BLM California News.Bytes Issue 839

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Sheephole Valley Wilderness. Photo by Kyle Sullivan, BLM.

Sheephole Valley Wilderness

ISSUE 839 - February 7, 2019

  • OHV Grants
  • Travel 
  • Headlines and Highlights
  • BLM and DOI Highlights 
  • Wildlife Question of the Week
  • Upcoming Events


Chappie-Shasta OHV Area. Photo by Eric Coulter, BLM.

February 12: BLM Redding Field Office Seeks Public Comments on OHV Grant Proposal

The Bureau of Land Management’s Redding Field Office is accepting public input on management needs and projects that would benefit off-highway vehicle recreation on public lands. The BLM will accept comments and suggestions at a public meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m., at the Redding Field Office, 6640 Lockheed Dr., Redding, CA  96002.  Anyone interested can mail comments to the BLM at the above address or send them by email to  The BLM must receive comments by 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. (BLM news release)

Johnson Valley OHV Area. Photo by BLM.

February 12 and 13: Public Invited to Provide Input for OHV Grant Proposals

The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled the dates, times and locations of several public meetings to provide input in the development of off-highway vehicle grant proposals for submission to the California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. Proposed grant applications are currently being prepared by the BLM staff for the 2018/2019 grant cycle. (BLM news release)

Public scoping meetings will be held at the locations, dates and times listed below:

Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 2 – 4 p.m. and 6 – 8 p.m. at the Palm Springs Field Office
Wednesday, Feb. 13, from noon – 2:30 p.m. at the El Centro Field Office
Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at the Needles Field Office
Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at the Barstow Field Office
Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 5 – 6 p.m. at the Ridgecrest Field Office

Volcanic Tablelands. Photo by BLM.

February 13: Open House for USFS and BLM Off-Highway Vehicle Grants Scheduled 

The Inyo National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office will hold an open house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, to gather public ideas for requesting off-highway vehicle grant funds. The informal open house will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Forest Service/BLM office, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop. (BLM news release)

Off-road vehicles at the Samoa Dunes. Photo by John Ciccarelli, BLM.

February 13: BLM Arcata Field Office Hosting Public Meeting to Seek Comments on OHV Grant

The Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office is holding a public meeting and accepting public comments regarding management needs and projects that would benefit off-highway vehicle recreation on public lands. The meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. at the BLM Arcata Field Office, 1695 Heindon Road in Arcata CA, 95521. Anyone interested can provide comments at the meeting or mail comments to the BLM by Thursday, Feb. 14. (BLM news release)

Fort Sage Special Recreation Management Area. Photo by Marisa Williams, BLM.

February 13: BLM Eagle Lake Field Office to Host Public Meeting for OHV Grant Request

Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts can share their thoughts and suggestions about projects that would benefit their sport, during a Bureau of Land Management public meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m., at the Eagle Lake Field Office, 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130. (BLM news release)

Related: BLM Eagle Lake Field Office Seeks Public Comments on OHV Grant Proposal (BLM new release


Upcoming travel plans? Please remember to check road conditions and closures. Travelers can also download the QuickMap app,, or call 1-800-427-7623 for constantly updated highway information. (California Department of Transportation

Point Arena-Stornetta, part of the California Coastal National Monument. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

Travelers Share Their Love of California

"We are always heartened to hear from visitors who are passionate about traveling to California, and any time we ask folks to share their #CALove they are eager to respond. Visit California gathered some comments from people who just can't wait to get back to the state." (Visit California website)

Related: The Bureau of Land Management manages 15 million acres of public lands in California - nearly 15 percent of the state - and 1.6 million acres in northwestern Nevada. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

2017 wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

California is Gearing Up for a Super Bloom This Spring

RAIN IN CALIFORNIA brings a pretty cool silver lining — an epic wildflower season. The rain and storms that have hit the sands of San Diego’s eastern desert this winter are already bringing early blooms (sand verbena, sunflowers, and desert lilies) to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, as reported by Ernie Cowan for The San Diego Union-Tribune. And the conditions point to possible a super bloom as spring approaches. The most recent super bloom in California occurred in 2017 and was so intense you could see it from space. (Matador Network)

Hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

The Three Top Desert Destination in California USA

California is famous for its big cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, California is also well known for the desert destination. These are three top desert destination that you can visit in California. (The Sun Runner)

California beach. Photo by Visit California.

