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

Issue 223 - 3/21/06

RAC member Paul McFarland Kingston bedstraw Profile: Rick Shellooe black-tailed jackrabbit

THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Know Jack?
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Dunes re-opening stopped, off-roader shot, wild horse meeting, BLM California jobs, more
- Energy: Sunrise Powerlink
- Meet your advisory council members: Paul McFarland
- Profile: Rick Shellooe
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Idaho governor nominated as new DOI Secretary

 

NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:

black-tailed jackrabbitWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Know Jack?
What is misleading about the black-tailed jackrabbit's name?
(a) Its tail is actually white with a black tip;
(b) It does not have a tail -- just a dark spot on its rear end;
(c) Jackrabbits do not actually exist;
(d) It is not a rabbit, but a hare.
(e) His real name is not Jack, and he would prefer that you not call him that.
(Thumbnail from a photo by University of Michigan.)
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


SPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Kingston bedstraw...
...is a slender and weak perennial herb. It is sometimes found in rocky places and Pinyon juniper woods, at elevations of 5,500 to 6,500 feet

Thumbnail from a photo by University of California, Berkeley and Jepson Herbaria.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/pa/ssp/plants/galium_hilendiae.html



HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"Judge nixes hopes to reopen 49,000 acres of dunes, for now" (Imperial Valley Press, 3/15/06)
"Forty-nine thousand acres of the Imperial Valley Sand Dunes Recreation Area will remain closed to off-road use, at least for now, following a federal judge's ruling here Tuesday. In a 67-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston found the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to address the threat caused by off-road vehicles to Peirson's milk-vetch, the plant at the center of debate."
http://ivpressonline.com/articles/2006/03/15/news/news04.txt

RELATED: "Environmental laws stacked against users" (Yuma Sun, 3/17/06)
Editorial: "The ongoing battle over the Imperial Sand Dunes took another turn this week with the ruling of a federal judge that 49,000 acres of closed areas could not be reopened to off-roaders, even though the federal agency that manages the recreational area had deemed it appropriate. It really comes as no surprise to those who are familiar with federal laws governing environmental protections. These laws are stacked against rational use of public lands that encompasses fully diversified interests and takes economic concerns into account instead of purely environmental ones."
http://sun.yumasun.com/google/ysarchive19645.html

"Feds finish Mojave Plan" (San Bernardino County Sun, 3/15/06)
"After 15 years of intense give-and-take by environmental, grazing, and off-road vehicle buffs, a federal land-use plan for the western Mojave Desert has been completed. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management issued its record of decision Monday for the sweeping West Mojave Plan, which regulates public activities in 3.3 million acres in a 9.3 million-acre planning area in four counties....Despite extensive debate about the proposal, it is still drawing fire."
http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_3606241

"Second officer-involved shooting under investigation" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/20/06)
After "a man suffered a gunshot wound to the arm while riding off-road vehicles with a friend in the area of Corn Springs Road at Chuckwalla Valley Road in Blythe," officers from Riverside County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol and the BLM found a house where they believed the shots had come from. "The man eventually exited the residence, carrying a rifle. He allegedly refused orders to lie on the ground and raised the gun at deputies in a threatening manner, officials said. Deputies shot the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene."
http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060320/UPDATE/60320003

RELATED: "Deputies slay man, ending standoff" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/20/06)
(Free registration required.)
http://www.pe.com/localnews/desert/stories/PE_News_Local_H_shooting20.57fabf3.html

"Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting scheduled for April in Sacramento" (BLM national news release, 3/16/06)
The board will discuss issues relating to the management and protection of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. The one-day meeting will be held on Monday, April 10, 2006.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2006/pr060316_whb.htm

"BLM Opening New Firewood Cutting Areas" (BLM California news release, 3/17/06)
Northeast California firewood cutters will have access to four new cutting areas when conditions dry out later this spring. The Bureau of Land Management's Alturas Field Office said all the areas are in juniper stands, and cutting of green juniper will be allowed.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/03/nr/NCNews36_alturas_woodcutting_06.html

"Salvage logging bill would cut review time for projects; Critics say process is too quick, oppose the cutting itself" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/15/06)
"A bill moving through the House of Representatives would allow the Forest Service to speed up timber sales on land in California and across the West burned by wildfires, even though many scientists believe salvage logging can hurt the ability of trees and other forest species to recover from fires....The new bill would require the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to adopt "pre-approved management practices" -- generic guidelines for timber sales -- that could be put into effect immediately after a fire or other natural disaster."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/03/16/MNGA9HOO8B1.DTL

"New hearing on annexation?" (Los Angeles Daily News, 3/17/06)
"The agency that rules on municipal boundary changes could decide next week whether to hold a new public hearing on a plan to annex a Canyon Country neighborhood to Santa Clarita....The Local Agency Formation Commission had tentatively approved the annexation, but after enough protests were received to potentially trigger a vote - and LAFCO subsequently discovered it had failed to provide sufficient notice to schedule the required hearing - the decision was tabled." Annexation would be part of a City of Santa Clarita effort to block gravel mining by Cemex, Inc. which holds a mining permit from the BLM.
http://www.dailynews.com/search/ci_3609983

