A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 508 - 11/23/11

a male wild turkey flares his tail a dune buggy against looming sand dunes orange and other bright foliage two burros look at the camers a man stands on a deck overlooking a stream among trees


- America's Great Outdoors
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items

This issue of News.bytes is online at:

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

a dune buggy against looming sand dunes"Dunes season kicks-off" (KYMA Yuma, AZ, 11/22/11)
"This year, the Bureau of Land Management expects 1.7 million people will come to the Imperial Sand Dunes. 170-thousand of those are expected to vacation here Thanksgiving weekend. But "a sinking economy will likely put a damper" on visitation compared to earlier years.

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM California, El Centro Field Office)
Located in the southeast corner of California, the Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging five miles wide.

"Seaside sprouting: Return of the Natives brings environmental education home" (Monterey County Weekly, 11/23/11)
"In 1993, a group of Salinas teachers surveyed their drab campuses and decided they should really look prettier than prisons. When they teamed up with native plant experts at Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing Marine Labs and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the city of Salinas gave them a park to get dirty in .... Now in its 18th year, Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project has brought restored public spaces from Marina to Moss Landing, the former Fort Ord to Carmel River Lagoon."

RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands - Habitat restoration" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
Each winter the BLM restores areas on the land in need of attention - like abandoned roads or erosion scars. Restoration of these sites highlights a shared commitment that local communities hold for the Fort Ord Public Lands. California State University Monterey Bay's Return of The Natives and thousands of volunteers have teamed up with the BLM to heal and restore dozens of degraded sites.

orange and other bright foliage"National Landscape Conservation System 15-year Strategy" (BLM)
The Bureau of Land Management recently released a 15-year strategy to guide National Landscape Conservation System land management efforts in coming years. These areas contain some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. See the links on our BLM California home page:

a sign along a trail among low brush"Take a Hike: Little Black Loop Trail" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/18/11)
"The 1,554-foot summit of Black Mountain usually offers a 360-degree view from the ocean to the west and mountains to the north and east .... Black Mountain Open Space Park originated in 1964 when the City of San Diego acquired it under the 'Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1926,' a federal policy administered by the Bureau of Land Management." Placards along the trail highlight its connection to Native American history and wildlife with "more than 80 species of birds ... including the California gnatcatcher and northern harrier."

"Red Rock Canyon forecast to draw holiday crowd" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/23/11)
BLM Nevada's Red Rock Canyon: "The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is warning visitors to expect large crowds, heavy traffic and even the occasional closure over the long holiday weekend. During periods of especially high visitation, the 13-mile scenic loop will be temporarily shut down to relieve congestion and maintain access for emergency vehicles if necessary."

RELATED: "Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area" (BLM Nevada)
Red Rock Canyon, 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, is 195,819 acres and is visited by more than one million people each year. Red Rock Canyon offers a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with exhibit rooms and a book store. The unique geologic features, plants and animals of Red Rock Canyon NCA represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert.


two burros look at the camershands adjust a halter on a burro in a chute"Burros and mustangs adopted along California Central Coast" (News.bytes Extra)
Residents of California’s Central Coast provided homes for eight wild burros and three mustangs, when the BLM brought its wild horse and burro adoption program to Santa Maria Nov. 18 and 19. Two of the adopted burros will have a prominent position in t
he community, taking up residence as part of an environmental education exhibit in the city’s Los Flores Ranch Park. They will be part of continuing efforts to inform the city’s youth about natural resources and the environment.

