A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 565 - 2/1/13   -  
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a ringtail looks up with its wide eyes view from a picnic tale toward a shoreline a dog helps announce a hiking poster birds on objects in the water a burro looks at the camera while a man holds a lead


- America's Great Outdoors
- On our Facebook page
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Wildfires and prevention
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Selected upcoming events
- National and Department of the Interior items

- More wildlife stories from your public lands (and elsewhere)
This issue of BLM California News.bytes is online at:

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

"Alabama Hills Volunteer work day planned" (BLM, 1/25/13)
Saturday, Feb. 2 - The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and the BLM Bishop Field Office will sponsor a volunteer work day in the Alabama Hills from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. "Work will focus on maintaining and extending previous restoration work in the Alabama Hills," said Dave Kirk, Alabama Hills steward in the Bishop Field Office. "Volunteers will restore impacted areas by vertical mulching and will pick up litter."

a dog helps announce a hiking poster"Dog hike" (BLM El Centro Field Office)
Sat., Feb. 23: Bring your well-behaved best friend and join a BLM Park Ranger for an easy hike in Fossil Canyon, near Ocotillo, CA. Fossilized shells embedded in canyon walls beg the question...how did they get here? Join the fun and find out! Hike is free, but participation is by reservation - limit 10 dogs or 20 hikers.

runners on a paved trail along a river"Marathoners delight in BLM's Sacramento River Rail Trail" (News.bytes Extra)
The shimmering Sacramento River provided a beautiful backdrop for participants in the Redding Marathon, where competitors used sections of the BLM's Sacramento Rail Trail system for the grueling race. The Jan. 20 event attracted 201 marathon runners, 99 relay teams and participants in various shorter races.

view from a picnic tale toward a shorelinea large rock structure overlooking a bend in the river"Improvements 'taking root' in Sacramento River Bend area" (News.bytes Extra)
Years of work by BLM specialists in various disciplines are paying off with benefits to people and wildlife at the Sacramento River Bend Outstanding Natural Area near the northern California communities of Redding and Red Bluff. Natural features and developed recreation sites are attracting increasing numbers of wildlife, hosting growing populations of aquatic life and providing more recreation opportunities for residents and visitors to the region along the Tehama-Shasta county border.

rocky shores of a river among trees"Public access to Trinity River improves with BLM acquisition" (News.bytes Extra)
Public access to the Trinity River, including a Wild and Scenic reach managed by the BLM Redding Field Office, has improved with public acquisition of a riverside parcel. The field office used about $412,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire the six acres near the community of Lewiston. The area is popular for swimming and fishing.

RELATED: "BLM has openings for volunteer campground hosts" (BLM, 1/29/13)
Opportunities to live and work in beautiful northern California outdoor settings are being offered by the BLM, in volunteer host positions in Trinity County. Along the Trinity River, the BLM needs campground hosts at Douglas City, Steelbridge, and Junction City campgrounds for a season that runs from May through November. Volunteer hosts live on site in their own campers or camp trailers. The BLM provides varying levels of services such as water, septic, phone and power connections, depending on the site. There is no salary, but the BLM provides allowances to cover living expenses.

Mojave Maxine emerges from her burrow in 2012a desert tortoise at The Living Desert"Mojave Maxine Emergence Contest" (The Living Desert)
It's that time of year when the desert tortoise Mojave Maxine, sleeping in her underground burrow at The Living Desert, begins to stir in anticipation of desert springtime and fresh flowers to eat. This also means it's time for Southern California students to enter the annual Mojave Maxine emergence contest and guess when she will emerge! The east coast has Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day to let them know when they can expect spring. The Living Desert has Mojave Maxine to signify that warmer weather is on the way!

ducks on a tiny  island in the watera crane among tall dry grass"Rob on the Road: Cosumnes River Preserve" (KVIE Sacramento, 1/24/13)
"Few things are more awe inspiring than nature and the Cosumnes River Preserve in Galt will take your breath away. Explore the preserve with Rob for the annual sandhill crane migration, where thousands of birds flock from Alaska!"

birds take off from the waterbirds on objects in the waterRELATED: "Bird festival brings flock of photographers, nature lovers to Galt" (Sacramento Bee, 1/27/13)
The Galt Winter Bird Festival, "a day of informational sessions and tours of the Cosumnes River Preserve, drew hundreds of participants. The 46,000-acre preserve is home to about 100,000 birds, according to naturalists who count birds there every two weeks. About 17,000 snow geese were spotted during the last count. The population fluctuates greatly, however, depending on the season."

