News.bytes
News.bytes
A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California


Issue date: 6/12/02

This week in News.bytes:


- RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS:
    - Fees - issue nationally, and in California
    - Conflicts with neighbors
    - Off-highway recreation grant
    - Access to public lands
- MANAGING THE LAND
- WILDFIRES:
    - "The West is Ablaze" - including parts of California
    - Preventing wildfires
    - Remediation
    - Lowden fire meeting
- FREE report: National Fire Plan results, FY 2001
- "FREE" LIGHTHOUSES
- ENERGY ACROSS PUBLIC LANDS:
    - Geothermal, alternative energy on public lands
    - Natural gas pipeline sparks opposition
    - Oil and gas operators learn more about federal leases
- PLANT OF THE WEEK - BODIE HILLS DRABA
- HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
- SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS

RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS

"PERMANENT USER FEES IN THE PIPELINE" (High Country News, 06/10/2002)
Congess pushing for legislation to create single recreation pass for all U.S. public lands, including BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Would replace "fee demo" (Recreation Fee Demonstration) created by Congress in 1996 and extended until 2004. Opponents say fee is a form of double taxation. Supporters say billions of dollars in maintenance backlog and lack of Congressional funding makes this program necessary.
http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=11275

"SHOOTERS, OHV USERS AWAIT BLM PLAN ON CAMPO SECO LAND" (Calaveras Enterprise, 06/07/2002)
Neighbors complain long-used shooting area on BLM-managed land near Campo Seco is a nuisance and safety hazard. Supporters of shooting area say monitoring and clearly marking shooting area boundaries could address neighbors' complaints. Draft plan will be available for public comment.
http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/07-418-news02.txt

"OFF-ROADERS vs. EVERYONE ELSE" (Victorville Daily Press, 06/09/2002)
"You have people with two very different expectations of desert life and they're neighbors," says a BLM off-road coordinator. Serenity?Or wide-open spaces for their off-road vehicles? More than 50 readers contacted newspaper to complain about noise and dust. Riders say inconsiderate riders give them all a bad name and those who ride further from ...
http://www.vvdailypress.com/cgi-bin/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1023675045,54302,

"CLEAR CREEK GRANT APPLICATION OPEN HOUSE" (BLM California news release, 06/10/2002)
Open house will be held by BLM Hollister Field Office so interested parties can provide input on the Clear Creek Management Area off-highway vehicle grant request. The Clear Creek Management Area in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties is a popular spot for off-highway vehicle fans.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2002/06/nr/CCnews50_HFOmeeting.html

"VISITORS GET RARE PEAK AT GOLDFIELDS" (Sacramento Bee, 06/09/2002)
About 200 picnickers toured almost the ponds that dot Yuba Goldfields - remnants of Gold Rush dredging for ore along the Yuba River. Picnic was a fund raiser for group that wants public access to 3,000 acres of public lands managed by BLM California's Folsom Field Office. Gravel company with mning rights on 7,000 acres within the Goldfields, says road that provides access to the area is private, not open to the public.
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/3162230p-4205828c.html

 

MANAGING THE LAND

"DRAFT BLM PLAN/EIS RELEASED FOR PUBLIC REVIEW AND COMMENT" (BLM California news release, 06/07/2002)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the Draft California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment for the Coachella Valley, Draft Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains Trails Management Plan, and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public review and comment.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2002/06/nr/CDDnews58_Coachella_draft_plan_public_comment.html

"BLM SCHEDULES PUBLIC MEETINGS TO PREPARE DRAFT EIS FOR SURPRISE CANYON" (BLM California news release, 06/11/2002)
The BLM has scheduled five public scoping meetings to gather public comments and recommendations on the preparation of draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and proposed amendment to the 1980 California Desert Conservation Area Plan that will establish or revise off-highway vehicle route designation for Surprise Canyon, located in the Panamint Mountains in Inyo County.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2002/06/nr/CDDnews61_Surprise_Canyon_scoping_meetings.html

"REP. BILL THOMAS: SPECIES ACT NEEDS SENSIBLE REFORM" (Bakersfield Californian, 06/06/2002)
Guest editorial urges legislation requiring "independent scientific peer review" befor listing or delisting of any species under the Endangered Species Act. States that current application of law leads to actions that "restrict and deny Americans access to public lands."
http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/story/1216057p-1332384c.html

"HUNTER WEIGHS IN ON DUNES MANAGEMENT PLAN" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/09/2002)
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter met with BLM Director Kathleen Clarke last week, and gave her letter with three recommendations for BLM's Draft Imperial Sand Dunes management plan. Hunter has been among those critical of the plan.
http://ivpressonline.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/09-604-news10.txt

Related: "Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Recreation Area Management Plan and Amendment to the California Desert Area Plan: Imperial Sand Dune Recreation Area" (BLM California Web pages)
http://www.ca.blm.gov/elcentro/isdra_deis.html

