A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 420 - 2/17/10

Close-up of a lizard Boy Scouts dig with shovels and carry buckets of dirt A dirt bike rider on the sand A Border Patrol agent looks down a canyon at the winding fence Head-and-shoulders closeup of a smiling woman


- Extra: Recovery Act: "This job came at a good time"
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Funny.bytes encore: Journey to the Center of the crater
- Free brochure: Amboy Crater
- Renewable energy
- Recreation on public lands
- Headlines and highlights: Lighthouse birthday, Eagle Scout project,
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: National monuments, Klamath agreement
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

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.
Man sprays brush"This job came at a good time" (News.bytes Extra)
“It’s good to be working again," says Jason Hill of the Cahuilla Band of Indians. "I used to work in construction, but of course that’s all dried up now.” Hill is one of 13 on a crew clearing brush above Poppet Flat, a community in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California. This ARRA project is a "win-win", providing jobs and helping to protect the community from wildfire.


Close-up of a lizard
orange-throated whiptail
Which of these would be an orange-throated whiptail's favorite food?
(a.) oranges
(b.) small mammals
(c.) small snakes
(d.) decaying wood
(e.) termites
(f.) Those soft and chewy orange-colored "circus peanut" marshmallow candies that are so hard to find anymore – some say for good reason, but others say that's because this animal hogs them all and that's how it earned the "orange throat" name.

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

FUNNY.BYTES ENCORE: Journey to the Center of the Crater
Journey to the Center of the Crater, like an old movie credit over   a smoking craterFunny.bytes graphic Generations of children gaze out moving vehicles at Amboy Crater, wishing they could stop and take a look inside. Finally...
Funny.bytes is an occasional Flash video feature of News.bytes. It includes a sound track -- you may want to be ready to adjust the volume on your computer.

Part of the cover of the Amboy Crater brochureFREE BROCHURE: Amboy Crater
While supplies last: Click the link and fill in the online form to request one. Includes a short history, directions to Amboy Crater, what to know before you go, and short descriptions of volcanic features to watch for.


"BrightSource alters solar plant plan to address concerns over desert tortoise" (New York Times, 2/11/10)
"The developer of California’s first new solar power plant in 20 years has proposed revamping the project in an attempt to defuse concern over its effect on the imperiled desert tortoise. BrightSource Energy on Thursday plans to submit a new design to regulators that shrinks the size of the 4,000-acre Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating Station by 12 percent, reducing the number of desert tortoises that must be relocated and avoiding an area of rare plants."

Note: Some news sites may require free registration to view their content online.

RELATED: "Calif. county objects to big solar project near Primm" (Las Vegas Sun, 2/12/10)
"Hundreds of out-of-work Las Vegas construction workers have been waiting for a chance to start building a giant solar plant in California, just southwest of Primm, but San Bernardino County officials’ objections are putting those jobs on hold if not jeopardizing them entirely ... The objection could be a game changer for BrightSource. The county does not have the authority to nix the project, but it could pressure the Bureau of Land Management or California Energy Commission to change the mitigation plan or reduce the size of the project."

RELATED: "San Bernardino County says solar project would take too much land for tortoise projection" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/12/10))
"San Bernardino County planning officials say environmental requirements for a large-scale solar project near the Nevada border would force the developers to preserve too much tortoise habitat elsewhere, making that land unavailable for other uses." The county sent "official comments" on the by BrightSource Energy, Inc. plan "to the federal Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission, which have the authority to approve or deny the project."

"West Chocolate Mountains renewable energy development public meeting set" (BLM-California news release, 2/16/10)
The BLM will hold a March 4 public scoping open house regarding possible renewable energy development in the area of the West Chocolate Mountains near the Salton Sea. During the open house, the BLM will solicit public comment on proposed renewable energy development on approximately 21,300 acres of BLM-managed public lands. All comments must be received by Friday, March 19 to be considered in the draft environmental impact statement. Upon publication of the draft EIS, there will be additional opportunities for public participation.

"Draft environmental study available for proposed Stirling Energy Solar Two Project" (BLM-California news release, 2/12/10)
Stirling Energy Systems applied for a right-of-way authorization to construct a solar power plant on 6,144 acres of public land about 14 miles west of El Centro. The project also includes a 10.3 mile transmission line, substation, water-supply pipeline, and access road. A comment period will end 90 days after publication of the Environmental Protection Agency's notice of availability in the Federal Register. BLM and CEC will hold at least one joint public hearing or meeting on the project.

"Sunrise Powerlink opponents suing feds" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/17/10)
"Federal agencies cut corners and violated environmental laws in approving San Diego Gas & Electric Co.’s Sunrise Powerlink, opponents of the big power line claimed ... in a lawsuit ... The lawsuit concerns several actions by the BLM and the Fish & Wildlife Service from 2007 to 2009 that paved the way for approval of the power line."

"Congressmen voice concerns over proposed East County energy projects" (East County Magazine, 2/14/10)
"Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), Congressman Bob Filner (D-San Diego) have sent letters to federal and state regulatory agencies voicing serious concerns over several major energy projects proposed in East County" involving the BLM and other agencies.

Wind turbines seen against the sunset"Ocotillo wind farm in the works" (Imperial Valley Press, 2/17/10)
"Pattern Energy ... has proposed constructing a 'wind farm' near the Valley’s western mountains. The development would occupy 15,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property. The wind farm could generate 550 megawatts of power, enough to supply 300,000 homes" with 240 turbines.


A dirt bike rider on the sandA camper trailer on the road, near a large red-lettered warning sign"Warnings in place to keep off-roaders off bomb range near Superstition Mountain" (Imperial Valley Press, 2/17/10)
"Warning. Restricted Area. Keep Out, read signs posted near Superstition Mountain to ward off people heading into dangerous territory. There are a number of people camping on land that is part of an active bomb range ... They are putting themselves in danger and interfering with Navy exercises."

"Superstition Mountain OHV Open Area" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
This 13,000 acre open area presents an array of challenging OHV riding opportunities from sand dunes to mud hills. Limited use areas and military practice bombing targets are immediately adjacent to the open area. Please observe all posted signs and do not enter the bombing ranges.

"On Foot: Tiny arrowhead was find of the day" (Chico Enterprise Record, 2/14/10)
"Our purpose in Ridgecrest was a museum tour of Maturango Canyon, a place where there are an unusually high number of petroglyphs ... A weathered sign announced this was Bureau of Land Management land and that taking artifacts from the area was against the law. We could see a group of large boulders about a quarter mile down the trail and followed it to one boulder the size of a house. This was Ayers Rock."


Two band members play their stringed instrumentsGroup of students pose on lighthouse steps"Celebrating 135 years at Piedras Blancas" (News.bytes Extra)
Piedras Blancas Light Station celebrated its 135th birthday Saturday with kids, cake, blue grass music, rap songs, and a delightful history pageant by students from Grover Heights Elementary School. The students created a "Pennies for Piedras" campaign to restore the lighthouse to its glory days -- and ran the birthday show.

A boy in a red T-shirt cuts branches with red clippersBoy Scouts dig with shovels and carry buckets of dirt"Scout completes leadership service project on public lands" (News.btes Extra)
Life Scout Matt Friscia of Boy Scout Troop 131 of Palm Desert was looking for a worthwhile project to complete on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. The BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office found such a project at the remote Corn Springs Campground, in an area rich in historic and cultural significance. Matt supervised a team of scouts to complete needed maintenance and restoration work.

"BLM seeks Desert District Advisory Council nominations" (BLM-California news release, 2/11/10)
The BLM's California Desert District is soliciting nominations for five Southern Californians to serve on its District Advisory Council for the 2010-2012 three-year term, which would begin immediately upon confirmation by the Secretary of Interior. The five positions to be filled include one representative each for renewable resources, environmental protection, elected official, and two representatives for public-at-large. Anyone can nominate qualified persons in any of these categories.

A Border Patrol agent stands near the 18-foot-high fenceA Border Patrol agent looks down a canyon at the winding fence"$57.7-million fence added to an already grueling illegal immigration route" (Los Angeles Times, 2/15/10)
"Among the costliest stretch of fencing ever built on the U.S.-Mexico border, the 3.6-mile wall of steel completed last fall is meant to block trafficking routes over Otay Mountain, just east of San Diego ... When the federal government broke ground last year, environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, said the project would damage the Otay Mountain Wilderness. Portions of the fence and the 5-mile access road lie in the federally protected area."

RELATED: "Otay Mountain Wilderness" (BLM-California website)
Includes links to a map and photos.

"BLM acquires habitat for Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM-California news release, 2/18/10)
The Bureau of Land Management signed papers to add nearly 700 acres of habitat for rare plants and other species to the Pine Hill Preserve -- part of a cooperative effort by BLM, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the American River Conservancy. The Kanaka Valley purchase is located in the central Sierra foothills in western El Dorado County, approximately 30 miles east of Sacramento.

"BP finds buried drugs" (Yuma Sun, 2/16/10)
"Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents found more than 40 pounds of marijuana buried in the Imperial Sand Dunes Sunday."

"Shaking things up with quake research" (University of California-Irvine's New University, 2/15/10)
For 20 years, "most seismologists" predicted that the the next earthquake to hit the southern San Andreas Fault "will be larger than any before it based on the idea that the tectonic plates that formed the fault moved in a predictable pattern. Much of this changed recently" due to study on the Carrizo Plain, by researchers from UC Irvine and Arizona State University.

"The San Andreas Fault and the geology of the Carrizo Plain National Monument"
(BLM Bakersfield Field Office)

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

Head-and-shoulders closeup of a smiling womanEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Lynda Boody...
...began her career with the BLM via a piece of paper blowing against her leg. Now BLM's deputy assistant director for Fire & Aviation, she is currently serving as California's Acting Associate State Director. Read more:

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

Feb. 20 - Meeting on Pine Hill Preserve pile burning
Cameron Park

Feb. 22 - Socio-economic workshop on Clear Creek Plan

Feb. 23 - Habitat gardening
Whitethorn, King Range


A mountain behind a pasture with green and brown sections"Obama eyes western land for national monuments, angering some" (Fox News, 2/18/10)
"More than a dozen pristine landscapes, wildlife habitats and scenic rivers in 11 Western states ... are under consideration by the Obama administration to become America's newest National Monuments ... According to internal Department of Interior documents leaked to a Utah congressman ... the mostly public lands include ... California mountains" and other sites " totaling more than 13 million acres ... Interior Department spokesman Craig Leff told Fox News ... the leaked document 'reflects some brainstorming discussions within [the Bureau of Land Management], but no decisions have been made about which areas, if any, might merit more serious review and consideration'."

RELATED: "Bishop: Obama planning more national monuments in Utah" (Salt Lake Tribune, 2/18/10)
"Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff says Secretary Ken Salazar asked the department's bureaus to identify areas that might be worth further studies as possible management areas or spots for Congress to step in and designate as protected ... 'Secretary Salazar believes new designations and conservation initiatives work best when they build on local efforts to better manage places that are important to nearby communities'."

"Secretary Salazar, Governors Kulongoski and Schwarzenegger announce agreement on Klamath River Basin Restoration" (Department of the Interior news release, 2/18/10)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, PacificCorp Chief Executive Officer Greg Abel and the chairmen of the Klamath, Yurok and Karuk Tribes in announcing final agreements that could potentially lead to removal of four dams on the Klamath River and the largest river restoration project in our nation’s history.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) Termites

SOURCE: "Orange-throated whiptail - Cnemidophorus hyperythrus" (BLM California wildlife database)
These lizards rummage around through leaf litter foraging for termites, their favorite food. If termites aren't abundant they will eat other available arthropods.

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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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