News.bytes     interim edition 203-b
A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Special Edition: September 1, 2005

   - Where we are now
   - National Public Lands Day: help improve your public lands!
   - BLM conservation management
   - Wildlife Trivia Question
   - Wild horses and burros
   - Recreation on public lands
   - Wildfire fighting and prevention
   - Renewable energy
   - Oil and gas
   - Volunteers
   - Clear Creek Management Area
   - Mining
   - Other headlines and highlights
   - What we are working on the the return of News.bytes

WHERE WE ARE NOW

BLM is working to improve the security of all of its websites. Because our agency has so much information and so many computer systems that support our mission, reengineering is a complicated effort that is taking more time than we had hoped. Also, the BLM is currently involved in a court action in which information security is an issue. Failing to demonstrate adequate protections could result in a much longer-term, mandatory disconnection.

Until this process is completed, we are unable to bring you the version of News.bytes with photos, links to relevant BLM California web pages such as recreation sites or news releases -- or our ever-popular wildlife trivia quizzes. We are aware of the inconvenience this causes and greatly appreciate your understanding and patience.


BUT while we have been offline, we have been working on new features -- and more of the old ones you like -- for the return of News.bytes (more details at the end of this message). In the meantime, here are some of the more significant items currently affecting your public lands in California. Please note that we cannot link to BLM California news releases on our website -- or to other pages on our website with additional information or BLM California perspective. We but we have tried to indicate alternate sources of information (such as office telephone numbers) with a ">" symbol. We have also provided links to some news releases on the BLM national office website.



NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Join us Saturday, September 24, 2005 for the 12th annual National Public Lands Day and help us care for your land. (ALSO please note the two EARLY events, listed at the end of this section.)

National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. In 2004, nearly 90,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, planted trees and plants, and removed trash and invasive plants. BLM California projects this year include:

ARCATA FIELD OFFICE:

1 - Help construct a sustainable single track mountain bike trail -- the first trail of its kind in the King Range!
2 - Build a new picnic site at Mal Coombs Park in Shelter Cove: plant trees, assemble picnic tables, build a fence.
3 - Catalog artifacts and clean up at the Bear Creek Ranch. Participants will learn the history of the area; how to record an old historic wood cabin with adjacent remnant homestead orchard; will help clean up the flat and more recent buildings of the ranch; and will assist the archaeologists and engineer in assessing the newer dilapidated house and outbuilding and their contents.
> Please call by Monday, Sept. 19 for any of these 3 projects -- to reserve space on a work team, or for more information: (707) 986-5400. Volunteers should wear sturdy workboots and dress for changeable weather.

BISHOP FIELD OFFICE:

In partnership with the California Mule Deer Foundation, Quail Unlimited, California Department of Fish and Game and California Native Plant Society, BLM is hosting the annual NPLD celebration at Mt. Tom Mule Deer Habitat Restoration. Help plant locally-grown bitterbrush seedlings to continue a long-term effort to re-establish critical mule deer winter range. The site burned in 1995 and removed the bitterbrush/sagebrush community which provides forage for the Round Valley Mule Deer Herd.
> For more information contact: Anne Halford, ahalford@ca.blm.gov, (760) 872-5022

EL CENTRO FIELD OFFICE:

Volunteer clean-up at Table Mountain ACEC near Jacumba. BLM and volunteers will pick up trash, rake out tracks, and replace signs. Meet at the BLM kiosk off the I-8 In-Ko-Pah exit at 9 a.m. for the paperwork, also allowing time for the volunteers to show up. We'll caravan to the Table Mountain and work until about 3-4 p.m. BLM will provide bottled water, porta-potty, tools and trash bags. Bring your lunch, gloves, hat, sunscreen.
> Volunteers interested in participating should contact Dallas Meeks, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner (dmeeks@ca.blm.gov) at (760) 337-4453.

HOLLISTER FIELD OFFICE:

Strolling minstrels will entertain volunteers while they pull invasive weeds or take part in other activities on BLM's Fort Ord public lands. BETA (Bike Equestrian Trail Assistance) group will co-sponsor the event. Families, children, and clubs are invited to participate. Projects are tailored to all age groups. The workday runs 9:00 a.m. until early afternoon. Morning projects include painting over graffiti, trail repair, creekside trash removal, and plant care and watering. Volunteers will enjoy a free barbecue, live entertainment, awards ceremony, and keynote speaker.
> For more information or to pre-register as a volunteer, contact the Lesly Smith at the Hollister Field Office at (831) 630-5015 or Tammy Jakl at the Fort Ord Project Office at (831) 394-8314.

PALM SPRINGS/SOUTH COAST FIELD OFFICE:

Local staff and volunteers from the BLM and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will stage a living history reenactment of the exploration and surveys of public lands. See how the exploration and surveys of public lands in the west led to the National Parks, Monuments, Forests, and Wildlife Refuges the public enjoys today. See authentic 19th century survey instruments and learn about the General Land Office, the Homestead Act, and other important milestones in the history of the public lands. The living history survey camp will be open at the park on historic Old Town plaza from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday 9/24. The event and admission to the State Historic Park are free.
> For more information contact Greg Hill with the BLM at (760) 251-4840.

REDDING FIELD OFFICE:

The U.S. Forest Service, Shasta Trinity National Forest, Bureau of Land Management's Redding Field Office and California Department of Transportation will be hosting the annual clean up of the Trinity River. Volunteers will meet at the Big Bar Ranger Station, State Highway 299, 25 miles west of Weaverville -- 9 a.m, rain or shine.
> For more information, contact William Kuntz, (530) 224-2157 wkuntz@ca.blm.gov.

RIDGECREST FIELD OFFICE:

Siebert Cabin Recreation Area: Conduct cleanup and surface restoration work around trailheads, parking areas and campsites. Maintain two miles of multi-use hiking trail. Clean and maintain four campsites. Install three trailgates and three vehicle barriers.
> For more information contact Steve Smith at (760) 384-5440.

TWO EARLY EVENTS:

Saturday, 9/10 - Ridgecrest Field Office:
Early NPLD event with partners Friends of Jawbone, Sierra Club, CA/NV Desert Committee working at the Golden Valley Wilderness Spangler Hills Open Area on boundary signage, desert restoration, recreation site maintenance. Beginning at 8 a.m. and meeting at the intersection of Trona and Savoy Rd. Potluck dinner to follow at 5 p.m.
> Contact Marti Dickes for more information 760-384-5446.

Saturday, 9/17 - Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office:
The
BLM and Cleveland National Forest’s Palomar Ranger District seek volunteers to help with a clean-up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. of the High Point/Aguanga target shooting area, south of the Rancho California RV Resort west of State Route 79. The BLM and Forest Service will provide shovels, rakes, trash bags, and dumpsters. Volunteers should bring water, hats, sun screen, and gloves. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
> For more information contact Palomar Ranger District (760) 788-0250, or Janaye Byergo at (858) 451-1767 or email Jayne_Byergo@ca.blm.gov.

National Public Lands Day website: http://www.npld.com/



BLM CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT

"Nothing lacking"(Eureka Times-Standard, 8/29/05)
"In the prairie and fir country off the old wagon train route from Arcata to Hoopa, a new addition to existing public lands was celebrated Friday. The 4,500 acres...completes the purpose of the Lacks Creek watershed, part of an area identified by Congress in 1978 to buffer Redwood National and State Parks." The BLM will manage the new addition.
http://www.times-standard.com/local/ci_2979239

"Stornetta public land getting rave reviews" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/18/05)
"A new swath of public land on the Mendocino County coast is winning rave reviews from hikers, birders, kayakers and abalone divers, some of whom worry the new playground may become too popular for its own good. The Stornetta Public Land in Point Arena, acquired last year by a coalition of private environmental groups and public agencies, is open to the public every day, dawn to dusk....Point Arena's newly public property, 1,117 acres at the southern edge of Manchester State Beach, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management...."
http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050818/NEWS/508180404/1237/LIFE

"Project will protect habitat in Santa Ana River wash" (Redlands Daily Facts, 7/9/05)
"That eight public agencies and two companies can agree to set aside 1,300 acres in the Santa Ana River wash to benefit the environment evokes a sense of awe. It's called Plan B, and it provides for habitat conservation, reduces the acres that can be mined and secures trail building. The area of the wash split between Highland and Redlands is mostly owned by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District." BLM, private companies and other agencies own other parcels.
http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/Stories/0,1413,209%257E22484%257E2959315,00.html

"Historic ranch now Pilot Hill park" (Auburn Journal, 5/22/05)
"A historic Pilot Hill ranch is back in public hands, nearly 130 years after the United States government deeded the land to the Central Pacific Railroad with a stroke of President Rutherford B. Hayes' pen. Transfer of the final piece of what is now the Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park took place last week, with the American River Conservancy transferring title to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."
http://www.auburnjournal.com/articles/05/05/22/news/top_stories/04park.txt

"BLM Plans to Improve Resource Conditions in Long Valley" (BLM California news release, August 15, 05)
BLM's Bishop Field Office, is planning to improve resource conditions to benefit both recreation opportunities and important wildlife habitats in Long Valley, Mono County, California.
> Information requests or comments on the proposed project can also be addressed to Steve Nelson, Resource Information Specialist, BLM - Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514 or by phone (760) 872-5006. The BLM will be taking public comments regarding the proposed project through September 12, 2005.

"New King Range Plan Approved" (BLM California news release, 5/11/05)
The King Range National Conservation Area, known as California's " Lost Coast" due to its 26 miles of pristine, undeveloped coastline, has a new long-range land use plan, the BLM announced today.
> Copies of the decision are available by contacting the BLM's Arcata Field Office at (707) 825-2300, or State Office at (916) 978-4610. The decision also will be available at www.ca.blm.gov as soon as BLM' website, which is undergoing security maintenance, is back online.

"BLM Releases Proposed Management Plan for California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California news release, 6/10/05)
The Bureau of Land Management has released a proposed management plan and final environmental impact statement for the California Coastal National Monument - the rocks and small islands off the California coast.
> California Coastal National Monument, 299 Foam St., Monterey, CA 93940, (831) 372-6115. Copies are available for review at the CCNM office in Monterey, at BLM field offices in Arcata, Ukiah, Hollister, Bakersfield, North Palm Springs and Riverside, and at the California State Office in Sacramento.

"BLM, Forest Service Need Comments on Sage-Steppe Issues" (BLM California news release, 8/8/05)
The BLM, U.S. Forest Service and Northeast California county governments are moving forward with development of a management plan and environmental impact statement focused on restoring sagebrush-steppe ecosystems that have been heavily impacted by expanding juniper stands.
> Comments will be most helpful if submitted in writing by Friday, Sept. 9, 2005.
Comments should be submitted to the Modoc National Forest, 808 West 12th St., Alturas, CA 96101. They can also be sent by email to Rob Jeffers at rjeffers@fs.fed.us or to Curt Aarstad of the BLM's Alturas Field Office, at Curt_Aarstad@ca.blm.gov.

"Senate passes North Coast wilderness bill" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 7/27/2005)
"In a bipartisan vote of support, the U.S. Senate has unanimously passed legislation protecting 300,000 acres of wilderness and 21 miles of wild and scenic river on existing federal public lands....The bill now awaits a full vote in the House Resources Committee. "
http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/Stories/0,1413,91%257E3089%257E2983661,00.html

Related: "Editorial: Lost opportunity?" (Sacramento Bee, 7/31/05)
"Some call it the Lost Coast. Others call it the King Range. Nearly all agree it is a special place, deserving of protection. In a remarkable coming together of interests, Congress is close to bestowing wilderness status on much of the King Range, as well as other federal lands on the North Coast that total 300,000 acres.....The Lost Coast is too important to become a lost opportunity."
http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/editorials/story/13323033p-14165119c.html

Related: "Statement on...Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act" (BLM national website, 7/14/2005)
Statement of Chad Calvert, Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management, before the House Resources Committee Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health Hearing on H.R. 233, Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act. Previous testimony stated that the Department of the Interior "would support the legislation as it relates to BLM-managed lands if a number of proposed amendments were made."
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/legislative/pages/2005/te050714.htm



WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION

Why did humans used to hunt the common muskrat?

a. Muskrats destroyed orchards;
b. They re-routed waterways that were important to farmers;
c. Their fur was popular;
d. Their teeth could be used as primitive carving tools;
e. They were hunted only when they violated conditions of their parole.

(While we are not able to offer our interactive trivia feature until our website is back online, you can find the answer to this question later in this issue.)



WILD HORSES AND BURROS:

"Wild Horses and Burros Up for Adoption in Stockton" (BLM California news release, 8/10/05)
Wild horses and burros directly from California's high desert rangelands are headed for Stockton, where the BLM will offer them for public adoption September 10 and 11.
> For additional information on the adoption event or wild horse management, contact the BLM toll free at 1-866-4MUSTANGS, or in Litchfield at (530) 254-6575.



RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS:

"Hiking Fort Ord; Two new trails make it tempting" (Salinas Californian, 5/25/2005)
"A pair of recent trail-development projects shows the benefit to hikers and bikers of habitat protection efforts on the former Fort Ord. The Bureau of Land Management opened two new trails this spring, the more spectacular of which is easy to reach from south Salinas. Trail 31 'winds its way through an oak grove,' BLM project manager Eric Morgan said. 'It's quite scenic and kind of a unique trail experience because you're actually under the canopies of the oak trees'."
http://www.californianonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050525/SPORTS/505250321/1006

"Growth curbing Inland hunting" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/31/05)
Fewer hunters were expected for this week's traditional opening of dove-hunting season. One reason: hunting is less popular with youth: "Instead of waking up at 4 a.m. and going hunting, it's easier for kids to sleep in until 9 and play video games," says a state official. Also, "it's tough for hunters to know where it's legal to hunt...People are really going to have to do their homework....To be safe, [he] recommends that hunters use federal lands, including the San Bernardino and Cleveland national forests and property controlled by the Bureau of Land Management."
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_hunters01.134b13cb.html

"BLM cautions visitors about storm damage to popular recreation areas" (BLM California news release, 8/12/05)
The BLM is urging visitors to use extreme caution if planning to recreate on public lands throughout Imperial County as a result of the damage to roads and facilities caused by recent severe thunderstorms.
> For more information contact the BLM El Centro Field Office at (760) 337-4400.

"South Yuba Plan adopted by agencies" (BLM California news release 7/7/05)
The three public agencies responsible for managing the public lands along the 39-mile stretch of the South Yuba River between Spaulding Dam and Lake Englebright have formally approved a comprehensive management plan for the river.
> For more information, or to obtain a copy of the plan, contact Phil Horning, Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote Street, Nevada City, CA 95959, phone (530) 478-6210.

"Fire-ravaged preserve making speedy recovery" (Hi-Desert Star, 8/24/05)
"According to [Big Morongo Preserve] host and naturalist Dee Zeller, the BLM expects full recovery to take about three years and cost approximately $300,000, much of which money will go into reconstruction of the handicap-access boardwalk and other trail constructions, including the bridges....'We're in pretty good shape,' Zeller judged. 'If it weren't for losing 350 feet of the handicap-access trail, we could just let Mother Nature do most of the recovery herself'."
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2005/08/24/news/news2.txt
> For more information on the Preserve or on scheduled bird walks please call the BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office at (760) 251-4800 or the Preserve hosts at (760) 363-7190.

"Tunnel may remain closed for Bizz Johnson Marathon" (Lassen County Times, 8/29/05)
"The east tunnel on the Bizz Johnson Trail may remain closed for the marathon scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9. More than 900 people have signed up for the event, which in its second year has become what [its promoter] calls 'one of the top three trail events in the country....“the bypass trail is a safe alternative,” [he] said last week. “It’s not as interesting or as glamorous....It may disappoint some athletes, but it won’t affect the race at all.”
http://www.lassennews.com/News_Story.edi?sid=2808&mode=thread&order=0
> For more information on closing of the Bizz Johnson tunnel due to loose rock, call BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office, (530) 257-0456.



WILDFIRE FIGHTING AND PREVENTION

"BLM Special Fire Restrictions in Effect" (BLM California news release, August 22, 05)
Due to extremely dry conditions, the BLM implemented fire restrictions on all public lands in the following counties, until further notice:
Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne and Yuba counties.
> For more information: BLM Folsom Field Office, (916) 985-4474.
Fresno, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties, including popular recreation areas such as Carrizo Plain National Monument, Three Rivers, and the San Joaquin Gorge.
> For more information: BLM Bakersfield Field Office, (661) 391-6000.

"Cedarville volunteers acquire new fire fighting tool " (BLM California news release 7/28/05)
Surprise Valley firefighters' capabilities got a boost last week, thanks to the transfer of an all-terrain fire engine from the Bureau of Land Management to the Cedarville Volunteer Fire Department.
> Jeff Fontana, BLM Northern California public affairs specialist, (530) 252-5332.

"Mono Basin Pinyon Treatment Pilot Project" (BLM California news release, 6/2/05
BLM's Bishop Field Office is proposing a pilot project in cooperation with the U.S. Geologic Survey to test different fuel reduction techniques on up to 500 acres in the northern Mono Basin (Rancheria Gulch) and west of Trench Canyon in Mono County.
> Anne Halford, Botanist (760) 872-5022, or Dale Johnson, Fuels Specialist for the Bishop Field Office at (760) 872-5055.

"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Number and status of fires across the western U.S. -- updated daily during fire season.
http://www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/nfn.html



RENEWABLE ENERGY

"State could see more wind-power turbines" (Sacramento Bee, 6/22/05)
"Many more windmills will be twirling in California under Bush administration plans....By streamlining permits and clearing hurdles, administration officials hope to encourage the turbines already plentiful along the Altamont and Tehachapi passes. An additional 72,300 acres of federal land in California appear particularly ripe for use."
http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/13107050p-13951757c.html

Related: "Environmental Study Supports Plans to Facilitate Wind Energy Development on Public Lands" (BLM national news release, 6/21/05)
“Our quality of life and economic security are dependent on a stable and abundant supply of affordable energy,” said Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management Rebecca Watson. “Encouraging the production and development of renewable energy sources, including wind energy, on our public lands is a way to help meet the energy needs of the nation, as well as those of growing communities in the West.”
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050621_wind.htm

"Wind power proposal blows cold in Julian" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/13/05)
"Some people in this backcountry community aren't keen on the idea of huge wind turbines being built atop a nearby mountain. Two weeks ago, when word got out that a wind farm might be constructed along a two-to three-mile mountain ridge northeast of Banner Grade and less than a mile from the Volcan Mountain Preserve, letters and e-mails poured into the El Centro offices of the Bureau of Land Management."
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050813/news_2m13julian.html

"SDG&E unveils plan for new transmission line" (North County Times, 8/31/05)
San Diego Gas & Electric Co. plans a transmission line to power more than 650,000 homes. "The new line, which will follow a wide track that will begin near El Centro and meander northwest to somewhere east or south of Escondido, could be the only way that SDG&E can meet its announced goal of using renewable energy sources, such as solar radiation, wind power or geothermal wells, to provide 20 percent of its energy supply by 2010.....the route must pass through a maze that includes the Cleveland National Forest, Anza-Borrego State Park, several American Indian reservations and Bureau of Land Management properties."
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/09/01/business/news/19_27_088_31_05.txt

"Public meetings scheduled for proposed geothermal project " (BLM California news release, 8/5/05)
The BLM held scoping meetings to gather public comments on preparation of a draft environmental impact statement to analyze the proposed leasing of approximately 16,640 acres of BLM-managed public lands for geothermal exploration and development in the Truckhaven and Superstition Mountain areas in western Imperial County.
> For more information contact John Dalton at (951) 697-5311 or by email at John_Dalton@ca.blm.gov.

"Giant solar plant planned" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/10/05)
"A Phoenix-based energy company plans to build the world's largest solar-generating system near Victorville. The 4,500-acre project, being developed by Stirling Energy Systems, will generate 500 megawatts" -- enough to power 278,000 homes.
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_R_edison10.153fe7a2.html

Related: "Going solar" ((Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/13/05))
Editorial: "A massive solar power plant slated for the High Desert will not satiate California's surging demand for electricity. But the project would help curb reliance on fossil fuels, and tap into one of the Southland's prime assets: a ready supply of brilliant sunlight.....The scope ...is mammoth. It would link 20,000 solar dishes on 4,500 acres leased from the federal Bureau of Land Management."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/opinion/editorials/stories/PE_OpEd_Opinion_D_op_14_ed_solar2.355d598.html



ENERGY: OIL AND GAS

"BLM is New Manager of NPR2 Under Energy Bill Signed By President" (BLM California news release, 8/10/05)
Nearly 10,000 acres of federal land in the Kern County oil fields were transferred to the BLM when President Bush signed new energy legislation. The transfer allows BLM to offer 2,500 acres for competitive oil and gas leasing for the first time ever. NPR-2, or naval petroleum reserve #2, was established in 1912 and managed by the U.S. Navy until 1977; the Department of Energy managed it until the transfer. Planning will be done over the next six months, including public participation and environmental reviews, to offer the new leases by mid-2006. While the area's potential is not known, the oil industry has already indicated interest in exploration.
> Bakersfield Field Office, 661-391-6000

"Comment period extended on proposed changes to oil and gas regulation" (BLM national news release, 8/26/05)
The BLM and the USDA Forest Service are extending by 60 days the public comment period for the proposed changes in regulations that set forth the requirements necessary to obtain approval for proposed oil and gas activity on all Federal and Indian lands (except those of the Osage Tribe). In response to public requests for additional time, and because of impacts from the recently enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005, the BLM and the FS will extend the comment period to October 25, 2005.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050826_og.htm

"Bureau of Land Management to End Royalty Reductions for Low-Producing Oil Wells" (BLM national news release, 7/21/05)
The BLM announced that it will stop offering reduced royalty rates for certain low-producing oil wells known as "stripper wells" effective February 1, 2006. Under the BLM's existing regulations, the agency may terminate the royalty reductions when the inflation-adjusted price of oil exceeds $28 per barrel for six consecutive months.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050721_stripperwell.htm

"Los Padres drilling proposed, decried" (Goleta Valley Voice, 8/30/05)
"The U.S. Forest Service late last month approved opening up more than 52,000 acres of pristine Los Padres National Forest lands to exploratory oil and gas drilling. Environmental activists and Santa Barbara lawmakers immediately protested the move....Any company wishing to drill in the area would be required to file an application with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Such applications are subject to environmental review and public comment."
http://www.goletavalleyvoice.com/cgi-bin/county/readarticle.cgi?article=1040



VOLUNTEERS

"Volunteer wins national award" (Folsom Telegraph, 5/24/05)
"Barbara Williams was one of five Bureau of Land Management volunteers to receive a national award recognizing her public service during ceremonies in Washington, D.C. 'It was special,' Williams said. 'Out of 17,000 volunteers, it was nice to be singled out.'"
http://www.folsomtelegraph.com/articles/2005/05/25/news/top_stories/05kyn.txt

"Students 'Adopt a Beach'" (Eureka Reporter, 5/24/05)
"Approximately 550 elementary students from Humboldt County recently participated in the annual Adopt a Beach Cleanup at the South Spit. Students cleaned the beach and removed non-native grasses....They also positioned themselves into a design that spelled out the words 'Restore Balance' in order 'to make their voices heard about the need to protect the world's oceans'...'....The Arcata field office of the Bureau of Land Management partnered with Friends of the Dunes to organize the event at the South Spit."
http://www.eurekareporter.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?ArticleID=1127

"Day on the River fun for kids"
The seventh annual Day on the Trinity River event hosted nearly 120 guests on a float trip and barbecue Saturday, Aug. 27. The event, coordinated by the BLM's Redding Field Office, provides a day of fun and relaxation for children (and their families) who are undergoing treatment for serious illnesses or disabilities. More than 50 volunteers from state, local and federal agencies came together to put on the event, with prizes, food and refreshments provided by local businesses.
Watch for more information -- and photos -- when our website is back online and we issue the full version of News.bytes.

"Columbia College Environmental Club kicks thistle out of the Red Hills"
Noxious weeds such as Italian thistle and yellow star thistle compete with our native plants and can become a serious threat to rare plant populations. Eleven volunteers spent more than five hours pulling Italian thistle during a volunteer work day in the Red Hills Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
Watch for more information -- and photos -- when our website is back online and we issue a full version of News.bytes.

"Husband keeps mum on wife's award" (Monterey Herald, 7/25/05)
"....[I]n keeping with his promise to organizers, he zipped his lips and didn't let her in on the surprise. The Monterey couple were named volunteers of the year by the Chuck Haugen Conservation Fund during an annual picnic in Fort Ord. The Smiths spend thousands of hours a year working with groups such as the Bureau of Land Management at Ford Ord, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Carmel River Steelhead Association."
http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/12218469.htm



CLEAR CREEK MANAGEMENT AREA

"Asbestos raises red flags in state" (Sacramento Bee, 6/28/05)
"On the east side of the Diablos, near Coalinga, air pollution regulators are worried for the thousands of off-roaders roaring about the federal [BLM-managed] Clear Creek Management Area, near the world's largest known asbestos deposit. Earlier this month, federal land managers closed 30,000 acres of the popular dirt-bike playground during the dry season at the urging of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Recent EPA air tests indicate that motorcyclists are inhaling asbestos levels as high as nine times the legal exposure limits for industry."
(Free registration may be required.)
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/13142851p-13986868c.html

"BLM to Implement Dry Season Closure for Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM California news release, May 25, 05)
The dry season closure affects 30,000 acres of public lands within the Clear Creek Management Area in southern San Benito County and western Fresno County. The temporary closure to the public runs through Oct. 15 when rainfall begins, in response to concerns and data from the EPA.
>
The public is invited to call the Clear Creek Hotline at (831) 630-5060 for up-to-the-hour information updates or the Hollister Field Office at (831) 630-5000.

"BLM handling of remote region hit from two sides" (San Jose Mercury News, 7/6/05)
"In a rare show of unity, two major environmental groups and half a dozen organizations that represent dirt bikers and other outdoor types find themselves on the same side -- sort of -- in a federal lawsuit over the use and protection of a sprawling chunk of land south of Hollister. The issue that brought them together? Opposition to the federal Bureau of Land Management, which controls the Clear Creek Management Area."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/living/health/12064219.htm



MINING

"BLM proposes regulatory changes to recover costs of processing minerals-related documents" (BLM national news release 7/18/05)
The regulatory proposal would authorize the BLM to increase existing or set new fees for environmental-impact studies, monitoring activities, and other processing-related actions.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050718_costrecov.htm

Related: "Energy policy legislation affects BLM cost recovery proposal" (BLM national news release 8/30/05)
The recently enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005 has limited the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to recover some of its costs from processing documents related to mineral operations on public lands.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050830_energy.htm

"Improved tracking and processing accompany increase in BLM mining claim fees" (BLM national news release 7/1/05)
BLM increased fees for locating and maintaining mining claims last month, as required under a 1994 law. Holders of mining claims pay $30 for the location fee for newly located claims or sites, an increase of $5. The annual maintenance fee increased from $100 to $125 per mining claim or site.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2005/pr050701_mining.htm



OTHER HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"Around Barstow, thieves' prey is fossils" (Los Angeles Times, 8/29/05)
"The heart-shaped footprints left by an ancestral camel on a prehistoric lakeside 12 million to 20 million years ago are gone, pinched by a longtime scourge of the desert: fossil thieves." Says an archaeologist: "It's a huge problem has gone largely unnoticed by the public."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fossils29aug29,0,957767.story?coll=la-home-local

Related: "Pilfering part of prehistory" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/4/05)
"'This is a profound loss to science and all of us,' said Robert Hilburn, president of Barstow's Mojave River Valley Museum, who discovered the desecration of the rare fossils while leading a group of hikers up a sandy wash recently in the desert north of Barstow...."without these images, he said the scientific world has lost a marvelous and fundamental record of the desert's prehistory."
http://www.sbsun.com/Stories/0,1413,208~12588~2996476,00.html

"Suicide casts a shadow on conservation battle" (Los Angeles Times, 8/20/05)
"Braun had come to the Carrizo Plain three years earlier, after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management placed her in charge of the new national monument — 250,000 acres of native grasses and Native American sacred sites, embraced by low mountains, traversed by the San Andreas Fault and home to more threatened and endangered animals than any other spot in California."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-me-carrizo20aug20,1,3289749.story

"Herds, history fade from desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/3/05)
"Environmental pressures spur desert ranching demise." Photo-feature story follows "one of the last ranchers to leave as a nearly 150-year period of raising cattle in the western Mojave Desert comes to an end."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/breakingnews/local/stories/PE_News_Local_D_roundup07.666e4.html

"Bighorn deaths raise worries" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/11/05)
"Five Peninsular bighorn sheep have died during the past two weeks in the Inland region, sparking fear that a major die-off might kill hundreds of the endangered animals....The five carcasses were discovered in the San Jacinto and northern Santa Rosa Mountains above the Coachella Valley...." BLM manages the Monument. "Contributing to the fear of an impending die-off is the disappearance and presumed death of all but six of 25 lambs born this year...."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/breakingnews/local/stories/PE_News_Local_D_sheep12.1d675b5a.html

Related: "Wild sheep euthanasia considered" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/19/05)
"It could help officials find the cause for the death of several Peninsular bighorns."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_C_sheep20.22d75700.html

"California to receive $19 million from Interior under federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program" (BLM California news release, 6/27/05)
Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton announced that California will receive $19 million under the Payment In Lieu of Taxes Act (PILT) to compensate county governments whose jurisdictions contain tax-exempt Federal lands.

"Taking root and taking over" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/19/2005)
"Concern is growing among some scientists that parts of the California desert are undergoing a slow transformation...aggressive, foreign plants are crowding out native plants....that provide food and shelter for deer, sheep and other animals. Many firefighters and scientists believe that invasive plants played a large role in driving the Paradise Fire across more than 3,000 acres of the desert. 'A fire like that wouldn't have spread like that naturally; those (exotic) grasses just carried it,' said Ron Woychak, fire management officer for the Bureau of Land Management's California Desert District."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_exotics19.35c9c94.html

Related: "Policing invasive foreign plants can be simple" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/19/2005)
"Helping to stop the spread of invasive foreign plants is as easy as keeping them out of gardens, experts say. Also, experts say, hikers, mountain bikers and off-roaders can avoid spreading exotics by thoroughly washing their vehicles or clothes before visiting the desert or the mountains....Even when people think they're helping the environment, they can be adding to the invasive problem."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_stop19.35c9cf5.html

"TulareCo. sheriff seeks pot task force" (Fresno Bee, 8/31/05)
"Calling marijuana cultivation on private, state and federal land in Tulare County a clear and present danger, sheriff's officials asked Tuesday for approval to raise $5.5million to form a multijurisdictional task force to fight the problem." Sheriff says, "ideally we would have representatives from the park service, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff's Department...."
http://www.fresnobee.com/local/sv/story/11159434p-11912630c.html

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include several firefighting or fire prevention positions, and petroleum engineering technician.
http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/a9blm-ca.asp



WILDLIFE TRIVIA ANSWER:

c. Their fur was popular



WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON, FOR THE RETURN OF NEWS.BYTES:

  • Continuing "Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week"
  • Other resource features, such as "Special Status Plant of the Week"
  • "Virtual 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 more.
  • Features on public lands nationwide
  • Selected upcoming events - such as public meetings, guided hikes, volunteer opportunities and much more

Some features may need to be phased in over time, as different parts of the BLM computer network come back online. We are looking forward to the return of our website, and providing you regular issues of News.bytes then.


PLEASE NOTE:
- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 978-4600
http://www.ca.blm.gov

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:
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