A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 537 - 6/29/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Traditional 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 BLM California News.bytes is online at:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"In the back and beyond, a.k.a. Carrizo Plain National Monument" (Los Angeles Times, 6/24/12)
"There were things we wanted to see in the monument: Soda Lake, the huge alkaline wetland, Native American pictographs and the San Andreas Fault, sharply apparent on the northeastern side of the plain, about midway in its 800-mile cut across California from the Salton Sea to Cape Mendocino. Granted, these are esoteric points of interest compared with Yosemite and Big Sur, which is why the few people who visit Carrizo Plain generally come for nothing more than peace and quiet."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
"America's Great Outdoors in El Centro - It's HOT" (News.bytes Extra)
With temperatures hovering around 110°F in the Imperial Valley, summer visitors need to take extra precautions while recreating on public lands. Drink plenty of water, wear appropriate clothing, and apply sunscreen. Carry GPS or a map, and have a charged cell phone. Give thoughtful consideration to terrain, weather conditions and personal ability - or consider a visit to one of the area's higher-elevation spots.
"Sand in your shoes" (News.bytes Extra)
After learning about dune formation, threatened and rare species such as the Coachella Valley Fringe Toed Lizard and Milk Vetch, venomous animals and tracking animals, visitors were offered wet bandanas and water refills before venturing out to see animal tracks and to look for wildlife on the way to the dunes.
"Weed crew beats back invasive cheatgrass at Fort Ord" (News.bytes Extra)
Cheatgrass is an invasive pest that has taken over miles of rangeland across the West. When it was identified on a former firing range at Fort Ord National Monument, plants were already forming seeds. Federally protected plants and unexploded ordnance in the area limited the options for removal....
"ESYCC to work with the BLM for 5th summer" (News.bytes Extra)
The Eastern Sierra Youth Conservation Corps (ESYCC) along with the BLM Bishop Field Office, will conduct public lands projects for two weeks this summer. The ESYCC works to provide 16-18 local students with opportunities for success through job skills training, education and work experience, with an emphasis on conservation. This summer?s crew will perform habitat restoration project work on the BLM Bishop Field Office lands.
"Fort Bragg-Mendocino Gateway to the California Coastal National Monument" (FortBragg.com)
"Some might say we have rocks in our head in Fort Bragg. More like rocks on our mind ? that?s because thousands of them grace our beautiful coast. Fort Bragg is an official Gateway to the California Coastal National Monument."
"Lost Coast creeks topic of next King Range summer hike" (BLM news, 6/28/12)
A free, guided discovery hike to two Lost Coast creeks will be offered Saturday, July 7, starting at 10 a.m. at Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove. Hike leader AJ Donnell, a fish biologist with the U. S. Bureau of Land Management in Arcata, will lead the outing, explaining creek ecosystems, native fish, and answering questions.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Walk, bike or ride the Fandango Pass, a segment of the California National Historic Trail. Many pioneers documented the experiences, thoughts and feelings as they survived the fearsome Black Rock desert in late summer, came through rugged High Rock Canyon, viewed "the elephant" overlooking Surprise Valley and then made the spectacular steep climb up Fandango Pass. Because this region remains essentially as it was 150 years ago, the present-day explorer can relive the emigrant trail experience. www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/surprise/fandango.html
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Wildfire News" (Denver Post, 6/29/12)
Some headlines from the current wildfires in Colorado: "346 homes lost, 1 dead in Waldo Canyon fire; High Park Fire outside Fort Collins has destroyed 259 homes; All 8 Air Force firefighting planes activated; Couple missing in Waldo Canyon Fire."
"Hundreds of homes now ashes in Colo." (AP on CBS News, 6/29/12)
With video and many photos.
Colorado Springs Gazette:
Updates on the front page of the newspaper in an area hard-hit by wildfires.
"Colorado city looks to Obama for aid as fire turns deadly" (CNN, 6/29/12)
"66 Pocatello homes destroyed in wildfire, 1,000 evacuated" (KTVB Boise, ID, 6/29/12)
"Fire officials say 66 homes and 29 outbuildings in southwest Pocatello have burned and more are threatened in a fast-moving wildfire. More than 1,000 people have been evacuated from some Pocatello neighborhoods and the community of Mink Creek. The Charlotte fire started Thursday afternoon, spreading quickly through bone-dry grass and brush."
