A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 534 - 6/7/12   -  
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close-up of a large bird's face and tail feathers sticking up behind hima seal lays on a rocka smiling young woman with her horseview from a meadow to rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean shorea smiling man in a cap

- Photo caption contest
- Funny.bytes
- National Get Outdoors Day
- Vote for first Funny.bytes Hall of Fame entry
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Kenna's Corner: Public service
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- 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:

a seal lays on a rockPHOTO CAPTION CONTEST
Still looking for fans on BLM California's Facebook page! You'll need to think quick for this one - the winning caption by tomorrow will be featured on BLM California's Facebook page.

Funny bytes logo with a cartoon laughing mancartoon of person sitting at video gameFUNNY.BYTES
Your future is in your hands! Or is it on your feet? Watch this Funny.bytes and find out. Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Note: check the volume on your computer.

"National Get Outdoors Day"
After you watch Funny.bytes, get outdoors! National Get Outdoors Day is this Saturday, June 9. "National Get Outdoors Day is a new annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. Prime goals of the day are reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors."

The Ugly Burro? Attack of the Impact Monster? vote for your favorite Funny.byte!
We are running a vote on our Facebook page for the first inductee into the Funny.bytes Hall of Fame. Be sure to vote – and share it with your friends! Click the link below to get there. You have to "Like" our Facebook page to vote, of course.
impact monster cartoon imageant and grasshopper cartoonthe ugly burro - not ugly ducklingrocky the lighthouse cartoonthe curse of the stolen artifacts title slide for cartoon

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

students working in the desert"El Centro’s Youth Corps Wraps Up Season in America’s Great Outdoors" (News.bytes Extra)
Just as temperatures began to climb in the Imperial Valley, 24 student interns from the American Conservation Experience (ACE) finished up work restoring the desert of impacts caused by illegal off-highway activity. The students spent the last 5 months toiling in the East Mesa, Yuha Desert, and Eastern Imperial County, painstakingly erasing these impacts – using only hand tools.

a wide view of an ocean coveview from a meadow to rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean shore"Celebration marks public access to Cypress Abbey lands" (News.bytes Extra)
Once open to only a select few, the rolling coastal prairies and dramatic ocean views at the Cypress Abbey Ranch near Point Arena are now accessible to the public following acquisition for public ownership and management by the Bureau of Land Management. Last Friday, a crowd of nearly 200 celebrated completion of the first phase of the acquisition.

"Kids beach cleanup" (North Coast Journal calendar)
"Approximately 1,000 elementary students" were expected to take part in today's 19th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup in Humboldt County. "The Kids’ Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup is organized locally by Friends of the Dunes, a community-based non-profit organization, along with the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office."

small flowers bloom on desert plants in rocky arearock formations jut from the ground behind desert scrub...Hike, horseback, hunt, camp, or rock hound in the Turtle Mountains -- which encompass a diverse, scenic landscape with broad bajadas to highly eroded volcanic peaks, spires, and cliffs. The colorful Turtle Mountains are an ecological transition zone between the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts and home to a variety of species. Because the summer months can get quite hot, we advise carrying plenty of water.

RELATED: "Desert safety" (BLM California, El Centro Field Office)
In hot weather, carry at least two gallons of water per person per day. Always be sure that someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return. No one plans on getting lost, breaking down, or experiencing other mishaps. Being prepared will keep you safe and make for a memorable trip.

a man speaks from a podiumKENNA'S CORNER
BLM California's State Director Jim Kenna speaks on public service.
"There are so many people -- federal, state, local, tribal -- that make their lives' work public service. And to me, that is a very, very honorable thing to do." A short video selection.

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"BLM moves hearing on vehicle, aircraft use in wild horse and burro program to July 10" (BLM, 6/4/12)
The BLM has rescheduled a public hearing on the use of aircraft to gather wild horses and burros to provide more notice to members of the public who wish to participate. The hearing had been scheduled for June 5. It has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 10, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Sacramento. At the hearing, participants can provide written comments or make statements about the use of motorized vehicles in managing wild horses and burros by the BLM California.