"TESTIMONY OF NINA ROSE HATFIELD ... H.R. 4620, 'AMERICA'S WILDERNESS PROTECTION ACT'" (BLM news release, 06/06/2002)
June 6 testimony by Department of Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary, before House Budget and Finance Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Parks, Recreation and Public Land. "H.R. 4620 seeks to move forward the wilderness debate" and among other things, would set 10-year limit on designations of current "Wilderness Study Areas" or they would be revert to management plans in place before they were designated as WSAs.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/legislative/pages/2002/te020606b.htm

 

WILDFIRE

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: "BLM firefighters train with 'city' equipment"
BLM firefighters received training on self-contained breathing apparatus -- more commonly used in cities. Remote stations are often first on the scene of auto accidents, for instance -- where this equipment comes into its own.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/newsbytes/temp_issues/63_extra_firetraining.html

"SNAPSHOTS: Successes of BLM hazardous fuels projects"
A look at continuing efforts to reduce threat of wildfires.
(PDF file, 273 kilobytes): http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/newsbytes/temp_issues/snapshots_fire_calif_20020515.pdf

Related: "NATIONAL FIRE NEWS" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updates on wildfires across public lands nationally - including California. NIFC is a cooperative firefighting effort among BLM and other federal agencies.
http://www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/nfn.html

"BLM AND REP. HERGER'S OFFICE TO SPONSOR LEWISTON PUBLIC MEETING" (BLM California news release, 06/06/2002)
public meeting tonight to review status of the Lowden fire claims and restoration efforts. In Lewiston Wednesday, June 12, 7 to 9 p.m.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2002/06/nr/NCnews61_Lowden_meeting.html

Related: "BURNED-OUT HOMEOWNERS AWAIT PAYMENT" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 06/11/2002)
More than $6.1 million worth of claims have been paid in the three years since the Lowden Fire - a BLM prescribed fire that got out of control. Rep. Wally Herger and BLM arranged meeting this week between his staff, BLM representatives and some of the 150 fire victims whose claims remain unsettled.
http://redding.com/top_stories/local/20020611toplo028.shtml

"THE WEST IS ABLAZE" (Siskiyou Daily News, 06/11/2002)
One of the wildfires across California and the West that BLM firefighters are helping battle -- this one on Klamath National Forest at California/Oregon border.
http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/11-3316-news1.txt

Related: Sibebar to story: "EARLY BLAZES STRETCH RESOURCES IN THE WEST, BUT WORST OF SEASON STILL AHEAD"
http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/11-3317-news2.txt

"WESTERN WILDFIRES MEAN SURGING DEMAND FOR ARIZ SLURRY BUSINESS" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 06/07/2002)
(Associated Press) Early and intense wildfire season throughout the West -- including California -- spurs demand for red fire retardant that is dropped from airplanes. Used by firefighters including BLM.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20020607-0130-wst-supplyingslurry.html

FREE report:
"FY 2001 PERFORMANCE REPORT: NATIONAL FIRE PLAN

This is not a publication everyone would want -- but we have a limited number of 80-page reports detatiling progress on the National Fire Plan during Fiscal Year 2001. This booklet from Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture summarizes accomplishments in responding to wildfires of 2000, with plans to reduce impacts of severe fires on rural communities and the environment. Includes summary, and about 45 pages of figures in Appendices.
http://www6.ca.blm.gov/newsbytes/issue63/index.php


"FREE" LIGHTHOUSES

"SECRETARY NORTON ANNOUNCES FIRST LIGHTHOUSES SELECTED UNDER NATIONAL PRESERVATION PROGRAM" (Department of Interior news release, 06/10/2002)
Interior Secretary Gale Norton appears at Georgia lighthouse -- one of the first four out of 301 to be transferred from Coast Guard. National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 authorizes transfer of historic lighthouses and stations at no cost to federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit corporations and community development organizations.
http://www.doi.gov/news/020610c.html

"MUNISING RANGE LIGHTS AND LITTLE RIVER LIGHTS TO BE PROTECTED UNDER NATIONAL PRESERVATION PROGRAM" (BLM California news release, 06/11/2002)
Ceremony to turn more two lighthouses in Michigan -- one to be managed by historical group, other by National Park Service.
http://www.doi.gov/news/020612a.html

Historical photo of Piedras Blancas light station"PIEDRAS BLANCAS" (BLM California web site)
BLM California's involvement in earlier transfer of a former Coast Guard lighthouse: Piedras Blancas Light Station, near San Simeon (three miles from Hearst Castle).
http://www.piedrasblancas.gov

"GOVERNMENT OFFERS FREE LIGHTHOUSES" (Associated Press, in Yahoo! News, 06/07/2002)
Department of Interior program to help Coast Guard transfer as many as 301 lighthouses it has automated and no longer needs. Nonprofit groups and government agencies have first choice.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020608/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/unloading_lighthouses_2

"UNLOADING LIGHTHOUSES - GLANCE" (Associated Press, in Yahoo! News, 06/07/2002)
Surplus lighthouses to be turned over by Coast Guard includes 18 in California.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020607/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/unloading_lighthouses_glance_1

"INVENTORY OF HISTORIC LIGHT STATIONS: CALIFORNIA LIGHTHOUSES" (National Park Service Web site)
http://www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/light/ca.htm

"LIGHTHOUSES - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS" (National Park Service Web site)
http://www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/light/faq.htm

