A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 417 - 1/27/10
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Energy, renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Recreation on public lands
- Headlines and highlights: Earthquake study, wilderness, more
- Advisory councils and committees: Meetings, meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: New website
---->News.bytes may not be issued next week, or may be a shorter version
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
|ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY
"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM-California news release, 1/25/10)
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct an auction of oil and gas leases on federal land on March 10 in Bakersfield. The competitive lease auction involves nine parcels for a total of 4,887.06 of public lands in Kern and Sutter counties.
"Reality check: Inaccurate statements on federal oil and gas development" (Department of the Interior news release, 1/26/10)
“Oil and gas production on federal lands and waters is up -- not down -- from 2008, and under Secretary Salazar’s leadership the Department has offered more than 56 million additional acres for development," said Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff. "Interior’s agencies will continue to promote oil and gas development in the right ways, in the right places, and with a fair return for the American taxpayer...."
"Geothermal advocates tout plant's smaller environmental footprint" (Greenwire in New York Times, 1/21/10)
A study "found that future geothermal developments will be less than half as land-intensive as solar thermal plants and about one-tenth as land-intensive as wind farms." Also, new geothermal plant designs recycle groundwater instead of letting the steam escape. Many of the 144 geothermal plants now "under development" in the U.S. would be on BLM-managed lands.
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its contents online.
"BLM to hold open house in Needles on proposed Ivanpah Solar Project" (BLM-California news release, 1/21/10)
The BLM announces an open house to facilitate understanding of the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation Project on public lands in San Bernardino County. The open house will be Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the BLM Needles Field Office. Bright Source Energy of Oakland, Calif. applied to the BLM for four right-of-way authorizations to construct solar power plants on approximately 4,000 acres of public land in California about 4.5 miles southwest of Primm, Nev.
"Riverside East solar projects face red tape, delays" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/22/10)
"Endless demands for information and constantly shifting environmental policies could mean three fast-track solar projects east of the Coachella Valley will not be able to break ground by December of this year -- a deadline they must meet to qualify for federal stimulus funds. At least that was the message federal and state energy officials have been getting from company executives for the projects at a special meeting today in Sacramento."
"The clean, green desert" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25/10)
Editorial: "It's an environmental catch-22. California needs to meet its aggressive goals for renewable-energy production, but solar and wind farms require lots of space. The farms' land gobbling can conflict with one of Californians' most cherished values: the preservation of pristine wilderness and animal habitat. As the state gets serious about increasing its renewable-energy portfolio, there's going to be tension ... There is a way to balance conservation and renewable energy production, and we're discovering it right now."
"Proposal raises local concerns" (San Bernardino County Sun,
OpEd by San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt: "It is my belief that, while renewable energy projects can bolster our local employment and tax base if they're located in the right areas, the Mojave Desert should only be expected to accommodate its fair share of these projects on public lands - not more."
WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild horses and mules help youngsters find purpose, build character" (News.bytes Extra)
“There’s nothing better for the inside of a kid than the outside of a horse,” said Will Rogers. BLM Ranger Reid Hopkins has used the belief that horses build character to help hundreds of at-risk youth become productive citizens. His program teaches equine and backcountry skills, and winds up in a parade and competitions at Bishop Mule Days.
"Does the U.S. do a good job handling wild horses?: Yea or Neigh?" (Scientific American, 1/26/10)
"How many there should be? What happens to the ones that get culled? Should they remain wild at all? The fates of these iconic animals has people on each side of the debate ... up in arms, and the clutter of opinions makes it hard to cut through to the facts."
"Message from Director Bob Abbey" (BLM national website)
As directed by Congress under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the BLM protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros that roam Western public rangelands. The Bureau manages these iconic animals as part of its overall multiple-use mission across 253 million acres of public lands.
"BLM roundup: 1,068 mustangs now held in Fallon" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 1/25/10)
"The Bureau of Land Management has declined to put up windbreaks and shelters in the corrals where more than 1,000 wild horses are awaiting transport ... prompting mustang advocates to accuse the agency of inhumane treatment of the animals. Federal officials said the requests of the animal activists were considered, but experience with other holding facilities in Fallon and the advice of veterinarians led to the determination that windbreaks such as tarpaulins or plywood aren’t needed."
"BLM justifies wild-horse roundup" (Lahontan Valley News, 1/26/10)
"Rancher Robert Depaoli of Lovelock, who grazes his cattle near the complex five months a year, said he has seen the big game and horses starve to death and figures the roundup will protect them ... Washington, D.C., attorney William J. Spriggs is representing several groups against the roundup. 'I'm not a scientist, but I do feel the horses are getting short-changed,' Spriggs said, adding that his clients are not attacking the cattle industry but the manner in which BLM is conducting its roundup operations'."
