A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 528 - 4/27/12
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Fort Ord National Monument
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- National items
This issue of News.bytes is online at:
|FORT ORD NATIONAL MONUMENT
"Obama declares Fort Ord a 'world-class destination' in national monument announcement" (Monterey County Herald, 4/20/12)
"The White House proclamation designating 14,600 acres of federal land at Fort Ord as the nation's newest national monument caught some by surprise -- by the swiftness of the action. 'With Earth Day coming, we thought maybe we would get it,' said county Supervisor Dave Potter on Friday, just three days after he and other local officials made their latest rounds in Washington, D.C., pushing for Fort Ord monument status." Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar who visited Fort Ord in January, and "recalled there were about 200 people at a public hearing and 'not a single person ... spoke out in opposition'."
"Fort Ord declared a national monument by Obama" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21/12)
More than 14,000 acres of expansive coastal lands that served as training grounds for generations of soldiers were declared a national monument Friday. Fort Ord, a former military base just north of Monterey, will be the country's newest national monument and the second that President Obama has created under the 1906 Antiquities Act.
The federal nod will help the public lands, which hold more than 80 crisscrossed miles of hiking and cycling trails, gain prominence as a travel destination and protect the lands as an environmental refuge. 'We're truly overjoyed,' said Michael Houlemard, executive officer of the Fort Ord Reuse Authority. 'Yesterday we were Fort Ord Public Lands. Today we're Fort Ord National Monument.'
"President designates Fort Ord as national monument" (United States Army, 4/24/12)
"An estimated 1.5 million troops had trained there since 1917 when it was a field artillery site for World War I Soldiers stationed at the nearby Presidio of Monterey. Horse cavalry trained on the site during the interwar period and in 1933 it was named Camp Ord in honor of Maj. Gen. Edward Ord, a leader in the Union Army during the Civil War and the Indian Wars. In 1941, Fort Ord became an Army basic training installation where many World War II Soldiers received their first taste of Army life."
"Presidential Proclamation -- Establishment of the Fort Ord National Monument" (The White House, 4/20/12)
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Jawbone Station Visitor Center Expansion to open April 28" (BLM news, 4/27/12)
This weekend: The BLM announces the grand opening Saturday, April 28, of the expanded Jawbone Station Visitor Center in Cantil, Calif. (20 miles north of Mojave) on California Highway 14. The center is popular for visitors traveling to the Jawbone Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area and the Eastern Sierra alike.
"Lassen County kids celebrate spring at annual fishing derby" (News.bytes Extra)
The thrill of hooking and landing trout and the chance to compete for prizes drew throngs of children and their families to the BLM's Hobo Camp Day Use Area near Susanville on Saturday, April 21, for the community's annual Junior Fishing Derby. Organizers said more than 500 children ranging in age from 2 to 15 were treated to early season fishing (northeast California's stream fishing season opens April 28) on the Susan River and Paiute Creek in Susanville.
"Bishop's Earth Day celebration"(News.bytes Extra)
The BLMs Bishop Field Office participated in Bishop's Sunrise Rotary Club "Earth Day: A Day at the Park," on Saturday, April 21. The all-day event included activities, music, vendors and informational booths. Residents of Eastern Sierra communities and visitors to the area stopped by the BLM's booth to learn more about the Bureau of Land Management, the natural and cultural resources it manages, and the recreation opportunities available on public lands. Kids colored "sage grouse hats" and learned more about local wildlife and wildlife habitat by participating in puppet activities.
"Redding Geocachers Continue Earth Day Partnership with BLM" (News.bytes Extra)
The Redding Geocachers Club continued an annual partnership with the BLM Redding Field Office on Saturday, April 21, cleaning up tons of trash from a litter-strewn parcel of public land in observance of Earth Day. The club members held their annual "Cache In, Trash Out" (CITO) event with more than 15 participants working on a parcel along Bear Creek east of Redding. The BLM provided tools and equipment while the club members provided muscle and determination.
