BLM California News.Bytes Issue 845

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Desert Lily Sanctuary. Photo by Kyle Sullivan, BLM.

Desert Lily Sanctuary

ISSUE 845 - March 21, 2019

  • Track the Bloom
  • Wildland Fire
  • Headlines and Highlights
  • BLM and DOI Highlights 
  • Wildlife Question of the Week
  • Upcoming Events


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

March 2019 Carrizo Plain NM. Photo by Johna Hurl, BLM.


This time of year there is a lot of #CAlove, especially with the much anticipated wildflowers. We will continue sharing updates from your public lands to help visitors know what to realistically expect when it comes to wildflower blooms. As you make plans to #RoadTripCalifornia, please remember the importance of Leave No Trace principles.

As of March 20, 2019, flowers have taken hold in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The Temblor Mountains are yellow and the Caliente Mountains have splashes of yellow (hillside daisies).

The valley floor is turning yellow as well with goldfields and hillside daisies. Just south of the visitor center we are getting tidy tips, phacelia and hillside daisies, which make a colorful display. The monument is boasting with yellow, however we are still expecting more flowers out in the next few weeks.

REMINDER: Some roads remain impassable from rains even with warmer weather. Vehicles can easily get stuck, please follow warning signs and respect private property when visiting your public lands. This is a remote area with limited towing services, no fuel, food or water nearby. Don’t forget to check the visitor center wildflower info line (805) 475-2035.

Related: Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Related: Theodore Payne Wild Flower Hotline

Related: Desert USA Wildflower Report

Super bloom in the Sacramento River Bend Outstanding Natural Area. 2016 photo by Eric Coulter, BLM.

Remember to #LeaveNoTrace While You #TracktheBloom

The Bureau of Land Management in California is excited to #TracktheBloom this year! The always anticipated spring wildflower blooms, especially in the Golden State are making headlines and it's no surprise why. With these blooms come an increased need for our public lands visitors to help care for these stunning landscapes, practice responsible wildflower viewing and set realistic expectations for what Mother Nature has in store. (BLM California Facebook)

Bradshaw Trail in bloom. Photo by Kyle Sullivan, BLM.

Stunning 'Super Bloom' of Wildflowers Draws Huge Crowds in Southern California

An unusually wet winter has created a "super bloom" in southern California with scenery so stunning it's stopping traffic. Locals and tourists alike have been flocking to Riverside County and elsewhere to grab that perfect Instagram shot of hillsides filled with brightly colored desert flowers. Hillsides in places like Lake Elsinore, about an hour southeast of Los Angeles, have been inundated with tourists eager to see the beautiful golden poppy fields. (TODAY)

Related: 'Unbearable': California town closes access to super bloom due to massive crowds (SF Gate)

Poppy fields in Lake Elsinore, California, shut down to public amid Super Bloom apocalypse (USA TODAY)


Historic mining sites at the Keysville Special Recreation Management Area. Photo by Erin Schmitt, BLM.

BLM to Conduct Pile Burning at Keysville and the San Joaquin River Gorge

Bureau of Land Management wildland firefighters will be burning piles of hazardous brush and tree limbs on roughly 10 acres at two recreation sites managed by the Bakersfield Field Office in the Kern River Valley and the San Joaquin River Gorge in the coming months. Burn operations will depend on weather and air quality conditions. (BLM news release)

2013 Rim Fire. Photo by USFS.

Department of the Interior Highlights 2018 Efforts to Reduce Wildfire Risks

The Department of the Interior announced the Department's accomplishments in meeting the Trump Administration’s goals for reducing vegetation to lower wildfire risk and restore federal lands damaged by wildfires. 2018 marks the third consecutive year of increasing vegetation management and restoration accomplishments on the nation’s public lands. These efforts reflect implementation of the recently issued Executive Order and Secretary Order on reducing wildfire risk by promoting active management, and affirm DOI’s commitment to advance the principles of active management on DOI-administered and tribal lands. (DOI news release)

Related: President Proposes $919 million for Department of the Interior Wildland Fire Management in Fiscal Year 2020 (DOI news release

Wildland firefighters. Photo by BLM.

California Had More Wildfire Damage Last Year Than Any Other State

California had the most wildfire damage among all U.S. states in 2018 and is only second behind Texas for the highest number of blazes, data shows. A year-end report by the National Interagency Fire Center shows 8,054 wildfires scorched more than 1.8 million acres across the Golden State last year. Texas had 10,541 wildfires, which burned 569,811 acres... California's charred acreage is nearly double the 1 million acres that burned last year in Nevada, which had the second-highest amount of damage among states. (Desert Sun)

Sawyer clearing vegetation. Photo by Eric Coulter, BLM.

