A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 482 - 5/26/11

a woman pets a horse land yachts with sails speed across the desert close-up of a kangaroo rat in the wild an off-road racer approaches a railroad undercrossing top half of a film festival poster shows a cowboy


- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Renewable energy
- Energy issues
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get outside to America's Great Outdoors
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted news from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- Department of the Interior: California water, Let’s Move! in Indian Country
This issue of News.bytes is online at:

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

a woman pets a horse"Strain of equine herpes virus worries Tulare County horse owners" (Visalia Times-Delta, 5/24/11)
Equine herpes virus (EHV-1) is a "common ailment" which horses "usually recover from" -- but equine herpes virus myeloencephalopathy can be fatal. The "number of infected horses isn't high," but "the speed and distance at which it has spread -- from Washington to Texas -- has caused so much concern over the well-being of horses that many stables are closing their doors to new horses, many owners aren't traveling with their horses ... Many horse-related events in the U.S. and Canada have been canceled."

RELATED: "BLM postpones Tulare wild horse adoption, monitoring horse disease" (BLM news, 5/23/11)
The Bureau of Land Management is postponing a wild horse and burro adoption event planned for June 4-5 in Tulare due to statewide concerns about an outbreak of a highly contagious equine disease. The BLM will reschedule the adoption event on a future date if possible. Plans remain in place for other adoption events scheduled for June, but they could be postponed if the disease outbreak worsens.

RELATED: "Wild horses and burros" (BLM California)
Check here for updates on new wild horse and burro adoption events, or postponements.

RELATED: "Equine Herpes Virus type 1" (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
More information on the disease, recommendations, and reports of incidents.

RELATED: "Equine Herpes Virus" (California Department of Food and Agriculture)
Update as of noon, 5/25/11: "California has no new confirmed cases of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) caused by EHV-1 since our May 23rd update. There continues to be 18 confirmed EHM cases in the state."

"Equine virus outbreak causes stir" (The Inyo Register, 5/19/11)
"No reports" of the virus have come from Inyo or Mono counties. "Despite the widespread concern, officials at Mule Days have no plans to cancel the world-famous event, slated to enter its 42nd year May 24-29." The BLM has been represented at Mule Days, in parades and competitions.

a woman next to her horse"Match was made in mustang heaven" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/21/11)
Wyatt the mustang and his trainer, Cindy Lapp "placed sixth out of 24 entries" in an Extreme Mustang Makeover Competition in Norco. "The competition pairs selected trainers with 3-year-old untouched wild horses. The pair have 90 days to get to know each other before for a two-day competition that includes arena work and trail riding over a variety of terrains, including city streets."

a burro shakes its headhorses race across high desert"Are roundups the solution to wild horse overpopulation?" (KGO-TV San Francisco, 5/23/11)
"The population of wild horses is exploding ... The country's largest herd roams 800,000 acres along the California/Nevada border north of Reno ... the government says their numbers need to be controlled, others are fighting to allow them to roam free ... Jeff Fontana, with the Bureau of Land Management, says the roundup is not just about the land, but about keeping the animals from starving and destroying the habitat of other species."


"BLM declares Laguna Fire contained" (Yuma Sun, 5/24/11)
"After firefighters successfully controlled the last three major hot spots of the Laguna Fire Monday night, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management declared the fire 100 percent contained as of 8 p.m. Tuesday."

RELATED: "BLM offering $10,000 reward for information on Laguna fire" (Yuma Sun, 5/23/11)
"After determining the 751 acre Laguna fire to be human caused, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is offering a $10,000 reward to the public for information that leads to a conviction." The fire burned across the California-Arizona state line near Yuma, Arizona.

RELATED: "Can't ignore fire season restrictions" (Yuma Sun, 5/24/11)
Editorial: "Some people take fire restrictions casually, dismissing them as routine precautions. They may think it really isn't necessary to avoid open fires, smoking and other potential causes for accidental fires. It is this thinking that can accidentally cause serious wild fires."

"Emergency fire-prevention closure in Riverside County's Whitewater Canyon" (BLM news, 5/26/11)
Effective immediately, the BLM is temporarily closing 4,234 acres of public lands in and near Whitewater Canyon due to hazardous fire conditions. A wildfire under present conditions could pose a serious threat to the public and public-land resources, as well as adjacent private lands and communities. A map and description of this closure is available online.

