A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 443 - 8/12/10

A black and white bird and one of its young A photo of a brown horse A boy works on an art project at a table with models of sea creatures Two wild horses in a pen Close up of a smiling woman


- Wild horses and burros:
      - Twin Peaks wild horse and burro roundup
      - Adopting a wild horse or burro
      - Remembering Shelby
- Renewable energy:
      - Project reviews progress
      - Employee profile
      - More
- Energy
- Not for educators only:
      - Summer education program
      - America's Great Outdoors
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Law enforcement: Marijuana garden hazards
- Headlines and highlights: Fossils, Eagle Mountain, jobs, much more
- Selected upcoming events
- National BLM and Department of the Interior items: California water, Indian arts and crafts, monuments
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


A helicopter follows a group of wild horses"Roundup of wild horses begins near Susanville" (Sacramento Bee, 8/12/10)
"It wasn't a simple, orderly process, but the federal government's controversial wild horse roundup started Wednesday in northeastern California with few of the problems that opponents decry as they try to put a stop to the practice." Includes video.

Two wild horses on a hillA group of wild horses crosses a brown grassland"First day of the Twin Peaks Roundup" (News.bytes Extra)
The first day of Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Roundup went well, as 119 horses were all safely gathered and brought into a temporary holding facility. The horses stayed overnight in temporary holding facilities before all of them were transported to BLM's Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Facility to be readied for adoption -- with vaccinations, deworming, blood tests and freeze branding, all under a veterinarian's oversight.

Two horses stand and look at the camera"Twin Peaks wild horse and burro roundup" (BLM California)
BLM's goal is to leave a healthy herd of at least 450 wild horses and 72 wild burros to reach the Appropriate Management Level (AML) set by the Eagle Lake Resource Management Plan in 2008 to ensure healthy rangelands. The current populations are about five times the number of wild horses and two times the number of burros. Our new website is being updated as the roundup progresses. Includes links to reports, adoption opportunities, documents, photos and more.

Follow the Twin Peaks Gather on Facebook...

... and on Twitter:

Photos from the Twin Peaks Roundup have been posted on Flickr:

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Grass Valley" (BLM news release, 8/9/10)
On Saturday, Aug. 28, the BLM will offer about 10 halter-gentled horses, mostly yearlings, and two burros for public adoption. They are being trained by volunteers and are from herd management areas in Northeast California and Northwest Nevada.  Burros (donkeys) came from Southern California deserts.

"Adopting a Twin Peaks wild horse or burro" (BLM California)
Wild horses and burros removed from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area will be offered for adoption to qualified people through the BLM’s Adopt a Wild Horse or Burro Program.

"California wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM California)
This schedule is subject to change. Please call the contact numbers listed, to check that planned events are taking place as planned.

silhouette of a horse and a burro"Abbey: Moratorium on horse gathers is untenable" (Roll Call, 8/10/10)
"In recent months, many Members of Congress have received e-mails, letters and phone calls from wild horse activists ... waging an aggressive campaign ... aimed at stopping the Bureau of Land Management from gathering wild horses and burros from overpopulated herds on Western public rangelands. With herd sizes growing at an average rate of 20 percent a year (thus doubling in size every four years), these removals are necessary to protect wildlife habitat, the horses themselves and the public rangelands from the environmental effects of herd overpopulation."

A photo of a brown horse"BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program: Shelby: 1989-2010" (BLM national Facebook pages, 8/9/10)
A remembrance of a wild horse adopted through the BLM: "Few of us are blessed with that once in a lifetime horse. The one who became your best friend over the many years together; read your mind; safely carried you through places other horses would never think of going -- but because you asked he went."

Graphic represents renewable energy with solar, geothermal, wind and transmission linesRENEWABLE ENERGY

"Plans for world's biggest solar plant in Mojave clears hurdle" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/4/10)
"BrightSource Energy has proposed building three solar thermal plants, which heat water to produce steam to drive turbines, near the Ivanpah Dry Lake in San Bernardino County." A "key state energy commissioner" recommended approval of the project .... on more than 3,500 acres of federally owned land. The California Energy Commission and the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management have joint responsibility for conducting environmental reviews and issuing permits, a rigorous process that has been under way for nearly three years."

