A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 432 - 5/20/10

A wide-eyed brown furry creature looks plaintively up at the camera Four people hike a trail lined by green vegetation A boy and a girl wear paper headbands shaped like pelicans A smiling woman looks her horse in the face A man looks closely at instrument readings


- Wild horses and burros: Extreme Challenge, Comment on Twin Peaks gather EA, adopt one, meeting
- Wildflowers
- Our readers write
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- California Desert Proposed legislation
- Renewable energy
- Wildfires and prevention
- America's Great Outdoors
- Headlines and highlights: Salazar abolishes Minerals Management Agency, divides in 3; Ranger of the Year; jobs; more
- Meet your advisory committee members
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


A smiling woman looks her horse in the face"Horse trainer able to quiet a wild horse for competition" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/14/10)
Jenna Nelson of Redlands was one of nearly 30 trainers who competed last weekend at the Norco Extreme Mustang Makeover Trail Challenge. "Their task: Take a wild horse and train it for 90 days, then bring it to the event and show what it can do ... Nelson got her assigned horse, 'Heart of the Tornado,' the Friday before Valentine's Day ... During the competition, trainers take their mustangs through the Norco foothills and the streets downtown to show what their horses can do."

RESULTS: "Extreme Mustang Makeover" (Mustang Heritage Foundation)
Click on the links under "results" to see the results of the Norco Extreme Mustang Makeover Trail Challenge, and of the horse adoption.

"BLM seeking public comments on environmental analysis for wild horse gather" (BLM news release, 5/20/10)
The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Eagle Lake Field Office is seeking public comments on an environmental assessment addressing a proposed gather and removal of an overpopulation of wild horses and burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area, northeast of Susanville, Calif.

"Mustangs and burros available for adoption in Lakeport" (BLM news release, 5/19/10)
Wild horses and burros from the ranges of northern California and Nevada will be offered to the public for adoption in Lakeport on Saturday, June 5. Interested adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at the fairgrounds at about 2 p.m. Friday, June 4.

"National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will conduct public workshop and hold meeting in June in Denver" (BLM national news release, 5/18/10)
The workshop on Monday, June 14, will provide the public with a unique opportunity to express their views, comments, and suggestions regarding Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s wild horse initiative, which he and BLM Director Bob Abbey announced last October.  The Board will hold a regular meeting on wild horse management issues on Tuesday, June 15.


Four people hike a trail lined by green vegetationA white lilly among grasses"Trail to Salt Creek in Three Rivers abloom" (Visalia Times-Delta, 5/19/10)
"The elusive Mariposa lily raised its white petals to the sun, standing out in a sea of yellow, daisy-like wildflowers. Want to see for yourself? Check out the Bureau of Land Management trail to Salt Creek in Three Rivers. Making the trip Saturday were members of the Mountain Rambler outdoor adventure club, a Visalia-based organization whose members hike the southern Sierra most Saturdays."

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

"Wildflowers"(Theodore Payne Foundation)
As of May 14: "The wildflower season is coming to a close at lower elevations, but if you explore our mountains and canyons a treasure of color still awaits you." This non-profit organization gathers reports of wildflower blooming status at various California locations, especially in Southern California.


What happened to your Trivia Question? I find it informative and interesting. Bring it back!
- Louis F.

This latest edition appears to be missing the animal trivia question. I hope you have not discontinued this feature, I look for it in every edition.
- Rebekah G.

I hope the trivia question is not gone forever! My high school biology students (and myself) love those!
- Jerod M.

From the News.bytes Team: We certainly intend to keep running our Wildlife Trivia Question! Our editor/chief trivia question writer was out of the office last week, and did not have time to complete a question before leaving. But we appreciate the feedback -- it helps us to know which features are important to you. If you have suggestions, let us know!


A wide-eyed brown furry creature looks plaintively up at the camera
The ringtail was once popular in miners' camps, because:
(a.) Miners used to keep them around to kill mice.
(b.) Miners had them sleep at the foot of their sleeping bags, to help prevent frostbite.
(c.) Their loud cries served as a kind of alarm, like a watch dog but with less maintenance.
(d.) They could sniff out food sources like edible plants, and even catch small animals when food was scarce.
(e.) They could be taught tricks, providing cheap entertainment on long winter nights.

