A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 425 - 3/24/10

A young man examines seeds on display in bins Hikers look out over a rocky mountain landscape Close-up of an antelope-like pronghorn Close-up of a red flower against rocky soil A man inspects a horse ridden by another man


- National Landscape Conservation System
- Recreation on public lands
- Special area designation proposals
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights
- Selected upcoming events
- More wildlife stories
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

News.bytes will be on Spring Break next week. See you in two weeks!


A young man examines seeds on display in binsA woman rakes as a boy helps"Volunteer cleanup, Wildflower Festival highlight NLCS celebration at monument" (News.bytes Extra)
The National Landscape Conservation System 10th Anniversary Monument Clean-up was a huge success. Late last month, more than 100 volunteers came to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center to honor the NLCS with their hard work. The next weekend, March 6, the monument hosted the popular Wildflower Festival.

"Editorial: Stewart Udall was a true hero of the West" (Sacramento Bee, 3/23/10)
"An ethic of protecting public lands is a great American idea -- as Ken Burns' recent series on the national parks showed. Now comes along a reminder of what is possible with vision, energy and persistence. Stewart Udall, who was interior secretary during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson (1961 to 1969), launched a new era of conservation in the 1960s. He died Saturday at 90. His legacy remains with us."

RELATED: "Udall's legacy extends to many areas under BLM-California jurisdiction" Two hikers look down a grassy slope toward the distant Pacific OcieaHikers look out over a rocky mountain landscape(News.bytes Extra)
Former Secretary Udall was instrumental in passage of a number of environmental laws, as the Sacramento Bee editorial notes. These include the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, and the National Trails System Act of 1968, among others. Here in California, a significant amount of public lands administered by BLM have since been designated under these statutes and are managed by the BLM to protect their special values.

"National Landscape Conservation System celebrates 10th birthday" (Department of the Interior news, 3/24/10)
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Wilma Lewis, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey in launching a national year-long celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System."


Yellow wildflowers in a field below snow-capped mountainsClose-up of a red flower against rocky soil"Wildflower update - March 23, 2010" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
Desert wildflowers are blooming from Olancha north to Lone Pine, especially in the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine. Key spots to check out are the Alabama Hills and the alluvial fans of the Sierra Nevada.

Hikers take to a rocky trail"Bishop Field Office offers Alabama Arches Tour" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
Due to popular demand, Dave Kirk, BLM's Alabama Hills Steward, will be leading another Arches Interpretive Hike on Saturday, April 10.

"Wildflowers" (BLM-California)
Tips on viewing wildflowers on public lands.

"Wildflowers"(Theodore Payne Foundation)
This non-profit organization gathers reports of wildflower blooming status at various California locations.

"Good winter rains, warming temperatures spurring blooms in Joshua Tree National Park" (National Parks Traveler, 3/21/10)
Wildflower conditions adjacent to BLM-managed lands.

"Editorial: Local push could help save Clear Creek" (Hollister Freelance, 3/23/10)
Clear Creek Management Area: "San Benito County is in danger of having one of its biggest tourism draws get locked up for good, and we encourage local leaders to do everything they can to gain an objective analysis of the involved science and to conduct a financial examination of the economic impact it would have on the area ... and show that this gem for San Benito County is not locking the doors without a fight."

BLM Bishop Office plans trail work"(BLM-California news, 3/22/10)
The work will begin in April, to restore some unauthorized routes east of Crowley Lake.

"Merced River Trail" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office)
Update for March 2010: Merced River Recreation Area is open. The road leading to the campgrounds has been re-opened and should remain open throughout the spring and summer camping season.


Three people hike on a trail through trees and grassA view through hills to a darkly-lit mountain"Proposed conservation area would preserve some of California's least-trampled terrain" (Los Angeles Times, 3/22/10)
"It is difficult to fathom that there could be a plot of ground in California that hasn't been extensively tramped across, camped on, photographed or blogged about. If anything comes close, it's the proposed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area, a half-million-acre section of the inner coast range that is home to some of the most biologically diverse landscape in the state...."

