A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 467 - 2/3/11

a family of kit foxes sits on a lawn Solar panels and towers in the desert man in yellow slicker handles ropes in mine shaft a section of green floating bridge is pushed across the water an eagle in flight


- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife on public lands
- America's Great Outdoors: Places to get outside
- Be aware of desert hazards
- Renewable energy
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National BLM and Department of the Interior items
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


question mark eyes peer out from underbrush
Short-nosed, giant, chisel-toothed, agile, big-eared – what animal are these subspecies of?
(a.) Pacific bullfrog
(b.) Banded gecko
(c.) Spotted bat
(d.) Kangaroo rat
(e.) California sea lion
(f.) Blunt-nosed leopard lizard
(g.) Football player

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


a family of kit foxes sits on a lawna kit fox curls up under a car bumper"Twinkies? Doughnuts? Researchers find kit foxes devouring wrong foods" (Bakersfield Californian, 1/30/11)
"They'll eat practically anything," says retired biology professor Ted Murphy. "'I'd find fast food bags, rib bones, almost anything you could think of around the dens'." And "apparently junk food and processed meals aren't any better for foxes than they are for us. Urban kit foxes in and around Bakersfield are fatter and have higher cholesterol levels than their counterparts in the wild."

stuffed mountain lion lies in a glass casea hand next to a plaster cast of a mountain lion paw print"Curator seeks tales of close encounters of the puma kind" (Salinas Californian, 1/28/11)
The curator of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History asks residents for their photos of mountain lions. "She's also collecting stories about encounters with the big cats" for an informational display at the museum. On public lands at the former Fort Ord, BLM manager Eric Morgan said, "I haven't seen a mountain lion myself, but several of my employees have." He said that "joggers, hikers, horseback and mountain bike riders who daily traverse the BLM trails have also reported sightings."

a person in a desert tortoise costumes stands in front of youngsters"Photo: Tortoise talk" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/2/11)
"Desert tortoise mascot Mojave Max visited a Las Vegas elementary school, "where Bureau of Land Management Field Office Director Mary Jo Rugwell told students about the contest for guessing when the real Mojave Max tortoise will emerge from a hibernation burrow ... This year marks the 11th for the BLM's awareness program about the Mojave Desert and the federally protected reptile." California has its own Mojave Max (see next item).

RELATED: "Mojave Max Emergence Contest" (The Living Desert website)
"Guess when Mojave Max will emerge for Spring and win fun prizes for you and your class! Who can play? Southern California students and youth groups from the following counties: Inyo, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura and Kern." Links to more information. (repeated from last week's News.bytes)

RELATED: Entry form for Mojave Max Emergence Contest

America's Great Outdoors logo sports snow-capped peaksAMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS

an eagle in flight"Walk with wildlife at Lake County's Cache Creek" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30/11)
"Bald eagles are the main attractions of the seasonal guided hikes through Lake County's Cache Creek Natural Area, but tule elk, osprey and many other wildlife species may appear during the 4-mile trek. Led by Bureau of Land Management naturalists, the weekly hikes ... include a 600-foot climb in the first mile ... Feb. 5 and 12 tours are already full, but call for possible cancellations."

RELATED: "Cache Creek Natural Area" (BLM Ukiah Field Office)
This secluded, hilly expanse of oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral is a combination of over 70,000 acres of BLM managed lands and 4,700 acres of State and County lands. Numerous bird species have been spotted here.

black and white photo of men on a bridge across a ravine"Hunting for heavy metal in Colfax" (Colfax Record, 1/27/1)
The story of the Stevens Trail "begins with the gold seekers of the 1800s, who needed to get from the supply community of Colfax to the mining fields of Iowa Hill. But, first they had to get across the rugged North Fork of the American River canyon. In 1866-67, John Rutherford ... surveyed the route for the trail. He was looking to compete with Rice’s Grade, which had dangerously steep grades and a toll rate that was exorbitant ... Stevens Trail became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002...."

RELATED: "Stevens Trail" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
This is a popular year-round hiking trail in the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada. The current trail extends 4.5 miles along the northwestern slope of the North Fork of the American River Canyon. It begins at the trailhead in Colfax and ends at the confluence of Secret Ravine and the North Fork of the American River.

"Get up close with 'unique' plant life" (El Dorado Hills Telegraph, 2/2/11)
"Thanks to a program from the Bureau of Land Management, El Dorado Hills residents and others from the area will be able to learn about plant life that’s unique to the region."


lettering "Heat Kills" over a gravestonetwo hikers look over a rocky desert landscape"'Death by GPS' in the desert"(Sacramento Bee, 1/30/11)
"Danger has long stalked those who venture into California's desert in the heat of summer." But as more people visit, "technology and tragedy are mixing in new and unexpected ways." Said Death Valley wilderness coordinator Charlie Callagan, "People are renting vehicles with GPS and they have no idea how it works and they are willing to trust the GPS to lead them into the middle of nowhere." Stories of deaths in the desert are "reminders that even with a growing suite of digital devices at our side, technology cannot guarantee survival in the wild. Worse, it is giving many a false sense of security and luring some into danger and death."