"BLM offering wild horses and burros for adoption in Clovis" (BLM, 5/23/12)
This weekend: Wild horses from northwest Nevada ranges and wild burros from northeast California public lands will be available for adoption Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds in Clovis. "The mustangs are from High Rock Canyon area herds known for producing good sized horses with excellent color," said Doug Satica, manager of the BLM wild horse and burro corrals near Susanville. "The burros are from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area along the California-Nevada border near Susanville." Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive Friday, June 8, at 4 p.m.

"Good homes sought for mustangs, burro and mule" (BLM, 6/4/12)
This weekend: On Saturday June 9, the Sundance Ranch in Redlands will host a BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a preview on Friday, June 8 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Crescent City" (BLM, 6/5/12)
Wild horses and burros from Nevada and California public lands are headed for California’s north coast where they will be offered for public adoption Saturday, June 23, at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds in Crescent City. The BLM will offer a total of 18 animals including yearling fillies and geldings, mares and geldings up to four years old, and jack and jenny burros of all ages. Anyone interested can get a preview look at the animals when they arrive at the fairgrounds at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 22.

a smiling young woman with her horsea young lady rides her pony behind a woman on horseback"Extreme Mustang Makeover - Norco 2012" (News.bytes Extra)
Hundreds of spectators filled the George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in Norco last month, for the finals of the Extreme Mustang Makeover. On Saturday night, the top 10 rated contestants competed for the top spot and $11,500 in prize money. Having had just 90 days to train their mounts, the competitors were rated on how they and their horses handled a pattern in the arena, the horses’ body conditions, and a rural and an urban trail ride. The winner took an unprecedented first- and second-place with two horses.

RELATED: "Sunol horse trainer named 'rookie champion' at SoCal event" (San Jose Mercury News, 6/7/12)
"After training a wild mustang in just 90 days, Sunol resident Justin Mott won 'rookie champion' and captured high scores" in Norco's Extreme Mustang Makeover. "Out of 35 horses, Syringa, fresh from the Idaho wilderness, placed first in handling and condition, third in the rural trail ride and fifth in the urban trail course. Syringa showed that she could respond to commands and perform a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops at various gaits -- not bad, considering Syringa had lived the first four years of her life in a herd in the wild. She came to Mott through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."

horse riders carry Old Glory in a paradeRELATED: "BLM ranger inspires youth with burros and horses" (News.bytes Extra)
For the more than 15 years, BLM ranger Reid Hopkins has trained youth on how to handle and pack horses and mules. The program, which teaches equine and backcountry skills, is aimed at youngsters 11 to 17 who aren’t in trouble but are headed that way. The youngsters closed out the most recent training season by marching in the Mule Days parade last month.

"There's something funny about a mule" (Mammoth Times, 6/1/12)
"Mules are not outlandish, hide-slapping, hee-haw hilarious." They "provide the kind of mild amusement that curls one side of the mouth, an absorbing sort of sparkle that has demanded 43 annual repetitions of Mule Days, and expanded the celebration to an entire week of demonstrations .... Perhaps mules seem funny because of their big brown eyes fringed with flirtatiously long lashes. Hundreds of mules paraded down Main Street in Bishop" on a recent Saturday - among them, adoptees from the BLM."


a deer grazes near a sage grouse

sage grouse
To impress females during mating season, male sage grouse…
(a.) …pluck away dark feathers on their breasts, to reveal more visible light-colored feathers.
(b.) …stand very close in front of a female and both scream at each other until one "wins."
(c.) …gather huge piles of seeds and dead insects that are common in their diets; after mating, the male chases the female away and tries to use the same pile again.
(d.) …attempt to frighten away pronghorn who share the same grazing areas, by imitating the growls of a mountain lion.
(e.) …inflate air sacs at the front of their bodies that make them look larger and make noises.
(f.) …act like idiots, and alienate most of the females they try to impress.
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

