A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 513 - 1/11/11

a burro pokes his nose into the camera a silhouetted figure climbs a boulder while another spots him a crane stands in water a dog wanders near hikers on a trail a furry creature on sandy ground


- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- BLM advisory groups
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Renewable energy
- 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 crane stands in water"Eight great reasons to visit the Galt Winter Bird Festival" (Galt Herald, 1/11/12)
"Enjoyed by everyone from bird lovers to those who cannot tell a sandhill crane from a heron and from seniors to families, the local festival celebrates the migratory and resident birds that make the central valley their winter home. The winter bird festival is a teamwork project of the City of Galt, Cosumnes River Preserve and Galt Joint Union Elementary School District" in addition to a number of sponsors. The event will be Jan. 28. BLM Director Bob Abbey is scheduled to present an award to the event organizers.

RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
The Preserve is a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Over 250 species of birds have been sighted on or near the Preserve, including the State-listed threatened Swainson hawk, greater and lesser sandhill cranes, Canada geese and numerous ducks.  

"4H Club Sanctions ATV Safety Project in Imperial Valley" (News.bytes Extra)
El Centro Field Office Interpretive Park Ranger Joya Szalwinski participated in an all-terrain vehicle safety forum for Imperial Valley’s 4H Clubs -- the first sanctioned ATV project for the club in the Imperial Valley. The event was designed to introduce young ATV enthusiasts to the myriad of OHV opportunities available in the Imperial Valley, while helping them understand the rules and regulations that govern ATV safety.

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area upcoming events"
This weekend: On Jan. 14, United Desert Gateway is sponsoring the 15th Annual Dunes Cleanup at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM El Centro Field Office)

BLM Bishop sponsors 'Climbers Coffee'" (BLM news, 1/11/12)
This week: BLM rangers will sponsor a 'climbers coffee' Friday at 9 a.m., to discuss local climbing issues and resource protection. Bishop is a world-renowned climbing destination and public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office provide outstanding climbing opportunities. "We want people to come out and enjoy the sport while preserving the area for future generations," said Becky Hutto, BLM park ranger. Rangers will answer questions, discuss local climbing areas, local trails and local land concerns. Monthly sessions are planned.

a silhouetted figure climbs a boulder while another spots himRELATED: "Bouldering on the Tableland" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
In the early 90´s, the Tableland was visited only by local climbers.   By the late 90´s, thousands of climbers were coming from all over the world to try out their climbing skills on the many boulder problems the Tableland has to offer.

"Fee-free days for BLM-managed public lands set for 2012"(BLM news, 1/12/12)
Starting this weekend: The Bureau of Land Management, in conjunction with other agencies within the Department of the Interior, will waive recreation-related fees for visitors to the National System of Public Lands for Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend (Jan. 14 to Jan. 16), Get Outdoors Day (June 9), National Public Lands Day (Sept. 29), and Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 10-12) in 2012. These fee-free days also apply to areas managed within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System.

"BLM reopens Pacific Crest Trail damaged by the Canyon Fire" (BLM news, 1/11/12)
The Bureau of Land Management has reopened approximately 30 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in northeastern Kern County that had been damaged during the September 2011 Canyon Fire in the Tehachapi area.

RELATED: "Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail" (BLM Ridgecrest Field Office)
Zigzagging its way from Mexico to Canada, the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail was designated as a National Scenic Trail by Congress in 1968. This trail boasts some of the greatest elevation changes in the National Scenic Trail System and is popular with thousands of hiker and equestrian users.

a view from a high point of a lake and hills"Berryessa Peak hike" (Lake Berryessa News, 1/11/12)
Berryessa Peak "at 3,057 feet is the second highest summit in Yolo County, California" and "the highpoint of Blue Ridge ....
In September 2008 a private landowner allowed a public trail easement for access to the summit and the 9,100 acre 'landlocked' Berryessa Peak BLM land." Organizations have been building a trail that "as of December 2011 ... has about one mile left to be completed to the summit. This last mile is arguably the most scenic portion of the trail as it runs along the final ridgeline to the summit. They hope to complete the trail by May 2012."

"San Joaquin River Gorge Annual Pass" (BLM news, 1/11/12)
The San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area Annual Pass is now available. The pass can be used in lieu of paying the $5 day-use fee per vehicle that goes into effect next month. The pass costs $25 and can be purchased in person at the Bakersfield Field Office.

