphs on a rocky cliffFREE OFFER: Poster
To help celebrate the anniversary of the Wilderness Act -- and this 400th issue of News.bytes -- we are offering these free to the first 200 News.bytes readers to request them. This poster shows a scene in the Tunnison Mountain Wilderness Study area, managed by BLM-California's Eagle Lake Field Office. Fill out the form at this link -- and be sure to include your mailing address!

Congress has designated areas of public lands in California as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  These represent some of the system's most spectacular units, ranging from desert sand dunes to the Pacific coastline, and from river canyons to mountain peaks.  The BLM also manages Wilderness Study Areas to maintain their wilderness qualities until a decision is made by Congress.

A wilderness scene highlights a lone bright red flower on a rocky landscape"National Landscape Conservation System"(BLM-California)
Online brochure highlights the "special" lands administered by BLM-California -- including wilderness areas. Includes short descriptions and photos of a sampling of some of these special areas. Copies are also available in BLM-California offices.
PDF file, 1.8 megabytes, seven pages:

Close-up photo of Mark Conley, profiled employeeEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Mark Conley..
...hails from a town once known as "the jewelry capital of the world" -- and now manages the "crown jewels" of the National Landscape Conservation System in California, as program manager with BLM-California's State Office. The diamonds in the rough include wilderness areas, national monuments, wild and scenic rivers and much more.

National Public Lands Day logoNATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

"National Public Lands Day 2009" (BLM-California website)
Calling all volunteers: BLM-California is celebrating National Public Lands Day this year with 13 events. Most them need volunteers to be fully successful. Find out if there is one for you. The "official" date is Sept. 26, but please note that dates vary depending on local conditions:


top view of a western banded gecko on the sand
A western banded gecko in the sand
Banded geckos have many predators, the most common being snakes. How does it defend itself against an attacker?
(a.) Its bloodflow inflates scale-covered "spikes" around the middle of its body
(b.) It secretes an acrid toxin out of the end of its tail, back toward a pursuing attacker
(c.) It emits a squeal so high-pitched, it momentarily disorients an attacker
(d.) It plays dead
(e.) It throws down its tail and shakes it at an attacker

------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


A photo titled "trust" shows a hand petting a mustangTwo burros await adoption"Central Coast residents meet America's 'living legends'" (News.bytes Extra)
Residents of California's Central Coast took advantage of the opportunity to get acquainted with America's "living legends" on Sept. 11 and 12, when the BLM's wild horse and burro program held at adoption event in Buellton, near Santa Maria. An estimated 150 visitors attended the event preview and adoption days.

A girl trains her mustang to not spook at a blue tarp on the ground"Teens win trust of wild mustangs"
(Yamhill Valley News Register, 9/3/09)
Teenagers spend the summer gentling mustangs from herds managed by the BLM: "When Jo received Mazie in late May, the young mustang was both frightened and frightening ... 'I couldn’t even touch her or go near her — she would take off ... I didn’t like her much at first.' But Jo, 13, had agreed to spend the summer gentling the filly. So she patiently sat in Mazie’s stall for hours, letting the horse become accustomed to her ... Now, Mazie is tame as a puppy."


"Lightning strikes ignite 81 fires across state" (Lake County Record-Bee, 9/14/09)
"More than 1,500 lightning strikes sparked fires Saturday that are all contained, CalFire reported. The nine fires in Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties burned 10 acres." Firefighters from many agencies including the BLM battled many of the fires.

"Oasis Fire contained Saturday" (Lake County News, 9/13/09)
"The Oasis Fire was contained at 1,575 acres, according to Cal Fire's final report on the incident ... Suppression costs are estimated at $3.5 million ... The blaze broke out Monday evening in a wildland area stretching across a portion of Lake and Colusa counties. It was located on Bureau of Land Management land in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area as well as wildlands in the Northshore Fire Protection District jurisdiction..."

"Personnel shift at Station Fire" (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 9/15/09)
" Firefighters and administrative personnel assigned to the Station Fire on Tuesday shifted their focus from firefighting to clean up and damage assessment. Less than 1,000 firefighters remain assigned to the blaze, which was 91 percent contained Tuesday ... far less than the 3,200 men and women attached to the fire last week."

"Group works to keep south county fire safe" (Sonora Union Democrat, 9/14/09)
[T]he SouthWest InterFace Team (SWIFT) has coordinated more than 15,000 acres of fuel treatments and 67 miles of fuel breaks in a 132,000-acre area to prevent raging wildfires. 'Southern Tuolumne County is a pretty hot area for fires ... we needed to do something'," said Tom James, a retired fire manager who coordinated the effort among agencies including the BLM.

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


"Salazar ends controversial royalty in kind program" (Department of the Interior news release, 9/16/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced he is reforming and restructuring the Department’s management of U.S. energy resources, starting with the termination of the Minerals Management Service’s controversial Royalty in Kind program that accepts oil and natural gas from producers in lieu of cash royalties."

RELATED: "Oil-royalty program involved in scandal to be phased out" (New York Times, 9/16/09)
"The Interior Department is ending the oil and gas royalty program that ignited a major scandal last year when it was revealed that federal employees had engaged in corruption, drug use and sexual misconduct with industry officials."