Sunlit bare tree branches against bright yellow and red leavesLooking down from hills onto a winding stretch of riverRELATED: "Berryessa considered for national [recreation area]" (cbs5.com, 3/23/10)
"A 100-mile swath of the Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley in now on the list to become [the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Recreation Area]. It's home to some of the most biologically diverse landscape in California." The title refers to the area as a potential national monument, but the video states the proposed designation is as a national recreation area. (This video report is preceded by a 15-second advertisement. Video length 2:43)

"Supes press president on Modoc Plateau" (Lassen County Times, 3/24/10)
"Lassen County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved sending a letter to President Barack Obama and Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, expressing its concern regarding the lack of public input into the possible designation of 3 million acres in the Modoc Plateau as a national monument."

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued the following statement regarding special area designations:
"Secretary Salazar believes it is important that the Department of the Interior serve as wise stewards of the places that matter most to Americans. For that reason, he has asked DOI’s bureaus to think about what areas might be worth considering for further review for possible special management or Congressional designation. The preliminary internal discussion draft reflects some brainstorming discussions within BLM, but no decisions have been made about which areas, if any, might merit more serious review and consideration. 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."


Close-up of an antelope-like pronghorn
In one way, pronghorn are similar to:
(a.) Skunks, in that they emit a strong odor that momentarily stuns, distracts or overwhelms predators to give them time to escape.
(b.) Camels, in that they retain extra water in their cells to withstand the dry season, when wild grasses no longer supply enough moisture.
(c.) Bighorn sheep, in that their specially-adapted hooves allow them to find food and safe places for their young, in areas that humans and many predators cannot access.
(d.) Cheetahs, in that they are one of the two fastest land animals, and this helps ensure their survival.
(e.) Pack rats, in that they like to sneak into into human habitations and take objects back to their underground burrows. They especially like shiny objects like coins, silverware, jewelry and new cars.

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


"Draft environmental stay released for Palen Solar Project in Riverside County" (BLM-California news, 3/18/10)
The Bureau of Land Management released a draft environmental impact statement and the California Energy Commission released a staff assessment for the proposed Chevron Energy Solutions/Solar Millennium Palen Solar Power Project in eastern Riverside County. An official 90-day comment period will begin upon publication of the notice of availability in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency.  BLM and CEC will hold at least one joint public hearing or meeting on the project.

"Governor trims red tape for energy projects" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/23/10)
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday signed a state law that he and federal officials say will speed approvals for large-scale solar and wind projects, improving chances that they will meet a federal deadline to qualify for federal stimulus dollars ... U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, whose agency is leasing public land for energy development, attended the ceremony."

RELATED: "Secretary Salazar, Gov. Schwarzenegger visit world's largest solar plant, laud renewable energy technology, development" (Department of the Interior news, 3/22/10)
"Visiting the world’s largest solar power plant, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today called the NextEra Harper Lake solar electric generating system a prime example of the future of renewable energy production for the nation."


A man inspects a horse ridden by another man"Eighteen wild horses and burros find new homes at Los Banos event" (News.bytes Extra)
Eleven horses and seven burros were adopted during the event at the Against the Crooked Sky Horse Stables. Wild horses and burros are protected by a federal law, the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law recognizes the animals as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west," and requires the BLM to manage the wild herds.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Redlands" (BLM-California)
The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health.

"California wild horse & burro adoption schedule" (BLM-California)
The next scheduled adoptions are April 10 in Redding and Devore, April 17 in San Jose and April 24 in Redlands.

