BLM California News.Bytes Issue 888

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news bytes - bureau of land management californiaPhoto of Dumont Dunes East

Dumont Dunes East, Barstow Field Office

ISSUE 888- Feb. 7, 2020

  • Recreation and Public Access
  • Headlines and Highlights
  • BLM and DOI Highlights 
  • Wildlife Question of the Week
  • Upcoming Events

Recreation and Public Access

Photo of Rainbow Basin Natural Area during sunset.

Fossils in Rainbow Basin Natural Area

Rainbow Basin Natural Area’s multicolored rock walls and mesas mirror the early evening sky’s blush hue. Water and wind have worked magic in the mountains, slowly chiseling a basin for wanderers. (BLM CA Facebook)

Children at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument.

Children learn about endangered species at Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Over the winter break, children of all ages visited the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument to learn about stewardship of endangered species on public lands. The children visited the Windy Point Dunes and the Coachella Valley Preserve to see habitats of at-risk species including the Desert Pupfish and the Coachella Valley Milk vetch. (BLM CA Facebook)

A photo of OHV racing in rocky terrain

Racers kick it into high gear at King of the Hammers

Hammertown kicked into high gear early this week with the start of the qualifying races for King of the Hammers, the 4WP Every Man Challenge and the Holley EFi Shootout. Hundreds of drivers and their teams are preparing for the world’s toughest off-road races.(Hi-Desert Star)

Headline and Highlights

A photo of a solar array at the bottom of a desert valley.

BLM authorizes Eland Gen-Tie Project generation interconnection line in Kern County

In a move that will improve the nation's energy infrastructure, the Bureau of Land Management has approved the Eland Gen-Tie Project in Kern County, northeast of Mojave. (BLM news release)

Lush green hills with purple wild flowers.

BLM Mother Lode Field Office temporarily closes Magnolia Ranch

The Bureau of Land Management Mother Lode Field Office will temporarily close the Magnolia Ranch trailhead and parking lot on Feb. 13, for parking lot maintenance and the mornings of Feb. 19-20, while the Wildland Fire Training Center conducts its annual aviation training exercise. (BLM news release)

Photo of piles of brush burning.

BLM to oversee pile burning in Pine Hill Preserve

The Bureau of Land Management will oversee pile burning on approximately 20 acres in the Cameron Park Unit of the Pine Hill Preserve in El Dorado County in the coming months. Burn operations are scheduled to start this week and will take roughly 30 days until the end of April, depending on weather, air quality and resource availability. (BLM news release)

Two OHVs crawl across desert dunes

BLM schedules DUI checkpoints on public lands in Imperial County

Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Rangers will conduct driving under the influence and registration checkpoints to promote visitor safety on BLM-managed public lands Feb. 13, to 2 a.m., Feb. 17, in Imperial County within the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. (BLM news release)

BLM and DOI Highlights

A areal photo of an abandoned mine.

Interior announces more than $170 million in conservation funding for States and Tribes to reclaim and repurpose abandoned coal mines

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced the availability of Fiscal Year 2020 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation grants through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. A total of $170.9 million in grants will be provided this year for states and tribes to reclaim and repurpose abandoned coal lands. (DOI news release)

Cows grazing

BLM and Forest Service Announce 2020 Grazing Fees

The Federal grazing fee for 2020 will be $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. The 2019 public land grazing fee was $1.35. (BLM news release)

A photo of a Lynx in snow.

This Week at Interior February 7, 2020

This Week: President Trump delivers his third State of the Union Address, touching on key parts of Interior’s portfolio, with Secretary Bernhardt as “designated survivor”; President Trump declares February as National African American History Month; Interior’s Central Hazardous Materials Fund marks 25 years of success, and a snow-nimble Canada lynx is our social media Picture of the Week! (DOI video)

Wildlife Question of the Week

A photo of a San Francisco Garter snake

Multiple Choice 

San Francisco garter snakes, if unable to escape, as last line of defense will…
a) Strike and bite
b) Strike and constrict
c) Emit a foul-smelling substance
d) Play dead

Keep scrolling to find out!