"Wildfire consumes 217 acres" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 5/23/11)
A wildfire near Highway 395 in the Ridgecrest area was contained at 217 acres, by firefighters from the Bureau of Land Management, Kern and San Bernardino counties, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and U.S. Forest Service.

"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC)
Current wildfire information, updated Monday - Friday during wildfire season.

"Take responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space. In California, the number of homes and businesses is growing in the Wildland Urban Interface -- and fire is an increasing threat. Reduce your home's fire danger by taking responsibility today.

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

"BLM announces the availability of a Record of Decision for the Eldorado-Ivanpah Transmission Project in the Mojave Desert" (BLM news, 5/26/11)
The BLM today published a Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision for the Eldorado-Ivanpah Transmission Project electric transmission line in San Bernardino County, Calif. and Clark County, Nev. Southern California Edison applied for a right-of-way authorization in 2009 to upgrade and replace approximately 35 miles of an existing 115-kilovolt transmission line on public lands with a new double circuit 230-kV transmission line. The transmission line will handle projected electricity produced from several renewable energy project proposals in and around the Ivanpah Valley.


"Fracking America: We all bear the high cost of 'cheap' natural gas" (KCET-TV Los Angeles, 5/25/11)
Commentary: Although a Pennsylvania fight over "fracking" to retrieve natural gas "seems like a long way from California, it's not. Similar shale formations exist here and are believed to contain major reserves of oil and natural gas. So what is happening in the mid-Atlantic region is a foreshadowing of what is to come in the Golden State." A Colorado company has a permit from Monterey County "to employ fracking techniques to drill nine exploratory oil wells ... in the county's southern reach."

RELATED: "Expressions of interest in oil & gas leasing" (BLM California)
An Expression of Interest is an informal nomination to request that certain lands be included in an oil and gas competitive lease sale. BLM policy does not allow the agency to reveal who nominates a parcel for an oil and gas lease sale, until after the sale takes place, and if it takes place.

"BLM plans oil and gas competitive lease auction" (BLM news, 5/10/11 - repeated)
The Bureau of Land Management will auction oil and gas leases on federal land on June 8 at the Bakersfield Convention Center Marriott. The competitive lease auction involves five parcels for a total of 1,523.38 acres of public lands in Kern County.

"Interior to revise, simplify federal oil and natural gas royalty regulations" (Department of the Interior news release, 5/24/11)
Current regulations require complex, transaction-by-transaction evaluations of the negotiated price for the oil and gas produced on public lands, plus analysis of transportation and gas processing costs. Interior will explore use of geographically-based market prices as the presumptive value of oil and gas produced in that region, to improve compliance, reduce administrative costs for industry and government, and increase accuracy.


students and an adult paint something on the grounda man and a woman flank a sign "entering public lands""Springtime fun" (News.bytes Extra)
This spring season was a flurry of partnership activity for the BLM's Barstow Field Office, with the 12th annual El Mirage Day, a Spring Fling to showcase recreation, an Earth Day event, and a celebration of a land exchange.

an off-road racer kicks up dust as it approaches a railroad undercrossingoff-road racers line up at a starting line"Car and truck race at Plaster City OHV Open Area draws a crowd"
(News.bytes Extra)
Off-road car and truck enthusiasts competed in the 1st Annual Dethrone SoCal 250 race at BLM’s Plaster City OHV Open Area. The 184 racers from California, Arizona and Nevada braced windy conditions and blowing dust to race five laps around a 50-mile loop course.

"Bizz Johnson trail bus service begins June 4" (BLM news, 5/26/11)
America's Great Outdoors logo sports snow-capped peaksHikers, cyclists and joggers can celebrate National Trails Day with a special Bizz Johnson Trail bike shuttle on Saturday, June 4 -- first in a series of bike shuttles on the first and third Saturdays of each month through October. The shuttles allow people to arrange one-way trips on the trail without having to plan their own vehicle shuttles.