RELATED: "Statement of Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, before the House Committee on Natural Resources..."
Secretary Salazar's testimony on H.R. 3534, the “Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009," and the royalty in kind program.

"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $200,000" (BLM-California news release, 9/10/09)
Five oil and gas lease parcels in Kern County were auctioned for more than $227,000 by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office.

"Latest obstacle to rural solar plants a tiny toad" (Las Vegas Sun, 9/11/09)
"As solar companies’ applications for leases on federal lands finally move into the environmental review stages, developers are seeing a new potential snag: federally protected species ... The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that it is examining whether a rare toad that lives only in the springs near Beatty should be listed as a threatened or endangered species."

"Public meetings scheduled for proposed geothermal project"(BLM-California news release, 9/11/09)
Three public meetings are scheduled in October to gather public comments on proposed geothermal exploration and development on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management within the Haiwee area near Ridgecrest in Inyo County. The meetings are scheduled for Oct. 13 in Lone Pine, Oct. 14 in Bishop and Oct. 15 in Ridgecrest.


Close-up of a desert tortoise on the sand"Army to move forward with tortoise relocation" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/11/09)
"The U.S. Army has told the U.S. Bureau of Land Management it plans to move 90 imperiled tortoises from Fort Irwin next month, despite the bureau's position that it will not participate in the effort because of uncertainty over how many of the reptiles will survive. John Wagstaffe, a Fort Irwin spokesman, said the Army will relocate the desert tortoises after it gets an OK from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

RELATED: "BLM to revise desert tortoise translocation environmental assessment" (BLM-California news release, 9/11/09)
The Bureau of Land Management will revise the Environmental Assessment for the Translocation of Desert Tortoises by the U.S. Army onto BLM-managed lands.  The revision will allow BLM to address several issues raised about the EA during the public comment period, which ended August 31, 2009.

RELATED: "Suspect strategy" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/15/09)
Editorial: "The U.S. Army needs to offer a far better rationale before restarting efforts to move desert tortoises away from a military base. That decision should rest on facts, not the desire to speed base expansion plans along. Otherwise, the Army signals disregard of the environmental consequences of its actions..."

A participant in the meetings makes a pointQuite a few people at the meeting"North Coast Geotourism Committee reviews 900+ site nominations"
California’s North Coast Geotourism Committee held its major meeting associated with the development of the regional web-based interactive Geotourism MapGuide. Assembling in Mendocino, 30 representatives from the six counties of the North Coast region reviewed the more than 900 site nominations.

"Land swap would allow more mining" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/11/09)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management would transfer to the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District at least 315 acres near existing gravel mine pits ... The district plans to lease the land for gravel and sand mining. In return, the district would transfer to the BLM about 320 acres east of the mining area that would be use mostly for habitat conservation. Endangered species in the area include the San Bernardino kangaroo rat and the Santa Ana River woolly-star, a flowering plant."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

Poppies bloom across the lake from Mt. Konocti"County's Mt. Konocti property purchase goes into escrow" (Lake County News, 9/15/09)
"The county's long-awaited purchase of property on Mt. Konocti entered escrow on Tuesday after the Board of Supervisors gave its final, unanimous approval ... $2.6 million for the larger parcel came from a federal Bureau of Land Management geothermal lease ... which county officials stated previously was the largest geothermal lease in US history."

"Pot garden uprooted" (Corning Observer, 9/11/09)
"A raid on an illegal pot garden east of Red Bluff on Wednesday and the arrest of seven suspects was the culmination of a two-year, multi-state investigation into the activities of a Mexican drug trafficking organization ... Because the garden was located on Bureau of Land Management property, the suspects could be facing federal charges."

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

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

Sept. 19 - Tour of Falk historic mining town, Headwaters Forest Reserve

Sept. 21 - Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory meeting

Sept. 26 - National Public Lands Day

Sept. 26 - National Wild Horse Adoption Day

Sept. 26 - Cosumnes River Preserve - wetlands work and cleanup

Sept. 26 - "Take it Outside" kids fishing day


"Salazar launches DOI climate change response strategy" (Department of the Interior news release, 9/14/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today launched the Department of the Interior’s first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources."

RELATED: "Interior launches climate strategy" (Washington Post, 9/15/09)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar launched the Obama administration's first coordinated response to the impacts of climate change Monday, which he said would both monitor how global warming is altering the nation's landscape and help the country cope with those changes."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) It throws down its tail and shakes it at an attacker

SOURCE: "Western banded gecko - Coleonyx variegatus" (BLM California wildlife database)
hey are also preyed upon by poisonous spiders and arthropods, coyotes, and foxes. When threatened, banded geckos raise their tails as a defense mechanism. If the tail is attacked, it can break away from the body so that the gecko can escape unharmed. The tail will grow back.

top view of a gecko on sandRELATED: "Gecko tail pre-programmed to fool predators" (Discovery Channel, 9/9/09)
"A gecko's tail continues to flip, flop and wriggle long after it has dropped off the lizard's body ... Since the secret appears to be neurons that can generate movement without direct instructions from the brain, future research could benefit humans and other animals that have sustained spinal cord injuries." Includes video of a detached tail in the lab.

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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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