A publication of Bureau of Land Management in
Issue 190 - 1/12/05
- Minerals and mines: Bat homes, Soledad Canyon
- Court ruling on desert
- Botany: Joshua trees, desert wildflower season
- Fire prevention projects
- Our readers write: hunting for information
- Meet your advisory council members: Ron Kemper
- Profile: Jim Evans
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question: grounded?
- Special status plant of the week
- Bookstore feature
- Headlines and highlights: filming near Auburn, eagle hikes, planning meeting,
jobs, Burning Man, more
- National policy items: sage grouse, wilderness
- Selected upcoming events
MINERALS AND MINES
"Plenty of vacancies at the bat motel" (Los Angeles Times, 1/11/2005)
"From the Mojave to the Sierra foothills, state officials estimate today that 47,000 old mines lie on California's public and private lands: a great, scattered testament to our state's history but also a grave danger to hikers, bikers, off-roaders and curious kids. In the last three years, at least four Californians have died in old mines.... Bat Conservation International, a 20-year-old nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas, estimates that more than half of North America's 46 bat species, including many threatened species, 'depend on abandoned mines at one time or another during the year.'"
(Free registration required.)
"Clean air rule passes" (Los Angeles Daily News, 01/08/2005)
"A new measure that would help reduce unhealthful particulate air pollution...would affect almost 400 sand and gravel facilities located in Southern California. The South Coast Air Quality Management District's 12-member governing board...[approved] a measure introduced more than a year ago that garnered support from Santa Clarita officials, who say it will impose new guidelines on the planned sand and gravel quarry in Soledad Canyon by Mexico-based cement company Cemex Inc." Cemex has a 1990 contract with BLM for gravel production at the site.
Related: "Officials back proposed mine rule" (Los Angeles Daily News, 01/07/2005)
(Background, in earlier story.) "A proposed rule that would help reduce emissions produced by gravel mines...is being backed by Santa Clarita officials..."
Related: "Cemex-Transit Mixed Soledad Canyon sand and gravel project, Los Angeles County, CA" (BLM California issue update)
The BLM approved the project with mitigating measures on August 1, 2000.
COURT RULING ON DESERT OHVs
"Federal Court Issues Injunction Prohibiting OHV Travel in Desert Washes" (BLM California news release, 1/4/2005)
A Federal Court in San Francisco has issued an injunction prohibiting off-highway vehicle use in wash zones within 571,000 acres of public lands in the Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert region of the California Desert to protect the threatened desert tortoise. The areas affected are public lands administered by the BLM within designated desert wildlife management areas in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Court Order (PDF file, 65 kb):
BLM Restriction Order (PDF file, 49 kb):
Map (PDF file, 62 kb):
Detailed Wash Zone map:
closes big chunk of sand to off-roaders" (Palm Springs Desert
"More than a half-million acres of desert washes will be temporarily
off-limits to off-road driving in response to a plea on behalf of endangered
desert tortoises. The ban by a federal judge in San Francisco goes into
effect immediately over a wide swath of desert in Imperial, Riverside
and San Bernardino counties east of the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National
"Our opinion: Victims of environmentalists" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/10/2005)
Editorial: "This newspaper has long advocated an intelligent mix of recreational access to such a beautiful natural resource as our desert lands with a measured eye to conservation and protecting the environment. However...."
"Tortoise ruling stops
traffic" (Imperial Valley Press, 01/07/2005)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, obeying a federal court ruling
handed down last week, issued an order...prohibiting off-highway vehicles
from thousands of miles of washes in a wildlife management area intended
to protect the desert tortoise."
banned from tortoise habitat" (San Bernardino County Sun, 01/04/2005)
"A federal court decision temporarily banning off-road vehicles from
desert washes in tortoise habitat was hailed Tuesday by environmental
groups and assailed by OHV buffs."
"Judge blocks off-roaders"
(Riverside Press-Enterprise, 01/05/2005)
"The ban will be in effect until biologists with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service reassess the impacts of off-roading on tortoises, a species
threatened with extinction...."
(Free registration required.)
"Judge backs desert
refuge" (Los Angeles Times, 01/05/2005)
"A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to
ban off-road vehicles from more than half a million acres of California
desert that are home to the reclusive desert tortoise, which is protected
under the Endangered Species Act."
