A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 411 - 12/2/09

Close-up of chipmunk at mouth of burrow A rider takes a jump among sand dunes An inflatable turkey sits atop a camper Man sits in middle of old Route 66 with a model of restored building he envisions Ken Salazar wearing a cowboy hat


- Wild horses and burros
- Abandoned mine lands
- Renewable energy
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Thanksgiving revs up season in the dunes
- Headlines and highlights: History slide show, Route 66 dreams, jobs
- Selected upcoming events
- Department of the Interior items: Stories and interview with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


"Horses, burros up for adoption"(Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/28/09)
"Time and patience. Those are the most important qualities for animal lovers who may be considering adopting a wild horse or burro at the Bureau of Land Management's animal adoption event Friday and Dec. 5 ... " Said Annette Garcia of the Coachella Valley Mounted Rangers, "The first thing I do, I'll just hang out with them. I'll get a chair and put it in the middle of the corral and read a book ... They're curious. They'll come to you. I'll throw some hay (on the ground). Horses that eat together usually are friends.”

RELATED: "Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Winchester" (BLM-California news release, 11/24/09)
These living legends are available for adoption in Winchester, Calif. on Dec. 5. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. Spectators are welcome. Animals arrive at noon on Friday, December 4, and potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 1 to 5 p.m. A lottery adoption will provide all adopters an equal opportunity to adopt the animal of their choice.

"Christmas burro adoption in Redlands" (BLM-California news release, 12/2/09)
On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12, celebrate the season with complimentary cider and the opportunity for you and your family to meet some of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM)  “Christmas” burros at the Sundance Ranch in Redlands. You may preview the burros Friday afternoon from 1 to 5 and adopt on Saturday from 8 to 3.

"BLM sets meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for December 7 in Reno" (BLM news release, 11/12/09)
The Advisory Board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. 


Group stands around man explaining mine historyMan points to location on map"Tour highlights abandoned mine dangers, progress" (News.bytes Extra)
Congressional staff got a first-hand look at the challenges faced by agencies in addressing the risks remaining from the California gold rush during a tour of abandoned mine sites. Last week, the BLM hosted a field tour of sites in the Mother Lode area of the Sierra foothills the day after a congressional hearing in Sacramento.

"Gold in them there hills" (Eureka Times-Standard, 11/26/09)
"As gold soars to an incredible $1,180 an ounce, the Gold Rush country of Trinity County has become increasingly attractive to speculators." A Texas Oil company "announced it was buying another 200 acres of placer gold claims in Trinity County ... a conservationist who has been monitoring public land in the county ... said that while mining methods have improved, government agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management cannot deny a proposal to mine claims due to the 1872 Mining Act, but can only require measures to limit environmental effects."


"BLM/Energy Commission to hold public workshop on Ridgecrest Solar Project" (BLM-California news release, 12/1/09)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the California Energy Commission are inviting the public to a public workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 15, to discuss Solar Millennium’s proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power Project in Kern County near Ridgecrest.

"BLM/Energy Commission seek public input on NextEra Ford Dry Lake solar project" (BLM-California news release, 11/24/09)
The Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission are inviting the public to a public informational hearing, a site visit, and an information/scoping meeting on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 10-11, on a proposal from NextEra Energy Resources LLC, to build a 250-megawatt solar thermal power plant on public land at Ford Dry Lake, 25 miles west of Blythe in eastern Riverside County.

"BLM/Energy Commission seek public input on Palen/Blythe solar projects"(BLM-California news release, 11/24/09)
The Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission are inviting the public to an information/scoping meeting on Friday, Dec. 11, in Palm Desert on a proposal from Chevron Energy Solutions and Solar Millennium to build two solar thermal power plants on public lands near Desert Center (Palen) and Blythe in eastern Riverside County.

