A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 568 - 2/21/13   -  
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close-up of a snake's heada view from a hill down to a lake wavy rock strata above a pool of waterthree people sit on rocks under a petroglyphthe moon over the desert


- America's Great Outdoors
- On our Facebook pages
- On our other social media pages
- Not for educators only:
    - Wildlife trivia question of the week
    - Trivia clarification/correction
- Renewable energy
- Traditional energy
- Wild horses and burros
- 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)
If this message does not show up properly in your email, you can see it online at:

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

"Hikes planned for Alabama Hills" (BLM, 2/8/13)
The next "Film History in the Alabama Hills" hike will be held Saturday, Feb. 23.

"BLM, Forest Service offering guided snowshoe walks" (BLM, 2/8/13)
A full moon will light the way on a free, guided snowshoe walk, Monday, Feb. 25, near Hog Flat Reservoir, west of Susanville. Cross country skiers are welcome. The walk will last no more than an hour and a half. It covers level terrain, and is an easy outing ideal for families. Participants must register by contacting the Lassen National Forest Eagle Lake Ranger District. Snowshoes will be provided.

"Marine invertebrates subject of next King Range lecture" (BLM, 2/13/13)
A talk on the "Fascinating Lives of Marine Invertebrates" will be offered free to the public, Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in Redway. Dr. John DeMartini, Ph.D. will deliver the lecture, part of the annual winter lecture series offered by the Bureau of Land Management King Range National Conservation Area and the Lost Coast Interpretive Association.

three people sit on rocks under a petroglyphtwo men climb rocks near a petroglyph"Corn Springs site stewards honored, pass the torch" (News.bytes Extra)
Jon and Suzanne McBride have have done a marvelous job as site stewards for Corn Springs, for more than 11 years. They have been a huge help to the BLM Palm Springs – South Coast Field Office, and a benefit to all of the public who use and visit the campground facilities, and the surrounding public lands. They are now moving out of the area - but a new team has stepped up to take on the task.

two people smile above an awarda group holds their awards"Sea Ranch Citizen Scientists are Coastal Monument 'Rock Stars'" (News.bytes Extra)
A group of 16 residents of The Sea Ranch, a community on the Sonoma Coast of California, were recognized Saturday, Feb. 16, for their work as citizen scientists, monitoring habitat conditions on the parts of the California Coastal National Monument near their homes. Rick Hanks, manager of the California Coastal National Monument, presented Rock Star awards in recognition of their contributions in conserving habitats and species that depend on the monument's rocks and islands.

a view from a hill down to a lake"Editorial Notebook: Once inaccessible, Berryessa Peak is an island no more" (Sacramento Bee, 2/15/13)
"[A]nyone who has tried to access the ridges and peaks on public lands soon learns the adage, "You can't get there from here." Though public lands abound -- state lands managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management -- many are landlocked, surrounded by private ranches and thus inaccessible to the general public. That lack of public access slowly is changing. Berryessa Peak, an island of BLM land surrounded by private lands, is a prime example. It took a unique public-private partnership..."

the moon over the deserta baby burroON OUR FACEBOOK PAGES...
...See a dramatic photo of the moon over the desert, shared by our BLM folks at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area ... a photo of a baby burro shared by BLM Arizona ... plus other items of interest from BLM California and elsewhere.

wavy rock strata above a pool of watera dramatic rock outcroppingON OUR OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES...
Instagram: "mypubliclands" includes photos from public lands managed by the BLM across the West. Current standouts include palm trees on public lands managed by BLM California, "The Wave" from BLM Arizona, and Hartman Rocks from BLM Colorado.

Tumblr: "My Public Lands" features photos and stories, especially from "the next generations of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands.

News.bytes may skip a week, or issue an abbreviated version next week, as we transition to an interim editor.


close-up of a snake's head
Sonoran lyre snake
What would happen to you if you are bitten by a lyre snake? Would you most likely:
(a.) suffer symptoms similar to a rattlesnake bite, such as dizziness and difficulty breathing?
(b.) need to be airlifted to a hospital for antivenin treatments?
(c.) not be severely injured by their venom?
(d.) be mistaken, as lyre snakes cannot bite?
(e.) develop a sudden urge to look up "lyre" in an online dictionary?
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA Correction/Clarification
We received this email regarding last week's wildlife trivia question about the sidewinder:

I always enjoy seeing your wildlife trivia section, and nearly all of the time you are right on the money. With regard to the question about sidewinder locomotion, however, you are only half right. Besides keeping most of the snake's body out of contact with hot sand, which they may experience only occasionally, sidewinding is the most efficient mode of locomotion for a snake moving on soft, shifting sand. All of the sidewinder's weight is supported on those two points of contact as the snake moves, reducing the drag that would occur if the whole body was in contact with the surface. Several species of snakes in other deserts of the world have independently evolved sidewinding locomotion for the same reasons.
- Glenn R. Stewart, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Zoology and Environmental Science, Biological Sciences Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Thanks, Professor Stewart!

