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

Issue 238 - 7/5/06

Young horse rider and mom historic stamp mill in Mariposa close up of white-tailed antelope squirrel Close-up of bull thistle - weed of the week Colapsed power line tower in eastern Riverside County

THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Off-highway: grant applications and more
- Planning, management and public comment
- Energy
- Wildland fire and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Folsom cattle drive, lizard, shooting, jobs, more

NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:

close up of white-tailed antelope squirrel

WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
What distinction does the White-tailed antelope squirrel hold?
a. it is the rarest of antelope squirrels
b. it is the most widespread of antelope squirrels in North America
c. it is the largest of antelope squirrels
d. it is the smallest of antelope squirrels
e. it is the most easily sunburned antelope squirrel
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


Close-up of bull thistle - weed of the weekWEED OF THE WEEK: Bull thistle
This aggressive weed can form dense patches and makes revegetation difficult due to size, spines, and rapid spread. It may be found throughout northeastern California anywhere there has been soil disturbance. It can become quite dense in logged areas which have been overgrazed.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/surprise/weeds/bullthis.html



OFF-HIGHWAY: GRANT APPLICATIONS AND MORE

"Off-highway vehicle grant program" (BLM California website)
BLM invites public comment on grant applications for the State of California, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division's 2007 Grant program. The draft grant applications encompass approximately 50 projects, ranging from facility development to restoration work proposed throughout BLM's 16 field offices. Included in the links to each 2007 grant application are: cover page; news release with contacts and more information (including open houses in some cases); pages with description of projects being considered and accomplishments from past grant projects and cost breakdowns for specific projects.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/pa/ohv/grants/2007/

"Station wants comments on policing off-roading" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 7/1/06)
"The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Barstow Station wants comments in regard to their efforts to keep off-roading safe and sane for everyone....The Barstow region covers 10,000 square miles and has five major OHV recreation areas that are managed by the California Bureau of Land Management -- Stoddard Valley, Johnson Valley, El Mirage, Dumont Dunes and Rasor....more than a half million people visit the five OHV recreation areas around Barstow annually, and some of the popular events are a taxing challenge to police."
http://www.desertdispatch.com/2006/115178109240379.html

RELATED: "Off-highway vehicle riding" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office)
Includes links to the five major OHV recreation areas mentioned above(links are at the bottom of the page), plus OHV events scheduled in those areas during 2006.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/barstow/ohvinfo.html



PLANNING, MANAGEMENT, PUBLIC COMMENT

"Carrizo Plain advisory committee appointed" (BLM California news release, 6/30/06)
The Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee has been appointed by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. The nine-member committee advises the Secretary and the Bureau of Land Management on resource management issues at the monument, which sits on the border between San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. Committee members serve three-year terms and can apply for reappointment.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/06/nr/CCNews59_Carrizo_AdvComm_appointments.html

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California Bakersfield Field Office website)
Links to more information and photos.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/bakersfield/carrizoplain/carrizoplain.html

"BLM Releases Proposed Management Plan for Ukiah Area Public Lands" (BLM California news release, 6/30/06)
The BLM has released a proposed resource management plan (RMP) and final environmental impact statement for about 270,000 acres of public lands administered by the agency's Ukiah Field Office. The proposed RMP provides management guidance for public lands in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Colusa, Marin and Contra Costa counties.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/06/nr/NCNews79_ukiah_rmp_.html

"Wild Spring environmental assessment available for public review" (BLM California news release, 6/30/06)
The BLM has released for public review and comment, the environmental assessment analyzing the proposed removal of trespass improvements and non-native plant species to restore proper functioning condition at Wild Spring near Tecopa, California. The BLM implemented an emergency closure of Wild Spring in response to concerns expressed by the Inyo County Department of Environmental Health Services regarding potential threats to public health and safety.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/06/nr/CDDNews81_wildspring_EA.html