RELATED: "San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area"
(BLM Bakersfield Field Office)

"Secretary Salazar, Mayor Villaraigosa and other leaders commit to transform Los Angeles Riverfront into model urban waterway and park"
(Department of the Interior news, 1/12/12)
The Los Angeles River Watershed has twice been identified as a priority project for the Obama administration under the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership. Both initiatives seek to reconnect Americans to the great outdoors and revitalize urban waterways in underserved communities across the country.

blue and yellow wildflowers"2nd annual Desert Wildflower Festival taking shape for April"
(Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 1/7/12)
"After months of preparation, a group of local community leaders gears up for the 2012 Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival. The second annual event is scheduled for April 13 to 15 among six locations." Wildflower viewing has been one of the most popular recurring topics in News.bytes, and BLM public lands offer wildflower viewing in many areas of California.

RELATED: "Spring wildflower viewing in the Western Mojave" (BLM Ridgecrest Field Office)
Most of the Mojave region's sparse precipitation falls during the winter. If the winter is warm and moist, especially during the months of February and March, annual wildflower seeds will germinate and flower within 5 to 6 weeks. When this happens, the best time to view wildflowers at 1,500 to 3,000 feet above sea level is from mid-March to mid-April.

"Visitor center eyed near harbor, highway" (Del Norte Triplicate, 1/9/12)
"Although tourism is Del Norte’s largest private sector employer, many think it could be much stronger." A supporter says the BLM is one of 14 agencies that would be involved in "a new multi-agency visitor center on the highway by Crescent City Harbor" mostly "dedicated to displays and interpretative information about the county’s natural and cultural resources."

"National Park Service to Assist 200 Communities with River and Trail Projects" (Department of the Interior news, 1/12/12)
The National Park Service will help local communities implement more than 200 natural resource and recreational projects under the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Under the program, the National Park Service helps communities and neighborhoods preserve valuable open spaces, revitalize nearby rivers, and develop trail and greenway networks. This year’s projects were selected from the most competitive field of requests ever received by the agency -- including several in California.

hikers on a dirt trail past treesa dog wanders near hikers on a trailGET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
... Enjoy a lovely day on the trail with your BLM mustang, mule or burro or domestic horse and your friends at one of the four equestrian trail sites managed by the BLM's Mother Lode Field Office area. The Cronan Ranch in Pilot Hill offers spectacular scenery not far from Sacramento. The Merced River Trail is just north of Mariposa near Yosemite offers some great wildflower viewing. The Red Hills Trails near Chinese Camp offers 17 miles of unparalleled birding and scenery. The seasonal South Yuba River trail, near Nevada City, takes you on a 12 mile trip through Gold Rush history: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/folsom/equestrian.html


a furry creature on sandy ground
sagebrush vole
Sagebrush vole are one of the few vole species to:
(a.) live below ground level.
(b.) live in colonies.
(c.) eat pinon nuts.
(d.) have only one litter of young each year.
(e.) hibernate.
(f.) know the difference between a longhorn and a foghorn.
(g.) not have heard of Tim Tebow.
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


a burro pokes his nose into the camera"Saddle-trained horses, mustangs and burros to be available for adoption in Redlands" (BLM news, 1
silhouettes of wild horse and of a burro/6/12)
This weekend: Two saddle-trained horses, as well as young mustangs and burros from America’s rangelands will be available for adoption at Sundance Ranch in Redlands on Saturday, Jan. 14. A Friday preview runs from 1 to 5 p.m. The animals were gathered largely from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area of northeastern California and northwestern Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. (None of the animals have been exposed to the EHV-1 virus.)

"Horses, mustangs, burros adoptable Saturday"
(Redlands Daily Facts, 1/11/12)
Source of the photo above.

a horse in a grassy areaa field crowded with horses"Billionaire wife embroiled in wild horse debate"
(CBS News, 1/10/12)
"The ranchers in Northern Nevada say their livelihood is at risk because there are too many wild horses grazing on federal lands, while animal advocates like Madeleine Pickens believe the population, which number in the tens of thousands, is manageable .... In the past year, Pickens has spent between $12 and $13 million trying to establish a 'Wild Horse Eco-Sanctuary,' which she says is needed to save America's mustangs. Pickens wants to use more than 500,000 acres of federal land for her horse refuge -- land that is currently used to graze cattle. Cattle ranchers say there won't be enough land -- or food -- for both groups." With video.