RELATED: "LAFCO to Hold Second Stonecrest Hearing" (Santa Clarita Signal, 3/20/06)
" Residents could have to start over again in protesting the annexation of their Canyon Country community, after the agency that rules on municipal boundary changes in Los Angeles County botched the scheduling of a protest hearing."
http://www.the-signal.com/News/ViewStory.asp?storyID=9169

"Yuma desert full of abandoned mine shafts" (Yuma Sun, 3/20/06)
"Bureau of Land Management officials don’t know how many abandoned mines, like the one 'discovered' recently by two unfortunate people in a Suzuki Samurai, are out there."
http://sun.yumasun.com/google/ysarchive19712.html

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include outreach and administrative program support technician, petroleum engineering technician, criminal investigator, and a number of firefighting jobs.
http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/a9blm-ca.asp



ENERGY - Sunrise Powerlink

"Route chosen for controversial power line" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/21/06)
"San Diego Gas & Electric Co. yesterday specified a precise route for the controversial power line it proposes to build across Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and a large swath of the county's northern backcountry. In addition to identifying the route for the so-called Sunrise Powerlink, SDG&E also sought to bolster political support for the $1.4 billion project by presenting leaders of organized labor and the business community in support of the project. " BLM would be involved in permits for rights-of-way across parts of the route that cross public lands. Includes map of preferred and alternate routes.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20060321-9999-1n21power.html

"Opponents of power line not expected to disappear" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/21/06)
"Apparently having listened to complaints from thousands of county residents, the power company has crafted a route for the 500-kilovolt line that minimizes its effects on the most populous areas....Opposition to the line has come from many fronts and still exists. But the focus seems to have shifted from not wanting to live near the 120-to 155-foot-high transmission towers to whether the line is really needed."
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20060321-9999-1n21link.html

"Power to the people" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/21/06)
Activist is "considered soul of opposition to backcountry transmission line."
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20060321-9999-1b21fuller.html

"Power line targets Ramona, Anza-Borrego park; avoids Julian" (North County Times, 3/21/06)
"After months of anxious anticipation and speculation, area residents now know where San Diego Gas & Electric Co. plans to punch its proposed electricity superhighway through San Diego County's mountain and desert backcountry....There are alternate routes in the state park and Ramona area and the utility says it will refine the alignment by summer." Includes links to maps.
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/03/21/news/top_stories/15_54_363_20_06.txt



RAC member Paul McFarlandMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Paul McFarland...
...is executive director of Friends of Inyo and represents environmental interests on BLM's Central California Advisory Council.
Read more.



Profile: Rick ShellooeEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Rick Shellooe...
...began his career with BLM as a radio and data communiations specialist and "volunteered" to be the computer network manager. He is now BLM California's Section Chief of Computer Operations and. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.



NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS

"President Bush Nominates Dirk Kempthorne as Interior Secretary" (White House news release, 3/16/06)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/print/20060316-11.html

"Idaho Gov. Chosen for Interior" (Los Angeles Times, 3/17/06)
"As chairman of the Western Governors' Assn., Kempthorne took the lead in calling for changes in the Endangered Species Act. Like many governors in the West, he has pushed for greater state control over management of endangered species and for greater payments to landowners facing losses brought by the law's restrictions."
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-interior17mar17,1,3691058.story

"For Interior, a collaborative conservative" (Christian Science Monitor, 3/20/06)
"Dirk Kempthorne, President Bush's nominee to the head the Interior Department, has both the experience and the record of collaboration that could help smooth the way in the often-contentious position."
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0320/p02s02-uspo.html

"Pick for Interior Said to Show More Charm Than Substance" (Los Angeles Times, 3/19/06)
"He rides motorcycles, battles a bad back, does a killer impersonation of fellow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and sometimes forgets to balance his checkbook....Gov. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho is well-liked as a down-to-earth guy. But some doubt his ability to get the job done, citing a list of unfinished plans."
(Free registration required.)
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-interior19mar19,0,6866686.story?coll=la-home-nation

"Gale Norton's legacy" (Denver Post, 3/19/06)
Op Ed: "Judge her tenure fairly."
http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_3609992

"BLM announces Internet availability of Lands and Minerals databases" (BLM national news release, 3/21/06)
Members of the public surfing the web for public land information now have renewed access to three popular lands and minerals databases that provide essential information to the public: GeoCommunicator, Legacy Rehost 2000 (LR2000) System reports, and public eForms.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/03/nr/WONews_LR2000.html



WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer
(d) It is not a rabbit, but a hare. Hares are bigger and have bigger ears. In fact, black-tailed jackrabbits were originally called "jackass rabbits" because their large ears resembled those of a donkey. Hares have bigger hind legs that allow them to run faster and leap higher to escape predators.

RELATED: "Lepus californicus (black-tailed jackrabbit)" (University of Michigan, Animal Diversity Web)
With photos and information on habitat, range, description, behavior and more.
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lepus_californicus.html

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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