A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 472 - 3/17/11

a girl peers over the edge of a table at plastic "sea creatures" a furry animal A woman holds a large stuffed toy frog and a man holds an animal net young men ride mountain bikes on a trail among rocks wild horses run across a pasture


- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outside in America's Great Outdoors
- Wild horses and burros: Adoptions, news
- Renewable energy
- Energy
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- More wildlife news from your public lands
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National: Reform of 1872 Mining Act?
This issue of News.bytes is online at:

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

A woman holds a large stuffed toy frog and a man holds an animal net"'Frog Pond' a small world for kids, hikers and scientists " (The Salinas Californian, 3/11/11)
"An 80-by-150-foot expanse of still waters has become a hub of learning for children and scientists ... 'Frog Pond' sits on Bureau of Land Management's Fort Ord public lands." BLM park ranger Tammy Jakl works with first- and third-graders from a nearby school, on "a variety of pond-related projects." BLM botanist Bruce Delgado and other scientists are also "drawn to explore the pond workings."

a man rakes the surface of a trailyoung men ride mountain bikes on a trail among rocks"Mountain bikers come to SRSJM National Monument" (News.bytes Extra)
The Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument hosted the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew last month, for meetings and working on trails. The International Mountain Biking Association's Trail Care Crew of Chris and Leslie Kehmeier came well prepared to facilitate workshops in Palm Springs and Palm Desert to engage local trail supporters in advocacy discussions.

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The National Monument’s boundary encompasses about 272,000 acres, including 65,000 acres within the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest, and 89,500 acres within the Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert Conservation Area.

RELATED: "Local nonprofit group acquires mountain land" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/15/11)
"Nearly 2 square miles of land in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument will be protected following two recent purchases by Friends of the Desert Mountains, the nonprofit group announced Tuesday."

mud cover a motorcyclist as he racesa youngster takes off on a small dirt bike"Off-road motorcyclists race at Fort Sage" (News.bytes Extra)
Off road motorcycle riders faced changing weather and challenging terrain in the Sierra 100 Hare Scrambles at the Bureau of Land Management's Fort Sage Off Highway Vehicle Area early this month.   An estimated 200 racers and additional numbers of crew and spectators enjoyed a sunny and calm Saturday afternoon, but when the time came for Sunday's main event, riders found themselves up against a blustery, cold and rainy day.

a girl peers over the edge of a table at plastic "sea creatures"a boy with a painted face looks over models of sea creatures"California Coastal National Monument Celebrates 'A Whale of a Day'" (News.bytes Extra)
It was a picture perfect day in Rancho Palos Verdes as the sun shone brightly on the festivities of the 27th annual "Whale of a Day" -- an annual festival celebrating the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale, from the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chuchki Seas in Alaska.

"March activities planned for Alabama Hills" (BLM news release, 3/8/11)
On March 19, the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and BLM Bishop Field Office will sponsor a volunteer day to "vertically mulch" formerly disturbed areas to encourage native plant regeneration. The next interpretive hikes to view arches in the Alabama Hills is set for Saturday, March 26 (weather permitting). (repeated from earlier News.bytes)

"BLM seeking hosts for campgrounds, day use areas" (BLM news release, 3/15/11)
Apply now: Opportunities to live and work in beautiful northern California outdoor settings are being offered by the Bureau of Land Management in volunteer host positions in Shasta and Trinity counties. (Several seasonal, two year-round.) Volunteer hosts live on site in their own campers or camp trailers. The BLM provides varying levels of water, septic, phone and power connections. The BLM provides allowances to cover living expenses, but no salary. Hosts provide visitor information and light maintenance work.

"2011 wildflower hotline" (Theodore Payne Foundation)
March 11: "With continuing cool temperatures in many locations, wildflowers are appearing as still-promising buds. The best displays of color are still to be found in the southern coastal and inland desert regions."

desert poppies on a slope"Wildflower Reports 2011 - Southern California" (Desert USA)
desert poppies surround a leafless tree"March 14 Linda reports: ...going towards Leona Valley, Ca. The Canyon is loaded with wildflowers." This site carries photos and wildflower reports from members of the public. Includes link to Northern California link, but no wildflower reports there yet.

GET OUTSIDE in America's Great Outdoors...
...view lions and tigers and bears at the Cache Creek Natural Area.a meadow with trees overlooks a creek two eagles roost in a treeWell, maybe not tigers, but you may see a mountain lion, black bear, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, badger, raccoon, beaver, river otter ... or one of the few tule elk herds in the state! The bald eagle is one of the more spectacular winter visitors to the Cache Creek area, as they feed, soar and roost here from mid-October to mid-April.