"Interagency partnership works to restore public lands near Twentynine Palms" (News.bytes Extra)
Representatives of several agencies and groups recently teamed up to restore public lands near Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree. The effort on Saturday, April 14, involved the United States Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command at 29 Palms, the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association, along with the Bureau of Land Management.
"Birding and ecology walk will kick off King Range Summer Hike Series" (BLM, 4/26/12)
Songbirds and ecology will be featured topics in a free guided outing in the King Range National Conservation Area on Saturday, May 12. Participants will learn how to identify songbirds that migrate each year from Latin America to the King Range, and their connectivity within the ecosystem. Hikers should bring binoculars, bird identification guides, water and lunch.
"Group studying new pedestrian path" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 4/24/12)
"A proposed walking path would connect the new Barstow Community Hospital building to the Desert Discovery Center, creating a pathway that some community members say would be a boon to the neighborhood. Both facilities are in the midst of significant expansions." The Desert Discovery Center "will eventually add new exhibits, trails and an ampitheater to the museum." Said a hospital spokesperson, "The general idea behind the whole thing is to get the community more active and promoting an active lifestyle."
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
(a.) …migrate 10,000 miles round trip, the longest of any mammal.
(b.) …were once called "devil fish" for protecting themselves and their calves.
(c.) …eat by sucking mud from the sea floor.
(d.) …are curious about boats, making them popular for whale watching.
(e.) …obtained their hue before color was invented.
Answer - and more wildlife stories - at the end of this News.bytes.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Wild Horses and Burros Up for Adoption in Santa Rosa" (BLM, 4/26/12)
Wild horses from northwest Nevada ranges and wild burros from northeast California public lands will be available for adoption Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The BLM will offer 30 mustangs ranging in age from 1 to 4, and 10 burros, in the event that runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive Friday, May 18, at 2 p.m. Basic information about training mustangs and burros will be featured in free training demonstrations both days of the adoption event.
"Vacaville woman trains wild mustangs" (Vacaville Reporter, 4/22/12)
Along with other competitors, science teacher Alyssa Radtke has 90 days to train Dixie for the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition May 18. In training on land near Travis Air Force Base, the horse "wasn't frightened by jets flying low or a dog running in between her legs." That bodes well for the competition in Norco which includes an "urban trail course" as well as a rural course. "I don't know what possessed me to want to train a wild horse," Radtke said -- though she is also training another mustang, Trixie.
"San Jose adoption" (News.bytes Extra)
Eight horses and three burros, including a palomino trained by a young equestrian, were adopted at the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro adoption April 21 and 22 in San Jose. In addition to the wild horses and burros, the adoption included four horses that were halter gentled by girls teams from Taylor Made Farms, Sonrisa Stables, in San Martin.
"BLM seeking comments on proposed wild horse gathers" (BLM, 4/23/12)
The BLM is accepting public comments on issues that should be addressed in an environmental assessment for a proposed roundup of excess wild horses in northeast California and northwest Nevada. The BLM Surprise Field Office in Cedarville, Calif. is considering roundups for the Buckhorn and Coppersmith Herd Management Areas in November 2012 and for the Carter Reservoir HMA in July 2013.
"BLM agrees to study Pickens' wild horse plan in NV" (Associated Press at San Jose Mercury News, 4/19/12)
The BLM "will conduct a formal environmental assessment" of a proposal by Madeleine Pickens and her non-profit group, Saving America's Mustangs" to "establish an eco-sanctuary for nearly 1,000 wild horses across more than 900 square miles of Nevada .... as a way to minimize the need to round up excess animals on the public range, BLM Director Bob Abbey said." The eco-sanctuary "would stretch across more than 580,000 acres of mostly public and some private property Pickens recently bought."