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

volunteerstrash bags piled on a large flat trailer"16th Annual Dunes Clean-up a success!" (News.bytes Extra)
Almost 1,000 volunteers participated in the 16th Annual Clean-up at the Imperial Sand Dunes on Saturday, Jan. 19. The event, held over the Martin Luther King weekend, is popular among dune enthusiasts, many of whom plan their visit to the dunes around the long weekend, just so they'll be able to take part.

movie characters in the dunesa prairie dog on its hind legs...See photos related to items in News.bytes... such as the upcoming dog hike, and the Trinity River near the Douglas City Campground ... see previews of News.bytes Extras ... see more wildlife-related photos and information ... and more, on our BLM California Facebook page.


a ringtail looks up with its wide eyes
Miners once kept ringtail around their camps, to:
(a.) kill mice.
(b.) ward off snakes.
(c.) call out an alarm when someone approached their claim.
(d.) sleep at the foot of their sleeping bags, to prevent frostbite.
(e.) perform tricks, for cheap entertainment on long winter nights.
(f.) imagine how many views they could get with cute ringtail videos, if only YouTube would hurry up and be invented.
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.

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

a solar plant under construction"Solar plant can deliver after dark" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/31/13)
SolarReserve’s Rice project is expensive for a solar project, but the "150-megawatt solar thermal plant comes with a molten salt storage system that can stockpile power generated by the sun for up to 8-10 hours. Rice could be the first solar project with this kind of storage capacity in the state, bringing it closer to traditional power plants that provide baseline power, on call any time, or a natural gas peaker plant, used to back up more intermittent solar or wind power." A "nosedive in solar panel prices" drove early solar themal projects out of business, "but solar thermal seems to be making a comeback in the east county with three projects either in construction or in the pipeline."

"Geothermal competitive sale results" (BLM Nevada, 1/30/13)
BLM Nevada generated $28,982 during its competitive geothermal lease sale held in Reno on Jan. 29, selling five parcels, two in Churchill County, two in Humboldt County and one in Pershing County, that comprised 7,056 acres.

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"Reward offered in burro death " (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/29/13)
"The federal government is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever killed and butchered a wild burro on public land in northeast San Bernardino County. A biologist found the carcass earlier this month in the Ivanpah Valley, near the site of a solar energy project under construction next to Interstate 15 a few miles from Primm, Nevada. The animal appeared to have been cut up at the site for its meat..."

a burro looks at the camera while a man holds a lead"Wild donkeys trained to compete at Stock Show" (Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram, 1/26/13)
"Donkeys, or 'burros' in Spanish, have a reputation for being stubborn. But at least one horseman at the Stock Show feels that the rugged beasts of burden are really just more thoughtful than other equines. 'They don't think like horses,' said Ken Schwab, one of six competitors in Saturday's Wild Burro Bonanza, a first-time event that is similar to the Mustang Magic competitions that have been part of the Stock Show in recent years. 'They're not flighty. They think things through.' Both events, which are presented by the Mustang Heritage Foundation based in Georgetown, use wild stock gathered by the Bureau of Land Management."

"BLM strengthens wild horse and burro policies to ensure humane treatment of animals, more transparency" (BLM national office, 2/1/13)
"These changes are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the humane treatment of animals that are gathered from our public rangelands," Acting BLM Director Mike Pool said. "In addition, increasing public transparency is a cornerstone of this Administration’s approach to our work. These new policies represent significant and substantial improvements, and we anticipate additional steps in the future to continue to strengthen this program." The new policies, informed by input from stakeholders, will guide wild-horse-and-burro gathers and related activities. These gathers are conducted on federally managed Western rangelands where herd management areas are overpopulated.

"Burro versus vehicle" (Havasu News, 1/29/13)
"A driver and his passenger were shaken up but unharmed early Monday after striking and killing a wild burro on State Route 95 about one mile north of the London Bridge Road intersection north of Lake Havasu City." A fire chief at the scene said, "The driver was pretty distraught that the burro had died. The vehicle was disabled and the driver worried about oncoming traffic." Fencing and burro removals are planned, to try to reduce vehicle-burro collisions in the area.


"Where there's smoke … there's fast-acting firefighters" (Inyo Register, 1/28/13)
"In a show of force, nearly 100 local, state and federal firefighters responded to a blaze southeast of Bishop this weekend to ensure high winds didn't drive the fire into local communities ... In addition to Calfire, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and local volunteer fire departments from Olancha to Mammoth Lakes responded to ensure the blaze did not spread."


a man points to where a petroglyph was removed from rock"Acting on tip, federal officials recover stolen petroglyph panels" (Los Angeles Times, 1/31/13)
"Federal investigators acting on a tip have recovered five petroglyph panels that thieves cut from an eastern Sierra site sacred to Native Americans ... The location of the petroglyphs, stolen last fall, was disclosed in an anonymous letter to authorities. By failing to sign the letter, its author walked away from a $9,000 reward — a sign that the tip may have come from the thieves themselves. Experts had said the petroglyphs would fetch little money from collectors and would be difficult to fence because of widespread publicity about the theft."

