A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 496 - 9/2/11
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors
- Historic Route 66
- Wild horses and burros
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- Law enforcement
- Wildfires and prevention
- BLM advisory councils and committees
- Pardon our dust
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- BLM in neighboring states
- Department of the Interior: It Gets Better; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
- Wildlife stories from your public lands in California
This issue is online at:
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"New recreation access to Mokelumne River on Highway 49" (News.bytes Extra)
After decades of work, a new Mokelumne River access point along Highway 49 is open for business. The new Big Bar put-in/take-out facility for boaters opened to the public Monday. It has 18 parking spaces, restrooms and an interpretive kiosk -- another step in the effort to "reconnect Americans, especially children, to America's rivers and waterways..."
"BLM and partners bolster recreation, economy with Redding-area trails" (News.bytes Extra)
Living a healthy lifestyle in Redding, California and the surrounding areas has gotten dramatically easier over the last several years, as the Bureau of Land Management and its partners have vastly expanded a recreational trail network. And, operators of local bicycle shops say that the efforts have been good for their bottom lines. Sales are brisk as opportunities to enjoy the beauty of northern California from two wheels continue to grow.
"Crews pick up tons of trash from popular shooting area" (News.bytes Extra)
Fire crews from the Mono Basin Fire Station assisted BLM Bishop Field Office and Bridgeport Indian Colony personnel in removing trash left on public lands in the Bridgeport area. Several refrigerators and furniture, along with debris, left at a popular shooting area were removed. More than a ton of refuse was hauled to the local land fill.
"Safety operations target dove hunters" (KESQ Palm Springs, 9/1/11)
"Law enforcement and game agencies" including the BLM "will operate dove hunting safety patrols today, the first day of the season." A sheriff's sergeant said, "the primary goals of the operation (are) to ensure public and hunter safety through education, warnings, and citations and to assist with calls for service related to hunting (and) shooting."
HISTORIC ROUTE 66
"A touch of paint brings a desert town to life" (Los Angeles Times, 8/30/11)
"Reporting from Needles, Calif -- Along old U.S. Route 66, the once-kitschy Overland Motel is crumbling, vacant lots pock downtown and, as if this remote desert outpost weren't suffering enough, the last car dealership folded up and left behind a blanket of empty asphalt. Not a pretty picture for travelers who might pull off the highway for a burger or to spend the night. Then, about five months ago, a man with a sun-stained face and paint-crusted fingernails drifted in, and the tiny old railroad town of Needles started looking a little brighter..." Includes 12-photo slide show.
RELATED: "Historic Route 66" (BLM Needles Field Office)
Officially established on November 11, 1926, US Route 66 ran 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles-- one of the original and most famous highways in the US highway system. Route 66 captures the pioneering spirit of emigrants set on coming west. It played a major role in the development of the United States and the southwest in particular. In California, the original 66 is known as The National Old Trails Highway. It runs through towns including Needles and Barstow on its way to Los Angeles. Clubs, associations, and interested individuals keep its spirit and grandeur alive.
"Historic Route 66 Back Country Byway " (BLM-Arizona, Kingman Field Office)
"Get Your Kicks on Route 66" has echoed for decades across America, and Arizona showcases 42 miles of the "Mother Road" from Kingman to Topock, at the California border and the Colorado River.
"Route 66 - The adventure"
Take a cartoon drive along America's Mother Road, with our two road adventurers.
This is a repeat showing of an earlier Funny.bytes -- an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Warning: soundtrack: you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild horses, burros, mules up for adoption in Napa" (BLM news, 8/29/11)
Wild horses, burros and mules -- including some halter trained mustangs -- will be available for adoption during Napa Mustang Days Friday through Sunday, Sept. 16-18, in Napa. The adoption event and three days of training clinics, entertainment, food and refreshments will be held at the Napa Valley Horsemen's Association Arena. The BLM adoption event will feature about 20 young mares, geldings, fillies and colts, 10 jack and jenny burros and two mules. Interested adopters can preview animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. Friday.
"BLM offering public tour of wild horse management areas" (BLM news, 8/29/11)
Anyone interested in management of wild horses can join staff from the Bureau of Land Management for a tour through parts of the High Rock Complex of herd management areas on Saturday, Sept. 24. Participants must provide their own transportation in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, lunch and water. Reservations are encouraged, and can be made by calling the BLM Surprise Field Office. BLM staff members will describe habitat conditions in various areas and discuss wild horse management objectives for a roundup of excess wild horses planned to begin on Oct. 15.