Artist's sketch of proposed solar project shows circular arrays of mirros in the desert"Bureaucracy trips up renewable energy projects" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/27/09)
"The permit application process can be a labyrinth. In California, the process varies depending on the location and the type of technology involved. County governments grant permits for wind farms and solar power plants that use photovoltaic cells. Solar thermal plants - which use mirrors to generate steam - get their permits from the California Energy Commission, although other state agencies will review each project and add their comments. For projects that lie on federal land, developers also need approval from the Bureau of Land Management..."

"California solar power transmission line approved" (Reuters, 11/30/09)
"On Friday the California Public Utilities Commission approved a new 500 Kilovolt transmission line from desert areas deep in southeastern California where numerous solar projects have been signed, to urban centers on the coast ... Projects that might feed into this grid could finally start moving. This month, the Bureau of Land Management just began review of two in the area..."

"County fights to stop loss of geothermal royalty funds" (Lake County News, 11/27/09)
"A new Department of the Interior budget signed earlier this month strips away much-needed geothermal lease revenue for counties across the United States that have geothermal production. Officials in Lake County – which received the largest amount of geothermal lease funding of any county nationwide – got tipped off to the changes and are leading the charge to get the funds restored.


Close-up of chipmunk at mouth of burrow
A yellow-pine chipmunk
Which character from mythology does the yellow-pine chipmunk's life story most emulate?
(a.) Orpheus, because it "sings" to woo a mate.
(b.) Diana, because the moon is especially important to it and lights its night hunts for food.
(c.) Hermes, because one member of a colony will run quickly to a neighboring colony to warn of danger.
(d.) Persephone, because it spends almost half of the year underground.
(e.) Yasgцr, a mythical figure sometimes mentioned by the elders as host of the transcendent music festival of their youth, Wüdstock.

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


Man drives off-road vehicle in the sand"Off-road enthusiasts enjoy Thanksgiving outdoors in Imperial County"
(Imperial Valley Press, 11/26/09)
"Many off-road enthusiasts at Superstition Mountain could spend Thanksgiving dinner indoors, but they prefer an open-air meal with the roar of the bikes in the distance. 'It’s a family tradition,' said Neill Bucher, of Imperial. 'We’re always out for the holidays. It’s a time for family and friends.” Bucher and his family shared a camp, or a circle of RVs, with a group of other Imperial friends'."

An inflatable turkey sits atop a camper"Turkey Day -- dunes style" (Yuma Sun, 11/26/09)
"[F]amily tradition has another meaning at the Imperial Sand Dunes for Thanksgiving. Hundreds of the camps are families, families that have been coming out to the dunes for years and celebrating the holiday with their loved ones - and new friends made along the way."

"Off-road enthusiasts find freedom, relaxation in Imperial County desert" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/26/09)
"Superstition Mountain was alive with revving off-road vehicles and lively conversation Thursday as off-road enthusiasts took advantage of the clear skies and light wind. Toddlers in electric jeeps, children on motorcycles and adults in dune buggies took to the rugged moonscape of Superstition Mountain on Thanksgiving day. For many, freedom was a major draw to the area during the holidays."

A rider takes a jump among sand dunes"Dunes weekend numbers down" (Yuma Sun, 12/1/09)
"Attendance was down this past holiday weekend at the Imperial Sand Dunes. David Briery, spokesman with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Public Affairs Office, said he thinks it's because of the downturn in the economy. Briery said there were 165,000 visitors to the dunes during the holiday weekend, compared with 172,000 during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday weekend."

Roadside trash sits near an SUVTrash bins, one overflowing, sit on the sand"New season, new trash compact in the dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/29/09)
"The trash bins at Imperial Sand Dunes were brimming as an exodus of recreational vehicles continued Sunday after the year’s busiest off-road weekend. Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation area manager Neil Hamada of the Bureau of Land Management said ... 'The more trash we put in the Dumpsters, the more we have to pay' ... Hamada said it saves money if people take the trash home themselves'."

"Ted Kipf Road still blocked to off-highway vehicles" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/26/09)
"With the largest visitation weekend here, the road that allows off-roaders to travel along the eastern dunes will only allow street-legal vehicles ... A few years ago, three minors died while trying to cross the railroad tracks..."

