A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 113 - 6/17/2003

This week in News.bytes:
-Cemex-Transit Mixed Soledad Canyon Sand and Gravel Project
-Law Enforcement
-Photo Album: Wild Burros
-Bookstore Feature: Great Basin
-Fire Update
-Land Use Plans
-Headlines and Highlights
-Upcoming Events


CEMEX-Transit Mixed Soledad Canyon Sand and Gravel Project (BLM California Issue Update)
This briefing provides information and status on the Soledad Canyon Sand and Gravel Project (CEMEX-Transit Mixed Concrete, Inc.) in Los Angeles County. The BLM approved the project with mitigating measures on August 1, 2000, and the Interior Board of Land Appeals affirmed that decision on January 8, 2002.

"Judge Rejects New Traffic Study at Proposed Mine" (LATimes, 06/17/2003)
A controversial proposal for a massive gravel mine outside Santa Clarita cleared a major hurdle Monday when a federal judge rejected Los Angeles County's bid for a new traffic study for the project.,1,1157737.story

"Judge Sides with Concrete Giant" (The Signal, 06/17/2003)
In an effort to resolve an issue that has stalled Los Angeles County and Mexican cement giant Cemex, both parties went before a Superior Court judge Monday to seek guidance on whether an environmental document for a proposed sand and gravel mine on Soledad Canyon required a recirculation.


"Judge sides with firm against L. A. County" (Los Angeles Daily News, 06/16/2003)
A federal judge determined Monday that the analysis of the traffic that would be created by a massive sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon is adequate and does not need to be reviewed again by Los Angeles County officials or the public.,1413,200~20954~1459597,00.html

"Cemex: Supes OK Conditions" (The Signal.Com, 06/14/2003)
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors apparently voted behind closed doors April 22 to approve the conditions for Mexican cement giant Cemex to mine 78 million tons of sand and gravel in Soledad Canyon over the next 20 years.

"County to OK settlement over Soledad Canyon mine" (Los Angeles Daily News, 06/13/2003)
Los Angeles County officials have tentatively agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by mining company Cemex Inc. and are expected to allow a massive sand and gravel mine to be built in Soledad Canyon, according to court records.,1413,200%7E20943%7E1454568,00.html?search=filter



"High Desert Poaching is Big Business - plants, rocks and reptiles fall prey to illegal trade" (Desert Dispatch, 06/15/2003)
When most people think of poaching, they imagine big game hunters armed with rifles, taking down elephants or tigers in far away wildlands. So it might come as a surprise that poaching is big business in the High Desert, with everything from rocks to rattlesnakes being illegally taken for commercial gain.,80017,

"Under cover with the BLM" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/09/2003)
Reporter joins BLM night patrol on BLM-managed lands at the Mexico-U.S. border. The mission: stop drug smugglers and illegal immigrants - and make the area safer for the public. The program has seized 800 pounds of marijuana and detained 180 illegal immigrants.

Marijuana plant"Wild West: Drug cartels thrive in US national parks" (Christian Science Monitor, 06/10/2003)
Since the late 1990s, marijuana cultivation has escalated dramatically in the more remote public areas such as national forests - many of which permit mining, forestry, grazing, and other activities - and areas under the stewardship of the Bureau of Land Management. (This story follows rangers on national park land in California, as an example of the growing danger of drug farms on all public lands.)



"Energy Bill Issues Hit Home" (The Inyo Register, 06/16/2003)
County officials revealed last week that Inyo had landed in the middle of a dispute between the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Navy over a proposed action to transfer jurisdictional responsibility of the Coso Geothermal operations from the military to the BLM. Inyo, relying heavily on royalties and tax payments from Coso Geothermal, had been asked by neighboring Kern County and the legislation's sponsor, Nevada Congressman Jim Gibbons, to provide input on the matter.