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Desert iguanas are most common in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of California. One special trait gives them an advantage over other animals in their range. What is it?
(a.) They are the most heat-tolerant reptiles in North America, so they have little competition while locating food in midday heat.
(b.) They need much less water than other desert species, so they can travel over a wider range and can escape predators into more remote areas.
(c.) They can digest even the woodiest fibers of various types of cactus, so they can find more nutrition in a smaller area than other animals.
(d.) They are more resistant to snake venom than other reptiles, so they can seek food in more areas than other desert animals.
(e.) They know the words to hundreds of camp songs, passed down by ancestors who lurked outside prospector's campsites -- so they can better put up with the long distance travel and solitude that are part of living in the desert.
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Storms leave excellent cross country skiing conditions on Bizz Johnson Trail" (BLM-California news release, 1/22/10)
Recent winter storms in northern California have left excellent cross country skiing and snowshoeing conditions on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail between Susanville and Westwood. “There is great coverage even on the lower elevations closest to Susanville,” said Stan Bales of the BLM’s Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville. “We encourage everyone to get out there while the lower elevation snow hangs on.”
RELATED: "Outstanding cross-country skiing conditions on the Bizz Johnson Trail " (News.bytes Extra, issue 317)
See photos from Feb. 2008, when snow storms also left excellent cross-country skiing and snow shoeing conditions.
"Rainstorms cause closure of BLM land at Briceburg" (BLM-California news release, 1/21/10)
Rockslides caused by rainstorms have closed land along the Merced River at Briceburg managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office.
"Plant hike, gardening lecture offered in King Range" (BLM-California news release, 1/20/10)
A guided hike focused on native plants and a lecture on habitat gardening are the next events in an ongoing series of winter hikes and lectures offered by the Bureau of Land Management’s King Range National Conservation Area. The hike is Saturday, Feb. 13; the lecture is Tuesday, Feb. 23. Both events are free.
ADVISORY COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES
"Carrizo Plain Advisory Committee looks to implement plan for the Monument" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee are looking to future activities on the ground as the Resource Management Plan for the Monument moves into its final phase. Neil Havlik, MAC chair, said at the MAC meeting Saturday he is excited by the future role of the MAC regarding implementation activities.
"BLM Northeast California Advisory Council meets Feb. 17-18 in Cedarville" (BLM-California news release, 1/26/10)
Members of the Bureau of Land Management’s Northeast California Resource Advisory Council will discuss wide-ranging natural resource conservation topics when they meet Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 17 and 18 in Cedarville.
"Alabama Hills stewardship public meeting date changed" (BLM-California news release, 1/21/10)
The community of Lone Pine and the BLM’s Bishop Field Office will hold a short public meeting tomorrow, Jan. 28 regarding management of the Alabama Hills. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History. An earlier meeting was cancelled due to the weather.
MEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Tom Acuna...
...represents renewable energy interests on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. Read more:
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"San Andreas Fault study unearths new quake information" (Arizona State University News, 1/21/10)
"Recent collaborative studies of stream channel offsets along the San Andreas Fault by researchers at Arizona State University and UC Irvine reveal new information about fault behavior - affecting how we understand the potential for damaging earthquakes. The researchers' findings encompasses their work at the Carrizo Plain ... site of the original "Big One" - the Fort Tejon quake of 1857."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
"Bill aims to save wilderness areas" (San Bernardino County Sun, 1/23/10)
OpEd by Mike Cipra of the National Parks Conservation Association, supporting the California Desert Protection Act of 2010" that would create the 134,000-acre Sand to Snow National Monument and the 941,000 acre Mojave Trails National Monument.
"Navy requests partial cancellation for Marine Corps land withdrawal" (BLM-California news release, 1/26/10)
The U.S. Department of the Navy has asked the BLM to remove approximately 33,488 acres of public lands from its application for the proposed expansion of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.
|NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior unveils dynamic new web site" (Department of the Interior news release, 1/22/10)
The Department of the Interior has unveiled its new Web site design with an emphasis on increased openness and accessibility as well as new visual and interactive dynamics.
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) They are the most heat-tolerant reptiles in North America, so they have little competition while locating food in midday heat.
SOURCE: "Desert iguana - Dipsosaurus dorsalis" (BLM California wildlife database)
These lizards are the most heat-tolerant reptiles in North America. They can remain active in temperatures up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (this temperature would kill most other reptiles). Most desert reptiles avoid the extreme heat of mid-afternoon, so with all of the other species hidden in shady areas, desert iguanas have very little competition for food.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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