(f.) …because of the highly effective sales pitch of Gold Rush animal merchants Dylan and Elvis Petcovich: "Nah, they don't bite much. Many of our customers still have all their fingers. But look at those eyes! Which one do you love the most? Will that be cash or gold dust?"
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Can the unlikely coalition of support for Feinstein's land bill hold together?"(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/19/10)
"A congressional hearing today in Washington marks the first formal step forward for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to protect more than a million acres of desert land in Southern California. But quietly and effectively, Feinstein, D-Calif., has spent the past year working behind the scenes to build support for the plan among recreation groups, the energy industry, off-roaders, local governments, the military and others with competing interests in the land. Concerns remain about the legislation's effects ..."

RELATED: Testimony on S. 2921, "California Desert Protection Act of 2010" (U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources)
Includes testimony earlier today by BLM Director Bob Abbey and others on Senate Bill 2921, "to provide for the conservation, enhanced recreation opportunities, and development of renewable energy in the California Desert Conservation Area, to require the Secretary of the Interior to designate certain offices to serve as Renewable Energy Coordination Offices for coordination of Federal permits for renewable energy projects and transmission lines to integrate renewable energy development, and for other purposes."


"State and federal officials set up habitat fund to compensate for energy development"(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/19/10)
"State and federal officials overseeing the push to build solar and wind plants in California's desert signed an agreement Wednesday that they say will streamline project approvals. The agreement allows energy developers to compensate for destruction of wildlife habitat by paying into a special fund ... Representatives of the wildlife service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the state Department of Fish and Game and the Energy Commission will decide how to spend the money, according to the agencies."

RELATED: "Innovative federal and state agreement will aid proposed renewable energy projects in Southern California" (BLM news release, 5/19/10)
The joint Federal and State Renewable Energy Action Team announced an agreement so that proposed renewable energy projects in the California Desert could address mitigation requirements through the use of a deposit account rather than having to individually undertake mitigation for each project. This will expedite projects and ensure that a wider range of mitigation measures can be used to address environmental impacts.

"US could become leader in desert solar, says IEA" (The Guardian, 5/17/10)
"The United States could position itself as the global leader in producing utility-scale solar power from its vast deserts, with immediate and appropriate government support, a new report from the International Energy Agency says ... In California alone, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has received requests for the development of 34 CSP plants on 300,000 acres, totaling some 24,000 megawatts, according to figures from the California Energy Commission. In early 2010, the stock of CSP projects worldwide was only around a thousand megawatts, according to IEA."

"SDG&E signs deal with Calexico solar farm" (*San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/13/10)
"San Diego Gas & Electric Co. announced Thursday that it will buy the output of a nearly 2-square-mile solar farm to be built on hayfields near Calexico, saying the contract bolsters the case for its controversial Sunrise Powerlink. The $500 million, 130-megawatt Centinela Solar Energy project is awaiting regulatory approval and is expected to begin producing power using photovoltaic panels in 2014."

RELATED: "Proposed solar development signs on to Sunrise Powerlink" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/14/10)
"The proposed Centinela Solar Energy facility will join a group of Valley renewable energy providers that will connect to the Sunrise Powerlink to San Diego. The developer of the Centinela Solar Energy facility is LS Power. It signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas and Electric."

"Forest Service holds up Powerlink permit" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/16/10)
"Instead of simply approving a permit that SDG&E had requested, Cleveland National Forest Supervisor William Metz said Saturday he needs public comment ... SDG&E was planning to begin building the 123-mile line next month ... SDG&E says the line had a thorough review before approval from the California Public Utilities Commission and the federal Bureau of Land Management. Both of those decisions are being challenged in court."

RELATED: "Forest Service delays Powerlink decision; seeks public comment" (East County Magazine, 5/16/10)
"The public has 45 days to submit comments on the planned [Sunrise Powerlink] high-voltage line. As part of a national energy corridor, the line could ultimately a 1,000 foot-wide swatch of clearance through Cleveland National Forest in East County ... The Forest Service is also working with the Bureau of Land Management and California Public Utilities Commission to review changes in the original project design to determine if they are within the scope of existing environmental analysis...."