RELATED: "BLM releases final environmental study for proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation System Project" (BLM news release, 8/6/10)
The agency preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement has a smaller acreage footprint than the original proposal, and reduces impacts identified in the Draft EIS issued in November 2009. The BLM will be accepting public comment on the final EIS for 30 days.

"Supes prepared to appeal solar complex's approval" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/10/10)
"The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously agreed to appeal the approval of a massive solar complex in the Mojave Desert if environmental and public safety impacts are not properly addressed .... the board voted 4-0 to appeal any approval the California Energy Commission gives the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating Station unless proper mitigation is reached beforehand."

"BLM releases final environmental study for proposed Calico Solar Project" (BLM news release, 8/6/10)
Calico Solar, LLC initially applied for a right-of-way authorization from the BLM for a solar energy power plant on 8,230 acres of public land about 37 miles east of Barstow. The agency preferred alternative in the FEIS reduces the project footprint to 6,215 acres to avoid impacts to sensitive wildlife such as the desert tortoise, and rare plants and cultural resources. The project, if authorized, would be among the first commercial thermal solar power projects approved for construction on public lands in the United States.

"Imperial County solar project takes step forward" (Imperial Valley Press, 8/1/10)
"The Bureau of Land Management released the final environmental statement for the Tessera Solar project to be constructed on almost 6,500 acres of public land 14 miles west of El Centro .... The proposed project would produce about 750 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about a half-million average California homes, with its 30,000 SunCatchers."

"California desert may soon yield flood of solar energy production" (Sunpluggers, 8/6/10)
"Any one of the five proposed plants would be the largest single solar power installation in the world, at least until eclipsed by others now waiting in line in the United States or planned in other countries .... In the past 10 days, the federal Bureau of Land Management has issued final environmental studies for the proposed Calico Solar Project ... 850 megawatts, the planned Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System ... 370 megawatts, and the proposed Imperial Valley Solar Project ... 709 megawatts."

"Renewable energy fast track projects" (BLM California)
Fast-track projects within the State of California are those renewable energy projects that have made significant progress in the permitting process and have either formally begun or will soon begin the environmental review and public participation process. 

"EPA weighs in on Solar Millennium" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 8/12/10)
"Although Solar Millennium's proposed solar-power-plant project to be located just south of Ridgecrest, is on hold, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended the project be located at an alternative site," stating that approving a right-of-way application for the project " would set an unwise precedent for the many renewable energy right-of-way applications under consideration by the Bureau of Land Management."

"A green idea for brown farm fields in California" (New York Times, 8/10/10)
"Thousands of acres of once fertile farmland here in the San Joaquin Valley have been removed from agricultural production, largely because it is contaminated by salt buildup from years of irrigation. But large swaths of those dry fields could have a valuable new use in their future -- making electricity...." Also, "In Arizona, the Bureau of Land Management has started a program to repurpose landfills and abandoned mines for renewable energy production."

Close up of a smiling womanEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Florence Smith...
...is an assistant project manager for BLM's Renewable Energy Coordination Office in the California Desert District. She prepares correspondence and reports, assists in establishing and tracking case files for renewable energy projects and ensures quality control standards and procedures for project data files. Although new to BLM, Florence has been a federal employee for more than 12 years.


"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM news release, 8/5/10)
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct an auction of oil and gas leases on federal land on Sept. 8 in Bakersfield. The competitive lease auction involves 12 parcels for a total of 4,205.19 of public lands in Kern County.

"El Paso's 678-Mile pipeline would create 'path of destruction,' suit says" (Bloomberg News, 7/30/10)
"A lawsuit filed today in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco seeks a review of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the Ruby pipeline, which will cut across Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California...."


A woman helps a young man with a portable GPS unitYouth swarm over a dune buggy inside a garage"Career Technical Education summer program" (News.bytes Extra)
This summer the BLM Barstow Field Office Desert Discovery Center Partnership hosted their 2nd annual Career Technical Education Summer Camp Program. The CTE Summer Camp was designed to expose middle school students to a variety of career paths. The summer camp ran for 4 weeks and consisted of 3 modules -- Robotics, Film Production, and Natural Resource Management. The BLM Barstow Field Office partnered with the Mojave National Preserve for the Natural Resource Management module. Together they hosted 15 students each week for three weeks.


