A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 517 - 2/10/12

a gytefalcon perches on a branch a heart image superimposed on a hilly landscape sketch of a large solar panel and desert wildlife and plants a waterfall amid greenery a loader operator digs into the ground


- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- BLM advisory councils
- 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 BLM California News.bytes is online at:

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

"Clear Creek restoration highlights Redding tour for state BLM director" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 2/9/12)
"Fifteen years ago it was hard to find a single salmon in Clear Creek" near Redding. "This year an estimated 4,800 fall-run Chinook salmon swam up Clear Creek to spawn." BLM California State Director Jim Kenna and 27 members of the BLM's advisory councils for northeastern and northwestern California toured the restored area this week. "Kenna said he was impressed with the work done along Clear Creek because it involved cooperation among numerous public agencies, such as the DFG, BLM, California Conservation Corps, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District and the city of Redding."

a man holds arms outstretched as he speaksrocks amid ocean waves"New Fort Bragg partners to help with Coastal Monument management" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM managers and coastal partners recently celebrated their intent to cooperate on managing the California Coastal National Monument, signing memoranda of understanding to work together as "collaborative managing partners." A significant part of the event was the City of Fort Bragg's announcement that its promotion committee will take the lead in coordinating the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Gateway Committee. Other new partners are the Caspar Community, Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association, and the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Historical Society.

A scout stands with family members on a foot bridge"Scout puts in new bridge in upper ridge park" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 2/5/12)
"Eagle Scout candidate Charles Cox of Paradise recently completed construction of a pedestrian bridge over Carl's Gulch" in the Upper Ridge Nature Preserve, "a 120-acre parcel west of the Pine Ridge School and south of Ponderosa Way in Paradise Pines. There is a network of trails for hiking, bicycling, and a self-guided nature walk."

a waterfall amid greenerya stream among trees and green shrubsRELATED: "Forks of Butte Creek Recreation Area" (BLM Redding Field Office)
Twenty five miles Northeast of Chico, the beautiful Forks of Butte Recreation Area has trails through steep pine and fir covered canyons. Among them, Upper Ridge Nature Preserve offers many hiking and mountain biking trails.

"Presentation on wasps next event in King Range lecture series" (BLM, 2/3/12)
Fascinating information on wasps, particularly species that live in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, will be presented in a free lecture Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., in Redway. Dr. John DeMartini, Ph.D. will focus the talk on gall wasps. He will present slides and examples of gall wasps and attendant wasps. Dr. DeMartini is a professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at Humboldt State University.

a group of adults and schoolchildren pose for a photo"Winter Bird Festival entertains all" (Galt Herald, 2/8/12)
"It was a beautiful warm clear day for Galt's fifth Annual Winter Bird Festival .... The city of Galt collaborates with the Cosumnes River Preserve and the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District to put on this entertaining and educational festival. Nature enthusiasts come from all over California to enjoy the day, the experts, the tours and all the free events." BLM Director Bob Abbey came "from Washington D.C. to honor the city of Galt and local schools for their efforts to involve youth and the public in the outdoors and the Cosumnes River Preserve." Abbey spoke to the crowd about preserve manager Harry McQuillen, saying "'I have never met a more passionate individual in any aspect of my life and the dedication that McQuillen has for the preserve is very, very special."

RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)

"BLM invites public comments on OHV grant application" (BLM news, 2/3/12)
The BLM's Arcata Field Office invites public comments on its proposed preliminary grant application to the state of California's Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Grants and Cooperative Agreements program. The field office's initial proposal requests $21,356 for law enforcement and $43,150 for ground operations. Funds would be used in fiscal year 2013, which begins this October. A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m., at the BLM Arcata Field Office.

