A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 449 - 9/23/10

close-up of a bird with a feather tuft atop its head red-orange leaves on trees in a valley A brown horse with a light blonde mane Mountain bikers pose on a flat section of trail A smiling man's face


- This weekend: National Public Lands Day
- Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Roundup concludes
- Wild horse and burro adoptions
- Renewable energy
- Employee profile
- America's Great Outdoors
- Fall foliage in California
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items
This issue of News.bytes is online at:

National Public Lands Day logo
"Celebrate National Public Lands Day!" (Sacramento Bee, 9/20/10)
OpEd: "What some may not realize is that each of us - every citizen of the United States - owns a stake in approximately 650 million acres of the nation's lands. In effect, the property deed for almost one-third of our country lists the American people as owners. We'd better take care of it."

"National Public Lands Day 2010" (BLM California)
List of projects in various parts of California. Includes links for more information, and contact information so you can take part, also! (Due to extreme heat at some locations, some events will be held in October.)

Including these BLM events on Saturday, Sept. 25:

Fossil Canyon (El Centro Field Office)
Trash cleanup.

Radamacher Hills Viewshed Management Area (Ridgecrest Field Office)
Clean up litter, improve trails, trailheads and picnic areas.

Feliciana Mountain (Mother Lode Field Office)
Removal of French broom, a fast-spreading invasive weed.

...and this event on Saturday, Oct. 9:
"Volunteers welcome at National Public Lands Day Event at Clear Creek" (BLM Redding Field Office)
Volunteers needed: Lower Clear Creek Greenway area south of Redding, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A barbecue will conclude the day. Volunteers will pick up trash, clean up graffiti, repair hiking trails and clear invasive weeds. The BLM will provide gloves, eye protection and tools. Please call to sign up.

"National Public Lands Day" (NPLD website)
For our non-California readers, find an NPLD event near you -- in any part of the country.

silhouette of a wild horse and a burroTo our Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Roundup followers: It started a long time ago, with setting of resource goals for the herd management area: Healthy wild horses and burros on healthy rangelands in balance with other legally authorized uses. It wrapped up last Sunday with BLM issuing its 226th tweet: "All is calm as the roundup in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area concludes."

But the job now is to get the animals ready for adoption -- as you can see online, the Twin Peaks horses are striking, beautiful animals with unusual markings.

"BLM concludes Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Roundup" (BLM news release, 9/21/10)
The Bureau of Land Management on Sunday completed rounding up excess wild horses and burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area. In the roundup, 1,639 wild horses and 160 wild burros were taken from the range to restore wild populations to their appropriate management levels.

"Adopting a Twin Peaks horse or burro"
(BLM-California website)
If you are interested in adopting a Twin Peak horse or burro, let us know -- via the "contact us" link on the following web page -- and we'll keep you informed:

A brown horse with a light blonde maneA mare and a foal trot across a flat area"Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Roundup: Photos" (BLM California website)
Photos of wild horses, wild burros and the roundup operations. Follow the link "Wild horses spring 2010" for the largest group of wild horse photos.

close-up of a horse's faceA white horse trots across the landscape"Roundup of wild horses, burros ends north of Susanville"
(Sacramento Bee, 9/21/10)
"Agency officials will conduct an aerial population survey within the next week to confirm the populations of wild horses and burros remaining in the range...."

Yellow and green foliage among sagebrush and hillsA purple bush in a high desert area"Twin Peaks scenery" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management's Twin Peaks Herd Management Area is a rugged, remote and starkly beautiful place. This high desert landscape along the California-Nevada is volcanic in origin. Extinct stratovolcanos and lava flows dominate the landscape which is dotted with sage, juniper and grasses typical of the high desert Great Basin and Modoc Plateau region. Here are some photos BLM staff took of the area.

You can catch up with information on the Twin Peaks Gather on Facebook...

... and on Twitter:

BLM folks posted photos from the Twin Peaks Roundup among the BLM photos on Flickr:

BLM holds adoption events throughout California and the West, as well as in locations in the Midwest, East and South. Some stories of adopted horses appear below.

"California wild horse & burro adoption schedule" (BLM-California)
This weekend:The next adoption event is Saturday, Sept. 25 at Sundance Ranch in Redlands. A preview is planned for 1-5 pm Friday, Sept. 24. You can also schedule an adoption at the BLM's Ridgecrest or Litchfield corrals.

A man holds his hand on a horse's headA man rides a horse in a corral"Trainer tames blind wild mustang" (NBC News on MSNBC, 9/17/10)
Video: Kansas truck driver Jay Miller is training a blind mustang from the BLM, for a competition in Nebraska. "I enjoy working with the wild horses because each of them has their own personality," Miller said. "They're super smart."

RELATED: "Man attempts to train blind horse for competition" (WALB-TV Albany, Georgia, 9/17/10)
Includes text of above story.

