A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 571 - 3/15/13 - Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Secretary Salazar Approves two Solar Projects in California
America's Great Outdoors
- On our Facebook pages
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- 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)
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Secretary Salazar Approves two Solar Projects in California
Secretary Ken Salazar (sitting), backed by (standing right to left) BLM State Director Jim Kenna, BLM Project Managers Sandra McGinnis and Elizabeth Meyer-Sheilds, Counselor to the Secretary Steve Black, former BLM Solar Energy Program Lead Shannon Stewart and Gov. Jerry Brown, signs record of decisions for a two solar energy projects.
As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved two solar energy projects in California. Secretary Salazar made the announcement on Wednesday in San Francisco with California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
The 750-megawatt McCoy Solar Energy Project and 150-megawatt Desert Harvest Solar Farm are both located in California's Riverside East Solar Energy Zone, an area established through the Western Solar Energy Plan as most suitable for solar development.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS
"Advisory Council Sees Partnership Success in Mattole River Watershed" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council focused much of their attention on the King Range National Conservation Area, when they met on the Lost Coast in February. A highlight of the two-day meeting was a field tour in the upper Mattole River watershed, where BLM partners are working on restoration projects. Partners including the BLM are working to improve conditions in the Mattole River, including late season flows. The river provides important salmon habitat. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsbytes/2013/nw_resource_advisory.html
"Eagle Lake's Von Helf is Named BLM Ranger of the Year" (News.bytes Extra)
Darrin Von Helf, a law enforcement ranger with the BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville, Calif., has been named BLM Ranger of the Year for 2012. The selection was announced by Salvatore Lauro, the BLM's director of the office of law enforcement and security. Von Helf was recognized for his efforts building multi-agency working relationships, serving as a field training officer, and participating as a member of the BLM's ceremonial honor guard. Congratulations!
"BLM Helps Make the World a Little Greener" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM joined 60 other organizations and agencies for the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia on Saturday, March 9. BLM employee Jennifer Wohlgemuth from the California Desert District Office and BLM volunteers Dee Dechert and Teri Calderon introduced visitors to the California Desert District with nine live reptiles of Southern California, including desert Chuckwallas Chucky and Walla. The booth was extremely busy as visitors lined up to see the animals up-close and personal.
The Volcanic Tablelands...offer exceptional recreation. Its unique geologic features were formed by the eruption of the Long Valley Caldera 750,000 years ago. Through time, this once barren tableau has evolved to support a unique and fragile environment that takes time - and a keen eye - to appreciate. The Volcanic Tablelands is at the ecological cusp of the Northern Mojave and Great Basin floristic provinces, where plants and associated wildlife species combine to make this an unusual and biologically diverse landscape. It has taken millennia for this environment to evolve, and it will take responsible recreational users to preserve it into perpetuity - so enjoy and protect this place. Donated public service video:
RELATED: "Volcanic Tablelands" (BLM Bishop Field Office) http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bishop/volcanictablelands_caso.html
"Grey Whales, Finbacks, and Dolphins, Oh My!" (News.bytes Extra)
On March 2, 2013, the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) hosted a booth at the 28th annual "Whale of a Day" festivities, co-sponsored by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the docents of Los Serenos de Point Vicente. At the CCNM booth, young and old became rock stars as they joined BLM staff and volunteers by making CCNM environmental buttons or creating CCNM booklets with rubber stamps. The booth had something for everyone, including many informative colorful brochures, posters, and knowledgeable staff.
"2013 Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival" (News.bytes Extra)
The 2013 Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was a great success, drawing a crowd of approximately 1,500. Held in early March of each year, this is the largest annual event for the national monument. The event is co-sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, and Friends of the Desert Mountains. Numerous vendors and exhibitor booths showcased at the event this year.
"BLM Bishop Sponsors "Climbers Coffee," Interpretive Ethic Talks" (BLM, 3/11/13)
The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Bishop Field Office is planning events in March and April to educate climbers and campers on how to enjoy, but not abuse, the natural resources as the number of visitors grows. The BLM will host "Climber's Coffee" talks at the Pleasant Valley Pit Campground on March 22 and 29 and April 19 at 9 a.m. These talks provide a way for campers and climbers to meet BLM rangers and staff to discuss interests and concerns in an informal setting. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2013/march/climberscoffee.html
"Alabama Hills Volunteer Work Day Planned" (BLM, 3/7/13)
The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, Friends of the Inyo, and the Bureau of Land Management's Bishop Field Office will sponsor a volunteer work day in the Alabama Hills on Saturday, March 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 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 defining an existing trail. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2013/march/alabamavolunteerday.html
RELATED: "The Alabama Hills" (BLM Bishop Field Office) http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bishop/scenic_byways/alabamas.html
|ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGES...
