A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 399 - 9/10/09
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Wildfires and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Youth and BLM: Employee profile
- National Public Lands Day: volunteer now
- Recreation and issues
- Renewable energy
- Headlines and highlights: Coastal Monument, jobs
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Oil and gas royalties, new agency?
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Homicide probed in massive L.A.-area arson fire" (Associated Press on Yahoo! News, 9/4/09)
"Investigators launched a homicide investigation ... into the wildfire north of Los Angeles after determining that the gigantic blaze -- which has killed two firefighters, scorched 226 square miles and destroyed dozens of homes -- was set intentionally." Includes links to video and photos.
RELATED: "Even charred landscape offers clues about wildfire" (Associated Press on KPBS, 9/3/09)
"[O]ne of the largest wildfires in Southern California history ... has claimed the lives of two firefighters, ravaged more than 250 square miles, destroyed more than 60 homes ... its origin is being treated as a potential crime scene ... Jeff Tunnell, a wildfire investigator for the Bureau of Land Management, said even in charred terrain, investigators can detect important signs in the soot."
"Southern California wildfires" (Los Angeles Times, KTLA-TV and KSBW-TV, 9/10/09)
Photo page, with links to California wildfire news, map, air quality and more. Click on "High-res photos" for some larger photos of recent wildfires.
(Note: his news site may require free registration to view its content online.)
"Oasis Fire reaches 1,400 acres; fire continues to jump lines" (Lake County News, 9/10/09)
"By day's end on Wednesday a fire on Bureau of Management Land in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area had burned an estimated 1,400 acres. The Oasis Fire moved into its second full day on Wednesday, with approximately 1,114 firefighters – 1,059 of them with Cal Fire – on the ground trying to knock the fire out."
"Flames fan fire costs" (Grass Valley Union, 9/3/09)
"Just two months into its new fiscal year, the state has already burned through 59 percent of its $182 million emergency firefighting fund ... On federal fires, 'whoever hosts an incident pays for it typically,' said [Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Chief Tim] Fike, whether it be on Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service or National Park lands ... who pays for what can get complicated in negotiations between agencies."
"No losses in a second alarm response fire" (Kern Valley Sun, 9/8/09)
"The Kern County Fire Department along with the Bureau of Land Management responded to a wildland fire near Tehachapi" and saw it "was quickly moving toward several homes." Their quick response enabled them "to save the houses and other nearby structures from being destroyed while keeping fire spread to ten acres."
"National Fire News" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during fire season.
"Government video website of the week: InciWeb" (Government Video, 9/4/09)
"Fighting wildland fires is hard work in an ever-changing landscape that seems to have a will of its own. Finding information on the Internet - including dramatic video - is not as dangerous," but some sites become overloaded. "InciWeb ... is cutting through some of the smoke with an attack of data, maps, news and photographs, updated often, which is all-important in this emergency." BLM collaborates with other agencies on the site.
WILD HORSES AND BURROS
"Controversy surrounding wild horse roundup" (MSNBC Today Show, 9/4/09)
Video: "NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports on a heated debate in Wyoming over a plan to round up herds of wild horses." Includes an appearance by BLM Director Bob Abbey.
"Horses, burros available for adoption in Buellton" (BLM-California news release, 8/18/09)
This Saturday, Sept. 12, the BLM will offer about 20 horses 18 months and younger and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about noon on Friday, Sept. 11.“All animals will be available for a $125 adoption fee,” said Art Digrazia, manager at BLM’s wild horse and burro facility in Ridgecrest. “Following registration, we’ll hold a drawing at 9:30 a.m. to determine an order for adopters to choose their animals.”
"Burro traps go up in Fort Irwin area this week"(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/6/09)
"The federal Bureau of Land Management this week will begin trapping wild burros at a spring near Fort Irwin used by an array of wildlife ... BLM wranglers will use what they call a 'water bait trap' ... The trapping is part of a larger effort to remove burros that stray onto Fort Irwin and into the national park."
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)
RELATED: "BLM to gather wild burros in California desert for adoption" (BLM-California news release, 9/4/09)
The animals will be made available for adoption through BLM’s national Wild Horse and Burro adoption program. BLM analyzes the environmental impacts of these gathers through preparation of environmental assessments.
"BLM to gather excess wild horses for adoption in Northeast California, Northwest Nevada" (BLM-California news release, 9/3/09)
The BLM will begin the gathering next week. The animals will be made available for adoption through BLM’s national Wild Horse and Burro adoption program. Herds in these areas have exceeded the population levels that can be sustained on the range, along with wildlife and authorized livestock.
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY: SOON
"National Public Lands Day 2009" (BLM-California website)
Calling all volunteers: BLM-California is celebrating National Public Lands Day this year with 13 events. Most them need volunteers to be fully successful. Find out if there is one for you. The "official" date is Sept. 26, but please note that dates vary depending on local conditions:
"Historic homestead among 82 sites involved in statewide cleanup" (The Desert Trail, 9/9/09)
"Organizers are hoping to bring more than 100 volunteers to the Poste Homestead Natural and Historical Area here for cleanup, trash removal and barrier placement on Saturday, Sept. 26 ... this historical and natural resource ... is home to sensitive wildlife species and magnificent displays of wildflowers in the spring." BLM's Barstow Field Office partnered with other groups for the National Public Lands Day project. Volunteers will be treated to a barbecue lunch and live music concert.
"Volunteers sought to pitch in at Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California news release, 9/9/09)
Volunteers at the Bureau of Land Management’s Carrizo Plain National Monument will resurface trails and do other work near Soda Lake as area residents join the largest annual coast-to-coast, single-day volunteer restoration effort for America’s public lands on Sept. 26.
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
||WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
Why are wild pigs rarely preyed up by non-humans?
(a.) they have formidable weapons in those tusks
(b.) they give off a pungent odor similar to skunks
(c.) to keep off flies, they roll around in an acrid mud that stings the eyes of other animals
(d.) they are secretive and difficult for predators to track
(e.) most non-human predators have not been close enough to a state fair to be captivated by vendors' chocolate-covered wild bacon on a stick
------> See answer -- and more on wild pigs -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
|YOUTH AND BLM
News.bytes will feature occasional stories on youth who take part in BLM-California programs, or the Department of the Interior's Office of Youth in Natural Resources.
|EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jennifer Bartlau...
...is an intern with BLM-California's Mother Lode Field Office. Jennifer is usually hidden beneath a broad rimmed hat and dark sunglasses to protect her from the bright sun, as she collects seeds for the "Seeds of Success" program at the Pine Hill Preserve. Read more:
"BLM's "Take It Outside" offers kids fishing day program" (BLM-California news release, 9/8/09)
Needles Field Office is partnering with other agencies to provide a free fishing experience for 30 families on Saturday, Sept. 26. San Bernardino County will waive day-use fees for up to 30 families at Moabi Regional Park. BLM also will provide a limited amount of rods and tackle for the young anglers on a first-come, first-served basis. All kids will receive a participation gift and drawings will be held for prizes.
|RECREATION AND ISSUES
"Ranger plants pink flags to draw attention to dog droppings on former Fort Ord trail" (Salinas Californian, 9/8/09)
"Park Ranger Tammy Jakl ran out of pink flags marking the small, smelly hazards along the Creekside Terrace Trailhead on the former Fort Ord." Creekside "is a dog-friendly park, but many dog owners have not been picking up droppings, and the fetid waste is piling up." That encourages growth of bacteria and parasites "that can be transferred to other pets, the wildlife and other people."
"More civility, less nudity planned for desert playgrounds, federal officials say"(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/4/09)
The BLM "would like to put a stop to adult-entertainment entrepreneurs who have found a niche at public off-roading meccas in the California desert ... BLM officials, who have been cracking down on nudity at the Imperial Sand Dunes ... for eight years, plan to expand the nudity ban to all their California desert off-roading areas and developed campsites."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online)
"Construction will delay traffic on Merced River Recreation Area access road" (BLM-California news release, 9/2/09)
Traffic will be subject to two-hour delays, Sept. 9 through Nov. 6. Delays will affect vehicle access below Briceburg, the Burma Grade, and the three campgrounds -- McCabe Flat, Willow Placer, and Railroad Flat.
"Stevens Trail parking lot closed for reconstruction" (BLM-California news release, 9/8/09)
The Stevens Trailhead parking lot off of North Canyon Way in Colfax will be closed for reconstruction from Sept. 14 to Oct 19. Trail users can still access the Stevens Trail from the Iowa Hill access point.
