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

Issue date: 12/19/2002


This week in News.bytes:

- Wild horses join Rose Parade
- News.bytes hiatus
- Off-highway vehicles on public lands:
     - Western Colorado Desert routes of travel
     - Photo controversy
     - Imperial Sand Dunes beetle
     - Expansion plan at Mirage Dry Lake
- Not for Educators Only:
     - Plant of the Week: Grimy ivesia
     - Wildlife Trivia of the Week
     - Our Readers Respond: "Fishy" habitat question?
- Historical resources:
     - Protectors
     - Plunderers?
- Rights-of-way: Controversial power line
- Other public land use issues:
     - NECO Plan decision
     - Glamis mine
- Northern California and the Northwest Forest Plan
- Headlines and highlights, including:
     - Wildfire fighting progress
     - Firewood donations
     - Long-term camping
     - Forest roads


Gentled wild horse joins in an ealier displayWILD HORSES IN THE ROSE PARADE


"AMERICA'S WILD HORSES TO APPEAR IN ROSE PARADE" (BLM California news release, 12/19/2002)
The spirit of the American west will be well represented in this year's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on January 1, when a group of American mustangs joins the equestrian entries.



NO NEWS.BYTES FOR TWO WEEKS
We do not plan to issue News.bytes the weeks of Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, 2002. You should receive your next edition of News.bytes the week of Jan. 6, 2003. Happy New Year!


OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES ON PUBLIC LANDS

"OFFICIALS DEVISE IDEAS FOR FUTURE OF SURPRISE CANYON" (Bakersfield Californian, 12/15/2002)
BLM California Desert District Advisory Council meets to tour Surprise Canyon and brainstorm ideas for its use. The Council "came up with an array of possible alternatives for using the land but didn't endorse any. Options ranged from creating a closed route to an open route and limited-use route by permit only."
http://www.bakersfield.com/local/story/2330054p-2386433c.html

"PROPOSED PLAN AMENDMENT FOR WESTERN COLORADO DESERT ROUTES OF TRAVEL DESIGNATIONS RELEASED" (BLM California news release, 12/13/2002)
The BLM releases proposed plan amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan for off-road vehicle trail (route of travel) designations in the Western Colorado Desert (WECO) portion of Imperial County.

"DESERT PHOTOS AROUSE CONTROVERSY" (Riverside Press Enterprise, 12/14/2002)
"A color photo exhibit on the Algodones Dunes now touring the United States has come to the Coachella Valley. There are pristine desert and off-road areas with tires tracks running like a giant spider web. The 17 photos on display at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens in Palm Desert are the work of ... a photographer from Venice."
http://www.pe.com/localnews/desertpass/stories/PE_NEWS_ndunes14.ebe0.html

"SCARAB BEETLE BEHIND GROUP'S MOVE TO CLOSE IMPERIAL SAND DUNES" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/13/2002)
"A conservation group that took part in a lawsuit to close portions of the Imperial Sand Dunes filed a petition Thursday to list a dunes scarab beetle as an endangered species .... The move requests critical habitat for the beetle be set aside, removing it from off-road vehicle use."
http://www.ivpressonline.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/December/13-1877-news04.txt

Related: "SCARAB BEETLE: Correcting the record: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2002" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/15/2002)
item states: "The headline on a story in Friday's edition of the Imperial Valley Press regarding the Imperial Sand Dunes misstated the intention of the Center for Biological Diversity's petition at the Imperial Sand Dunes. The center's petition would only affect a portion of the sand dunes."
http://ivpressonline.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/December/15-549-news15.txt

Related: "TINY BEETLE IS NEWEST THREAT IN SAND DUNES" (Yuma Sun, 12/13/2002)
"Could a tiny insect close more of the Imperial Sand Dunes or keep acreage already shut down from being re-opened? That's a question the U.S. Department of the Interior is being asked to answer after the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson filed a petition asking that the Andrew's Dunes Scarab Beetle be placed on the endangered species list and its habitat designated as critical."
http://yumasun.com/artman/publish/articles/story_3073.shtml

"FEDS TO SUE EL MIRAGE LANDOWNERS" (Victorville Daily Press, 12/18/2002)
Landowners complain to San Bernardino County Supervisors that they are being forced to sell land at bargain rates, for expanded off-highway recreation area. Supervisor says county agreed to project in 1990, need expansion for economic good of the county.
http://www.vvdailypress.com/cgi-bin/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1040229742,43616,

Related: "COUNTY SINKS ITS HOOKS INTO DRY LAKE LAND" (San Bernardino County Sun, 12/17/2002)
"San Bernardino County plans to seize 1,152 acres near El Mirage Dry Lake for a planned off-road vehicle recreation area if the land owners don't agree to sell." Under A 1990 Agreement, "the [BLM] would assume title for the land, but San Bernardino County would be responsible for acquiring about 12,500 acres" next to lands already managed by BLM. Supervisor suggests current landowners may have been defrauded by earlier sellers of the land.
http://www.sbsun.com/Stories/0,1413,208%257E12588%257E1058961,00.html

