A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 221 - 3/7/06

Eugene Parham of BLM's  Northwest California  RAC Mexican flannelbush Long-tailed vole Employee Profile: Dexter Dearth

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Vote for vole
      - Special Status plant of the week
      - Outdoor education
- Headlines and highlights: Area 51, public lands acquisitions, Buddha heads, BLM California jobs, more
- Public meetings and planning: Dumont, Modoc, Folsom
- Energy
- Wild horses and burros
- Meet your advisory council members: Eugene Parham
- Profile: Dexter Dearth
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Split estate, pesticides


Long-tailed voleWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Vote for vole
What reproductive difference contributes to the scarcity of the long-tailed vole?
(a) The female vole typically has only one or two litters in her lifetime
(b) The vole only has one offspring at a time
(c) The female vole is able to breed on
ly in certain rare weather conditions
(d) The strongest and fastest-maturing of each litter eats his or her siblings
(e) Modern voles have grown up in a relatively privileged environment, and no longer have the patience to grow long tails. They choose to remain short-tailed voles instead.
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Mexican flannelbushSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Mexican flannelbush... an evergreen shrub, from six to 18 feet across. Its flowers are large and showy, up to 3-1/2 inches across. These plants are sometimes found on lands managed by BLM's El Centro and Palm Springs-South Coast field offices, in dry canyons at about 1500 feet and in chaparral and southern oak woodlands.
(Thumbnail from a photo Photo Copyright Charles Webber, California Academy of Sciences)


"This class rocks" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/1/06)
Elementary school students learn about rocks from a BLM interpretive specialist for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Several partners work together on the program, which "encourages fourth-graders in the Coachella Valley to practice good nutrition and fitness."
(Free registration required.)


"BLM announces seasonal closures on roads, woodcutting areas" (BLM California news release, 3/2/06)
Wet spring weather has created muddy conditions leading to closures of several roads and firewood cutting areas on Northeast California public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

"Appraisals done for Area 51" (Redding Record Searchlight, 3/ /06)
"The prices are in the range they need to be for the federal government to transfer a 215-acre patch of nature west of Redding to a man who may want to build a subdivision on the site.... Even so, the swap isn't guaranteed to happen, said...a real estate specialist in the Bureau of Land Management's Redding office.""
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_17533_4508318,00.html

RELATED: "Area 51/Victoria Drive (Salmon Creek resources)" (BLM California issue update, 3/7/06)
The BLM has been considering a land exchange proposal from Salmon Creek Resources, Inc. that would trade about 566 acres of private land in the Grass Valley Creek watershed in Trinity County, California for about 215 acres of public lands west of Redding, California. The BLM will make decision soon.
Issue update

"Forest Service snuffs plans for more burns" (Redding Record Searchlight, 3/2/06)
"Firefighters scanned 3,000 acres near Lake Shastina in Siskiyou County on Wednesday, looking for hot spots and the reason a planned burn got out of control early this week." A 1999 planned burn that got out of control, "the Lowden Fire caused the BLM to review the way it lights fires."
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_17533_4508329,00.html

"Call for public nominations of inholding properties for potential purchase by the federal government in the State of California" (BLM Federal Register Notice)
A public notice was published in the Federal Register today outlining a process for private landowners and others to nominate lands for potential acquisition by the Federal government.
Federal Register Notice:
Authorized under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA, often referred to as the "Baca bill"), this process is described further on BLM's webpage at:

"Forest for sale" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/2/06)
"There are 378 acres of forestland in the Inland region that could be put on the auction block, relatively small when compared with other forests in California and across the nation. But, in addition, land in and around the Coachella Valley and other desert parcels managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management may join the list."
(Free registration required.)

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include supervisory outdoor recreation planner, fire lookout and various firefighting jobs.

"Imperial County eager, but hurdles persist" (San Diego Union Tribune, 3/5/06)
San Diego's airport is nearing capacity, and one suggestion for a replacement includes BLM-managed land near El Centro. Some observers say the odds are against it -- including its distance from San Diego -- but is being considered because "nobody in San Diego wants (an airport) in their neighborhood." Supporters say "a magnetic levitation train -- such as the system between Shanghai, China, and its airport -- could hit 270 mph and reduce a ride to Imperial County to 30 minutes or less."