Man pats a horse's headA man leads a horse in a corral"A gentler, kinder way with horses" (The Grand Island, Nebraska Independent, 9/16/10)
"There's the popular wild west image of the cowboy being jolted and given a harrowing ride as he attempts to break and tame the raging wild horse. And then there's Ron Knodel's way of breaking a wild horse calmly, gently, establishing a bond of trust between horse and rider." For gentling demonstrations, "he uses wild horses gathered from western lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management."

A woman pets a horseA woman in a helmet rides a horse"Lake County Mustang truly a maverick" (Arlington Heights, Illinois Daily Herald, 9/17/10)
"Mustang horses have a proud history in the United States. The free-roaming, feral horses - which descend from horses brought to America by the Spanish - are not, however, known as show animals. That makes Padré, a 10-year-old Mustang owned by Wauconda-area resident Patti Gruber, even more remarkable. Gruber has entered Padré in Dressage at Devon, an international equestrian competition in Devon, Pa. ... More than 700 horses are expected to compete before some 35,000 spectators." Gruber adopted the horse from the BLM about three years ago.

horse and young in a field"Wild horses in North Carolina, western states face uncertain future" (FoxNews.com, 9/20/10)
"Just 80 years ago, as many as 6,000 horses galloped unbridled along the northern Outer Banks of the Tar Heel State. But now the herd there numbers roughly 115" amid plans to "reduce it almost by half ... to stop the horses from competing with protected birds for hard-to-come-by natural resources .... in 10 Western states ... 33,700 horses and 4,700 burros ... exceeds by nearly 12,000 the appropriate level .... Overpopulation of the wild animals leads to soil erosion, sedimentation of streams and damage to wildlife habitat and has forced officials to conduct ongoing adoption drives and roundups in 10 states."

renewable energy graphic represents solar, wind and geothermal power and transmission linesRENEWABLE ENERGY

A man stand by a row of large mirrors on the desert floor"California licenses world's biggest solar thermal plant" (New York Times, 9/17/10)
"California regulators have licensed what is for the moment the world’s largest solar thermal power plant, a 1,000-megawatt complex called the Blythe Solar Power Project to be built in the Mojave Desert .... It is notable for being the first big solar project to be licensed that would be built on federal land. The United States Bureau of Land Management is expected to decide by the end of October whether to approve the Blythe complex."

A sprawling solar complex with mirros and water tanksRELATED: "Water limits changed design of biggest solar project" (IEEE Spectrum, Sept. 2010)
"Solar-thermal plants like the ones planned at Blythe use trough-shaped mirrors to warm a heat-transfer fluid pumped through a pipe at the mirrors' focal point. The hot fluid makes steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity. The steam must be cooled and condensed to complete the cycle ... On average, a typical 300-megawatt steam-cycle generator with cooling towers loses some 11 million liters of water a day to evaporation .... essentially a gigantic radiator ... dry cooling is less efficient than wet cooling, especially in summer."

"State approves controversial solar project" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/23/10)
"A 370-megawatt solar field in rural northwest San Bernardino County unanimously cleared the California Energy Commission on Wednesday, the latest in a string of projects on a fast track to qualify for federal stimulus money by the end of the year .... The $2 billion project, located in the Ivanpah Valley near Primm, Nev., was approved over the objections of environmental groups and others, who contend that allowing energy development on undisturbed wildlife habitat is unnecessary, because other land is available that has equal solar potential."

Section of map of solar projects in southern CaliforniaRELATED: "BrightSource Energy gets OK for 370-megawatt solar plant in Mojave Desert" (San Jose Mercury News, 9/23/10)
"BrightSource's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is one of four large solar thermal power plants approved by the Energy Commission this month; five others are pending. The commission hopes to rule on all nine projects by the end of the year in order to qualify for federal stimulus funds .... Several environmental groups and some Native American tribes have objected."

"Commission approves license for huge Ivanpah solar power plant off I-15" (Sunpluggers.com, 9/22/10)
"The solar thermal power installation, to be constructed on public property, must also be approved for a right of way by the federal Bureau of Land Management before work on the land can begin .... Interstate 15 carries a massive traffic flow between the Los Angeles megalopolis and Las Vegas every weekend, and traffic often slows or stops in the valley where the giant solar power complex would rise."

"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. 

A smiling man's faceEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Noel Ludwig...
... is a hydrologist for the Renewable Energy Coordinating Office (RECO) in the California Desert District headquarters. He has an interesting assignment, studying and working through hydrologic and stormwater erosion issues that may be created by solar, wind, and geothermal energy projects across southern California. -- among other water issues.

Snow-covered mountains with the message "America's Great Outdoors"AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS

"BLM, partners plan fall and winter outings along lower Clear Creek" (BLM news release, 9/21/10)
Topics ranging from fly fishing to mushroom collecting will be featured in the free outings. The events, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve and other partners, are great for families and children. They include “Search the for Spawning Salmon” on Oct., 23; "Wild Trout and Fly Fishing in Clear Creek” Oct. 20, "Autumn Natural History Walk" Nov. 7; and "Acorns: A Native American Staple" Nov. 14.