ECFO Power Projects (BLM California Issue Update)
Summarize status of three power projects: Sempra Energy Resources (SER),CA-42892, Baja California Power (BCP),CA-42893 and North Baja Pipeline (NBP),CA-42662.

"South of the Border" (The Washington Times, 06/17/2003)
A hulking 37-acre display of tubes and silos is sending electricity to thousands of homes in the western United States, but this power plant isn't on U.S. soil — it's in northern Mexico's desert landscape, just three miles from the border.

"Judge hears arguments over Mexico power sites" (SignOnSanDiego, 06/17/2003)
While environmental attorneys yesterday urged a federal judge to halt electricity imports from two Mexican power plants until the impact of their operation is studied, corporate lawyers claimed more harm would result from shutting down the facilities....

"U.S. judge asked to shut power lines from Mexican plants" (SignOnSandiego, 06/16/2003)
An environmental group urged a federal judge Monday to revoke transmission-line permits from two new power plants along Mexico's northern border and to stop them from shipping electricity to the United States until the U.S. government performs an exhaustive environmental review.


PHOTO ALBUM: "Wild Burros"

With the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the primary responsibilities of the BLM are to preserve and protect wild burros and to manage for healthy rangelands. When over-population of wild burros exists on the range, the excess animals are removed and offered to the public for adoption. To see these cute animals up close, contact our Bakersfield field office (661-391-6049) regarding their upcoming Adoptions: June 28-29 in Ventura, CA; August 16-17 in San Jose, CA.


Dedicated to all who find Nature not an adversary to conquer and destroy, this book is a storehouse of infinite knowledge and experience linking man to all things past and present.



"Firefighter Injured in Brush Fire"
(Victor Valley Daily Press, 06/16/2003)
A firefighter was injured and airlifted to an area hospital after helping battle a fast-spreading brush fire in the Mojave River Basin. The fire burned about 100 acres within 1-1/2 hours.,55446,

"Western Wildfires Linked to Variations in Climate" (Science Daily, 06/16/2003)
Scientists from the California Applications Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, have found a link between variations in climate and the severity of wildfires that spans a range of regions and ecosystems across the Western U.S. over the last two decades.

"Tragedy Dictates a Change in Tactics: Smaller planes replace workhorse of tanker fleet"
(Reno Gazette-Journal, 06/14/2003)
Nearly one year ago to the day, Air Tanker 130 swooped over a Sierra wildfire when the wings of the aging four-engine aircraft snapped off and the plane spun to the ground and exploded, killing the three-man crew. Following the June 17 crash, concern over the safety of that type of plane and another has left the West with at least 25 percent fewer air tankers as the region enters a potentially dangerous fire season.

"Town Wins Grant to Develop Fuel Break on Eastern Flank" (Chico Enterprise Record, 06/13/2003)
With a $75,000 grant just secured from the Bureau of Land Management, the town will soon be closer to creating a ring of sheltered fuel breaks around its vulnerable eastern flank.,1413,135~25088~1453196,00.html

"Slow Salvage Pace on the Blue Fire"
(ModocRecord, 06/12/2003)
Nearly two years ago, the horrific blaze from the Blue Fire raged for days in and around Jess Valley and Blue Lake. In the aftermath of that devastating burn, both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management officials declared their intention to promptly remove or salvage burned material.



West Mojave:

"Desert Routes Plan to Draw County Protest"
(The Press-Enterprise, 06/18/2003)
San Bernardino County will protest a plan by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to designate routes through nearly 3 million acres of the West Mojave Desert, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday.

"Habitat Conservation Plan Shown by BLM" (The Press-Enterprise, 06/11/2003)
A draft of the nation's largest habitat conservation plan, covering 9.3 million acres of the western Mojave Desert, was released Tuesday in an effort to gather public comment before it is made final, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced.

Related: "West Mojave Plan (BLM California Website)"
An executive summary of the draft plan/HCP and draft EIS/EIR is currently online , and the full document will be available online at the same web address in the near future.