RELATED: "Desert safety" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
There are numerous opportunities for recreation in the deserts of California. Travel on foot or in a vehicle can be an exciting and rewarding experience. No one plans on getting lost, breaking down, or experiencing other mishaps. Being prepared will keep you safe and make for a memorable trip.

man in yellow slicker handles ropes in mine shaft"Man who falls down mine shaft rescued" (Victorville Daily Press, 1/31/11)
San Bernardino County firefighters rescued a man who "was climbing down a ladder" in a vertical mine shaft "when he fell between 70 to 120 feet breaking his leg .... The Fire Department strongly recommends people stay away from these vertical shafts as they not only present a serious fall hazard, but may not have adequate ventilation resulting in an oxygen deficient or toxic atmosphere. that frequently results in serious injury or death."

"Abandoned mine lands: Safety and education" (BLM national website)
Mining played a significant role in the settlement and development the West. As the ore was mined out or the operations became otherwise uneconomical, the mines were either boarded up or the miners simply walked away from them. Over the years, several hundred thousand abandoned mines may have been left scattered across the western U.S.

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

Solar panels and towers in the desert"Red lights ahead for green energy projects" (KQED, 1/28/11)
The California Report: "California has committed to green power, subsidizing big projects to make a viable market and building up the transmission network to bring the power from remote locations to urban areas. But some of these projects are coming up against blowback -- such as the Sunrise Powerlink in the Imperial Valley." Audio (5:01).

"Court rejects U.S. bid to establish corridors for new electric transmission lines" (Los Angeles Times, 2/2/11)
"A federal court Tuesday rebuffed the U.S. Department of Energy's attempt to establish national interest corridors for new high-voltage electric transmission lines that would cover 100 million acres in 10 states, including state and national parks in the Mojave Desert. The three-judge panel from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that the energy agency failed to adequately consult affected states or conduct federally mandated environmental reviews..."

"Quechan Tribe to take fight against solar project to D.C" (Yuma Sun, 1/31/11)
"The Quechan Indian Tribe ... plans to file a motion for summary judgment" against the Department of Interior's approval of Tessera Solar's proposed "709-kilowatt solar project on 6,571 acres, mostly on public land, in Imperial County 14 miles west of El Centro.... the tribe hopes to win a permanent injunction after being granted a temporary injunction in December to halt development..."

"BLM initiates review for proposed wind farm in Kern County" (BLM news release, 1/31/11)
"The BLM published a Notice of Intent to conduct an environmental review of the proposed Rising Tree Wind Farm in Kern County. Horizon Wind Energy, LCC submitted a right-of-way application to construct the 234 megawatt wind farm about three miles west of the town of Mojave. The site includes 2,217 acres of private land under Kern County jurisdiction and about 528 acres of BLM-administered public land."

men stand near a bank of solar panels"Fire facility (solar) powers up" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management's new Hidden Valley fire facility near Susanville has gone green! Crews have completed installation and powered up a new solar voltaic electrical system that can provide up to 80 percent of the building's electrical needs.


"2012 Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse open" (Fire Department Network News, 1/31/11)
"The Grants Clearinghouse is made possible by California Fire Alliance member agencies with funding made possible by the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Parks Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the Fire Safe Council. Organizations in California and Nevada can apply for fire prevention grants for eligible projects by writing one grant proposal that will be routed to the appropriate grant program."

"In fire country, land managers struggle to fight cheatgrass" (Sacramento Bee, 2/3/11)
Land managers in the West "marvel" at cheatgrass' "toughness and respect its stubborn ability to muscle out native bunch grasses ... of the West. But cheatgrass is also the main reason why much of the arid lands of the West are so susceptible to unnaturally devastating range fires. Cheatgrass grows thicker, dries out faster - and burns hotter - than native plants ... a group of scientists, educators, federal land agents and landowners who live in West would like to change this wildfire/ cheatgrass cycle. They met in Boise this week to figure out how."

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"Halter-trained mustangs offered for adoption in Ferndale" (BLM news release, 1/20/11)
Feb. 12: North coast equine enthusiasts will have the opportunity to adopt a halter-trained wild horse or mule at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale. The adoption event, being held in conjunction with the Back Country Horsemen of California Redwood Unit Pack Clinic, will feature five mustangs, ranging in age from 1 to 4, and one weanling mule. The animals are certified healthy and ready to continue training.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in King City" (BLM news release, 1/21/11)
Feb 26 - 27: BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program comes to the Salinas County Fairgrounds. The BLM will offer 30 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption. Preview the animals when they arrive at about 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25.


"Judge: Redo off-roading routes in Mojave Desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/31/11)
"A federal judged ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to re-designate more than 5,000 miles of off-road vehicle routes in the western Mojave Desert within three years." The decision said the agency's 2006 designation "did not properly follow rules that protect wildlife and other resources on public land. The judge rejected demands by the environmentalists who sued to close off-roading routes in the Juniper Flats, Wonder Valley and Edwards Bowl areas of the Mojave Desert."