A boy works on an art project at a table with models of sea creaturesA woman and two men smile at their display booth"BLM booth a big hit at 2nd Annual San Diego Parks & Open Spaces Day" (News.bytes Extra)
Posters, postcards, and pins were a big hit at the BLM booth that was part of the 2nd annual San Diego Parks and Open Spaces Day held recently at Cabrillo National Monument. The day-long event highlighted “parks, natural areas, open spaces and organizations that support the use of these spaces in the San Diego area.” The BLM used this opportunity to continue its year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of both the California Coastal National Monument and the National Landscape Conservation System.

Geology and mining history field trips sponsored by Bureau of Land Management and Buena Vista Museum of Natural History" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Earth science field trips to points of mineralogic, geologic, paleontologic and historic interest throughout central California are designed for persons of high school age and older. It is not necessary to have a technical background to attend or benefit from the trips. These field trips are recommended for teachers. Pre-registration required. Call for schedule updates and fees.

A black and white bird and one of its young
What does the common murre use for nests?
(a.) Depressions in beach sand
(b.) Clumps of beach grasses
(c.) Floating "islands" of driftwood, which they supplement with loose branches and grasses they carry from shore
(d.) Rock
(e.) Frankincense and gold

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


"Task force investigating cause of Bull Fire" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/29/10)|
"Officials from the Kern County Fire Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are following up on several citizen reports regarding the source of the Bull Fire...."

"Firefighters stop main spread of Cow Mountain fire" (Lake County News, 8/3/10)
"A fire sparked in the Cow Mountain area of Mendocino County continued to burn on Monday, but state fire officials reported that its main spread had been stopped."

"Rash of wildfires plagues region" (Ridgecrest News Review, 8/4/10)
"A rash of wildfires in the last two weeks has plagued the region, causing numerous evacuations, thousands of acres burned, several homes destroyed and ultimately the declaration of Kern County as a disaster area."

Plane drops fire retardant.  Photo by Redding Record Searchlight"Retardant comes under fire" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/31/10)
"More than 81,000 gallons of retardant were dropped on two of the biggest fires in the north state in the past two weeks. That kind of firefighting strategy is coming under closer scrutiny, though, as a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Forest Service to take a closer look at the environmental effects of dropping fire retardant on wildland fires .... Nationwide, an average of 20 million gallons of retardant is dropped on fires annually by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and state agencies...."

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.

"Officials: Mild fire season so far" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 8/11/10)
"In the past few years, fires have threatened homes along the western Sierra front by mid-August. Or, smoke has drifted over from California wildfires and filled Reno’s skies, maybe even hurting air quality. Knock on wood." Said BLM Nevada spokesman Mark Struble, "This is the time of the year when we’re usually scrambling to get crews from anywhere." Joe Durousseau, operations chief for the Reno Fire Department, said, “The season’s not over. We’re still in the middle of it. We’ve been lucky so far."

"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, 7/29/10)
Reports from across the country, including California. Updated Monday through Friday during the fire season.


"Marijuana on public lands: Herger urges feds to devise a strategy"
(Redding Record Searchlight, 7/29/10)
"Saying federal agencies aren’t doing enough to stop Mexican drug cartels from growing marijuana illegally on public lands, U.S. Rep. Wally Herger has drafted a resolution urging Congress to create a long-term solution to permanently dismantle the traffickers’ operations ... The resolution must first be introduced and approved by the House Judiciary Committee before moving on for a full congressional vote."

RELATED: "Bill Summary & Status, 111th Congress (2009 - 2010), H.RES.1540" (The Library of Congress)

"Lake County deputy shoots, kills armed man at marijuana garden" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/4/10)
"A Lake County sheriff’s deputy Wednesday shot and killed a man who leveled a rifle at officers investigating a large, illegal marijuana garden on public land between Cobb and Middletown, the Sheriff’s Office said. The man was armed with a rifle when deputies and federal Bureau of Land Management agents confronted him around 6:30 a.m."