"Sunrise Powerlink project nearing completion" (KGTV San Diego, 6/4/12)
"The final tower section has been placed" on the $2 billion, 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink that was built to bring renewable energy to San Diego, "despite years of protests and heated meetings." One group's federal lawsuit - against the BLM - was to be heard this week. San Diego Gas & Electric "says the project is necessary, now more than ever. Construction was kicked into high gear after reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station were taken offline in January."

"Altamont Pass celebrates 'repowering' of wind farm" (San Jose Mercury News, 5/31/12)
"The hilly Altamont Pass region in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties is home to one of the nation's oldest wind farms, first developed in the 1970s on land leased from cattle ranchers." A "repowering" project is "expected to drastically reduce the number of red-tailed hawks, golden eagles and other raptors killed by turbines each year." Almost 2,000 of the 4,000 wind turbines at the site will be replaced "with about 100 huge state-of-the-art turbines .... For every new turbine installed, 23 of the old ones will be removed."

"Eagles may be latest casualty of renewables policy" (KCET, 6/5/12)
"As concern grows over the toll industrial wind turbines take on California's largest birds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to extend the life of 'take' permits for bald and golden eagles to 30 years from the current five-year maximum .... Eagles are especially vulnerable to injury by wind turbines due to their habits. The birds hunt as they soar, training their legendarily acute eyes on the ground below. If a wind turbine blade approaches them from above, they will be unlikely to see it."

a hawk soars overhead"Sacramento scales back solar project at Sutter's Landing Park" (Sacramento Bee, 6/4/12)
Sacramento officials proposed two years ago to put solar panels on an old city landfill. But "environmentalists and wildlife advocates argued that the field – sitting atop a mound of buried trash that boasts majestic views of the downtown skyline – is a key feeding ground for the threatened Swainson's hawk .... As solar farms pop up on farmland and deserts throughout the state, officials often face stiff opposition from environmental groups trying to protect wildlife and delicate habitat .... At the same time, solar farms placed on unusable land, especially former farms no longer able to support crops, are lauded by those same groups."


Congressional testimony:
"Rhetoric vs. Reality, Part II: Assessing the Impact of New Federal Red Tape on Hydraulic Fracturing and American Energy Independence" - Statement of BLM Deputy Director Mike Pool before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform (5-31-2012).

"Fracking: full disclosure not required" (Ventura County Reporter, 6/7/12)
California has "no reporting requirements" for fracking, "a high-pressure drilling method that injects a pressurized mix of water, sand and various 'trade secret' chemicals into the earth to extract natural gas." Fracking "has been occurring since the 1940s without reporting requirements, which frustrated and bewildered many" at a DOC fracking workshop in Ventura, attended by nearly 200 people. “Many in the crowd … expressed concern about the effects from toxic chemicals possibly contaminating the ground water, as well as the possibility that the drilling method may encourage tremors. Many called for a moratorium on the controversial drilling method until environmental impact reports can be prepared."

"In land of gas drilling, battle for water that doesn't reek or fizz" (New York Times, 6/2/12)
Pavillion, Wyo. - "It has been more than four decades since the first well was drilled in the natural gas field beneath this stretch of slow rolling alfalfa and sugar beet farms. But for some who live here, in the shadows of the Wind River Mountains, the drilling rigs have brought more than jobs and industry. For the last few years, a small group of farmers and landowners scattered across this rural Wyoming basin have complained that their water wells have been contaminated with chemicals" from fracking.

"New value for land in rural Ohio" (New York Times, 6/4/12)
"Here in Noble County, where vehicle repair and convenience stores are economic mainstays, Eclipse Resources, a Pennsylvania company, mailed $16 million in oil- and gas-leasing checks last month to 70 households whose property has been found to sit atop oil and gas reserves." With the help of a lawyer, "the residents were able to band together to negotiate an unusually lucrative deal with the company."