"Teens and Oregon Mustangs program teaches six Clackamas County teens lessons about life, love" (Oregon Live, 8/25/11)
"Lindsey Wilson is spending her summer training Mia, a young, wild Oregon mustang captured last summer on Bureau of Land Management land. There are six teens from Clackamas County training mustangs so that the horses can be adopted."
"BLM statement on AAEP report" (BLM national news, 9/1/11)
"The Bureau of Land Management appreciates the thorough, objective report prepared by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), which was asked by the BLM to review the agency’s care and handling of wild horses and burros at gathers, short-term holding corrals, and long-term holding pastures. The BLM will review the recommendations of the AAEP and will continue its ongoing efforts to maintain and improve the health and welfare of wild horses and burros."
"NextEra's Genesis solar project secures project financing" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/31/11)
"At least one large-scale solar thermal project east of the Coachella Valley is moving ahead. NextEra Energy’s Genesis solar project has closed on construction and term financing totaling $935 million." The 250-megawatt plant, 25 miles west of Blythe, received BLM approval earlier this year "along with an $852 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The final financing package includes $702 million in project bonds, a $150 million project term loan and an $83 million project letter of credit."
"BLM initiates an environmental review of the proposed McCoy solar energy project in Riverside County" (BLM news, 8/29/11)
McCoy Solar, LLC has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct a facility to generate up to 750 megawatts of power, on about 7,700 acres of public land and 470 acres of private land under the land-use authority of Riverside County. A proposed 16-mile generation-tie line would require approximately 200 acres of public and private lands. The proposed 20-acre switch yard would connect into the adjacent Southern California Edison Colorado River Substation.
"Ivanpah plant closer to completion" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/29/11)
"Sitting on 3,600 acres of public land near the Nevada state line," the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station "has been under construction for nearly a year ... As of Monday, construction crews have raised the edifice to 120 feet of a planned 469 feet. The project's design calls for two additional towers and the 175,000 mirrors that have yet to be installed around the towers to capture the sun's energy ... the mirrors are designed to track and reflect the sun's rays to boilers installed at the summits of each tower."
RELATED: "A sneak peak at 'world's biggest' solar project" (KQED, 8/29/11)
"BrightSource Energy "opened the gates to the construction site of its 3,500 acre Ivanpah Solar Complex, which lies just over the California border, 45 minutes southwest of the Las Vegas Strip. About 15 reporters donned hard hats and safety goggles in 100-plus temperatures to tour the active construction site in the Mojave Desert, along with officials from BrightSource, San Francisco-based construction company Bechtel Corp., and NRG Energy, which, along with Google, is the project’s main investor."
"Renewable energy: Highly publicized solar project delay a disappointment" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/29/11)
"When Solar Trust of America broke ground on its 1,000-megawatt Blythe solar farm on June 17, the company went all out ... on Aug. 18, the project was delayed more than a year as the company decided on a major technology change, from using solar thermal troughs to photovoltaic solar panels ... The project — tagged at $3 billion for the first phase — represented about 1,000 long-awaited jobs and a $460 million boost to the local economy. The disappointment was immediate, Mayor Joseph DeConinck said."
"BLM schedules scoping meeting, extends public comment period for wind project in Kern County" (BLM news, 8/31/11)
The BLM announced a public scoping meeting as part of the environmental review process for the Tylerhorse wind energy project in Kern County, on Wednesday, Sept. 14 in Mojave, Calif. The BLM is soliciting public comment on planning issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action. The public comment period has been extended to Thursday, Sept. 29.
"Ocotillo project brings out opinionated residents, project developers" (Imperial Valley Press, 8/26/11)
"More than 80 people" attended a meeting -- hosted by the BLM and Imperial County -- on the Ocotillo Express project -- a wind farm "on almost 12,500 acres of mostly BLM land" with "energy to power 140,000 homes" with "155 wind turbines, an operations office and an energy substation." A company spokesman said it "has taken the community’s concerns and addressed them." The meeting was to give information on the project and the environmental review process, but "the night wound down with some complaining" by some who wanted to speak instead of comment in writing.
