A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 418 - 2/2/10

Girl Scouts try on overlarge firefighting outfits A granite spiny lizard, top view A cactus sits amid wide open spaces A prisoner hugs a mustang Close-up of Karla Norris


- Renewable energy
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Youth and BLM: Girl Scouts learn at B.I.G. Expo
- Legislation related to BLM-California
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: Border charges, Firefighter of the Year, jobs, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- BLM national items: Budget, grazing fees

This issue and past issues of News.bytes will soon be available online at:


"Solar energy on public lands" (Department of the Interior, 1/28/10)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar offers highlights of his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the importance of solar energy development on our public lands. Includes link to transcript of his testimony.

"BLM to hold open house in Needles on proposed Ivanpah Solar Project" (BLM-California news release, 1/21/10)
The open house - Thursday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the BLM Needles Field Office -- will provide information on the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation Project on public lands in San Bernardino County. Bright Source Energy applied 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.

"Three county energy projects debated" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/30/10)
"A battle between backers of wind projects in the mountains east of San Diego and those who say big windmills don’t belong in rural communities because they damage the environment is being taken up by state and federal agencies working on a tight deadline. The concerns brought up at meetings ...and in letters or e-mails between now and Feb. 15 will be used to prepare an environmental impact report, a draft of which should be available for public review this summer." Approval involves the PUC and the BLM."

RELATED: "Wind energy proposal gets mixed reviews in Boulevard" (KPBS, 1/27/10)
"Iberdrola Renewables has proposed building a wind energy project on 1,600 acres in southeastern San Diego County near Boulevard ... the plan calls for at least 100, and possibly 133, wind turbines stretching up to 400 feet from base to blade-top." Critics say the project is tied to the Sunrise Powerlink to move the power, and worry "the projects will forever change the community." Others "welcome the Tule Wind Project."

RELATED: "Tule Wind Energy Project" (BLM-California, El Centro Field Office)

"$1 billion may be needed for lines tied to Sunrise Powerlink" (KPBS San Diego, 1/28/10)
"The cost to California ratepayers of moving energy through SDG&E's planned 2 billion dollar Sunrise Powerlink project may go up another billion dollars. That's because planners of the state's power grid now say major reinforcements are needed to move energy from the desert to the customer." The additional cost would come from accommodating more renewable power projects. The Sunrise Powerlink was proposed to move renewable energy from Imperial County to San Diego, and parts of it would cross BLM-managed lands.

"Jacob wants PUC to rethink Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/28/10)
"The head of the county government says state regulators should reconsider the Sunrise Powerlink because residents in the East County community of Alpine didn’t know how big a disruption its construction would cause."


A granite spiny lizard, top view
granite spiny lizard
The granite spiny lizard's name is appropriate because:
(a.) their skin during molting season looks just like a piece of granite.
(b.) their outer shell is so hard, predators avoid hunting them.
(c.) they like to live among large rocks.
(d.) they only eat prey after they crush it with large heavy rocks.
(e.) they emit large quantities of radon gas, as does some granite

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

Department of Interior logoYOUTH AND BLM 
News.bytes features occasional stories on youth who take part in BLM-California programs, or the Department of the Interior's Office of Youth in Natural Resources.
Girl Scouts try on overlarge firefighting outfitsGirl scouts pet a BLM mustang"Girl Scouts learn about BLM programs at B.I.G. (Believe in Girls) Event" (News.bytes Extra)
More than 4,800 Girl Scouts and their families swept into the Ontario Convention Center for the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council's 1st annual B.I.G. (Believe in Girls) Expo. Like a magnet, Artie, the big bay BLM mustang attracted girls to the BLM booth. There they learned about horse care, wildland firefighting and Leave No Trace principles, and completed activities to earn their Junior Pet Care badge.


A cactus sits amid wide open spacesOne person helps another hop across a stony creek"Proposed monument seeks to balance beauty, growth" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/2/10)
"Stand at the gate of the Mission Creek Preserve -- part of the proposed Sand to Snow National Monument just outside the Coachella Valley -- and you can practically feel the silence and space around you. Cholla cactus and Mojave yucca dot the desert landscape at the preserve entrance, while a single, snow-covered crag of the San Bernardino Mountains splits the horizon ... Sand to Snow has become the centerpiece of a campaign by a coalition of environmental groups and businesses in the Coachella Valley to gain support" for the California Desert Protection Act.

RELATED: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
One of several BLM-managed areas slated to be included in the monument.

RELATED: "San Gorgonio Wilderness" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

"New monuments deserve support" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/31/10)
Editorial: "Gaze out at the mountains west of Desert Hot Springs dusted with snow as sunlight filters through clouds hugging the ridgelines. That could soon be known as the Sand to Snow National Monument, part of the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 ... The views we've come to love will be protected for generations."

"County reacts to new Desert Protection Act" (Inyo Register, 2/1/10)
"County leaders have found Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Desert Protection Act of 2010 not exactly ideal but also not nearly as detrimental to Inyo as they had initially anticipated."