"2 pilots die as firefighting plane crashes in Utah" (Associated Press at CBS News, 6/4/12)
A firefighting aircraft crashed into rugged terrain near the Utah-Nevada border as it dropped retardant on a 5,000-acre wildfire, killing the two Idaho men on board. The air tanker went down Sunday afternoon in the Hamblin Valley area of western Utah, Bureau of Land Management officials said .... The sheriff's office identified the pilots as Todd Neal Tompkins and Ronnie Edwin Chambless, both of Boise, Idaho. Tompkins and Chambless were flying a P-2V air tanker that is owned by Neptune Aviation Services of Missoula, Mont. .... There was no immediate word on what caused the crash.

a burned-out riding mower sits amid burned grassBLM California Facebook reminder:
Please remember to perform your wildfire hazard reduction early in the morning before the heat of the day.

RELATED: "Equipment use safety"(CalFire)
"Are you doing the right thing, the wrong way?" Making your yard more fire-safe can cause fires, if not done properly. Important tips on using lawn mowers, chain saws, weed cutters, or any gas or electric powered equipment. PDF file:

"Take responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
In California, the number of homes and businesses are growing in the Wildland Urban Interface – and fire is an increasing threat. Reduce your home's fire danger and prevent wildfires from spreading by taking responsibility today.

Robert Schneider serves as the representative for national/regional environmental organizations, on the BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council.


"Cemex deadlines expires" (Santa Clarita Signal, 6/1/12)
"A five-year written 'truce' between Santa Clarita and Cemex that staved off a major mine in Canyon Country expired Thursday, meaning the Mexican mining firm could move ahead with plans to haul millions of tons of sand and gravel out of Soledad Canyon .... Cemex officials, however, say they’re not jumping to sink shovels into the ground immediately .... Cemex won contracts to open the sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon some 20 years ago from the federal Bureau of Land Management."

"Fort Ord destruction of old shells rattles Peninsula" (Monterey County Herald, 6/1/12)
Detonations to rid Fort Ord of old unexploded shells are "fairly routine," but one explosion last week was "heard in Monterey, Seaside and other parts of the Peninsula" and "media outlets received emails and calls from people wondering about the blast." Army officials said "two simultaneous detonations were set off within the 6,500-acre Bureau of Land Management impact area" and within a fenced-in area. The latest blast included a "40 mm grenade, a 105 mm artillery shell and 90 mm antitank projectiles."

“Fort Ord priorities need reassessment” (Monterey County Herald, 6/7/12)
A guest commentary asks the Fort Ord Reuse Authority to consider the several recommendations. "Our county needs jobs and an active economy, but not from hastily conceived mega-projects such as Monterey Downs. About 100,000 visitors already come to Fort Ord annually and the number is expected to increase with the national monument designation."

RELATED: "Fort Ord National Monument" (BLM Hollister Field Office)

"City property provides home for hawks" (Elk Grove Citizen, 6/1/12)
The city of Elk Grove in 2005 purchased a 743-acre property south of the city to provide suitable foraging habitat" for Swainson’s hawks and "other raptors in south Sacramento County, such as the sandhill crane and shorebirds. 'You can use one species to protect a piece of property, but it benefits other species as well,' said Harry McQuillen, manager of the nearby Cosumnes River Preserve, which is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and manages the city’s [743-acre] property."

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

"Long Valley Hydrologic Advisory Committee plans meeting in Mammoth Lakes"(BLM, 6/7/12)
The June 19 meeting is to help inform the public of the purpose and goals of the committee. BLM geologist Collin Reinhardt will provide information at the meeting regarding the BLM’s role in surface and subsurface resource management of geothermal energy projects on public lands, along with Inyo National Forest geologist Margie DeRose who will discuss the U.S. Forest Service’s role. Panelists in a discussion will include representatives of Mono County, the U.S. Geological Service and the Mammoth Pacific geothermal power plants.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Listings include supervisory resource management specialist and a number of ongoing positions.


