A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 538 - 7/5/12   -  
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a human face peers at a spider in a weba young boy looks into the trees with binocularsa helicopter flies over burning hillsidesa horse splashes in watera lizard blends in with gray rocks

- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- America's Great Outdoors
- 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
- Wildlife stories
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:


a horse splashes in watera rider guides her horse through a box filled with crushed plastic bottles"Volunteers and their horses get together for playday" (News.byes Extra)
Some BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program volunteers in California’s north central valley got together for a playday at the Running I Ranch in Dunnigan last weekend.
The Ranch offers trail obstacles and opportunities silhouettes of wild horse and of a burrofor desensitizing horses to various situations. For the volunteers, it was a day of fun, training, and camaraderie with their horses and other adopters. For the horses, it was a day of socialization and learning.

a girl rides a horse in a corral"Teen tames wild mustangs, then reluctantly sells them" (Napa Valley Register, 7/3/12)
"Willow Newcomb’s only mistake at the Extreme Mustang Makeover may have been to not predict her own success. After showing off the skills she had taught a pair of once-wild horses over 90 days, the Coombsville teenager was shocked to hear the name of one, Bella Rose, among the Mustang Makeover’s top 10 finishers on Saturday. Having made the trip to Albany, Ore. to learn rather than win, Newcomb and the mustang she affectionately calls Rosy suddenly found themselves in a freestyle competition for which they had barely practiced...."

a woman in uniform pats a horse's head"Wild mustangs give patrol horsepower on the Border" (KUHF, 6/29/12)
"The Border Patrol recently began training wild mustangs to help out along the border in southern Arizona. Horse patrols are nothing new; they allow agents to get into remote areas no vehicle can reach. But it turns out the mustangs are exceptionally well-suited for the harsh landscape."

"ADOT to fence SR95 to contain wild burros" (Lake Havasu, AZ, News-Herald, 7/4/12)
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Federal Highway Administration and Bureau of Land Management have teamed to install right-of-way game fencing on both sides of a stretch of State Route 95 near Lake Havasu City. "Five wild burros were killed from Aug. 17 to Sept. 8 in 2011 after being struck by vehicles north of Havasu and in the Crystal Beach area."


"Predicted rain could douse some wildfires in West"(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/4/12)
"Firefighters battling enormous wildfires up and down the Rocky Mountain region were hopeful that predicted severe thunderstorms might drop buckets of rain and help their hard work of scraping lines of defense across rugged landscapes." But storms without much rain "could make their work tougher, not easier," by bringing high winds and lightning strikes.

"Long, hot summer: Wildfires thrive on drought, heat and wind" (L.A. Times, 7/2/12)
"After several years of relatively benign fire seasons, the West is headed into a hot, dry summer of potentially ferocious blazes like the ones that have scorched Colorado in recent weeks. The wildfires that have already destroyed more than 700 homes and outbuildings along Colorado's Front Range and blackened hundreds of thousands of acres of New Mexico wilderness are not likely to be the season's last for one simple reason: drought."

one house stands amid many burned onesa burned neighborhood"U.S. wildfires 2012: Photos from some of the nation's fires" (Associated Press at Los Angeles Times)

"Forest Service ecologist expects California 'super fires'" (Sacramento Bee, 7/1/12)
"Intense and deeply destructive 'super fires,' like Colorado's current Waldo Canyon fire, which has claimed two lives and burned 350 homes, are almost assured in Northern California's future, according to a U.S. Forest Service scientist .... He said the warmer temperatures and drier winters seen recently in the region are creating ideal conditions for intense and hard-to-control fires like the Colorado fire."

firefighters trudge through a blackened area of former treesa firefighter walks across a burned areaRELATED:"Western wildfires" (Associated Press at Sacramento Bee)
Photos from wildfires in several states.

"About 70 local firefighters battling Colorado blazes" (Eureka Times-Standard, 6/30/12)
About 70 firefighters "from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management office in Arcata, Hoopa Fire Department, Blue Lake Fire Department, California Conservation Corps' Fortuna Center and more" were dispatched to western fires. About half were sent to Colorado, with others in Utah, Montana and Wyoming.

a helicopter flies over burning hills"Swift firefighting action limits Gulch Fire to 385 acres, loss of one structure" (Kern Valley Sun, 6/27/12)
"What began as a small, two-acre grass fire, erupted into a life-threatening inferno in a matter of hours."