Rescue workers tend to an injured off-roader"Aid ready for injured duners" (Yuma Sun, 11/26/09)
"With several thousand four-wheelers, sand duners and off-roaders expected to do some recreating at the Imperial Sand Dunes this month, the U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue teams assigned to the area have an important message: 'Be safe'."


Historic photo of a building in Falk"Elk River town of Falk subject of presentation" (The Humboldt Beacon, 11/25/09)
"Bureau of Land Management Park Ranger Julie Clark presents 'Falk: the Beginning and End of the Elk River Company Town'," in Eureka, Saturday, Dec. 5. Clark "presents this history through a slide show of Falk through time, from its conception to the ghost town period, with many historic photos of the town and its residents. ... Clark leads tours and field trips out to the Falk site. For those who cannot get out to the site, this program will be a great opportunity to see what it's all about.

Model of building with pillars and sign, "Chambless"Man sits in middle of old Route 66 with a model of restored building he envisions"Solar plant prospects near Route 66 foster business dream rooted highway's heyday" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/30/09)
Gus Lizalde hopes to restore Chambless, on old Route 66. "It's a far flung outpost, halfway between Barstow and Needles, that once offered gas, food and lodging to motorists headed into or out of California ... The gas station, store, restaurant, motel cabins and RV spaces are surrounded by barbed wire ... Only a few dozen cars pass by in a day. But ... dozens of large-scale solar energy projects are proposed on the publicly owned land that extends as far as the eye can see in every direction."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"California officials target big marijuana growers" (National Public Radio, 12/1/09)
"For decades, a task force of lawmen has been parachuting into some of the most rugged sections of California. For a week at a time, they search for and destroy as much pot as they can find. They call it the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP. On a recent day, NPR joined CAMP in a helicopter to hunt for cannabis in Humboldt County in Northern California ... Back in town, some envision the day when Humboldt County becomes the center for weed connoisseurs, a sort of Napa Valley of pot ... By some estimates, it's already the biggest cash crop in California." BLM-California is a participant in CAMP.


"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current jobs include law enforcement ranger and supervisory range technician - both closing soon -- plus wildland firefighting jobs, fire lookout, maintenance helper/worker, range aid/technician (weeds), park ranger archaeology technician and more to be filled at different times in various locations.

"Sign-up now for wildland fire fighting course" (Kern Valley Sun, 12/1/09)
"The U.S. Forest Service in conjunction with Kern Valley High School and the Regional Occupation Program (ROP) will provide a Wildland Fire Fighting Course for the 2010 spring semester ... The classes will offer an opportunity to complete required basic Wildland Fire training and enhance chances of employment in this field with the U.S. Forest Service, Kern County Fire Department and Bureau of Land Management.

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

Dec. 7 - National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting

Dec. 8 - Wailaki culture
King Range interpretive hikes and lectures

Dec. 9 - Oil and gas lease auction


Ken Salazar wearing a cowboy hat"Salazar plots cautious course at Interior" (New York Times, 12/1/09)
"When President Obama appointed former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar Secretary of Interior almost a year ago, he said that he was taking the helm of the federal government’s most troubled agency."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

Ken Salazar speaks animatedly with two former Senate colleaguesRELATED: "Turning around a troubled agency" (New York Times
"Ken Salazar, who leads the Interior Department, brings enthusiasm to the task of cleaning up an agency that has faced troubles in recent years." (This video is also embedded in above news story, at a smaller screen size. This larger-screen version may be preceded by a commercial. Length: 7:47)

Close-up of Ken Salazar in video interviewRELATED: "A Conversation With Ken Salazar" (New York Times, 12/1/09)
Video: John Broder of The New York Times interviewed Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, about the challenges facing the federal agency. (20 minutes)

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Persephone, because it spends almost half of the year underground.

SOURCE: "Yellow-pine Chipmunk - Tamias amoenus" (BLM California wildlife database)
These chipmunks hibernate from about December or January to April or May. They spend approximately five months below ground, waking up about every two weeks to eat from their food cache.

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