A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 254 - 10/24/06

Advisory committe profile: Buford Crites golden-mantled ground squirrel Group photo: Best Management Practices Award Volunteer with pick works to restore hillside Weed of the Week: puncturevine

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Energy: Habitat award, wind power
- Headlines and highlights: Restoration project, oil gas environmental award, jobs, more
- Meet your advisory committee members: Buford Crites
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Award, environmental settlement


golden-mantled ground squirrel

What do Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels do before hibernation?
a. clean out their dens - removing rocks down to pebble size
b. start packing on the pounds - up to three times their weight
c. take over the den of a rival species – "spraying" it to mark it as their own
d. look for a buddy to cuddle up with during the colder months
e. come together from a large area, to choose a leader
f. stock their pantry with late-night snacks
g. Stake a mining claim with BLM - to find the gold with which to mantle themselves
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Weed of the Week: puncturevineWEED OF THE WEEK: Puncturevine...
...makes a return appearance, due to its widespread unpopularity. Puncturevine is toxic to livestock in vegetative condition, but it is more widely known for the damage it can do to bare feet and dogs' pads -- and many, many bike tires. Other common names include goathead, caltrop, and Mexican or Texas sandbur.

RELATED: "Bicyclists’ bane" (Davis Enterprise, 10/22/06)
Says a bicycle repairman: "About 80 percent of the tires coming in now are due to puncturevine....It's probably an average of about five flats a day....if you ride through it ... 'P-f-f-f-f-ttt!'"


Environmental Award group"California energy company honored for protecting habitat" (News.bytes Extra)
Plains Exploration and Production Company’s innovative habitat conservation work was highlighted last week at the Oil and Gas Conference being held in Bakersfield. The Bakersfield company was the first recipient of a national Bureau of Land Management award presented last summer by BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.
See video highlights of what the company has done:
Broadband version (larger file, higher quality):
Dial-up version (smaller file):

RELATED: "Three oil and gas firms honored by BLM" (BLM California news release, 10/18/06)
Chevron Corp., Bakersfield, received the State Director's Award for their environmental work on 13 federal leases.
Matris Exploration Company, The Woodlands, Texas, received the 2006 Special Conservation Achievement Award. Matris began operating its first leases in California this year. The leases are located in the Kettleman Hills and contain important endangered species habitat.

"Power, blowing in the wind" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1024/06)
"They're elegant, swooping testaments to the promise of clean energy. They're noisy, clanking blights on a once-pristine desert landscape. Opinions on the thousands of power-producing wind turbines spinning in the San Gorgonio pass are as varied as, well, the wind. But one thing is certain. Californians' growing appetite for electricity means more demand for juice from dozens of newer, bigger windmills on the way - whether the people who live beneath them like it or not." Among proposed sites in the Palm Springs area are more than 50 on BLM-manage lands.


Volunteer with pick works to restore hillsidePicturesque Sierra hillside restored (News.bytes Extra)
With views of burnished aspen and high peaks, an enthusiastic crew of 25 college students from Whitman College partnered with the BLM Bishop Field Office, Friends of the Inyo and the Wilderness Society to rehabilitate and camouflage a 2,000-foot hill climb that marred a picturesque hillside of Conway Summit, a Sierra highway pass north of Lee Vining. Read more and see photos.

"BLM offering weanling horses and mules for public adoption" (BLM California news release, 10/23/06)
Horse enthusiasts who want to begin training a young animal for pleasure riding, work or competition have the opportunity to adopt a weanling wild horse or mule, when the Bureau of Land Management holds a special adoption event Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Litchfield Corrals, about 20 miles east of Susanville.

"BLM to hold planning meeting" (BLM California news release, 10/23/06)
A public meeting to present the draft Sierra Resource Management Plan and to hear public comments and concerns on the environmental impact statement will be held by the Folsom Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management tomorrow (Wednesday, October 25) in Sonora.

"Santa Clarita ramps up effort in quarrel over quarry" (Los Angeles Times, 10/24/06)
"Mexico-based Cemex Inc., wants to mine 69 million tons of material from Soledad Canyon, about a mile from upscale housing developments in Valencia. City leaders are fighting back with a $7-million campaign, leasing an 80-foot billboard next to the 14 Freeway showing a red slash through the words: 'CEMEX MEGA MINING.'" BLM approved the gravel mine in 2000.
(Free registration required.),1,3743703.story?coll=la-headlines-politics

"Moonlight hike makes encore appearance" (Hi-Desert Star, 10/21/06)
Moonlight hikes at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve: "It's a magical experience, taking a moonlight walk, where everything you thought you knew in daylight is changed, bathed in silver and dappled with shadows, but you also need to be aware that the low light level can be disorienting, particularly in terms of depth perception." Spots are limited, so call for reservations.