RELATED: "Deputy shoots pot grow suspect near Glenn County" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 7/29/10)
"A Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man who reportedly leveled a rifle at him ... during the raid of a large pot grow in northeast Mendocino County .... An eight-person enforcement team including deputies and peace officers from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management entered the grow, on Forest Service land, before dawn."

"Drug agents eradicate 4,700 marijuana plants" (St. Helena Star, 8/12/10)
"The raid occurred on public lands maintained by the Bureau of Land Management in northern Napa County."

"Is National Guard needed for Mendocino pot violence?" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/3/10)
"Fed up with armed marijuana growers taking over public lands, a group of Mendocino County residents ... asked the board of supervisors to declare a state of emergency and bring in the National Guard .... Supervisors directed the county attorney to investigate what a state of emergency would entail and the potential repercussions .... Large-scale illegal cultivators are shooting and poisoning wildlife, dumping pesticides into streams, diverting streams and taking pot shots at people who attempt to use the forest between the spring and fall," said a rancher.

"Fish and Game leads multi-agency pot garden raid" (Corning Observer, 8/3/10)
"Wardens from the Department of Fish and Game, Tehama County Sheriff's deputies and an agent from the Bureau of Land Management, made the raid on the garden and eradicated 8,000 marijuana plants and seized two 9 mm pistols, Fish and Game reported."


A hand holds two pieces of fossilized boneMore fossilized bones sit on a table"Foothills find: Giant sea lizard fossil" (Modesto Bee, 8/11/10)
"In a quiet campus laboratory, Susan Bowman brushes dirt and rock from bones 65 million years old. She's slowly putting together part of a giant sea lizard. Bowman, a research intern for the Bureau of Land Management, took on the job after BLM natural resources specialist Ryan O'Dell discovered the fossils last summer in the Panoche Hills west of Firebaugh." Includes video of Bowman showing fossilized bones in the lab.

A sketch of an underwater dinosaurRELATED: "Fossils of huge aquatic lizard found in SJ valley"(CBS13.com, 8/10/10)
"Susan Bowman, a research intern with the US Bureau of Land Management and a CSU Stanislaus graduate in anthropology, archeology and paleontology, says the fossils appear to belong to a species of long-necked undersea carnivore known as a plesiosaur." Includes audio report.

"BLM names Ken Collum as new BLM Eagle Lake Field Manager" (BLM news release, 8/11/10)
Ken Collum of Cedarville has been chosen as the new Eagle Lake Field Manager by the Bureau of Land Management, with responsibility for overseeing more than one million acres of public lands in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada.

"Eagle Mountain landfill plan stalls in court" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/3/10)
"A contentious plan to build one of the nation's largest landfills next to Joshua Tree National Park has hit another legal roadblock. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined Friday to review its panel's 2-1 decision last year rejecting a land-swap for the 4,654-acre Eagle Mountain landfill, proposed at a former ore mine site 60 miles east of Indio. Ontario-based Kaiser Ventures, which swapped land with the federal Bureau of Land Management to build Eagle Mountain, is considering what to do next.

RELATED: "Opponents declare mega-dump dead" (Hi-Desert Star, 8/4/10)
"After 23 years of grassroots environmental struggle, the opponents of the Eagle Mountain Landfill and Recycling Center are celebrating. On July 30, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied motions for a re-hearing by project proponent Kaiser Eagle Mountain Inc., which hoped to reverse the court’s November ruling against the project."

"BLM seeks members for El Mirage subgroup" (BLM news release, 8/5/10)
Qualification categories include being a user, stakeholder, or resident in a neighboring community, or qualifying by virtue of knowledge of or experience with the El Mirage Recreation Area.

RELATED: "El Mirage Dry Lake Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)

"BLM solicits comments on proposed land exchange with Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians" (BLM news release, 8/10/10)
The proposed land exchange within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument would facilitate effective and efficient management of the monument by consolidating the land base and reducing the extent of “checkerboard” land ownership. For the tribe, the exchange would support resource preservation goals.

"Imperial Sand Dunes management plan to be reviewed after public comment period ends"(Imperial Valley Press, 8/10/10)
"The public comment period has closed for the plan that dictates how the Bureau of Land Management handles the Imperial County sand dunes. The next part of the process for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area draft management plan is to look back at all the comments received since March when the public comment period opened...."

