A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 426 - 4/8/10

A man and young boy dig for planting Close-up of snout and head of a gray wild pig An array of large mirrors in a desert solar project Four mustangs look toward the camera A helicopter lifts a bundle of trash on a cable


-Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Youth in the Great Outdoors: Enviro Ed, volunteers, more
- Wildflowers
- Recreation on public lands: Imperial Sand Dunes plan, hikes, off-road, geotourism, more
- Renewable energy: Many projects
- Headlines and highlights: Earthquake, Clear Creek, marijuana, dogs, jobs and more
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


Four mustangs look toward the cameraSide view of two burros"Wild horse, burro adoption this weekend" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/7/10)
"Although he was once a wild burro, the craziest thing Peanut does now is balance a construction cone on his head ... part of training to prepare him for the loads he'll haul and distractions he'll encounter as a pack animal ... People who want a wild burro or horse of their own ... will have the chance to adopt one Saturday at the Redding Rodeo Grounds." Allison Breedveld "picked up Peanut two years ago at an adoption ... She said wild burros are 'one of the coolest creatures' on earth."

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Devore and Redlands" (BLM news release, 4/6/10)
Starting this weekend: Choice wild horses and burros from the rangelands of the American West are available for adoption this weekend in Devore at Sheriff’s Rodeo Grounds in San Bernardino. On April 24, additional animals will be available for adoption at Sundance Ranch in Redlands.

"Mustangs and burros available for adoption in San Jose" (BLM news release, 4/1/10)
Santa Clara County Horsemen’s Association arena in San Jose on Saturday, April 17: "We will offer 40 mustangs ranging in age from yearlings to five year olds, and 10 burros of all ages," said Pardee Bardwell of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. "They have been de-wormed and vaccinated against diseases including West Nile virus. They are ready to train."


two wild pig faces look up
two feral pigs
Wild pigs cause heavy damage to California lands, especially because:
(a.) Many weed seeds stick to their skin, and get "planted" when they fall under their hooves.
(b.) They eat beneficial insects and slugs, leaving more harmful insects alone.
(c.) They knock over small trees and shrubs while trying to rub their backs against them.
(d.) They uproot many native plants with their tusks, allowing weeds to take over.
(e.) They like to eat wild truffles, and dig everywhere to find them.
(f.) Bacon Raves: wild pig parties in which they overindulge in edible flowers and seeds, dance irresponsibly and trample large areas.

------> See answer -- and a story on wild pigs -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


A young man uses night vision gogglesPeople stand around a campfire in the dark"A night in the great outdoors" (News.bytes Extra)
What a night! The California Technical Education Center and the BLM California Desert District introduced the great outdoors to ten high school and junior college students. Each student is a part of the new Wildlands Management class in association with the FairPlex Education Association. 

A man and young boy dig for plantingA man and woman plant in the foreground, as many more volunteers can be seen further down a hill"Fort Ord Plant-A-Thon: 300 plant 5,000" (News.bytes Extra)
On a warm and beautiful Sunday last month, 300 volunteers were serenaded by a live bluegrass band while they planted 5,000 native plants on U.S. Army lands of former Fort Ord, slated for transfer to the BLM. The volunteers were supervised by BLM staff from Fort Ord Public Lands and their partners from CSU-Monterey Bay.

Two young men clear brush near a cabin"AmeriCorps crews join BLM to reduce fire risk" (Colfax Record, 4/1/10)
"Eleven young Americans from across the United States are working to restore habitat and reduce fire danger in the Sierra foothills. Members of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps are currently working with the Bureau of Land Management to reduce fuels in a number of areas ... cutting fire breaks and creating defensible space between houses and communities, chipping brush and trail work."

RELATED: "BLM plans pile burning at Hunter Mountain" (BLM news release, 4/6/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office will burn brush piles in a Mariposa County fuel break the week of April 12. AmeriCorps members helped maintain the fuel break.

A child sits on Smokey Bear's lap and looks up into his face"Preserve stages wild fest" (Hi-Desert Star, 3/31/10)
Annual Spring Fest: "Visitors meandered around the information center at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, where tables provided displays, books and objects such as 'fly goggles' for curious kids and adults to try out ... 'This is a (Bureau of Land Management) facility, but we get special funding for youth programs to get kids to go outside and spend more time with nature'," said preserve manager Greg Hill, "commending the junior docent program for its young volunteers who help foster a love of the outdoors."
A boardwalk winds among trees at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
RELATED: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

RELATED: "Green Award goes to preserve starter" (Hi-Desert Star, 4/3/10)
"Morongo Valley resident Robin Kobaly was presented with a Green Award by the Morongo Valley Chamber of Commerce during the annual Spring Fest ... In addition to her botany work, Kobaly is recognized by the citizens of Morongo Valley for her work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, as well as the Wildlands Conservancy, which she helped co-found."


