A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 539 - 7/13/12   -  
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three horses in a corralchildren pose with mascots in costumeyouth look at a lizard in handfirefighters head out carrying hand toolsclose-up of a lizard's face

- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Not for educators only:
    - Cryptic lizards and crazy heat
    - 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
- Other wildlife stories
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:

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

"America's Great Outdoors at the California State Fair 2012" (News.bytes Extra)
children pose with mascotsCome visit us at the California State Fair! Federal and state agencies including the BLM are hosting the a smiling woman poses with Seymour Antelope and Otto Otter mascotsAmerica’s Great Outdoors Exhibit at the Fair's Discovery Island this year. The interactive exhibit will feature free fun and educational hands-on activities for kids -- emphasizing conservation, recreation and water safety on public lands and waterways. Agency mascots -- including the BLM’s Seymour Antelope -- will be on hand each Kids Day Tuesday to encourage families to spend some time exploring America’s Great Outdoors. The fair runs July 12 through July 29.

a man bicycles on a paved traila family with young children unloads bicycle gear and carts from a vehicle"100 miles of trails: Redding paves way to outdoor recreation" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/7/12)
"More than 100 miles of trails have been developed in and just beyond Redding in the past 30 years, many emerging since 2000 .... Trails are being linked to each other and to neighborhoods. Connections also are being made between Redding's trails and the city's identity and economic viability .... It's been a collaborative effort. Redding, Shasta County, Bureau of Land Management, McConnell Foundation, Redding Foundation, Whiskeytown, Bureau of Reclamation and others have been involved."

RELATED: "Building a trail is a rough path" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/7/12)
"Making a trail is part art, part engineering … and a lot of work. 'It is physically hard and mentally hard,'" said one partner in Redding-area trail development. "'Every trail is its own little battle. If you were by yourself, you would just give up'." Trail building "includes designing, mapping, flagging, permitting and building .... 'It's not like putting a trail in a grassland or a desert,' said Bill Kuntz, supervisory outdoor recreation planner with the Bureau of Land Management in Redding. 'You often can't see where you are going in these brush hillsides'."

"Los Angeles Kids experience their Wonderful Outdoor World (WOW)"
(News.bytes Extra)
Forty Los Angeles-area youths, ages 7-12, experienced the excitement of camping, thanks to the long-awaited return of the WOW program. The Wonderful Outdoor World program began in Los Angeles in 1995 and spread across the nation, introducing children to the wonders of nature in their own back yards. The program had been in hiatus for two years, so it was a pleasant surprise when Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks asked several agencies, including the BLM and the US Forest Service, to dust off their WOW manuals.

a person stands on the shore of a river"Now your smartphone can help you find the ol' swimming hole" (Stockton Record, 7/9/12)
In the past year, "tens of thousands of people a month" have used the Sierra Nevada Geotourism Mapguide -- which lists 1,400 locations," including the Electra white-water run on the Mokelumne River and sites "known mostly to locals."Jim Eicher, associate field manager for the BLM's Mother Lode field office, said "that in the past decade, many outdoor enthusiasts have become sophisticated users of online data such as specialized websites showing river flows important to kayakers." The guide now offers a new app, for iPhone and Android.

RELATED: "Apps for hikers: Smartphones find their place in the great outdoors" (San Jose Mercury News, 6/29/12)
"The average hiker doesn't need a smartphone to make the outdoor experience complete -- after all, we got along without them just a few years ago. But a smartphone is a terrible thing to waste, and some of the apps designed for hikers are impressive and pack features that are informative and fun to use."

"BLM takes comments on Mokelumne River feasability study" (BLM news, 7/10/12)
The Bureau of Land Management will hold a public meeting July 31 in Jackson to take kayakers on a riverpublic comments on a feasibility study for commercial activities on the Mokelumne River from Electra Road to the Middle Bar take-out.

