A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 421 - 2/24/10

Close-up of what looks like a chipmunk Close-up of woman's face A close-up of purple flowers A young woman sits at her computer A woman and girls stand amid structures made of branches


-Renewable energy
- Recreation on public lands
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Youth and BLM: Girl Scouts explore desert palm oasis
- Headlines and highlights: Dispatcher honored, wild horses and burros, fog, jobs, more
- Legislation affecting BLM-California
- Focus on youth: Employee profile
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Water, economic impacts
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


The top of a solar power tower gleams in the sunAn arrow on a map points to a location near the California-Nevada border"Fed guarantee helps BrightSource Energy plan" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/23/10)
"BrightSource Energy Inc. of Oakland won $1.37 billion in federal loan guarantees Monday to build solar power plants in the Mojave Desert ... the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System ... will use mirrors to focus sunlight and generate electricity. Together, the three plants near the Nevada border will produce enough power for 140,000 homes ... BrightSource won't get them unless the Ivanpah project receives permits from the California Energy Commission and the federal Bureau of Land Management, both of which are reviewing the project."

RELATED: "BrightSource is first solar developer to get a federal loan guarantee"(Las Vegas Sun, 2/22/10)

"Developer proposes 30,000 solar dishes in Calif. desert" (Greenwire at New York Times, 2/19/10)
"Federal efforts to permit nearly a dozen large-scale solar-power projects in California by year's end moved a significant step forward last week as the Bureau of Land Management rolled out a detailed environmental review for one of the largest plants proposed to date -- a 750-megawatt
concentrated solar facility in the Colorado Desert. When completed, Stirling Energy System Inc.'s $2.2 billion Solar Two project is expected to include 30,000 solar dish systems across more than 6,100 acres of federal land -- making it the largest project to move this far through the federal permitting process."

"Lucerne Valley solar project comment period announced" (BLM-California news release, 2/19/10)
The Bureau of Land Management announced that the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement and draft plan amendment for the proposed Chevron Energy Solution’s Lucerne Valley Solar Project in San Bernardino County will end May 19. A public comment meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 in Lucerne Valley.

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


"BLM invites public review of OHV grant applications" (BLM-California news release, 2/24/10)
The public is invited to comment on the 2010 applications the Bureau of Land Management has submitted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. The public review and comment period will run from Tuesday, March 2 through Monday, April 1, 2010. The OHV grant applications are an annual process that is a key part of the partnership between BLM and the state of California, which issues grants to a variety of entities to improve or mitigate off-highway vehicle recreation.

Many people sit in the large room"Interested parties discuss socio-economic impacts of Clear Creek RMP/EIS"
(News.bytes Extra)
Business owners, off-highway vehicle riders and organizations, rockhounds and other interested parties attended a workshop Monday in Hollister to discuss socio-economic impacts for the Clear Creek Management Area Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement being developed. Attendees talked about the value of the area to the regional economy, as well as activities that have historically gone on at Clear Creek. Written comments on the draft RMP/EIS must be postmarked or received by BLM no later than March 5, 2010.

A bicyclist climbs a paved trail"Rail trail between dams will be paved"
(Redding Record Searchlight, 2/19/20)
"Federal trail builders are set to pave a former railroad grade between Keswick and Shasta dams. The approximately nine miles of blacktop will be funded by more than $500,000 in economic stimulus money, said Steve Anderson, manager of the Bureau of Land Management's Redding field office ... Bill Kuntz, BLM's Redding field office recreation planner, said there should be room for runners, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders who want to stay on gravel rather than go on the new pavement."

RELATED: "Paving job leaves no shortage of dirt trails" (Redding Record Searchlight, 2/21/10)
Editorial: "On balance, a paved trail is open to far more users - skaters, skinny-tired cyclists, children on scooters, wheelchair users - and will likely prove far more popular than the current mix of dirt and gravel. At the same time, dirt has its ardent fans. Many runners find it gentler on their joints. Serious mountain-bikers scoff at asphalt. Some nature lovers just think enough of the world has already been paved over ... Our view: Trail users bristle at change, but let's keep the Rail Trail paving in perspective."

A close-up of purple flowersPurple flowers among brown-looking vegetation"Wildflower show begins, should peak in March" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/23/10)
The wildflowers are coming. From yellow to purple, some species are in bloom now, but March will be the peak, said Jim Cornett, author of 'Coachella Valley Wildflowers.' It won't be a spectacular season, but it'll still be good enough to impress relatives, he said ... Flower enthusiasts also can take a bus tour with the Bureau of Land Management on March 2 or attend the Wildflower Festival at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center on March 6."

RELATED: "Wildflower Festival --Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center" (Friends of the Desert Mountains)
Saturday, March 6: Flyer for the event (PDF file).

RELATED: "Wildflower watching" (BLM-California)
Where you can usually view wildflowers on BLM-managed lands, and related tips.

"BLM, Nevada Land Conservancy announce Home Camp Ranch acquisition" (BLM-California news release, 2/22/10)
A tract of wildlife-rich, high desert rangeland in northwest Washoe County is now accessible to the public, following acquisition of the Home Camp Ranch by the Bureau of Land Management. The 14,838-acre Home Camp Ranch property is about 170 miles north of Reno. The BLM’s Surprise Field Office in Cedarville, Calif. will manage the area which will be open to the public for a wide variety of recreation pursuits.

"Roads, trails in Dry Valley area will be used for motorcycle races" (BLM-California news release, 2/23/10)
Weekend back country explorers planning to visit the Dry Valley Area east of Susanville over the weekend of March 6 will encounter more people than usual, as a two-day motorcycle race is scheduled on public land. Travel on some roads and trails, including Dry Valley Road, will be restricted by course marshals while races are in progress.

"Marine mammal presentation scheduled for Tuesday, March 2 in Whitethorn" (BLM-California news release, 2/23/10)
North coast residents who want to learn more about animals that live offshore can attend a free presentation Tuesday, March 2, at 7 p.m., at the Bureau of Land Management’s King Range Office in Whitethorn. Call to reserve a seat.


Close-up of what looks like a chipmunk
white-tailed antelope squirrel
In what way is a white-tailed antelope squirrel in winter like some snakes?
(a.) It gorges on one large meal, then sleeps while it digests
(b.) It cannot see well, but uses its sense of smell to track down prey
(c.) It basks in the sun, to soak up the heat
(d.) It overcomes its prey by constriction
(e.) It rattles its little white tail rapidly to warn intruders, before striking

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


A woman and girls stand amid structures made of branchesA woman speaks to girls about to descend a path into a group of palm trees"Hiking Adventures Girl Scouts explore a desert palm oasis" (News.bytes Extra)
Thirty young Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts met with BLM staff last weekend at the Palm Springs Visitor Center. Troops from Corona and Riverside came to learn Leave No Trace skills, map and compass orientation and hiking, before heading to the The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' Palm Canyon.


Man applauds as woman holds plaque"BLM honors SIFC dispatcher Katey Lewis for support during shooting incident" (BLM-California news release, 2/10/10)
Katey Lewis, a Lassen National Forest dispatcher at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center, has been honored for her outstanding support to the U. S. Bureau of Land Management’s law enforcement program. Lewis received the commendation Friday, Feb. 19.

RELATED: "BLM honors dispatcher for support during shooting incident" (News.bytes Extra)
Photos from the presentation.

"Sheep return to graze Fort Ord land" (Monterey County Herald, 2/24/10)
"The four-legged lawn mowers are back. About 3,000 sheep will spend five months grazing the grassy hills in the Fort Ord area ... 'We use them as lawn mowers for the fire hazard reduction,' said Bruce Delgado, Bureau of Land Management botanist. 'They tend to preferentially graze the non-native grasses, which is good for us because we're trying to encourage the growth of native grasses'."

"California wild horse and burro adoption schedule"
Upcoming adoption events include March 6 in Redlands, March 20 in Los Banos and Valley Center, and April 10 in Redding and at the San Bernardino Rodeo Grounds in Devore.

A woman stand among greenhouse plants"Growing program: Learning is hands-on at college farm" (Redding Record Searchlight, 2/20/10)
"The 70-acre farm is on the east side of Shasta College ... in Redding. It's here that the rudiments of farming, landscaping and nursery work are taught each year to a fresh crop of students ... Eight students live rent-free on the college farm and care for livestock, the fields and greenhouses. Grants and work-study programs supply additional student labor. A U.S. Bureau of Land Management program is paying students to propagate five species of oaks, as well as native grasses and shrubs. In the fall, they'll be planted along streams and in foothill woodlands ravaged by wildfire."

