Issue 501 - 10/6/11

Golden-mantled Ground SquirrelA railroad bridge crosses a river in the Afton Canyon Natural AreaA group of volunteers Rail Trail bridge - photo by Reno Gazette JournalA group of smiling students


- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week

- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California

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Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
What do Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels do before hibernation?
a. clean out their dens - removing rocks down to pebble size
b. start packing on the pounds - up to three times their weight
c. take over the den of a rival species – "spraying" it to mark it as their own
d. look for a buddy to cuddle up with during the colder months
e. come together from a large area, to choose a leader
f. stock their pantry with late-night snacks
g. Stake a mining claim with BLM - to find the gold with which to mantle themselves

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

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

"Residents divided over proposed solar project" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/5/11)
"Most residents here are quick to say they have nothing against solar energy. They just don't want to see the desert vistas surrounding their tiny town — about 50 miles east of Indio — blanketed with hundreds of thousands of solar panels."

RELATED: "Desert Harvest Solar Farm" (BLM California)
"The proposed Desert Harvest Solar Farm has recently started the environmental review and public participation process required by Federal law. The project would use photovoltaic technology." 

"Media access allowed at energy sites"
(Riverside Press Enterprise, 10/4/11)
"Federal land officials have determined that they have the legal authority to bring journalists or other guests onto public lands under development for big solar energy projects. Energy companies cannot bar access to project sites if the visitors are escorted by officials with the Bureau of Land Management, the agency responsible for managing federal lands, said BLM spokeswoman Erin Curtis. "

"Sunrise Powerlink copters cleared to fly again"
(Sign On San Diego, 10/3/11)
State regulators late Monday announced that San Diego Gas & Electric may restart its helicopter operations related to construction of the Sunrise Powerlink, less than one week after grounding the fleet for persistent safety issues. The California Public Utilities Commission issued a statement saying the utility had complied with a series of requests made Sept. 27, the day the helicopter construction work was halted on the 117-mile, $1.9 billion transmission line project through East County."

"Reap the Wild Wind"
(Palm Springs Life,10/1/11)
"The San Gorgonio Pass provides a natural corridor for plants, animals, and a forceful current of air and water. One man who has lots of experience with gap winds and other quirks of pass life is Frazier Haney, manager of the Whitewater Preserve for the Wildlands Conservancy. Haney’s beloved Whitewater would be named a Wild and Scenic River as part of the Sand to Snow National Monument proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The designation would mean the river remains free flowing in its upper stretches and the pass lands protected, creating a monument contiguous to the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Maybe then there will be new trails, but for now the pass is somewhat hard to explore."

RELATED: "Wind Energy in the San Gorgonio Pass Area " (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office manages wind energy right-of-way grants in this area. The San Gorgonio Pass area is very suitable for wind energy development due to steady westerly winds in this area that are funneled between the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountain Ranges.

"Former Calico Solar manufacturer declares bankruptcy" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 10/2/11)
"The manufacturing company originally slated to provide a portion of technology for the Calico solar project has declared bankruptcy. Calico is awaiting approval from the California Energy Commission for its changes to the project."

"First Solar sells area project" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/1/11)
"Less than an hour after the U.S. Department of Energy announced Friday it approved $1.46 billion in loan guarantees to back financing to build First Solar's high-profile Desert Sunlight solar farm east of the Coachella Valley, the company announced it sold the project. The Desert Sunlight project is on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It's about 6 miles north of Desert Center on 3,800 acres in the Chuckwalla Valley, some 50 miles east of Indio."

America's Great Outdoors logo features a family paddling a canoeAMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS

"Sierra Fund seeks money to expand Tribute Trail" (Grass Valley Union, 10/3/11)
The 2.2-mile Tribute Trail snakes west out of downtown Nevada City along Deer Creek, offering scenic hiking, a new bridge and even a swimming hole. [A]ccessing the trail was something of a challenge and often required venturers to stroll through private property along the Newtown and Champion Mine roads, as well as land owned by the city, the county, Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Irrigation District. 'This expansion of the city environ's property and linking it to the public BLM land along Deer Creek will be another jewel in the crown of Nevada City's visionary open space, trails and public parks efforts,' said [local landowner, Gary Gallelli Jr., whose family land may be purchased to increase public access]."

