A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 551 - 10/5/12 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- National Public Lands Day
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get Outdoors tip of the week
- FREE OFFER: Poster (limited supply)
- California Archaeology Month
- 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, other state and Department of the Interior items
- More wildlife news from your public lands
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:
|AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Volunteers needed for Clear Creek cleanup project" (BLM, 10/2/12)
Volunteers are needed to help clean up the Lower Clear Creek area near Redding, in a project set for Saturday, Oct. 13, as part of the National Public Lands Day observance. The Bureau of Land Management, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District and Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve will host the event. Volunteers will pick up litter, scour off graffiti and repair hiking trails. The BLM will provide gloves, tools, safety equipment and water.
"Fall color hotspots 2012" (BLM Bishop Field Office)
Oct. 1: "This past weekend I drove between Bridgeport and Bishop Creek with stops at Conway Summit (Hwy. 395 between Mono Lake and Bridgeport) and North Lake and South Lake (Bishop Creek drainage). I felt that the best color that I saw was along the South Fork of Bishop Creek below South Lake."
"Chinese students learn at Cosumnes River Preserve" (News.bytes Extra)
Disneyland was on the itinerary of eight students and teachers visiting California from Hunan Province -- but it was a visit to the Cosumnes River Preserve that gave the group a chance to get closer to the land. Students and teachers from Galt Joint Union School District joined them for a canoe trip on the Cosumnes River.
"ACE volunteers at work on BLM public land near Likely" (BLM, 10/4/12)
Crew members from American Conservation Experience, a non-profit national conservation organization, are volunteering with the BLM, working on projects in the Tule Mountain Area near Likely in northeast California. The five crew members from ACE are assisting the BLM Alturas Field Office with projects including cleanup of firewood cutting and juniper thinning project debris and improving riparian areas in the Tule Mountain Wilderness Study Area. Following their work in Alturas, the crew will be moving to the BLM Surprise Field Office to perform additional wilderness conservation work.
"Merced River clean up a success" (Sierra Sun Times, 9/28/12)
"On September 15, over 30 Great Sierra River Clean Up volunteers contributed a morning of their time to clean up beaches, campgrounds, swimming holes and shorelines in the Merced River Canyon ... A total of 1,283 pounds of trash and debris was collected, including the frame of a 1946 Ford. 95% of the total collected is recyclable!" Several groups contributed to the effort, including the BLM.
"From the Chief's corner: Hiking safety tips" (East County Magazine, 10/4/12)
"The cooler weather is beginning to slowly settle in as we are now into Fall. This is a great time for many of us to start those outdoor activities that we avoided during the summer heat ... Hiking isn't typically dangerous ... much more often it's a great pleasure, even an adventure. But you're outside, sometimes far from 'civilization' and you can get injured or worse. It pays to heed some common sense hiking safety tips."
Monument volunteers help with bat research - see "More wildlife stories" below.
|GET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK...
...Camp Williams Hill which features recently-constructed campsites equipped with level RV pads, fire rings, shade structures, picnic benches, vault toilets, and a kiosk providing an interpretive panel, a map, and information about the area. Although no reservations or fees are required, there is a 14 day camping limit within any 28-day period. Visitors can enjoy hiking, although there are no developed trails, hunting of deer, wild pig, upland game birds, other small game and varmints, equestrian activities, nature study, and mountain biking. Please utilize good camping ethics, and remember to pack out your garbage when you leave.
FREE OFFER! October is California Archaeology Month. We have a limited supply of these, and currrent BLM California News.bytes subscribers are being offered a chance to sign up for one.
"Archaeology Month" (Society for California Archaeology)
Archaeology Month is a national program to promote the preservation of our country's heritage. California Archaeology Month is sponsored by the SCA, observed in October to integrate with California's kindergarten through Grade 12 curriculum on Native American and California history.
|WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"CAL FIRE: Wildfire threat still exists" (Lake County Record-Bee, 10/3/12)
"The combination of above-average temperatures, below-normal rainfall and record dry conditions resulted in an above-normal potential for large fires in many parts of the state." Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE, said, "We are asking the public to take steps to help prevent fires during this unusually dry fall." The agency responded to more than 5,300 wildfires so far this year. A 270,000-acre fire in Lassen County was "the second largest wildfire in California history."
