BLM California News.Bytes Issue 915

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news bytes - bureau of land management california
Desert hillsides with brush and Yucca plants.

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, Sand to Snow National Monument, Palm Springs Field Office

ISSUE 915- August 13, 2020

Recreation and Public Access

Piedras Blancas Light Station in a field of flowers.

Take a virtual tour of the Piedras Blancas Light Station

The Piedras Blancas Light Station is a historic landmark within the California Coastal National Monument. While in-person tours of the light station are suspended in response to COVID-19, we invite you to be a virtual visitor at Piedras Blancas website. Explore a 360-degree tour, browse historic photos, view a live elephant seal camera and learn more about the 19th century light station & wildlife sanctuary nestled in a stretch of undisturbed California coast. (BLM CA Website)

endless mountain vistas from a hiking trail

America the Beautiful Access Pass for service-connected veterans

Did you know the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series also offers service-connected veterans eligibility to the America The Beautiful Access Pass. This pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites and covers entrance & day-use fees and some other amenity fees at federal recreation sites. To learn more about the pass, please visit the website for more information.

Man jumping into a swimming hole.

Beat the heat in a California swimming hole!

We have some amazing swimming holes along the Sierra Nevada rivers! Always enter unknown water feet first. Wear a life jacket, especially if unfamiliar with the water currents. Walk, don’t run on rocky shorelines – wet feet make for quick slips on a hard landing! Please pack out your trash and avoid blocking roadways or gates when parking. (BLM CA Facebook)

A few people standing on a dirt road looking out into a valley.

BLM LWCF land acquisition to increase public access to South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area

The Bureau of Land Management Ukiah Field Office and our partners are celebrating the recent acquisition of the Blue Oak Ranch, which will provide greater public access for staging and camping for the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area. The nearly 1,400-acre Blue Oak Ranch is located along State Route 175 near Lakeport in Lake County and was purchased with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the California State Park Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division Grants Program. (BLM CA News Release)

A campfire burning, with the words Scrape down to the soil for campfire safety.

Scrape down to the soil for campfire safety

If campfires are allowed at your campsite, make sure you are building them in a fire safe way! Scrape away grass, leaves, or needles down to the mineral soil around your campfire to keep fire from escaping and becoming unmanageable. Learn more about campfire safety at One Less Spark.

For current fire restrictions on BLM-managed public lands, please visit our interactive map.

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)

Headlines & Highlights

View looking out over a high river bend at sunset.

Members named to BLM Northern California Resource Advisory Council

The BLM is welcoming nine California residents to its Northern California Resource Advisory Council. The advisory council works closely with the BLM’s field managers in Alturas, Arcata, Susanville and Redding advising on the BLM’s multiple-use management mission. (BLM CA News Release)

Two people carrying trash from the seashore by using a large stick.

Big thanks to our volunteers and BLM rangers!

In late July, BLM rangers, with the assistance of volunteers, combed the beaches along the iconic Lost Coast Trail collecting garbage deposited by the ocean. Their efforts resulted in a grand total of approximately 1,000 pounds of garbage removed from the King Range Wilderness, furthering the BLM’s mission of conserving America’s most treasured wild places. Through the aid of local community partners, they airlifted out over 800 pounds of the debris, packing the rest out on foot. Thanks to all who helped!(BLM CA Facebook)

Grey horse looking into the distance.

Space Force welcomes new horse to coastline patrol program at Vandenberg base

The Space Force has added a once-wild mustang to its conservation program. But don’t worry, they won’t be sending it to space. The 5-year-old horse named Ghost is part of the Bureau of Land Management at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California. The conservation unit and military working horse program have been a part of Vandenberg since 1996. It is the only equine patrol unit within the Department of Defense and one of four conservation units in the US Air Force, a military spokesperson told CNN.(KTLA News)

Map of area acquired in proposition.

Harbor District, Friends of the Dunes develop agreement with Security National to acquire oceanfront Dog Ranch, conservation group announces

Friends of the Dunes has developed an agreement with the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the current landowner, and multiple funding agencies to work cooperatively to transfer the Samoa Dunes and Wetlands to conservation ownership. The Samoa Dunes and Wetlands is a 357-acre coastal dune and bayfront property that includes the former Dog Ranch.(Lost Coast Outpost)

A flat cement guzzler that is dry in the desert.

BLM seeks public comment on Environmental Assessment to increase game guzzlers on public lands

The Bureau of Land Management is partnering with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to repair and increase the storage capacity of small game guzzlers on BLM-managed public lands in various mountain ranges and washes near the city of Blythe in Riverside County. The proposed project would provide permanent, reliable water sources for large game species at five existing guzzler locations. The 30-day public comment period for the proposed upgrades will close on Sept. 9, 2020. (BLM CA News Release)

Wildland Fire & Fuels Management

Graphic with Smokey Bear and other forest animals.