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

"BLM Releases final environmental review for Alta East Wind Project in Kern County" (BLM, 2/15/13)
Alta Windpower Development, LLC has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the up to 318-megawatt Alta East Wind Project. The project is proposed on about 2,592 acres in southeastern Kern County. The proposed project would include wind turbines, access roads, energy collection lines, and ancillary facilities on 2,024 acres of public land and 568 acres of private land. The BLM’s preferred alternative in the FEIS has a smaller acreage footprint than the original proposal, and reduces impacts identified in the Draft EIS issued in June 2012.

"Solar project on 'aggressive' timeline"(Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/20/13)
"The word "fast-track" was never used, but the message, loud and clear from Wednesday’s site visit and public meeting on BrightSource Energy’s Palen solar project was that the company and California Energy Commission want the 500-megawatt plant ready to break ground in October ... BLM officials, who will produce a separate environmental report on the project, said they may be hard-pressed to meet the timeline because the federal approval process requires more public comment periods than the state's."

RELATED: "BrightSource Energy's Palen solar project draws protests" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/18/13)
BrightSource Energy’s Palen solar project would put "two of its 750-foot-tall solar towers, surrounded by thousands of reflecting mirrors, on desert lands east of the Coachella Valley." A local opponent says the towers will be "huge blights on the landscape." BrightSource says its project is "more eco-friendly than the solar trough technology Solar Trust originally planned for the site ... Changing the project to the company’s solar tower technology requires the Energy Commission and BLM to approve changes to the original permitting documents."

RELATED: "More Details Emerge on Solar Plant Redesign in Riverside County" (KCET, 2/15/13)
"BrightSource Energy has provided the California Energy Commission (CEC) with more details on its proposed redesign of the Palen Solar Electric Generation System, and it looks like the project's possible impact on habitat for the Mojave fringe-toed lizard will loom large in CEC's decision to approve the project ... BrightSource says its redesign of Solar Millenium's original project cuts down the public land acreage by 572 acres."

a man holds a model of a wind turbine while standing in front of several large wind turbines"Windmill credit may blow away" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/15/13)
With Congress "in a cost-cutting mood," the outlook is uncertain for extension of the wind production tax credit. One advocate says that "the industry needs more time to mature and stand on its own financial feet."

"Federal agency slammed over 'secretive' eagle-wind energy policy proposal" (KCET, 2/19/13)
A group says that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "is considering eliminating most public oversight of wind turbine impacts on protected bald and golden eagles by offering developers 30-year permits to kill eagles by accident, as opposed to the current 5-year permits."


"Big reserves, big reservations" (The Economist, 2/16/13)
California has been an oil state since 1865 .... it remains the third-largest producer in the country. Output has lately been declining by 2-3% a year," but the Monterey shale formation in southern and central California could hold "64% of the total estimated to be in the 48 contiguous states." But "some of the "Saudi America" talk is overdone. And even if California does begin exploiting the Monterey aggressively, an economic miracle is unlikely ... the opportunity costs of giving over land to drilling may be far higher in California than in some other states."

"California's Monterey Shale, the Next Oil Boom?" (CNBC, 2/21/13)
"The federal government believes the Monterey Shale, which lies under more than 1,750 square miles of central and southern California, has far more shale oil than anywhere else in the lower 48 states -- nearly four times the amount of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. But this is California. Nothing is easy."

RELATED: "Fracking for the motherload: The untapped potential of the Monterey formation" (KGET Bakersfield, 2/18/13)
"Kern is already the largest oil producing county in the state, but could we produce even more? New estimates show our region is sitting on 15.4 billion barrels of oil, rivaling America's total conventional reserves. It's an exciting prospect, but the oil industry isn't cashing in just yet because no company has been able to make wells on the formation profitable. But, with the price of oil so high, companies are exploring, and some feel we're close to a new black gold rush."

"Advocates criticize fracking rules at public workshop in downtown Los Angeles"(KPCC, 2/19/13)
"A public workshop in downtown Los Angeles on fracking has accelerated debate over what Californians should know about the oil and gas production method ... The state will hold at least two more public hearings about fracking. The next one is set for Bakersfield in early March."