"Equestrians raise concerns over public access to trails: Groups petition over Manila Dunes, Little River State Beach" (Eureka Times-Standard, 2/6/12)
"Local horse enthusiasts have raised concerns about ... a new equestrian trail at Little River State Beach" being built by California State Parks. "A group of about 80 people gathered last month to protest the construction project" and highlight "concerns over public safety and access over the trail." Equestrians also "want to make sure the historically used trails are designated to avoid any conflicts, particularly a piece of trail about 1,000 feet long that would connect two designated trails -- one in BLM Ma-le'l south dunes territory and one on Friends of the Dunes property. Although it is not designated, neither organization has specifically prohibited the riders from using it, but ... there is fear this may change."

a loader operator digs into the ground"Conservation project takes strides to preserve access" (Inyo Register, 2/7/12)
"The project involves converting BLM motorized routes to hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use and constructing a new motorized route to maintain recreational access. BLM Recreation Planner Richard Williams said the agency is eliminating some redundant motorized routes to create other recreational opportunities without preventing OHV users from accessing the area."

a woman rides a motorcycle on a highway"The Mystique of Route 66" (Smithsonian, February 2012)
"Since I discovered U.S. Route 66 as a teenage hitchhiker, I've traveled it by Greyhound bus and tractor-trailer, by RV and Corvette and, once, by bicycle. Recently, when I wanted to return for another look, I headed straight for my favorite section, in Arizona, stretching from Winslow west to Topock on the California border. The last 160 miles of that route constitute one of the longest surviving stretches of the original 2,400-mile highway .... Seligman has 500 residents—and 13 souvenir shops selling Route 66 memorabilia."

RELATED: "Historic Route 66 " (BLM Needles Field Office)
Officially established on November 11, 1926, US Route 66 began in Chicago, Illinois and terminated in Los Angeles, California a distance of 2,448 miles. It was one of the original highways in the US highway system, and probably the most famous.

RELATED: "Historic Route 66 Back Country Byway" (BLM Arizona)
"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.

RELATED: "Motorcycle safety" (Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety)
"Motorcycle crash statistics show that helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing crash fatalities. That is, on average, riders wearing a helmet have a 37 percent better chance of surviving a crash than riders without a helmet."

a heart image superimposed on a hilly landscapeGET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
... get outdoors with a "Be My Valentine Hike" in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Whether you are single or already taken, come on out and enjoy an easy 435 feet, 2.4 mile afternoon hike in the romantic Santa Rosa Mountains next Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 1-3pm. Learn about some of the things animals do to show off and express their love for their mate. Special Valentines will be provided to give to a loved one or a new friend you meet on the trail. This event is limited to 20 participants, so RSVP by Monday Feb. 13 to the National Monument Visitor Center (760) 862-9984.

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

RELATED: "National Landscape Conservation System desktop wallpapers" (BLM California)
A selection of wallpapers for your computer screen, including one for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"95-day makeover for mustangs: Adoption in Redlands" (BLM news, 1/27/12)
This weekend: Three burros and eight mustangs will be available for adoption at Sundance Ranch in Redlands on Saturday, Feb. 11. A Friday preview runs from 1 to 5 p.m.
Also: Thirty-four horse trainers from five western states gathered recently at the BLM's Ridgecrest Corrals for the start of an intense competition to determine who among them can best train a wild mustang from America's public lands -- in 95 days. In May, horses and trainers will compete in Norco's (Horsetown USA) Extreme Mustang Trail Challenge.

"BLM announces three selections for National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board" (BLM national news, 2/6/12)
The BLM has chosen Callie Hendrickson of Grand Junction, Colorado, as a new appointee for the category of General Public; June C. Sewing of Cedar City, Utah, as a new appointee for the category of Wild Horse and Burro Advocacy; and Boyd M. Spratling, DVM, of Deeth, Nevada, as a re-appointee to the category of Veterinary Medicine. These individuals will each serve three-year terms.

"BLM seeks bids for new, publicly accessible pasture facilities to care for wild horses"
(BLM national news, 2/7/12)
As part of its responsibility to manage and protect wild horses and burros, the Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for new, publicly accessible pasture facilities located in the continental United States that provide a free-roaming environment. The solicitation is for one or more long-term pasture facilities accommodating 400 to 2,000 wild horses. Each pasture facility must be able to provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for nine one-year extensions.


wildlife eyes look out from shrubs and behind a question mark
What is a pipistrelle?
(a.) A tiny lizard that subsists mainly on cactus drippings.
(b.) A flying insect that emits a high-pitched squeak.
(c.) The smallest amphibian in California.
(d.) The largest of the pygmy shrimp.
(e.) The smallest bat in the U.S.
(f.) A groupie of touring ballet companies.
See answer and more wildlife stories near the end of this News.bytes.