...Find out about current dunes conditions. Did you know if there is no moon out it makes the dunes very dark? If you are planning on a night ride make sure you have a headlight and at least one red tail light. Check out the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Facebook for more information. https://www.facebook.com/BLMImperialSandDunes
ON OUR OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES...
...On the BLM National Tumblr page, The Owyhee River is sometimes referred to as "Oregon's Grand Canyon." The river has deep and spectacular canyons that reveal 14 million years of geologic history and numerous archaeological and historical sites.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
What do you call a traveling group of Red Foxes?
(a.) a warren
(b.) a colony
(c.) a den
(d.) a brood
(e.) a pack
(f.) a murder
(g.) you don't call them any of these - red foxes are solitary
See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.
"BLM Announces Amendment to Tule Wind Project Record of Decision" (BLM, 3/08/13)
The Bureau of Land Management announced an amendment to the Record of Decision (ROD) issued for the Tule Wind Project on December 19, 2011. The project is located in southeastern San Diego, California. A decision by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to approve a new location for the collector substation to an area north of the location identified in the Final EIR/EIS requires an amendment to the ROD. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2013/march/tulewindRODamendment.html
"Environmental Groups Strongly Endorse "None of the Above" Energy Plans" (Forbes, 3/12/13)
President Obama's obsession with transitioning from fossil-fueled energy use to so-called "clean renewables" is being thwarted by unlikely adversaries. A 2011 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report titled "Project/No Project" found 140 renewable projects that had stalled, stopped, or been outright killed due to "Not in My Back Yard" (NIMBY) environmental activism and a system that allows limitless challenges by opponents.
"Bill Would let Energy Companies Remove Nests and Eggs, Exempt Companies From Penalties for Killing Eagles, Hawks and Other Raptors"
(East County Magazine, 3/9/13)
Wildlife experts are reacting with outrage to AB 516, a bill in the California Legislature that would allow energy and utility companies to obtain "take" permits authorizing destruction of birds, eggs and nest that stand in the way of electrical transmission infrastructure. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/12687
"Are Energy Projects Causing Loss of Tourism Dollars on Public Lands?" (East County Magazine, 3/9/13)
Industrial-scale energy projects on Bureau of Land Management lands are pushed through by energy companies touting jobs and economic booms to communities. Not mentioned is the potential loss of tourism revenues if people stop coming to recreational areas that are visually blighted. That's been a fear voiced by residents near McCain Valley and Ocotillo, both scenic public recreation areas where wind projects are slated or recently completed. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/12683
"Salazar: frackers should disclose chemicals" (SF Gate, 3/13/13)
But Salazar also made clear that the Obama administration will continue to push oil drilling as well, as much as the president's green base may hate it. Domestic oil production has soared due to the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. And despite environmentalists' misgivings, Salazar insisted fracking can be done safely. His office is developing fracking regulations for public lands, and Salazar said that those rules would include three key principals.
"Tapping California shale oil could add millions of jobs, study says"
(Los Angeles Times, 3/13/13)
California's Monterey shale, which holds an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil, has been touted as crucial to the state's energy future and a boon to its economy. A study tries to quantify the potential economic benefits. The study by USC and the Communications Institute, a Los Angeles think tank, estimates that development of the 1,750-square-mile formation in central California could generate half a million new jobs by 2015 and 2.8 million by 2020.
"BLM Office In Bakersfield Is Not Performing Casing Or Cementing Inspections"
According to a mid-2011 Internal Control Review (ICR) the BLM conducted of its onshore oil and gas Inspection and Enforcement (I&E) program, "The drilling inspection process in Bakersfield is best summarized as a light review of drilling activity and, most importantly, exhibited a lack of proper documentation. Inspections reviewed had few or no comments in the AFMSS database. Supporting documentation, such as cement job reports, tally sheets, Blowout Preventer (BOPE) test results as well as charts of the test, were never included."
|WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Federal legislation would ban slaughter of U.S. horses"
(Los Angeles Times, 3/14/13)
Proposed federal legislation would ban the export of American horses for slaughter, reinstitute a ban on slaughtering them in the U.S., and protect the public from consuming "toxic" horse meat. The Bureau of Land Management periodically gathers the horses off the range and sells them at auction - theoretically to those who want to adopt them. But so-called "kill buyers" come to auctions too.
"MUSTANG FAMILY: BLM auction to separate band of horses"
(The Press-Enterprise, 3/12/13)
A wild horse advocacy group is criticizing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for deciding to separate and auction off a family of eight mustangs recently lured into corrals near Carson City, Nevada. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the Humane Society of the United States had opposed rounding up the horses, which local residents said they had been watching and enjoying through generations of the animals. But BLM officials in a news release called the horses a danger.