"U.S. Department of the Interior hosts first meeting of the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Group" (Department of the Interior, 2/14/13)
The group has been convened as a Federal Advisory Committee that will pilot a new approach to participatory government, by bringing representatives from industry, government and the public together to develop new ways to bring greater transparency to the revenue that is generated and collected from extractive processes of our nation’s natural resources.

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"Horse advocates must wait for 1st Amendment ruling" (Associated Press at Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/21/13)
"There may or may not be too many horses on federal lands in the West, but a U.S. district judge says there's not enough judicial staff in Nevada to deal anytime soon with an appeal over First Amendment rights at wild horse roundups. U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks told lawyers for the government and a horse protection group he won't make a ruling until after March on a case sent back to his court last year by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... to reconsider whether the Bureau of Land Management's restrictions on media access to roundups are constitutional."


"BLM seeks nominees for California Desert Advisory Council" (BLM, 2/15/13)
The BLM's California Desert District is soliciting nominations from the public for five members of its California Desert District Advisory Council to serve three-year terms. The council’s 15 members provide advice and recommendations to the BLM on the management of 11 million acres of public lands in eight counties of Southern California.

"BLM Needles to file California State Parks grant application"(BLM, 2/21/13)
The BLM Needles Field Office is submitting a grant application to the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to help manage off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation opportunities on public lands. The Needles Field office is requesting funding for Operations and Maintenance, Law Enforcement, Planning, and Education and is inviting public comments on its preliminary grant application.

RELATED: information on OHV grant applications by the BLM California Ukiah and Arcata Field Offices can be found on our news release page at:

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Current listings include visual information specialist, plus several continuing listings.


"Who regulates Burning Man?" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 2/15/13)
"The future of Burning Man could be at the center of another potential legislative push in Carson City ... organizers have been embroiled in a federal court battle with Pershing County since August over a county-backed special events ordinance they argue is unconstitutional and could lead to Burning Man leaving Nevada. Pershing County officials, meanwhile, have argued they have the right to regulate the eight-day event in the Black Rock Desert, which is already overseen by federal regulators." (The event takes place on public lands managed by the BLM.)

"BLM, ranchers prepare for another dry summer in NV" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chroniclle, 2/18/13)
"It may be the dead of winter, but federal land managers already are preparing for a repeat of summer drought conditions in the nation’s most arid state. U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials said it’s possible drought conditions could again force the removal of livestock or temporary closure of grazing allotments on some federal land in Nevada this summer."

"Another dry year? Wyoming ranchers prepare for potential drought" (Casper, Wyo. Star-Tribune, 2/20/13)
"The Bureau of Land Management is currently working with individual landowners to develop drought contingencies for grazing on bureau land ... Those contingencies include agreements to limit grazing periods on some parcels or restricting access to others in attempts to prevent overgrazing. Such agreements are determined on a case-by-case basis..."


Feb. 23 - Dog hike - Fossil Canyon, near Ocotillo - reservation required

Feb. 26 - King Range talk: "Fascinating Lives of Marine Invertebrates"

March 2 and 9 - Volunteer opportunities at the Carrizo Plain National Monument

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

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) not be severely injured by their venom.

SOURCE: "Sonoran lyresnake - Trimorphodon lambda" (BLM California wildlife database)
These snakes are venomous, but are not dangerous to humans.

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

"California Duck Days" (Yolo Basin Foundation)
California Duck Days, "a wetlands festival in the heart of the Pacific Flyway," will be held on February 22 and 23.

a leatherback sea turtle"Our Ocean Backyard: Pacific leatherback sea turtle numbers continue to decline" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2/15/13)
The Pacific leatherback sea turtle -- California's official marine reptile: "Weighing 1,000 pounds and stretching to a length of 6 feet at maturity, it is the largest turtle species and is thought to live to be 30 years old or more. They're called leatherbacks because instead of a hard shell, the animal's top side is a network of small bones covered by a layer of oily skin."

"Flooded rice field is tested as salmon nursery in Yolo Bypass" (Sacramento Bee, 2/20/13)
"Decades of experience have proved that Sacramento Valley rice farmers can use their fields to grow healthy ducks. Now, research under way in the Yolo Bypass aims to find out if they can grow salmon, too. On Tuesday, researchers from UC Davis, the California Department of Water Resources and a nonprofit fisheries group released 50,000 juvenile salmon into a 20-acre rice field north of Woodland."
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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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