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

sketch of a large solar panel and desert wildlife and plantstwo workers ride a basket crane among metal framework"Sacrificing the desert to save the Earth" (Los Angeles Times, 2/5/12)

"'I have spent my entire career thinking of myself as an advocate on behalf of public lands and acting for their protection,' said Johanna Wald, a veteran environmental attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. 'I am now helping facilitate an activity on public lands that will have very significant environmental impacts. We are doing it because of the threat of climate change. It's not an accommodation; it's a change I had to make to respond to climate.' That unusual collaboration -- along with generous federal subsidies and allotments of public land -- has sparked a wholesale remodeling of the American desert. Industrial-scale solar development is well underway in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah."

"German firm buys two solar projects east of the Coachella Valley" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/8/12)
"Two stalled solar projects east of the Coachella Valley could still repower after being sold to a German company with a track record of financing and completing utility-scale projects. But it may take two years or longer until new owner Solarhybrid breaks new ground on either the 1,000-megawatt Blythe project or the 500-megawatt Palen project. The company announced Saturday it acquired the two projects from former owner Solar Millennium, the German developer that filed for bankruptcy in December."

a large concrete tower rises above the desert"Solar tower will power Las Vegas at night" (C|Net News, 2/9/12)
"SolarReserve has completed the central point of a solar project that uses molten salt storage to deliver power to the grid well after the sun has gone down. The startup company ... said it has completed the 540-foot tower of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nev., which is expected to start delivering 110 megawatts by the end of 2013. When it comes online, it's projected to have 10 hours of storage, the longest full-load storage capacity for a solar plant." The plant is on lands managed by BLM-Nevada.

"Renewable-energy executives want tax incentives extended" (Los Angeles Times, 2/8/12)
"Executives from the U.S. hydropower, geothermal and biomass power industries called Wednesday for the passage of a congressional bill that would extend production tax credits to all renewable-energy projects. The leaders were referring to H.R. 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011 .... Failure to pass the bill, the executives said, would put thousands of jobs across the country at risk, stall active energy projects and make it very likely that few new projects would get the funding necessary to begin. Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Assn., said that projects are already being hurt even though the current tax benefits assisting his industry do not run out until 2013."


"BLM accepting nominations for Northeast California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM news, 2/3/12)
The BLM is seeking public nominations for five open positions on its Northeast California Resource Advisory Council, which advises the BLM on public land issues. The BLM will consider the nominations until March 12. The 15-member Northeast California RAC advises BLM officials in the Alturas, Eagle Lake (Susanville) and Surprise (Cedarville) field offices. The five RAC positions are in three categories.

"BLM accepting nominations for Northwest California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM news, 2/3/12)
Four positions are open, in three categories. Nomination forms and additional information are available on the web. The BLM will consider the nominations until March 12. The 12-member Northwest California RAC advises BLM officials in the Arcata, Redding and Ukiah field offices.


a helicopter hauls a bucket on a cable"Feds seed burned Reno-area landscape from the air" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 2/6/12)
"Initial seeding efforts in the wake of the Washoe Drive Fire focused on the hills of the valley's eastern flanks -- property managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It's a charred and barren landscape where the plants are gone and officials hope to prevent erosion problems and the spread of noxious plants in the future. The same dry winter weather responsible for the rare January wildfire could serve as an impediment to successful seeding, experts said. A little moisture is needed to help the grass and brush seeds dropped by helicopter to take root and flourish."