"Interior and Yurok Tribe announce agreement to improve management of Klamath River Basin" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service news release, 6/28/06)
"The Department of the Interior and the Yurok Tribe of Northern California today announced a major agreement to cooperate in the management of land and fishery resources in the Klamath Basin." BLM California State Director Mike Pool is one of the co-signers of the agreement.
http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/showNews.cfm?newsId=1BA977AB-BFCA-AFBD-32A390C136681DB0



ENERGY

Updated BLM and U.S. Forest Service Gold Book available
The former BLM and U.S. Forest Service Gold Book had not been updated in over 15 years. The new Gold Book introduces improved practices for expediting the processing of Applications for Permits to Drill and environmental Best Management Practices to reduce the environmental effect of energy exploration and production. The revised Gold Book includes updated drawings, photographs, tables, and references to updated policy, Orders, and regulations. Copies are now available at BLM's California State Office Information Access Center in Sacramento, or email mailto:James_Haerter@ca.blm.gov.
The Gold Book can also be downloaded as a 5.5 megabyte PDF file, from BLM's national website at:
http://www.blm.gov/bmp/goldbook.htm

RELATED: "BLM announces release of new energy and non-energy minerals policy statement" (BLM national website)
The Bureau of Land Management's new mineral policy complements the Congressional intent of supporting a sound and stable mining industry, for all minerals, including oil and gas, coal, metallics and industrial minerals.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/spotlight/mineral_policy/

"Energy bill compensates oil, gas companies for delays" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/3/06)
"Interior Department officials have said they are struggling to keep up with the growing mountain of applications for permits to drill on public land. But House members say they worry that government workers sometimes unnecessarily drag their feet as they consider applications. Under the House energy bill approved last week, the government would have to buy back leases – and pay restitution in some cases – if it delays action."
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20060703-1412-wst-leaserelief.html

RELATED: "Backlog slows energy production" (United Press International, 7/3/06)
"Amid the push to spur oil and natural gas development in the continental United States, federal agencies do not have the manpower to process the rising number of drilling applications or to inspect existing sites for environmental damage....By law, the BLM is expected to approve or reject a drilling application within 30 days, but the actual turnaround time is closer to 90 days, according to statistics presented to the energy committee." A BLM spokesperson told the UPI, "This has been an issue for many, many years predating this administration."
http://www.upi.com/Energy/view.php?StoryID=20060628-061918-5335r

RELATED: "Oversight Hearing on Pilot Project Implementation under Section 365 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005" (BLM national website, 6/27/06)
Statement of Kathleen Clarke, Director, Bureau of Land Management and H. Dale Hall, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. Department of the Interior), as they appeared to discuss the Bureau of Land Management’s and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to improve oil and gas permitting pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/legislative/pages/2006/te060627.htm

Colapsed power line tower in eastern Riverside County"Powerline tower falls" (News.bytes Extra)
A powerline tower in eastern Riverside County was apparently toppled last weekend by severe weather. BLM’s Desert District and Palm Springs Field Office are working together to ensure emergency onsite work does not impact sensitive resources, just within the boundary of the Alligator Rock Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Photo and more information.



WILDLAND FIRE AND PREVENTION

"Don Pedro fire scorches 2,000 acres" (News10.net)
The blaze on BLM-managed lands "
was not threatening any structures. Authorities said the blaze was started inadvertently by people setting up a campsite just before 1 p.m. Monday."
http://www.news10.net/storyfull.asp?id=18554

"Fire claims 740 acres in national park" (Hi-Desert Star, 7/4/06)
"A wildfire sparked by lightning Saturday charred 740 acres of Joshua Tree National Park before firefighters were able to contain it Sunday evening....Firefighters and personnel from San Bernardino County Fire, San Bernardino and Cleveland national forests, the Bureau of Land Management and California Department of Fire assisted in battling the blaze."
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2006/07/05/news/news2.txt

RELATED: "Current wildland fire information" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during fire season.
http://www.nifc.gov/information.html