BLM California has a new events calendar on Facebook. If you are signed into your Facebook account, you can view it at:
OR find it on our BLM California Facebook homepage at:

June 13-14 - Northeast California Resource Advisory Council meeting - Cedarville

June 13 - Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area public meeting - Lone Pine

June 14 - Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area public meeting - Ridgecrest

June 23 - Tide Pool tour - Shelter Cove


a man stands outside a tiny shack"What changed when Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead and Pacific Railroad Acts? Everything."
(KCET, 5/30/12)
Commentary: An Abraham Lincoln campaign pledge, the Homestead Act offered 160 acres of public land to any citizen who made "minimal improvements" over five years. These two Acts used America's land base "for democratization and development." But their "convoluted prose" left lands open to swindlers. "Of the 500 million acres of public land that Department of the Interior's General Land Office gave away between 1862 and 1904, only about 80 million went to those for whom it was intended." Others with more money got land that "they stripped for its timber, grass, or minerals before moving on to their next spoil."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) …inflate air sacs at the front of their bodies that make them look larger and make noises.
(See more in the Flickr link below)

SOURCE: "Sage Grouse- Centrocercus urophasianus" (BLM California wildlife database)

More wildlife news from your public lands:

a sage grouse with a puffed-up chest"Sage grouse strut their stuff" (BLM California on YouTube, 5/30/12)
Recently posted to the BLM California channel on YouTube: Watch a video of sage grouse as they strut their stuff at a lek near the Bodie Hills. This video taken taken this spring at the Mount Biedeman Wilderness Study Area in the Bodie Hills. The videographer captured "strutting grouse making their amazing sounds (like coffee percolators)." BLM wildlife crew had counted 116 birds at this lek the day before.

RELATED: Sage grouse at a lek in the Bodie Hills (BLM California Flickr)
a puffed-up sage grousea sage grouse with inflated air sacsclose up of a sage grouse's heada deer grazes near a sage grouse
Photos of sage grouse from the same area as the video above.

close-up of an owl"Federal wildlife officials collect spotted owl comments" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/4/12)
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service "declared in 1992 that 6.7 million acres were needed as critical habitat" for the spotted owl's survival in California, Washington and Oregon. In 2008 the agency proposed reducing the area to 5.3 million acres." Lawsuits challenged that proposal, and a federal judge ordered the service to rewrite its plan. The agency is holding information sessions and must come up with a new habitat designation by Nov. 15. "The current habitat proposal includes about 9.7 million acres , some in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity and Siskiyou counties. Most of that area is on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land."

close-up of a bird, blue and brown with a rounded head"Western scrub jays are replanting the desert one acorn at a time" (KCET, 5/20/12)
"We really won't know what the long-term effects of wildfire are on a typical desert landscape for perhaps a century, perhaps longer." It has only been six years "since the Sawtooth Complex Fire, named for a striking small range of mountains near Pioneertown, immolated 61,700 acres in the hills above Yucca Valley. Fire is hard on the desert. Many desert plants, the Joshua tree among them, don't recover quickly from burns. But as more time elapses since one catastrophic wildfire in the California desert, the scorched landscape it left behind may just be doing something like recovering... with some important help."

"Public enlisted to track squirrels" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/6/12)
"State biologists are asking residents of the San Bernardino Mountains for help tracking Western gray squirrels that have been hit hard by a deadly skin disease. Reports on current and past sightings of the iconic mountain animal will help researchers with the California Department of Fish and Game gauge how the animals are coping with mange caused by a specific species of mites. Many mountain residents have reported that the once-plentiful squirrels have all but disappeared in the past two years. More recently, some healthy squirrels have been sighted."

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

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