BLM California News.Bytes Issue 903

View as a webpage

news bytes - bureau of land management california
A mountain and wild flowers.

Owens Peak Wilderness, Ridgecrest Field Office

ISSUE 903- May 21, 2020

  • Recreation and Public Access
  • Headlines & Highlights
  • Wildland Fire & Fuels Management 
  • BLM Armchair Adventures
  • BLM & DOI Highlights
  • Wildlife Question of the Week
  • Upcoming Events

Recreation and Public Access

A man on a bike crossing a bridge.

BLM reminds visitors to recreate responsibly and safely on public lands during Memorial Day weekend

With Memorial Day weekend approaching the Bureau of Land Management is working with local, state, and federal partners and will use a phased approach to expand access to closed areas in California on a case-by-case basis. The safety of visitors to public lands remains our top priority. Some areas remain temporarily closed and we encourage visitors to please check the BLM California webpage to determine operating status and current conditions before planning their visit. (BLM news release)

Horseback riders on a trail.

Lassen County riders enjoy the fruits of their labor

Big thanks to the Lassen County riders and friends from Modoc County, members of the Backcountry Horsemen of California – High Country Unit, who last Saturday, spent the day taking in expansive views and wildflower blooms as they explored the series of looped trails. (BLM CA Facebook)

A view of Eagle Lake from above a cliff.

BLM opening North Eagle Lake Campground in time for Memorial Day weekend

The Bureau of Land Management has announced the opening of the North Eagle Lake Campground on Friday, May 22, in time for Memorial Day weekend and the Eagle Lake fishing season opening day. (BLM CA news release)

Rainbow over a desert landscape.

Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs OHV Areas to reopen

Following guidance from state and local public health authorities, Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs OHV Areas reopened for public use and enjoyment on May 15. The visitor center will remain closed at this time. (BLM CA Facebook)

Video still of ranger Tracy.

Backyard Flowers with Tracker

Hey Kids! The world of wildflowers is an exciting one. It involves flower parts, pollinators, and a fun interplay between the two. In a short video, Tracker shares the story of a flower's journey to become a seed. All over public lands there are flowers and pollinators working together for success in future wildflower seasons. (BLM CA Facebook)

An info-graphic about recreating outdoors during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Practice social distancing outdoors

Outdoor activities can provide many health benefits when practiced safely. We recommend visiting areas close to home while avoiding very popular or crowded locations where social distancing may be difficult and limiting group activities to members of your household. Do your part when visiting public lands. (BLM CA Website)

Headline & Highlights

A close up of a green insect.

World Bee Day

Celebrate #WorldBeeDay today by learning about these vital pollinators and how BLM is working to protect and manage the habitats that allow these essential insects to thrive! 🐝🌼🌺 All these photos were taken on BLM lands throughout California by our awesome field staff and researchers! (BLM CA Facebook)

Wind turbines on a desert ridge.

BLM releases Mesa Wind Repower Project for public comment

The Bureau of Land Management Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office released for public comment a draft Environmental Assessment on the Mesa Wind Repower Project, located on public lands 11 miles northwest of the City of Palm Springs. The release of the EA begins a 30-day public comment period that closes on June 19. (BLM CA news release)

Graffiti on boulders.

'COVID-19 2020' and a sad face emoji: Graffiti vandalism still a problem on Mojave Desert public lands

To the north of Yucca Valley in Johnson Valley, several rock formations sit along the side of Highway 247, a popular recreation spot for climbers. But the rocks are also a target for graffiti vandals. Most graffiti reference cross-country road trips with dates from 2014 to 2020. Other tags include the symbol of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, swastikas (many of which have been painted over or crossed out), profane messages and a grab-bag of slogans. (Desert Sun)

Video Still of a dried flower.

Botanizing the BLM Lands of the North Coast

Jennifer Wheeler, botanist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Arcata, will take us on a virtual journey across BLM Lands on the North Coast. The BLM manages a diverse collection of habitats across Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties including Red Mountain, South Fork Eel, and King Range. (CNPS North Coast Youtube)

Panoche Hills.

Target shooting banned for season on west side because of wildfire-prevention rules

Target shooting is banned for the season in the hills of western Fresno County because of fire danger, the Bureau of Land Management announced. The BLM seasonal fire restrictions began Friday for public lands primarily located in western Fresno County as well as rural Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties. (Fresno Bee)

Related: BLM Central Coast Field Office issues seasonal fire restriction. (BLM CA news release)

A K9 dog in a field of wildflowers.