"Wind farms under fire for bird kills" (Washington Post, 8/28/11)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the deaths of six golden eagles in Southern California’s Tehachapi Mountains. Wildlife biologists "say they were probably clipped by the blades of some of the 80 wind turbines" at the Pine Tree Wind Farm Project. F&WS estimates "windmills kill nearly half a million birds a year. The American Bird Conservancy says that could double. The American Wind Energy Association, which represents the industry, "disputes the conservancy’s projection" and says "the current bird kill is about 150,000 annually." The Conservancy says impacts with window glass kill 100 million birds per year, and housecats and feral cats kill hundreds of millions.
"Agency will look at energy sites' effects on tortoises" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 8/28/11)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a "revised recovery plan for Mojave desert tortoises" last week, "but a specific chapter on recovery on alternative energy sites is still in the works ... The biggest strategy change will be new regional teams made up of various agencies -- like the Wildlife Services and Bureau of Land Management -- that will regularly coordinate tortoise protection in specific areas."
RELATED: "Recovery plan issued for desert tortoise" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/29/11)
"The new recovery plan is " drawing complaints from an environmental group that contends it is less protective than what is currently in place. The recovery blueprint is aimed at reversing declines of tortoises in the Mojave Desert ... a 1994 version identified the species' biggest threats: livestock grazing, off-road vehicles and non-native plants. Since then, global climate change and renewable energy development over vast expanses of the desert also have become critical issues."
"Federal review calls for changes in state oil regulations" (Bakersfield Californian, 8/30/11)
"A recent federal review calls for tightening California's oversight of certain underground injection activities common in Kern County oil fields. Saying more should be done to protect underground sources of drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-commissioned review recommends several measures that could make it harder for oil companies to get permission to inject steam, wastewater and other materials underground."
"California's silent oil rush" (San Luis Obispo News Times, 8/31/11)
"Underneath much of Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties" lies an "enormous mineral formation" that "may hold the fate of the economic future of the United States ... land that may one day produce billions of barrels of oil." A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration "said the Monterey shale formation contained 15.5 billion barrels of oil, accounting for 64 percent of the total shale oil resources in the United States." Getting the oil would take "thermal fracking, a process by which water and small amounts of chemicals are injected into the ground at high pressure to free up the oil."
"BLM welcomes law enforcement canine" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM's California Desert District welcomes Hoost to its law enforcement program. Hoost has already helped BLM Ranger Chris Rice in several incidents, including two involving stolen firearms and methamphetamines.
"Authorities clear 13,000 marijuana plants found in Mono County" (Tahoe Daily Tribune, 8/29/11)
"More than 13,000 marijuana plants were destroyed on Thursday, after Mono County authorities found several grow sites in the Sweetwater Mountains ...The grow sites were located on public land and were littered with trash and pipes." Weapons and ammunition were also found.
"Tulare County gets $100k to find pot grow sites on U.S. land" (Visalia Times-Delta, 9/1/11)
"The money, awarded earlier this summer by the U.S. Forest Service -- along with $32,000 that the Sheriff's Department was contracted to receive from the agency -- falls short of offsetting the costs of investigating, locating and raiding these sites" on U.S. Forest Service and BLM lands, said a Tulare County undersheriff, but "We have four large grow sites we are already aware of [because of] this money."
"Deputies ride to educate off-road vehicle drivers" (Victorville Daily Press, 8/26/11) "The Victor Valley is the destination for many off-road enthusiasts," but the San Bernardino County sheriff's office notes that "many off-roaders may not know all the laws surrounding riding off-highway vehicles." Last year they received "more than 1,000 complaints of off-roaders, mainly dirt bike riders, riding through private property, city roads and other areas other than the designated OHV sites." Riders should "first contact OHV enforcement agencies, such as the Victor Valley station, the BLM or the U.S. Department of Forestry for maps and information regarding legal areas to ride."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Fire officials urge caution with fire in area wildlands"(BLM news, 8/29/11)
Labor Day weekend campouts, fall hunting and firewood cutting outings will bring visitors to northeast California wildlands over the coming weeks, and fire officials are urging everyone to be careful with fire. "Wildland conditions are continuing to dry out and we have very high fire dangers in many areas," said Jim Hedges, a manager at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center. "The recent Annie Fire near Cedarville burned over 2,500 acres in a day ... we now have the potential for large fires.”