Happy 76th Birthday Smokey Bear!

Thanks for being the wildfire prevention icon. Every year, human-caused wildfires account for approximately half of all wildfires in the U.S. Most fires are caused by accident, but many can be prevented. Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires. (BLM Fire Facebook)

Red retardant lines where air tankers dropped around a fire.

Single engine air tankers assist firefighting efforts near Susanville

Crews were able to quickly contain the R-1 Fire near Susanville which burned 285 acres with the help of aircraft. Here, you can clearly see the retardant lines painted by the single engine air tankers. These small tankers carry 800 gallons of fire retardant, can work from small fields (these were loading in Chester, a tiny airport east of Susanville), and can maneuver in small spaces. They were crucial in slowing this fire so that hand crews could get in there and cut fireline since the area was not accessible to dozers and engines because of rocky terrain. (BLM CA Facebook)

A brown tick.

Recurrent prescribed fire may reduce tick populations and incidence of lyme disease

According to preliminary research, results show a large initial decrease in ticks that is proportional to treatment severity. However, this pattern may be somewhat complicated due to a sporadic large hatch of larva in late 2019. Researchers are looking forward to continuing sampling the sites in 2020 to see how these patterns play out as time since fire increases. (USFS Website)

Graphic saying Current Fire Restrictions

Current Fire Restrictions

BLM California has issued season fire restrictions due to increased wildland fire danger in the state. Here’s an interactive MAP showing all current fire restrictions. Be sure to bookmark it for future use!

Specific BLM Field Office Fire Restrictions:

BLM CA issues statewide Fire Prevention Order

Northern California District:
BLM Arcata Field Office
BLM Eagle Lake & Applegate Field Offices
BLM Redding Field Office

Central California District:
BLM Bakersfield Field Office
BLM Bishop Field Office
BLM Central Coast Field Office
BLM Mother Lode Field Office
BLM Ukiah Field Office

BLM California Desert District
BLM initiates Whitewater Canyon closure due to increased wildfire risk

Map showing the July fire outlook

Wildland fire outlook

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

BLM & DOI Highlights

Brick building with many windows.

The BLM's headquarters officially established in Grand Junction, Colorado

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed Secretary’s Order  3382 formally establishing the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado. The formal designation completes the process of relocating the federal agency headquarters closer to both the land it administers and to its employees. (BLM News Release)

Infrastructure at sunset.

Trump Administration proposes to obtain a fair return for America's mineral resources

Advancing President Trump’s agenda to promote energy independence and economic growth, the Department of the Interior will publish a proposed rule to amend portions of the Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s regulations. The proposal would eliminate complexity and bring greater clarity and certainty for our public and private partners. (DOI News Release)

Rock arch in a national park

Secretary Bernhardt takes action to implement the greatest conservation funding law in US history

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt established the Great American Outdoors Act Coordination and Implementation Task Force to implement the Department of the Interior’s portion of the Great American Outdoors Act. The law will help address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks and public lands in addition to funding new public access projects across the country. (DOI News Release)

Question of the Week - Wildlife

Two elephant seals barking at each other by the sea.

How many northern elephant seals remain in the wild today?

1. 160,000

2. 49,000

3. 15,000

4. 2,000

Keep scrolling to find the answer.

Upcoming Events

Mining claim

Public land mining claim fees and waivers are due to BLM by September 1st

Public land mining claim fees and waivers are due by September 1st. Claimants who wish to retain their existing mining claims on federal public lands through the 2021 assessment year must pay a maintenance fee or file a Maintenance Fee Waiver Certification (Small Miner’s Waiver) on or before the deadline to prevent the mining claim from being declared forfeit and void. For full details please read the news release.

Question of the Week Answer

The answer is 1! Today, there are approximately 160,000 northern elephant seals. In California, we have the northern elephant seal breeding colonies that stretch from Southern California up to Point Reyes. In late December, the females begin to arrive and form "harems" on the beaches. Much smaller than the males, they average ten to twelve feet in length and weigh 1,200 to 2,000 pounds. Three to six days after she arrives, the female gives birth to the pup that was conceived the previous year. Normally only one pup is born to each female, and she nurses for 25 to 28 days. Ordinarily, a mother nurses her own pup, although if they are separated another female may adopt the youngster. Feeding on its mother's rich milk, the pup grows from approximately 75 pounds at birth to 250-350 pounds in less than a month. Some resourceful pups nurse from two or three females. They can weigh 600 pounds and are aptly called "super weaners".

Source: CDPR