“Feds Defend Press Limits to Wild Horse Roundup”
(Courthouse News Service, 1/10/12)
"A photographer appeared before the 9th Circuit on Monday to defend press freedoms against the federal agency that barred her from attending a roundup of wild horses in Nevada. Laura Leigh sued in September 2010 for a temporary restraining order that would stop the Bureau of Land Management from conducting a wild horse roundup in the Silver King Herd Management Area, which is about 150 miles north of Las Vegas in Lincoln County."

two girls feed a burro"Mining museum loses one of its donkeys"
(Englewood, Colo. Tribune, 1/10/12)
"Oro, which means 'gold' in Spanish, along with his companion, Nugget, had helped educate the public about mining heritage even though neither donkey had a mining background." The pair, adopted from the Bureau of Land Management, "made fast friends in the community, especially among local children .... The museum board is considering getting another donkey as a companion for Nugget."


"Nominations requested for Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee" (BLM news, 1/12/12)
The 10-member committee advises the Bureau of Land Management on resource management issues at the monument, which sits on the border between San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. The BLM will consider the nominations for 60 days from Monday (Jan. 9), when the formal call for nominations was published in the Federal Register.

"BLM seeks applications for West Mojave Route Network Project Subgroup" (BLM news, 1/6/12)
The BLM's California Desert District Desert Advisory Council announces an open application period for the West Mojave Route Network Project Subgroup. Persons interested in serving on the subgroup in this capacity should have an interest and expertise in identifying a range of alternatives for the eight Travel Management Areas of the West Mojave Planning Area.

"Members named to BLM Resource Advisory Council" (BLM news, 1/6/12)
New members and a returning member have been named to seats on the U. S. Bureau of Land Management’s Northeast California Resource Advisory Council. The appointments to three-year terms were made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

"Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee meeting postponed" (BLM news, 1/6/12)
A meeting of the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee planned for Thursday, Jan. 12 in Cedarville has been postponed.  A new meeting date will be announced. The steering committee advises the BLM’s Surprise Field Office and the Modoc National Forest’s Warner Mountain Ranger District on natural resource issues and livestock grazing management on public lands.

"Salazar announces appointments to BLM District Advisory Council (corrected release)" (BLM news, 1/6/12)
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has appointed four new members and re-appointed two members to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) citizen-based California Desert District Advisory Council (DAC), which advises the BLM on public land management issues.


"Warm dry fall and early winter causing fire concerns" (BLM news, 1/6/12)
Abnormally warm and dry conditions through the fall and early winter months are creating higher-than-normal fire danger for this time of year in northeast California. Residents and visitors should use extreme caution when undertaking any burning projects. Firefighters have responded to several burning projects that got out of control -- and with tall, dry grass remaining from last summer, little moisture and no snow cover, there is potential for these fires to spread and threaten life and property.

flames and smoke burn from a prescribed burn site"Dry winter changes strategy for controlled burns in Sierra" (Sacramento Bee, 1/10/12)
"Northern California's unusually dry winter hasn't made it easy for fuel-management crews in the Sierra, U.S. Forest Service officials report. Although access to prescribed burn sites is easier than when there's snow on the ground, 'we actually prefer to burn in the snow,' said Kyle Jacobson, fuels battalion chief for the Forest Service's Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit …. 'We're starting to scale down'...."

"State program to reduce local inmate fire crews" (Inyo Register, 1/9/12)
"By order of the U.S. Supreme Court, California must reduce its prison population starting this year. A solution by Governor Jerry Brown and state Legislators will be to send low-level, non-violent felony convicts to county jail rather than state prison. Dubbed 'inmate realignment,' the program will also reduce the population at fire camps and crews like the Owens Valley Conservation Camp."


a student operates handhelg devicea man sifts dirt from a shovel as students watch"Keyesville School of Archaeology" (Kern Valley Sun, 1/11/12)
"What do manually manipulating a sampling auger ... and digging around in an old toilet have in common? "A daylong trip to the BLM's "new insight -- both into the history of mining in their home state and into the present technology used to unlock such history." The students and their BLM and U.S. Forest Service archaeologist advisors, "will present their findings ... at the Society for California Archaeology annual meeting in March 2012 in San Diego." Some of the students plan to return to the site and continue the work.

water flows into a tunnel in the side of a hill"Water board wants BLM to close Bly Tunnel" (Lassen County News, 1/11/12)
"In a December 21 letter, the California State Water Resources Control Board asked the Bureau of Land Management to close the valve on the outlet pipe in the Bly Tunnel at Eagle Lake, alleging the loss of water through the tunnel has an 'adverse impact on the water levels and public trust resources of Eagle Lake'."

a view of a lake from hillsRELATED: "Eagle Lake" (BLM California Eagle Lake Field Office)
Eagle Lake is 5100 feet above sea level in north eastern California about 16 miles north of Susanville in Lassen County. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake wholly in California. Water surface areas have fluctuated between 16,000 to 29,000 acres with a present area of 26,000 acres.