RELATED: "Recovery mission tackles local land burned by fire" (KTVN-TV Reno, 2/6/12)
With video: Land near Reno "formerly covered in golden sagebrush, shrubs and trees" is now "bare ground," says a BLM spokesperson. "A few stumps here and there. But not a lot left where it actually burned.' The sagebrush, used by wildlife for shelter, feed and breeding was first to go .... But as bad as the blackened ground looks, the worst is yet to come. This formerly pristine stretch of western landscape is now vulnerable for another ugly cheatgrass takeover. We were in Washoe Valley to see some fast work being done to bring more than 500 scorched acres back to life" with a helicopter loaded with seed.


flames loom over a house"Winter wildfires a rarity for Reno area but warming climate could make them more common" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 2/4/12)
"Two rare winter wildfires roared through Reno-area neighborhoods, destroying more than 50 homes, changing lives and leaving some wondering whether the destructive events might be a sign of things to come. November's Caughlin Fire was followed almost two months to the day by the Washoe Drive Fire on Jan. 19. The fires were strikingly similar – both the result of high winds associated with a dry cold front pushing flames through brush and grass made ready to burn by an early winter of record dryness. The combination was explosive .... with a warming climate, invading vegetation and more people living in fire-prone areas, could big winter wildfires become the norm? It's impossible to say for sure, but some experts say the possibility is there."

"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.


graffiti painted on a small buildingloose wires in an otherwise empty orange control box"Vandals strike in the dunes" (News.bytes Extra)
Over the past weeks numerous incidents of vandalism and theft have occurred in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Vandals painted graffiti on signs and restrooms and most recently stole parts from a safety message sign. Visitors witnessing vandalism in progress are encouraged to call 911 and report it. Visitors who discover vandalism after the fact should report it to the El Centro Field Office at 760-337-4400.

a smiling group of men and women pose for a photo"Firefighters of Year lauded" (Kern Valley Sun, 2/8/12)
"The Exchange Club of Kern Valley hosted the 5th annual Firefighter of the Year Award Dinner on Jan. 31 at Paradise Cove. More than 150 people attended the event honoring four firefighters from three different agencies in the valley." Two BLM firefighters were honored: Travis Bowling with the Kern Valley Hot Shots and Charles Sutton, "who is currently at a U.S. Army base in New Jersey...."

"New national monument could add to Basin's scenic spaces" (Hi-Desert Star, 2/7/12)
"The Little Morongo Canyon area is designated as federal wilderness area, but its designation leaves it vulnerable to competing interests. Conservationists and a slew of supporters are hoping to change that. The California Desert Protection Act of 2011 ... would designate the Morongo Valley wilderness area and all of Big Morongo Canyon and Whitewater preserves as a 133,524-acre Sand to Snow National Monument, while adding 2,904 acres to Joshua Tree National Park. The federal act would set aside this land as well as nearly 1.6 million acres of other scenic and critical-wildlife land throughout California .... As the bill sits in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, advocates are pushing for stronger support."

equipment sits on a raft in a rivera man sits with a gold pan"As gold hits $1,700/oz. dredgers lament lost income" (Sonora Mountain Democrat, 1/31/12)
"Rick Eddy and Steve Tyler are gold bugs who think they are being robbed" because they can no longer dredge rivers for gold. The California Department of Fish and Game stopped issuing permits for dredging after a lawsuit that "contended that DFG's administration of the suction dredging program violated the California Environmental Quality Act and various provisions of the Fish and Game Code .... Current laws do not prohibit or restrict non-motorized recreational mining activities such as panning for gold. They also do not prohibit or restrict other kinds of mining operations...."

RELATED: "Suction dredge permit program" (California Dept. of Fish and Game)
"The Department of Fish and Game released draft regulations and a related Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report for public review on February 28, 2011" and "projected the adoption of new regulations and certification of the Final SEIR by the end of 2011. This would then have permitted the sale of suction dredge permits under newly adopted regulations." But Assembly Bill 120 of July 26, 2011 "affects this effort in several ways...."

RELATED: "Dredging, Mining & Gold Panning" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)
BLM will not issue recreational use permits for suction dredging until the State of California moratorium is lifted. The Mother Lode Region's history as a gold-producing area attracts gold seekers. Unfortunately, the most promising public lands are already under claim, and cannot be worked without the claim holder's permission. Three areas within the jurisdiction of the Mother Lode Field Office, however, are available for casual prospecting....

"County intends to challenge Klamath dam decision in federal court" (Siskiyou Daily News, 2/9/12)
"The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors ... approved a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announcing its intent to sue the federal government over the potential removal of dams on the Klamath River .... In the letter the board alleges, “by participating in such substantial changes in management of the Klamath River resources, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) triggers an obligation under 43 U.S.C. 1712 to undertake the processes to coordinate the new management scheme with local government plans and policies'."