"Carrizo Plain National Monument bursting with spring flowers" (Taft Independent, 3/26/10)
"With the explosion of the wildflowers and the weather changing, people from all over are flocking to the plains to explore ... hiking trails. At the Goodwin Education Center, visitors are able to find information on the area, including maps, historical accounts, brochures about the different plants and animals as well as interactive displays and the knowledgeable, Jackie Czapla, Education Center Coordinator and volunteer of 15 years."

Blueish-purple wildflowers stretch across a field"Wildflowers and sightseeing, Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
Wildflower conditions, updated yesterday (April 7). The Goodwin Education Center offers weekend tours during April and May, allowing the visitor to learn about wildflowers and other fascinating features on the Carrizo Plain.  Please call in advance for reservations as space is limited

Orange poppies dot a green field bordered by pink-flowering trrees"Color abounds in peak season for area wildflowers" (Banning Record Gazette, 4/2/10)
"The abundance of rain this season along with warming temperatures has provided a wealth of greenery and wildflowers throughout many southern and central California locations ... Visit the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument in Palm Desert for a hike along the Randall Henderson and Art Smith Trails. Now the area is ablaze with a variety of colors provided by little gold poppy, brittlebush, desert lavender and apricot mallow." (Check links below for updates, as conditions can change quickly.)

"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.


"Imperial County dunes plan open to public comment" (Imperial Valley Press, 3/30/10)
"The two-part, more than 750-page plan provides direction for how the El Centro Bureau of Land Management office manages public land ... It includes resource protection, public safety, facility management and more for the 214,930 acres of the Eastern Imperial County special recreation management area."

RELATED: "Public invited to comment on draft plan for Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM news release. 3/26/10)
The BLM has scheduled public meetings April 13 in San Diego, April 14 in El Centro and April 15 in Phoenix. See the news release for details on how to make comments.

Hikers head out along a rock-lined trail"Bishop Field Office offers Alabama Arches Tour" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
This weekend: By popular demand, Dave Kirk, BLM's Alabama Hills steward, will lead another Arches Interpretive Hike Saturday, April 10.

RELATED: "Alabama Hills Stewardship Group plans public meeting" (BLM news release, 4/6/10)
The community of Lone Pine and the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will hold a public meeting tonight, April 8, regarding the future management of the Alabama Hills. A subcommittee will provide an overview of their recent recommendation to pursue a legislative designation for the Alabama Hills.

"5 amazing desert hikes" (Palm Springs Life, April 2010)
"Nowhere in the lower 48 can you find more hiking trails (more than 140) or trail mileage (more than 1,250) than within the 60-mile-plus radius of Palm Springs. And nowhere in such a concentrated area will you find the diversity of topography and flora. With elevations of 11,000 feet to below sea level, this desert resort area is fast becoming one of the country’s pre-eminent hiking destinations."

RELATED: "Trails and trailhead locations at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Many trails around Palm Springs lead to or through the monument.

A man and youngster ride an off-road motorcycle"Off-roaders in search of trails" (USA Today, 4/6/10)
"The dustup between all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts and land conservationists is intensifying this year as more people go in search of places to ride and more groups race to protect large portions of public lands."

"South Cow Mountain OHV Area to be temporarily closed for public safety" (BLM news release, 3/30/10)
The Bureau of Land Management will close the South Cow Mountain Off-Highway Vehicle Area to general recreation use and through traffic from Friday, April 9, through Sunday, April 11, to provide public safety during two motorcycle race events.

"BLM Pit River Campground reopens April 17" (BLM news release, 4/1/10)
With the opening of California’s stream fishing season just around the corner, the Bureau of Land Management’s Pit River Campground and river access area will re-open.

"'Geotourism' becomes latest marketing tool for coast" (Half Moon Bay Review, 3/31/10)
"A number of tourism experts on the Coastside are touting a new watch word as a means of bringing revenue to the region while avoiding environmental degradation and cultural corruption." Geotourism "calls for practices that sustain or enhance the character of a place. The clearest distinction between geotourism and ecotourism ... is hands-on participation versus passive observation."

