A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 414 - 1/6/10

Close-up of red-legged frog A volunteer pulls black irrigation tubing A red tail hawk lands in a tree top Kids on small ATVs line up in the dirt Close-up photo of Jenice Armstead


- BLM funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
- Not for educators only:
    - Wildlife trivia question of the week
    - ARRA frog
    - More BLM-related wildlife stories
- Proposed national monuments in California
- Renewable energy
- Proposed wilderness
- National Landscape Conservation System
- Carrizo Plain
- Recreation on public lands
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: OHVs, desert center, Clear Creek meetings, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items: Oil and gas reforms, trash, abandoned mines, mining reform, more
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Close-up of red-legged frog
California red-legged frog
Which fictional anthropomorphized character would California red-legged frogs most identify with? (Choose two answers)
(a.) Clifford the Big Red Dog – because they are notably large and have red legs
(b.) Br'er rabbit -- because they use the protection of thickets such as blackberry bushes
(c.) Bambi's friend Thumper – because they thump their back feet to signal danger
(d.) Toto – because they originally came from Kansas
(e.) Lassie – because they both rescue people from water hazards such as wells

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

Circular logo for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with white starts on blue, a white leaf on green background and white gears on a red backgroundARRA - BLM FUNDS UNDER THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
The project below was funded with part of approximately $40 million in ARRA funds appropriated to BLM-California.
Close-up of excavator cab with operatorClose-up of red-legged frog"ARRA funds help rare frog, community" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM’s Hollister Field Office has completed the first phase of a project funded under ARRA, to help restore populations of the California red-legged frog, a federally threatened species. The project included renting a bulldozer from a local business, and provided work for a consulting biologist and for the San Benito Resource Conservation District, an important community resource which was in dire straits due to a lack of funding.


A great blue heron spreads its wings while standing among grassesA red tail hawk lands in a tree top"Sandhill cranes pay annual visit to Sacramento region" (Sacramento Bee, 1/6/09)
Sandhill cranes are "among waterfowl now settling into the Sacramento area as part of the annual winter migration. 'The fly-in is very spectacular to view,' said Jeff Rhoades, outreach coordinator for the 46,000-acre Cosumnes River Preserve, just south of Sacramento. 'It's a natural fireworks show'." But there are other favorites. "Holden Brink, wetlands manager with [the BLM], picks the greater white-fronted goose ... among the estimated 170 different species that use the Pacific Flyway. There are tens of thousands of the geese at the Cosumnes preserve, compared with 1,000 sandhill cranes, he said.

RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM-California, Mother Lode Field Office)
Includes a link to a webcam, operating 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, where you can check birds currently using one pond on the Preserve.

"Mojave Max Emergence Contest officially opens" (BLM-California news release, 12/18/09)
California’s Mojave Max is a female tortoise approximately 30 years old. The object of the contest is to guess when Mojave Max will emerge from her burrow for the first time after a long winter sleep. The contest is designed to increase understanding of desert ecosystems and how the desert tortoise and other native organisms are affected when ecosystems change.

"BLM: Mark fences for sage grouse" (Casper, Wyo. Star-Tribune, 12/17/09)
The BLM "is telling its field offices to mark certain fences and guy wires to make them more visible to sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and lesser prairie chickens. Studies have shown that barbed-wire fences can be deadly when these bird species fly into the fences without seeing them ... Mortality tends to be a problem in places where large numbers of birds congregate frequently near fences." Sage grouse are found in 11 western states including California.


Map of the proposed monuments"Proposed national monuments seek to protect desert beauty" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/24/09)
"A bill that would create a new national monument stretching from Joshua Tree National Park to the top of Mount San Gorgonio could boost the Coachella Valley's profile as a destination for hikers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts -- and the economy. The California Desert Protection Act of 2010 ... also is expected to spark controversy for effectively banning solar or other renewable energy development on 941,000 acres in the Mojave Desert ... But this week, valley civic, business and environmental officials focused on the positive impacts of the proposed 134,000-acre Sand to Snow National Monument."