RELATED: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve - Watchable Wildlife site" (BLM California website)
Nestled among the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the desert oasis at Big Morongo Canyon is one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian (stream) habitats in California. Because of the fault line running along the base of the mountains, water draining from the Morongo Basin surfaces at their base. This water flows above ground as Big Morongo Creek, then disappears into sandy soil further downstream. The result is a three-mile stretch of rich stream and marsh habitat lying between rugged canyon walls.

"Training center to be dedicated to memory of fallen firefighter" (BLM California news release, 10/18/06)
Members of Lassen County's fire agencies will gather Saturday, Nov. 4, to dedicate a Susanville fire training center in memory of a Bureau of Land Management firefighter who was killed while working on a northeast California fire.

"Plan would inject new life, territory into SERE school" (Navy Times, 10/20/06)
Warner Springs, California: "Thousands of pilots and crew chiefs, Navy SEALs and Marine reconnaissance men, intelligence specialists and hospital corpsmen, and other sailors and Marines have marched through this remote training camp for 40 years and learned how to survive in hostile territory....The expansion eyed by the Navy includes a 4,307-acre parcel owned by the irrigation district, a 609-acre parcel owned by Bureau of Land Management and 3,094 acres of Forest Service land."

"Prescribed burn goes as planned" (Monterey Herald, 10/20/06)
"The 58 acres burned Thursday are part of nearly 8,000 acres at the center of Fort Ord...where soldiers trained with firearms and left behind bombs, grenade launchers and land mines. The area is believed to be littered with old rocket shells, some of which may be concealed by tall brush atop the surface. When the fire clears away the vegetation, workers using magnetic devices will search for buried ordnance.... In addition to clearing explosives, the fires are conducted to regenerate chaparral habitat used by endangered and threatened species...."

RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office)
At Fort Ord, the Bureau of Land Management is working with the community and other partners so that parts of this former military base become available for public use. Lands already transferred offer recreation, habitat for endangered species and more.

"Wildlife Service withdraws proposal to list the Cow Head tui chub" (Modoc Record, 10/19/06)
"In 1998, the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] proposed to list the Cow Head tui chub as an endangered species based on concerns over its small population size, restricted distribution and loss of historic habitat. In response to the proposed listing, a dozen landowners came together with the Service, Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Game, Cow Head Irrigation District, California Cattleman's Association, Modoc County Cattlemen's Association and the California Farm Bureau to address the needs of the chub, while recognizing the importance of sustaining agricultural practices within the Cow Head watershed."

"BLM Snapshots" (BLM Office of Fire and Aviation, 10/20/06)
Update on wildfire prevention efforts on BLM-managed lands nationwide. Includes three items from California: "Mount Laguna FireSafe Council Gets Proactive," "First Phase Completed on Sunrise Fuel Break" and "Community Collaboration Pays Off in Trinity County in Combating the Threat of Wildfires."
PDF file, 860 kilobytes:

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)

Advisory committe profile: Buford CritesMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Buford Crites...
...represents the City of Palm Desert on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. He spent two years as the monument advisory committee chairperson and has shown his active interest and support for the national monument and its future. Read more:


"Interior honors nine employees with 2006 Manuel Lujan, Jr., Champions Award" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/17/06)
The award, named after the 46th Secretary of the Interior, recognizes employees for their outstanding work in carrying out the department’s mission in areas that impact Hispanic communities. This year's recipients include Selma Sierra, formerly Chief of Staff in the BLM Director’s Office and soon to be BLM's Utah State Director.

"Secretary Kempthorne lauds court approval of San Joaquin River settlement" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/23/06)
A settlement agreement that would restore 142 miles of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam ends one of the nation's longest-running environmental disputes. Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said said the agreement will work to restore salmon runs in the upper San Joaquin River while assuring the continued economic viability of one of the most prosperous agricultural regions in the nation and the world. Full implementation of the agreement will require authorizing legislation by the U.S. Congress, including the federal share of restoration costs.

b. start packing on the pounds - up to three times their weight: During the months before hibernation, these little critters forage constantly in an effort to triple their body weight.
Credit also for the answer:
f. stock their pantry with late-night snacks: Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels also make a stash of food in their dens to eat in the spring when they first come out of hibernation. Some of them may even wake up periodically throughout the winter to eat.

SOURCE: "Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel" (BLM California wildlife database)

RELATED: "Spermophilus lateralis - Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel" (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
"Because they have a stripe on the flank, they are sometimes mistaken for chipmunks, but the stripe does not continue onto the cheek as it does in Tamias species." Includes photo, and link to The American Society of Mammalogists species account - eight-page PDF file with extensive references.

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Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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