Burned remains of a house"It’s official: Fire season is here, prepare to defend property" (Kern Valley Sun, 5/18/10)
"In the wake of last week’s 102-acre fire in Fay Canyon, Kern County Fire officials are urging valley residents to create safety zones around their homes and property. One of the most effective methods of protecting homes from wildfires is creating a safety zone. This is an area that separates the home from combustible plants and vegetation and helps prevent direct and indirect sources of fire from threatening a home or property."

"BLM sets restrictions for campfires and barbecues in California Desert due to rising fire danger" (BLM news release, 5/17/10)
Due to the danger of wildfires, the Bureau of Land Management is requiring permits for campfires and barbeques on public lands in the California Desert. On other BLM public lands in Southern California, all campfires and barbeques are prohibited outside of developed recreation areas.

"Fire officials announce 2010 Fire Season" (Kern Valley Sun, 5/18/10)
"The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Tule River Reservation Fire Department and Kern County Fire Department announced an 'Interagency Declaration for the 2010 Wildland Fire Season' on May 18 ... Homeowners living in the 'Wildland Urban Interface' are reminded to complete their defensible space by clearing hazardous dry vegetation away from their homes, outbuildings and property" as required by state law.

"BLM firefighters preparing for upcoming fire season" (Taft Midway Driller, 5/13/10)
"Bureau of Land Management firefighters will continue training next week in preparation for the upcoming fire season. The crew manning the BLM’s Midway Station in Taft will be in Bakersfield early in the week for live fire training at the Kern County Fire Department’s Olive Drive facility than come to the Taft area for technical rope rescue training on Friday."

Graphic of a house surrounded by a cleared area"Learn how you can create defensible space" (California Fire Alliance)
How to create defensible space around your property, to reduce the risk of losing your home - even in severe wildfire.

"Cotton Fire 98 percent contained" (BLM news release, 5/17/10)
The Cotton Fire,five miles west of New Cuyama along Highway 166, was 98 percent contained by Monday. The fire started Saturday morning and quickly grew in acreage as winds pushed the fire through tall grass and brush. It covered 2,044 acres by Monday, when 320 fire personnel were assigned to the fire. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers continue to investigate the exact cause.


Two women wear paper headbands in pelican shapesA boy and a girl wear paper headbands shaped like pelicans"Not just for the birds" (News.bytes Extra)
Hundreds of bird and nature enthusiasts gathered in Crescent City recently to celebrate the unique diversity of birds, habitats, wildlife, native plants, culture, and heritage found in Del Norte County. BLM employees represented the California Coastal National Monument, at the California Redwoods Bird & Nature Festival, May 7-9.

Rock formations jut into the desert sky"Five Places: sci-fi safari" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/16/10)
"1 -Trona Pinnacles, Trona - Good camera work can make places seem otherworldly, but the pinnacles are just naturally bizarre. Hundreds of tufa towers of calcium carbonate (some 14 stories tall) grew in the middle of a now-missing alkali lake near Death Valley. The formations have provided eerie settings for 'Planet of the Apes,' 'Star Trek V' and 'Lost in Space.' Five miles off Highway 178 on a dirt road, about 2 miles south of Searles Valley (San Bernardino County)."

RELATED: "The Trona Pinnacles" (BLM Ridgecrest Field Office)
This unique landscape consists of more than 500 tufa (calcium carbonate) pinnacles rising from the bed of the Searles Dry Lake basin. These tufa spires, some as high as 140 feet, were formed underwater 10,000 to 100,000 years ago when Searles Lake formed a link in an interconnected chain of Pleistocene lakes stretching from Mono Lake to Death Valley.

A view of a reservoir among treesA mountain biker takes a dirt trail among trees and shrubs"Happy Trails: Mining ditch sets the course for outdoor fun" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/15/10)
"The water ditch used in gold mining in the late 1800s has been turned into a trail to hike, bike and ride ... 9.2 miles along Keswick Reservoir ... The single-track dirt trail goes through shady woodlands, along sun-exposed hillsides and includes a few tropical-looking bends with ferns and splashing water ... Bill Kuntz, outdoor recreation planner with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Redding, said the trails were developed within the past four years through a cooperative effort of the philanthropic Redding and McConnell foundations and the BLM and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation."