"Federal partners continue to support state and local partners as they fight wildfires"
(Department of the Interior, 6/25/12)
Federal partners are continuing to work closely with first responders and firefighters from local, state, and tribal agencies to combat and monitor large wildfires throughout the West including those in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
"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.
"From the chief?s corner: before a fire reaches your home" (East County Magazine, 6/21/12)
Tips from a San Diego County fire chief on how to protect your home and family if there is a wildfire.
"National Interagency Fire Center" (NIFC)
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, "is the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC, including the BLM.
"California incidents" (InciWeb)
Current and recent wildfires (and prescribed fires).
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Horses, burros available for adoption in Sacramento" (BLM, 6/27/12)
Saturday, July 14: Fourteen horses ranging in age from yearlings to 4 years old from the High Rock area?s Fox Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, Wall Canyon and Bitner herd management areas and five burros from the Twin Peaks herd management area will be offered for adoption. Horses can be previewed on Friday, July 13, from 2-5 p.m. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
"Horses, Burros Find Homes on California?s Far Northern Coast" (News.bytes Extra)
Residents of the Crescent City area on California?s far northern coast provided homes for seven mustangs and four wild burros, when the BLM brought its wild horse and burro adoption program to town on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24. The program was well received, with enthusiastic horse and burro lovers visiting the event to admire the ?Living Legends of the West.? The BLM offered 19 animals for adoption, six of them burros.
"Nominations Open for Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board" (BLM, 6/22/12)
The Bureau of Land Management is requesting public nominations to fill three positions ? which are set to expire on March, 8, 2013 ? on its national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Nominations are for a term of three years and are needed to represent the following categories of interest: humane advocacy, wildlife management, and livestock management.
"BLM solicits proposals for private land wild horse ecosanctuaries" (BLM, 6/29/11)
As part of an ongoing effort to improve its Wild Horse and Burro Program, the Bureau of Land Management announced today that it is soliciting proposals for private land ecosanctuaries for wild horses. The ecosanctuaries, to be publicly accessible with a potential for ecotourism, would help the BLM feed and care for excess wild horses that have been removed from Western public rangelands. Each proposed ecosanctuary must be able to support at least 100 wild horses. The official notice of solicitation can be found online.
"Wild horses and burros" (BLM California)
More information, and link to adoption event schedule.
"Wild mustang advocates seek to preserve Western icon" (Tampa Tribune, 6/26/12)
"Jennie Sloan and Stephanie Gentilini have always had a love for horses .... They recently formed the Sunshine State chapter of the American Mustang and Burro Association, a group that advocates adoption of the animals, particularly the horses .... Group members visit equestrian events to tout the advantages of buying one of the mustangs that once roamed the West .... Mustangs aren't for beginners, but they're also not as difficult as some people think."
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
western fence lizard
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Western fence lizards are also known as?
(a.) ...wood lizards.
(f.) ...western splinter-bellies.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - at the end of this News.bytes.
"Views vary on McCoy solar energy plant" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/28/12)
NextEra Energy's proposed McCoy solar energy project could mean jobs for 200 unemployed, could bring in a few million dollars to Riverside County, or "is yet another intrusion into pristine desert areas honeycombed with hidden tribal artifacts and old trails .... Such differing views of the project were discussed during a public meeting Wednesday night in Palm Desert, where the Bureau of Land Management reviewed its draft environmental impact statement on the project, answered questions and sought public input."
"Bid may bring more solar plants to region" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/23/12)
"A resurgence of large-scale solar thermal plants on public and private land east of the Coachella Valley could be under way, with BrightSource Energy's winning bid for Solar Trust of America's stalled Palen project in Thursday's bankruptcy auction."
"NextEra takes a shine to big solar project"(Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/27/12))
?NextEra Energy is the new owner of the stalled 1,000-megawatt Blythe solar project east of the Coachella Valley, once hailed as the largest solar project in the world. The Florida company made the winning $10 million bid for the project -- 8 miles west of Blythe -- as part of last week's Solar Trust of America bankruptcy auction.?