BLM Offers Property Owners Fuel Reduction Permits

Property owners who share boundaries with Bureau of Land Management public lands may now apply for permits to clear flammable vegetation from public lands adjacent to their private properties. The BLM Redding Field Office will issue free hazardous fuels reduction variance permits for public lands in Butte, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties. (BLM news release)

Wildland firefighters. Photo by BLM.

A wildland #firejob might be for you! 

Apply TODAY for BLM fire jobs on USAJOBS:

- Forestry Technician (Fire) in Placerville, CA

- Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) in Essex, Onyx and Yucca Valley, CA

- Forestry Technician (Assistant Superintendent) in Susanville, CA

- Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) in Susanville, Cedarville and Whitethorn, CA

- Forestry Technician (Fire) in Cedarville, Susanville and Whitethorn, CA

- Forestry Technician (Fire) in Cedarville, Susanville and Whitethorn, CA


An AMLU contractor peers into an old mineshaft near residences in the Lake Isabella area. Photo by Cal Conservation.

Stay Out, Stay Alive — Closing Abandoned Mines to Protect the Public

DOC Division of Mine Reclamation’s Abandoned Mine Lands Unit has been responsible for closing more than a thousand potentially dangerous legacy mine openings around the state, typically with protecting outdoor recreation enthusiasts in mind. Recently, though, AMLU facilitated a project that started with a mother’s plea to protect a child in true need of protection. In late October 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield office was contacted by a new resident of the Hungry Gulch area of Lake Isabella who had found the abandoned shaft within a couple hundred feet of her home. (California Department of Conservation)

South end of Panamint Valley. Photo by BLM.

BLM Seeks Public Comment for the Panamint Valley Exploratory Drilling Project in Inyo County

The Bureau of Land Management, Ridgecrest Field Office, seeks public comments on the Environmental Assessment for the Panamint Valley Lithium Exploration Project, located in Inyo County, north of Trona. Public comments on this EA must be submitted to the BLM by April 15. The drilling project will attempt to locate lithium, which is a critical mineral on the list of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy. (BLM news release

Sage-grouse. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

California Governor Supports BLM Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan Changes

Furthering the Administration’s goals of restoring trust with local communities and responsibly developing America’s natural resources while easing regulatory burdens, the Bureau of Land Management today issued Records of Decision amending land use plans for Greater Sage-Grouse habitat management on public lands, providing special protective measures for nearly 60 million acres of sagebrush steppe. The decisions received bipartisan support from the governors who sought revisions to the plans that guide conservation of sagebrush steppe habitat on BLM-administered public lands in their respective states. The goal was to better align BLM plans for managing habitat with state plans for conserving the species. (BLM news release)

Star Wars filmed in ISDRA. Photo by BLM.

In a Galaxy Not That Far, Far Away

Locations shoots for the 10 “Star Wars” films have covered a wide variety of landscapes across the world. There is not a continent on the planet that hasn’t been visited in the making of “Star Wars.” Australia has the least “claim to fame” in the “Star Wars” universe. No location shoots have occurred there, but the Fox Studios in Sydney was used for movies II and III. Among some of the international locations for “Star Wars” are Tunisia in Western Africa, Iceland, Spain, Italy, China, Thailand, Norway, Croatia, Bolivia and Ireland. Seeking out and visiting the actual locations where “Star Wars” was filmed in California [Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area] can be a fun hobby. (The Signal)

Related: Destination Rides in Glamis (UTV Guide)

Kids Ocean Day 2018. Photo by BLM.

Kids Ocean Day—Caring for the Coast

More than 1,000 local students took an active role in protecting the coast
by restoring dune habitat and picking up trash. The students were participating in the 14th annual Kids Ocean Day event, June 7, 2018, at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit of the Humboldt Bay in Loleta, CA. Afterwards the students, teachers, and volunteers formed a giant aerial image with the message "Waves of Change,” while local pilot Mark Harris flew a plan overhead so that J. Patrick Cudahy could capture the image.
The “Kids Ocean Day” cleanups are funded by the California Coastal Commission and are held statewide with events occurring from late May to early June, leading up to June 8, World Oceans Day, where the focus is on collaborating for a better global ocean in the future. (Newswire - News from DOI: Ocean, Great Lakes and Coasts - page 11)

Author Bob Lorentzen walks with his dog along the Noyo Headlands Coastal Trail. Photo by John Burgess, The Press Democrat.

