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

Special Edition: May 24, 2005

Yes, we are still here! Your regular issue of News.bytes will be back -- as soon as the Bureau of Land Management website is back online.

A test by the Department of Interior detected some potential security issues with BLM's websites and computer network. Please bear with us as BLM computer technicians work to harden our web security and better protect our websites, before testing by outside security experts. We do not know when we will be back online.

Unfortunately, we are not able to include graphics, links to news releases, or popular featured items such as wildlife trivia in this interim issue of News.bytes -- they depend on links to the BLM website.

Here are just a few of the features we are planning -- or already have prepared -- for upcoming issues of News.bytes (once we are back online):

  • The return of our ever-popular Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week
  • Other resource features, such as "Special Status Plant of the Week"
  • "Tours" of BLM California recreation sites
  • Continuing media coverage of public-land issues statewide
  • Photo album of diverse public lands managed by BLM California
  • BLM California news releases, on topics including: wild horse and burro adoptions, land management planning, wildfire prevention, public meetings and much more.
  • Selected upcoming events - such as public meetings, guided hikes, volunteer opportunities and much more

We are looking forward to the return of our website, and providing you regular issues of News.bytes at that time.

In the meantime, we thought you might appreciate a selection of news items related to your public lands in California:



HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"Sonoma County: Historic ranch becomes open land; Public-private partnership gives visitors access" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13/2005)
"New public land on the Stornetta Ranch offers access to more than 1, 000 acres of rugged cliffs, rumpled dunes, rolling meadows, picturesque sinkholes and a 50-foot waterfall that splashes merrily into the Pacific Ocean....The arrangement reflects a new model for land preservation." The BLM will manage 1,140 acres of new public land, plus 589 acres will be under a conservation easement that enables a long-time family farming operation to stay in business.
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/05/13/BAGJQCO8GG1.DTL

"Regulators on location" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/19/2005)
"While commercial filming has increased in the Inland region, film crews swooping into the more remote areas of Riverside and San Bernardino counties must tread lightly if they want to film across a vast area of luminescent sand dunes, towering peaks, old mines and meandering canyon roads....Filming in the Inland region has been on the rise, with about 600 film, television or commercial projects shot last year. The BLM's Barstow office alone issued 150 permits for the west Mojave Desert."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_film19.ecc8.html

"Abandoned desert mines pose danger to drivers" (Los Angeles Daily News, 04/07/2005)
"[R]etiree Paul Etner was driving his wife and daughter up a dirt road off the Antelope Valley Freeway when they almost drove into tragedy. Trying to turn around on a brush-covered hill, he backed into a 12-foot-wide, 53-foot-deep abandoned mine shaft, coming to a stop with his station wagon's left rear tire hanging over the hole."
http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200%257E20954%257E2802775,00.html

"New protections: Horse sales to resume today" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/19/2005)
"Sales of wild horses will resume today with what federal officials said are new protections to shield animals from being resold for slaughter. The Bureau of Land Management plans to require signatures on new sales documents that specify criminal penalties if buyers mislead the government or transfer ownership to third parties who then convey horses to meatpackers."
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/May-19-Thu-2005/news/26553031.html

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include budget technician and firefighting positions.
http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/a9blm-ca.asp



ENERGY

"Scarcity worries Edison" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/12/2005)
"Southern California Edison Co. said Tuesday it has asked the California Public Utilities Commission to approve construction of a 230-mile transmission line between California and Arizona that would provide California with an additional 1,200 megawatts of low-cost electricity....The new transmission line, which Edison hopes to have operating by the summer of 2009, also needs approval from...the federal Bureau of Land Management because the project would be built on federal lands."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/business/local/stories/PE_Biz_D_edison13.eeee.html

"House OKs measure to encourage wind power" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21/2005)
"An energy bill approved...by the House includes an amendment that encourages development of wind energy on federally owned land. The amendment...would cut in half rental fees charged by the Bureau of Land Management for private companies to place wind turbines on BLM sites."
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/04/21/national/w155404D62.DTL

"Coal power plant meeting in Cedarville attracts 250 people" (Modoc Record, 5/19/2005)
Meeting about "the controversial effort to build a coal-fired power plant on the Smoke Creek Desert just north of Gerlach, Nevada." Said a company spokesperson: "Public participation is very important in this whole process. There will be numerous opportunities to comment. People need to get as much information as possible....Get involved in the permit process and take your concerns to the BLM scoping meetings."
(Note: the Modoc Record usually replaces these stories on the Web on Thursdays.)
http://www.modocrecord.com/NEWS.html