RELATED: "Mokelumne River" (BLM Mother Lode Field Office)

a fish swims in a stream"Central Valley salmon season opens July 16" (California Department of Fish and Game, 7/6/12)
"The California Department of Fish and Game is announcing fishing regulations for the 2012 salmon season on the Sacramento, Feather, American and Mokelumne rivers. The regulations are effective Monday, July 16. The California Fish and Game Commission adopts yearly regulations to help ensure the health of fish populations and give anglers an opportunity to enjoy fishing."

"Celebrating coastal conservation" (Eureka Times-Standard, 7/8/12)
"Local coastal conservation group Friends of the Dunes is celebrating its 30th birthday next Saturday (July 14) from 1 to 4 p.m. at the recently renovated Humboldt Coastal Nature Center in Manila." The group works in partnership with others including the BLM "to do educational walks, school programs and restoration events."

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM)

"Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument calendar of events" (Friends of the Desert Mountains)
July events include an after-dusk "star party" hosted by the Astronomical Society of the Desert, sunrise hikes (before the heat of the day), a search for "night creatures of the desert," a movie under the night sky and more. (PDF file.):

"Astronomy hike to King Peak" (BLM, 7/12/12)
A guided hike with information focused on astronomy will be offered Saturday, July 21, in the King Range National Conservation Area. There is no fee.

three horses in a corraltwo burros in a corral...Adopt a Living Legend! You have two chances to adopt a wild horse and burro this weekend - one in Sacramento and one in Redlands. Both events are Saturday, July 14 -- with previews on Friday, July 13. The public is invited to stop by and take a look at all the magnificent mustangs and burros ready to go home with a qualified adopter. These animals are highly trainable and great pack or work animals that would make an invaluable addition to your family. (Links to news releases with details below).

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Sacramento" (BLM, 6/27/12)
This weekend: 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 HMA 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.

"Mustangs, burros seeking good homes" (BLM, 7/6/12)
On Saturday July 14, 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, July 13 from 1 p.m. to 5p.m. All animals are healthy and have been vaccinated, dewormed, and have a current Coggins test.

"Wild horses and burros" (BLM California)

"BLM ranger and volunteer use mustangs to ride fence" (BLM Arizona, 7/5/12)
Long-time grazing fences between BLM lands in central and southern Arizona and the Tohono O’odham Nation were in disrepair. Time and the elements had affected the mostly barbed-wire barriers. Worse, smugglers of drugs and humans cut the fences or bowled through them in their push across Native American and BLM-managed lands to Interstate 8. To plan repairs, every inch of the fences had to be checked -- not an easy task in the rugged terrain of the Ironwood Forest and Sonoran Desert National Monuments....

"BLM Concludes Jackson Mountains Wild Horse Gather"
(BLM Nevada, 7/6/12)
BLM Nevada gathered 647 excess wild horses from the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA). Leading up to the emergency gather, the BLM installed water tanks and hauled water to the southern portion of the HMA in an effort to alleviate some of the pressure of little water for so many animals. The human presence scattered the animals for weeks, and when they returned they were in far worse condition, so this showed that an effort to water trap the animals would be futile.

"Mustang roundup" (Powell Tribune, 7/10/12)
"Wild horses will be captured in the Pryor Mountains soon using bait traps instead of helicopters." The Bureau of Land Management Billings Office "is planning to gather around 40 mustangs this year to keep the population at the appropriate management level of 90-120 horses .... The goals are to maintain the herd’s strong Spanish characteristics, an even array of colors and a 50-50 male/female split."


a group of firefighters pose in front of a truck"Firefighting veterans sent to their first wildfire" (News.bytes Photo Extra)
BLM California’s new Folsom Lake Hand Crew -- a crew made up of military veterans -- has received its first assignment on the fire line. The crew was dispatched to the Mill Fire on the Mendocino National Forest on Thursday, July 12. The BLM has leased the Sac Metro fire station from Sacramento County as a duty station for the 20-person crew. The crew is focused on wildland fire suppression and fuels management.

