A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 184 - 11/23/04

Diane BeckTiehm's milk-vetchTim SmithGranite night lizardKing Range National Conservation Area

- Sage grouse protection
- More on species protection
- Wildfire prevention
- Not for educators only:
    - Wildlife trivia question
    - Special Status plant of the week
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Diane Beck
- Profile: Tim Smith
- Photo album: King Range National Conservation Area
- Bookstore feature: California topographic
- Headlines and highlights: homeless shelter delay, jobs with BLM, grazing, energy plant, pot seizure
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: energy, computers


"BLM releases plan to boost sage grouse population" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17/2004)
"Federal land managers have released a strategy to boost sage grouse numbers, hoping to bolster the population of America's second-largest game bird after a 90 percent decline since the early 1900s....Developers wanting to drill for gas are closely watching government plans, as are cattlemen, off-road enthusiasts and environmentalists, some of whom dismissed the Bureau of Land Management strategy as a failure....BLM said its strategy will guide its federal wildlife managers in restoring bird populations and habitat until programs can be developed on the state and local level."

"BLM Sage-Grouse Interim Strategy Establishes Comprehensive Approach to Managing Sagebrush Habitat" (BLM national news release, 11/16/2004)
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management unveiled the final version of an interim national strategy outlining additional steps that it will take to maintain, enhance and restore sage-grouse habitat on America’s public lands. The interim strategy will guide BLM field offices until state- and local-level sage-grouse conservation plans developed in collaboration with state wildlife experts are completed and made part of BLM land-use plans.

"BLM announces national strategy for conserving sage-grouse on public lands" (BLM national news site, 11/16/2004)
Repeated from last week's News.bytes - with links to further information.


"BLM Releases Environmental Assessment and Proposed Plan Amendment for Flat-tailed horned lizard Rangewide Management strategy" (BLM California news release, 11/23/2004)
The BLM released an environmental assessment (EA) and proposed plan amendment of the California Desert Conservation Area Plan to adopt the Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Rangewide Management Strategy, 2003 Revision, an Arizona-California Conservation Strategy. The Strategy will provide guidance for the conservation and management of sufficient habitat to maintain existing populations of flat-tailed horned lizards within five management areas located only on BLM-managed public lands within Imperial County.

"Bighorn barrier" (Los Angeles Times, 11/16/2004)
"If local, state and federal government stakeholders approve the plan, about 25% of the 115 miles of trails, mostly within San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument, will be open only to permit-holders during the January to June bighorn lambing season." BLM co-manages the monument.
(Requires free registration),1,3577204.story

Related: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM California website) BLM and the U.S. Forest Service co-manage the monument, in consultation with a number of landowners within its boundaries.


"Snapshots 2004 - Highlighting BLM projects that support the National Fire Plan - California" (BLM California website)
Featured this month:
- Reducing fire hazards in Walker-Mono Basin;
- Word spreads like wildfire in the eastern Sierra;
- Fuels reduction to protect historic homesteading sites.
(Note: PDF file, 600 kilobytes - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Related: "Snapshots 2004" (BLM Office of Fire and Aviation website)
Includes items from other Western states.
(Note: PDF file, 1.5 megabytes - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Jerry Wheeless, right, fuels specialist for the Eagle Lake Field Office, receives his "firefighter of the year" award from Field Manager Dayne Barron. "Lassen VFW Honors BLM Firefighter" (News.bytes Extra, 11/23/2004)
Jerry Wheeless, fuels specialist for the Bureau of Land Management's Eagle Lake Field Office, has been named a "firefighter of the year" by the Lassen County unit of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Read more and see photos:

"BLM fourth annual open house wildland firefighter recruitment" (BLM California news release, 11/22/2004)
The BLM is looking for physically fit, innovative individuals interested in becoming seasonal wildland firefighters. Potential recruits will gain valuable information on wildland firefighting careers during the annual open house at the BLM Bakersfield Field Office on Saturday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. BLM firefighters and supervisors will be on site to answer questions along with crew presentations and videos.

"Fire fuels reduction work proposed in Antelope Valley" (BLM California news release, 11/23/2004)
The project would help protect residents and their homes from wildland fire, and increase safety for firefighters. The land proposed for treatment is comprised largely of pinyon pine, sage brush, bitterbrush, and herbaceous vegetation. Under the right conditions, this type of vegetation can produce a high-intensity wildland fire, which is both difficult and dangerous to control.

"Four-legged firefighters on display" (North County Times, 11/17/2004)
"Curious homeowners and government officials [including BLM representatives] gathered near Julian on Wednesday, hoping to drum up interest in a unique set of firefighters -- goats. For two hours, people got a chance to watch the four-legged lawn mowers chew up everything in their paths....Fire officials say much of San Diego County is a tinderbox of dead and dying vegetation just waiting to burst into new firestorms like the 2003 wildfires."

Related: "Goats help ranchers weed in tough spots" (Klamath Falls Herald and News, 11/17/2004)
Goats are also used by BLM in Oregon. "The BLM and U.S. Forest Service hire herds of goats, and sometimes sheep, to handle weeds on rangeland and to cut fire breaks around communities."

"Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service team up to fight spread of invasive tree species" (BLM California news release, 11/17/2004)
The goal of the joint effort is to control the spread of saltcedar, a tree that displaces native plants and devastates wildlife habitat and ecosystems on more than a million acres of rangeland. BLM Director Kathleen Clarke met with researchers at the Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory where scientists are testing saltcedar and other trees from BLM land to make a wood-plastic composite, including boards that hold promise as house siding. If markets can be created for these small trees and woody vegetation, the sale of those materials could help subsidize the cost of their removal from the public lands.


Granite night lizardWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Taking the night for granite
Which of these is true of the Granite night lizard?
- Their diet includes decomposed granite. They are the only animal that can digest it.
- They lay eggs that look like granite pebbles...disguising them from predators.
- Their skin glows in the dark.
- Their young are born live...not from eggs.
- They secrete a poison that can paralyze much larger animals.
- They prefer habitats with an active disco scene.
(Photo John H. Tashjian, ©California Academy of Sciences
Take your best guess in our online interactive quiz:

Which of the items stimulate American beavers to build dams? See how people answered:

Tiehm's milk-vetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Tiehm's milk-vetch
Identifying features:
- Flat, densely leaved mat.
- Small, white, tinged with lilac flowers.
- Small, 2 seeded, hairy pods.
This plant only appears on public lands administered by BLM's Surprise Field Office.


"Good job! Thank you for all you do. We appreciate you and sometimes forget to say thanks."
- W. H., Long Beach Mineral and Gem Society

Diane Beck represents national and regional environmental interests on the Northwest California Resource Advisory Council. Read more in our weekly News.bytes feature:

Tim SmithPROFILE: Tim Smith
"My father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all Forest Service employees. I am the blacksheep," says Tim Smith. Tim has been the Recreation Program Manager for the state of California for over 11 years - and he will be for a couple of months yet. Read more in this News.bytes Profile:

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "TOPO! National Geographic - California"
"Seamless USGS Topographic Maps on CD-ROM - Every topographic map you'll ever need for California is now at your fingertips. This 10 CD-ROM set includes all of the major series of USGS maps. Enhanced with 3D Digital Shading and professional resolution photo quality output. The included TOPO! software makes it easy to create the perfect map. With this CD-ROM you are able to download free datasets and updates at the web, own thousands of maps for California, output in the format you need, use the best topographic map software, and much much more!!"

flower in the King Range National Conservation AreaPHOTO ALBUM: King Range National Conservation Area
At the King Range National Conservation Area, offshore rocks, tidepools and kelp beds are inhabited by seals, sea lions and a variety of marine birds. California grey whales can be spotted offshore in winter and spring. The mountains are a mix of Douglas-fir forest, chaparral and grassland, providing habitat for blacktailed deer and black bear.

Aerial view of King Range National Conservation Area, from over the Pacific OceanRelated: "King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM California website)
The King Range covers 60,000 acres and extends along 35 miles of coastline between the mouth of the Mattole River and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Here the landscape was too rugged for highway building, forcing State Highway 1 and U.S. 101 inland. The remote region is known as California's Lost Coast, and is only accessed by a few back roads.


"Vote delayed on shelter plan" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/23/2004)
"Controversial plans to build a homeless shelter and affordable-housing
complex in north Palm Springs appear to have been put on hold -- for
this year, at least." The Senate "probably won't vote this year" to
transfer 44 acres from the Bureau of Land Management for the shelter.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include outdoor recreation planner, biological scientist, ecologist, and fire management officer.

"BLM reopening Round Mountain" (Victorville Daily Press, 11/19/2004)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is poised to reopen 18,090 acres to cattle grazing in the area of Round Mountain, just south of the town. The area encompasses 15,565 acres of BLM managed lands and 2,525 acres of private land that was scorched five years ago in the Willow Fire....BLM is reviewing seven protests to reopening the lands...."

"25,000 pot plants seized" (Siskiyou Daily News, 11/18/2004)
"Siskiyou County's marijuana eradication team closed out the 2004 marijuana growing season with the destruction of the tenth garden discovered in Siskiyou County operated by Mexican nationals. Over the course of the summer, Siskiyou County sheriff's deputies and eradication team members with the help of officers with the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement located and destroyed hundreds of pounds of marijuana growing in Siskiyou County. On top of that, more than 50 people suspected of trafficking marijuana grown here were arrested in Sacramento and central California."


"More renewable energy produced on public lands, more needed" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/18/2004)
Guest column by Rebecca Watson, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior: "The U.S. Interior Department can help states reach their goals by providing access to public lands where potential for renewable energy development is high and environmentally sound. The department manages one- fifth of the nation's lands. Increased development of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy on these lands is possible with close collaboration between government agencies, the energy industry and the public."

"Forest fees extended 10 years" (Ventura County Star, 11/23/2004)
"Fees charged to use national forests and other public lands will
continue for at least 10 more years after Congress passed a spending
bill Saturday. Though the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau
of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service have been charging
fees since 1997, this bill allows the government to continue charging
for 10 more years, the longest the temporary program has been
(Requires free registration),1375,VCS_226_3348786,00.html

"Interior's CIO fights fires" (Federal Computer Week, 11/22/2004)
Profile of the Department of Interior's chief information officer, W. Hord Tipton, who had been with BLM for many years.

(Note: the Upcoming Events database is on a 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 questions.)

12/11/2004 - Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee meeting

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

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