9 Amazing Alternatives to National Parks

California’s nine national parks include some of America’s most iconic landscapes, including Yosemite Valley’s granite spires, Death Valley’s soaring sand dunes, and Sequoia’s gargantuan trees. But the grandeur of these places sometimes makes us forget to look for natural beauty beyond their borders. The Golden State is also home to 280 state parks—the nation’s largest state park system—brimming with their own extraordinary wonders. Snow-capped mountains? Check. Cactus-filled desert? Check. Wave-sculpted coastline? Check. If you’re looking for a national park alternative, there’s a California state park with your name on it. Here’s a collection for all nine national parks—and we even included one for Point Reyes National Seashore. (Visit California website)

Related: Many of your BLM-managed public lands offer wonderful opportunities to explore the great outdoors on the way to some of the country's most popular destinations, including National Parks. (BLM California Facebook)


Tule elk relocated from San Luis NWR. Photo by CDFW.

Wild Ride: 60 Tule Elk Moved to the Carrizo Plain — Using a Net Gun and a Helicopter

California wildlife managers recently undertook an adventurous, high-flying roundup, plucking 60 tule elk from the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Merced and moving them nearly 200 miles to the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County. The massive effort required dozens of people, a helicopter, a net gun and a livestock trailer. It’s part of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s efforts to manage the species that was once thought extinct after gold miners and settlers nearly wiped them out. How the remaining native elk population grew from a lone herd on a private ranch near the Kern County town of Buttonwillow in 1874, to what is now 6,000 wild tule elk wandering the state in 22 herds is “one of the real, great wildlife success stories in America,” said Peter Tira, a public information officer with Fish and Wildlife. (San Luiso Obispo Tribune)

Related: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Elk Management Program (CDFW website)

Students at Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Photo by Tracy Albrecht, BLM.

Palms, Parks and the Pacific Crest Trail

Students at Agua Caliente Elementary School ‘Took It Outside’ with the Bureau of Land Management during the first half of the 2018-2019 school year. Following teacher and BLM staff coordination and curriculum planning, fourth grade students received a slide show in October about public lands and received an Every Kid in a Park pass. During November, the BLM crew of staff and volunteers traveled class to class with hands-on lessons about local geology, flora and fauna, and then returned a week later to take individual classes on field trips to the Indian Canyons in the heart of Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Located on tribal lands and managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Indian Canyons is a desert wonder that hosts North America’s largest native fan palm oasis. Students hiked a three-mile trek, conducted a rock survey, maintained a species list, and completed group science projects on palm ecology. (BLM California Facebook)

Flight Over Mojave Trail NM. Photo by Mojave Desert Land Trust.

Flights Give Bird’s Eye View of Monument

With help from Ecoflight President Bruce Gordon, Mojave Desert Land Trust officials took a few select people on aerial tours of the Mojave Trails National Monument, which links Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. On one of two flights set for Thursday, Jan. 24, Gordon took of in a six-seat Cessna from Twentynine Palms Airport with five passengers. These included Breanne Dusastre, representing the city of Twentynine Palms, which has been designated a Mojave Trails National Monument gateway city. She said city officials are looking to promote the monument as a way to promote the Twentynine Palms tourist industry. “We want people to get out there,” Dusastre said of the monument. “To travel beyond Joshua Tree National Park. There are so many new areas to introduce them to.” (The Desert Trail)

Related: A monumental flight over Mojave Trails (Daily Press)

2018 Furguson Fire in Yosemite NP. Photo by Yosemite Conservancy.

Why the Ferguson Fire Didn’t Destroy Yosemite West: 15 Years of Wildfire Mitigation Generates a California Wildfire Success

“You have to get involved with fire,” urged a friend who survived the 1991 Tunnel (Oakland Hills) Fire. That sage advice came shortly after we bought our house in Yosemite West in 2002. At that time, we knew little about wildfire and had never heard of the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) — let alone considered the risk and responsibility of living in it. But, we did know that we didn’t want our house to burn down. Yosemite West is an isolated mountain community in Mariposa County, California, perched on a ridge, in a mixed conifer forest. It sits at 6,000 feet in elevation and has slopes as steep as 40 percent. Surrounded by undeveloped, privately owned lands, Yosemite National Park (the Park) and Sierra National Forest, its 109 acres contain 294 parcels with 161 houses, with new construction underway. A couple dozen of us live here year-round, but seasonally the population swells when several hundred tourists rent houses in the summer to be near Yosemite Valley. (Fire Adapted Communities website)


Oil and gas rig. Photo by BLM.

Energy Revolution Unleashed: Interior Shatters Previous Records with $1.1 Billion in 2018 Oil and Gas Lease Sales

Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced that Interior Bureau of Land Management state offices generated $1.1 billion from oil and gas lease sales in calendar year 2018, an amount nearly equal to the BLM’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018, and the highest-grossing year on record, nearly tripling what had been the agency’s highest year ever in 2008, which generated approximately $408 million. Bonus bids from the 28 oil and gas lease sales held in calendar year 2018 came to $1,151,109,064 in preliminary figures released today by the BLM. Among these, a total of 1,412 parcels, covering almost 1.5 million acres, were leased. (DOI news release)

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Photo by DOI.