RELATED: "Mill Fire expected to be contained next week" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 7/13/12)
"The Mill Fire in the Mendocino National Forest grew to more than 18,000 acres Thursday, and firefighters battled to stop its spread, especially on its eastern edge." Firefighters from the "U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management are working alongside crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and local agencies to fight the Mill Fire, which started nearly a week ago on July 7."

RELATED: "Mill Fire reaches 18,985 acres; burnout operations help firefighting effort" (Lake County News, 7/13/12)
"The Mill Fire reached 18,985 acres on Thursday, with 40 percent of the blaze contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Full containment is anticipated next Friday, July 20 .... The fire has been burning in brush and timber for nearly a week in the Colusa County side of the Mendocino National Forest."

"1,800+ battle Robbers Fire; 180 homes threatened" (KCRA Sacramento, 7/13/12)
"The Robbers Fire has burned 1,157 acres with 180 homes threatened, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday morning." A total of 300 people had been evacuated as of this morning.

RELATED: "Robbers Fire spreads to 1,157 acres between Colfax, Foresthill" (Colfax Record, 7/13/12)
"A small army of firefighters was working on the ground and in the air to rein in the wind-whipped Robbers Fire late Thursday in densely wooded canyon land between Colfax and Foresthill." The potential for evacuations "changes every half hour" as conditions change.

RELATED: "Fast-moving Robbers Fire challenging to firefighters" (KTXL Sacramento, 7/13/12)
"Fire teams at the Auburn staging area are heading to fight a fire that made some dramatic shifts Thursday. The Robbers Fire burned very close to homes in the Yankee Jims & Iowa Hill areas, putting firefighters to the test .... Around 6 p.m., flames jumped Shirt Tail Creek and started moving toward homes on Brushy Creek Road. Crews were quickly shifted to that spot, but a fire once moving to the northeast, now moving in all directions, is placing a statewide demand on available resources." Includes several links to photos.

firefighters carry equipment as they walk out of camp"Veterans excel on another front -- fighting forest fires" (MSNBC, 7/6/12)
"As a staff sergeant in the Marines, Branden Gray received two Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan." After recuperating, he "yearned for a job with the pace he was accustomed to in the special forces of the Marine Corps. So he joined an elite U.S. Forest Service firefighting crew" based in California. His training included 10 months with the California Conservation Corps, which has trained "more than 130 young veterans" since 2011. "Many veterans, like Gray, go on to a future seasonal or full-time jobs with the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management."

"Obama orders health insurance for government's seasonal firefighters" (Reuters, 7/11/12)
"President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to offer health insurance to seasonal firefighters employed by the U.S. government, after an outcry over the lack of affordable coverage available to thousands of such workers. Obama's directive ... capped a 2-month-old electronic petition drive started by a member of a U.S. Forest Service 'hot-shot' crew based in South Dakota that has drawn more than 125,000 signatures. No details were given, but a formal announcement of the policy change was expected soon, a White House official told Reuters."

"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.

"Fire Information" (National Interagency Fire Center)
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.www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

"California incidents" (InciWeb)
Current and recent wildfires (and prescribed fires).

"Firefighter’s conundrum: Storms bring rain -- and lightning" (Salt Lake Tribune, 7/13/12)
Fires burned across Utah, including the Baboon Fire that "had topped 18,000 acres late Friday morning after having been spotted early Thursday afternoon in cheat grass, brush, pinyon and juniper on Bureau of Land Management parcels four miles south of Minersville."