"BLM to offer wildflower hikes at Cache Creek" (BLM news release, 3/8/11)
The Bureau of Land Management will host free guided hikes to look for wildflowers in the Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County on several Saturdays this spring, including April 9, 16, 23 and 30 and May 7. Early reservations are suggested for the popular hikes, which are limited to 25 participants each. Hikers should be in good physical condition -- see news release for details. Hikes will be cancelled in rainy weather.

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

man reaches over fence toward a horse; a dog is behind him"Equine education: Roundups help save grazing lands" (Redding Record Searchlight, 3/13/11)
"Joe Wilburn is glad to have Modoc, a once wild horse, in his stable. Wilson, 81, of Cottonwood adopted the colt last March from a corral in Litchfield near Susanville where it had been held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Modoc, a 22-month-old, is the latest wild horse Wilson has adopted from the BLM ... He said he likes to use them for pack trips, and the horses adapt to the task."

close-up of part of a mustang's faceprofile photo of a mustang"The elation of the first ride with my mustang" (Poway Patch, 3/5/11)
The latest in a series of stories on a mustang adopted from the BLM: "Last week I wrote about my anticipation of the first ride on my mustang, Cricket. It consumed my thoughts much of the time. Then June came with its typical warm sun and cool breeze and I was ready to ride her ... It’s easy to laugh about it now, but then it wasn’t funny. Thankfully the elation and joy overrode the fear and I continued to ride and train Cricket."

a burro brays during an adoption event"Temecula: Wild horse, burro adoption set" (InlandSoCal, 3/14/11)
This weekend: Adoption event at Galway Downs (Southern California Equestrian Center) March 18-19. "The 20 wild horses and 10 burros are scheduled to arrive at Galway Downs at noon Friday, and potential adopters may view the animals from 1 to 5 p.m. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health."

RELATED: "Temecula: Wild horses, burros up for adoption at Galway Downs" (North County Times - the Californian)
David Briery of the BLM said the burros "would make good additions on a ranch where they could be used to carry hefty items. 'I've got a cabin in the San Gabriel Mountains and there are BLM burros at a nearby pack station. They haul stuff to our cabins halfway up Mount Wilson,' he said. The horses, while they may be wild right now, can be trained for riding and Briery said he's seen especially wild, wild horses, trained to do tricks in less than 90 days."

"Mustangs, burros available for adoption in Red Bluff, Chico" (BLM news release, 3/3/11)
Animals will be available Saturday and Sunday, April 2-3, in Red Bluff, and Saturday, April 16, in Chico. Both adoption events run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with previews from 2 to 6 p.m. on the preceding Fridays.

wild horses run across a pasture"Wild horses again find a home on the range" (Wichita Eagle, 3/13/11)
"A thousand horses come pounding, thundering across the prairie, nostrils flared and snorting, manes and tails flying in the wind. It is one of the most iconic living images of the Old West: wild mustangs running free across the prairie. For the past 10 years, it has taken place each day within the Kansas Flint Hills."

"BLM solicits proposals for private-public partnerships to establish wild horse ecosanctuaries"(BLM news release, 3/15/11)
As part of its ongoing effort to reform the Wild Horse and Burro Program, the Bureau of Land Management announced today that it is soliciting proposals for private-public partnerships to establish wild horse "ecosanctuaries" on non-BLM managed land.  The ecosanctuaries would help the BLM feed and care for excess wild horses that have been removed from Western public rangelands.

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

"Imperial County solar facility to create jobs in San Diego" (Imperial Valley Press, 3/11/11)
"A solar project in Imperial County will help create 450 jobs in San Diego" at a new factory built to produce solar panels. "The solar site in Imperial Valley is proposed for more than 1,000 acres of abandoned agricultural land ... according to a draft environmental report from the Bureau of Land Management. About 300 jobs are expected to be created from the project during the two-year construction period."

detail from a map of renewable energy projects in the U.S. West"Report: 'Stalled' energy projects costing us" (KQED, 3/10/11)
"The US Chamber of Commerce says it's taking too long to green-light energy projects -- not just in California but across the US -- and that it's putting a drag on economic recovery. The pro-business group issued a report that attempts to quantify the opportunity cost of projects that were in permitting or litigation limbo during March of 2010. That 'snapshot' includes 31 projects in California."

"Multi-state power line project to test policies on grouse, 'Wild Lands'" (Greenwire at The New York Times, 3/10/11)
The TransWest Express power line would "carry as much as 3,000 megawatts of mostly wind-generated electricity from planned wind farms in southwest Wyoming to large metropolitan areas in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona." But the line could cross "multiple state boundaries and bisects hundreds of miles of federal and private property.... developers of such lines are becoming increasingly tangled in a web of siting and permitting issues that threaten to slow or stop renewables development altogether."