"CPUC approves SDG&E?s Eco-Substation In East County" (East County Magazine, 6/24/12)
The California Public Utilities Commission has approved San Diego Gas & Electric's East County Substation Project, "a development that involves two electric substations along SDG&E's Southwest Powerlink transmission line .... There are approximately 1,700 megawatts of proposed renewable energy projects proposed to interconnect at the ECO and Boulevard substations, including proposed wind, solar and geothermal energy from Imperial County. The initial build out of the ECO substation project will accommodate a total of approximately 1,100 MW of fully deliverable renewable resources."
"Fracking moratorium advances in California Legislature" (Los Angeles Times, 6/26/12)
?A key Senate panel on Tuesday supported legislation that would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing in California until regulators write rules governing the controversial procedure.?
"Bureau of Land Management extends public comment period for proposed hydraulic fracturing rule" (BLM, 6/27/12)
In order to facilitate greater input from the public and key stakeholders, including industry and public health groups, the BLM is extending the public comment period for a proposed rule to require companies to publicly disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and Indian lands. Currently, there is no specific requirement for operators to disclose these chemicals on federal and Indian lands, where approximately 90 percent of the wells drilled use hydraulic fracturing to greatly increase the volume of oil and gas available for production.
"Powder River Basin coal leasing prompts IG, GAO reviews" (Washington Post, 6/24/12)
"The government?s longtime practice of auctioning coal mining rights to a single bidder may have cost taxpayers as much as $28.9 billion over the past 30 years, according to an analysis to be released Monday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a Cambridge, Mass.-based think tank. The non-competitive nature of the federal leasing program is being reviewed by the Interior Department?s inspector general and also will be the subject of an audit by the Government Accountability Office, according to officials at the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the leasing program."
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"San Bernardino County supervisors/OHV enthusiasts fight to keep Johnson Valley open" (San Bernardino County Sun, 6/23/12)
The Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center "says it needs 146,000 acres of the 189,000-acre" Johnson Valley Off Highway recreation area, "for live-fire and maneuver training." San Bernardino County Supervisors Brad Mitzelfelt and Neil Derry, "both former Marines" suggest a special-use permit from the BLM, :to train on the land two months of the year .... Mitzelfelt and Derry still support base expansion to the east, where the impacts would be minimal to off-roading, filming and mining activity, all of which are essential to the area's economy."
RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Recreation Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)
"Tortoise Tales: Rocket Power" (Hesperia Star, 6/27/12)
"On the second Saturday of each month, The Rocketry Organization of California converts a section of the Lucerne Dry Lake ... into the Lucerne Test Range," with a permit from the BLM. The event is for "both beginning hobbyists with their first rocket kit and expert rocket enthusiasts whose high power rockets have separable sections, are able to reach heights over 8,000 feet requiring real-time launch clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration and nose cones that return to terra firma under guidance of a parachute. The public is welcome to attend these monthly events."
"Fort Ord plans to burn 327 acres in July" (Monterey County Herald, 6/26/12)
"The Army will burn a 327-acre area of the Fort Ord National Monument next month to clear vegetation and enable munitions cleanup .... The Army will announce when the burn appears imminent and again after it is ignited .... Public roads will not be closed during the burn, but some trails normally opened to the public will be off limits."
RELATED: "Fort Ord National Monument" (BLM Hollister Field Office)
"California budget would indefinitely extend ban on dredge mining" (Sacramento Bee, 6/29/12)
"A short bit of legislation attached to the budget means that a moratorium due to expire in 2016 will be extended indefinitely, unless the state's mining program can be made self-supporting and unless unavoidable environmental impacts are addressed." The Karuk Tribe, which sued to stop dredge mining on the Klamath River, and "fishing and environmental allies say the practice disturbs fish spawning habitat and may release mercury buried in river sediments .... Miners have challenged the mercury science, claiming they capture most of the mercury and leave rivers cleaner than before."