"Lightning sparks 13 wildfires along Arizona-Utah border" (Arizona Republic, 7/12/12)

"Stout Fire near Mountain Home now over 10,000 acres" (KTVB Idaho, 7/13/12)
"Firefighters with the Bureau of Land Management say the most recent wildfire near the Mountain Home area is very active and continues to grow."


a young man in a wide-brimmed hat looks closely at a lizard"Cryptic lizards and crazy heat - It's intern time in El Centro!" (News.bytes Extra)
Seven student interns from American Conservation Experience (ACE) are spending their summer monitoring flat-tail horned lizards in the sweltering deserts surrounding El Centro. The interns, all coming from home states with much higher humidity, are getting a taste of “it’s a dry heat…” Adrienne Savrin, from Georgia, still thinks it’s pretty hot. “So far, the experience for all of us has been awesome. We are enjoying how much we are learning despite the extreme desert heat!” The forecast this day: 116°F.

a flat gray lizard in the gray sand
flat-tailed horned lizard
Flat-tailed horned lizards are most often found:
(a.) ...near large flat rocks with crevices underneath.
(b.) ...in desert oases.
(c.) ...near ocotillo plants.
(d.) ...near ant nests.
(e.) ...near desert tortoises.
(f.) ...scarfing down a short stack of flapjacks at the nearest Desert House of Pancakery.
See 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

"Blythe Solar Plant Changing From Thermal to Photovoltaic" (The Desert Independent, 7/5/12)
Palo Verde Solar I, llC "filed a petition with the California Energy Commission requesting to modify the Blythe Solar Power Project by replacing the solar thermal technology completely with photovoltaic generating technology .... The facility will be located approximately eight miles west of the City of Blythe and two miles north of the I-10 on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management."

"Wind farm called threat to condors" (Courthouse News Service, 7/6/12)
"California illegally approved a giant wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains that will kill California condors and golden eagles, environmentalists claim in Kern County Court .... The wind farm at issue includes the North Sky River and Jawbone Wind energy projects, which stretch across a combined 13,353 acres of windy desert roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles .... Some of the project land is public, owned by the Bureau of Land Management. The privately held land belongs to North Sky River Landholdings, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, which owns around 100 wind farms throughout the state."


"Opinions on ‘fracking’ mix like oil, water" (Lompoc Record, 7/12/12)
The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources visited Santa Maria this week to get the public’s opinion of ‘fracking,’ and heard opposing viewpoints “voiced in equal amounts by a crowd of about 70.” Some agreed with the oil industry, that “it’s a time-proven safe method for extracting crude oil and natural gas and a big reason the industry is experiencing a renaissance” Opponents said "fracking poses 'new and unknown risks to environmental quality and public health including drinking water contamination, groundwater depletion, air pollution, wildlife habitat destruction, and noise and light pollution'."

"West-wide energy corridors possibly getting a redo" (KPCC, 7/8/12)
"Federal land managers may have to re-map controversial energy corridors throughout the West under a proposed compromise that would settle a legal dispute. A 7-year-old federal law required agencies to develop routes along which new transmission lines could deliver power in Western states ... to speed up power projects. Environmental groups immediately sued over these corridors," saying that they "failed to consider large-scale environmental impacts .... If a district court judge approves the settlement, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service would have to redraw the routes...."


"BLM takes comments on oil and gas lease environmental assessment" (BLM, 7/6/12)
The BLM's Hollister Field Office has completed the environmental assessment (EA) for a proposed oil and gas lease auction scheduled for Dec. 12, 2012. A 30-day public review and comment period runs through Aug. 6. The EA was prepared to analyze the environmental impacts of leasing the mineral estate for oil and gas exploration and development. The lands considered for competitive lease auction are located in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties.

"Can fracking pollute water? Study tries to answer" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/11/12)
"A new study being done by the Department of Energy may provide some of the first solid answers to a controversial question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water? A drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania is giving researchers access to a commercial drilling site," letting them "conduct baseline tests," add tracing elements to hydraulic fracturing fluids and monitor the results. "That should let scientists see whether the drilling fluids move upwards or sideways from the Marcellus Shale, which is 8,100 feet deep at that spot."