"Update: Range Fire near Banning fully contained" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/1/12)
The Range Fire "burned more than 350 acres in the rugged terrain south of Banning," before it was fully contained Oct. 1. Terrain and weather conditions -- 100 degrees and low relative humidity -- delayed the containment predictions. "The fire started on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management and used for shooting, in a remote area ... Investigators determined that recreational shooters caused the fire..."
"BLM plans for longer fire season" (Elko Daily Free Press, 9/28/12)
"Typically, seasonal wildland firefighters mark the end of September to hang up their fire gear. But less than a year after the Dunphy Complex charred more than 163,000 acres of northeastern Nevada burning well into October, coupled with this year’s heat and drought, the Northeast Nevada Interagency fire crew is extending its calendar two additional weeks after the fiscal year [ended] Sunday."
"Fire restrictions extended throughout Oregon and Washington" (BLM Oregon, 9/28/12)
In response to the hot, dry weather, both Oregon and Washington have extended their bans on recreational fires in some area. Specific fire restrictions will vary and it's important to check with your local area for updates.
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"BLM announces tentative fall-winter wild horse and burro gather schedule" (BLM, 9/28/12)
The BLM announced its tentative fall-winter schedule for gathering wild horses and burros from overpopulated herds on drought-stricken Western public rangelands. The gathers and removals are needed to bring herd sizes into balance with other rangeland resources and uses, as required by Federal law. Changes to this gather schedule may occur if range conditions deteriorate more quickly than expected in certain Herd Management Areas (HMAs). Sixty-five of the BLM’s 179 HMAs have already been identified as areas of concern because of drought and wildfire.
"Trojan returns to Mains Elementary School" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/3/12)
"Students received a special reward for their good test scores recently when an El Centro Border Patrol horse patrol mustang recently returned to the school where the mustang was named last year ... Trojan was adopted as part of the Border Patrol’s Noble Mustang program in which the Bureau of Land Management and the Nevada Department of Correction work together to train the wild mustangs."
"BLM sets meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for October 29-30 in Salt Lake City" (BLM, 10/5/12)
The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet in October in Salt Lake City to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. The day-and-a-half meeting will take place on Monday, October 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, October 30, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., local time.
"Wild horses sold by US later ending up at slaughterhouses?" (NBC News, 9/30/12)
"BLM officials say they carefully screen buyers and are adamant that no wild horses ever go to slaughter."
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
One of the animals encountered by bat researchers (see "Monument volunteers help research western yellow bats" under More Wildlife News below) was the blind snake. The blind snake tracks its prey by:
(a.) listening for sounds of their movements.
(b.) feeling vibrations through the ground.
(c.) smelling for their scents.
(d.) tasting grains of sand to detect their trail.
(e.) Following them on Foursquare and Facebook.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
| RENEWABLE ENERGY
"El Centro Field Office hosts Section 106 training for tribal nations" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM El Centro Field Office hosted a Section 106 training on the National Historic Preservation Act. Participants including 33 representatives from 15 tribal nations throughout southern California were given information about the important regulation that helps guide tribal consultation. BLM managers and staff were present to answer questions regarding cultural resources and large-scale renewable energy development. The BLM El Centro Field Office consults with 27 tribal nations and is currently managing 37 renewable energy applications.
"Oakland's Brightsource nears approval for SoCal solar plant" (Reuters in San Jose Mercury News, 10/1/12)
"Oakland solar power company BrightSource Energy's proposed 500-megawatt Rio Mesa solar power plant in southeast California has won a preliminary recommendation" from the California Energy Commission. "The staff, however, said some issues still needed to be resolved ... in July 2012, the company amended its application to remove the 250-MW plant that would have been on Bureau of Land Management land due in part to concerns raised by the BLM."