"Air pollution control district looking at new smoke management plan" (Lassen County News, 2/28/06)
"The smoky haze that rolled in and blanketed parts of Lassen County the weekend of Oct. 22 was the main topic of discussion at the regular meeting of the Lassen County Air Pollution Control District Governing Board on Tuesday, Feb. 21. After a long discussion at the district's last meeting in November with representatives from several forest services, agencies and the Bureau of Land Management, the board began looking at possible improvements for the county's smoke management plan."

"Tract annex issue coming to a head" (Los Angeles Daily News, 3/6/06)
"Residents of Canyon Country's outlying Stonecrest tract should find out soon if they will vote on whether their neighborhood becomes part of the city of Santa Clarita." The annexation would include a gravel mine that Cemex, Inc. plans to re-open under a permit from BLM.
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "City to analyze what it pays for legal services" (Santa Clarita Signal, 3/3/06)
"In the wake of recent setbacks in the fight against mining, the city of Santa Clarita has decided to review the legal services it pays for....During the 2005 fiscal year, the city spent $2.7 million on legal services."

"Fire season coming early to drought-stricken Southwest" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/6/06)
"Some Tucson homeowners have actually watered cactus plants to keep them alive....While much of the West has above-average snowpack this year, Arizona and New Mexico have not been so lucky. Those states, along with parts of Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and California, are at above-normal risk for wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center." Says a BLM weather forecaster: "A little rain would be enough to spur more grass growth, but not enough to put moisture into trees and brush."

"Suspects may have been found in connection with cow deaths" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 3/2/06)
"Tehama County Sheriff said "increased patrols along a remote stretch of Hogsback Road may lead to the identification of suspects responsible for killing six cows since January....he believes as few as three people have done the killings, but surveillance along the road by deputies, Bureau of Land Management agents and concerned citizen groups has recently identified 10 people who allegedly trespassed or illegally hunted...."

RELATED: "Cow deaths strike fear in ranchers" (Redding Record Searchlight, 3/1/06)
Tehama County ranchers have found seven cows shot to death since beginning of the year. Sheriff speculates that "closure of a public shooting range on Bureau of Land Management property in the Bend area is at least partly to blame for the cattle shootings. Bureau of Land Management field manager Steven Anderson disagrees. 'It's been closed for a year,' Anderson said, noting that there had been no reports of cattle killings until January. 'I don't see the connection.'"
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_17533_4505076,00.html

"Tiny Buddhas, big flap" (Sacramento Bee, 3/4/06)
"It started with a discovery. The discovery became a mystery. The mystery turned into a hullabaloo. The hullabaloo unraveled into farce....At the center of it all are two men who have never met - an art professor who deposited 500 Buddha-style figurines in the American River last summer, and a journeyman janitor who found them soon after....'Somewhere along the way,'said Steve D'Arcy, the undersheriff of Placer County, 'this became a federal case.'"
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Colfax man arrested as authorities probe figurine finds" (Auburn Journal, 3/1/06)
"A Colfax man who said he found hundreds of small Buddha figurines of unknown origin last summer while he prospected for gold in the American River was arrested Friday on two warrants, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Department....The BLM investigation was transferred Thursday to California State Parks because the pieces were allegedly found on State Parks property...."


"BLM announces members of Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team" (BLM California news release, 3/1/06)
The Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team (TRT) will advise BLM on the collection, expenditure, and accountability of fees, and development of future faculties and services.

RELATED: "Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM California website)
Bordered by steep volcanic hills and the slow running Amargosa River, the region is easily recognized from a distance by its distinctive sand dunes. The elevation here varies from 700 feet, at the river, to 1200 feet at the top of Competition Hill, the tallest of the dunes.

"BLM hears from many fronts on how to manage rugged land" (Stockton Record, 3/2/06)
"Tiny chunks of the Old West - land so steep or poor it was never claimed by farmers, foresters or railroads - lie scattered across the Mother Lode. But that land no one wanted when the frontier was open is now in high demand, said horseback enthusiasts, ranchers, conservationists and off-road vehicle fans at a meeting Wednesday night. More than 30 people gathered to ask the federal Bureau of Land Management to do everything from offering more riding and hiking trails to reducing trespassing on private land that borders about 230,000 acres the BLM manages in the Sierra Nevada foothills."