BLM California salutes our 4-legged K9 partners during #NationalPoliceWeek

 Meet Goose, a 9-year-old, Belgian Malinois bred dog that was born in the Holland region of the Netherlands. Belgian Malinois dogs have become the preferred breed among police and military working dogs, as they are smaller than German shepherds, but still highly intelligent, loyal and very fast. (BLM CA Facebook)

A vole.

It’s #EndangeredSpeciesDay

BLM employees work hard year-round to protect at-risk species like the Amargosa vole, the California Condor, and the Desert Tortoise. BLM’s Threatened and Endangered Species Program works to conserve and recover federally listed species and their habitat on public lands. (BLM CA Facebook)

Info graphic photo of EMS personnel by an ambulance and text that reads first responders.

This week is #NationalEMSWeek

Now more than ever first responders are going above and beyond for their communities. We thank them for their selfless work in responding to any emergency. (CAL Fire Facebook)

Wildland Fire & Fuels Management

A fire fighter igniting a prescribed burn.

Lake Mathews Reserve in western Riverside County prescribed burn was a success

BLM fire crews successfully completed the prescribed fire in the Lake Mathews Reserve in western Riverside County. This burn removed dead vegetation and provided a live fire training opportunity for crews to practice suppression techniques, such as line construction and hose lays. It also gave them time to observe fire behavior, providing a glimpse of the conditions the approaching season may bring. (BLM CA Facebook)

A photo of Tumey Hills.

BLM Central Coast Field Office issues seasonal fire restrictions

The Bureau of Land Management is issuing seasonal fire restrictions effective May 15 for public lands managed by the Central Coast Field Office, primarily located in western Fresno, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, due to dry conditions and wildland fire danger. These seasonal restrictions are in addition to the year-round statewide fire prevention order, issued on April 28, and will remain in effect until further notice. (BLM CA news release)

Picnic table

BLM CA issues statewide Fire Prevention Order

With the 2020 wildfire year upon us, the Bureau of Land Management has issued a statewide Fire Prevention Order to help prevent the risk of wildfires igniting in California. The Fire Prevention Order includes year-round campfire permit requirement and maintaining a five-foot diameter clearance around campfires on BLM-managed public lands in California. The full order can be viewed online here. (BLM news release)

BLM Fire engine and crew.

BLM initiates seasonal fire and target shooting restrictions in the California Desert District

The Bureau of Land Management has elevated its seasonal fire restrictions effective immediately for BLM-managed public lands within Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Diego, and eastern Kern counties. These restrictions will remain in effect until December 15, unless terminated sooner if conditions warrant. (BLM news release)

picnic area with a fire ring.

BLM Bakersfield Field Office issues seasonal fire restrictions

The Bureau of Land Management is issuing seasonal fire restrictions for public lands managed by the Bakersfield Field Office effective Friday, May 1, due to dry conditions and high wildland fire danger. These seasonal restrictions are in addition to the year-round statewide fire prevention order, issued on April 28. This seasonal fire order will remain in effect until further notice. (BLM news release)

Desert valley and mountains.

BLM initiates Whitewater Canyon closure due to increased wildfire risk

The Bureau of Land Management will temporarily close public lands in and near Whitewater Canyon, located in Riverside County, due to the potential threat of wildfire. The public safety closure will begin on Wednesday, May 6, and will remain in place until October 31. (BLM CA news release)

U.S. Map with wildfire outlook.

Wildland fire outlook

Check out the latest #WildlandFireOutlook! Available here. (NIFC Facebook)

BLM Armchair Adventures

A lake with mountains and snow.

Handies Peak Wilderness Study area, Colorado

The sapphire blue waters of this glacial cirque lake are fed by melting snows from the surrounding 13,000 ft. peaks. The lake is located in the Handies Peak Wilderness Study area on #publiclands managed by Bureau of Land Management - Colorado. Bright yellow alpine sunflowers are among a handful of wildflowers that can grow here in the harsh tundra at 12,000 feet, while Colorado Columbine, lupine and many other varieties are found below. (BLM Instagram)

Sun set in the desert with saguaro cactus.

Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona

Evening light passes through dust kicked up by afternoon winds giving this saguaro and cholla forest an ethereal look. The Sonoran Desert National Monument is located only an hour south of Phoenix, but is a remote and undeveloped landscape. (BLM Instagram)

A river on the edge of a forest.