"Desert vistas vs. solar power" (New York Times, 12/21/09)
The bill "would make good on a promise by the government ... to protect desert land donated by an environmental group..." The proposal has been reduced from 2.5 million acres "to around one million acres ... The bill also includes provisions designed to accelerate approval of renewable energy projects on federal land. That is not likely to mollify monument opponents, including unions that were anticipating the creation of thousands of construction jobs."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"Green battle rages in desert" (Wall Street Journal, 12/22/09)
"[S]olar-power developers had submitted nearly two dozen proposals since 2006 for projects that would make the Southern California desert the biggest solar farm on Earth ... But some of the land solar developers consider prime real estate also is prized by conservationists who want to preserve unspoiled stretches of unique desert, such as the Sleeping Beauty Valley and Marble Mountains in the Mojave."

"Solar, wind power growth prompts new protection effort for Mojave Desert" (Central Valley Business Times, 12/22/09)
"A bill that its sponsor says would designate new lands in the Mojave Desert for conservation, enhance recreational opportunities, and streamline and improve the federal permitting process to advance large-scale wind and solar development on suitable lands has been introduced in Congress by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif."


"Balanced way to protect desert"(San Bernardino County Sun, 12/26/09)
Editorial: "'I strongly believe that conservation, renewable energy development and recreation can and must co-exist in the California desert,' Feinstein said. 'This legislation strikes a careful balance between these sometimes competing concerns.' And so it does ... We think Feinstein's legislation will be good for tourism, recreation and renewable energy in the desert - and for the desert itself."

"Editorial: Can green goals coexist in desert?" (Sacramento Bee, 12/28/09)
Editorial: "With more than 20 million acres of desert, California has tremendous potential for solar and wind energy ... The challenge will be to find places that don't undermine this great natural resource - with sand dunes, volcanic craters, mountain ranges and extraordinary wildlife ... and plant diversity..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"A Mojave power failure: A shortfall in Mojave protection bill" (Los Angeles Times, 12/26/09)
Editorial: "From an aesthetic perspective, vast solar arrays stretching for thousands of acres across the desert aren't pretty. But what they do for the environment and for U.S. energy independence can be downright beautiful ... though we'd be happy to see about 1.5 million acres of the Mojave Desert preserved under a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it's disappointing that the California Democrat didn't include more meaningful support for renewable energy."
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"Our View: Can't we find room for solar projects?" (Merced Sun-Star, 12/29/09)
Editorial: " Is it possible to develop renewable energy and preserve natural values in the California desert? Yes, but the details have divided environmentalists and others with stakes in the debate ... Cooperation between the federal government and the state is critical in identifying conservation areas and development areas."


"Governor Schwarzenegger announces 244 proposed renewable energy projects throughout the state" (State of California, Office of the Governor press release, 12/29/09)
"These proposed projects throughout the state include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydro facilities and will help move California towards achieving the Governor’s renewable energy goal of 33 percent by 2020 ... In October, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ... Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to expedite the permitting process for renewable energy projects in California...."

"BLM concentrating on renewable energy projects that could meet stimulus funding deadline" (BLM national news release, 12/29/09)
With the December 2010 deadline for obtaining incentive funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act only a year off, BLM Director Bob Abbey reaffirmed the agency's commitment to helping the nation reach its "green energy future" by guaranteeing full environmental analysis and public review for the 31 renewable energy projects that have met the required milestones to remain on the fast-track list for expedited processing.

"Turbines are careful fit in desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/28/09)
"Some of the biggest windmills in the nation could begin popping up on the Mojave Desert landscape late next year ... The titanic turbines are the preferred choice among energy companies that have filed 63 applications to develop wind farms on public land in the desert from Ridgecrest to Mexico .. but they also raise new concerns about ruining scenic views and damaging habitat needed by species such as the desert tortoise..."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its contents online.)

"Powerlink councils established" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/21/09)
San Diego Gas & Electric Co. "has asked about 110 people to serve on community councils that will suggest how to deal with disruptions caused by the $1.88 billion," 120-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. "The council members aren’t necessarily fans of the project." Part of the approved southern route crosses BLM-managed lands.