Upcoming Events


Public is invited to discuss invasive plants

The public is invited to attend a free discussion about non-native invasive plants – their impact on biodiversity and what people can do to address the issue – on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m., at the Healy Center, 456 Briceland Road, in Redway. (BLM news release)

Download a photo of off-highway vehicles at Red Canyon in the Needles Field Office.

BLM California seeking public comments for off-highway vehicle grant applications

Deadline for submitting comments is February 21

In addition, the following field offices will be hosting public meetings:

Arcata Field Office Feb. 11, starts at 5 p.m. (BLM news release)
Ukiah Field Office Feb. 13, 5:30 - 7 p.m. (BLM news release)
Bakersfield Field Office Feb. 13, 6 - 8 p.m. (BLM news release)
Central Coast Field Office Feb. 19, 5 - 6:30 p.m. (BLM news release)

California Desert District will host multiple meetings on the following days:
Feb. 12, 4:30 - 6 p.m.
Feb. 13, 4 - 6 p.m.
Feb. 24, 4:30 - 6 p.m.
(BLM news release)

Note: Eagle Lake Field Office is accepting public comments. (BLM news release)

A group of people walking dogs in the desert.

Happy tails dog adventure at the La Quinta Cove

Thursday, 20 February 2020 from 08:30-10:00

Doggos! Fetch your leash and join other puppers on an outing in the great outdoors. “Happy Tails” provides fun exercise while exploring in nature. Learn about doggo-friendly trails along with local history, plants and wildlife. Set in the nearby Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, this guided walk is designed to help locals learn how to enjoy the desert's Public Lands with attention to Bighorn Sheep. (BLM CA Facebook)

A lady performing yoga on a bolder.

Yoga with a ranger

Friday, 21 February 2020 from 09:00-10:00

Join a National Monument park ranger for a fun yoga flow for all skill levels. Connect with the landscape through a sequence of physical postures, movements, and breathing techniques that also strengthen your body and mind. Poses commonly mimic Earth, animals and trees. This outdoor activity is routinely performed barefoot. Bring a yoga mat or towel, water, and sunscreen. Limited to 15 participants. Meet on the Visitor Center patio. (BLM CA Facebook)

A photo of Alabama Hills National Monument.

These Alabama Hills are alive

Saturday, 22 February 2020 from 10:00-13:00

Explore the mysteries hidden within the eroded granite rock while walking through the passageways and along the ridge lines that make up the maze of this amazing setting. Learn about the many secretive creatures and flora hidden within the rocks. This is a moderately strenuous hike with occasional steep sections of trail.
Free Community Program open to the public. (BLM CA Facebook)

Caliente Mountains in Carrizo Plain

Public nominations for Resource Advisory Councils open

Deadline to submit nominations is Monday, 24 February 2020

The Northern California, Central District and Desert Resource Advisory Councils are seeking nominations for public members. These citizen-based committees assist in the development of recommendations that address public land management issues. The BLM maintains 37 such advisory committees formally chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Federal Policy and Land Management Act (FLPMA) across the West. Of those committees, 31 are RACs and the remainder are site or subject-specific advisory councils. Each RAC consists of 10 to 15 members from diverse interests in local communities, and they assist in the development of recommendations that address public land management issues.


The answer is c. The San Francisco garter snake will emit a foul-smelling substance so
that their attacker will release them.

The San Francisco garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia, is often called the most beautiful snake in the United States. The first things you notice are the burnt-orange head, the slender, turquoise-blue body and bold stripes. The stripe pattern that runs along the snake's "shoulders" is black, red-orange, black. Large adults can reach a meter (3 feet) or more in length.

San Francisco garter snakes are primarily active during the day. They may hunt after dark on warm evenings. The snakes are extremely shy, difficult to locate and capture, and quick to flee to water or cover when disturbed.

Garter snakes are not dangerous. In California, only rattlesnakes have venom that is dangerous to humans.

(Fish & Wildlife Service)

(San Francisco Zoo fact sheet) PDF