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burros in a corral"Horses, burros seek homes" (Santa Maria Times, 11/20/11)
"Don Seaman’s wife has always wanted a burro. The desire for at least one of the cute, small donkeys is what brought him to the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center on Saturday morning during the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program Adoption."

horses jump out of the back of a trailer"BLM completes High Rock Complex wild horse roundup"
(Lassen County News, 11/22/11)
"Bureau officials will conduct an aerial population survey within the next week to confirm the numbers of wild horses remaining on the range and will release some animals back onto the range to maintain the populations of 258 to 451 wild horses in the Bitner, Nut Mountain, Fox Hog, High Rock and Wall Canyon herd management areas. Members of the public will be invited to observe these releases."

a smiling woman hugs her horsea man feeds a carrot to a horse in a trailer"A small bay gelding with big ambitions aims to be named America’s Favorite Trail Horse"
(Santa Fe New Mexican, 11/21/11)
"He may be small, but Macho wants to be America's Favorite Trail Horse. The bay gelding and his Santa Fe rider, Shelley Bachicha ... will need help to get there. America's Favorite Trail Horse is a reality show airing on HRTV, a multimedia network focused on horse racing and other equestrian events .... Sponsored by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association, the show auditioned 1,000 equines from all over the country in the spring .... Macho was the son of a big mustang mare adopted from the Bureau of Land Management and bred by ropers to a big quarter-horse stallion."

"The Night wild horses came to Manhattan"
(The Atlantic, 11/18/11)
"A group of 50 or so wild horse enthusiasts" met in Manhattan for a forum, "Managed To Extinction?" to criticize BLM management of wild horse herds in the West. "Ed Roberson, Assistant Director of the BLM, told organizers last week that the Bureau believed the Forum was 'unbalanced by design' because of its title and its 'list of invited panelists who predominantly have a negative stance regarding the BLM's management of wild horses and burros'."


a male wild turkey flares his tail
a wild turkey
Wild turkeys seldom nest:
(a.) More than a mile or two from permanent water sources.
(b.) More than a mile or two from where they were born.
(c.) More than a mile or two from sand dunes.
(d.) On the ground.
(e.) More than a mile or two from cranberry bogs.

----> See answer -- and more -- near the end of this issue.
Happy Thanksgiving from BLM California News.bytes!


a man approaches a firefighter standing amid the ruins of a house"Bad luck, circumstances fueled Reno firestorm" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 11/21/11)
"Ferocious winds, power outages, rocky canyons and gated communities were just some of the things firefighters found themselves up against in the middle of a cold November night battling the kind of blaze more typical of a sweltering August afternoon .... The southwest Reno blaze was first reported at 12:22 a.m. Friday. It destroyed about 30 homes and seriously damaged another half-dozen -- and forced nearly 10,000 people to evacuate -- before crews had it fully contained Sunday."

"Rural homeowners in a bind over new fiscal year fire fee" (Lassen County News, 11/22/11)
"The California Board of Forestry approved a $150 fire fee at the beginning of November to be imposed on rural homeowners in fiscal year 2011-2012. The hope is $50 million will be raised, the amount CalFire spends each year on fire prevention programs .... Local rancher Jack Hanson said the Cattlemen’s Association and Farm Bureau are checking into the constitutionality of the bills. He said under Proposition 218, passed by the voters in 1996, the local government has to let affected property owners vote for any proposed new or increased assessments before they can levy."

"GAO report links Arizona wildfires to immigrants" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 11/22/11)
“A study by Congress' investigative arm shows investigators have linked 30 fires that erupted in a five-year period in Arizona's border region to people who crossed into the United States illegally .... Nearly 2,500 wildfires occurred in the Arizona border region from 2006 to 2010, but the GAO studied only those that were human-caused, burned more than 1 acre and those for which investigative reports were available.”

"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.

"InciWeb" (Incident Information System)
An "interagency all-risk incident information management system."


a man stands on a deck overlooking a stream among trees"Connector of trails retires from job; BLM chief at Redding field office served more than 7 years" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/19/11)
"A local Bureau of Land Management chief who helped build or connect hundreds of miles of north state bike and walking trails retired Friday after 7½ sometimes contentious years. Those who worked with Steve Anderson said he was passionate about teaming up with local officials to get work done. They said he was how a federal official should be: focused on improving public land so that everyone could enjoy it."

RELATED: "Editorial: BLM chief blazed trail through brush and bureaucracy" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/22/11)
"Steve Anderson "says he just followed plans drawn up by others that were sitting on his desk when he arrived in Redding in 2004 as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's field manager. Maybe so, but he's a guy who over more than seven years managed to deliver on those plans, earning the BLM a local reputation as the Redding area's can-do federal agency .... It built strong local relationships that helped its relatively small local staff punch well above its weight. Not coincidentally, it's a rare federal agency locally celebrated for its work, as opposed to the subject of protests and lawsuits."