A very close photo of a desert tortoise with its head mostly drawn into its shell"Solar showdown in Calif. tortoises' desert home" (Associated Press San Francisco Chronicle, 1/1/10)
"On a strip of California's Mojave Desert, two dozen rare tortoises could stand in the way of a sprawling solar-energy complex in a case that highlights mounting tensions between wilderness conservation and the nation's quest for cleaner power."

"'Million dollar tortoises' shed light on state's environmental laws" (San Bernardino County Sun, 12/28/09)
"A northern California energy company will pay $25 million to relocate and protect 25 threatened desert tortoises before it can start building a massive solar power plant ... while calculating the environmental impact is more complicated than saying '$1 million per tortoise,' the case illustrates the tremendous complexity - and high cost - of environmental laws that come into play when building just about anything in California."


"Wilderness, close to home / Bill would expand Beauty Mountain, Agua Tibia zones" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/21/09)
Editorial: "Some 21,000 acres of rugged public lands near where San Diego County and Riverside County converge ... may soon get welcome federal designation as wilderness. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, last week introduced a bill that would expand the recently established Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia wilderness areas. The practical effect ... would be to codify into law the way the land is being managed now by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "Issa introduces wilderness bill" (North County Times, 12/17/09)
"The bill proposes to designate 13,635 acres in the Beauty Mountain area north of Warner Springs and 7,796 acres in the vicinity of Palomar Mountain east of Fallbrook as wilderness."

A volunteer pulls black irrigation tubingVolunteers pose for a group photo"Volunteers help prepare parcel for public ownership" (News.bytes Extra)
Thirteen volunteers helped clean up plastic tubing and other irrigation supplies left behind on private land recently acquired by the BLM. This parcel was used as a fruit tree plantation with roughly 25 acres of land infused with irrigation line, and now is within the proposed Beauty Mountain Wilderness in San Diego County. Another event is being planned for the same site.


Large rocks in the Pacific Ocean"Congress passes bill to protect SoCal offshore rocks" (The Log, California's Fishing & Boating News, 12/23/09)
The House of Representatives passed House Resolution 86 "which calls for approximately 40 offshore rocks -- located off the coast of Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach -- to be placed under the authority of the California Coastal National Monument" administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

"California Coastal National Monument" (BLM-California website)

RELATED: "Free hikes, exhibits, reception, film showing highlight Rocks and Islands Birthday Party" (BLM-California news release, 12/22/09)
Guided hikes, a film presentation, photo exhibitions and a reception highlight a day-long community celebration Sunday, Jan. 10, in and around Point Arena on the southern Mendocino County coast. All events are free and open to the public. The events are being held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Bureau of Land Management’s California Coastal National Monument, and the larger National Landscape Conservation System, of which the monument is part.

"BLM seeking photographs for new exhibit on King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM-California news release, 12/28/09)
Images are needed by Jan. 15, 2010.  If a photo is selected, the BLM will contact the photographer for a high resolution image to be used in the exhibit.

An antlered antelope on the Carrizo PlainAn antelope on the Carrizo Plain"Where the antelope play" (San Luis Obispo New Times, 12/22/09)
"It’s a scene that could have happened during the ice age hundreds of thousands of years ago ... Graceful pronghorn antelope move slowly across the vast plain, munching on the tender leaves of flowering plants emerging among the grasses. Startled by the distant approach of a predator, the whole herd takes off running, leaping along in perfect unison, fleet as the wind." Volunteers work with the BLM to "remove or modify the four-strand fences on the 200,000-acre Carrizo Plain National Monument ... so the pronghorn can pass under the fence without cutting themselves."