"Fire breaks out near Wind Wolves Preserve" (Mountain Enterprise, 6/29/12)
"The Kern County Fire Dept. was assisted by the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation. The Kern County Fire Dept. would like to take this opportunity to remind residents of Kern County to clear defensible space around their homes to reduce the risk of fire."

a large propeller-driven plane on a runway"Firefighting plane crashes in South Dakota; other C-130s grounded" (Los Angeles Times, 7/2/12)
"The plane, a C-130 from the North Carolina Air National Guard in Charlotte, N.C., crashed Sunday while battling the White Draw fire near the town of Edgemont .... As a precaution, officials have grounded the seven other C-130s used in firefighting, pending an investigation of the crash. The plane carries a crew of six; officials did not identify any of the casualties."

"Guns blamed for starting wildfires in parched West" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/3/12)
"This year, officials believe target shooting or other firearms use sparked at least 21 wildfires in Utah and nearly a dozen in Idaho. Shooting is also believed to have caused fires in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico."

"From the Chief's corner: structure triage during wildfires" (East County Magazine, 6/28/12)
A wildfire in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) "is a rapid-fire incident .... Firefighters must "make quick but well-thought-out decisions that reflect life safety issues for both responders and citizens first, followed by property conservation .... by showing how we can determine the safest way to protect your property as first responders, you’ll learn how to help us - help you! .... Remember: Structural triage is much like medical triage when it comes to deciding where to dedicate our efforts."

a home still stands in a cleared area in the midst of burned areas"Some think tree removal saved homes from Corral fire" (Billings, MT Gazette, 6/29/12)
"A few years ago, dead ponderosa pines covered the mountainsides of Scratchgravel Hills because of the mountain pine beetle epidemic that raced through the area." Some residents worried that increased wildfire fuel and "turned to various entities to remove the towering trees from their property. That action just might have helped keep their land from significant damage from the Corral fire, which has burned 1,850 acres...."

"21,000 pounds of illegal fireworks seized in local enforcement efforts"
"They have names such as Motherlode, Bump & Grind and Mini Bomber. Some even bear the name 'Safe and Sane.' But firefighters say there's nothing safe about the nearly 21,000 pounds of fireworks they've seized in the last month from people smuggling them in from Nevada."

"13,000 pounds of illegal fireworks confiscated in California" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 7/3/12)
"More than 13,000 pounds of illegal fireworks were confiscated recently during a cooperative effort between the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and several law enforcement agencies," including the BLM and several fire departments.

"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.

"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"
Current and recent wildfires (and prescribed fires).

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

a woman shows a camp game to a girl"Great American Backyard Campout comes to El Mirage" (News.bytes Extra)
For the second year, the BLM and Friends of El Mirage hosted the Great American Backyard Campout under the brilliant, starry skies of the El Mirage Dry Lake Off-Highway Vehicle Area. Led by Park Ranger Dani Haskell, 35 kids were caught up in the contagious enthusiasm of Dani and her crew of BLM employees and volunteers. As the kids stepped out of their vans, their eyes became wide with wonder -- and a touch of fear -- at the wide expanse of desert that lay before them....

a young boy looks into the trees with binocularsa boy raises his hand as a teacher shows an animal skull"'City Kids' explore the forest with BLM Youth Staff" (News.bytes Extra)
Young adults in the BLM Youth Initiative Incentive Program pitched in to support California State Parks for summer environmental education. Campers ages 8-13 from the San Bernardino Unified School District CAPS (Creative Afterschool Program for Success) program enjoyed several days in the forest and a variety of outdoor learning activities.

RELATED: "El Mirage Dry Lake Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area" (BLM Barstow Field Office)

"BLM Campgrounds in Eastern Sierras Reopen" (BLM, 6/29/12)
Some campgrounds in the Eastern Sierras managed by the BLM’s Bishop Field Office are open to the public with major upgrades completed. Tuttle Creek Campground and Horton Creek Campground are open now with upgrades. Crowley Lake Campground will close July 8 for installation of a potable water system, and Goodale Creek Campground should open by early August with upgrades.


a lizard blends in with gray rocks
banded rock lizard
Banded rock lizards have few predators, mainly because:
(a.) Few animals can see them.
(b.) Few animals tolerate the same terrain.
(c.) Few animals can stand the strong odor they emit for protection.
(d.) They are hard as a rock, and about as tasty.
(e.) They are 40 feet tall and have extremely foul halitosis.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - at the end of this News.bytes.