People with horses and people on bikes in a flat areaMountain bikers pose on a flat section of trail"Volunteers help protect former Fort Ord public lands" (Salinas Californian, 9/17/10)
Volunteers take part in "a patrol that helps users of the semi-wild Bureau of Land Management public lands on the former Fort Ord. The space is roughly 7,500 acres. That will double once all explosives left from the Army's training days are cleared from restricted lands. The patrol, 35 members strong, is called 'BETA,' for Bicycle, Equestrian, Trails Assistance. It includes hikers, dog walkers, runners, mountain bikers and horseback riders."

People cut a ribbon near something that looks like an ATM"New electronic kiosk brings recreation information to the public" (News.bytes Extra)
Information on recreation opportunities on public lands in Central California is just a touch away with a new electronic information kiosk that was dedicated Monday at the Bureau of Land Management office in Bakersfield. The information kiosk is a product of the Service First initiative partnership authority among the BLM and three other agencies.


Red and yellow foliage along a river canyonYellow and orange foliage along a river"Bizz Johnson Trail: Fall foliage along the trail" (BLM-California, Eagle Lake Field Office)
Autumn is one of the most popular seasons to visit the Bizz Johnson Trail. As the changing foliage of cottonwoods turn the river bottoms golden yellow, willows along the river take on various tones of red and golden yellow, and oaks scattered through the landscape add accents of bright orange.

Yellow and green foliage in a group of treesred-orange leaves on trees in a valley"Fall color hotspots 2010" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
September 21: The fall colors are beginning to show in the Eastern Sierra area. As of Monday 9/20 several of the aspen stands west of Conway Summit and below Dunderberg Peak are turning bright yellow as well as a few turning deep orange. Some of the aspen stands in the Bodie Hills are beginning to change color as well. Many of the higher elevation willows are turning yellow as well as some of the cottonwoods in Owens Valley. The weather continues to be warm dry and sunny which should be setting us up for a colorful fall. (Includes "Why do leaves change color in the fall?")


close-up of a bird with a feather tuft atop its head
California quail
curved top of a fern
One of the animals found in the Twin Peaks area is the California quail. California quail eat mainly:
(a.) fruits
(b.) nuts
(c.) seeds
(d.) insects in the larval stage
(e.) decaying vegetation
(f.) fiddlehead ferns

------> See answer -- and related links -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Public can sit in on planning session for Mojave Desert" ( Needles Desert Star, 9/20/10)
"Concerned citizens in the Tri-state area will have a rare chance to participate in the planning process for public lands in the California Desert when the Bureau of Land Management's Desert Advisory Council convenes in Needles on Oct. 1 and 2. The council plans to take a field trip through the millions of acres managed by the BLM's Needles Field Office on Friday. They meet in formal session ... Saturday."

"Limits keep off-road fans safe but obscure viewing"
(Riverside Press Enterprise, 9/18/10)
"Stricter rules for keeping crowds away from the racetrack are working to enhance safety following a calamitous wreck last month in San Bernardino County that killed eight spectators. But promoters also were criticized by some race fans expecting to breathe in the dust the off-road racers kicked up and feel the dry blast of wind when a racer sped by."

"Lawsuit alleges negligence in 2008 slayings of teens at abandoned military bunker" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/17/10)
"Parents of a teen couple executed inside an abandoned High Desert military bunker have sued the Air Force and Bureau of Land Management, contending that the agencies repeatedly ignored the dangers of the remote, unsupervised location .... The killings rallied High Desert residents and gained immediate attention from the Air Force Real Property Agency, which managed the site. In April 2008, the site was razed at a cost of $500,000."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Listings include Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) specialist, biological science technician and assistant fire engine operator.

Find events and details online at:


"Secretary Salazar honors Stewart Lee Udall at Interior building dedication" (Department of the Interior press release, 9/21/10)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar honored the life and legacy of Stewart Lee Udall at a ceremony dedicating the main Interior building after the former Secretary of the Interior. As the 37th Secretary of the Interior, Secretary Udall served from 1961 to 1969. His legacy is marked by his commitment to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, his forward-looking stewardship of our Nation’s natural resources, and his support for the arts and humanities.

"BLM seeks input on revised historic preservation agreement" (BLM national news release, 9/17/10)
The BLM is soliciting input from tribes, State Historic Preservation Offices, and its field offices on revisions to a programmatic agreement governing activities on federal lands that could affect historic properties. The revisions clarify the BLM’s responsibilities for consultation with tribes on activities that could affect religious or cultural properties.

"Court blocks changes in Bush-era grazing regulations" (Yuma Sun, 9-20-10)
"A federal appeals court has barred the Bureau of Land Management from pushing through Bush-era changes in how the government oversees grazing on 160 million acres of public lands throughout the West...."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) seeds

SOURCE: "California Quail - Callipepla californica" (BLM California wildlife database)
Seeds are the main component of the California quail diet, but they may also eat foliage, acorns, fruit, insects, and spiders. Quail find food by scratching and pecking through ground matter for suitable food items.

RELATED: "Callipepla californica - California quail" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information and photos, from this "educational resource written largely by and for college students."
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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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