RELATED: "Sun and moon trigger earthly tremors" (LiveScience, A close-up of a fault line on the Carrizo Plain12/28/09)
"The faint tug of the sun and moon on the San Andreas Fault stimulates tremors deep underground, suggesting that the rock 15 miles below is lubricated with highly pressurized water that allows the rock to slip with little effort, according to a new study." Thumbnail at left: Aerial view of the San Andreas fault slicing through the Carrizo Plain in the Temblor Range east of San Luis Obispo. (USGS photo)

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-Bakersfield Field Office)

RELATED: "Carrizo advisory committee plans January meeting" (BLM-California news release, 1/4/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee will meet Jan. 23 at the Carrisa Elementary School to discuss management planning for the monument.

"Piedras Blancas Light Station celebrates 135th birthday with public tours" (BLM-California news release, 1/5/10)
Free public tours will be offered Tuesday, Feb. 16, and Thursday, Feb. 18, to celebrate the 135th birthday of the Piedras Blancas Light Station north of San Simeon.

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)


Kids on small ATVs line up in the dirt"ATV training for kids" (KYMA-TV Yuma, AZ, 1/4/10)
Video: A free program teaches youngsters and adults to be safe on off-highway vehicles in the Imperial Sand Dunes. (length 1:31)
Suggestion: If video is choppy and slow to load, click the "pause" button to allow time for the video file to download.)

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)

A hiker in a small valley between rocky cliffs"Roam-O-Rama: Rockhouse Canyon and Valley"(San Diego Reader, 12/23/09)
"Straddling the San Diego-Riverside county line," these areas "constitute one of Southern California’s truly forgotten places ... You’ll need several hours to dayhike Rockhouse Canyon as described here. Two or even three days of backpacking suffices to explore the spacious valley lying beyond. Don’t forget, even on a day trip, to pack along essentials such as water, food, and extra clothing." The areas are managed by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Bureau of Land Management.

RELATED: "Santa Rosa Wilderness"(BLM-California website)
The terrain within the Santa Rosa Mountains Wilderness is rugged with elevations rising dramatically from just above sea level to 7,000 feet. Bear Creek Oasis, Lost Canyon Oasis, Guadelupe Canyon, Devil Canyon and Rockhouse Canyon are all found within this wilderness. Many of these areas provide important lambing habitat for bighorn sheep


"Debate grows over roundup of wild horses in Nevada" (New York Times, 12/31/09)
"With helicopters swooping low and slow, wranglers this week began rounding up and corralling wild horses on a vast Nevada range, feeding an intense debate over whether removing the animals helps or hurts the preservation of an enduring symbol of the West."

wild horseswild horses"Myths and facts" (BLM National Office)
What is really happening with the wild horse herds?
Is the BLM selling or sending wild horses to slaughter? Is the BLM managing wild horses to extinction? Are wild horses being removed to make room for cattle grazing?

"Nevada wild-horse roundup protested in S.F." (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/31/09)
"The equine enthusiasts brought a miniature horse, a burro and a horse-like English mastiff to the busy downtown sidewalk in front of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office, to urge her continued support for the plight of the country's 37,000 wild horses and burros."


"Two ways of life collide in Wonder Valley" (Los Angeles Times, 1/5/10)
Residents and visitors seeking peace and quiet clash with those seeking off-highway adventure: "The dirt roads ... slice through a confusing hodgepodge of private land and Bureau of Land Management property. Because the place attracts seekers of all kinds, there's a natural tension. But lately it's escalated into intimidation, threats and accusations of vandalism."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)

"BLM to host public meetings for Clear Creek draft plan" (BLM-California news release, 12/17/09)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Hollister Field Office will host three public meetings to gather comments on the Clear Creek Management Area Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement in January 2010. The meetings are planned for January 13 in Coalinga; January 14 in Hollister and January 20 in Santa Clara.

"BLM plans changes to Desert Discovery Center building, exhibits" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 1/1/10)
"Local BLM officials seek to make the Desert Discovery Center building as environmentally friendly as possible ... The BLM also plans to install an amphitheater, trails and themed zones featuring the Mojave Desert’s natural and historical wonders on the eight acres of public land next to the building."

"Governor appoints Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association CEO to California Travel & Tourism Commission" (California Tourism Travel and Tourism Commission news release, 11/18/09)
"As the manager of one of the first destination marketing organizations in California, the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, Bob has a strong track record in promoting economic development through recreation," said Caroline Beteta, CTTC president & CEO and chair of the U.S. Travel Association.

