A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 413 - 12/16/09

Children ride a parade float Extreme close-up of a rabbit with antlers Smokey Bear, Mojave Max and Lightfootpose "Sunny to Share: A brighter energy future for California" Close-up photo of J. Barry Bonnett


- Happy holidays!
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia questions:
      - Jackalopes
      - Rudolph
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Volunteers needed
- Climate change
- Headlines and highlights: Oil and gas sale, salmon, parklands, fire safety
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- Department of the Interior: Historic preservation
This is of News.bytes is online at:

NOTE: News.bytes is scheduled to be on vacation for the next two weeks, while we start preparing features for the upcoming year.


Children ride a parade floatSmokey Bear waves to the crowd from a float"BLM Bakersfield float wins prize in community parade" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM’s Bakersfield Field Office took first place for the non-profit division in the Dec. 3 Bakersfield Christmas Parade. The parade's theme was "Once upon a Christmas" and the BLM float was "Once Upon a Fireman's Christmas".

Smokey Bear, Mojave Max the desert tortoise and Lightfoot the Tread Lightly! mascot pose during a Christmas parade"BLM Needles float wins prize" (News.bytes Extra)
During the Needles Olde Fashioned Christmas Parade on Dec. 5, BLM-California's Needles Field Office won the "decorated vehicle" category. Smokey Bear, Mojave Max the desert tortoise and Lightfoot the Tread Lightly! mascot took time out to pose for a group photo.

Blurry figure of what appears to be a deer or reindeer"Could this be the elusive Rudolph?" (News.bytes Extra)
The image at left is from an actual computer-enhanced photo, captured by BLM's webcam at the Cosumnes River Preserve, south of Sacramento. (Notice the similarity to photos appearing in various periodicals after Bigfoot sightings.) Notoriously camera-shy Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer has seldom been caught on camera.

"NORAD enhances Santa tracking abilities" (Government Computer News, 12/2/09)
"Children of all ages are now able to track Santa live through a variety of social media services and OnStar, thanks to updates to the North American Aerospace Defense Command's annual Santa tracking public service." Santa tracking began Dec. 24, 1955, when a child called a misprinted phone number from a local advertisement -- and reached the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs. The child was checking on Santa's whereabouts. "The quick-thinking commander ... who answered the phone that night told the child where Santa was, and thus began the tradition..."

"Reindeer grazing" (BLM-Alaska)
Reindeer herders on the Baldwin and Seward Peninsulas have received permits to graze reindeer on 15 designated allotments.

Children and their teacher look at a costumed mascot with antlers"Jackalopes holiday tour" (Odessa American Online, 12/10/09)
Speaking of legendary Christmas figures: "There was no jolly Santa Claus flying in on a shiny red sleigh handing out toys to good little girls and boys. Instead the children at Day Star Kids Learning Center were greeted by SlapJack, whose sleigh of choice was the Jackalopes team bus. And instead of toys, the hockey team mascot handed out game tickets and candy canes."


Extreme close-up of a rabbit with antlers
Close-up of a ferocious jackalope in the wild. The photographer reportedly survived -- this time.
Speaking of jackalopes -- as we did in the "Happy Holidays" section above: jackalopes are the subject of this week's wildlife trivia question, even though they are not native to California.
The Douglas County, Wyoming Chamber of Commerce has issued thousands of jackalope hunting licenses, even though the highly restrictive licenses:
(a.) restrict hunting to jackalopes more than two feet tall and weighing more than 80 pounds – and only with a crossbow.
(b.) cost approximately $4,973 – including the cost of a special insurance policy, plus a court hearing to firmly establish the Chamber's waiver of liability for any injuries during the hunt.
(c.) are issued only through a lottery based loosely on the popularity of a prospective hunter's Facebook page.
(d.) allow the ferocious jackalope to take the first shot.
(e.) specify that the hunter cannot have an IQ higher than 72 and can hunt only between midnight and 2 a.m. each June 31.
------> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue.

Detail from the cover of an old book," Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer" by Robert L. May.
Allegedly the only known photograph of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer -- until now

Where was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer born?
(a.) At the North Pole, of course
(b.) Contrary to legend, he was born at the South Pole and only found his way north later
(c.) In the Yukon Territory
(d.) In a livestock stable managed by BLM's Alaska State Office
(e.) At Montgomery Ward's
------> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue.


Funny.bytes graphicTitle slide as sun rises over mountains: "Sunny to Share: A brighter energy future for California"FUNNY.BYTES: "Sunny to Share"
A solar panel is late for work -- but joins his pals to help create electric power.
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues. Warning: soundtrack -- you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.

"Session sheds light on solar plant plans" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/12/09)
"The stakeholders for three solar plants planned for public land east of Joshua Tree National Park turned out in force ... for two public input sessions ... more than 150 attendees ran the gamut ... reflecting the keen interest the projects are generating ... The Bureau of Land Management and California Energy Commission held the meetings to get public input on the three projects, all of which are on an accelerated schedule for final approval by December 2010 to qualify for millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds."