"Deal closer on Bend-area recreation designation north of Red Bluff" (Chico Enterprise Record, 1/31/10),
Rep. Wally Herger and Sen. Barbara Boxer have disagreed on proposals to create the Sacramento River National Recreation Area. "Herger's objections to the latest Boxer bill included the idea of putting the area in the Bureau of Land Management's National Land Conservation System and the way the bill approaches grazing rights." A letter to Tehama County indicates "that Boxer would be willing to introduce a bill creating the recreation area without entering it into the NLCS ... A public meeting on the bill is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3...."


A prisoner hugs a mustangA prisoner sits astride a mustang in a barn"Mustang Redemption" (Mother Jones, Jan./Feb. 2010)
At the Wyoming State Honor Farm, "Dangerous felons are being trained to tame wild horses. But can the horses tame the men?"

Group surrounds mustang that competed in event"Pure Magic at the 2010 Fort Worth Mustang Magic Event" (Rodeo Attitude News, 1/28/10)
"Not a dry eye was found at the Mustang Magic Event" in Fort Worth, Texas as "Logan Leach of Tucson, Arizona with his gentled mustang Red Ryder, rode to a close second against winner Chase Dodd. Dodd gave an amazing performance atop his gentled American Mustang, Tennessee Thunder and took home the purse of $10,000 with a 'bridleless' routine to 'Southern Voices'." Contestants had 120 days to train the mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program.

"Wild Horses Rounded Up in American West" (ABC Good Morning America, 1/30/10)
"When it comes to wild horses, the government has been clear about its goal: The horses are overpopulated and starving because there are too many of them for the land to sustain, so they need to be removed .. The BLM says it is doing these roundups to protect the horses and to 'manage' their population. Activists are crying foul, saying the government's census numbers on the horses are inaccurate. They argue the horses are not overpopulated or starving, and the roundups hurt the horses." Includes four-minute video and links to 15 photos.

"Mustang deaths up to 26 in Nev wild horse roundup" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 1/29/10)
"Wild-horse advocates criticized federal land managers after the number of mustang deaths so far in a government roundup on the range north of Reno nearly tripled from a week ago, going from nine to 26."

"Feds deny gas pipeline related to mustang roundup" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 1/31/10)
"Activists who want the horses to stay on the range say the Ruby Pipeline project is the 'smoking gun' that made federal officials decide to round up 2,500 horses this month from the desert about 100 miles north of Reno ... Government officials said the horses would have been relocated even without the project because land and water resources can't sustain large numbers of mustangs."


"Suspected drug smuggler indicted for second-degree homicide in connection with killing Border Patrol agent" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/29/10)
"A suspected drug smuggler, rearrested in Mexico for allegedly killing a U.S. Border Patrol agent two years ago, was extradited Thursday and charged in a three-count federal indictment that includes second-degree murder ... Jesus Navarro-Montes was charged "in relation to the Jan. 19, 2008, killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area...."

A firefighter and presenter hold award plaque"BLM Firefighter Savage Wins 'Firefighter of the Year' Honor" (News.bytes Extra)
Albert Savage, fuels specialist for the Bureau of Land Management Alturas Field Office, was presented the Firefighter of the Year Award in Susanville.

"BLM Bishop Field Office seeks input on proposed campground renovation" (BLM-California news release, 1/27/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office is seeking public input on the agency’s proposal to renovate several BLM campgrounds in the eastern Sierra. Public comments will be accepted for the environmental analysis component of this project until Feb. 28. 

"BLM announces final public meetings for Desert Discovery Center parkland development" (BLM-California news release, 1/29/10)
The Bureau of Land Management and Desert Discovery Center partners are holding the fourth and fifth 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 meetings are scheduled for Feb. 3 and Feb. 17.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include archaeologist, fire lookout, wildland firefighter and more.

Close-up of Karla NorrisEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Karla Norris...
...is BLM-California's new Associate Deputy State Director for Resources. When not involved in managing the public land, she may be underneath the water or on a horse -- including jousting.

Find details online at:


"President proposes $1.1 billion for BLM in Fiscal Year 2011 to protect resources and manage uses of public lands" (BLM national news release, 2/1/10)
With a focus on renewable energy development, climate change adaptation, and other key priorities, President Obama today requested $1.1 billion in appropriations for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in Fiscal Year 2011. This represents an $8.0 million increase from the BLM’s FY 2010 enacted funding level. The President’s request reflects his continuing commitment to be prudent with taxpayer dollars while setting priorities for spending.

"BLM and Forest Service Announce 2010 Grazing Fee" (BLM national news release, 1/29/10)
The federal grazing fee for 2010 will be $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the same as in 2009. The newly calculated grazing fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by the Forest Service.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) they like to live among large rocks.

SOURCE: "Granite spiny lizard - Sceloporus orcutti" (BLM California wildlife database)
Granite spiny lizards prefer to live in habitats with large rocks. They use the rocks for basking and foraging, and they use the rock crevices for shelter from predators and the heat.

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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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