El Mirage Dry LakeRelated: "EL MIRAGE DRY LAKE OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE RECREATION AREA" (BLM California Web site)
Current off-highway area managed by BLM California.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/barstow/mirage.html


NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY

Special Status Plant of the Week: Grimy ivesiaPLANT OF THE WEEK - Grimy ivesia

Low, spreading, perennial herb from a branched woody base. Leaves covered with dense, grayish white hairs. Classified as a BLM "Sensitive" Plant.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/surprise/surpivrhr.html

Wildlife Trivia question markWILDLIFE TRIVIA Question of the Week: Which sea mammal can swim the fastest?
(See answer near end of this edition of News.bytes)

OUR READERS RESPOND: "habitat-specific" in the eye of the beholder?
In our email box this week, a comment from a biologist on last News.bytes "Wildlife Trivia of the Week" (Q - "What is the most habitat-specific mammal in North America?" A - Pacific fishers -- they need forests with low and closed canopies to protect them from predation.)
The comment: "Fishers are certainly habitat specific, but ... tend to be somewhat generalists when it comes to food. I realize the concept of most habitat specific is arbitrary and subjective, but I believe there are ... more habitat specific mammals. [For example] the California red tree vole (Arborimus longicaudus)." Our reader cites information (Maser 1965a, Maser et al. 1981) that this mammal "specializes on needles of Douglas-fir and grand fir ... Needle resin ducts are removed. The remaining part is eaten, and the resin ducts may be used to line the nest cup. Young, tender needles often eaten entirely. Food may be stored. Tender bark of terminal twigs may be eaten as well."
One other thing: "It also occurs to me that any number of bat species are likely to be extremely habitat specific."

OUR READERS RESPOND, Part 2: Fishy habitat questions?
"I suspect that the saltmarsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) and the red tree mouse (Aborimus poma) have much narrower habitat requirements than the Pacific fisher. While I'm at it, last week (issue 87, 12/5/02) the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) was given as the most widespread North American rodent. I think this honor should go to the house mouse (Mus musculus), although it is of course not a native -- but then your question did not specify 'native species'."

OUR THANKS to both of you -- and to the others who have e-mailed the News.bytes Team. You help keep us on our toes!
(By the way, our wildlife trivia questions on are derived from several sources, including the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals and the Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Our wildlife trivia question person is working to put more information on her sources into our database.)


HISTORICAL RESOURCES

BLM CALIFORNIA RECEIVES STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARD
At a ceremony in the State Capitol, BLM California was presented with the Governor's State Historic Preservation Award -- the first federal agency to receive this state award. BLM's "California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program" started four years ago and now has over 200 site stewards across the state - monitoring archaeological and historical sites to report damage so it can be more easily repaired. Each steward takes a two-day class in archaeology and history taught by a professional training team and BLM's local field office archaeologist. Each is then assigned a site to visit and document at least once monthly. These stewards account for at least 1600 hours of site monitoring per month.
California's Historic Preservation Officer, Dr. Knox Mellon, also recognized BLM State Archaeologist Russell Kaldenberg, for designing the program. A number of key people who share responsibility for the award - including BLM personnel and cooperators - attended the ceremony.

ON THE BORDER: HISTORICAL RESOURCES
A two-day conference, "Balances and Perspectives" was recently held in Mexicali by the Institute Nationale Archaeologique e Hisotoria. The conference focused on delivery of professional papers and ideas on the management of border historical resources. Representing BLM California among the 60 attendees were Eric Ritter from the Redding Office, State Archeologist Russell Kaldenberg, and Margaret Hangan. State Director Mike Pool was interviewed about the partnership on two Mexicali television stations.
Issues included getting data about seasonal rounds Baja indigenous peoples practiced, rock art preservation, archaeological site protection, energy development, and sharing of ideas and information. Next year the conference will be held in Tecate, Baja California.

"NEV. CAVE LOOTER HIT WITH $2.5 M PENALTY" (Associated Press on ABC News, 12/14/02)
$2.5 million fine for destroying historical site in Black Rock Desert, co-managed by BLM California's Surprise Field Office and BLM Nevada Reno Field Office. Site was "one of the most important archaeological cave sites in the Great Basin" and "contained a 10,000-year record of human life in northern Nevada, including artifacts from the Paiute tribe."
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20021214_1181.html



RIGHTS-OF-WAY: CONTROVERSIAL POWER LINE

"BILL SHIELDING TRIBE'S LAND SIGNED INTO LAW" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/17/2002)
Valley Rainbow Interconnect: "President Bush signed legislation Monday prohibiting a San Diego utility from running a high-voltage power line through land Temecula's Pechanga Indians are trying to annex to their reservation."
http://www.pe.com/localnews/southwest/stories/PE_NEWS_nsbill17.a19db.html

"PUC DELAYS DECISION ON POWER LINE" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/18/2002)
California Public Utilities Commission delayed until today, a vote on whether to continue studying, or to stop, San Diego Gas & Electric's proposed Valley Rainbow Interconnect.
http://www.pe.com/localnews/southwest/stories/PE_NEWS_nslines18.a1895.html