"Jim Nielsen: Conservation Corps fulfills its promise" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/22/11)
"Over the years we have been quite critical of wasteful government spending .... But one program stands out as an example of a program that fulfills its promise -- the California Conservation Corps .... Throughout the state, and particularly in the Redding area, the young men and women of the CCC have received the state's undying gratitude for their often heroic efforts in responding to natural disasters and leading environmental conservation efforts .... If they are looking for work, they hone their skills and leverage their experience on fire crews and working with land management agencies to secure jobs as firefighters or obtain positions with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and other agencies."

map of train route"BLM clears VV-to-Vegas train route" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 11/18/11)
"A proposed high-speed rail project that would connect Victorville to Las Vegas ... took another step forward ... after the Bureau of Land Management authorized its construction on public lands. The train will start in Victorville and run along the west side of Interstate 15 for the majority of the 200-mile route. There are a few places where it will detour from the interstate onto public lands because of steep grades or other issues. DesertXpress has already passed multiple hurdles this year, including environmental approval from the Federal Railroad Administration and approval from the Surface Transportation Board."

RELATED: "Desert Xpress rail line one step closer to getting built" (KTNV Las Vegas, NV, 11/18/11)
"The dream of a multi-billion dollar Desert Xpress rail line connecting Las Vegas to southern California took a small step closer to reality. A government agency gave the greenlight for construction over federal lands between here and Victorville, CA. One local community however is still fighting to stop it from ending up only feet from their back door."

RELATED: "BLM approves right-of-way for DesertXpress Victorville to Las Vegas Passenger Rail Project" (BLM news, 11/18/11)
The BLM released the Record of Decision for the DesertXpress Passenger Rail Project in San Bernardino County, Calif. and Clark County, Nev.

"Transgender woman claims excessive force in Taser incident" (KGTV San Diego, 11/17/11)
"A transgender woman from Ramona was stunned by a stun gun used by a Bureau of Land Management ranger in the desert near El Centro late last month."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current openings include wild horse and burro specialist.


a fossil track in stone"Discovery of dinosaur footprints at Red Rock excites scientists" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/21/11)
BLM Nevada: "In a sea of dunes stretching to the horizon, a dinosaur the size of a Doberman strode through wet sand that squished between its talon-tipped toes." Officials at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas "have confirmed the discovery of dinosaur footprints and other tracks laid down roughly 190 million years ago .... the tracks appear to come from a two-footed, meat-eating dinosaur that was probably no more than about 3 feet long from nose to tail" -- but it is "'very premature' to say almost anything with certainty about the creature."

"BLM targets smugglers on public lands"(KPHO TV Phoenix, AZ, 11/22/11)
"A joint federal and state operation is under way to improve safety and security on some of Arizona's public lands. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement rangers and resource specialists have joined forces for two-week periods as part of a law enforcement surge .... More surge operations are planned for winter and spring, which are the prime times for human and drug smuggling in southern and central Arizona. The targeted lands are the Ironwood Forest National Monument and the Sonoran Desert National Monument."


Dec. 10 - First Piedras Blancas Twilight Tour - reservations required - at Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) More than a mile or two from permanent water sources.

SOURCE: California Department of Fish and Fame (follow the link to the "Life history account" PDF file) from the BLM California wildlife database:

Other wildlife in the news:

"What will climate change mean for California?" (Sacramento Bee, 11/20/11)
"The songbirds at the feeder outside your window are not the same as they used to be. The goldfinch, the grosbeak and even the ever-present sparrow are all a little bit bigger. The reason is climate change, according to a new study, which found that 70 bird species, all common to Central California, have evolved a longer wingspan and greater body mass over the past 40 years." A seven-year study "marks the first attempt to explain how climate change may affect habitat in an entire estuary, in this case the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta."
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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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