"Lawmakers tell wildlife agency to resolve feud over Bump and Grind trail" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/27/12)
"State lawmakers are giving the Department of Fish and Game one week to 'come up with a plan B' that solves the Bump and Grind controversy before they vote on a bill that forces the trail to be opened. The state Senate's Natural Resources and Water committee spent more than an hour debating Assembly Bill 880 on Tuesday, questioning the department's refusal to release data and expressing concern about using legislation to meddle with state department-level decisions."
RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
'Campground, river access point to be closed during enhancement project" (BLM news, 6/27/12)
The Steiner Flat Campground and the locally-known ?Chop Tree? river access point along the Trinity River will be closed this summer while construction is underway on a river enhancement project. Many other Trinity River camping and river access points will be available through the summer .
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
|NATIONAL AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"BLM seeks input on motorcycle event in Virginia City" (BLM Nevada, 6/25/12)
The Virginia City Motorcycle Club has submitted to the BLM a five year Special Recreation Permit application for the ?Virginia City Grand Prix? event. Comments will be accepted until July 26. For more than 30 years similar events have been held in Virginia City. In order to fulfill the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, a new EA to evaluate the potential effects of holding the event in the future will be prepared.
"Folk musicians perform at Trail Center" (BLM Oregon, 6/25/12)
Visitors to the National Historic Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City, Oregon, can hear the history of the West as preserved through folk music, with several presentations over the next two weeks. A digital photography workshop will also be offered, on June 30.
"Tule Springs preservation is centerpiece of sweeping lands bill" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/27/12)
"The fertile fossil beds and rare plants dotting swaths of federal land on the northern outskirts of the Las Vegas Valley would be granted long-sought protections under a bill introduced Wednesday by Nevada lawmakers in Congress. The set-aside of 22,650 acres into what would be known as the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is the centerpiece of a sweeping public lands bill that also would expand conservation areas of Red Rock Canyon."
"Why is there a helium shortage?” (Popular Mechanics, 6/25/12)
Congress "once mandated that the federal government keep a reserve of this crucial gas" but in 1996, directed the government to sell off its helium by 2015, letting private industry take up production. But "private industry hasn?t been as interested in producing helium as Congress hoped" - though a private plant is set to open later this year. Meanwhile, helium prices are set by the BLM at market prices, plus fees to help pay off the "remaining $1 billion debt the government incurred after it purchased its helium stockpile in 1960."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
SOURCE: "Western fence lizard - Sceloporus occidentalis" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere:
"The Sierra red fox's tell-tale-tail" (Mammoth Times, 6/15/12)
A tale of the discovery of one of "only 20 or so remaining individuals in one tiny band in one place in the world" - complete with a Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist "diving through a Forest Service dumpster after a long-discarded stinky bait sock that just might still hold DNA evidence of the fox?s unexpected visit."
"Sun City women bitten in rare coyote attacks" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/26/12)
"Two women have been bitten by coyotes in Sun City Palm Desert within the past week and a half, according to Riverside County Animal Services." One was "taking her daily walk about 4:30 a.m. Sunday when she felt something hit against the back of her leg .... She was treated and given a rabies shot." The other was "pulling weeds from her flower bed." Coyotes "tend to try and avoid contact with people," but "so-called urban coyotes" seek out easy food and water like pet food left out for dogs and cats.
"Calif. rice farmers helping migratory birds" (Associated Press at San Francisco Chronicle, 6/23/12)
"The hundreds of vast, flooded rice paddies that cover miles of interior northern California may seem like an unlikely safe haven for shorebirds, but changes occurring in the state's rice country may help improve the outlook for dozens of species in decline in recent decades. So far, more than 165 rice farmers have signed up for an incentive program that will build a system of islands and other habitat improvements in their paddies, and provide birds like the avocet a place to rest, feed and breed throughout the year."
"Mid-Valley rice fields and birds coexist" (Marysville Appeal-Democrat, 6/20/12)
"After more than a year of discussions about what would and would not work in the fields," Colusa rice grower Don Bransford was one of "a group of farmers who started a pilot project for improvements. Some, such as flattening levees and intentional winter flooding were possible and minimally impactful" while some were not workable.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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