"BLM offers visit to fuels reduction research project" (BLM California news release, 6/23/06)
The BLM is hosting a field tour of a pinyon fuels reduction research project north of Mono Lake on July 10. The tour will provide information concerning the study, research design and project details. The project will evaluate two different fuels reduction methods. It will help determine each method's relative effectiveness to reduce fire intensities, as well as ecological effects. The work will also reduce hazardous fuels in the project area.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/06/nr/CCNews58_monobasin_pinyonsite_visit.html

"Deputy Secretary Scarlett testifies how Interior Department and partners work to help prevent wildland fires" (Department of the Interior news release, 6/29/06)
Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett testified today before the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health that, over the past four years, the Interior Department and its partners have reduced the hazardous fuels that lead to wildland fires on 7 million acres of public lands.
http://www.doi.gov/news/06_News_Releases/060629a.htm

"Oversight Hearing on 'Healthy Forests: Targets and Accomplishments'" (BLM national website, 6/27/06)
Statement of Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of the Interior, before the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health Committee on Resources, U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Hearing.
http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/legislative/pages/2006/te060629.htm



HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"Easy on the land" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2/06)
"Ranchers and farmers, spurred by the growing market for natural foods, are finding a silver lining in the conservation cloud....Environmentalists have long criticized the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service for allowing excessive livestock grazing on federal lands. But grazing levels are about a third of what they were in the 1950s...."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/07/02/MNGOQJO6P41.DTL

"BLM-sponsored geology and mining history tour of the Southern Mother Lode" (News.bytes Extra)
The 2006 Mother Lode field conference attracted 56 participants, from June 23 to June 25 -- and featured underground tours, public lectures on “Geology and Personalities of the Southern Mother Lode" and a stamp mill demonstration. Read more and see photos
.

A little rider enjoys the Folsom cattle drive"Cattle drive through Folsom with BLM wild horses and burros" (News.bytes Extra)
The pre-rodeo cattle drive in Folsom June 30 included riders representing BLM's Wild Horse and Burro program, riding animals from the program. Learn more and see photos.

"Millions will pave paths: State grants to extend Sacramento River Trail, add walkways in Anderson" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/1/06)
"More trails will be blazed in Redding, along Lower Clear Creek south of town and at a city park in Anderson thanks to almost $2.8 million in grants awarded Friday by the California Resources Agency....The trails, which will run through land the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has been restoring along the creek, will feature overlooks of the creek, a salmon-viewing deck and informational kiosks."
http://www1.redding.com/redd/nw_local/article/0,2232,REDD_17533_4816217,00.html

RELATED: "Creek is becoming good human habitat" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/2/06)
Editorial: "After years' worth of expensive but successful work to make lower Clear Creek better habitat for spawning salmon and migrating birds, the corridor is about to become friendlier for another species: human beings."
http://www1.redding.com/redd/op_editorials/article/0,2232,REDD_18098_4816495,00.html

RELATED: "Creek deck will offer a look at fish" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/28/06)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to put a viewing deck on cliffs over Lower Clear Creek just downstream of a known nude swimming and sunbathing area....It's intended to allow visitors to see salmon and steelhead heading up the creek from the Sacramento River to spawning beds."
http://www.redding.com/redd/nw_local/article/0,2232,REDD_17533_4807216,00.html

"Shells, targets too close to home" (Stockton Record, 7/3/06)
"The noise -- and possibly high-powered bullets, as well -- come from an informal shooting range on public land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management just across the river in Amador County. For years [residents] along Skull Flat Road have written letters and lobbied local and federal officials to close the shooting range off Black Prince Mine Road behind Buckhorn. BLM officials tried to block the road to the shooting site with boulders. The shooters used all-terrain vehicles or other vehicles to get around the rocks. Now, the conflict is coming to a head."
http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060703/NEWS01/607030318/1001/NEWS01