"BLM oil and gas lease auction tops $1.4 million" (BLM news release, 3/10/11)
Six oil and gas lease parcels in Kern County were auctioned for a total of $1,479,093.50, including administrative fees, by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office last week.

"Salazar, Abbey discuss $112 billion economic contribution of BLM public lands; focus on increasing safe and responsible energy production" (BLM news release, 3/16/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined the economic importance of U.S. energy production and called the public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management "one of the nation’s greatest assets -- both economically and environmentally." Secretary Salazar noted that America’s public lands and their resources contributed more than $112 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than a half-million American jobs in 2010, the bulk of which came from the management of energy and non-energy mineral resources and recreation.

a furry animal
heather vole
Heather voles (mountain Phenacomys):
(a.) Eat their own weight in food each day (their extremely fast metabolism burns up energy very quickly)
(b.) Are known for eating their own young in times of drought and food shortages (giving survivors a better chance at survival)
(c.) Dig burrows up to six feet deep below the surface, lined with twigs (the depth insulates them from summer heat and winter cold)
(d.) Can begin breeding at just four to six weeks old (increasing species survival odds, as most live for only one year)
(e.) Prefer to be called by their initials, "M.P." (disdaining what they regard as the overly-human name "Heather.")

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


a speckled lizard blends in with desert sand"Agency: Flat-tailed horned lizard does not need added protection" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/14/11)
"An already protected species of lizard in the Coachella Valley does not require added safeguards under the federal Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday. The federal agency initially withdrew endangered species protection for the flat-tailed horned lizard in 1997, following a rangewide management strategy adopted with Fish and Wildlife and state agencies in California and Arizona. But that withdrawal was legally challenged several times by environmental groups."

RELATED: "Flat-tailed horned lizard does not need Endangered Species Act Protection" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service news release, 3/14/11)

RELATED: "Flat-tailed horned lizard - Phrynosoma mcallii"
(BLM-California wildlife database)
Flat-tailed honed lizards require habitats that offer fine sand with little vegetation. They burrow into the sand to avoid temperature extremes and stay for hours buried just beneath the surface.

a black bird sits on a rail fence"Ravens: the new desert blight" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/14/11)
"Wildlife biologists now estimate that raven populations have increased" in southern California desert areas "by about 1,000 percent in the past 35 years." Ravens "have earned a villainous reputation among naturalists in the California deserts -- they have been identified as one of the main predators of desert tortoise," a threatened species found on various areas managed by BLM-California. Among solutions: "Keep a lid on all garbage receptacles, cover and store food if you leave your campsite during the day, do not feed any wildlife...."


"Public meetings set on Marine base expansion proposal" (BLM news release, 3/15/11)
The Marine Corps and the Bureau of Land Management will jointly host meetings to share information and gather public comments on the Marine Corps' proposal to expand the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County. BLM and Marine Corps representatives will be on hand to discuss and answer questions on the proposals at three locations: Tuesday, April 12 in Joshua Tree; Wednesday, April 13 in Ontario; and Thursday, April 14 in Victorville.

"Compromise solution on fate of Bodie WSA rejected" (Mammoth Times, 3/14/11)
"What was supposed to be a compromise solution to help solve the Bodie Wilderness Study Area (WSA) fate Tuesday, wasn't. Instead, when Mono County District 2 Supervisor Hap Hazard proposed to divide the existing WSA roughly in half -- with one half becoming true wilderness and the other open to multiple uses -- just about everyone was none too pleased."

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

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

March 19 - Imperial Sand Dunes mini clean up - with contact for more information

March 24 - Public open house to discuss OHV grant application - Ukiah


"Hardrock mining reform a tough sell despite activist outcry" (Greenwire at The New York Times, 3/16/11)
"Efforts ... to overhaul federal oversight of the hardrock mining industry may fall short despite bipartisan agreement that some reforms are overdue. The president's budget blueprint would enact a new fee on hardrock mineral production to help pay for reclamation of abandoned hardrock mines" and set royalties for companies mining materials such as gold, copper, lead and uranium." The 1872 General Mining Act "allows hardrock mining companies to take minerals without paying royalties to the government."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Can begin breeding at just four to six weeks old (increasing species survival odds, as most live for only one year)

SOURCE: "Mountain Phenacomys (heather vole) - Phenacomys intermedius" (BLM California wildlife database)
Individuals can begin breeding when they are just four to six weeks old! This is necessary because most voles in the wild live for only one year. Females have up to three litters per year, with two to nine young in each litter.

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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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