"Interior and Agriculture promote physical activity in support of White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity’s Report to the President" (U.S. Department of the Interior press release, 5/14/10)
Officials from the Interior and Agriculture Departments spent the afternoon with more than 150 school-aged children to draw attention to the health benefits of outdoor recreation and emphasize the importance of community parks, playgrounds, and open space. The event highlighted the release of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity’s Report to the President. (Includes link to the report.)


"Salazar: Abolish energy agency, divide in 3 parts" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19/10)
"The plan by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar would eliminate the Minerals Management Service ... The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement would inspect oil rigs and enforce safety regulations. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would oversee leasing and development of offshore drilling. And the Office of Natural Resources Revenue would collect billions of dollars in royalties for onshore and offshore drilling."

RELATED: "Salazar divides MMS's three conflicting missions" (U.S. Department of the Interior press release, 5/19/10)
“The Minerals Management Service has three distinct and conflicting missions that – for the benefit of effective enforcement, energy development, and revenue collection – must be divided,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

A smiling group holds award plaques"BLM ranger named 'Officer of the Year' by Ridgecrest group" (News.bytes Extra)
The Exchange Club of Ridgecrest named BLM Ranger Jason Woods “Officer of the Year,” in part for his investigation of vandalism at the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark. 

"Agencies: Details scarce on national monument proposals"(Siskiyou Daily News, 5/20/10)
A five-hour forum before the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors arose from previous discussions of "the proposed creation of a Siskiyou Crest National Monument and the expansion of the existing Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument into California ... Nancy Haug, manager of the BLM’s Northern California District, and Howard Hunter, current manager of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, were both present to give the crowd information on monuments."

A child holds a large framed award, as two women and a man stand behindA group of people hold awards"Photos from the 'Making a Difference' Awards" (News.bytes Extra)
California volunteers and a BLM-California employee each received the prestigious BLM “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Award for their public service contributions at a May 5, 2010, ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.

"Aisle-crossing solutions" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 5/7/10)
OpEd by Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and City Councilman Bob Kellar: "After several years of conversations with stakeholders, we are on the cusp of an uncommon compromise that will permanently end the threat of a 56 million ton sand-and-gravel mine in our region. However, nothing comes easy. In order for the compromise to become effective, Congress must approve federal legislation that will resolve the dispute." In 1990, the BLM awarded CEMEX a permit to extract 56 million tons of sand and gravel from a site in Soledad Canyon.

"200 acres of redwood donated to BLM by Save the Redwoods League" (The Willits News, 5/14/10)
"Save the Redwoods League has announced acquisition and transfer of two redwood parcels totaling 200 acres to the federal Bureau of Land Management. Bordering Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve, the parcels serve as a buffer zone to help preserve the area's biodiversity, including the largest grove of old-growth redwood forest in Mendocino County" and "also will provide protection for rare, threatened or endangered species, including marbled murrelets, Coho salmon, steelhead trout and red-bellied newts. The land will be cooperatively managed by BLM and California State Parks."

"BLM invites comments on managing Lost Coast Headlands public lands" (BLM news release, 5/18/10)
Staff from the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office will accept comments on the best ways to manage the Lost Coast Headlands near Ferndale, in a public meeting on Tuesday, May 25 in Ferndale. The BLM will use comments from the meeting and information received in writing to develop a management plan for 465 acres of coastal bluffs, prairies and beaches about five miles southwest of Ferndale.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include park ranger, a number of seasonal jobs for which names are being collected for potential hiring.

A man looks closely at instrument readingsMEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Dr. Allan Muth...
... is the representative for natural science and academic research on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. Read more:

Nominations Requested for Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee (BLM News Release, 5/10/10)
The Bureau of Land Management is requesting nominations for the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee.

"BLM Resource Advisory Council to meet in Alturas" (BLM news release, 5/17/10)
Various natural resource conservation topics will be discussed when the Bureau of Land Management Northeast California Resource Advisory Council convenes for a field tour and meeting, Wednesday and Thursday, June 2 and 3 in Alturas.


ind events and details online at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) Miners used to keep them around to kill mice.

SOURCE: "Ringtail - Bassariscus astutus" (BLM California wildlife database)
They mostly eat small mammals, bird eggs, and invertebrates, but they will also eat fruits when they are available. They are so good at killing their prey that miners used to keep them around their homes to kill mice.
- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some online news sites require free registration to view their content online. Some news sites remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.
DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/caso/getnewsbytes.html.