"Check Oregon wildfire conditions before hitting the road this Labor Day weekend" (Portland Oregonian, 8/31/11)
"Travelers and anyone planning to camp or recreate in the outdoors should check wild fire conditions before hitting the road for holiday travel. Many fires are burning around the state and conditions change rapidly, especially with the forecast of hot weather returning."
"Fully contained Canebrake fire chars 80 acres" (Kern Valley Sun, 8/30/11)
"Due to the inaccessibility" of one fire, "hand crews and air resources were used to battle the blaze in severe weather conditions with high winds ... Three water-dropping helicopters and two retardant-dropping air tankers" assisted "approximately 100 firefighters ... Working through the night, fire crews contained the fire to 80 acres."
"Three Slashes Fire continues to spread" (KYMA Yuma/El Centro, 9/1/11)
The Three Slashes Fire has caused incredible devastation at the Island Unit in the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge ... As of Wednesday afternoon, it was 40 percent contained" with 4,200 acres burned. "This is an area known well by hunters ... now shutdown for an unknown amount of time ... smoke is affecting the air quality and has blown all the way to Blythe" in California.
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC)
Current wildfire information, updated Monday - Friday during wildfire season.
"InciWeb" (Incident Information System)
An "interagency all-risk incident information management system."
"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.
BLM ADVISORY COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES
"Advisory group visits historic trail, discusses natural resources" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council learned about efforts to preserve remnants of the Noble's Emigrant Trail, when they held a field tour and meeting in Susanville. Touring several sites along the trail, the RAC reviewed interpretive materials now being finalized that will tell the story of the westward migration as it passed through northeast California.
"Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee to meet in Cedarville"(BLM news, 8/29/11)
Members of the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee will discuss a variety of natural resource topics, when they hold a field tour and meeting, Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 21 and 22, in Cedarville. Their annual fall field tour will be Sept. 21; their general meeting will be Sept. 22.
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|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
In some areas, bears have become a problem. This is most often because:
(a.) They leave the remains of their prey lying around and breeding flies.
(b.) They make dens in abandoned houses and empty garages.
(c.) They knock over trees and destroy other vegetation while chasing prey.
(d.) They find food in campsites or garbage cans.
(e.) Of honey.
(f.) Of resentment over decades of lost teddy bear royalties.
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"California's new Gold Rush, minus the rush" (CNBC, 8/29/11)
The Briggs Mine in California's Death Valley opened in 1996, produced more than half a million ounces of gold, then shut down in 2004 when gold prices dropped. "When gold went back above $550 in 2009, the company spent $20 million to get the mine back in business." The Briggs mine needs permits from "least 15 different agencies" including the BLM, says a company spokesman. He says "says tougher oversight comes with the territory, especially after mining disasters in West Virginia and Utah."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|BLM IN NEIGHBORING STATES
"Burning Man organizers ask BLM for 20,000 more Burners by 2016" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 8/27/11)
"In the wake of the first sold-out Burning Man this year, organizers for the event are asking the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for an increase to the allowed population of Black Rock City that could push the number of people there to 70,000 by 2016, up from the current 50,000."
"Live Burning Man coverage" (Reno Gazette-Journal)
RELATED: "Burning Man: What is it, exactly?" (Christian Science Monitor, 8/29/11)
"It's a weeklong annual festival held in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. Some 50,000 people gather to create Black Rock City, a temporary 1.5-square-mile settlement dedicated to self expression and radical self reliance."
RELATED: "BLM Opens Black Rock Station near Gerlach" (BLM Nevada news, 8/26/11)
Travelers to northwestern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert have a new landmark to help them explore and enjoy this vast landscape with the opening of the BLM Black Rock Station just outside Gerlach. This gateway to the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area provides a visitor contact center and also houses a fire engine building, bunkhouse, warehouse and small administrative office.
RELATED: "2011 Burning Man permit, temporary closure and restricted activities" (BLM Nevada, Winnemucca Field Office news, 8/26/11)
Temporary closures and restrictions of certain activities on public lands immediately surrounding and at the site of the 2011 Burning Man event are necessary to provide for public safety and to protect public resources, and affect only a small portion of the Black Rock Desert playa between August 1 and September 19, 2011.