"Riverside County Set to Approve Big Land Plan, a Species Trade-Off" (LATimes, 06/17/2003)
With threats of lawsuits from environmentalists and property rights groups, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors today is poised to approve a sweeping 1.2-million-acre, $1-billion conservation plan that would help govern growth for the next 75 years....,1,3397528.story?coll=la-headlines-california

"Wildlife plan approval expected" (ThePress-Enterprise, 06/17/2003)
From bobcats to butterflies, county supervisor today are expected to approve a species-conservation plan meant to help solve the county's environmental troubles for the next 75 years.

"Planners say bighorn, hikers can share space" (The Desert Sun, 06/13/2003)
Disagreement between authors who favor hiking and wildlife regulators worried about the sheep was one of the major unresolved aspects of the proposed Coachella Valley Multi Species Habitat Conservation Plan. Authors of the plan, however, say they've forged a compromise that preserves access to the region's hiking trails without harming endangered bighorn sheep.


Coachella Valley PreserveRelated: Coachella Valley (BLM California Website)
For more information on Coachella Valley, visit our Palm Springs Field Office web site at

Related: Coachella Valley Plans (BLM California Issue Update)The latest update from BLM on the Coachella Valley Plan.


"Monterey County honors Steve Addington"
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution at their board meeting on June 6, honoring BLM's former Fort Ord Project Manager Steve Addington for his significant contributions to habitat management at the former Fort Ord. The resolution designates an existing vernal pool habitat area at Fort Ord between East Garrison and Hennekens Ranch Road as the "Steve Addington Glade." Steve's accomplishments include helping to transfer 7,200 acres of natural lands to BLM for the purpose of protecting and managing rare habitats and species; leading efforts to create a locally based, volunteer patrol organization known as the Bicycle/Equestrian Trail Assistance Group (BETA); providing vision, leadership and technical support in the preparation of the U.S. Army's installation-wide, multi-species habitat management plan; serving as the inaugural chair of the Fort Ord Coordinated Resources Management Group, which serves as a model for similar habitat planning across the nation.

"Battling for plant control: County fights to keep French broom from spreading" (California Online.Com, 06/13/2003)
French broom, a 10-foot tall invader, threatens to snuff out much of Monterey County's natural diversity and upset entire eco-systems.

"BLM to change name of Squaw Leap Management Area" (BLM California news release, 06/17/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management has announced "San Joaquin River Gorge" as the new name for an area formerly known as Squaw Leap Management Area.  In an effort to be sensitive to the many cultural programs that are historically tied to this area, BLM decided to choose the name to reflect the physical beauty, geographic location, and uniqueness of the area.

Related: "San Joaquin River Gorge (BLM Website)"
This scenic area straddles the San Joaquin River just upstream from Millerton Lake State Park and includes lands in both Fresno and Madera Counties, where hikers and horseback riders have access to several thousand acres of public land.

"BLM Issues Payments in Lieu of Taxes to Local Governments" (BLM California news release, 06/18/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management is sending $19,245,932 to local California governments under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Act.

"Part of Bump and Grind trail closed" (KESQChannel3, 06/16/2003)
As summer is heating up, so is the debate over hiking trails in the valley. Starting Monday, June 16, part of the popular Bump and Grind trail in Rancho Mirage will be closed for the summer.

"Public Lands Reopen?" (American Motorcyclist, 06/01/2003)
The federal government has made a surprise announcement that could be good news for off-highway riders. The Interior Department has indicated it will not support efforts to create Wilderness lands in places that have not received that designation from Congress.

"Rancher Criticized for Care of Seized Mustangs" (Record Searchlight, 06/12/2003)
A rancher who took in 250 Nevada horses seized by the federal government is under investigation by Santa Barbara County animal welfare investigators who say some of the mustangs remain so weak and malnourished their ribs are visible.

Selected Upcoming Events

06/27/2003 - California Desert District Advisory Council

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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