BLM California News.Bytes Issue 990

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A field of wildflower with a lighthouse and the coast in the background.

Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area, Bakersfield Field Office

ISSUE 990 - March 11, 2022

Leaders. Influencers. History Makers.


Portraits of three women.

This month we celebrate the many contributions of the women of the Bureau of Land Management, including BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, Deputy Director of Policy and Programs Nada Wolff Culver and BLM California’s first female State Director Karen Mouritsen. Thank you for your leadership in sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Portraits of five women.

Celebrating Interior women in leadership

This Women's History month, we are celebrating the extraordinary women who have shaped the Department of Interior (including Bureau of Land Management's own first woman Director Kathleen Burton Clarke) and our nation (DOI Website)

A firefighter holding a chainsaw on her shoulder.

Women in Fire

During Women's History Month, the Bureau of Land Management Fire honors women’s contributions to wildland fire and highlights the women who break barriers so we can build a more inclusive future. (BLM Fire Twitter)

Find Something New on Your Public Lands

The milky way over a lighthouse.

Peidras Blancas: a stargazers dream

California's Piedras Blancas Light Station's name comes from the distinctive white rocks that loom just offshore. These rocks and the rugged shoreline are home to seabirds, sea lions, elephant seals and provide an ideal spot to gaze out at our galaxy. (BLM Website)

A man and a child walk along a dirt path with a snow capped mountain in the distance.

The Alabama Hills are waiting for you!

Join us every Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Alabama Hills Recreation and Natural Scenic Area for a free guided interpretive hike! You'll discover unique wildlife habitats, plant species, & stories from movies filmed in the area. For more information, call the Bishop Field Office at 760-872-5000. (BLM CA Facebook)

A cartoon of a woman feeding wildlife.

Don't take the wild out of wildlife

Human food is not healthy for wildlife, and when we feed them we start the process of food habituation. This alters their behaviors, teaches wildlife to think of humans as a food source, and can harm both animals and people. Animals that are fed by humans learn to frequent roadsides and parking lots, dramatically increasing their chances of being run over by a careless motorist. (NPS Website)

Headlines & Highlights

A rock monument sign.

BLM's Minnewawa Truck Trail north access closed indefinitely

The BLM is encouraging visitors who use the Minnewawa Truck Trail and the Otay Mountain Wilderness to access these areas from the south end at Doghouse Junction, as some other access points are closed for an indefinite amount of time. (BLM CA News Release)  

OHV racer in the snow.

Motorcycle races coming for Fort Sage area; some trail access will be limited

The Bureau of Land Management expects up to 200 riders to participate in the Diamond Back Hare Scrambles motorcycle race, Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13, at the Fort Sage Off-Highway Vehicle Area near Doyle. Trail access will be available only to participants while the races are underway. (BLM CA News Release)

BLM logo

The BLM proposes to extend land withdrawals to support BOR projects in southern California and welcomes comments

The Bureau of Land Management proposes to extend public land withdrawals for the Bureau of Reclamation projects in the Lower Colorado Basin Region for 20 years. Withdrawals support water delivery and storage to southern California and southwest Arizona communities. (BLM CA News Release)

Fire & Fuels Management

A firefighter overlooking a valley that is on fire.

Director's Report: shaping wildland fire management of the future

As a new fire year begins, our nation is preparing to respond to the increasingly severe wildfire activity we have observed in recent years.  Continually improving technology, new scientific studies, and our extensive partnerships will help us adopt a holistic approach that uses our resources efficiently and to the greatest effect possible. (DOI News)

Piles of wood burning on the side of a mountain.

Successful prescribed burn near Keysville SRA

Bureau of Land Management fire crews from the Bakersfield Field Office completed burning approximately 50 piles of downed trees and brush in the Keysville Special Recreation Area. Prescribed fire is beneficial for wildlife, controlling invasive species, and preventing catastrophic wildfires. (BLM CA Facebook)

Question of the Week

What is the world's smallest owl?

Elf owl perched on a person's fingers

A. Pixie owl

B. Goblin owl

C. Elf owl

D. Gnome owl



Photo: Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program 

Careers on Your Public Lands

A field of yellow wildflowers with a mountain in the distance.

Now Hiring for BLM California

Bureau of Land Management California is looking to fill multiple positions across the state. Check out USAJOBS for opportunities to explore an exciting career with the BLM!

Administrative Officer

BLM California is recruiting for an Administrative Officer in the spectacular Bishop Field Office. The area encompasses more than 750k acres of public land between the spectacular peaks of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Inyo and White Mountains. Apply today!

DOI & BLM National News

A person on the side of a mountain that has many dead trees.

The Arbor Day Foundation will use its vast network of donors to help BLM reforest federally-managed lands

The Bureau of Land Management has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation (the world’s largest membership nonprofit dedicated to planting trees) through a 5-year agreement to plant trees across federally-managed lands. (DOI Blog)

Two fire fighters  work a low burning active fire among grasses and shrubs.

Biden-Harris Administration issues call for Wildfire Commission member applications

The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Homeland Security through the Federal Emergency Management Agency are now accepting applications for members to the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. (DOI Press Release)

Sun rises casting light on large rock features.

White House Council on Native American Affairs discusses interagency effort to protect and increase access to Indigenous sacred sites

The White House Council on Native American Affairs convened an engagement session with Tribal leaders focused on implementing a new interagency initiative to improve the protection of and access to Indigenous sacred sites through enhanced and improved interdepartmental coordination, collaboration and action. (DOI News Release)

This week at Interior, March 11, 2022

This week at Interior - March 11, 2022

Secretary Haaland travels to Ohio where she announces additional federal funding for the cleanup of abandoned coal mine lands and orphan oil and gas wells; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a new Director; applications are now being accepted for the Biden-Harris Administration's Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. (DOI YouTube)

Elf owl perched on cactus

Question of the Week Answer

If you guessed C: Elf owl, you'd be correct! 

The elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi) is the tiniest owl in the world. It typically arrives to California from Mexico in Spring to nest and stays through most of the Summer, including in areas managed by the El Centro, Needles and Palm Springs-South Coast field offices.

This amazing bird measures just under 6 inches in length and weighs about the same as a standard light bulb. Nocturnal birds, elf owls are most active a few hours past sunset and a few hours before sunrise. These tiny raptors capture their prey in flight, on the ground, on foliage, on flowers, around outdoor lights, and at hummingbird feeders. Sometimes, they will even run after the prey on the ground. Their diet consists of insects like moths, beetles, crickets, and scarab beetles. They have also been observed on the rare occasion eating snakes, lizards, and mice.

Species like the elf owl may be experiencing habitat degradation and loss in desert riparian areas, heightened by impacts from climate change.

Source: National Park Service