"Interpretive Association; Federal agencies create new partnership" (Mammoth Times, 2/20/10)
"The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, in partnership with the Inyo National Forest and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, have created a new public lands partnership coordination program." Its mission is "to assist the agencies in educational, historical, scientific and interpretive activities undertaken on public lands throughout the region."

"Less fog is tough on redwoods, study says" (Eureka Times-Standard, 2/22/10)
"Two University of California at Berkeley scientists have done the painstaking work to show that coastal summers see a third less fog than they did 100 years ago -- and that the region's great redwoods appear to be worse off because of it ... Lynda Roush, Arcata field manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which manages the redwood-rich Headwaters Forest, said that the agency is working with Save-the-Redwods League and beginning to set up studies in the forest to consider climate change's effects on redwoods."

"BLM announces no action will be taken on Bly Tunnel bypass" (BLM-California news release, 2/23/10)
The BLM announced today that it will take no action on a proposal to close a bypass pipe in a concrete plug that blocks a failed irrigation tunnel at Lassen County’s Eagle Lake.

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


"Feinstein's staff, councilmembers meet on desert protection bill" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 2/21/10)
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s staff have recently met with Barstow city councilmembers, informing them about the proposed California Desert Protection Act of 2010 and, according to some councilmembers, requesting their support ... The proposed California Desert Protection Act would create two national monuments, additional wilderness areas, expand the Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley National Park, and set aside land for off highway vehicle use."

"Positive Point: My bent on the Bend" (Red Bluff Daily News, 2/22/10)
OpEd on the continuing discussion of a proposal for a Sacramento River National Recreation Area on lands managed by the BLM.


A young woman sits at her computerEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Focus on Youth:
...Samantha Clapp read an announcement about the Student Educational Employment Program one day between classes at Sacramento State University. Hired under STEP (Student Temporary Employment Program), a subpart of SEEP, Samantha will help the staff of the external affairs office to keep information about renewable energy rights-of-way applications up to date on the Internet, among other assignments.

Close-up of woman's faceMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: April Sall...
...represents the public-at-large on the BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. As the preserve manager for the Pipes Canyon and Mission Creek preserves, she has comprehensive experience in planning and coordinating preserve projects. Read more:

Find details -- and more events -- online at:

March 4 - Chocolate Mountains renewable energy public meeting

March 5 - Wild horse and burro adoption preview day

March 6 - California Coastal National Monument 10th Anniversary event
Rancho Palos Verdes


"Interior launches WaterSMART Initiative" (Department of the Interior press release, 2/22/10)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today signed a Secretarial order establishing a new water sustainability strategy for the United States ... 'The federal government’s existing water policies and programs simply aren’t built for 21st century pressures on water supplies,' Salazar said. 'Population growth. Climate change. Rising energy demands. Environmental needs. Aging infrastructure. Risks to drinking water supplies. Those are just some of the challenges'."

"Salazar releases new report showing Interior Department programs and activities support jobs for more than 1.4 million Americans"
(Department of the Interior press release, 2/23/10)
"The report, Economic Impact of the Department of the Interior’s Programs and Activities, is the first-ever analysis of the job creation and economic growth benefits related to a wide range of departmental activities, from tourism at national parks to hydroelectric projects in the West to oil and gas development on federal lands and the outer continental shelf."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) It basks in the sun, to soak up the heat

SOURCE: "White-tailed antelope squirrel - Ammospermophilus leucurus" (BLM California wildlife database)
In winter these squirrels are often seen basking in the middle of the day, trying to soak up as much of the sun's heat as possible.


"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide soon whether the sage grouse deserves Endangered Species Act protection" (Oregon Live/Portland Oregonian, 2/23/10)
"It may seem an esoteric undertaking, this taxpayer-funded bird count, but if the greater sage grouse gains protection under the Endangered Species Act, that could curtail everything from energy development to cattle grazing in Oregon and ten other western states."

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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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