"A trip down the river of time with Zane Grey as our guide" (Medford, Oregon Mail Tribune, 8/28/11)
Memories of reading his first Zane Grey novel 41 years ago "resurfaced last week" when the author and a photographer "spent a night in the caretaker's house at Winkle Bar on the lower Rogue with a U.S. Bureau of Land Management river crew. Just a few hundred feet away is Grey's historic fishing cabin where, in 1929, he reputedly jotted down much of the book ... That was before the lower Rogue became a recreational mecca for people across the nation." Note: This newspaper website allows limited number of visits to non-subscribers.
RELATED: "The Rogue River" (BLM Oregon)
The Rogue River in southwestern Oregon flows 215 miles from Crater Lake to the Pacific Ocean. The 84 mile, Congressionally designated "National Wild and Scenic" portion of the Rogue was one of the original eight rivers included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. The river is surrounded by forested mountains and rugged boulder and rock-lined banks. Check out the Rogue River Float Guide for more information on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.
RELATED: "BLM's 'garbage barge' keeps wild Rogue floating smoothly" (Medford Mail Tribune, 8/28/11)
"For the next 22 miles on the Wild and Scenic Section of this nationally known whitewater river, the floating clean-up crew from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would scrub toilets, pick up trash -- which included everything from old tires to fishing line -- snuff out one illegal campfire and check for float permits. The 'garbage barge' was cleaning up during its weekly run on the whitewater section of the wild Rogue."
--->Also see the bear story in the "wildlife" section below.
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"It Gets Better" (Department of the Interior, 9/2/11)
Inspired by the amazing videos posted in support of the It Gets Better campaign, Secretary Salazar and Interior Department staff share their messages of hope and encouragement to LGBT youth across the country who are struggling with being bullied.
"Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial becomes 395th National Park" (Department of the Interior news, 8/29/11)
The National Park Service formally welcomed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial as America’s 395th national park on August 28 – the 48th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial to Dr. King is part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks and is open to the public. National Park Service rangers provide programs for visitors and answer questions. (Links to photos and more.)
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) They find food in campsites or garbage cans.
SOURCE: "Black Bear - Ursus americanus" (BLM California wildlife database)
As they find food in urban areas they lose their fear of humans and could become quite aggressive. People who live in areas where bears are present should make their garbage cans bear-proof and keep their land clean. When camping, food should be stored in lockers that are specially designed to keep bears out. If the lockers aren't available the food should be kept in the trunks of cars.
RELATED: "Along the Rogue's Wild and Scenic section, bear in mind" (Medford Mail Tribune, 8/28/11)
"This time of the year, when the berries are ripe and the salmon are coming up river, people are going to have bear encounters," said a BLM river manager. "Since 1995," after "numerous reports of aggressive bear behavior" the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Wildlife "have worked together to reduce problems between bears and bipeds in the Lower Rogue canyon ... One point stressed to all visitors is that bears are wild animals that should never be fed," said a Forest Service spokeswoman. "A fed bear is a dead bear," she said.
RELATED: "Three bears slaughtered in June Lake" (Mammoth Times, 8/27/11)
"After a rash of bear break-ins in June Lake recently, three bears were shot to death in several separate incidents and the Department of Fish and Game said Thursday that it is investigating reports of a local June Lake resident who may have been feeding bears for some time now." Said one resident who received a bear depredation permit, "Those three bears were dead as soon as people started feeding them ... This was a terrible situation that did not have to happen."
Other wildlife items from your public lands - and elsewhere
"'Smart collar' in the works to manage wildlife better" (New York Times, 8/29/11)
"[I]n the same way that the smartphone changed human communications, what might be called the 'smart collar' -- measuring things that people never could before about how animals move and eat and live their lives -- could fundamentally transform how wild populations are managed" with a "combination of global positioning technology and accelerometers." The devices may be used "from the safari parks of Africa to urbanized zones on the edge of wildlands across the American West..."
"Habitat eyed for endangered flycatcher" (Yuma Sun, 8/28/11)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to revise critical habitat for an endangered migratory bird, the southwestern willow flycatcher, which would include areas along the Colorado River. The proposal is in response to a lawsuit ... Based on recent surveys coordinated by various state and federal agencies, between 900 and 1,000 breeding pairs remain throughout the streamside forests of southern California, southern Nevada, southern Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas and extreme northwestern Mexico."
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