RELATED: "Robert L. Warren" (BLM California website)
Robert Warren represents dispersed recreation interests on BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council.

"Improved Cemex bill introduced By McKeon" (KHTS-AM, 12/16/09)
"In 1990, Cemex leased the rights to mine Soledad Canyon for sand and gravel from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management." The City of Santa Clarita opposes the mine. This bill involves a "complicated land exchange" among Cemex, the BLM, Victorville and San Bernardino County.

"Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee meets Jan. 28-29 in Cedarville" (BLM-California news release, 1/4/10)
Natural resource topics including rangeland monitoring, livestock grazing management and wild horse and burro management highlight the agenda for a meeting of the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee in Cedarville.

Two people behind several holes in a rock ledge"Stone basins may be Miwok salt 'factory'" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/30/09)
"Somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, a granite terrace the size of a football field holds hundreds of mysterious stone basins representing what geologists believe is one of the earliest known 'factories' created and used by ancient Miwok Indians to make tons of salt to trade with tribes up and down California." The Miwok are also known to have used nearby public lands, and are one of BLM's partners in managing public lands.

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

Close-up photo of Jenice ArmsteadEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jenice Armstead...
...was born into a military family in California, and as with most military families, she moved frequently. She traveled even more during 10 years with the Navy, and is now back in California as a human resources specialist with the BLM.

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

Jan. 10 - Rocks and islands party
Point Arena

Jan. 12 - "Primitive technologies"
King Range interpretive hikes and lecture series

Jan. 13, 14, 20 - Public meetings, Clear Creek draft plan
Various locations

Jan. 19 - "Mesmerizing marine mammals"
King Range


"Secretary Salazar launches offshore oil and gas leasing reforms to improve certainty, reduce conflicts and restore balance on U.S. lands" (Department of the Interior news release, 1/6/10)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced several reforms that the Bureau of Land Management will undertake to improve protections for land, water, and wildlife and reduce potential conflicts that can lead to costly and time-consuming protests and litigation of leases.  Interior will also establish a new Energy Reform Team to identify and implement important energy management reforms.

Two men stand among abandoned TVs"Illegally dumped trash piles up on federal land" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/28/09)
"Illegally dumped garbage is piling up on federal lands, often creating toxic hazards and costly cleanups. Nowhere is it more apparent than on the vast, often-stunning tracts owned by the Bureau of Land Management ... The junk they leave behind not only fouls the landscape but can be hazardous to people and wildlife...."

"Salazar announces $369 million in abandoned mine land grants available to states, tribes" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/22/09)
The funds target abandoned coal mines, but California "will use these grants to fund projects that fill mine shafts and address other safety hazards and environmental problems resulting from lands mined and abandoned or left inadequately restored before the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977."

"Support builds in Congress over mining reform" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3/10)
"After years of negotiations between environmentalists and industry groups, observers say efforts to reform a century-old law regulating mining may finally pick up steam in Congress. Among proposals to reform the 1872 Mining Law are plans to implement royalties on mining profits for the first time and reclamation fees for cleaning up abandoned mines."

"Global warming will cause plants and animals to migrate" (Christian Science Monitor, 12/24/09)
"Land managers -- from officials at the state level to federal managers with the US National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management -- increasingly are asking where their scarce conservation dollars can be put to most effective use at a time when global warming is changing the rules of the game."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and more wildlife stories
(a.) Clifford the Big Red Dog – because they are notably large and have red legs
(b.) Br'er rabbit -- because they use the protection of thickets such as blackberry bushes

SOURCE: "California Red-legged Frog - Rana aurora draytonii" (BLM California wildlife database)
California red-legged frogs are California's largest native frogs sometimes reaching five inches in length. They have red coloring on the underside of their abdomen and lower legs. They prefer areas that have dense populations of willows and some cattails, but blackberry bushes also provide good hiding habitat for the frogs.

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