"Southern Monterey County land to be leased for oil development" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9/28/12)
"The Monterey Shale, the largest oil-shale reservoir in the country, is estimated to hold some 14 billion barrels of oil. The federal government is preparing to lease out a large chunk of it for oil development, spanning Monterey, Fresno and San Benito counties ... the federal Bureau of Land Management is readying an auction of oil and gas leases for 79 parcels of federal mineral estate in Monterey, Fresno and San Benito counties on Dec. 12."
"Energy Project Permitting: The New Nimbyism?" (National Journal, 10/1/12)
Eight invited energy experts weigh in: "Should Washington overhaul the permitting process for energy projects of all stripes? Many energy developers, including those for renewable energy and fossil fuels alike, complain about how long it takes for permitting officials to review projects, including wind farms, pipelines, and power plants ... Bipartisan legislation in the House would streamline environmental reviews of all types of energy projects, but it doesn't seem poised to gain much traction in the Senate. Should Congress pass that measure ... Or is the process operating as it should?
|HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Bureau of Land Management names new Barstow Field Office manager" (BLM, 10/2/12)
Katrina Symons has been selected as the new field manager for the BLM's Barstow Field Office. Symons is expected to assume her full-time duties in early November. Symons is currently BLM’s Roseburg District Manager in Oregon. Other previous federal positions include forester, land management planning specialist, planning and environmental coordinator, natural resources staff administrator, and field manager.
"Bureau of Land Management names new Ridgecrest Field Office manager" (BLM, 10/2/12)
Carl Symons has been selected as the new field manager for the BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office. Symons is currently BLM’s Medford Supervisory Realty Specialist in Oregon. Prior to his current position, he has held positions in Engineering, Timber, Rights-of-Ways and Fire for both the BLM and the Forest Service in Arizona and Oregon. He is expected to assume his full-time duties in early November.
"BLM El Centro hires military veterans as park rangers" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM's El Centro Field Office recently hired a military veteran crew of seasonal Park Rangers for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA). The crew is completing three weeks of training that includes specialized off-highway vehicle (OHV) search and rescue, an introduction to the OHV recreation program in the ISDRA, and an overview of the natural and cultural resources BLM manages. Most have recently returned from military conflicts.
"Dunes plan released to public" (Imperial Valley Press, 9/26/12)
Editorial: "More than 10 years in the making, the Bureau of Land Management has at last released its proposed Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area management plan. If it receives no legal challenges, the plan could go into effect by April. No chance."
"Bump and Grind trail to reopen to hikers" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/30/12)
The new law "will allow human traffic along the trail for nine months of the year. The trail will then close from February through April for the bighorn lambing season. The law also stipulates that fencing and signage, paid for by Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage, be used to keep people from straying off the trail and into recovery areas reserved for bighorn sheep. It will sunset after five years in which a study must be conducted to assess the impact hikers have on the trail and sheep breeding habits."
"San Bernardino: County supervisors approve Cadiz desert water pumping plan"
(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/1/12)
"An ambitious private water project that would draw water from deep under the Mojave Desert and pipe it across California was given the go-ahead Oct. 1, by San Bernardino County supervisors. Opponents and supporters spoke for five hours during a special hearing on the controversial Cadiz project."
RELATED: "San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approve desert groundwater pipeline plan" (San Bernardino County Sun, 10/1/12)
"Cadiz owns 45,000 acres in eastern San Bernardino County, most of which overlies the Cadiz and Bristol dry lake beds comprising the Fenner Valley aquifer system. Cadiz and the SMWD plan to pump 50,000 acre feet of groundwater from the aquifers annually."
RELATED: "Cadiz water project faces federal, local hurdles" (Los Angeles Times, 9/30/12)
Cadiz, Inc.'s plan "to sell groundwater from beneath the Mojave Desert to Southern California suburbs ... faces mounting legal challenges, difficult negotiations with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over use of the Colorado River Aqueduct, opposition from California's senior U.S. senator and the possibility that it may yet be forced to undergo an exhaustive review under federal environmental law."