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM website)


An array of large mirrors in a desert solar project"California solar projects rush to beat deadline for subsidies" (USA Today, 3/31/10)
"NextEra Energy Resources ... proposed a 2,000-acre solar farm ... on the edge of California's Mojave Desert ... on degraded land near a freeway, an auto test track and old buildings ... 'exactly where solar should be' ... But two years later, NextEra still awaits permission to begin construction from the California Energy Commission ... Time is running short ... for several dozen green-energy projects in California ... to get federal stimulus funds worth 30% of the projects' cost ... Never before have the [BLM] and the commission worked so closely to coordinate and expedite project reviews...."

"Governor's conference on renewable energy focuses on the Mojave Desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/25/10)
"Harnessing Mojave Desert sunshine and wind is a vital part of a national strategy to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, several speakers said ... during a governor's energy conference at UC Riverside ... Some ... fear energy development could irreparably harm the Mojave, but reducing global warming will benefit the desert environment, a Sierra Club representative said."

"Officials look for more options to protect wildlife affected by wind and solar development" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/7/10)
"Protecting habitat of endangered or threatened species, such as the desert tortoise, is a major obstacle for energy companies, which could lose out on federal stimulus money if their projects aren't ready to go before the end of the year."

"Feinstein pushes for Sunrise approval" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/26/10)
"San Diego Gas & Electric Co. promised investors yesterday that ... the controversial $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink, won’t be held up by federal bureaucrats ... One-sixth of the line -- about 20 miles of 120 -- crosses the Cleveland National Forest, and the company is pressing the forest supervisor ... to approve it without a new environmental review ... The other two big approvals required, by the Bureau of Land Management and the California Public Utilities Commission, came more than a year ago."

"Calico Solar (SES Solar One) Project comment period, workshop and information meeting set" (BLM news release, 4/2/10)
A 90-day public comment period ends July 1 for the Calico Solar Project, formerly known as Stirling Energy Systems Solar One.

"Public informational meeting set for Stirling Energy Solar Two project near El Centro" (BLM news release, 4/2/10)
The public is invited to listen to a May 4 presentation in El Centro of the proposed project and an explanation of BLM's processing of the project application, as well as to provide written comment on the draft EIS/SA. Oral comments will not be recorded.

"BLM initiates environmental review of solar power project in eastern Riverside County" (BLM news release, 3/26/10)
A public comment period is now open for the NextEra Energy Resources Genesis Solar Power Plant.

"Draft environmental study available for proposed Ridgecrest solar power project" (BLM news release, 3/26/10)
Solar Millennium’s Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant, in Kern County: The Bureau of Land Management and California Energy Commission will use public comments to prepare a staff assessment; errata and final EIS, with separate agency decisions expected later in the year.

"Alternative site for Primm-area solar plant to be studied" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/30/10)
"An alternative site for a large-scale solar project planned in the Mojave Desert near the Nevada border will be evaluated in an environmental study, an official with the federal Bureau of Land Management said this week."

"BLM announces availability of Granite Mountain Wind Energy environmental document for public review" (BLM news release, 4/2/10)
This initiates a 90-day public comment period, ending July 1 (see details in news release). Written comments will also be taken at a public open house/informational meeting May 20 in Lucerne Valley. The date of another informational meeting in Apple Valley will be announced. Oral comments will not be recorded at either meeting."

"BLM accepts Invenergy's wind farm development plan" (Lassen County Times, 4/6/10)
"Green power has taken a giant leap forward in Lassen County." The BLM’s acceptance of the proposed Horse Lake Wind Farm project development plan "starts 'the internal process' necessary for the agency to move the project forward, but ... the acceptance of the plan is not an approval of the project...."


The Bureau of Land Management is seeking members for the:

Northwest California Resource Advisory Council:

Northeast California Resource Advisory Council:

Central California Resource Advisory Council:


"Earthquake damage temporarily closes BLM field office" (BLM news release, 4/6/10)
Damage from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake 40 miles southwest of El Centro has caused the BLM to temporarily close the El Centro Field Office until further notice.

