BLM California News.Bytes Issue 931

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news bytes - bureau of land management californiaRock formations against a sunset in a desert.

Trona Pinnacles, Ridgecrest Field Office

ISSUE 931 - December 11, 2020

Get your copy of the BLM California planner today!

Enjoy the beauty of California public lands all year long!

We manage 15.2 million acres of public lands in California - nearly 15 percent of the state’s land area - and 1.6 million acres in northwestern Nevada. This year’s monthly planner features stunning public lands across the state with impressive employee photography.

Get your FREE 2021 calendar while supplies last HERE!

Recreation & Public Access

Two people hiking along a small trail on a wooded hillside.

BLM continues to encourage responsible recreation on public lands

The Bureau of Land Management is working to maintain services to the American people and our stakeholders, consistent with evolving guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control and state and local health authorities. Visitors may continue to enjoy their BLM managed trails and open spaces in California while following CDC recommendations. Providing for recreation opportunities and access to public lands during this time are just some of the many activities BLM California staff continues to perform each and every day. We recognize that opportunities to enjoy public lands, especially during these times, is vitally important to the nation and our neighbors. (BLM CA Website)

A vast landscape of sand dunes and a blue sky with white clouds.

Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area open for camping and recreation

At this time, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area remains open for camping and recreation; restrooms remain closed. Outdoor activities can provide health benefits when practiced safely. We recommend recreating close to home and avoiding popular and/or crowded areas where social distancing could be a challenge. Also remember to limit group activities to members of your immediate household. Please visit BLM CA's COVID-19 website for updates and a list of temporarily closed BLM sites in CA.

Off road vehicle hauling trash driving over large rocks.

Partnerships help improve and enhance your public lands!

The BLM El Centro Field Office and the Tierra Del Sol 4x4 Club are working together to keep America’s historic spirit of exploration alive on the Devil’s Canyon trail, while also improving the habitat by removing accumulated trash for proper disposal. (BLM CA Facebook)

Icy river along pine trees.

Enjoying the crisp, fresh air?

The scenery is gorgeous along the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail right now, as fall gives way to winter. These scenes along the Susan River are just a few miles west of Susanville, CA. Trail conditions are ideal for an easy bike ride or hike to take in the scenery. Please follow state and local guidance as it pertains to COVID prevention as you head out. Recreate with members of your household, stay close to home, keep physical distancing in mind and wear a mask if you expect to be close to others! (BLM CA Website)

Seal of department the CA State Parks

State Parks to temporarily close campgrounds and keep day use areas open in regions impacted by regional stay at home order triggered by ICU capacity

California State Parks today announced that state campsites in regions impacted by California’s Regional Stay at Home Order triggered by Intensive Care Unit capacity will temporarily close. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public will remain accessible, including trails and beaches. Members of the same household are encouraged to maintain physical and mental health by going to a park to hike, walk, bike ride, off-highway riding or boating, provided that they recreate responsibly by abiding to COVID-19 guidelines. (CA State Parks News Release)

A family hiking on a trail.

Recreate responsibly close to home

Heading outdoors to enjoy nature? Find a spot close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask when near others not in your immediate household – such as in parking lots, trail heads & other facilities. (BLM CA Website)

Headlines & Highlights

Oil drilling equipment.

The BLM California completes oil and gas sale lease

The Bureau of Land Management completed its oil and gas lease sale in California. For this sale, the BLM offered seven parcels totaling approximately 4,133 acres of Federal minerals. All parcels are in or adjacent to existing Midway-Sunset, and Kern Front Oilfields in Kern County. (BLM CA News Release)

Rolling hills with dirt trails carved into them.

Cronan Ranch receives trail improvements

The Mother Lode Field Office constructs and reshapes parts of the Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park trail system. For much of this arduous work, they use a trail dozer which is a powerful workhorse that enables them to blade a new trail with ease, as long as soil moisture levels are favorable. The trails at Cronan Ranch continuously need attention to keep them usable for the public and our BLM staff do an incredible job making that happen! (BLM CA Website)

A vole (rodent) in some grass.

Significant success for the Amargosa Vole Recovery Team

The Amargosa Vole Recovery Team reintroduced the endangered Amargosa vole to its historic marsh habitat near Shoshone to establish a new colony, with the ultimate hope to expand their geographic distribution and create a new, sustainable wild subpopulation. (BLM CA Facebook)

A woman sitting down next to a chart explaining fire triangle.

Fire Ecology with Ranger Tammy 

Ranger Tammy explores how wildfire behaves and the important role that fire plays in California ecosystems. Watch as she demonstrates and explains the essentials of Fire Ecology! (BLM CA YouTube)

Three horses standing in a enclosed pasture.