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

"BLM releases draft environmental review for proposed Alta East Wind Project in Kern County" (BLM, 6/29/12)
Alta Windpower Development, LLC, has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct the Alta East Wind Project in southeastern Kern County, about three miles northwest of the Town of Mojave. The project would include wind turbines, access roads, and energy collection lines on a 2,592-acre site, of which 568 acres are private land that is under the jurisdiction of Kern County. The BLM has released a draft environmental review for the project. Since originally proposed, the total acreage was reduced from 3,200 to 2,592 acres.

"Hundreds turn out to oppose Quail Brush Power Plant; SD planners postpone action until July 19"
(East County Magazine, 6/28/12)
San Diego Gas and Electric proposed a 100 megawatt 'peaker' natural-gas fire power plant "on 10 acres of privately-owned land in the City of San Diego that abuts Mission Trails Regional Park" to "provide support to the existing transmission grid and maintain overall reliability of the system to deliver electricity to customers without interruption of service. With new wind power and desert solar facilities slated to come online in the near future, the plant has also been touted as a backup power source for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine."

"Salazar blames Congress for layoffs" (The Hill, 7/2/12)
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday blamed Congress for layoffs in the wind energy sector. Salazar lashed out at lawmakers for not extending a tax credit to producers of wind energy. The credit is set to expire at the end of the year, but Salazar said companies are already laying off workers for fear that the incentive won’t exist. Salazar said inaction by Congress 'has already led to layoffs' and that more layoffs will come if Congress fails to act soon."


"California growers join greens to query frack safety" (Reuters in Chicago Tribune, 6/29/12)
"Hydraulic fracturing has brought together greens and growers in California through a shared concern about the impact of the practice on water in a state where it is often in short supply. The strawberry industry lined up alongside environmentalists to voice their fears over fracking at a public hearing in Salinas at the Steinbeck Institute .... California officials are on a tour to gather feedback from communities that may be affected by it, with plans to issue draft rules on fracking within three to four months."

“Culver City Council calls on state to ban fracking temporarily” (LA Times blog, 7/3/12)
The Culver City Council approved a resolution Monday night urging Gov. Jerry Brown and state regulators to impose a ban on hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, until regulations have been adopted.

a work jumpsuit hangs in front of dirt around ponds"Keystone XL pipeline expansion driven by oil-rich tar sands in Alberta" (Washington Post, 6/30/12)
"Canada’s economically recoverable oil sands are estimated to be about 170 billion barrels, reserves second in size only to Saudi Arabia .... The oil industry and many national security experts think that importing more oil from Canada, a stable neighbor and ally, will make the United States more secure, and they worry that, without the Keystone XL, Canada will send that oil to China. But the process of extracting oil from the sands, also called tar sands, has alarmed people worried about climate change" as well as wildlife and water supplies.

"Payment of annual oil and gas lease fees" (BLM, 7/3/12)
The BLM reminds oil and gas lessees that annual lease fees for non-producing oil and gas leases are due on or before the lease anniversary date. Oil and gas leases without a producible well automatically terminate if the lessee fails to make full and timely payment of the annual rental fees to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.


"5 places you can find Smokey Bear" (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/29/12)
"No, his middle name is not 'the' - and the Forest Service gets twitchy if you imply it is." (Though many children have sung "the misnamed 'Smokey the Bear' song.") "Smokey Bear (the real bruin) was a 5-pound cub with singed paws rescued from a forest fire in 1950."

"What the Cadiz water plan is and why it needs to be stopped" (KCET, 6/28/12)
Commentary: "Even if Cadiz's theoretical hydrology turns out to be true with regard to how much evaporated water they'd be salvaging .... the Cadiz and Fenner Valleys will take 30 years to recover after the 50-year life of the project comes to an end .... And if Cadiz's figures aren't right, their project could cause irreversible damage to the desert, drying up those seeps and springs, sucking saline water into the aquifer, and causing the land to subside the way it has where aquifers were overdrafted in the San Joaquin Valley."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current listings include rangeland management specialist, realty specialist and many ongoing listings.


"L.A. may oppose mine expansion near Bryce"
(Salt Lake Tribune, 6/29/12)
"Los Angeles wants to quit coal, and some officials there want no part of an expanded Utah mine near Bryce Canyon National Park. The City Council in August will debate a resolution asking the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to deny Alton Coal Development permission to expand its Coal Hollow Mine onto public lands some 10 miles southwest of the park."