"BLM closes off 29K acres to mining claims" (Hollister Freelance, 8/3/10)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has ordered that 29,000 acres in the Clear Creek Management Area be closed to new mining claims as a way to reduce airborne asbestos emissions ... for up to two years, while the secretary of the interior is proposing to withdraw the lands from mining for 20 years ... In the meantime, the BLM plans to conduct various studies and do analysis to support a final decision on the withdrawal application .... Comments for a public meeting in connection with the closure are being accepted for 90 days."

RELATED: "BLM closes Clear Creek Management Area to new mining claims" (BLM news release, 8/3/10)
To reduce airborne asbestos emissions and minimize overall risk to human health and the environment, the BLM issued a temporary closure of 28,953 acres of public lands in Clear Creek Management Area in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties to new mining claims.

"Meteor shower takes center stage this week" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 8/9/10)
Tonight: "The Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak late Thursday night and early Friday morning ... Peak viewing is just before dawn ... Brad Mastin, a park ranger with the Bureau of Land Management, gets between 12 and 24 calls from people hoping to find a dark patch of sky to view the meteors. One of the best places to view the showers is from Harper Dry Lake, he said."

"Officials issue tickets to trespassers near river at Whitewater Canyon" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/12/10
"State officers are ticketing people who trespass into the 'hazardous fire area' of Whitewater Canyon .... closed June 8 at the request of Riverside County fire Chief John Hawkins .... Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department are working with the Bureau of Land Management to enforce the posted closures, which ban public access .... The northern area of Whitewater Canyon near the conservancy is still open to the public for recreational use."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Listings include outdoor recreation planner, archaeology technician, maintenance helper/worker, range technician and more.

Find more details online at:


"Secretary Salazar announces $14.6 million of economic recovery funding for Delta-Mendota Canal/California Aqueduct Intertie Pumping Plant, underground pipeline" (Department of the Interior press release, 7/29/10)
"When completed, the Intertie will connect the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct to relieve DMC conveyance limitations, allow for maintenance and repair activities, and provide the flexibility to respond to Central Valley Project and State Water Project emergency water operations."

"New law promotes authentic Indian arts and crafts, cracks down on fraudulent art" (Department of the Interior press release, 7/30/10)
"The new law also strengthens the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to sell or offer or display for sale any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian-produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian Tribe."

"Interior releases more of leaked list of potential national monuments" (Greenwire on New York Times, 8/11/10)
"The Interior Department has released the rest of a partially leaked document listing potential sites for new national monuments, but the move did nothing to quell Republican accusations that the Obama administration is plotting to lock up public lands .... The newly released pages of the document detail the Bureau of Land Management's goals for expanding its National Landscape Conservation System."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Rock

SOURCE: "Common Murre - Uria aalge" (BLM California wildlife database)
They lay their eggs on bare rock, using no material for the nest except occasionally a few pebbles cemented together with excrement, which may keep the egg from rolling.

An eagle and seagulls fly over a thick mass of nesting birdsAn eagle flies with something in its clawsRELATED: "Bald eagles and pelicans munch on Oregon Coast bird" (KVAL, Eugene, Ore., 7/29/10)
Scientists observing a colony of common murres just offshore from BLM-Oregon's Yaquina Lighthouse "have found murre survival can be influenced by predators as well as by prey." Scientists from Oregon State University, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are studying the estimated 50,000 murres that use ocean rocks there. One finding: bald eagles "swoop down to grab adult murres" and "as the other murres scattered, gulls would rush in and scoop up the murre eggs."


"Plan to protect kit fox habitats could create barrier for builders" (Bakersfield Californian, 8/5/10)
"Environmental groups on Thursday petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect even more habitat for the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox, including in Kern County ... It's unknown how many San Joaquin kit foxes -- the smallest member of the fox family -- are in the area. Carrizo Plain, just west of Taft in San Luis Obispo County, is thought to have the largest population -- between 251 and 610, according to 2000 estimates...."

RELATED: "Biological resources, Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
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Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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