"BLM seeks nominations to Central California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM, 1/29/13)
The Bureau of Land Management in is seeking public nominations for six open positions on its Central California District Resource Advisory Council, which advises the BLM on public land issues. The BLM will consider the nominations until March 1. The Central California RAC advises BLM officials for the Hollister, Mother Lode, Bakersfield and Bishop field offices.

"Petition started to stop expansion of Marine base into OHV area" (Victorville Daily Press, 1/18/13)
"A petition has been started to keep the expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Base away from the popular off-highway vehicle area known as Johnson Valley. The petition, which was created on Tuesday, has until Feb. 14 to collect 25,000 signatures in order to receive a response from the Obama Administration."

RELATED: "Off-roaders petition White House as Hammer time nears" (Lucerne Valley Leader, 1/23/13)
"The website that promotes the annual King of the Hammers race is spearheading the latest effort to halt the U.S. Marine Corps' expansion into the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area ... promoting an online petition to the White House concerning the planned expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Base into Johnson Valley. The petition needs 25,000 signatures by Feb. 14."

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)


"BLM and Forest Service announce 2013 grazing fee" (BLM, 1/31/13)
The Federal grazing fee for 2013 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2013 fee is the same as last year's. An AUM or HM -- treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes -- is the occupancy and use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. The newly calculated grazing fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by the Forest Service.

"Parker Race temporary public land closure scheduled" (BLM Arizona, 1/25/13)
The 42nd annual running of the Parker 425 Desert Race will be this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2. Designated spectator areas will allow visitors enjoy the race. The race course and closure area description, restriction, and map of the designated race course are available at the BLM Lake Havasu Field Office.

"AZ man sentenced for stealing saguaros" (KPHO TV, Phoenix, AZ, 1/30/13)
"A Scottsdale man has been sentenced to pay restitution of $32,000 and spend eight months of weekends in jail for stealing cacti from federal land in 2010 ... Arizona Saguaros are protected by state and federal law ... The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service."

"Fairbanks scientists stunned to find intact 40,000-year-old steppe bison" (Alaska Dispatch, 1/25/13)
"As she scraped cold dirt from the remains of an extinct bison, Pam Groves wrinkled her nose at a rotten-egg smell wafting from gristle that still clung to the animal's bones ... In the type of discovery they have dreamed about for years, Groves and Dan Mann, both researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in summer 2012 found in the thawing bank of a northern river almost the entire skeleton of a steppe bison that died during the last ice age. In adventurous work sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, Mann and Groves have been boating down lonely northern rivers for 15 years looking for scattered bones of ice age mammals..."

"Helium rises to highest since 1965 in fallout from shale boom" (Bloomberg, 1/30/13)
"Helium prices in the U.S., the world's biggest producer, are trading at the highest level since at least 1995 as the shale boom exacerbates a shortage of the gas used in everything from semiconductors to medical equipment ... U.S. output is shrinking even as supplies of natural gas, the source of most helium, rise an average of about 4 percent a year. That's because shale deposits, which made up almost a third of U.S. output last year, yield almost none ... The market is also being affected by uncertainty over the future of the Bureau of Land Management's helium reserve near Amarillo, Texas, which supplies about 30 percent of the world's annual supply." Helium plants are planned in Qatar, Wyoming and Siberia.


Feb. 2 - Volunteer work day - Alabama Hills

Feb. 23 - Dog Hike - near Ocotillo

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

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) kill mice.

SOURCE: "Ringtail - Bassariscus astutus" (BLM California wildlife database)

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

"California Desert Bighorn Sheep Tag Sells for $45,000" (California Dept. of Fish and Game, 1/30/13)
A California Desert Bighorn Sheep tag sold for $45,000 at the 41st Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada. The tag was sold through the Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation). Each year the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) authorizes the sale of a limited number of big game permits through various conservation organizations to support wildlife programs in the state. All proceeds from the sale will be used to fund conservation efforts in California. The tag was sold to Jim Craig of Indiana to hunt Zone 2, the Kelso Peak and Old Dad Mountains in San Bernardino County.

"Caves shut as agencies fight bat fungus" (KRQE, 1/31/13)
White nose syndrome "is a fungal disease spreading among hibernating bats. 'The bats get that fungus on their muzzle and wings and interfemoral membranes and it causes them to wake up in the middle of the winter,' explained Jim Goodbar, Bureau of Land Management Carlsbad Field Office senior cave and karst resource specialist. Goodbar said the fungus causes the bats to fly around and search for food in the winter, which in turn causes them to burn the stored fat they have to survive. Part of protecting the bats means extending cave closures. Up to 28 caves on BLM land in the state -- seven of them in Eddy County and three at Carlsbad Caverns. It's a decision many cavers may not be happy with."
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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