Guidebook Offers New Hikes to Try on the Mendocino Coast

Trail guides are a literary form all their own. Most will get you where you want to go. The most artful of the genre, however, will change your perception of a place for forever. You may even find yourself reading an especially inspired trail guide over and over like a beloved novel. Such was my fate when I traded in my heavily dog-eared 20-year-old copy of Bob Lorentzen’s “The Hiker’s Hip Pocket Guide to the Mendocino Coast” for the new fourth edition, now available at local independent bookstores, museums and from the Bored Feet Press website. (The Press Democrat)

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


Tule Elk in Cache Creek. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

BLM and Forest Service Announce 2019 National Conservation Awards

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Agriculture’s Forest Service recognized the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto last week for their leadership and contributions to wildlife conservation and public lands stewardship. The awards were presented at the 84th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Denver. (BLM news release

Abandoned Mine Lands Photo by USDA.

Interior Provides More Than $291 Million in Conservation Funding for States and Tribes to Clean Up and Repurpose Abandoned Coal Mines

U.S. Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the availability of the Fiscal Year 2019 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation grants through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. This year’s grants will provide more than $291.2 million for states and tribes to reclaim and repurpose abandoned coal lands. (DOI news release)

Bags of Fentanyl. Photo by DOI.

30,000 Fentanyl Pills Trafficked by Mexican Drug Cartel Seized by Interior Department Law Enforcement Task Force on Opioids

Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the Department’s Joint Task Force on Opioid Reduction seized approximately 30,000 fentanyl pills and more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of other illegal drugs during a recent operation in Arizona. This operation was related to a Bureau of Indian Affairs Drug Enforcement joint investigation into large amounts of fentanyl pills from a Mexican drug trafficking organization being transported into the U.S. through Points of Entry located on the Tohono O'odham Nation. (DOI news release

Adopted wild horse and owner. Photo by BLM.

Bureau of Land Management Offers New Incentives to Encourage More Adoptions of Wild Horses and Burros

As part of the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to find good homes for wild horses and burros removed from public lands, the agency today began offering new financial incentives to encourage qualified people to adopt one or more of the animals. The program is part of the BLM’s efforts to confront a growing over-population of wild horses and burros on fragile rangelands and in off-range holding facilities, which cost taxpayers nearly $50 million every year to maintain. (BLM news release)

Related: BLM wild horse and burro adoption stories (My Public Lands Flickr)


Bald eagle flying. Photo by Audubon.

True or False

Bald eagles usually mate for life. 

Keep scrolling to find out!


Historic photo of burros in Bodie, California. Photo by BLM.

Now - December 2019: Fueling the Boom, Chinese Woodcutters in the Great Basin 1870-1920 

The Nevada State Museum in Carson City is hosting a new exhibit featuring historical/ archaeological artifacts and photographs about Chinese woodcutting camps from Bodie Hills. The exhibit will highlight the significance of the woodcutting community near Chinese Camp (Aurora), shedding light on the little-known history of the Chinese woodcutters who lived there and felled pinyon pines to supply charcoal and firewood to the mining camps of Bodie and Aurora from 1875 to 1915. (Nevada State Museum website)

Alabama Hills. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

March 23, 24, 30 and 31: Alabama Hills Film, Geology and Natural History Hikes

The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office, Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association will be hosting two-hour, guided hikes about the film, geology and natural history of the Alabama Hills. Hikes will begin at 10 a.m. and leave from the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center at the intersection of U.S. Route 395 and California State Route 136 in Lone Pine. (BLM news release)

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

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.

Public visitors at a wild horse herd management area. Photo by BLM.

August 2-4: 2nd Annual Wild Horse Walkabout 

Save the date! The public is invited to the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area near Susanville, CA. Attendees will spend the two nights out on the range to learn about how the BLM monitors rangeland and herd health from a BLM wild horse and burro specialist. Don't miss this unique opportunity to learn more about how BLM manages wild horses and burros. (BLM California Facebook)

Trinidad Head Lighthouse. Photo by BLM.

First Saturday of Every Month: Living History at Trinidad Head Lighthouse

BLM Park Ranger Julie Clark plays Josephine Harrington for Trinidad School students at Trinidad Head Lighthouse. Josephine lived with her husband, Captain Fred Harrington the lighthouse keeper, at the Trinidad Head Lighthouse for 28 years. Julie has been performing this living history piece to bring the past to life since the BLM acquired the lighthouse in 2014. Now part of the California Coastal National Monument, the Trinidad Head Lighthouse is open to the public the first Saturday of every month (year-round). Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. thanks to docents from the Trinidad Museum Society

Contact the Arcata Field Office for details, (707) 825-2300.

WHB adoption promo. 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)


Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) usually first breed at age 4-5 years, and may mate for life. Nest site is usually in tree, often on cliff in west, or on ground on northern islands. Tree nests are usually in very tall tree, standing above surrounding forest, up to 180' or more above ground. Nest (built by both sexes) usually a mound of sticks, lined with finer materials; nest may be reused and added to for years, becoming huge. Great Horned Owls sometimes take over nests. (Guide to North American Birds via Audubon)