A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 461 - 12/16/10

two reindeer in a green field man brushes a horse close-up of red cardinal on a snowy branch four people smile at camera wolverine in the snow


- Renewable energy
- Energy
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Advisory groups and planning
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted public lands topics
- Department of the Interior items: Drilling safety in bill
This issue of News.bytes is online at:

Renewable energy graphics represent solar, wind and geothermal power, plus transmission linesRENEWABLE ENERGY

"Salazar, Chu announce next step in nation's march toward renewable energy future" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/16/10)
"Today Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a comprehensive environmental analysis that has identified proposed 'solar energy zones' on public lands in six western states most suitable for environmentally sound, utility-scale solar energy production. The detailed study, known as the Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, was compiled over the past two years as part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to create a framework for developing renewable energy in the right way and in the right places. The public is encouraged to provide comment on the draft plan during the next 90 days.

"Judge grants injunction halting Tessera solar plant" (Reuters, 12/16/10)
"The move ... will likely bolster the position of various groups that are fighting to stop construction of solar plants around the Southwest ... United States District Judge Larry Burns ruled that the federal government failed to adequately consult the [Quechan] tribe before approving the planned solar plant, which is slated for tribal lands in the Imperial Valley, near California's border with Mexico ... To some extent, the lawsuit is moot ... The company is looking for ways to finance" this and its proposed Calico solar plant, "which would each cost around $2 billion to build."

a small windmill among desert buildingsa Joshua tree in the desert"Eagle concerns stymie wind farms" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13/10)
"Fears that whirling wind turbines could slaughter protected golden eagles have halted progress on a key piece of the federal government's push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments ... The restriction has stymied efforts to 'fast-track' approvals for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals in the nation, including all three in California."

four people smile at camera"Governor calls Sunrise Powerlink example to nation" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/9/10)
"San Diego Gas & Electric's controversial Sunrise Powerlink should serve as an example to the nation of how to build green infrastructure, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said during a groundbreaking ceremony" last week. "The sun and the wind available in California's deserts are a 'goldmine' of renewable power, he said. 'The challenge, of course, is moving the power ... If you don't have the transmission lines you have nothing'." As he spoke, "several dozen protesters lined the road" leading to the site. The BLM approved portions of the route through federally-managed lands.

map of southern CaliforniaRELATED: "Schwarzenegger touts Sunrise Powerlink project at groundbreaking ceremony" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/10/10)
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger marked the groundbreaking of the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission line Thursday by touting the need for ushering in more renewable energy projects before a throng of supportive public officials ... But not everyone was happy with the building of the transmission line. A number of protesters picketed outside ..."

"Tax bill has lots of breaks for special interests" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15/10)
Among amendments to a tax compromise bill: "one big alternative-energy program that survived under pressure from Democrats would extend a subsidy to cover nearly a third of the cost of new wind and solar installations. It was the top goal for alternative-energy industry lobbyists. Benefiting from the subsidies will be the Ivanpah solar electricity-generating plant in the Mojave Desert, projected to be the largest solar project in the world when finished."


"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $600,000" (BLM news release, 12/10/10)
Five oil and gas lease parcels in Kern and Kings counties were auctioned last week for a total of $695,552, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office.

"BLM announces availability of oil and gas lease auction environmental assessment" (BLM news release, 12/9/10)
The Bureau of Land Management has completed the environmental assessment for the oil and gas lease auction scheduled for March 9, 2011. A 30-day public review and comment period runs from to Dec. 8, 2010, through Jan. 7, 2011.


two reindeer in a green field
Stretching our definition of "wildlife" for this pre-holiday issue, which of the following is true?
(a.) The Cricket on the Hearth was a rare early failure among Charles Dickens' Christmas works. Victorian-era readers objected to an insect carrying the Christmas message.
(b.) Frosty the Snowman filmed an early climate change commercial that was widely considered a failure -- he had lost so much weight, most viewers did not recognize him.
(c.) Olive, the Other Reindeer, was created for a free coloring book handed out by one of America's largest Italian restaurant chains.
(d.) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer did not make money for his author until Montgomery Ward gave up the copyright.
(e.) One of the most successful Christmas movies ever, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, features a robot with a pet Dalmatian puppy and an appearance by actress Pia Zadora.
--> See answer -- and more holiday stuff -- near the end of this issue.


man brushes a horsequilt of horses"In Mustang Makeover, trainers tame wild horses for adoption in 100 days" (New York Times, 12/12/10)
"Dale Lively covered the eyes of his mustang by wrapping a cloth around its head, then rode it toward a small wooden bridge ... El Cuatro stepped onto the bridge, trusting Lively’s guidance at the reins. Lively halted.
silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroHe pulled out a revolver and blasted three shots in the air, but the horse did not flinch. The performance was part of the Extreme Mustang Makeover, a national competition in which horse trainers have about 100 days to turn a wild mustang into a well-behaved steed."