Rail Trail bridge - photo by Reno Gazette Journal"Lassen County: Rails to Trails movement helps create miles of outdoor options"
(Reno Gazette Journal, 9/28/11)
"It is early September and I find myself hopping on a mountain bike for the first time all season. But I've chosen a winning spot, I think as I pedal along an abandoned rail line roughly an hour and a half north of Reno. 'The rail trails offer a certain kind of experience. The Bizz Johnson in particular is very scenic while the Modoc line has a different kind of appeal,' says Stan Bales, outdoor recreation planner for the Bureau of Land Management Eagle Lake Office, during a visit to just a few of the region's many recreational options. 'Susanville Ranch, on the other hand, is more challenging. The variety we have can satisfy a whole spectrum of riders if they want to come up as a group.'"

Bicyclists cross a bridge on the Bizz Johnson TrailRELATED: Fall Foliage along the Bizz Johnson Trail (BLM California)
"Autumn is one of the most popular seasons to visit the Bizz Johnson Trail. As the changing foliage of cottonwoods turn the river bottoms golden yellow, willows along the river take on various tones of red and golden yellow, and oaks scattered through the landscape add accents of bright orange."

A group of volunteers "National Public Lands Day – Alabama Hills"
(News.bytes Extra)
Warm temperatures with a chance of thunder storms greeted the volunteers who came out to help pick up trash in the Alabama Hills. This year’s cleanup event focused around Lone Ranger Canyon. This area is important in the history of the Lone Ranger since it is where the outlaws ambushed the Texas Rangers, killing all but one. That one person was rescued by the American Indian Tonto and became the Lone Ranger.

A railroad bridge crosses a river in the Afton Canyon Natural AreaGET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...

...bring your camera and binoculars to Afton Canyon Natural Area, an ideal location for bird and wildlife viewing. Multicolored rock walls and changing light conditions make for many photographic opportunities, and this area is also ideal for hiking, hunting, camping, nature study, rock hounding, horseback riding, and vehicle touring. See one of the few places where the Mojave River flows above ground!

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"BLM Wild Horse Roundup Set for Oct. 15" (BLM News, 10/5/11)
"[O]perations will begin...to round up excess wild horses from public lands in northwest Nevada, about 40 miles east of Cedarville, Calif. [A]bout 1,300 wild horses will be gathered and about 1,090 removed from the range to bring populations to within the appropriate management level range of 258 to 451 animals. Members of the public are welcome to observe gather operations from vantage points at each capture site."

"Wild Horses and Burros to be Available for Adoption in Redlands" (BLM News, 10/5/11)
Mustangs and burros from America’s rangelands will be available for adoption at Sundance Ranch in Redlands, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 8 through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. The animals were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been dewormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. None of the animals have been exposed to the EHV-1 virus.

"Horses, Burros Available for Adoption in Tulare"
(BLM News, 10/3/11)
"'With cooler days ahead, this is a great time to begin training an adopted mustang or burro,' said Art DiGrazia, manager at BLM’s Ridgecrest wild horse and burro facility. 'Our horses and burros are certified to be healthy and they are ready to begin training.' Residents of the Tulare area will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to Tulare County Fairgrounds, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15."


"2,135-acre San Diego County fire contained"
(760 KFBM AM, 10/4/11)
"Cooler weather has helped crews contain a nearly week-old wildfire that scorched more than 2,000 acres in San Diego County. The blaze, dubbed the Great Fire, erupted about 1 p.m. Saturday on the south side of Highway 78 and Scissors Crossing, near Shelter Valley, according to Cal Fire. The stricken area is owned by California State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management."

"BLM Redding Field Office Plans Prescribed Burns in October, November"
(BLM News, 10/3/11)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Redding Field Office will conduct several prescribed burning projects this fall and winter to improve landscape health and remove brush piles remaining from vegetation improvement projects completed earlier. A 75-acre broadcast prescribed fire is planned for the Swasey Recreation Area in west Redding. Crews also plan to conduct a 350-acre broadcast prescribed fire in Little Grass Valley near Buckhorn Station on Highway 299, and a 125-acre broadcast prescribed fire seven miles northeast of French Gulch later this fall.