"UTILITY DROPS LAND-USE BATTLE" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/19/2002)
Valley Rainbow Interconnect proposal: "[San Diego Gas & Electric] halts its effort to put a power line on a parcel that the Pechangas want to annex."
http://www.pe.com/localnews/southwest/stories/PE_NEWS_nsoak19.eec2.html


MORE PUBLIC LAND USE ISSUES: NECO Plan, Glamis mine

"BLM ISSUES DECISION APPROVING NORTHERN AND EASTERN COLORADO DESERT PLAN" (BLM California news release, 12/19/02)

"11TH-HOUR RULES REQUIRE MINES BE BACKFILLED" (Desert Sun, 12/13/2002)
"New California open-pit gold mines would have to be backfilled under emergency regulations adopted Thursday, a move that may threaten a controversial proposed mine on sacred Indian land in the desert."
http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories/local/1039751941.shtml

Related: "GOLD MINE MAY BE SHUT DOWN" (Yuma Sun, 12/17/2002)
"In response to what it considers excessive regulations, the Nevada-based company that spent millions in the hopes of developing a gold mine on sacred Quechan tribal land is now asking that the federal government buy it out. Both the Quechan Tribe and Glamis Gold Ltd. officials said it's a move that could bring an end to the battle both sides have been fighting for several years.
http://yumasun.com/artman/publish/articles/story_3154.shtml


NORTHWEST FOREST PLAN: Northern California impact


"NORTHWEST FOREST PLAN TO BE CLARIFIED" (Eureka Times-Standard, 12/11/2002)
Six national forests in California and "the Arcata, Redding and Ukiah Bureau of Land Management field offices will be affected by a clarification of the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan currently under consideration ... Public comment is invited..."
http://www.times-standard.com/Stories/0,1413,127%257E2896%257E1046046,00.html

"US GREEN GROUPS SEEK PROTECTION OF NW SALMON" (Reuters, 12/19/2002)
"U.S. fishing and environmental groups on Thursday asked a federal judge to block timber sales in the Pacific Northwest that could damage salmon habitat protected by a Clinton administration rule."
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N19325843

"PLAN ALTERS SALMON PROTECTION" (Associated Press, in The Olympian, 11/26/2002)
"The Bush administration is proposing changes to the strategy for protecting salmon that frees Northwest national forests from court rulings demanding that they show every timber sale they offer won't harm fish."
http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20021126/frontpage/15250.shtml

"PLAN EASES LOGGING LOGJAM" (Portland Oregonian, 11/26/2002)
"The Bush administration is proposing to ease certain stringent environmental standards for public lands logging in the Northwest, clearing the way for close to 100 stalled timber sales and furthering its aim of reviving the region's deflated timber cut."
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news/103831548052090.xml


HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"SNAPSHOTS; Successes of BLM hazardous fuels projects" (BLM national fire publication, 12/13/02)
California portion of the national BLM effort to reduce the threat of wildfire, including
Also: photos from the award ceremony including BLM California's individual National Wildland Urban Interface award winner.
Note: Large PDF file, 1.3 megabytes:
Snapshots - California 12/13/02

"BLM DONATING FIREWOOD TO LESS FORTUNATE FAMILIES" (BLM California news release, 12/16/2002)
Modoc County families and charitable organizations will be receiving free firewood this holiday season, as part of a cooperative project involving the Bureau of Land Management and the Training, Employment and Community Help (TEACH) organization.

"FOREST ROADS REMAIN LIMITED" (Union Democrat, 12/13/2002)
"In a victory for environmentalists, a federal judge Thursday upheld a Clinton-era ban on roads on 58.5 million acres of public land nationwide. The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates the Roadless Rule, which preserves acreage as virtual wilderness and forbids all roads and development on specified areas of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land."
http://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=9411

FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE: "Publication of supplementary rules for Long-Term Visitor Areas managed by the California Desert District office, California, and the Yuma Field Office, Arizona" (Federal Register, 12/18/2002)
Comments due 1/13/03.

"WILD HORSES: PLAN MIGHT GIVE 10,000 NEW HOME" (Las Vegas Review Journal, 12/16/02)
"Montana businessman and his partners are promoting a way to solve wild horse overpopulation in the West: ship 10,000 of the government-protected animals to a sanctuary in Mexico. BLM Director Kathleen Clarke met with the businessman proposing the venture, "giving backers hope and opponents cause for concern."
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Dec-16-Mon-2002/news/20275638.html


Wildlife Trivia question markWILDLIFE TRIVIA ANSWER to the question: "Which sea mammal can swim the fastest?"
California sea lion at the California Coastal National MonumentCalifornia sea lions can swim faster than any other sea mammal. A California sea lion can also dive to depths of 450 feet, stay under water for up to 20 minutes, and balance and toss objects with its nose!
Learn more about California sea lions in our BLM California wildlife database:
(Note: this database is on a more secure Department of Interior 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 questions.)
https://doi1.ios.doi.gov/blmcawildlife.nsf/siteurl/18116732?OpenDocument

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
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