(Free registration required.)
"Court bans off-road vehicles in favor of desert tortoise; Ruling
says recovery of species was in jeopardy on 572,000 acres" (San
Francisco Chronicle, 01/06/2005)
"BLM submits proposal
to monitor Joshua Trees of Owens Peak Wilderness" (Ridgecrest
Daily Independent, 01/05/2005)
"Joshua trees define the Mojave Desert in that their range and the
boundaries of the Mojave coincide. ....Joshua trees provide critical habitat
for bird species and is a food source for small mammals, such as woodrats,
especially in times of drought. For these reasons and others, the BLM
hopes to monitor Joshua trees in and outside of wilderness to better manage
them in both land use areas."
"Winter showers bring
desert flowers" (Yuma Sun, 01/09/2005)
"Due to recent rains, the desert is in bloom. And...the landscape
will only become prettier the more it rains....Due to the wet weather
conditions in the desert at present, experts are predicting that the 2005
wildflower season may be early and above average." Among the "best
places to go right now" cited in the article, are the flats near
BLM-managed Imperial Sand Dunes. "Certain wildflowers are definitely
starting to bloom right now, but it's still a little early for some plants,"
said a natural resource specialist with BLM's Yuma, Arizona Field Office.
Among the flowers seen so far in the California-Arizona desert: "desert
sand verbena, desert sunflower, ajo lily, blazing star and phacelia."
Also see "desert wildflowers" and "W equals wildflowers" under Selected Upcoming Events below, for desert wildflower events in the Palm Springs area.
"BLM Proposes Fuels
Reduction Work Near Oak Creek" (BLM California news release,
BLM's Bishop Field Office is proposing
to reduce hazardous fuels on up to 15 acres of public land adjacent to
and in the vicinity of state, private, and tribal land along the north
side of Oak Creek, northwest of Independence, California. The project
would help protect nearby residents and their homes from wildland fire,
and increase safety for firefighters working to suppress a fire near the
"Project may be too
noisy" (The Union, 01/06/2005)
"Neighbors wary of fire-safe project's potential racket...For more
than a year, Nevada County's Fire Safe Council has been hunting for a
place to sort and process brush, scrappy trees and pine needles. After
investigating 14 sites, none of which seemed right, the nonprofit council
found the 106-acre parcel owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management
Hunting for information
"Great job! I really like the travel info on where to go and what
to see. I use the info to set up weekend excursions and short trips. Would
like to see a bit more on hunting areas, especially for bird hunting."
- B.W., Hesperia
Response: Thank you. We are
glad to hear that some of the information in News.bytes has practical/recreational
use. When we receive new or updated information on recreational activities
on public lands in California, we will definitely plan to pass it on to
our readers. If you have not already, you may want to review the introductory
information on "Hunting and target shooting" on the BLM California
In addition, when regional sports pages publish current information
on hunting on public lands, we do try to include links to those stories
Note: hunters may also find useful, "California maps available for sale" under the Bookstore Feature below - especially for keeping track of boundaries between public and private lands.
Somewhere on the BLM California web site is a photo of
Jim Evans working with the public - and the caption calls him "Old
Grumpy". Truth be told, he is anything but. However, he will tell
you that is one of the many nicknames that his wife has for him! Read
more about this 23-year-veteran of BLM in this week's News.bytes Profile:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Bodie Hills Rock
Arabis bodiensis could be confused with A. cobrensis based
on the similarity of stem pubescence and with A. inyoensis based on the
similarity of the widely spreading siliques. The gently curved, glabrous
siliques distinguish A. bodiensis from the other two species. This plant
has been found in Mono County, California and in western Nevada.
FEATURE: "Peterson Field Guides: Western
"A guide to identifying western trees in any season. This
guide includes 387 species--all the native trees of western North America,
plus introduced species that have escaped from cultivation. Range maps,
descriptions, and keys give step-by-step clues to identifying even leafless
"California maps available for sale" (BLM California online bookstore)
This map series covers the state (on 104 maps) and is published in a Surface Management edition and a Surface/Minerals Management edition. Both editions show color-coded public and private land ownership, roads, water features, points of interest and the township and range lines. Some maps contain topographic lines, others are planimetric.