"New Mexico’s 'Fracking' Legacy” (KUNM, 7/11/12)
The term "fracking" is now being used in "news reports coming out of Pennsylvania and New York. But fracking has been a part of New Mexico’s history for decades. After all, fracking is not a new technology. Halliburton pioneered hydraulic fracturing, as it’s officially known, in the 1940s. And it has been used around New Mexico for decades .... Fracking has been happening for a long time and its use is widespread in New Mexico. There are about 60,000 oil and gas wells in New Mexico -- and 95 percent of those are fracked."


a man and woman in historical costumesa girl stretches out a surveyor's chain"BLM celebrates history of the GLO at Old Town San Diego" (News.bytes Extra)
It was a festive day at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park as BLM staff and volunteers celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the General Land Office on July 7. As part of the park’s Stagecoach Days event, the BLM joined the park’s living history program by setting up a Land Office counter and displaying historic instruments used to survey 1.8 billion acres of public lands. The event was held at the park’s historic Seeley Stables, also home to a pair of adopted BLM burros.

"Boxer introduces Northern California conservation bill" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/12/12)
"The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Act would mandate creation of a single management plan for the land, currently under the split management of three federal agencies, according to an analysis of the bill, introduced Wednesday. The Bureau of Land Management would be the primary administrator of the multi-agency plan but all would remain involved. The management plan would be created with public input, according to the analysis."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Listings include management analyst, rangeland management specialist, and a number of continuing listings.


"New Report: Interior activities contributed $385 billion to economy, supported over 2 million jobs in FY 2011" (Department of the Interior, 7/9/12)
From facilitating energy development to managing America’s public lands for tourism and outdoor recreation to assisting Indian tribes with education and economic growth, the activities of the Department of the Interior contributed $385 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 2 million jobs in 2011, according to a new report. The Department of the Interior’s Economic Contributions highlights the impacts of the Department’s broad mission.


July 14 - Wild horse and burro adoption event - Sacramento

More information on the following events at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument can be found at:

July 14 - Early morning "Fresh Breeze" hike

July 14 - Star Party

July 17 - Scorpion hunt

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

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) ...near ant nests.

close-up of a spiky lizard's faceSOURCE: "Flat-tailed horned lizard - Phrynosoma mcallii" (BLM California wildlife database)
Flat-tailed horned lizards are most frequently found near ant nests, as ants are their primary food. They are patient hunters, waiting for long periods of time for the ants to emerge. They will also eat arthropods when available.

More wildlife news from your public lands:

bald eagles in a nest"First bald eagle born at Sacramento Valley refuge takes flight" (Sacramento Bee, 7/7/12)
"In the sky over Colusa County this week, the first bald eagle born at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge took its first flight. This was the first successful bald eagle nesting at the refuge, off Interstate 5 about 90 miles north of Sacramento."

oyster shells in the water"Once-abundant West Coast oysters near extinction" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/6/12)
"A disturbing nationwide decline in oysters and the life-giving reefs that they build is particularly dramatic in California, where the once-abundant native species has been virtually wiped out, according to a recent scientific study .... The loss of native oysters - not to be confused with the farm-raised Japanese Pacific oysters - is a serious issue ... because oysters clean the water by filter feeding ... removing nitrogen and other pollutants." Also, "the oyster beds, or reefs, they create provide habitat for myriad fish, crabs and other creatures."

pink color shapes in the water"White abalone slide toward extinction" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/6/12)
"Scientists from the federal fisheries lab in La Jolla have reported a serious decline of white abalone along the San Diego coastline, confirming some of the worst fears about the species...."

"Fish and Game gives up hunt for mountain lion" (Sacramento Bee, 7/11/12)
"State officials Tuesday ended the hunt for a mountain lion that attacked a sleeping man July 1 near Nevada City." Searches with trained dogs "lost the mountain lion's trail."

"Big SE Ore. range fires burning wildlife habitat" (KTVZ, 7/12/12)
"Wildfires burning in the picturesque high desert country of southeast Oregon have already scorched more than a half-million acres. In addition to all the typical problems associated with fire, a major concern in this area is the displacement of threatened sage-grouse, along with other birds and animals."

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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