"Gentleness, not breaking, used to train mustangs"
(Reno Gazette-Journal, 3/23/10)
"Willis Lamm, a wild horse advocate who trains mustangs at his home in Stagecoach, has a mixed relationship with the Bureau of Land Management. 'As activists, we're always beating up on the BLM over range issues,' he said. 'We want the (roundups) to stop, or at least be scaled down, but once the horses are brought off the range, we want the (BLM's) adoption program to be successful. 'It's about what is best for the horses'."

"Wild horses: management or stampede to extinction?" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 3/23/10)
Dispute over a Nevada wild horse roundup. Includes link to a photo gallery of wild horse photos.

"Our expanding population makes conflicts over wildlife inevitable" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 3/12/10)
Editorial: "Absurd. There simply is no better word to describe this nation's policies for dealing with the tens of thousands of wild horses -- or feral horses, if you prefer -- that roam the open ranges of the West ... we have yet to come to terms with the horses because ... well, because they're horses. Until we're willing to make tough decisions for dealing with them, the arguments will continue and the horses will suffer."


Two men look over an award plaque"BLM's Reid Hopkins honored as Officer of the Year 2010" (Kern Valley Sun, 3/16/10)
"Hopkins is the second Ranger in BLM history to work a canine and brought the first police canine into service within the Kern River Valley. Working with the dogs has allowed Hopkins to support marijuana garden eradication, management of large crowds at the Imperial Sand Dunes and other large off-highway vehicle areas."

"Northwest of Broad St., trails, solar farm are just the start" (Grass Valley/Nevada City Union, 3/19/10)
"[W}hat was once a sub-par tarmac for small airplanes could soon be a state-of-the-art solar farm to raise revenue for Nevada City ... Adjacent to the airport property is 33 acres owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management. For at least one resident of the greater Cement Hill neighborhood, an ideal world would include city ownership of the land that includes rock walls, 100-year-old fruit trees planted by early settlers and acres of pristine wetlands."

"U.S. Interior responds to county inquiry" (Siskiyou Daily News, 3/23/10)
The Department of the Interior " responded to an inquiry from the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors into its obligations to coordinate with local government agencies." A letter from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation manager cites U.S. code in answering.

"Appeals court hears Gualala fireworks dispute" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/22/10)
Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation "is challenging the California Coastal Commission’s authority over a Gualala pyrotechnics show that was halted after two July 4 celebrations because of concerns about its effects on birds ... Birds reportedly fled Gualala Point Island, which is part of the California Coastal National Monument Program and is protected by the federal Bureau of Land Management."

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

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

March 26 - Northwest California Resource Advisory Council meeting
St. Helena

March 27 - Desert Advisory Council meeting
El Centro

April 9 - Wild horse and burro preview

April 9 - Central California Advisory Council meeting

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Cheetahs, in that they are one of the top two fastest land animals, and this helps ensure their survival.

SOURCE: "Pronghorn - Antilocapra americana" (BLM California wildlife database)
The main predators of pronghorn are coyotes and wolves. However, as the fastest species in the Western Hemisphere, pronghorn are tough competition for their predators. (Also see the stories below.)

Sketch of a group of pronghornRELATED: "Pronghorns, the second-fastest land animal in the world, could be re-introduced in the East Mojave" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/19/10)
"Federal and state officials are working on a plan to reintroduce the animals -- second only to Cheetahs for speed -- to a remote plateau in the East Mojave, near the California-Nevada border south of Interstate 15 ... The pronghorns vanished from the Lanfair Valley about the same time that gold was discovered in the Castle Mountains, attracting hundreds of miners." The plan involves exchanging lands managed by the BLM.

RELATED: "Going to extremes: Ultimate speed" (PBS - In the Classroom)
"The cheetah and the pronghorn antelope are the world's fastest land animals, but each achieves its success in locomotion because of very different biomechanics. The cheetah is a sprinter, built for speed with a flexible body and a large stride. By contrast, the pronghorn's body is built for endurance and long distances; it has evolved an aerobic ability that enables it to utilize oxygen at a very high rate."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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(916) 978-4600

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