"IG wants BLM to step up horse management research" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13/10)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management needs to step up its research into population control methods for wild horses to help curb the spiraling costs of rounding up the mustangs across the West and housing them in holding facilities, federal inspectors said Monday. The new report by the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General mostly defended the BLM roundups that often are criticized by horse protection advocates."


"Secretary Salazar announces new appointments to BLM Central California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM news release, 12/8/10)
The RACs throughout the Bureau of Land Management advise BLM on public land issues. The RACs are composed of members with diverse interests and backgrounds.

"Secretary Salazar announces new appointments to BLM Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee" (BLM news release, 12/9/10)
he MAC advises BLM on public land issues and is composed of members with diverse interests and backgrounds.

"BLM announces two additional community planning meetings for Kanaka Valley" (BLM news release, 12/8/10)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Mother Lode Field Office will hold public meetings in Rescue for the community-based management plan of the Kanaka Valley area near the Pine Hill Preserve. Two meetings were added to the schedule to allow enough time for full discussions on recreation, trails and facilities.

"Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee meets Jan. 13 in Cedarville" (BLM news release, 12/13/10)
Varied public land natural resource topics will be on the agenda when the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee meets Thursday, Jan 13 in Cedarville. The meeting is open to the public.


"Residents of quiet desert town up in arms over proposed military training center" (Los Angeles Times, 12/13/10)
"San Diego-based Wind Zero Inc. says the facility would bring much-needed jobs and revenue to cash-strapped Imperial County. Critics say it would upset Ocotillo's peaceful rural atmosphere."

"Copco residents speak out on KBRA, KHSA" (Siskiyou Daily News, 12/10/10)
"It was standing room only at the Copco Lake Community Center" when "about 50 people" had a chance to ask "'what is going on with the science' of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA)." An "informational meeting that was originally slated to last two hours and lasted over three and a half hours," including a representative from the BLM.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
View current listings for jobs with the BLM in California.


"Senate envisions Interior, EPA budget that improves drilling safety" (Greenwire in The New York Times, 12/15/10)
"The Senate's omnibus appropriations bill for the Interior Department and U.S. EPA would push key Obama administration goals of improving the safety of offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling through extended reviews, more inspection personnel and new industry fees to pay for them."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer did not make money for his author until Montgomery Ward gave up the copyright.

SOURCE: "Rudolph creator happy but harried" (Associated Press in St. Petersburgh Times, 12/19/1949 -- at Google News)
Cover of Gene Autrey sings Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer albumRobert L. May wrote the story and his employer, Montgomery Ward & Co. gave out 2.4 million free copies for Christmas 1939. Rudolph "hibernated" during World War II, but returned in 3.6 million free handouts in 1946. "In 1947, Ward's board chairman, Sewell Avery, decided May should have the copyright on Rudolph and any royalties." Within two years, there were at least 24 Rudolph products on the market, including "books, games, tree ornaments ... and a bank with a nose that lights up when a coin drops through the slot." Decades before Zu Zu pets, Cabbage Patch dolls or Buzz Lightyear figures, at least one mother advertised that she would "pay double price" for a scarce Rudolph stuffed toy.

LOOSELY RELATED: Reindeer photo (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
Two reindeer on Atka Island -- part of the Aleutian Islands -- in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Only partially correct:
(e.) One of the most successful Christmas movies ever, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, features a robot with a pet Dalmatian puppy and an appearance by actress Pia Zadora.
Though this movie does include the robot Zorg and an appearance by Pia Zadora, Zorg does not have a Dalmatian, and many people do not consider it to be one of the most successful Christmas movies ever.

More seasonal wildlife stories:

close-up of red cardinal on a snowy branch"Bring on the birds: A holiday count begins" (Green at New York Times, 12/16/10)
"Attention, bird-watchers: the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is under way. The annual census, which began on Tuesday and runs through Jan. 5, relies on volunteers throughout the Western Hemisphere who head out with binoculars, spotting scopes, bird guides, cellphones, mobile apps and notepads ... The collected data, when combined with other surveys, helps researchers get a picture of how bird populations are faring over time and the effects of climate change, habitat loss and other threats."

"Feds: Wolverines need protection but have to wait" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13/10)
"The threat of climate change warrants classifying wolverines as threatened or endangered, but other species are in more imminent danger and will delay protection for the small, ferocious mammals, wildlife officials said ... The wolverine has a broader range in Canada and Alaska, territory separate from the newly designated distinct population segment in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and California."

wolverine in the snowRELATED: "Wolverine - Gulo gulo" (BLM-California wildlife database)
The wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels and badgers. Adult males generally weigh 26 to 40 pounds and adult females weigh 17 to 26 pounds.

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