"BLM Ukiah Field Office Lifts Fire Restrictions"
(BLM News, 10/3/11)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office has lifted fire restrictions on public lands in Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Yolo, Colusa, Glenn and Solano counties. Outdoor enthusiasts can once again use campfires outside of developed campsites. A California campfire permit is required.

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


"Finding film-shooting locations in L.A. not so easy" (Los Angeles Daily News, 10/2/11)
"The California On Location Awards will be handed out Oct.16 to honor the state's film and television managers for outstanding achievement. Last week in West Hollywood, several nominees discussed how they worked with government, businesses and everyday folks to make their productions happen. Many of the behind-the-scenes stories they shared are as entertaining and complex as any of the thrillers appears on the screen. [W]hen the second episode of the NBC series, The Event, called for an airliner to crash through a wormhole into a possibly alien environment, producers scouted 20-odd sites before concluding that the 500-foot-high Trona Pinnacles outside the Kern County community of Ridgecrest would provide the perfect ambience."

Trona Pinnacles - a popular location for filming on public landsRELATED: " Filming Permits" (BLM California)
"Public Lands in California offer many unique locations for filming opportunities. The permitting process and items needed may vary depending on the location and the type of filming proposed.

"As gold prices soar, Bodie is thrust from the past"
(Los Angeles Times, 10/1/11)
"More than 20 years ago, a Bureau of Land Management study noted the area's beauty and its importance as threatened habitat for the greater sage-grouse. But it concluded that the Bodie Hills couldn't be managed as wilderness because of hundreds of valid mining claims. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is pushing for legislation that would identify "crown jewel" lands worthy of wilderness designation. Environmental groups want the Bodie Hills to be included, which wouldn't preclude mining but would make it practically impossible."

A group of smiling students"El Centro Students Getting the Job Done!" (News.bytes Extra)
"This year El Centro Field Office has hired seven students as part of the Federal Student Educational Employment Program. These students come to El Centro with a diversity of skills and talents to help further the mission of the BLM. 'These students are the future of the BLM. We are proud to work with them in building their careers in public service,' said Margaret Goodro, El Centro Field Manager."

"Bill to renew fed timber payments to be introduced"
(San Jose Mercury News, 10/5/11)
"A bill renewing the federal payments that have sent billions of dollars to rural timber counties hurt by declining logging on national forests will be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week. Timber counties in Washington, Oregon and Northern California started getting safety net payments in the 1990s to make up for 80 percent cutbacks in logging on national forests to protect the northern spotted owl and salmon. Once the last payments go out this winter, the program will have generated $5.7 billion for counties—$4.5 billion from the Forest Service and the rest from BLM."

RELATED: "EDITORIAL: Counties get a lifeline and maybe a plan for O&C lands’ future" (Eugene Oregon Register Guard, 10/6/11)
"It’s no sure thing, but Oregon’s congressional delegation, led by Sen. Ron Wyden, has once again pulled federal payments to timber-dependent counties back from the precipice. Last Friday the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000 expired, severing the lifeline that had at least partially sustained services in Lane and other counties affected by steep reductions in logging on federal lands. On Wednesday Wyden and Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that key U.S. senators have agreed to a five-year extension, albeit at reduced levels."

"National Public Lands Day" (BLM California website)
Volunteers are still needed for trail work and public lands clean-up events planned in October.

"BLM California Jobs "
(USAJOBS website)
A new and improved USAJOBS, is planned for implementation October 2011. The transition will take place October 6-12, 2011, when nearly 5 billion rows of data will be extracted, validated, and subjected to integrity testing. Look for a new and improved USAJOBS on October 13th!

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
b. start packing on the pounds - up to three times their weight: During the months before hibernation, these little critters forage constantly in an effort to triple their body weight.

Credit also for this answer:

f. stock their pantry with late-night snacks: Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels also make a stash of food in their dens to eat in the spring when they first come out of hibernation. Some of them may even wake up periodically throughout the winter to eat.

"Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel"
(BLM California wildlife database)

RELATED:: "Spermophilus lateralis - Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel" (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
"Because they have a stripe on the flank, they are sometimes mistaken for chipmunks, but the stripe does not continue onto the cheek as it does in Tamias species." Includes photo, and link to The American Society of Mammalogists species account - eight-page PDF file with extensive references.
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