BLM California News.Bytes Issue 933

View as a webpage

news bytes - bureau of land management california
Wishing you a Happy New Year

ISSUE 933 - January 8, 2020

Recreation & Public Access

A person standing in a grove of large redwood trees.

Get outdoors and recreate responsibly

If you’re looking to get some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors, first be sure to check our COVID update page for any temporary closures. While most BLM public lands are open to dispersed camping, some developed campgrounds and facilities are temporarily closed.

Please recreate responsibly and wear a mask when near people other than those in your immediate household.

For more tips on how to recreate responsibly, visit our website!

A river's edge with a fallen tree and other brush.

Discovering Mokelumne River

With more than 240 million acres of public land across the United States, it is impossible for all of BLM managed lands to be on a highlight reel. But for nearly all of us in the western U.S., there’s that little slice of BLM land not known by too many and a piece of heaven for the locals. With so many options for fishing in the area, the Mokelumne River is known by area anglers for steelhead, rainbow and brown trout, and certain spots on the river are known for Chinook Salmon. Fly fishing is probably your best option out here, but drift fishing works well. Read more at: BLM Medium Blog

A large boulder blocks a dirt trail as a man stands behind it.

Trail repair work takes partnerships like these!

Building recreation trails on public lands often takes ingenuity, persistence, and partners, as our recreation staff in the Eagle Lake Field Office can attest. Recently, we had help from Matt McLain, Lassen County's trails coordinator, when we needed to move a boulder out of the way to reroute a section of the South Side Trail west of Susanville. Moving this single rock took an hour! This trail section was recently built by a Student Conservation Association crew. Huge thanks to our partners who always come through when the going gets tough! (BLM CA Facebook)

Ducks floating in water.

Cosumnes River Preserve new interactive tool

Calling all birders! Planning a visit? Learn about habitat and the important areas at the Cosumnes River Preserve with this new interactive tool on their website.

A green valley with small mountains in the background.

South Cow Mountain temporarily closed due to precipitation and trail conditions

Travel Update: South Cow Mountain Off-Highway Vehicle Area is temporarily closed due to heavy rain and poor road and trail conditions. During the rainy season, call (707) 468-4000 for travel conditions and updates. For more updates on the area, visit our website.

Headlines & Highlights

A tall redwood forest.

BLM names Dereck Wilson manager of the Northern California District

The Bureau of Land Management has named Dereck C. Wilson, a natural resources manager with a decade of northern California experience, as manager of the Northern California District.

As district manager, Wilson will oversee BLM field offices in Arcata, Alturas, Susanville and Redding, and a field station in Cedarville. The Northern California District encompasses about three million acres of public lands stretching from the high desert of far northwest Nevada to the forests along the Pacific Coast, and from the Oregon border south into Mendocino County. (BLM CA News Release)

An elephant seal stretching in a yoga-like pose.

Need some relaxation for your Friday? Check out the live beach cam at Piedras Blancas!

The Piedras Blancas Light Station at the California Coastal National Monument is home to a wide variety of marine wildlife, and although the light station is temporarily closed, you can still spend time with the elephant seals from the comfort of your living room by checking out this live beach cam! (BLM CA Facebook)

A woman standing next to and pointing to a tree.

While staying at home, why not try backyard exploration

Ranger Tammy, an Interpretive Park Ranger at Fort Ord National Monument, talks to listeners of a local radio station about exploring their own backyard while staying at home. You can listen here!

She has created over a dozen video lessons about exploring the Central Coast that can be included in any nature curriculum. Check out her YouTube playlist.

Wildland Fire & Fuels Management

A pine forest.

Partnerships that benefit forest health

The Mother Lode Field Office partnered with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy on the Lily Gap Forest and Watershed Health Project in Calaveras County. Through this partnership, 193 acres have been treated using mastication and biomass utilization service work, and green tree thinning. One of the benefits of a healthier forest is a reduction in fuels and the risk of large, catastrophic fires. Another benefit is that the remaining trees see less mortality when they are impacted by insects and drought. (BLM CA Facebook)

A firefighter holding a hose spraying water on a mountainside.

BLM reduces fire and shooting restrictions in the California Desert District

The Bureau of Land Management has reduced fire and shooting restrictions to Stage I throughout public lands in Southern California managed by the California Desert District. Areas previously designated with Stage II and Stage III fire and shooting restrictions have been redesignated to Stage I. These areas include public lands managed by the BLM California Desert District in Imperial, southern Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, eastern Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. (BLM CA News Release)

A green and yellow landscape of trees on a mountain.

BLM Bishop Field Office eases seasonal fire restrictions

The Bishop Field Office has eased seasonal fire restrictions on all BLM-managed public lands extending from the southern Owens Valley in Inyo County, north to Topaz Lake and the Nevada border in Mono County, effective January 6. The year-round statewide Fire Prevention Order remains in effect. (BLM CA News Release)

Firefighters standing in dry grasses conducting a prescribed burn.

BLM to conduct prescribed fire at Lake Mathews Reserve

Fire crews from the California Desert Interagency Fire Program will treat up to 80 acres of public lands with prescribed fire in the Lake Mathews-Estelle Mountain Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat Reserve in western Riverside County. The prescribed fire will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a day when there are specific weather conditions that allow for safe and successful burning and smoke dispersion between now and Jan. 28. (BLM CA News Release)

A firefighter working in a field that is burning.

BLM to conduct prescribed fire at Dos Palmas Preserve in Riverside County

Fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management and cooperating agencies will conduct a prescribed fire in the Dos Palmas Preserve over the course of one day before Jan. 15. The prescribed fire will only be ignited under specific weather conditions which will allow for safe and successful burning and smoke dispersion. Smoke may be visible from the community of North Shore and Highway 111 during ignitions, which will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (BLM CA News Release)

Question of the Week - Wildlife

Small elephant seal on a beach.

How much does a newborn elephant seal weigh?


A. 25 pounds

B. 50 pounds

C. 75 pounds

D. 100 pounds

Keep scrolling to find out!

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 Answer

The answer is C. Newborn elephant seals weigh about 75 pounds and are approximately 4 feet in length. Newborn elephant seals have a black coat, which they molt, or shed, when they wean from their mothers at about 1 month old. Once they molt, a sleek, silver-gray coat is revealed. Within a year, the coat will turn a silvery brown. During their first month of life, the pups nurse from their mothers and gain about 10 pounds a day. The mothers do not eat during this period and after about a month, they return to sea to feed. Meanwhile, the now-300-pound weaned pups, called "weaners," remain on rookery beaches.
For the next two months, the weaners venture into the water for short periods of time, teaching themselves to swim and find food. Eventually, they learn to feed on squid, fish and occasionally small sharks.

Source: Marine Mammal Center