A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 403 - 10/7/09

close-up of the head of a brown pelican A volunteer with Friends of the Desert Mountains advises a student A spiral staircase inside the Piedras Blancas Light Station A white dog rides on the saddle of a white horse Close-up of Janet Lawson holding a reference book


- BLM director speaks to California employees
- Wild horses and burros
- Spotlight on Partners: Friends of the Desert Mountains
- Renewable energy
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Youth and BLM: College students at light station, employee profile
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Coastal Monument, border, jobs, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Environmental award, social media
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

BLM Director Bob Abbey speaks with California fuels specialist Craig BarnesBLM Director Bob Abbey spoke to employees of the California State Office and Mother Lode Field Office Oct. 7, at the Cottage Way Federal Building in Sacramento. Among other goals, his wish for the agency and all of its employees is that "together we can make a difference in people's lives."


"Salazar seeks congressional support for sustainable national program to managed iconic wild horses" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/7/09)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today proposed a national solution to restore the health of America’s wild horse herds and the rangelands that sustain them by creating a cost-efficient, sustainable management program that includes wild horse preserves on the productive grasslands of the Midwest and East.

A white dog rides on the saddle of a white horseA woman leans forward to speak to her mustang"Mustangs show their stuff at Sacramento event" (News.bytes Extra)
Visitors to last weekend's National Wild Horse Adoption Day event in Sacramento watched training demonstrations, learned about different bridles, saw how mustangs can help rescue injured people in remote areas, and even watched a mustang do "math" and give a ride to a dog.

"Burro-ing out of Valley" (Big Bear Grizzly, 10/7/09)
A BLM representative is expected in the community of Big Bear, to "determine what steps to take to protect the burros while keeping them out of East Valley neighborhoods ... The BLM is the agency responsible for moving and managing the herd, while the Forest Service manages the territory ... Drought conditions may have damaged the burros’ food source, and that could be why they are moving into neighborhoods..."

A mustang jumps as a woman watches "Pet Talk: Learning the language of wild mustangs" (Portland Oregonian, 10/6/09)
On National Wild Horse Adoption Day, Sept. 26, "this facility is one of 34 around the U.S. that have taken in horses from the federal Bureau of Land Management to be adopted ... Without sufficient numbers of natural predators, unmanaged herds double in number every four years, according to the BLM -- hence roundups and adoption events ... In Oregon, the BLM manages some 2,700 wild horses in 19 herds..." About adopting: "When you're turning a thousand pounds of wild animal into a loving companion, the transition can be a bit bumpy."

SPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: Friends of the Desert Mountains

A volunteer with the Friends of the Desert Mountains leads a school hike in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National MonumentA volunteer with Friends of the Desert Mountains helps a grade schooler with his rock survey listFor more than 20 years, Friends of the Desert Mountains has been the Coachella Valley's preeminent nongovernmental organization working to protect biological diversity and preserve open space, primarily through land acquisition in the local area. The Friends group is also the primary nonprofit support organization for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.


"Clean energy project rules for California" (New York Times, 10/2/09)
"Regulators have a message for firms seeking to build solar power plants in the California desert: Don’t use much water, take care good care of endangered critters, and make sure you’ve signed a deal with a utility before you submit an application to regulators." A task force including BLM set guidelines "to head off conflicts over water and wildlife that have bogged down some big solar projects."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Additional public meeting scheduled for proposed geothermal project" (BLM-California news release, 10/1/09)
The meetings are to gather comments on the 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 now planned for Oct. 13, 14, 15 and 20.

"Salazar details administration's policy push to build 21st century power transmission grid" (Department of the Interior news release, 9/30/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told energy industry  officials today that the federal government’s past electric transmission policy has been as fragmented and disjointed as the nation’s outdated power grid and that one of President Obama’s top energy priorities is to speed the development of a 21st Century network to move American energy more cleanly, efficiently and safely around the nation."

"Programs train students for green jobs" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/3/09)
"College of the Desert received more than $815,000 from a state grant program for clean energy job training, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office announced ... The college plans to use the California Clean Energy Workforce Training Program grant to train students to work in utility-scale solar energy ... The certificate program will provide entry-level training for work on large-scale, commercial solar farms" such as those proposed for desert lands managed by BLM-California.