"Energy company calls halt to drilling project" (New York Times, 9/2/09)
A $17 million energy project in California that was supposed to demonstrate the feasibility of extracting vast amounts of heat from the earth’s bedrock has been suspended indefinitely after the drilling essentially snagged on surface rock formations." The project by AltaRock Energy "has encountered earthquake fears and scheduling delays" since it began in June.
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)
"Greens, new-energy backers at odds over use of desert" (Denver Post, 9/3/09)
"Pushed by federal stimulus money on one side and pulled by renewable-energy mandates on the other, the Mojave is about to come alive with solar energy ... But... hurdles ... include a dire shortage of transmission capacity and potential for years of litigation. And here, as elsewhere, it is increasingly clear that some of the most significant opposition to the country's biggest green-energy projects may come from, well, the greens."
"Renewable energy plan creates rift" (USA Today, 9/7/09)
One push of a proposed "clean-energy economy": building solar and wind power projects on public lands in the Mojave Desert, "one of the sunniest places on Earth ... That idea is creating a rift among environmentalists, who favor renewable energy but are at odds over where to produce it. Some are willing to compromise with utility companies to build large power plants on remote federal lands to accelerate the transition to clean energy. Purists are dead set against disturbing pristine landscapes" and say projects should focus on previously-disturbed private lands.
"RFK Jr., enviros clash over Mojave solar proposal" (Greenwire in New York Times, 9/9/09)
"[S]ome California-based activists are worried that solar developers like BrightSource are getting a free pass in a headlong rush to build clean energy and capitalize on federal stimulus dollars now available for such projects."
(Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.)
"Renewable-power fight at crossroads" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/4/09)
"A fierce and complicated fight has broken out in Sacramento over a simple idea with broad support - increasing California's use of renewable power. The fight isn't over the basic goal ... But the details involved in reaching such an ambitious goal..." The outcome of the debate would affect BLM-California's pending applications for renewable energy facilities and transmission lines on public lands.
"27 companies exploring Barstow's wind potential" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 9/4/09)
"Solar may be at the forefront of alternative energy exploration in the Mojave Desert, but a myriad of companies are also looking at the potential of wind as another clean source of electricity ... about 27 companies are looking to put some kind of wind project on land managed by the BLM’s Barstow field office. The majority of these applications are from companies who are seeking to test the desert’s wind potential..."
|NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"U.S. looking at "variable" oil, natgas royalties" (Reuters, 9/8/09)
"The Obama administration is considering charging oil companies 'variable' royalty rates for drilling on federal lands that would reflect the difficulty in finding oil and natural gas supplies, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said..."
"Sweeping Rahall bill would overhaul federal oil and gas leasing, royalties" (Greenwire in New York Times, 9/9/09)
The bill by the House Energy and Natural Resources chairman would create "a new Interior agency to govern oil and gas leasing on federal lands and to overhaul the federal royalty system. The far-reaching bill also includes measures to improve planning for offshore energy development, address wind and solar programs, and boost funding for ocean conservation and land acquisition."
|WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
a.) they have formidable weapons in those tusks
SOURCE: "Wild Pig - Sus scrofa" (BLM California wildlife database)
Wild pigs have few predators in the United States. Bears and bobcats occasionally prey on piglets, but adult pigs have tusks that make them difficult to prey upon.
"Wild pigs increasing damage to Fresno Co. ag" (Fresno Bee, 8/24/09)
"These days, the pigs are venturing from the foothills in eastern and western Fresno County to devour oranges, almonds, grapes and vegetables on Valley farms. Their rooting can destroy berms and rip through irrigation lines. While many of the pigs average about 100 pounds, some have grown much larger."
"Wild pigs creeping closer to farms, destroying property"(Merced Sun-Star, 8/29/09)
California "has more than 100,000 wild pigs. Well, that's only an estimate, because the pigs are smart, wily and quick ... In the foothills, where the pigs are common, they ruin ponds that cattlemen set up for their cattle. The pigs will dig up the pipes carrying water to the ponds, and the ponds end up dry."
More BLM-related wildlife stories:
"Tribune special report: Valley of life" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 9/7/09)
"Though the Carrizo Plain may look like a desolate, inhospitable landscape, the remote grasslands are actually home to California’s largest concentration of endangered species, many of which live in underground burrows and are very rarely seen." (This article accompanies stories on the development of solar energy on the Carrizo Plain - none of the projects would be within the Carrizo Plain National Monument.)
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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