"BLM and partners developing native plant programs" (BLM news, 5/26/11)
Recognizing the importance of using native plants to restore rangeland sites in the western Great Basin, staff from the BLM’s Surprise Field Office are working with partners to harvest seeds and grow seedlings for planting on the range. High school students, a local ranch couple, the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the North Cal-Neva Resource Conservation and Development District have been involved in programs that aim to increase native plant populations on public lands that have been burned or lack native plants for other reasons.

"America's Great Outdoors: Secretary Salazar, Governor Hickenlooper outline conservation vision for Colorado" (Department of the Interior press release, 5/26/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced that they will partner to advance three conservation initiatives in Colorado as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Identified by the state, each project exemplifies the heart of America’s Great Outdoors by reconnecting Americans -- especially young people -- to their natural heritage. "Colorado is setting an example for the rest of the nation as to the value of recreation and conservation to our economy and quality of life," said Secretary Salazar.

RELATED: "Breckenridge hosts national recreation planning pow-wow" (Summit County Citizens Voice, 5/18/11)
A "major national pow-wow on recreation resource planning" is being held this week in Colorado. The National Association of Recreation Resource Planners conference theme this year is "all about connecting Americans with the outdoors, closely linked to the administration’s recent America’s Great Outdoors initiative -- and what it means for those in the outdoor recreation industry who plan to fulfill the mission."

RELATED: "Innovations in Connecting Americans to Our Great Outdoors; 2011 NARRP Conference" (National Association of Recreation Resource Planners)
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency partner.

land yachts with sails speed across the desertGET OUTSIDE to America's Great Outdoors...
...land sail at Ivanpah Dry Lake´s expansive open spaces. International championship racing, archery, kite buggying, and land sailing are just some of the activities seen at this dry lake. Free permits are required to access the site for recreational uses.


close-up of a kangaroo rat in the wild
Panamint kangaroo rat
Panamint kangaroo rats:
(a.) tend to live in communities for mutual defense.
(b.) often live in hollows high up the sides of saguaro cacti.
(c.) forage at night for seeds and grasses.
(d.) are known to be peaceful animals, except to predators.
(e.) starred in the ill-conceived Kangaroo Rat Boxing Circuit in the late 1800s.

------> See answer -- and more about wildlife on your public lands -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


a man walks a trail with his dog"New activist group fights to push development off the remaining oak groves -- and onto paved eyesores -- on the former Fort Ord" (Monterey County Weekly, 5/26/11)
Since the Army base closed, "mountain bikers, horse lovers, hikers, dog trainers, birders and youth educators" have used Fort Ord "as a de facto public park." A new group aims to "preserve connectivity between the historic Army trails on the west side ... and the BLM trails to the east .... The Army is about halfway done clearing almost 17,000 acres of munitions and transferring it to the Bureau of Land Management ... as a habitat reserve. The county is setting aside another 1,300 acres for recreation" but says it "needs revenue-generating projects to fund the necessary trail maintenance, law enforcement and emergency medical services for those open spaces."

RELATED: "Fort Ord Public Lands" (BLM Hollister Field Office)

"BLM requests public comments on project to bring broadband to rural California" (BLM news, 5/19/11)
The BLM is soliciting comments on a draft environmental assessment for the proposed Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative Mid-Mile Fiber Project. The Project would provide broadband infrastructure to residents of Sierra, Plumas and Lassen counties in California. As a cooperating agency, the BLM is seeking comments regarding the right-of-way grants across public lands that would be a part of this project.

RELATED: "Broadband survey deadline extended" (The Inyo Register, 5/24/11)
"Digital 395, a project that will provide a new 583-mile, fiber-optic network following U.S. 395 from Barstow to the Nevada border, will bring high-speed Internet and broadband capabilities to remote areas of Inyo County that don’t currently have service. With that project in the works, the Desert Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Council is looking to local residents to find out how and where the new services could and should be used."

SUVs line up on a desert hillside"Off-roading officials tour targeted land" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/25/11)
"The state’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission toured some of Johnson Valley’s rugged off-road riding areas ... with just hours left in the comment period for the proposed Marine base expansion into the majority of these 188,000 acres. The tour was open to anyone concerned about what would happen if Twentynine Palms’ combat center were to use the area for combat training ... At the tour’s rally point on Means Dry Lake, off-roaders and citizens from the surrounding communities introduced themselves to the commissioners and members of state and federal agencies."

RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)

"Critical habitat designated for threatened plant" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/23/11)
"A total of 14,069 acres of land near Fort Irwin will be closed off to prevent off-roading and mining in two areas of critical habitat for an endangered plant, officials have announced ... The Bureau of Land Management -- which owns most of the lands that fall under the new critical habitat designation -- has already completed fencing areas where off-highway vehicles could access and degrade the milk-vetch habitat...."

"Verizon project could prevent future outages" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/24/11)
Last week, "a private contractor laying cables for street lights and traffic signals veered off route," cutting a fiber optic cable in Barstow and causing "all area 911 lines to go down, along with most local phone, cell and some Internet services." Verizon said it wants to work with the Bureau of Land Management on a project to add "another fiber optic cable route" that would "instantaneously" take over if the main cable is ever cut again. One concern is wildlife, especially desert tortoise falling into construction trenches.

top half of a film festival poster shows a cowboy"Film Fest featuring full lineup in 2011" (The Inyo Register, 5/24/11)
The 22nd Lone Pine Film Festival is set this year for Oct. 7-9. This "celebration of films made in Lone Pine, Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra" will mark Roy Rogers’ 100th birthday and include "live stunts and plenty of interactive activities, music... live performances" and "many tours that take you out to where the movies were made." Inyo County Film Commissioner Chris Langley said, "The tours are one of the things that make the Lone Pine Film Festival different from all other western festivals."

part of a "Movie Road" coverblack-and-white photo of camera crew filming a man and his horseRELATED: "Recreation" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
Includes link to the "Movie Road Touring Guide." Take a drive through the Alabama Hills and visit historical movie locations, including a 1920 silent western starring Fatty Arbuckle and the 1962 epic "How the West was Won." (PDF file, 3.2 megabytes)

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

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

May 29 - "Butterfly Bonanza" - Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve

June 2 - Kanaka Valley community planning meeting - Cameron Park

June 4 - Plant tour - Pine Hill Preserve

June 6 - Public meeting on proposed wind energy right of way application - Benton


"Interior awards more than $11 million in water reclamation and reuse construction funding for California projects"
(Department of the Interior press release, 5/23/11)
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has selected eight construction projects in California for funding. Together, these two-year projects will receive $11.34 million, which will be leveraged to help fund construction totaling more than $99 million. "These important efforts will enhance safe and reliable water supplies and create an economic boost for California with significant employment during construction of these much-needed projects," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor.

"Let’s Move! in Indian Country launched at Menominee Reservation"(Department of the Interior press release, 5/25/11)
Let’s Move! in Indian Country is an initiative to support and advance the work that tribal leaders and community members are already doing to improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Native children. As a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, LMIC brings together federal agencies, communities, nonprofits, corporate partners and tribes to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in Indian Country within a generation.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) forage at night for seeds and grasses.

SOURCE: "Panamint kangaroo rat - Dipodomys panamintinus" (BLM California wildlife database)
More notes: Panamint kangaroo rats can be extremely aggressive. When approached by another individual of its species, they are likely to defend their territory by fighting -- often to the death.

More wildlife stories from your public lands:

a pacific fisher"Team monitors Pacific fisher in Sierra" (Fresno Bee, 5/21/11)
"Experts want to know whether numbers are going up or down for the fisher, a member of the weasel family. The forest dweller is a candidate for listing as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, and it's been at the center of rhetorical and legal fights for decades over timber-cutting in the Sierra." Forest Service officials hope a current study "will help defuse tensions over logging, fisher habitat and other issues" and "may even help prevent lawsuits."

RELATED: "Pacific fisher - Martes pennanti" (BLM-California wildlife database)

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries launch effort to improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act" (Department of the Interior press release, 5/26/11)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Service have launched a joint effort to identify and implement administrative changes to the Endangered Species Act aimed at accelerating recovery of imperiled species, enhancing on-the-ground conservation delivery, and better engaging the resources and expertise of partners to meet the goals of the ESA.
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