"Alternative energy projects stumble on a need for water" (New York Times, 9/30/09)
"Many of the proposed solutions to the nation’s energy problems, from certain types of solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal plants, could consume billions of gallons of water every year ... BrightSource Energy’s dry-cooled Ivanpah project in Southern California would consume an estimated 25 million gallons a year, mainly to wash mirrors ... a wet-cooled solar trough power plant ... would draw 705 million gallons of water in an area of the Mojave Desert that receives scant rainfall."


close-up of the head of a brown pelicanbrown pelican
The brown pelican's preferred nesting sites are small coastal islands. What of these is the most important motivation?
(a.) Fish
(b.) Stable temperatures
(c.) Humidity
(d.) Raccoons
(e.) Lizards
(f.) Retaining higher property values

------> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue

Department of Interior logo is a round seal featuring a buffaloYOUTH AND BLM
News.bytes will feature occasional stories on youth who take part in BLM-California programs, or the Department of the Interior's Office of Youth in Natural Resources.

A spiral staircase inside the Piedras Blancas Light StationPiedras Blancas Light Station"Cal Poly students see the light at Piedras Blancas" (Cal Poly Magazine, Fall 2009)
"Lighthouses are complex, contradicting and universal symbols ... national treasures and a source of shared heritage. The Piedras Blancas Light Station is no exception. And Cal Poly students and faculty are playing a vital role in its restoration ... 'Cal Poly students go out to Piedras Blancas and the jaws just drop open,' said Marlene Cartter, chairwoman of the Piedras Blancas Light Station Association Board." Includes a slide show of photos.

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area"(BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Piedras Blancas is located on California's central coast, just north of San Simeon. The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was completed in 1875. A two story Victorian style dwelling was completed later that year.

Close-up of Janet Lawson holding a reference bookEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Focus on youth - Janet Lawson...
...comes to the BLM as a Presidential Management Fellow, working as a renewable energy project manager in the Renewable Energy Coordination Office in Sacramento. The Presidential Management Fellows program was established in 1977 to attract outstanding men and women from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths to the federal service. Read more:


A firefighter tries to coax a dog to him, as flames behind frame the road they are on"Lytle Creek fire destroys three homes, threatens hundreds more, forces evacuations" (San Bernardino County Sun, 10/3/09)
Sheep Fire: "A brush fire that erupted in the Lytle Creek area Saturday destroyed three homes, threatened hundreds more, burned more than 1,500 acres, and forced evacuations and several road closures ... A unified command consisting of San Bernardino County Fire, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management attacked the fire with water-dropping aircraft, engines and strike teams."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)


UPDATE: "Sheep fire crews get a break from the weather" (Los Angeles Times, 10/7/09)
"Below-freezing temperatures in Southern California mountain areas helped fire crews Tuesday as they continued to make headway against a wildfire near Wrightwood in the San Bernardino National Forest ... Cooler temperatures ...increase the moisture level of the vegetation and help slow a fire's spread." Fire officials lifted a mandatory evacuation order for Wrightwood.

"Bureau of Land Management's Hollister Field Office adds units to fall burn plan"(BLM-California news release, 10/1/09)
The BLM plans to conduct prescribed burns in the Laguna Mountain and Condon Peak areas of southern San Benito County and northern Fresno County. Eighty to 300 acres will be burned in October/November, weather permitting.

"After a devastating fire, an intense study of its effects" (New York Times, 10/2/09)
" 'Fire dynamics have changed a lot, and urbanization has fragmented the landscape,' said Robert N. Fisher, a biologist with the United States Geological Survey, which has coordinated a team to take a closer look at this fire [in southern California] and other recent ones. 'We have to figure out a way to give animals a way to persist in a way they did before in a landscape that is burning too fast and too much'." With slide show.
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"National Fire News" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during fire season.


"2009 Congressional testimonies: H.R. 86, Orange County California Rocks and Small Island" (BLM website, 10/1/09)
Click on the link to read the Statement of BLM Director Bob Abbey to the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. H.R. 86 would add certain rocks and small islands along the coast of Orange County to the California Coastal National Monument managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM-California website)
Located off the 1,100 miles of California coastline, the California Coastal National Monument is comprised of more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles between Mexico and Oregon.

Volunteers load a large truck with trash"Volunteers gather at Poste Homestead" (Hi-Desert Star, 9/30/09)
"With about 75 participants doing everything from picking up the remains of a burned-out trailer to managing trails to putting up a kiosk and signs, the cleanup project at the Poste Homestead Site ... Sept. 26 was called a success." (As also profiled last week in a News.bytes Extra.)