RELATED: "Folsom Field Office homepage" (BLM California website)
The Folsom Field Office is directly responsible for approximately 230,000 acres of Public Land scattered throughout fourteen Central California counties. Most of the acreage, with the exception of Cosumnes River Preserve in southern Sacramento County, is within the historic Mother Lode region of the Sierra Nevada Range. The resource area stretches from Yuba County (in the north), to Mariposa County (in the south). and maybe the Folsom land status map

RELATED: "Public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management" (BLM California website)
A locator map of public lands managed by BLM California's Folsom Field Office.

"Experimental Stewardship Committee meets March 15-16 in Cedarville" (BLM California news release, 2/23/06)
The meeting of the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee will be open to the public.


"Wild horse and burro adoption returns to Ramona" (BLM California news release, 3/6/06)
This weekend (March 11-12), the BLM will offer 80 Mustangs and 20 burros to qualified adopters through its Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program at the Ramona Community Fairgrounds. The animals should arrive at the fairgrounds around noon on Friday, March 10 and will be available for public viewing. BLM will open the facility at 7 a.m. Saturday morning to give adopters time to view the animals and complete their applications.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Turlock" (BLM California news release, 2/24/06)
The BLM will offer 80 wild horses and 20 burros in the special event that runs Friday through Sunday, March 24-26. Potential adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. Friday.


"BLM announces availability of proposed plan amendment for managing NPR-2" (BLM California news release, 3/6/06)
Lands recently transferred to the BLM, known as the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 2 (NPR-2), located in Kern County: the plan amendment addresses oil and gas operations and certain realty actions on the federal portion of NPR-2 within the broader framework of BLM's Caliente Resource Management Plan. The proposal provides information for oil and gas leasing as well as ongoing oil and gas related activities on lands that are already leased.

"Tribes get grants to study wind power" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/1/06)
"The Morongo Band of Mission Indians and five other tribes will use a $199,267 U.S. Department of Energy grant to study creating alternative forms of energy and ways to use them on their reservations." The study will include solar and wind power: "Nearly half of all the turbines in the San Gorgonio pass sit on BLM land."
(Free registration required.)

"SDG & E: Clean energy a central purpose of Sunrise" (North County Times, 3/2/06)
"San Diego County's electric utility says the Sunrise Powerlink isn't just about boosting the region's supply of electricity -- it's also about raising the profile of clean and environmentally friendly energy sources. But critics say there are better ways to boost the use of so-called renewable sources of power, such as solar, geothermal, wind and garbage-gas combustion." The route of the proposed power line has become controversial. BLM would be involved in rights-of-way permits across public lands.

Eugene Parham of BLM's  Northwest California  RACMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Eugene Parham... is a retired engineer, having spent 15 years working in the area of regulation for drinking water supplies. An avid outdoorsman, he represents the public-at-large on BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council. Read more.

Employee Profile: Dexter DearthEMPLOYEE PROFILE:Dexter Dearth...
...manages BLM's California telecommunication operations.  Dexter came to this position after 24 years in various electronics positions in government and private industry.  Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"BLM to hold listening session in Washington on split estate issues" (BLM national news release, 3/2/06)
As part of the agency's ongoing efforts to implement the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Bureau of Land Management will hold a listening session in Washington, D.C. on issues surrounding development of Federally-owned oil and natural gas resources that underlie privately owned surface lands. The session will be Friday, March 31, 2006.

"A move to ease pesticide laws" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2/06)
"A little-noticed section of a congressional bill to overhaul the Endangered Species Act would give federal regulators a five-year pass from seeking expert scientific advice from wildlife agencies on the harmful effects of pesticides on rare animals and plants....Conservation groups also caution that the proposed reduction in pesticide scrutiny over the next five years would come as the Bureau of Land Management plans to spray 18 herbicides, including four new ones, on 932,000 acres of public land in 17 Western states, including California."

(a) The female vole typically has only one or two litters in her lifetime.

RELATED: "Microtus longicaudus (long-tailed vole)" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology website)
More information including habitat, geographic range, and a physical description.

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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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