"Drought may force emergency BLM mustang roundups in Nevada" (Associated Press in Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/24/12)
"Extended drought in some parts of Nevada and the West might force a delay" in the BLM's "plans to ease up on wild horse roundups as more emphasis is placed on fertility control to keep herd populations in check .... the agency might have to resort to emergency roundups it has used in the past to rescue parts of herds already hurting for water in the Jackson Mountains and at least two other places in Nevada, which is home to about half the wild horses nationally."
"Reward grows to $8,000 for information on wild burro shooting" (BLM
As federal law enforcement rangers continue an investigation on the March shooting of wild burros within public lands in the Lake Pleasant area, local citizens continue to support the effort by increasing reward amounts for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s). A Phoenix based C.E.O. added $1000 to the reward this week, bringing the total offer for information up to $8000.
"BLM releases environmental study for solar project near El Centro" (BLM, 4/20/12)
The Bureau of Land Management released a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed San Diego Gas and Electric Ocotillo Sol solar energy project in Imperial County, Calif. for public review. SDG&E has applied to the BLM for a right-of-way on public lands to construct a solar photovoltaic power plant facility on about 115 acres nine miles southwest of El Centro and 82 miles east of San Diego. If approved by the BLM, the project would be a peak 20-megawatt photovoltaic project with construction planned to begin in late winter 2013.
"Discovery of Indian artifacts complicates Genesis solar project" (Los Angeles Times, 4/24/12)
"After human remains were unearthed near the $1-billion Genesis project 200 miles east of L.A., the Colorado River Indian Tribes are demanding that the Obama administration slow down on solar plants in the Mojave Desert. The Feb. 27 letter from the chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes was pleading and tough."
"Imperial County Board of Supervisors votes 4-1 to approve Pattern Energy windfarm" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/26/12)
"After a two-day appeal hearing, a 112-wind-turbine project set to be build west of Ocotillo was approved ... by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors .... The Ocotillo Express LLC Wind Energy Project had already been approved by the county Planning Commission last month, but appealed by five groups including the applicant, Pattern Energy. In their appeal, most groups alleged that biological and cultural impacts weren't adequately addressed by the environmental impact report."
"Broken Promises: Ocotillo Wind Project Wins Approval Despite Outcry From Tribes, Residents And Environmentalists" (East County Magazine, 4/26/12)
"Despite the pleas of Native Americans, area residents and environmentalists seeking to stop the Ocotillo Express wind project, Imperial Valley Supervisors approved it by a 4-1 vote late yesterday after a two-day hearing."
"Renewable energy: Group looks for locations that avoid harm" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/24/12)
Conflicts with wildlife and Native American artifacts "have slowed progress, added to the costs of renewable energy development and triggered opposition from environmental groups and tribes concerned about wildlife, landscapes, sacred sites and other natural resources. Avoiding such conflicts is a major goal of an interagency group working to develop energy sites throughout Southern California ..... The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan would allow for development by 2040 of more than 20,000 megawatts of clean, alternative energy -- enough for more than 8 million homes -- in ways that minimize conflicts."
"Riverside East solar zone's bright future dims slightly" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/22/12)
K. Kaufmann: When Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar first designated a broad swathe of public land in eastern Riverside County as a solar zone targeted for fast-track development in 2009, a rush of potential projects jumped into the queue .... Today, that solar gold rush has slowed to a more cautious and, some critics might say, more realistic pace. Of the original four fast-track projects in the Riverside East solar zone, only two are actually under construction -- NextEra Energy's 250-megawatt Genesis project and the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight plant, also owned by NextEra in partnership with GE."
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Federal officials brace for fire season" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/26/12)
"Faced with a shortage of federal air tankers, top Obama administration officials said Thursday that agency cooperation and judicious use of firefighting weapons will be vital in countering a wildfire season with the potential to be particularly severe in Inland Southern California's mountains and foothills."
"Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar announce readiness for wildfire season" (Deparment of the Interior, 4/26/12)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today outlined the federal government's readiness for the wildland fire season to ensure protection for communities and restoration of forests and public lands across the country. The Secretaries described federal capability to respond to wildfires that are becoming more complex, particularly in areas where urban populations are situated near forested and rangeland areas.