"New VVC program teaches tech solutions" (Victorville Daily Press, 2/9/12)
"As the High Desert struggles to rebound from the recession, a new certificate program at Victor Valley College aims to help cultivate a local work force in a booming field: geographic information systems ....'Even a small background in GIS can help you in any number of career field choices,' adjunct professor Joshua Briggs said. 'I really try to focus on the great number of applications of GIS, everything from farming to urban development." He cited GIS use by organizations including the BLM.

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


BLM Oregon:

"Alsea couple rescued after GPS sends them down remote, snowy road"
(Portland Oregonian, 2/6/12)
"Randy and Mary Jackson were following directions from their car's GPS navigation system when they drove down a Bureau of Land Management road ... according to Douglas County Sheriff's Office. Their Volkswagen Jetta then got stuck in the snow .... The sheriff's office advises motorists to remember that many roads in higher elevations are covered with snow and are not passable at this time."

"DeFazio's bill targets LNG pipeline project" (Medford Mail Tribune, 2/9/12)

The 2005 proposal for an Oregon pipeline "called for importing the pressurized natural gas" and sending it "on to customers in California. However, pipeline proponents announced late last year they wanted to export the natural gas" because of changing prices. They propose to use eminent domain to take property if it cannot reach agreements with landowners. The pipeline would cross "a little more than 100 miles of private property ... state and county lands" and "some 30 miles of national forestland and 40 miles of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land."

"Gold Hill man gets prison for mining violations" (Medford Mail Tribune, 2/7/12)
"A renegade miner whose outlaw placer operation tore up portions of a Rogue River tributary will spend a year in prison after his second conviction in two years for illegal mining on public lands."

BLM Nevada:

"Shoshone Willow Weaving at the California Trail Center"
(BLM Nevada news, 2/3/12)
The public is invited to witness the passing down of a Shoshone tradition at the California Trail Interpretive Center on Saturday, Feb. 11, when Shoshone elders pass down the ancient craft of willow weaving -- a rare opportunity to learn more about Shoshone culture.

"Developer Rhodes withdraws plan to use Red Rock Canyon scenic route" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/9/12)
The developer of a proposed "4,700-home hilltop development" wanted to use "the scenic route that runs through Red Rock Canyon, including the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area .... during the initial phase of construction to build the project's access road and for safety and emergency purposes. The project includes developing homes, a business park and retail areas...."

"Where to say, 'Will you marry me?'" (Las Vegas Sun, 2/9/12)
The 13-mile scenic drive at Red Rock National Conservation Area "boasts breathtaking mountain views" -- and "swarms of people snapping pictures and calling grandma from our beautiful Nevada landmark. That's not very romantic. Instead, try one of these quieter locations to go down on bended knee while still enjoying a picturesque background .... Red Spring boasts a boardwalk, trees and a small water stream with Red Rock visible in the distance, said Kirsten Cannon, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management..."

RELATED: "Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area" (BLM Nevada)
The 195,819-acre Red Rock Canyon, 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, is visited by more than one million people each year. It 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.

"Burning Man festival faces ticket 'fiasco'"(Sacramento Bee, 2/10/12)
Burning Man organizers "are scrambling to solve a crisis that some fear threatens the very fabric of the event," leaving "perhaps 75 percent of the longtime participants who traditionally provide the creative spark for displays and activities without a ticket." The annual event is held in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada" on public lands managed by the BLM. "The crisis resulted from attempts to solve issues from last year, when ... the event sold out for the first time."

BLM Utah:

"Proposed Utah mine expansion reflects politics of coal"
(Los Angeles Times, 2/7/12)
The Los Angeles DWP's contract with a Utah plant "requires the city to buy coal power until 2027." Opponents fought the coal mine "because of concerns about possible effects on public health, the National Park and the region's tourism. Now the same mining firm wants to expand its operations more than fivefold, mostly on federal land, to meet ongoing demand .... Park officials oppose the expansion and have challenged the methodology used in a draft environmental impact study by the Bureau of Land Management...."