RELATED: "Water concerns could dry up solar plans" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/14/09)
"Water issues could threaten federal and state plans for quick approval of three solar plants proposed for public land east of the Coachella Valley, with hundreds of jobs for local residents and millions of dollars for the region's economy at stake. All three projects entail massive solar thermal plants that use millions of gallons of water a year on sites that rely on wells drawing from aquifers that are part of the Colorado River system ... At least seven more solar thermal plants are in the planning stages for the Riverside East area, according to officials at the Bureau of Land Management."

Solar panels are lined up in the desert"Genesis solar plant project tour" (The Desert Independent, 12/13/09)
"The atmosphere was electric as a large group of VIP’s from the State Energy Commission, NextEra Energy, Bureau of Land Management, union officials, EPA, watchdog groups, potential contractors and interested locals boarded two school buses provided by the Palo Verde USD for a look at the proposed site of the Genesis Solar Energy generating plant at Ford Dry Lake this past Thursday."

"Plenty of work ahead on Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/10/09)
"A year after regulators approved a last-minute route change for the massive Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, officials from the state and San Diego Gas & Electric are dealing with the aftereffects. County officials complain that the change has meant that the environmental impact of the line along the new, southern route has not been properly considered ... SDG&E is still ironing out details of the 120-mile line from Imperial County to San Diego ... A group of East County activists is challenging the approval by the federal Bureau of Land Management," citing the route change.

"Jacob warns of Powerlink impacts on Alpine; Says SDG&E refused county access to key documents" (East County Magazine, 12/10/09)
"Supervisor Dianne Jacob was recently briefed by County staff ... on how Alpine will be impacted if Sunrise Powerlink is built ... 'We are talking about a six-mile section through Alpine ... We’re talking about two three-foot wide trenches, each seven feet deep that would be running parallel down Alpine Boulevard ... and the time period for this to be accomplished could be as much as two years...250 property owners along Alpine Boulevard would be affected and about 150 businesses'."

"Breaking news: PG&E to propose wave energy project" (Pacific Coast Business Times, 12/11/09)
"In what could be a major step forward for alternative electric power generation for the region, Pacific Gas & Electric is preparing to seek approval to study a future wave energy project located off the California coast near Vandenberg Air Force Base ... The goal of the Central Coast project, he said, is to produce reliable electric power with 'no significant impact on existing coastal activities'."

"Geothermal project in California is shut down" (New York Times, 12/11/09)
"The company in charge of a California project to extract vast amounts of renewable energy from deep, hot bedrock has removed its drill rig and informed federal officials that the government project will be abandoned. The project by the company, AltaRock Energy, was the Obama administration’s first major test of geothermal energy as a significant alternative to fossil fuels and the project was being financed with federal Department of Energy money at a site about 100 miles north of San Francisco called the Geysers."


Wild horses run on the rangeTwo burros look at the camera"National wild horse and burro program" (BLM national website)
"The Bureau of Land Management’s top priority is to ensure the health of the public lands so that the species depending on them -- including the nation’s wild horses and burros -- can thrive. To achieve that end, the BLM’s wild horse and burro program must be put on a sustainable course that benefits the animals, the land, and the American taxpayer."
- BLM Director Bob Abbey

"BLM approves Nevada wild horse roundup" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/14/09)
The Bureau of Land Management approved the removal of 2,500 wild horses from the range near Reno on Monday as opposition grows to what would be one of the largest mustang roundups in Nevada in recent years ... The gather is part of the BLM's overall strategy to remove thousands of mustangs from public lands around the West and ship them to greener pastures in the East ... the BLM said removal of the mustangs is needed to bring population numbers down in the Calico Mountains Complex to prevent habitat deterioration."


"Horse shooting deaths suspected" (Sacramento Bee, 12/14/09)
"Federal investigators spent Thursday at the scene of the suspected shooting deaths of up to six wild horses on public land in Nevada, 45 miles northeast of Susanville."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its contents online.)

"Wild horses shot to death on range in Nevada" Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/11/09)
The horses "were found Saturday on public land along the Nevada-California border in Washoe County, about 120 miles north of Reno. Authorities believe the animals had been dead for about two weeks."


"Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management extend deadline for Recreation Resource Advisory Committee member applications" (BLM-California news release, 12/14/09)
The deadline for submitting applications for the Pacific Southwest California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee has been extended to January 9, 2010. Nominations are now being accepted for eight positions on the 11 member Pacific Southwest Region California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee. The committee provides recommendations on recreation fees for federal lands within the state of California.

"Volunteers needed to restore newly acquired public land at Beauty Mountain" (BLM-California news release, 12/15/09)
Volunteers are needed on Saturday, Dec. 19, to assist BLM staff in removing old plastic tubing and other irrigation supplies left behind on a parcel of private land recently acquired by BLM just south of Beauty Mountain Wilderness in San Diego County. 

"Steele Peak SKR Reserve cleanup volunteer opportunity" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The event Saturday, January 23, 2010 from 9:15 AM to roughly 2:00 PM at the Steele Peak SKR Reserve located approximately 4 miles west of Perris. Removing trash will return the area to its natural setting, thus enhancing the habitat for the federally endangered Stephen’s Kangaroo Rat.