"BLM seeking public comments on proposed Trinity County burning projects" (BLM, 4/26/12)
The BLM is planning several prescribed burning projects in Trinity County, and is accepting public comments on environmental analysis documents. The projects are designed to improve fire safety around public recreation sites and to improve landscape health.
"Public meeting set on prescribed fire options in nature preserve near Magalia"(BLM, 4/23/12)
The BLM will accept public comments on issues that should be considered in a proposal to use prescribed fire to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk in the BLM Nature Preserve near Magalia in Butte County. Anyone interested can hear a presentation and provide comments in a community meeting set for Saturday, April 21 in Magalia.
"Early Fire Season Hits Northern Nevada" (KTVN Las Vegas, 4/23/12)
Spring storms have caused "havoc" for firefighters in northern Nevada. "Flashes of lightning striking dry brush this week have led to lots of wildfires. Fire crews tackled more than two dozen brush fires Sunday and Monday... and they're expecting a busy season ahead." Said one fire chief, "'We never got out of fire season."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Plan would balance fun, environmental protection near Taft" (Bakersfield Californian, 4/20/12)
"Motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles have been roaring along the fire roads and dirt trails in the Temblor Range west of Taft for decades .... Federal land managers want them to have their fun but also need to protect sensitive areas threatened by it. So they and riders have launched a process that seeks to both limit off-highway use and protect the right to ride."
"Desert Advisory Council Field Trip" (News.bytes Extra)
As part of its April 2012 meeting, BLM California's Desert Advisory Council took a field trip wound through Mesquite Canyon to the crest of the El Paso Mountains southwest of Ridgecrest. Outdoor Recreation Planner Craig Beck briefs members of the public and the council on the complexities of route designation in the West Mojave.
"Owners asked to leash their dogs at the former Fort Ord" (Salinas Californian, 4/20/12)
"Trouble is that most dogs, once leash-free, will take down a fleeing sheep and wound it or kill it .... Last year, the approximately 2,400 sheep on Fort Ord suffered 14 kills by coyotes and four kills by off-leash dogs. Some 3.5 months into 2012, there have been two kills by coyotes and two kills by dogs. 'We're disappointed that we've had two dog kills, because this is just the start of the season,' said Bruce Delgado, BLM botanist."
"CVAG wades into Bump and Grind trail debate" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/26/12)
The Coachella Valley Association of Governments committee will consider "whether to officially support a state law that will overturn the Department of Fish and Game's efforts" to keep the Mirage Trail closed. "Locals have long called the popular trail the Bump and Grind because of its challenging switchbacks that provide a quick, rigorous workout, with the reward of panoramic valley views at the top." The California Department of Fish and Game closed the top portion of the trail last June, "citing concerns about the hikers' impact on the population of endangered bighorn sheep in the surrounding mountains."
"BLM seeking comments on proposed management of newly acquired lands" (BLM, 4/25/12)
Public comments on proposed management approaches for recently acquired public lands in far northwest Nevada are now being accepted by the Bureau of Land Management Surprise Field Office in Cedarville, Calif. An environmental assessment discussing proposed management alternatives and environmental consequences for the Home Camp area is now available for review and comment.
"Construction will delay traffic on Jackass Creek Road" (BLM, 4/23/12)
Traffic on the BLM's Jackass Creek Road in the Groveland/Coulterville area will be subject to short-term delays beginning in early May and continuing through the end of July.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Burning Man appeals probation over crowd size" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/24/12)
"Already reeling from a ticket snafu, organizers of the Burning Man counterculture festival on the Nevada desert now have another fight on their hands. They're challenging the federal government's decision to place them on probation -- and threats to pull their license -- for exceeding the crowd cap last year at the largest outdoor arts festival in North America."
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News.bytes published by
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