“Illegal off-roading subsides” (Hi-Desert Star, 1/7/12)
"Years ago, when the problem started, we had a huge number of offenders," said a Sheriff's Department sergeant.  Many “had ridden in certain neighborhoods or on dirt roads all their lives, and didn't know it was illegal.” The spokesman said, “We see less and less of that …. There's been a massive education push; the Bureau of Land Management, local stores, community groups: At every angle you have at the local level, someone has done something."

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

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

"Ocean waves power a prototype generator in Newport Beach" (Los Angeles Times, 1/8/12)
Two Newport Beach entrepreneurs "have been testing a wave-powered turbine ... for years." But "because of strict regulations and high costs ... it will be a long time before their generators can be used for commercial purposes." Wave power "has been both intriguing and vexing," with a test proposed for "a mile off San Onofre State Beach," a project near Eureka abandoned because of "high costs and hard-to-obtain permits," and three wave farms off Sonoma County "stalled while officials look for $1.75 million to pay for a feasibility study."

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California)


"Slow motion water wars split Western states" (Scientific American, 1/11/12)
A multi-billion dollar pipeline would snake hundreds of miles through rural Nevada, from Utah to Las Vegas. Las Vegas-area planners "say they need a more stable water supply" than the Colorado River, "even to sustain the current population for the long term .... But rural Nevadans and Utahns worry the pipeline would do irreversible damage to their range. They say there simply isn't enough water to share." The BLM is involved because it must "whether to approve rights of way for the pipeline over BLM-managed lands."

industrial equipment"UNR Case Study: FIND project considers life after mines close" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 1/10/12)
"Unlike the bigger locales such as Las Vegas, which rely on tourism and gaming, a majority of rural northeast Nevada economy depends on the mining industry" – a “boom-and-bust system." Lander County "is looking for economic opportunity in mining sites where the ore either has been depleted or where it becomes too expensive to operate. The goal is to stabilize the effects of mine closures and exodus of laborers."

"US bans new mining claims near Grand Canyon"
(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 1/9/12)
"The Obama administration is banning new hard rock mining on more than a million acres near the Grand Canyon, an area known to be rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves. The decision, announced Monday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, hands a victory to environmental groups and some Democratic lawmakers who had worked for years to limit mining near the national park, one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations."

"Salazar creates science group to bolster preparedness for potential future environmental crises"
(Department of the Interior news, 1/6/12)
The specialized scientific group will develop future scenarios and provide rapid, interdisciplinary scientific assessments during environmental crises or disasters affecting America’s natural resources. The group will help ensure that preparedness, response and recovery efforts undertaken by the Department and its bureaus will be guided by the best available science and lessons learned from past events, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.


Jan. 14 - 15th Annual Dunes Cleanup -- Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM El Centro Field Office)

Jan. 31 - "Live Reptile Adventure" - Redway
Part of the King Range National Conservation Area 2012 Winter Lecture Series

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) live in colonies.

SOURCE: "Sagebrush vole - Lemmiscus curtatus" (BLM California wildlife database)


"Who's afraid of the lone gray wolf? Ranchers, families"
(San Francisco Chronicle, 1/11/12)
"The first wild gray wolf to enter California in almost a century has moved out of the farmlands of Siskiyou County and is now roaming the forests of eastern Shasta County looking for a mate that he may never find .... Wolves have been feared and revered in almost equal parts for centuries by virtually every culture that has come in contact with them. The mysterious canines were admired by Native Americans and many others for their cunning, but the perception of wolves these days is largely driven by fairy tales and myth."

a gray wolf"Gray wolf (Canis lupus)" (California Department of Fish and Game)
The California Department of Fish and Game has started a web page with links to more information and photos. "At this time, there is only one documented gray wolf living in the wild in California. On Dec. 28, 2011 a 2 ½-year-old, male gray wolf entered California after traveling from northeast Oregon. Designated OR7, his behavior, called dispersal, is not atypical of a wolf his age."

"a white head of an owl peaks through grassesAmerica's newest immigration wave: Harry Potter owls?" (The Week, 1/11/12)
"White snowy owls that look an awful lot like Hedwig are being spotted above the continental U.S., sending birdwatchers and Potter fans into a frenzy." This is not good news for the snowy owls, though: "A plentiful supply of Arctic lemmings, the birds' favorite food, led to a strong breeding season up north .... Now competition for food among the unusual numbers of offspring has sent them flooding into the U.S. to search for everything from voles to rabbits to shore birds."

RELATED: "Snowy visitor" (News.bytes Extra)
A snowy owl was an unusual visitor to California's North Coast in 2007, as reported in this March 2007 News.bytes Extra :
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