A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 519 - 2/24/12

an otter floats on its back motorcycle riders in full gear on the desert sands desert-type flowers rocky outcroppings stick up from the desert two laughing women as a horse nuzzles one


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

motorcycle riders in full gear on the desert sands"Holiday weekend draws thousands to local sand dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 2/20/12)
a helmeted and suited rider on a four-whell all-terrain vehicle"More than 100,000 people found their own flavor of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area to enjoy over President's Day weekend," which is usually "one of the three busiest weekends of the season, drawing about five times what a weekend normally does in season .... Many find Buttercup on the south end of the area to be the most family-friendly and is generally less crowded."

a girl in a dunes outfit puts on her helmettwo dune buggies on a flat area of sand"Gallery: Glamis" (Imperial Valley Press, 2/20/12)
Twenty photos from the Glamis Imperial Sand Dunes from last weekend --part of the story above.

two youngsters give the thumbs up sign near a man in an OHVohvs top a sand hillRELATED: "NBC4 in Glamis" (NBC Los Angeles, 2/21/12)
"Located in the extreme south-eastern region of California, adjacent to Mexico in Imperial County, Glamis is nirvana for all-terrain vehicles. Friday, February 17th, NBC4 Forecaster Fritz Coleman was in Glamis, basking in the sun while gliding down the sand dunes on an ATV. Fritz and NBC4 Inland Empire Reporter Craig Fiegener reported on the details about what you'll need to know if you want to visit Glamis." With photos and video.

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

a group of people atop a sand dune"Family memorializes son with visit to the dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 2/20/12)
"Carlos Don of Ramona had always loved riding in the dunes so it made sense to celebrate what would have been his 18th birthday Sunday atop one of the highest points here. Don died in 2007 at age 12 of pneumonia ... but he is far from forgotten .... Don raced motocross in front of crowds totaling 70,000 at times and was also a national and state football champion. The family regularly visits the dunes .... More than 100 family and friends came out to commemorate his birthday at the dunes Sunday."

"BLM's Ukiah Field Office invites public comments on OHV grant application" (BLM news, 2/21/12)
Its draft grant application to the state of California's Off-Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation Division requests $324,000 to be used for trail maintenance, law enforcement and operations and maintenance of off-highway vehicle areas. Funds would be used in fiscal year 2013. An open house to discuss the OHV grants is scheduled for March 2.

rock formations rise above the deserttwo laughing women as a horse nuzzles one"Adventures around Ridgecrest: Desert peaks, wild horse, burros and old mining towns – all less than four hours from OC's beaches" (Orange County Register, 2/19/12)
"Not on your bucket list? I hope this journal of my recent trip will put it there. Ridgecrest is a town of 25,000 people just off U.S. 395 on the way to Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. It is the gateway to many adventures ....The town is a nice stop, but the real attractions are beyond the city limits .... if you have a few days and a yearning to be in some very different places, take a drive up U.S. 395 and look around. There are lots of unique and stunning things to see and photograph. Just hurry -- summer comes early to this part of California."

rocky spires in the duskburrosRELATED: "Adventures around Ridgecrest"
Photos from the article, including the Trona Pinnacles, the BLM's Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, Randsburg ("population 70") and more.

RELATED: "Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse & Burro Corrals" (BLM California)
Established in 1982, through cooperation with the Naval Weapons Station and Death Valley National Park, this facility is designed to support wild horse and burro management activities throughout the three state region of Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

RELATED: "Rand Mountain Management Area" (BLM Ridgecrest Field Office)
An off-highway vehicle area (on legal routes only) and popular upland game bird hunting area, that shares a boundary with the Desert Tortoise Natural Area.

an off-road truck tackles some large bouldersan OHV on its side"Basin's biggest off-road event was also one of the safest, officials say" (Hi-Desert Star, 2/17/12)
This year's Griffin King of the Hammers off-road vehicle event attracted more than 30,000 people from all over the world .... Competitors and spectators come from all over the world to take part in the extreme terrain race event," including Australia, Japan, Iceland and Belgium, an organizer said. The 135 races "use rock crawler vehicles to climb over steep, rocky slopes on a 165-mile long course in Johnson Valley's OHV area."

RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)

a man gestures over his shoulder at an area with trees"Clear Creek comeback was a combined effort" (Anderson Valley Post, 2/21/12)
"There is no clearer example of what can happen when numerous agencies come together for a common cause than the lower portion of Clear Creek in southern Shasta County. 'This was a dump site,' explained Gary Diridoni, a Redding (BLM) wildlife and fisheries biologist ... at a recent gathering at the Clear Creek gorge overlook." It was an area "that once housed drug dealers, transients and a multitude of garbage. 'Loved ones were recommended to avoid the area.' Not anymore .... Today, the area is a beacon of beauty enjoyed by 50,000 visitors per year ...."

plants amid sand dunes near the oceantall plants with small flowersGET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...experience coastal landscapes of forests and salt marshes, sand dunes and beaches when you walk your dog or ride your horse along the South Ma-le’l trails. (North Ma-le’l, which is also part of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, hosts trails that are open to hikers only).


a sea otter floats on its back on the water
Unlike other aquatic mammals, the sea otter:
(a.) Forages much of the time on land.
(b.) Does not have a layer of fat to keep it warm.
(c.) Plays on the ocean surface during stormy weather.
(d.) Is largely nocturnal in the wild.
(e.) Do not have a comic superhero origin story based on them (except for the ill-fated Harry P. Otter and the Hogfish School of Fishardry -- a series that was shut down for copyright violations before it even saw print).
See answer -- and wildlife stories -- near the end of this News.bytes.

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

a man under an open-sided pole building looks out over the desert"Land speculators see silver lining in solar projects" (Los Angeles Times, 2/18/12)
"Solar companies and land speculators are gobbling up scarce private land in the California deserts, driving prices up 10- to 20-fold, or even higher. Desolate acreage that a few years ago might have sold for less than $500 an acre can now fetch as much as $20,000 an acre, according to land brokers in the region. Farmers are also getting in on the action. Alfalfa and cotton fields are being converted to solar and wind farms as the industry's big players put together mega-deals."

"Desert military bases could be boon to solar" (NPR, 2/17/12)
"Military bases in the California desert could host seven gigawatts of solar power installations -- roughly equivalent to the output of seven nuclear plants -- according to a study commissioned by the Department of Defense. Study director Robert Kwartin discusses the report," including benefits to installing solar power on military bases versus private or BLM-managed land.


"Seven Marines killed in helicopter crash" (Yuma Sun, 2/23/12)
"Seven Marines were killed Wednesday evening ... when two helicopters collided midair during a nighttime training exercise in a remote portion of the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range." The commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said the accident happened at about 8 p.m. "on the west side of the Chocolate Mountains in California, very close to the Arizona border, on land controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."

RELATED: "Seven Marines from San Diego air wing killed" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/23/12)
"Six of the men killed in the Imperial County crash were from Camp Pendleton. Another was from the Marine air station at Yuma, Ariz."

"Leash or pets, sheep back on Fort Ord Public Lands" (Salinas Californian, 2/24/12)
"More than 600 ewes and their lambs are back at work" on the Fort Ord Public Lands. "The grazing program is part of a cooperative strategy to improve rangeland conditions in this ecologically unique area. During the next four months, the BLM "strongly encourages" visitors "to continue leashing their pets when near the sheep herds" and "to avoid riding bicycles at high rates of speed on roads and trails when sheep are present."

RELATED: "Fort Ord Public Lands Area of Critical Environmental Concern" (BLM Hollister Field Office)

"Judge dismisses ‘bunker slaying' lawsuit" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/22/12)
"A federal judge has dismissed a liability lawsuit brought against the government by the parents of a teen couple slain inside an abandoned High Desert military bunker .... The communications bunker was a Cold War relic from the early 1960s. It was closed in the mid-1980s, but inter-agency squabbles between the U.S. Air Force and Bureau of Land Management apparently delayed any action on either sealing off or destroying the facility." The lawsuit "claimed negligence, liability and public nuisance. It did not seek specific damages."

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


"Sec. Salazar Joins Mexican President Calderon, Sec. Clinton, Mexican Officials to Announce Agreement Providing Access to Nearly 1.5 Million Acres of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf” (DOI press release, 2/20/12)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined officials in Los Cabos, Mexico at the signing of an agreement on the exploration and development of oil and natural gas reservoirs along the United States' and Mexico's maritime boundary in the Gulf of Mexico. This Transboundary Agreement removes uncertainties regarding development of transboundary resources in the resource-rich Gulf of Mexico.

two men work on installation of a pipeline"It's not fracking's fault, study says" (MSNBC, 2/16/12)
A study "asserts that the problems caused by the gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' arise because drilling operations aren't doing it right" and "the process itself isn't to blame." The study by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin "is likely to add new fuel to a blazing controversy over fracking. Researchers reviewed the evidence contained in the reports of groundwater contamination from three prominent shale-rock formations where the process is employed: the Barnett Shale in North Texas, the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, New York and other areas of Appalachia; and the Haynesville Shale in western Louisiana and northeast Texas."