RELATED: "Well-organized support for Cadiz water project" (Riverside Press-Enterprise blog, 10/2/120
"This is how owners of unpopular projects try to sway votes these days: by rallying supporters wearing colored T-shirts and baseball caps, and carrying signs ... a group of about 20 young people carrying signs in support of the Cadiz Inc. water project attended the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting as the supes prepared to vote on green-lighting the project. I asked the well-groomed blonde handing out the signs who they were and who paid for the signs and stickers ... She wouldn't say."
"Special report: Shrinking water's hidden footprint" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/28/12)
Latest in the newspaper's series on water use in the West: "Almost every product has an invisible impact on water resources, which are increasingly strained in the arid West due to drought and population growth. The emerging concept is known as the 'water footprint' ... A gallon of gasoline, for example, requires 13 gallons of water by National Geographic’s calculations ... The global average water footprint of beef is about 1,800 gallons per pound, almost entirely to grow feed, according to analysis by the Water Footprint Network"
"Shifting tactics in illegal pot cultivation" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/28/12)
"The amount of marijuana ripped from illegal back-country gardens by statewide eradication teams has plummeted for the second year in a row, a reflection of changing growing habits and reduced enforcement ... Roughly 55 percent of those sites were on Forest Service land, 11 percent on Bureau of Land Management property, 24 percent on private property and the rest on other federal or tribal lands."
"New law allows cops to stop vehicles carrying irrigation tubing on forest roads"(Willits News, 10/3/12)
"A new law will allow law enforcement to stop vehicles with visible irrigation supplies on forest roads and question the driver about whether the load was lawfully purchased. This law can only be applied in counties after the board of supervisors has authorized it with a resolution."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include geologist intern, land law examiner, firefighting positions and wild horse and burro facility manager.
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"In the Southwest, year-round fall colors" (Washington Post, 9/28/12)
At Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, BLM ranger Kathy August "has no use" for leaf-change buzzwords. Instead, she "drops names such as sandstone, iron, manganese and oxidation. The park’s phone number is permanent; visitors come year-round. Most important, the land is always saturated in red. 'Colors do change here,' she said, 'but really slowly -- in geologic time rather than seasonally'." Also visited: Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.
"Suit would block trucks hauling ore at NV mine" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 10/4/12)
Opponents of open-pit mining on the edge of Virginia City, Nevada filed suit to stop trucks hauling gold and silver ore on a local mountain highway. "In addition to safety concerns, group leaders say the mining runs counter to the best interests of protecting the history of the Comstock in and around Virginia City ... Comstock Mining needs to use a mile-long portion of the highway ... while it works to resolve a dispute with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over status of an off-highway haul road."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related wildlife news
(c.) smelling for their scents.
SOURCE: "Western blind snake - Leptotyphlops humilis" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Monument volunteers help research western yellow bats" (News.bytes Extra)
Hiking a total of more than 200 miles -- often in temperatures over 100 degrees -- some volunteers with the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument have spent the past five months helping a BLM natural resource specialist conduct research on bats throughout the Colorado Desert. Danielle Ortiz and the volunteers have visited 42 palm oases to learn more about the roosting preferences of the western yellow bat (Lasiurus xanthinus) in palm oases, as little is known about the yellow bat and it is a California Species of Concern. Other animals showed up, too...
"Barstow Field Office cave monitoring project" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM Barstow Field Office is conducting first-time wildlife inventories for mud caves that are the only known habitat of a scorpion species – among other rare or unique species. These surveys provided the first glimpse into the invertebrates living in the Shoshone Mud Caves and Pisgah Lava Tubes. Both caves are dry and do not appear to be associated with water supplies, yet a few invertebrates manage to survive.
"Mountain lions 'go west' from Nevada into California, new research shows" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/4/12)
"A new study, said to be the first of its kind in such scale, indicates mountain lions in Nevada’s Great Basin are migrating westward to California to take up residence. It’s the opposite of what biologists expected ..."
"Photos highlight SD's marine life" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/3/12)
"San Diego photographer Jerry Allen has shared a few images of nearshore marine life that highlight the region's biological diversity": a "500-pound giant sunfish" or mola mola, a blue shark and a black sea nettle.
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