RELATED: : "Wild Horse Bait Trapping Effort in Carson City to Continue in Order to Prevent Safety Issues" (BLM Nevada) http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2013/february/wild_horse_bait_trapping.html
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Snow Mountain bill reintroduced in Washington" (Napa Valley Register, 3/7/13)
Congressional lawmakers from California have introduced a bill to designate as a national conservation area 350,000 acres of federal land stretching from Lake Berryessa in Napa County to Snow Mountain in Mendocino County. The designation would put the mostly wilderness territory under a single management plan for the federal agencies that manage it.
"BLM enforces ARPA" (Sierra Wave, 3/13/13)
Before you pick up that old bottle in the Eastern Sierra desert, remember the Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement might catch and fine you. BLM Manager in Bishop, Bernadette Lovato, said, "We have several ongoing investigations regarding people collecting artifacts." The same law that applied to the theft of petroglyphs applies to the theft of any item 50 years old or older. She said this is a violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act or ARPA.
RELATED: "Metal Detecting" (BLM California) http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/iac/metal_detecting.html
"BLM Receives Conservancy Grant to Improve Rush Creek Watershed Conditions"
The Bureau of Land Management's Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville has received a $207,164 grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for projects to improve streamside habitat and springs in the Rush Creek Watershed of eastern Lassen County. Funds will be used to build fences and spring improvements including water collection boxes and troughs in a 500-acre project area that provides habitat for sage-grouse and other wildlife, grazing areas for livestock, and forage areas for wild horses and burros. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2013/march/rushcreek.html
"Owens Valley Salty As Los Angeles Water Battle Flows Into Court" (NPR, 3/11/13)
In the West, fights over water last a long time. It's been almost 100 years since William Mulholland stood atop an aqueduct along the Owens River and said, "There it is, take it." He was referring to a diversion channel that started piping water to Los Angeles from 200 miles away. That water allowed L.A. to become the metropolis it is today. But it also meant that the Owens River no longer flowed into the massive Owens Lake, which quickly dried up and became one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation. Now, Los Angeles is back in court over its obligations to control dust pollution at Owens Lake.
"TEMECULA: Threats continue against arts colony's rural property"
(The Press-Enterprise, 3/12/13)
An effort to keep recreational target shooters off the property of a Temecula-area arts colony has met opposition from unidentified people who continue to trespass at the site and, this week, left a threatening message there, authorities said. Recreational shooters had visited the site, which is at the end of an unmaintained dirt extension of Pauba Road south of Highway 79, believing it to be federal Bureau of Land Management property. But after recent reports of trash and noise at the site, authorities investigated the ownership and learned the property actually belongs to the nearby Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. The area is now closed to the public.
|NATIONAL, OTHER STATE AND DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Interior pick puts outdoor industry in spotlight" (Los Angeles Times, 3/9/13)
Sally Jewell, the 57-year-old chief of Recreational Equipment Inc., represents a new face for a cabinet post more often associated with ranching or oil, gas and mining development. The fact that a mountain-climbing CEO of an outdoors company is President Barack Obama's nominee underscores a new reality in Washington and beyond: the growing influence of outdoor recreation as a political and economic force.
"Sequester hits Interior Department campsites" (Washington Post, 3/8/13)
The Bureau of Land Management has clamped a freeze on "all hiring with the exception of" seasonal firefighters, and it won't be filling many existing job vacancies. This means, according to a March 7 memo to all employees from Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze, that "many campgrounds and visitor facilities will close or will operate at reduced capacity" and the processing of leases" for oil and gas, coal, solar, wind and geothermal energy will be diminished.
"Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and NACo Renew Public Lands Management Partnership" (BLM 3/14/13)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (FS) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) have officially renewed their longstanding partnership that allows them to tackle public lands issues across boundaries. By signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the BLM and FS recognize the important role counties play in locally based decision-making and the need to emphasize a landscape-level approach across local, state and federal boundaries. http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2013/march/NR_03_14_2013.html
"Editorial: Can Obama build a public lands legacy?" (The Sacramento Bee, 3/9/13) Given the vast influence the Department of the Interior has over California's water, wildlife, public lands, Indian reservations and energy development, residents of the Golden State should pay close attention. Sally Jewell will face big hurdles helping Obama build a conservation legacy. But she needs to push it with as much energy as it takes to climb Mount Rainier. A century from now, people visiting the Escalante National Monument will remember Bill Clinton and Bruce Babbitt for this gift to the nation. Will Obama and Jewell be remembered for anything comparable?
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(g.) you don't call them any of these - red foxes are solitary
SOURCE: "Red Fox" (BLM California wildlife database)
More wildlife news from your public lands (and elsewhere):
"Mojave Maxine Emerges and Makes it Official: Spring is Here!"
(The Living Desert, 3/11/13) Mojave Maxine proved her natural born skill by emerging from her underground burrow Saturday, March 2nd, at 10:17 a.m. With Valley temperatures hovering in the 70's and 80's, it seems Maxine is an excellent predictor of Spring in the desert. http://www.ca.blm.gov/t1kd
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