RELATED: "BLM land closed to shooting to protect public safety" (BLM California news release, 6/23/06)
Approximately 240 acres of public land in Amador County in the vicinity of Black Prince Mine Road overlooking the Mokelumne River has been closed to target shooting to protect public health and safety. Residents and the sheriff's office reported that target shooters were aiming in a southerly direction at targets set on a berm. The residential area at Skull Flat in Calaveras County on the other side of the Mokelumne River is in the line of fire and well within the maximum range of the firearms used. (This news release also ran in News.bytes issue 237)
http://www.blm.gov/ca/news/2006/06/nr/CCNews56_Amador_shooting_closure.html

"25-acre marijuana garden discovered" (Lake County Record-Bee, 6/30/06)
"A 25-acre marijuana garden on public land in the Bartlett Springs area of Lake County was discovered during a June 22 aerial search...." The discovery "led to the eradication of 8,925 plants....No suspects were arrested, but a shotgun and ammunition were found, contributing to concern over marijuana cultivation on public lands as a continuing menace in California....the day after the seizure at Bartlett Springs, preseason policing against cultivation of pot on public soil had already netted 50,000 plants, the eradication of nine gardens and the arrest of three individuals this year." BLM is a partner in the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.
http://www.record-bee.com/local/ci_4001364

RELATED: "Campaign Against Marijuana Planting" (Office of the Attorney General, State of California)
More information on the program.
http://www.ag.ca.gov/bne/camp.htm

"Horned lizard still not 'endangered'" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/30/06)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday announced it won't list the Flat-tailed horned lizard as a threatened species because it has plenty of habitat left in its range....Environmental groups and scientists pressing for Endangered Species Act protection disagreed with the government's analysis....A local plan to dedicate habitat for 27 species of plants and wildlife would have included independent protections for the lizard. But that plan, called the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, is stalled and might not be in place for a year or longer." BLM is a partner in the Coachella Valley plan.
http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060629/NEWS07/306290011

RELATED: "Flat-tailed horned lizard" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Includes links to "June 28, 2006, Notice Withdrawing Proposed Listing," "FAQs about the June 28, 2006, Withdrawal of Proposed Listing" and "2003 Revised Management Strategy." BLM is a signatory to the management strategy.
http://www.fws.gov/carlsbad/FTHL_Docs.htm

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

"City officials travel to Washington to ask for help with Cemex bill" (Santa Clarita Signal, 6/29/06)
"City officials who recently came back from a trip to Washington, D.C., to solicit support of legislation to thwart the planned Cemex mine said its passage would likely not happen until the next session of Congress....the bill, entitled the Soledad Canyon Mine Leases Adjustment Act, that would cancel Cemex's mining leases with the Bureau of Land Management and prohibit new ones except at 'historic levels'."
http://www.the-signal.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=31222&format=html

RELATED: "City shows support of McKeon's Cemex bill" (Santa Clarita Signal, 7/4/06)
"In light of a recently introduced congressional bill that could thwart large-scale mining in the Santa Clarita Valley, the city is stepping up its opposition to a planned mine." The city posted banners and handed out postcards during the July 4 parade, that residents can mail to their congressman to show their opposition to Cemex.
http://www.the-signal.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=31337&format=html

"Life is a highway" (Yuma Sun, 6/28/06)
"From 1912 to 1927, the Plank Road allowed travelers to cross over what is now the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, according to an article in Spring 1970 issue of The Journal of San Diego History. The one-lane road with occasional turnouts resembled a railroad track but for automobiles. Often there were disagreements over who had the right of way and travel was often very slow."
http://sun.yumasun.com/google/ysarchive21875.html

RELATED: "Yuma land status map points of interest" (BLM California El Centro Field Office website)
Located in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is a small surviving remnant of the unique "floating" wooden road. Please help preserve this historic road by keeping vehicles outside the protective fence.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/elcentro/POI_yuma.html



WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer
b. it is the most widespread of antelope squirrels

RELATED: "Ammospermophilus leucurus (White-tailed antelope squirrel)" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information, plus photos.
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ammospermophilus_leucurus.html

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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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