"River a backdrop for
Japanese tale" (Auburn Journal, 01/05/2005)
"About 160 cast and crew members rolled onto a scenic stretch of
riverfront property....With 'Memoirs of a Geisha' director Rob ('Chicago')
Marshall overseeing filming that started near daybreak, the banks of the
south fork at a popular rafter takeout for picnics were festooned with
bamboo poles holding 20-foot-long sheets of brightly colored silk."
The film crew rented the site for a "closed set" (closed to
the public) - "on part of the 528-acre Cronin Ranch the U.S. Bureau
of Land Management is expected to take possession of within the next two
"BLM announces free
guided hikes for bald eagle viewing" (BLM California news release,
Hikers have the opportunity to see bald eagles and the beautiful scenery
of Lake County's Cache Creek Natural Area, when the U. S. Bureau of Land
Management offers free, guided hikes during January and February.
"BLM to hold planning
meeting" (BLM California news release, 01/06/2005)
BLM's Folsom Field Office is asking
the public to help identify issues and concerns regarding future management
of about 35,400 acres of public lands in Calaveras County at a public
meeting January 19 in San Andreas, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
"Plan to curb illegal
dumping offered" (Union Democrat, 1/10/2005)
"Raising fines, installing guard rails at popular dump sites and
requiring landlords to provide curbside collection for renters are among
15 steps Tuolumne County supervisors tomorrow will consider taking to
reduce illegal trash dumping....A committee of foothills officials spent
more than a year developing ways to address the problem. Their recommendations
include stiffer penalties for offenders including jail time
setting up obstacles at popular dump spots and finding a way to fund an
ongoing prevention program." BLM was represented on the committee.
"Ceremony held for
local Eagle Scout" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 1/11/2005)
"In conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, [he] completed
his Eagle Project the summer of 2004."
"Burning Man already
a hot ticket" (San Francisco Chronicle, 01/06/2005)
"Burning Man tickets went on sale at noon Wednesday, although the
man won't burn for another 239 days, and folks snatched up some 10,000
of them before sundown." The event takes place in the Black Rock
Desert, on public lands managed by BLM California's Surprise Field Office
and BLM Nevada's Winnemucca Field Office.
"Current job openings
- BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include geologist and state fire operations specialist
long and short of it" (Mammoth Times, 01/06/2005)
Feature story/opinion piece on wild horses and "The Wild Horse Annie
NATIONAL POLICY ITEMS
"Sage grouse doesn't
merit protected list, U.S. finds" (New York Times, 01/08/2005)
"The Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that the sage grouse,
a ground-dwelling bird of the arid West, will not be placed on the lists
of species requiring special protection. The grouse's numbers have declined,
sporadically, for the last century. The decision, which followed the recommendation
of an internal group of scientists and managers, rested in part on the
idea that private-public conservation efforts, like those recently expanded
by the Bureau of Land Management, would help restore and maintain existing
(Free registration required.)
feds face off over wilderness lawsuit" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle,
"The clash over expanding oil and gas drilling in the West will play
out in federal court next week when environmentalists challenge a deal
between Utah and the Interior Department on proposed wilderness areas
that critics argue sacrifices the region's pristine areas for unbridled
development....The deal, though, reaches far beyond Utah; it applies to
millions of acres throughout the West previously shielded from development
while advocates lobbied for permanent protection."
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
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.)
01/10/2005 - There's a Monument in Your Backyard
01/12/2005 - Folsom Resource Management Plan Public Meeting
01/13/2005 - Northeast Resource Advisory Council Meeting
01/15/2005 - Bald Eagle Hike
01/16/2005 - Bighorn Sheep & the American West
01/19/2005 - Ecology of the Palm Oasis
01/19/2005 - Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour
01/19/2005 - Folsom Resource Management Plan Public Meeting
01/22/2005 - Out of the Frying Pan & into the Freezer
01/22/2005 - Habitat Restoration, Cosumnes River Preserve
01/22/2005 - Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour
01/22/2005 - Bald Eagle Hike
01/24/2005 - Desert Wildflowers
North Palm Springs
01/26/2005 - Folsom Resource Management Plan public Meeting
01/27/2005 - "W Equals Wildflowers"
01/29/2005 - Bald Eagle Hike
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