A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue date: 12/10/2002
This week in News.bytes:
- Fighting wildfire: Award, report
- Fighting wildfire: President's forest thinning plan
- Not for Educators Only:
- Weed of the Week: Dalmation toadflax
- Wildlife Trivia of the Week: Habitat-specific
- Field Office planner wins interpretation/environmental
- Land use, rights-of-way issues:
- Planned gravel mine in Soledad Canyon
- Valley Rainbow Interconnect power line
- Police training at Fort Ord?
- Volunteers in the spotlight
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
- Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act of 2002
- On a mission to stop desert dumping
- Lost Coast walk
- Selected Upcoming Events
WILDFIRES: Award to Californian, national report release
NATIONAL WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE AWARD
Jim Francis, fuels management specialist for the BLM California Fire and
Aviation Branch received the 2002 National Wildland Urban Interface Individual
Award - for his work implementing the National Fire Plan for BLM-California.
The award narrative states: Jim is recognized for his dedicated efforts
to help increase staffing, funding, equipment and training for fuels treatment
projects; for improving coordination and communication with state partners
resulting in increased project funding and state fire planning and mitigation
capacities; for enabling local, private and non-profit entities to assess,
plan and implement local projects to reduce their wildfire risks; and
for helping reactivate the California Fire Alliance.
"LEADERS CHOSEN FOR COUNTY'S FIRE SAFE COUNCILS"
(Calaveras Enterprise, 12/9/02)
One way BLM California is helping to prevent wildfires is to help form
Fire Safe Councils where local residents work on their own fire prevention
projects. Two such councils have formed in Calaveras County. "Nobody's
going to protect your property more than you are," says an organizer.
"AIR TANKERS GROUNDED AFTER REVIEW" (Sacramento Bee,
Aging firefighting aircraft grounded, after panel says government's aerial
firefighting programs are unsafe. BLM Director Kathleen Clarke and Forest
Service Chief Dale Bosworth joint statement: "What we have found
is a system in need of repair ... What began as an innovative program
in the 1950s to use recently retired military and civilian surplus aircraft
... now needs improvement."
"REPORT SAYS AGENCIES NEED TO IMPROVE FIREFIGHTING SAFETY"
An independent, five-person panel appointed by the Agriculture Department's
Forest Service and the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management
published the report, "Federal Aerial Firefighting: Assessing Safety
"BLUE RIBBON PANEL ON FEDERAL AERIAL FIREFIGHTING" (National
Interagency Firefighting Center Web pages)
Links to PDF copies of the actual report - "Federal Aerial Firefighting:
Assessing Safety and Effectiveness" from the Blue Ribbon Panel on
Federal Aerial Firefighting - plus transcripts of public outreach town
meetings, background and other information.
WILDFIRES: Forest thinning, rangeland health plans
"PRESIDENT'S BRIEFING ON HEALTHY FORESTS INITIATIVE" (U.S.
Department of the Interior Web site, 12/11/2002)
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton briefs the President: "The first
thing I would tell you today is that we are dealing with an emergency situation.
And for those who think we have a breathing spell this winter, the Southwest
fire season is only a few months away..."
"BUSH FIRE STRATEGY: SPEED UP THINNING OF NATIONAL FORESTS"
(San Jose Mercury News, 12/12/2002)
"The rules could have major impacts in California, where 20 percent
of the state is made up of national forest lands, and an additional 15 percent
is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which also is affected."
"BUSH ADMINISTRATION MOVING AHEAD ON THINNING FORESTS TO PREVENT
FIRES" (Associated Press, in San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/12/2002)
"BUSH SPEEDS LOGGING PLAN; HE BYPASSES CONGRESS WITH PLAN TO MINIMIZE
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/12/2002)
"BUSH ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES STEPS TO RESTORE FOREST AND RANGELAND
HEALTH" (News release: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department
of Agriculture, and White House Council on Environmental Quality, 12/11/2002)
"We are trying to expedite our processes in order to prevent catastrophic
damage to our forests and rangelands by returning these lands to good health,
which will protect lives, property and homes," said Secretary of the
Interior Gale Norton. "Needless delay closes the narrow window of opportunity
we have to do essential fuels treatment work between fire seasons."
Includes links to Fact Sheet, more information.
OF THE WEEK - Dalmation toadflax
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY
native of the Mediterranean has spread to lands managed by the Redding Field
Office. It is found along roadsides and on rangelands. "Aggressively
invades native plant communities, spreading by seed and creeping root system.
Non-palatable to most herbivores. Difficult to control. Control methods
include cultural, chemical and mechanical."
Invasive weeds are generally non-native plants from Europe and Asia. They
spread at an alarming rate because, unlike native species, there are no
native insects, fungi, or diseases to control their growth and spread. A
handful of such plants in the 19th century now number in the hundreds of
millions. These noxious weeds are destroying wildlife habitat and forage,
threatening endangered species and native plants, increasing soil erosion
and groundwater loss, and blocking recreational opportunities.
TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
"What is the most habitat-specific
mammal in North America?"
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)
AND EDUCATORS HONORED AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE" (BLM news release,
BLM's 2002 "Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education"
award presented to Jim Jennings, recreation planner from BLM California's
Bishop Field Office - for his work on an innovative guide to remote roads
in the Eastern Sierra.
"Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra" was the result of a large
cooperative project involving federal, state, and local governments as
well as civic and volunteer groups. Jennings helped with research, helped
create partnership of agency and citizen groups, created a marketing plan
and helped distribute the publication. The 18 routes in the guide are
almost entirely on public land - and on routes that visitors can use without
damaging the lands.
"BLM RECEIVES REQUEST
TO CHANGE USE OF LA POSTA WITHDRAWAL AND TRANSFER LAND TO NAVY"
(BLM California news release, 12/09/2002)
LAND USE AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY ISSUES
Request from Navy to modify use of La Posta withdrawal from microwave relay
station to training site and to transfer administrative jurisdiction of
to the Navy - approximately 1,079 acres near Campo in southeast San Diego
"BOARD TARGETS POWER LINES" (Riverside Press-Enterprise,
Riverside County supervisors will ask state Utilities Commission to block
San Diego Gas & Electric's proposed Valley Rainbow Interconnect power
line: "The county doesn't want to be the utility basement for the rest
of Southern California." Line would likely involve BLM in rights-of-way
"POLICE TRAINING CENTER MOVES FORWARD" (Monterey Herald,
Fort Ord re-use, involving BLM California: Monterey Peninsula College would
expand its public safety training program after trading land with the county
and negotiating management of fragile habitat.
"LOCKYER IN MINE BATTLE" (Los Angeles Daily News, 12/09/2002)
California Attorney General agrees to join federal court battle over a Cemex,
Inc. sand-and-gravel mine in Soledad Canyon -- city and county officials
asked him to help them fight project. Company won BLM bid for mining at
"CEMEX LAWSUIT COULD RESOLVE POLICY QUESTIONS" (Santa Clarita
Related Editorial: newspaper
welcomes state Attorney General to Cemex lawsuit, questions his enthusiasm,
says precedent could be set for case where federal and local decisions differ....
Related: "LOCKYER TO JOIN
FIGHT AGAINST MINE" (Santa Clarita Signal, 12/10/2002)
VOLUNTEERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
"ROSE BLOOMS IN THE DESERT" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 12/03/2002)
"Our Town" feature on BLM Barstow's volunteer coordinator, Rose
Foster -- who recruits for cleanup efforts and other improvements to public
lands. Also refers to a volunteer event last weekend, but notes "volunteering
opportunities are available year-round."
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM" (BLM Barstow Field Office Web pages)
Related: examples of projects worked on by volunteers to the BLM's Barstow
"VOLUNTEER PROGRAM" (BLM California Web pages)
Related: information on other opportunities to volunteer with BLM California,
volunteer application, volunteer coordinators.
"BIG SUR WILDLAND PROTECTION IS LIKELY" (San Jose Mercury
The House and Senate approved designating 56,880 acres of canyons, streams,
oak forests, and other scenic federal lands on the Big Sur coast and at
the Pinnacles National Monument in San Benito County as protected wilderness
- as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and as additions
to the Ventana Wilderness, the Silver Peak Wilderness, and the Pinnacles
Wilderness. The "Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act of 2002"
still must be signed by the President to become law.
Related: "BIG SUR WILDERNESS
AND CONSERVATION ACT OF 2002" (Library of Congress Web Site)
You can find the final text of the bill by searching for "Big Sur Wilderness"
in the category "Search Bill Text 107th Congress (2001-2002):"
on Thomas - the Library of Congress Web site:
"BLM ON A MISSION TO STOP ILLEGAL DESERT DUMPING" (Barstow
Desert Dispatch, 12/08/2002)
BLM's Barstow Field Office apprehends more people for illegal dumping in
the desert: "BLM land is public land ... Public land belongs to all
of us and all of us need to take responsibility for keeping it safe."
"WALK ON THE BEACH TAKES STAMINA, GOOD TIMING" (Fort Worth
Feature article on the Lost Coast, with hiking trails managed by BLM California.
(Story originally from the 11/24/02 San Jose Mercury News)
"KING RANGE NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA - HIKING AND BACKPACKING"
(BLM California Web site)
Home of the Lost Coast and a number of hiking trails.
"BLM DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL TO MEET IN RIDGECREST"
(BLM California news release, 12/10/2002)
BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council will participate in
a field tour of Surprise Canyon Friday (Dec. 13, and meet in formal session
TO WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK,
is the most habitat-specific mammal in North America?"
Pacific fishers -- they need forests with low and closed canopies to protect
them from predation. Also of interest: "Fishers are well-known for
being one of the few predators of common porcupines."
Learn more about Pacific Fishers from our BLM California Wildlife Database:
(Note: see comment on "secure server" under
Selected Upcoming Events below.)
(Note: the Upcoming Events database is now on a more secure
Web server, and your browser may state "You are about to view pages over
a secure connection" and ask you to "Trust a Security Certificate"
from the Department of Interior that hosts this site. To
view the pages, you must select "Yes" or "OK" for both
12/13/2002 - Desert District Advisory Council
- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links
to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's
"Location" or "Address" bar.
- Note: Some
newspapers require free registration to view articles on their Web sites.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If
you plan to keep a story,
you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.
DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those
or of products or advertisements on those sites.
News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:
To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our sign-up page at: