A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 208 - 11/29/05

 Dr. Henricus Jansen desert iguana a family camps at El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area

- Desert off-roading busy season starts
- Headlines and highlights: Energy, monument, fire, BLM California jobs
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Iguana record
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Land use disputes: Gravel mine, dump
- Meet your advisory council members: Dr. Henricus Jansen
- Profile: Diana Milton
- Wild horses and burros
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Mining claims or sale?
- Selected upcoming events


an off-roading family camps at El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area "Thanksgiving with grit" (Yuma Sun, 11/24/05)
Family tradition - Thanksgiving in the Imperial Sand Dunes: "Jayden Smith, 3, spent his first Thanksgiving in the Imperial Sand Dunes riding his all-terrain vehicle alongside his dad."

"6 dead in holiday collisions" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/27/05)
"In one of the deadliest holiday weekends in Imperial County’s recent history, six people were killed in traffic collisions, most of which occurred off-road....The six fatalities over the Thanksgiving weekend were a sharp contrast to last year when only one person died. Of the six fatalities, one occurred on Interstate 8 on the mountain grade. All others were off-road collisions"

"Dunes deaths off the scale" (Yuma Sun, 11/28/05)
"Roughly the same number of people visited the Imperial Sand Dunes this past Thanksgiving weekend as in the same holiday weekend a year ago. However, the statistic that has caught everyone's attention is the number of fatalities.... The California Highway Patrol reported five fatal off-road accidents in the dunes or other parts of Imperial County."

"Dunes season maintains 'Zero Tolerance," temporary closures" (BLM California news release, 11/22/05)
Rules and law enforcement at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

"Burned body found in desert"(Victorville Daily Press, 11/28/05)
"A body was discovered Sunday morning in an off-highway vehicle area west of Dale Evans Parkway and Interstate 15....Sheriff's deputies and BLM rangers manned a roadblock at the exit of the off-highway vehicle area Sunday morning, stopping and talking with everyone leaving the area....Deputies ask anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Department's anonymous tip line, We Tip, at 1-800-782-7463."

"Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California website)
Information on the largest mass of sand dunes in California, including recreation areas managed by BLM California.

"Off-Highway Vehicle Riding" (BLM Barstow Field Office website)
Information on five other popular off-road recreation areas.


"Planned Sempra plant may not have buyer for its power" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 11/23/05)
"[T]he California Energy Commission has adopted a policy prohibiting investor-owned utilities from signing long-term contracts to import power from new coal-burning plants. That would cover the 1,200-megawatt Granite Fox power plant proposed by Sempra Energy near Gerlach and 30 other planned coal-fired plants in the West....An environmental study commissioned by the Bureau of Land Management is under way for the $2 billion plant."

"BLM seeks nominations for Carrizo Plain Advisory Committee" (BLM California news release, 11/23/05)
Nominations are open for the nine member committee in several categories. Reappointment of current members will be strongly considered. However, anyone may submit nomination materials, by December 9, 2005.

"SNAPSHOTS; Successful BLM projects supporting the National Fire Plan"
Includes stories from California stories:
- Fire safety without wildfire
- Getting a jump on the wildfire season
- California kids get fired up connecting fire ecology, technology and local environment
PDF file, 1.7 megabytes:

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include archaeologist and firefighting positions.


desert iguana

What record does the Desert Iguana hold in North America?
(a) It can hold its breath longer than any other land-based lizard
(b) It is the fastest sprinter in North America
(c) It is the most heat-tolerant reptile in North America
(d) It has more scales per inch than any other reptile
(e) Most nachos eaten at a sitting
     ---> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes

SPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Coastal marsh milk-vetch
This plant has been found along the north and central coast of California -- but in fewer than 10 places. A perennial herb, it blooms between April and October.


"City loses round in mine project" (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/26/05)
"The city lost the latest round in its battle against a megamine in Soledad Canyon when a federal judge this week rejected claims that federal agencies shirked their duty to perform a proper environmental analysis before giving Cemex the go-ahead to mine the land....In 1990, the federal Bureau of Land Management awarded contracts to the Mexico-based company to mine 56.1 million tons of sand and gravel."

"City faces setback in mine fight" (Antelope Valley Press, 11/29/05)
"[A] Cemex attorney, said the ruling moves the company closer to providing the sand and gravel needed to produce aggregate for construction....Santa Clarita's intergovernmental relations officer, said the city will appeal the ruling."

"Megadump battle moves to last appeal" (Hi-Desert Star, 11/25/05)
"Beaten twice in state court and once in federal over the last 18 years, Kaiser Ventures announced last week its intention to make one more attempt at jumping the legal hurdles between it and the achievement of its goal to turn the Eagle Mountains into the country's largest megadump." A judge recently ruled"against the megadump project on grounds of inadequate planning, unsatisfactory environmental impact study and the illegality of a land swap between the company and the Bureau of Land Management..."

Dr. Henricus JansenMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Dr. Henricus Jansen a charter member of BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council. He is a professor in rangeland management at California State University, Chico and played a leadership role in the development of the Healthy Land Standards and Livestock Grazing Guidelines and related land use guidance for off-highway vehicles. Learn more.

Diana MiltonPROFILE:Diana Milton
Besides working as a contact representative, personnel contact and webmaster for BLM's Surprise Field Office, Diana is active in small-town community life. One of those activities is the Red Hat Society. Read more in this week's Employee Profile.


"Pombo-backed efforts in limbo" (Contra Costa Times, 11/25/05)
Legislation "hanging in the balance until Congress makes final decisions on pending budget revisions" includes proposal that "would make it easier for companies to force the government to sell public lands. National forests in the Sierra Nevada foothills would be particularly vulnerable to development under that change, according to one expert."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Accusations of land grab in budget bill; Malls, homes feared on hundreds of thousands of acres of public forests and deserts" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/24/05)
"California lawmakers and environmental groups warn that a provision in the House budget bill could allow individuals and companies to develop hundreds of thousands of acres of desert, forest or other public lands across the state."

RELATED: "Senate must strip sale of public lands from bill" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/27/05)
Editorial: "We must rely on the U.S. Senate to correct the House’s misguided attempt to sell off public lands at bargain prices to mining and development interests. The five-year budget-cutting plan passed this month by the House would allow the U.S. Department of the Interior to sell some of the West’s most scenic public lands under the guise of mining 'reform.' The public would forfeit recreational opportunities and resource-management rights, and the properties would be subject to land speculation."


What record does the Desert Iguana hold in North America?
(c) It is the most heat-tolerant reptile in North America


"Know your lizard" (Imperial Valley College Desert Museum website)

"Dipsosaurus dorsalis, Desert Iguana" (The University of Texas at Austin website)

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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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