Gulkana River, Alaska

The Gulkana flows south from the eastern Alaska Range and is a tributary to the famed Copper River. Known as a “clearwater” river, the Gulkana does not contain suspended glacial sediments that make many northern rivers appear milky or muddy. With some of the best Arctic grayling fishing in Alaska, the Gulkana can be floated in 4-6 days through a roadless setting with class 1-IV rapids and spectacular views of the Wrangell Mountains to the south. (BLM Instagram)

BLM & DOI Highlights

Wild horses.

BLM begins new fertility control trial as overpopulation of wild horses and burros on public lands reaches new heights

The Bureau of Land Management has started testing a promising new fertility control vaccine that could help address the growing overpopulation of wild horses on public rangelands. (BLM news release)

The Jason Martz morning memorial

Secretary Bernhardt announces grants for protecting American battlefields in 11 states

During a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt highlighted the Trump Administration’s support for protecting and enhancing our nation’s historic sites and announced $3 million in American Battlefield Protection Program grants.  (DOI news release)

NPS Officer salutes a US flag.

Honoring Interior’s law enforcement

Typically, during National Police Week, we gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the annual Candlelight Vigil, honoring our law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. As our country continues to overcome new challenges, we recognize and memorialize our dedicated men and women who tirelessly serve our Nation. (DOI Video)

NPS employees opening a gate.

In case you missed it: Interior continues to safely restore access to public lands

This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt was on the road again, conducting site inspections at National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. The Secretary met with park superintendents and refuge managers to see firsthand how they are safely restoring access to America’s public lands. (DOI news release)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife employee Annalee Graves takes a moment to assess the progress of a prescribed fire during training in Tallahassee, Florida.

Teaching leadership through prescribed fire

From early January to late March, the National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center held three Fire Leadership for Women training modules in Tallahassee, Florida. This year, for the first time since its inception, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees attended the training. (DOI Office of Wildland Fire)

NPS police officer playing taps.

This Week at Interior May 15, 2020

This Week: During this National Police Week, we pause to remember those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty; Secretary Bernhardt meets with maintenance staff, law enforcement officers and employees at National Parks and National Wildlife refuges in Ohio and Pennsylvania. (DOI video)

Wildlife Question of the Week

a school of Salmon swimming in water.

Multiple choice

May 15 was Endangered Species Day, celebrated to recognize the national conservation efforts to protect our nation's endangered species and their habitats.

What is the Maximum reported age for Chinook salmon?

a) 3 years
b) 9 years
c) 5 years

Keep scrolling to find the answer.

Upcoming Events

Greater Sage grouse.

BLM extends comment period on greater sage-grouse analysis

Deadline May 21, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management has extended the public comment period on six draft supplemental environmental impact statements for the resource management plans that guide management of greater sage-grouse habitat on public lands in seven Western states. (BLM news release)

A filed of wildflowers.

BLM invites public to participate in virtual meeting

April 17 - June 2, 2020

The BLM invites the public to participate in a virtual meeting about the recently published Draft PEIS for Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration in the Great Basin. (BLM news release)

Campsite with picnic table.

BLM seeking public comment on upgrades at McCain Valley campgrounds

Deadline June 5, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management El Centro Field Office is seeking public comment on proposed upgrades and modifications at McCain Valley campgrounds, within the McCain Valley Recreation Management Zone in eastern San Diego County, near the town of Boulevard. The 30-day public comment period will end on June 5. (BLM CA news release)

e bikes on public land.

BLM seeks public comment on proposed e-bike regulations

Deadline June 9, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management today announced a 60-day public comment period on proposed electric bike, or e-bike, regulations, intended to make it easier for more Americans to recreate on and experience their public lands. (BLM news release)

Wildlife Question of the Week Answer

The answer is b). The Maximum reported age for Chinook salmon is 9 years. 

Some populations of Chinook salmon (Oncorhyncus tshawytscha) migrate more than 2,000 miles to spawn in in the upper Yukon River to spawn. Specimens of Chinook salmon have been recorded to weigh as much as 135 lbs. (61.4 kg.) 

Chinook salmon are anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. Chinook salmon have a relatively complex life history that includes spawning and juvenile rearing in rivers followed by migrating to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn. They are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts.

In California and the Pacific Northwest, as of 2018, two populations of Chinook salmon are listed as endangered, and seven are listed as threatened under the ESA.