"Legislation would extend the life of grazing permits"
(Magic Valley, Idaho Times-News, 7/1/12)
"Federal agencies like the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service oversee close to 25,000 grazing permits across the country," and "are working through a backlog of permits to renew amid a rise in lawsuits and a decline in funding." Two proposed bills in Congress "would extend permits from 10 to 20 years" and "require grazing permits to be initially renewed under existing terms and conditions until federal officials complete the full renewal process."

"Healing rangeland leaves grazing scars" (Capital Ag Press, 6/28/12)
In southeastern Oregon, "a 20-year-old agreement reached by seven ranchers, state and federal agencies and environmental groups has restored fish, wildlife and habitat while preserving grazing rights for cattle. Ranchers, who say they are grateful they're even still here, add that they've kept up their end of the bargain by drastically reducing grazing to allow the land to recuperate. Now they wonder whether they'll be able to regain at least some rights to more grazing in return." They cite benefits of grazing.

"Access to public lands one of many freedoms enjoyed in our country"(Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/5/12)
Columnist: "In addition to the basic freedoms we enjoy, one of the other great things about living in the United States is the access we have to millions of acres of public lands where we can enjoy the outdoor pursuits that add significantly to our quality of life. While most Americans have access to state parks and state forests, those resources are small when compared to that which is available through such federal agencies as the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service."


BLM California has a new events calendar on Facebook. You can view it by signing in to your Facebook account.

July 7 - Enchanting Creeks of the Lost Coast

July 7 - Hike - Free guided hike in the higher elevations of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

July 10 - Dune Discovery - "Bring the family to this action-packed evening playing in sand dunes" - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

July 11 - "What's up There - Animals of the Forest" - - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) Few animals tolerate the same terrain.

SOURCE: "Banded rock lizard - Petrosaurus mearnsi" (BLM California wildlife database)

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

a large fat bird spreads tail feathers"Small bird, big stakes: With sage grouse being considered for protected status, some wonder what economic fallout could be for Nevada" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 7/1/12)
"With a deadline nearing for the federal government to decide whether the sage grouse should be listed under the Endangered Species Act, officials from state and federal agencies, ranchers and energy developers are mobilizing in an effort to keep that from happening .... At risk could be Nevada’s ranching, mining and agricultural industries as well as long-touted goals to attract renewable energy development -- and the jobs that come with it -- to the Silver State. Some say the stakes couldn’t be higher."

"Video of harming green sturgeon may cause changes" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/1/12)
"Videos on YouTube that show a group of outlaw fishermen harming a protected green sturgeon they caught will probably lead to a $7.50 fishing fee and a new set of regulations."

"Mountain lion attacks man near Nevada City"(Sacramento Bee, 7/2/12)
A 63-year-old man was attacked by a mountain lion near Nevada City "while sleeping alongside a tributary of the Yuba River .... Around 1 a.m., he was attacked in a sleeping bag by a mountain lion for what he described as 90 seconds to 2 minutes." The man drove himself to a hospital, "where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries and later released." The California Department of Fish and Game "counts this as the 15th confirmed mountain lion attack in California since 1890."

RELATED: "Cougar hunted after its attack near Nevada City" (Sacramento Bee, 7/5/12)
"State and federal wildlife trackers, using search dogs, were unable Tuesday to locate the mountain lion suspected of attacking a sleeping hiker near Nevada City early Sunday morning. The warm days apparently acted to quickly erase any scent trace from the cougar."

a spider in a plastic case"Brown widow spiders 'taking over' in Southern California" (Los Angeles Times, 7/2/12)
Brown widow spiders were first found in California in 2003, but researchers found "20 times" as many brown widows as black widows around Southern California homes. "That’s because unlike black widows, who like to crawl into cracks and under debris for shelter, brown widows like to hide out in people’s things. Some of their favorite places: recessed handles on garbage cans, underneath plastic playground equipment -- and “cheap patio furniture is great stuff. They love it,” said one researcher," who has upturned a single molded plastic chair and seen five to eight brown widows hanging out in the niches underneath."


a human face peers at a spider in a web"Brown spiders pushing out black widows, study finds" (California Watch at San Francisco Chronicle, 7/4/12)
"Few brown widow spiders have been found in the northern part of the state." The author of the study said "that as far as he knows, none have been identified in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has, however, received three positive samples from the Sacramento area and one from Redding." Brown widow spider bites are less toxic than those of the black widow - but the brown widow is found in more spots that people touch. Its effect on its ecosystem is also unknown."

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

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