RELATED: "Damage assessment continues for cities in Imperial Valley" (Holtville Tribune, 4/8/10)
A "7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Imperial Valley at 3:40 p.m. Sunday and was centered 40 miles southeast of Calexico in Guadalupe Victoria, Mexico ... According to Imperial County Fire Chief Tony Rouhotas ... Calexico and El Centro seem to have been hit the hardest ... Bureau of Land Management Rangers were patrolling the streets in downtown El Centro, keeping pedestrians away from unsafe buildings and guarding the many storefronts with broken windows."

"Burke views BLM California issues first-hand" (News.bytes Extra)
Marcilynn Burke, BLM deputy director for programs and policy, got a first-hand look at issues facing the BLM in central and southern California during a tour that covered mining, monuments, wind and solar power last week.

A helicopter lifts a bundle of trash on a cableTwo men bundle black trash bags into netting"Marijuana trash hauled out of Sierra foothills" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management, with a little help from its friends, has taken steps to deter booming marijuana production in the Sierra foothills. A Blackhawk helicopter from the California Air National Guard hauled out bags of drip tubing, pesticides and trash from remote locations near Moccasin last week. A total of 1.5 tons of accumulated irrigation hose, trash, fertilizer and pesticides was removed.

"County to reopen BLM roads, urge same for Clear Creek" (Hollister Freelance, 4/5/10)
"Supervisors today took steps toward ending a nearly two-year closure of roads leading into the Clear Creek Management Area ... they also endorsed a letter that encourages the federal Bureau of Land Management to reopen the recreational tourist spot."

RELATED: "Nevermind the asbestos, riders want back in at Clear Creek" (KUOR Radio, 3/26/10)
"Under the circumstances, keeping off-roaders out of the Clear Creek Management Area seemed like a no-brainer ... the site straddles an immense deposit of chrysotile asbestos, and airborne dust from vehicle tires contains high levels ... There were strong emotions from the off-road community, but gratitude wasn’t among them."

Red flags mark where dog droppings have been left behind"Cities tired of picking up after your dog" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/1/10)
"Fido may have made the mess, but someone has to pick it up -- and city workers and some neighbors are tired of doing the dirty work." Desert Hot Springs City Council is considering a ban on dogs in most city parks, "because of pet owners who don't pick up after their pooches." The BLM has helped monitor the problem.

"Volunteer opportunities" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Current volunteer opportunities from this BLM field office include an April 17 cleanup of irrigation tubing near the Beauty Mountain Wilderness, and an April 22 Earth Day cleanup trash at Berdoo Canyon in the Coachella Valley.

"Building consensus a priority for Sierra" (Stockton Record, 4/1/10)
"The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is proposing a 'Sustainable Sierra Nevada Initiative' ... to make peace between the factions that war over logging, restore at least some lost jobs in the region (including at lumber mills), and improve the health of forests ... The Amador/Calaveras Consensus Group includes environmentalists, officials with local national forests and the Bureau of Land Management, private logging industry representatives and local elected leaders."

"Work on high-speed rail set to begin this year" (Las Vegas Sun, 3/25/10)
"Environmental approvals for the proposed $4 billion DesertXpress high-speed rail project between Las Vegas and Southern California are taking longer than expected, but executives with the project said ... they expect construction to begin this year." Parts of the 185-mile rail line from Las Vegas to Victorville would cross BLM-managed lands.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include program and administrative support assistant, wildland firefighter, archaeology technician and more.

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

April 9 - Central California Resource Advisory Council meeting

April 9 - Wild horse and burro adoption preview
San Jose

April 23-24 - Wild horse and burro preview and adoption

April 24 - Guided field trip to view wildflowers
Cameron Park - participants must pre-register

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) They uproot many native plants with their tusks, allowing weeds to take over.

SOURCE: "Wild Pig - Sus scrofa" (BLM California wildlife database)
As wild pigs forage they use their tusks to literally till the soil. Plants are uprooted and the land is destroyed. Weeds typically take over areas where wild pigs once foraged, and the native plants have a difficult time reestablishing themselves.

Close-up of snout and head of a gray wild pigRELATED: "Hogs wild in backcountry" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/29/10)
Pigs released into the willd have "gone feral and appear to be spreading across portions of San Diego County, creating a host of conservation challenges. In a few places in California, feral pigs are part of a thriving hunting industry. But in others, they are environmental and public safety nuisances ... At Fort Ord near Monterey Bay, the Bureau of Land Management recently employed a trapping program and captured more than 100 wild pigs."
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