 

ENERGY

OIL AND GAS LEASE OPERATORS GET LATEST INFO AT BLM SEMINAR IN BAKERSFIELD
Some of the crowd at oil and gas seminarFederal oil and gas lease operators met at an all-day seminar June 11 for updates on permitting, leasing, assignment/transfer of leases, bonding, field operations, BLM's inspection, idle well and royalty rate reduction programs and collaborative efforts with industry and other agencies. Event featured 15 speakers from the BLM's Bakersfield Field Office and Bonnie Edgerly from the State Office. The 93 attendees represented major and independent oil companies, industry associations, oilfield service companies, the Minerals Management Service, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Divison of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Attendees said they especially appreciated hearing presentations from individuals who actually have job responsiblity related to each topic. Plans are to repeat seminar at least once each year.
Photo:
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/newsbytes/temp_images/images63/ogcrowd-2.jpg

"COMMENT SOUGHT ON PROPOSED GEOTHERMAL DRILLING IN MAMMOTH LAKES AREA" (BLM California Web page)
Public field trip to potential drilling sites - June 29. Comments due August 2, 2002.
News release:
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2002/06/nr/USFS_BLMnews_mammoth_geothermal_comments.html
More information:
http://www.ca.blm.gov/bishop/geodrilling.html

"ALTERNATIVE POWER FLOWERS" (San Bernardino County Sun, 06/11/2002)
Southern California Edison's efforts to purchase alternative energy -- with four percent of it from geothermal power, including a 90-megawatt plant on 25,000 acres leased from BLM and Navy near China Lake.
http://www.sbsun.com/news/articles/0602/12/new01.asp

"BILL BANS EXPORT OF GAS IF PLANTS NOT UP TO PAR" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/05/2002)
Proposed legislation would ban U.S. export of natural gas to power plants in Mexico unless equipped with air-quality control equipment meeting U.S. standards. Would affect North Baja pipeline -- which includes passages across BLM-managed land -- which critics say would add pollution to Imperial Valley....
http://ivpressonline.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/05-2109-news03.txt

"OUR OPINION: WE ARE STILL ANGRY" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/09/2002)
Newspaper editorial: California Sen. Dianne Feinstein joins Rep. Douglas Hunter to introduce legislation banning exports of U.S. natural gas to new Mexican power plants within 50 miles of border, if they are not equipped with air quality control equipment meeting U.S. standards. Newspaper "appreciates support" to protect Imperial Valley air quality, but speculates it is meant to placate area voters angry at what they see as her letter threatening to take water from them.
http://ivpressonline.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/09-614-ed01.txt

"COLD REALITIES ON ENERGY" (San Francisco Chronicle, 06/07/2002)
Editorial on former BLM director Jim Baca's nationwide tour against what he says is current administrations pro-development energy policy.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/06/07/ED131227.DTL

 

Bodie Hills Draba - Plant of the WeekPLANT OF THE WEEK - Bodie Hills Draba
Low sagebrush, bitterbrush, and mountain mahogany communities usually on open, level slopes and ridges in well drained soils of granitic or volcanic origin; at elevations of 7200-8400 feet.
Special status plants are those plants found on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management whose survival is of concern.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/bishop/bodiehillsdraba.html


HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"QUECHAN LAND MAKES NATIONAL TRUST LIST" (Yuma Sun, 06/09/2002)
Indian pass on national nonprofit's list of 11 most endangered historic places. Quechan Tribe states site is sacred to it and includes Dream Trails, hopes designation will help stop proposed gold mining project.
http://www.yumasun.com/artman/publish/story_216.shtml

"TRUST CALLS INDIAN PASS AN ENDANGERED HISTORICAL SITE" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/07/2002)
Indian pass on national nonprofit's list of 11 most endangered historic places. Group says designation will bring attention and money to help preserve the site, sacred to Quechan Tribe and they believe threatened by potential mine. Glamis Gold Ltd. says it will bring 100-150 jobs plus revenue to one of the poorest counties in California. Mine operations would not be in Indian Pass itself, but could include Tribal Trails to the site.
http://ivpressonline.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/June/07-1629-news05.txt

 

SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS

06/12/2002 - Lowden Fire public meeting
Recreation Hall
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmEvents.nsf/siteurl/72613871?OpenDocument
Also see news release above

06/17/2002 - Clear Creek grant application open house
Hollister Recreation Center
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmEvents.nsf/siteurl/75676357?OpenDocument

06/22/2002 - Woodland Hills Wild Horse and Burro Adoption
Pierce College
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmEvents.nsf/siteurl/40209202?OpenDocument

06/27/2002 - Ridgecrest Steering Committee
BLM Ridgecrest Field Office
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmEvents.nsf/siteurl/45503319?OpenDocument

06/27/2002 - Ridgecrest Steering Committee
BLM Ridgecrest Field Office
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmEvents.nsf/siteurl/45503319?OpenDocument

06/28/2002 - California Desert District Advisory Council meeting
Barstow College
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmEvents.nsf/siteurl/14634013?OpenDocument

06/29/2002 - Mammoth Lakes area geothermal field trip
"Chain up area"
See News Release above

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