Related: "Environmentalists fight Gerlach plant" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 5/22/2005)
"Neighbors and opponents...say the environmental dangers from the plant are a global issue and not just a local one." Opponents say plants will create air pollution in Nevada and neighboring California, and tie up water supplies in the area. BLM has been holding public meetings on the proposed plant.
http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2005/05/22/100096.php



REDDING LAND EXCHANGE

"BLM considers direct sales" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/7/2005)
"It might be faster. It might be cheaper. And it might not be as controversial. For all these reasons, the Bureau of Land Management is proposing a policy change that would allow it to sell property directly rather than rely on often complicated land exchanges."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.redding.com/redd/nw_local/article/0,2232,REDD_17533_3760138,00.html

"Public bidding would clear air over BLM deals" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/11/2005)
Editorial: "The barter system -- one cow is worth three pigs or 15 bushels of wheat -- has mostly given way to the efficiency of cash. One notable exception has been the federal Bureau of Land Management's property-exchange policy. But the bureau is considering a move to update the time-consuming and opaque process. It's a smart idea....That will take some of the mystery out of Area 51 and all the other deals the BLM makes."
(Free registration required.)
http://www1.redding.com/redd/op_editorials/article/0,2232,REDD_18098_3767972,00.html

"BLM should give neighbors a shot at saving Area 51" (Redding Record Searchlight, 04/05/2005)
Editorial: "In principle, there's nothing wrong with the BLM's trading off property that has no particular value to the public, especially in exchange for land with more recreational potential or ecological significance. Rational management is good for the land and good for the taxpayers."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.redding.com/redd/op_editorials/article/0,2232,REDD_18098_3675162,00.html



RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS

"Bird watchers find prime conditions in preserve" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/24/2005)
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, co-managed by partners including the Bureau of Land Management, "paid tribute to the little rufous hummingbird, and to all the other bird superheroes who are passing through this part of California right now on their way to various breeding destinations farther north. This was the preserve's third annual observance of International Migratory Bird Day, and the event is a natural for the wildlands park, owing to its status as one of the top ten birding hot spots in the state."
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2005/05/23/features/feature1.txt

"Clashing cultures in the country" (Los Angeles Times reprinted in Seattle Times, 5/19/2005)
"Across rural America, angry encounters between landowners and off-roaders get noisier in a fight over dwindling open space....Long accustomed to battling environmentalists for access to public lands, off-roaders now find themselves at odds with farmers, ranchers and a flood of new residents moving to the country for peace and quiet."
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002280313_offroad19.html

"Off-road runners" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/16/2005)
Local government officials look to restrict access to Edom Hill, a popular off-roading spot in Cathedral City. "[D]ust caused from the dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles is just part of the problem. Kerr said there's a list of problems associated with riding in the Edom Hill area, from trespassing, to environmental degradation and safety." They are also looking for other areas off-roaders could use. "One idea officials are considering is designating a section of local land owned by the Bureau of Land Management for off-road vehicle use."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/desert/stories/PE_News_Local_D_doffroad17.a2184.html

"Snowshoe adventures on tap for students" (Lassen County News, 4/18/2005)
"The Lassen Land and Trails Trust got a check for more than $3,000 last week to buy 30 pairs of snowshoes for after-school education purposes....Forest Service personnel will lead a minimum of two snowshoe adventures per season...[recreation planners and the school district] will promote exercise by leading hikes along with experts from the Bureau of Land Management and the city of Susanville during the day and at night to view star constellations."
http://www.lassennews.com/News_Story.edi?sid=2584



OUR READERS WRITE
"Hi! We did not get any pictures with the April 6 issue of Newsbytes. I am not sure why. Did anyone else have this problem??"
- T.R., D.R.
Response: This happened when the Bureau of Land Management closed down its Internet access at the national level. Because of technical requirements, the images are not sent with News.bytes. They are linked to our website and loaded into your email program separately from the text.


NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS

"Land Management takes site down" (Federal Computer Week/FCW.com, 4/14/2005)
"In the latest action related to the Cobell vs. Norton Indian Trust case, the Interior Department recently shut down the Bureau of Land Management Web site after agency personnel identified potential vulnerabilities. 'We made the decision by ourselves,' bureau spokeswoman Celia Boddington said."
http://www.fcw.com/article88576-04-14-05-Web

"Interior shuts down BLM Web site" (FCW.com, 4/18/2005)
"The on-again, off-again story of the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management Web site has shifted to off-again this month. Agency officials shut down BLM's Web site after Interior's inspector general issued a report warning that the agency's information technology systems are vulnerable to cyberthreats. "
http://www.fcw.com/article88614-04-18-05


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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600
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