Trump to Name Acting Interior Secretary to Lead Department

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is nominating David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for oil and gas companies and other industries, to head the Interior Department despite objections from environmental groups that Bernhardt already was making regulatory decisions on the country’s natural resources to benefit industries. (AP News)

MLK Lincoln Memorial 1963. NARA photo.

Exploring African American Heritage

Join us in celebrating Black History Month. As part of Interior's mission, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service preserve and interpret important places that teach us about our nation’s history and culture, so that future generations can learn from the past. The many African American heritage sites protected and maintained by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service honor the contributions African Americans made to the nation. To help celebrate Black History month, explore some of these historic sites online and in person. (DOI website)

Yosemite visit by Roosevelt and Muir. Historic DOI photo.

An American Tradition: Visiting National Parks

National parks are tightly woven into the fabric of American culture. For over a century, generations of visitors have explored these stunning landscapes, marveled at amazing wildlife, walked in the footsteps of the people who shaped our history and formed a connection to the outdoors. Coming in wagons, by train or piled into the family station wagon, the experience of visiting a national park has evolved, but the wonder remains the same. Take a trip back in time to see how each generation discovered our national treasures in their own way and how these traditions live on. (DOI blog)


Ozaena lemoulti beetle. Photo by Wendy Moore via Science Friday.

Fill in the Blank

There are many beetles that have adapted to living inside ant nests, using them for safety and feeding, vampire-like, on the body fluids of ants as a source of food. But in a canyon in southern Arizona, one species has developed a unique method of survival. Can you guess what?

a) Dracula tendencies 
b) Impersonation 
c) Camouflage
d) Playing dead 

Keep scrolling to find out!


InstaMeet at Mojave Trails National Monument. Photo by Kyle Sullivan, BLM.

February 9: InstaMeet and Star Party at Amboy Crater

#MeetUsonRoute66 for an InstaMeet and Star Party! Partners and social media followers are invited to Amboy Crater Saturday, Febraury 9 at 4:00 pm Pacific to capture what is promising to be a great bloom in the desert and stunning night skies! BLM staff will be on hand to talk about public access opportunities and history of Amboy Crater, the Mojave Trails National Monument, Route 66 and the importance of community in supporting public lands management. This is a great opportunity for photographers to capture the dynamic contrast of wildflowers and black lava at the iconic landscape featured along Route 66. After sunset, astronomers will be around to interpret the night sky! (BLM California Facebook)

Related: (Mojave Desert Land Trust and City of 29 Palms event schedule)

Related: Photographers, astronomers come together to celebrate monument (The Desert Trail)

Follow along on the BLM National @mypubliclands Instagram, BLM California Facebook and @BLMca Twitter.

Kids at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Photo by Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center.

March 3, April 7 and May 5: Story Time and Young Explorers at Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Story Hour for children ages 5 to 7: Join us in our Kid’s Corner to hear a story about nature and creatures that live in the desert of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Reading will be followed by an indoor or outdoor arts and crafts activity.

Young Explorers for ages 8 and above: Compass and maps are a very important part of your 10 essentials when hiking in the desert. Let’s explore and have fun learning about them!

RSVP required. Event will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. Please visit or call (760) 862-9984 for more information.

Wild horse, part of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Photo by BLM.

Ongoing: Bring Home a Wild Horse or Burro

The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program is excited to announce nearly 70 events this year as part of BLM's efforts to find good homes for our nation's wild horses and burros. Known for their intelligence, endurance and loyalty, wild horses and burros, with the right training, are outstanding for trail riding, packing, working and have successfully competed for awards in numerous fields from endurance riding to dressage. With more than 81,000 wild horses and burros on BLM-managed public lands, these wild icons of our American history need your help more than ever. Without any natural predators that can control population growth, wild horse and burro herds grow rapidly on the range and can quickly overcome the land's ability to support them. The BLM works to maintain healthy wild herds by gathering excess animals and placing them into good homes. (BLM website)


There are many beetles that have adapted to living inside ant nests, using them for safety and feeding, vampire-like, on the body fluids of ants as a source of food. But in a canyon in southern Arizona, one species has developed a unique method of survival. Can you guess what?

a) Dracula tendencies 

Researchers describe the life cycle of one ground beetle, Ozaena lemoulti, which seems to made their Dracula tendencies a family affair. Rather than waiting in burrows for ants to come to them, the larvae, like the adults, seem adapted to be mobile predators…and may also subsist on soft, nutritious and defenseless baby ants. (Meet The Vampire-Like Beetles That Prey On Ants via Science Friday)