"Industry slams federal plan to list fracturing chemicals" (Houston Chronicle, 2/6/12)
The Bureau of Land Management "has drafted a rule that would require companies to reveal the trade names and purposes of fracturing fluid additives and to name the specific chemicals involved and the volumes they plan to use," with "a trade-secret exemption if companies can show state or federal regulations protect the information from public disclosure … Some environmentalists called the draft rules a good start but hoped the trade secrets exemption won't be applied too liberally. Industry representatives complained the effort duplicates what states already do."

Department of the Interior:
"Salazar Applauds President's Nomination of Marcilynn Burke for Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management" (Department of the Interior press release, 2/3/12)


Feb. 11 and 18-19 - Interpretive hikes to view natural arches - Alabama Hills

Feb. 18 - Fort Ord planting with live music

Feb. 21 - Presentation on wasps - Redway
Part of the King Range lecture series

Check dates - Public tours - Piedras Blancas Light Station

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) The smallest bat in the U.S.

a hand holds a tiny batSOURCE: "Western Pipistrelle - Parastrellus hesperus" (BLM California wildlife database)

a tiny bat in a hand"Pipistrellus hesperus; Western pipistrelles" (CalPhotos at UC Berkeley)
A copyrighted photo that shows the western pipistrelle's size, relative to a human hand.

"Putting the 'perimyotines' well away from pips proper (vesper bats part XII)" (Tetrapod Zoology, 4/12/12)
More than you may want to know about how western pipistrelles "turn out turn out not to be pipistrelles."

More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):

"Comment period for greater sage-grouse scoping extended by BLM and Forest Service" (BLM national news, 2/7/12)
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking public comment on issues that should be addressed in Environmental Impact Statements and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements that will evaluate and provide greater sage-grouse conservation measures in land use plans in 10 Western states. To address requests for additional time to provide comment, the two agencies will continue to accept scoping comments through March 23, 2012.

a gytefalcon perches on a brancha gyrefalcon in flight"Off-course Arctic gyrfalcon draws bird watchers" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/7/12)
"Bird watchers from as far away as San Jose and New Mexico braved gray skies and cold winds near Lake Perris on Tuesday, hoping to be among the lucky ones to catch a glimpse of a gyrfalcon that has taken up residence there. The Arctic animal has never been seen in Southern California, ornithologists said." Mark Chappell, "a UC Riverside biology professor who snapped numerous photos of the bird that day" said the gyrfalcon "is probably 400 miles farther south than any that's ever been seen in California."

a condor takes flight"Lead remains condors' major obstacle" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/5/12)
"Human-caused threats pose the major obstacle for wild condors to survive without costly intervention by wildlife agencies and nonprofit groups, according to a new journal paper by scientists at the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research and elsewhere. It shows that lead poisoning and eating garbage such as bottle caps are the biggest dangers to the iconic, baldheaded birds."

a frog sits on gravel"Protection increased for endangered frog" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/2/12)
State wildlife officials agreed Thursday that the rare mountain yellow-legged frog -- the subject of a breeding project near Idyllwild -- should be listed as an endangered species.

"DFG Signals Intent to Sue Army Corps in Order to Protect Fish and Wildlife Around Levees" (California Dept. of Fish and Game, 2/7/12)
The California Department of Fish and Game is suing the the Corps of Engineers over "a national policy requiring the removal of virtually all trees and shrubs on federal levees" developed "in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Corps' national policy fails to account for regional variations among levees .... Studies conducted in 1967, 1999 and 2008 by California confirm that native riparian vegetation are compatible with flood control and that such vegetation can often act to minimize damage during a flood event."

"Bill would make it easier to kill Ore. wolves" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 2/1/12)
"Frustrated that a judge has blocked a state kill order against two members of Oregon's first wolf pack, the Oregon Cattlemen's Association is pushing legislation to boost the state's authority over the predators. Conservation groups that sued the state to stop the kill order say the rancher bill is an effort to circumvent their lawsuit and the state Endangered Species Act, which association's legislative chairman denies .... He added that the association wants to get some conservation groups on board, because without them the bill is unlikely to pass."
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