BLM Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals temporarily closed to public

The Bureau of Land Management has temporarily closed the Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals to the public and suspended adoption appointments in response to Lassen County Public Health guidance related to the prevention of COVID-19 spread. The staff is rescheduling current adoption appointments and will begin taking new appointments when Lassen County’s COVID-19 status returns to a lower level and office operations can resume. (BLM CA News Release)

Wildland Fire & Fuels Management

Fire burning in tall, dry grasses.

Prescribed fires reduce intensity of future wildfires, giving firefighters improved chance of stopping spread

This week, fire crews from our Redding Field Office successfully burned about 160 acres of overgrown and dead grass, cattail and tule plants in the Paynes Creek Wetlands portion of the Sacramento River Bend Outstanding Natural Area. Removal of the dead and overgrown plants will improve waterfowl habitat and reduce wildfire risk. (BLM CA Facebook)

A mountain peak surrounded by trees and fog.

BLM Bakersfield Field Office modifies fire restrictions

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Field Office is lifting fire restrictions on Dec. 7 for approximately 640,000 acres of BLM-managed public lands in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties, due to reduced wildland fire conditions. Fire restrictions will also be lifted from BLM-managed recreational areas, including the Carrizo Plain National Monument, Chimney Peak, Kennedy Meadows, Keysville, Lake Isabella, San Joaquin River Gorge and Three Rivers. (BLM CA News Release)

Fire crews monitoring a prescribed fire in dry grass.

Applegate Field Office completes successful research-focused, prescribed burn

Fire crews from our Applegate Field Office took advantage of ideal weather conditions to complete a research-focused, prescribed burn east of the community of Fort Bidwell on Saturday, Dec. 5. The team ignited about four acres of short grasses as part of a University of Utah project studying the effects of fire on the yampa plant, a traditional food for Native American tribes. Researchers said they were happy with the burning aspect of the project, as we happy to contribute to their project! (BLM CA Facebook)

Current BLM fire Restrictions

Don't let your guard down just because it's cold! Some fire restrictions still in effect

There's still fire danger in some parts of the state. Avoid activities that could spark a wildfire! Here’s an interactive MAP showing all current fire restrictions. Be sure to bookmark it for future use!

Target shooting and other fire restrictions remain in effect for some areas of BLM-managed public lands in California. Find specific restrictions by field office on our Fire Restriction webpage. Restrictions on target shooting do not prevent hunting with a valid hunting license, as hunting on BLM public lands is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Please visit the State website for more information.

Question of the Week - Wildlife

Big horn sheep climbing down a mountain.

What sub-species of bighorn are the Peninsular bighorn sheep, found in the Peninsular Ranges of California?

A) Sierra Nevada
B) Desert
C) Rocky Mountain

Keep scrolling to find out!


BLM & DOI Highlights

A pile of timber (trees) on the forest floor.

Trump Administration streamlines review of salvage timber projects and pinyon-juniper removal to reduce threat of catastrophic wildfires

The Bureau of Land Management announced it has finalized new categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act, which streamlines the agency’s review of routine timber salvage projects and operations and the review of projects designed to address the rapid spread of pinyon-juniper woodlands on sagebrush habitat. (BLM News Release)

Workers stand near machinery

Trump Administration disburses more than $8 billion from 2020 energy production

Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced today that Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue disbursed $8.08 billion in Fiscal Year 2020 from energy production on offshore areas and federal and American Indian lands. Despite this year’s pandemic, this still represents an increase of approximately 30% compared to 2016 disbursements made at the end of the previous Administration. (DOI News Release)

A agricultural landscape.

BLM releases final plan to conserve, restore sagebrush communities in Great Basin

The Bureau of Land Management released the final programmatic environmental impact statement for fuels reduction and rangeland restoration in the Great Basin. This programmatic environmental impact statement is intended to further efforts to conserve and restore sagebrush communities within a 223 million-acre area that includes portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah. (BLM News Release)

Secretary Bernhardt

ICYMI: President Trump supports government collaboration in strengthening land conservation efforts

Local communities are essential partners in the successful conservation of public lands, and no president in recent memory has done more to work with local communities and advance conservation than President Donald Trump. He signed the Great American Outdoors Act and the Dingell Act (which designated more than 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, among other things), expanded hunting and fishing opportunities by a record 4 million acres nationwide, treated a record 5.4 million acres of lands to prevent wildfires, joined the One Trillion Trees Initiative and established big-game migration corridors throughout the West. (DOI News Release)

Question of the Week Answer

The answer is B.

The peninsular population of desert bighorn sheep are native ungulates that live on the desert slopes of the Peninsular Ranges in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties. This population, which ranges from the San Jacinto Mountains south to the U.S.-Mexico border, is federally listed as endangered. Although once considered a separate subspecies (O. c. cremnobates ), bighorn sheep of the Peninsular Ranges have recently been combined with desert bighorn sheep in the subspecies O. c. nelsoni.

(California Fish and Wildlife)