"Ted Kipf Road to Glamis dunes not open to off-highway vehicles" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/1/09)
"Problems have arisen with a proposed plan to make Ted Kipf Road near here a combined-use highway." A county supervisor proposed using the route to increase off-highway vehicle access to and from the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, but safety concerns have officials looking for a different solution.

A Border Patrol agent walks a dirt road to a truck"Border agents aided by East County shooting range closure" (KGTV San Diego, 10/2/09)
"Drug and human smugglers often use the hill as a lookout to track the location of Border Patrol agents. With the new access, the roles have now been reversed ... However, some say that access comes at a price. The Border Patrol asked the Bureau of Land Management, a state agency which controls the area, to shut down the Airport Mesa/Carrizo Creek shooting range for safety reasons." Includes link to video report.

"Recreation, river access, views - all lost on Ponderosa Way" (Amador Ledger-Dispatch, 10/2/09)
"It's as stirring a view over a classic Sierra Nevada river canyon as is likely to be encountered. What's equally notable about the view, however, is how few people encounter it. Ponderosa Way, a decades old public right-of way cut as a federal fire-break 'truck trail' in the nation's run-up to World War II, crosses the North Fork of the Mokelumne River from Amador into Calaveras county ... Jim Eicher, an associate field manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management - Ponderosa Way's original owner - around five years ago drove Ponderosa" and found it blocked by a gate.

"Factions establish common ground" (Capital Press, 10/2/09)
"A half-dozen ranching and conservation groups are joining forces to promote and enhance ecologically friendly ranching in the West. The new Coalition for Conservation through Ranching will attempt through legislation and outreach to stem the transition of Western land away from production agriculture..." The group says that the California Farm Bureau Federation will participate, and that the Bureau of Land Management will advise them.

"A Cache of poisoned water?" (Woodland Daily Democrat, 10/4/09)
"UC Davis ecologist Fraser Shilling found many anglers aren't aware of the potential health risks related to mercury levels in fish and aren't fishing for sport but for their daily meals, including from places such as Cache Creek ... According to the Bureau of Land Management there are 25 mines that drain into the Cache Creek watershed: 13 are on private land and 12 are on federal land. A clean up effort is in the works through the BLM" and other agencies.

"Timber group drops objections to Weaverville forest thinning plan" (Redding Record Searchlight, 10/7/09)
"The Trinity Resource Conservation District and the Bureau of Land Management started the forest in 2005 by signing a stewardship contract for 1,000 acres." The American Forest Resource Council had argued that leaving a 70 percent canopy cover as planned was too much to make it fire-safe.

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

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

Oct. 10 - Cosumnes River Preserve & Habitat Restoration Team event - Invasive vegetation removal and treatment

Oct. 13-15 - Public meetings for proposed geothermal project

Oct. 24 - Two volunteer events


"Nominations sought for BLM environmental practices awards" (BLM national news release, 10/2/09)
The Bureau of Land Management is accepting nominations for its fifth annual award program for outstanding oil, gas, geophysical, and geothermal operators who demonstrate leadership and creativity in reducing the impacts of their projects.


"Interior enters YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter age" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/1/09)
"...Secretary Salazar announced that he is launching four new web tools that will help Americans connect with the nation’s heritage, natural resources, and cultures ... Secretary Salazar has also begun sending emails directly to all of the Department’s 67,000 employees with updates on important initiatives and has opened a suggestion box to which Interior employees can submit ideas and feedback to the Secretary and senior management."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Raccoons

SOURCE: "Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis" (BLM California wildlife database)
The preferred nesting sites are small coastal islands which provide protection from mammal predators, especially raccoons, and sufficient elevation to prevent widescale flooding of nests.


"Service seeks public comment on post-delisting monitoring of brown pelicans" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 9/29/09)
"The agency first proposed removing the remaining protected populations of brown pelicans from the list of threatened and endangered species in February 2008. If the brown pelican is removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act, it will be monitored for a decade, from 2010 to 2020, under a draft post-delisting monitoring plan..."

"Kid-friendly species account: California brown pelican" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
"'Endangered' means that we are afraid a species may become extinct. But we now think that the pelican has recovered. There are hundreds of thousands of brown pelicans in the world. So we propose to take it off the endangered species list." Includes description, history and photos.


"Army won't move tortoises this fall"
(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/2/09)
"U.S. Army officials have scrapped plans to move about 90 desert tortoises from Fort Irwin this month, saying they will wait for a larger relocation effort expected in the spring ...The BLM withdrew from the effort because of uncertainty over how many of the reptiles would survive the move from the training center north of Barstow to public land nearby."
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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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