RELATED: "Off-road routes may return to 1980 limits" (San Bernardino County Sun, 1/31/11)
The court was following up on a September 2009 ruling in which "the court found that the way the bureau designated off-highway vehicle routes was flawed and that an environmental impact statement provided an incomplete analysis of the effects of the plan on cultural and biological resources and air quality."

"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM news release, 1/31/11)
The competitive lease auction will be held Wednesday, March 9 in Bakersfield. It involves six parcels for a total of 2,878.11 acres of public lands in Kern County.

A vehicle lets a trailer into the watera section of green floating bridge is pushed across the water"Floating bridge 'visits' Keswick" (News.bytes Extra)
Visitors to the Bureau of Land Management's Interlakes Special Recreation Management Area near Redding were treated to an unusual sight Tuesday, as a National Guard Unit practiced deploying their floating bridge system. The 132nd Multi Rolling Bridge Co. used the Keswick Boat Ramp for the three-day exercise.

woman stands in front of a classroom "Chamber brings motivational program to middle school" (Needles Desert Star, 1/31/11)
"Approximately 15 volunteers opted to take a morning off Jan. 25 to talk to Needles Middle School students about the importance of finishing school." Among them was Hanem Abouelezz, wildlife biologist with the BLM, who spoke to students about what it took to get into her job."

"McKeon: no Cemex bill in ’11" (Santa Clarita Signal, 2/2/11)
"Blaming prohibitive new anti-earmark rules, the Santa Clarita Valley’s congressman said Tuesday he will not introduce a new bill to ban mining in Soledad Canyon during this congressional session." Cemex won a BLM bid in 1990 for a sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon. "Santa Clarita city officials and eastside residents have been fighting the plan for years, saying it would compromise air quality, make traffic on Highway 14 unbearable and otherwise negatively affect Santa Clarita Valley residents."

RELATED: "Cemex legislation to be carried by Boxer to avoid earmark restriction" (KHTS radio Santa Clarita, 2/2/11)
"In 2010, Boxer introduced the S.3057, the Soledad Canyon High Desert, California Public Lands Conservation and Management Act, but it failed to advance. According to city staff, this will be reintroduced in this Congress and may stand a better chance of being approved."

hikers on a path through a rocky hilly landscape"Authorities to enforce closure of Upper Bump And Grind Trail in Palm Desert" (Palm Desert Patch, 1/29/11)
"A gate barring hikers from entering a popular Palm Desert trail -- that has been closed for over a decade -- will be installed next month to protect peninsular bighorn sheep that roam the area. This will be the fourth gate to be installed by the California Department of Fish and Game at the Upper Bump and Grind Trail ... The latest gate was “vandalized and removed...." Includes video.

RELATED: "Trails and trailhead locations at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
Much of this landscape is remote and challenging. You can’t always depend on a signpost or a ranger to get you out of a fix. Pack so that you could take care of yourself -- if necessary -- overnight.

"BLM Bishop plans prescribed burning at Fish Slough" (BLM news release, 1/31/11)
Fire management personnel from BLM’s Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest will conduct prescribed burning at Fish Slough in southern Mono County, as weather conditions allow. The purpose is to restore and enhance habitat for Owens Valley native fish species and the Fish Slough milk vetch, a threatened plant species. Approximately 73 acres will be burned this winter.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)


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

Feb. 3 (tonight) - Kanaka Valley community planning meeting - Rescue

Feb. 4 - Identifying northern California mushrooms - Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve

Feb. 5 - Mustard pull volunteer project - Palm Springs area

Feb. 7 - Solar energy zone plan public meeting - El Centro

Feb. 8 - Solar energy zone plan public meeting - Indian Wells

Feb. 10 - Open house on arsenic investigation plans at Longfellow Mill

Feb. 12 - River Walk Bird Count - Cosumnes River Preserve


"Interior's five-year strategic plan emphasizes hiring, youth recruitment" (Government Executive, 1/29/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlines for employees a "plan focused on five main departmental missions: creating a 21st century workplace; advancing governmental relations with Native Americans; establishing science-based decision-making processes; managing natural resources; and offering citizens natural and cultural experiences."

"Interior Department issues new policy protecting government scientists" (The Washington Post, 2/1/11)
"The Interior Department set new rules Tuesday that will protect scientific information and the people who create it from political interference, earning wide praise from outside groups that have long alleged that top political officials regularly manipulate or misinterpret data."


"BLM and Forest Service announce 2011 grazing fee" BLM national news release, 1/31/11)
The Federal grazing fee for 2011 will be $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month for lands managed by the Forest Service.   The 2011 fee is the same as last year’s.

"Even radical cuts barely take a bite out of U.S. deficit" (Redding Record Searchlight, 1/31/1)
Editorial: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky "proposed a radical array of cuts that would eliminate whole federal agencies and programs that have been in existence for decades, with the aim of cutting $500 billion from this year's federal budget ... Among the cuts: ... Cutting the Bureau of Land Management by half, the National Park Service by 42 percent, and the Bureau of Reclamation by 100 percent ... the astonishing part is that all of those cuts ... would still only eliminate one-third of the federal deficit."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Kangaroo rat

SOURCE: "Search results for 'kangaroo rat'" (BLM California wildlife database)

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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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