BLM Oregon:

"New forestry projects show promise in Southern Oregon, professors say"
(Portland Oregonian, 2/15/12)
"Initial results from experimental timber projects in southern Oregon indicate it's possible to retain old trees, protect watersheds and wildlife and still provide jobs, a pair of forestry professors said" in their "report summarizing their work so far on three pilot projects on Bureau of Land Management forests. The projects on the BLM's Medford, Roseburg and Coos Bay districts are intended to demonstrate the 'ecological and economic merits' of a restoration strategy designed by the professors, who are longtime associates."

RELATED: "Secretary Salazar proposes expansion of ecological forestry in Western Oregon to provide sustainable timber, healthier habitat" (Department of the Interior news, 2/21/12)
During a visit to one of three ecological forestry pilot projects in Oregon, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management will apply ecological forestry principles on a broader landscape to restore forest health and to provide sustainable timber harvests for local mills and the communities who rely on the timber industry for jobs and economic strength.

BLM New Mexico:
“Jesse Juen Sworn In as BLM New Mexico State Director”
(BLM New Mexico, 2/21/12)
As state director, Juen will oversee the management of more than 13.4 million acres of public lands and 26 million acres of federal oil, natural gas, and minerals where about 855 employees work in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Juen has served as associate state director in New Mexico since 2003.

BLM Arizona:
"New BLM Arizona State Director installed" (BLM Arizona, 2/15/12)
Ray Suazo, a 23-year career Federal employee and veteran was installed on Feb. 14. Suazo oversees nearly 500 employees and is responsible for managing more than 12 million acres of federal surface land and 17 million subsurface and split-estate acres. Suazo was designated as BLM's Arizona State Director in December 2011, after serving for several months as acting State Director. He replaces Jim Kenna, who was appointed BLM California State Director.

Department of the Interior:

“Redding Rancheria loses federal lawsuit; tribe sought casino application”
(Redding Record Searchlight, 2/23/12)
The Redding Rancheria lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior claimed that "the agency wrongly denied an application that would have allowed the tribe to operate a casino along Interstate 5 south of Redding .... the tribal council will meet next week to decide whether to appeal a federal judge's decision to dismiss the Rancheria's lawsuit. The tribe had sued the Department of the Interior, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, after the department determined it would not take the property in trust, a move that would have allowed the tribe to operate a casino on the freeway frontage."


Feb. 29 - Public meeting on Prosper Ridge restoration effort - Petrolia

desert-type flowersMarch 3 - Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival 2012
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center - Palm Desert
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)

See website for dates - Public tours - Piedras Blancas Light Station

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) Does not have a layer of fat to keep it warm.

SOURCE: "Sea Otter - Enhydra lutris" (BLM California wildlife database)

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

an otter floats on its back"Sea otters face a growing threat: shark attacks" (San Jose Mercury News, 2/17/12)
"California's sea otters have struggled for years with diseases, parasites and even the occasional collision with boats. But now the fuzzy coastal mascots are increasingly facing another threat: shark attacks. For reasons still a mystery to scientists, the number of sea otters killed by sharks has soared in recent years, with great whites as the leading suspects."

a bear in a tree"Bear trap tampered with in Incline Village" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 2/21/12)
"Emotions are running high in Incline Village after someone tampered with a trap set for a damage-causing black bear, and threats were purportedly made to residents living in homes near where the trap was set, Nevada Department of Wildlife officials report .... Game wardens set the trap in an Incline neighborhood on Saturday after residents reported a bear ripping a chunk of siding off a home and entering vehicles in search of food, Healy said. The baited trap was later tampered with when someone sprayed it with a cleaning fluid to keep bears away." A wildlife official said that "tampering with the traps is a crime and could put the public's safety at risk."

"In search of raptors on nature walk" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/22/12)
"Although it's been about a week since the wayward gyrfalcon, the world's largest falcon, has been spotted at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, more than 400 miles south of its normal range, there is a chance it is still in the area and might be seen on a volunteer-led walk there Feb. 25. Birders will keep an eye out for what they refer to as the “gyrf,” along with rough-legged hawks, Harlan's red-tailed hawks and dark, morph ferruginous hawks, which are some other raptor finds that might be spotted."

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News.bytes published by
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