"Tamarisk removal - volunteers needed" (BLM-California, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office)
The Dec. 12 event was postponed until January 30, 2010 due to the possibility of rain. Volunteers will hike approximately 1 mile into Sheep Canyon, an area important to the federally endangered peninsular bighorn sheep , to help remove the invasive plant species tamarisk.


"Salazar outlines vision for new energy future at UN conference on climate change"(Department of the Interior news release, 12/10/09)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar delivered the keynote address entitled “New Energy Future: The Role of Public Lands in Clean Energy Production and Carbon Capture” at the UN Conference on Climate Change. Here is the full text of Secretary Salazar’s remarks, as prepared for delivery.

California governor at the podium"U.S. takes center stage in Copenhagen" (UPI.com, 12/16/09)
"Senior U.S. officials have taken center stage at the Copenhagen climate summit in a bid to convince the world that America is serious about climate protection. U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Vice President Al Gore addressed the U.N. climate conference Tuesday and Wednesday, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlining her government's commitments to climate protection from home."

"New science estimates carbon storage potential of U.S. lands" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/10/09)
The first phase of a groundbreaking national assessment estimates that U.S. forests and soils could remove additional quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as a means to mitigate climate change. America’s forests and soils are currently insufficient in soaking up the nation’s accelerating pace of emissions.


"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $2 million" (BLM-California news release, 12/10/09)
Nine oil and gas lease parcels in Kern and Kings counties were auctioned last week for a total of $2,024,413, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office.

"BLM announces public meeting for Desert Discovery Center parkland development" (BLM-California news release, 12/10/09)
The Bureau of Land Management and Desert Discovery Center partners are holding the second of five public meetings to discuss proposed outdoor classroom and park developments. Plans are to expand programs outside on adjacent eight acres with a goal to create a new community parkland and educational facility. The meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16 at the Desert Discovery Center.

"Salmon, marine mammals, primitive living featured in upcoming King Range hikes, talks" (BLM-California news release, 12/15/09)
On Dec. 27, join fisheries biologist Richard Geinger for a five-hour hike to see spawning salmon and learn more about these fish that spend parts of their lives in rivers and parts in the open ocean. Free, but call to reserve space. Fire making, stone working and cordage making will be among the primitive living skills taught by expert Tamara Wilder in a presentation Jan. 12. The event is limited to 15 participants; early reservations are advised. Wilder has practiced these skills for 20 years, and lectures across the country.

Children surround Smokey Bear and Sparky the fire prevention dog"Fire officials visit local schools, teach safety" (Kern Valley Sun, 12/15/09)
"Local firefighters from the United States Forest Service, Kern County Fire Department, and Bureau of Land Management visited more than 700 students from grades kindergarten through eighth grade last month ... They were joined by Smokey Bear, Sparky the Fire dog, four puppets and two small dogs, Chewy and Zeus, in educating the children on fire safety."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include outdoor recreation planner, park ranger, fire lookout and BLM-California state director.

Close-up photo of J. Barry BonnettEMPLOYEE PROFILE: J. Barry Bonnett...
...loves the outdoors.  He was raised in the hill country northwest of Austin, Texas. Jobs doing title searches eventually led him to the BLM's Information Access Center/public room, where he handles mining claim questions and filings and helps the public with other public lands questions.

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

Dec. 27 - Salmon spawning hike
King Range National Conservation Area


"Salazar announces $46.5 million in grants to states and territories for historic preservation" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/11/09)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the National Park Service is awarding $46.5 million in historic preservation grants to 59 states and U.S. territories. ... Last year, projects funded through the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Program generated 67,705 jobs, created 10,392 housing units, and led to more than $5.64 billion of private investments in the rehabilitation of commercial historic properties, Salazar noted."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer #1 and related information
(e.) specify that the hunter cannot have an IQ higher than 72 and can hunt only between midnight and 2 a.m. each June 31.

A woman in a cowgirl hat rides a large rabbit with antlersSOURCE: "The origin of the jackalope" (Douglas, Wyoming Chamber of Commerce)
"The Douglas Chamber of Commerce has issued thousands of jackalope hunting licenses, despite rules specifying that the hunter cannot have an IQ higher than 72 and can hunt only between midnight and 2 a.m. each June 31."

RELATED: "Move over Elvis: History hopping with jackalope sightings" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13/09)
"If you spend much time roaming around the Rocky Mountains states - the part of America I've come to think of as Jackalopistan - you've probably developed a weird fondness and obsession, as I have, for this rare and secretive cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope."

(e.) At Montgomery Ward's

Detail from the cover of an old book," Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer" by Robert L. May.SOURCE: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Snopes.com)
Rudolph was born in 1939 at the Montgomery Ward Company. The company had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas, and a department head though creating their own coloring book would save money. The task was assigned to Robert L. May, who "was often taunted as a child for being shy, small and slight...."
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