A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 269 - 2/22/07

Funny.bytes: The hare and the tortoise - on off-highway vehicles close-up of a deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus Dawn Wellman - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee wildflowers in the Bakersfield area A visitor looks over a wood stove, a broken hot tub, wheel rims -- among the items dumped illegally near Rock Creek off of Rock Creek Road, north of Nevada City.

- Funny.bytes: The hare and the tortoise
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Feedback on last week's wildlife trivia question
- National monuments: Preservation, planning, weather and wildflowers
- Energy
- Weather and wildfire
- Off-highway vehicles
- Headlines and highlights: Trash, wild horses and burros, jobs, more
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Recreation permits final rule

Funny.bytes: The hare and the tortoise - on off-highway vehiclesFUNNY.BYTES: The hare and the tortoise 2007
The hare challenges the tortoise to a rematch -- with off-highway vehicles. Who will win this time?
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Note: this link will work in browsers that have the Macromedia/Adobe "Flash" plug-in -- which should be most browsers. Warning: soundtrack: you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.


FEEDBACK: Last week's wildlife trivia question:
"Relative to your 'Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week', and since 'News.bytes' is directed to a California audience, you might be interested to know that the white footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, does not occur in California (the species doesn't get west of eastern Arizona)."
    - Jim Patton (who is the Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley)

Professor Patton adds that people may have "mistakenly used 'white-footed mouse' as the common name for Peromyscus maniculatus (which is usually called the 'deer mouse', but looks nearly the same as P. leucopus)" and has a wide range in California. "Perhaps you meant this species in your trivia question."

Editor's response: Thank you for providing a graceful means of wriggling out of this error, but I really had no idea. Let's try again with a wildlife trivia question about the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus):

close-up of a deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus

The deer mouse "looks cuddly and is easily handled" -- but they carry diseases, so close contact should be avoided. What diseases are they the primary hosts for?
(a.) Rabies, distemper and ringworm
(b.) Roundworm, tapeworm and flatworm
(c.) Hantavirus, Lyme disease and plague
(d.) Malaria, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis
(e.) ADHD, bird flu and mad cow disease
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

NATIONAL MONUMENTS IN CALIFORNIA: Preservation, planning, weather and wildflowers

"Species plan, with changes, seeks approval" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/21/07)
"A revised conservation plan protecting mostly hillsides surrounding the Coachella Valley while allowing development on most of the desert floor could take effect by fall." Among land to be preserved under the revised Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, "the federal Bureau of Land Management owns about 60 percent of the land in the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountain range."

"Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM California Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office web pages)
"Providing a world-renowned scenic backdrop to the desert communities of the Coachella Valley, the National Monument serves as a model for community based support. It reflects the vision of the local jurisdictions and national desires to ensure special landscapes within our country are protected as open space for current and future generations."

Dawn Wellman - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory CommitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Dawn Wellman...
......represents the Pinyon Community Council on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. Read more:

"Notice of Resource Advisory Council call for nominations" (Federal Register Notice, 2/15/07)
The purpose of this notice is to request public nominations for the Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) that have member terms expiring this year. The RACs provide advice and recommendations to BLM on land use planning and management of the public lands within their geographic areas. The BLM will consider public nominations for 45 days after the publication date of this notice.

wildflowers in the Bakersfield area"Recent showers might have saved wild blossoms" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/15/07)
"Showers in the past week have generated new hope for a colorful showing this spring season, which until now was predicted to be lackluster....A few more drizzly storms and the bloom should arrive by mid-March to early April....But the Carrizo Plain National Monument -- which has seen just 1.5 inches of rain since last spring -- is pretty bare."

"Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)

"Heritage status at Carrizo debated" (Midway Driller, 2/16/07)
"A proposal to have the Carrizo Plain National Monument declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations has raised concerns that the designation could have unforeseen impact on the area. The Taft City Council is going to have s study session to explore the possible impacts in two weeks."


"Energy company to cut turbines" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/21/07)
"A big energy company plans to slash the number of wind-powered turbines to about 200 from more than 460 at its sprawling Mesa Wind Farm in the wind-whipped San Gorgonio Pass. Western Wind Energy Corp. met with Bureau of Land Management officials Tuesday in Palm Springs as part of an effort to seek regulatory approval for a major overhaul that's expected to take four to five years."

"Area wind power may get boost" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/20/07)
"A massive wind power facility proposed for the Tehachapi area, if approved by state regulators, would become the largest project of its kind in the nation. The $3 billion Alta Wind Energy Center would involve installing as many as 750 wind turbines over a 50-square-mile area east and south of Tehachapi."

"Public meetings scheduled for proposed geothermal project" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
The BLM has scheduled three open houses to gather comments on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which analyzes the proposed leasing of approximately 14,731 acres of BLM-managed public lands for geothermal exploration and development in the Truckhaven area located in western Imperial County. Dates are March 20 and 21. (Repeated from last week's News.bytes.)

RELATED: "Notice of availability of Draft EIS for the Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area, California" (Federal Register Notice, 2/16/07)
The BLM has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area and by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period. The main issues addressed in the Draft EIS are geothermal resource leasing, recreation, and special status species. The area is within the California Desert Conservation Area and the preferred alternative is in conformance with the land use plan for the area.

"Groups vow nonviolent defense of Medicine Lake" (Modoc Record, 2/22/07)
"Several protestors gathered in front of the Alturas Bureau of Land Management Office on State Route 299 Tuesday at noon to protest the government's possible appeal of a decision on the geothermal development plans at Medicine Lake."
(Note: this link will open to the middle of a webpage that includes several news stories.)

"SDG&E gets OK to enter private land" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/22/07)
"For the second time this year, a Superior Court judge has granted permission to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to enter private property to conduct various tests in areas being considered for placement of its proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line." BLM is involved in public hearings and rights-of-way permits for the proposed power line.


"Anticipating disaster" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/21/07)
"The state is creating a plan to identify areas at greatest risk of catastrophic losses in a major wildfire...The state's approach resembles governments' strategy for reducing flood losses: Identify places at risk of a 100-year flood and require that new homes there be built to survive such a disaster....Statewide, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of homes in the "wildland urban interface" -- where homes meet undeveloped lands -- from 1990 to 2000...."
(May require free registration.)

"Is the High Desert's lack of moisture all gloom and doom?" (Victorville Daily Press, 2/20/07)
"'We're looking at a potentially bad fire season,' said Rocky Opliger, deputy chief for fire and aviation management for the San Bernardino National Forest. Opliger's concern about the lack of precipitation and potential for fire has been echoed by other parks and firefighting officials across the state."

"24 firefighters killed in '06 wildfires" (Associated Press on Yahoo News, 2/20/07)
"The 2006 death toll is not an all-time high, but is part of a rising trend....Experts warn that the size and intensity of wildfires is increasing due to longer, hotter and drier summers and a buildup of fuel. Firefighters face greater dangers, particularly when trying to protect the growing number of homes in the woods."

"Wildfires were bad in 2006, but crews are bracing for worse in '07" (Sacramento Bee, 2/18/07)
"Coming on the heels of 2006 -- a terrible year in terms of acres burned by California wildfires -- some in the fire service worry that unforgiving weather conditions and long-term factors such as brush buildup could portend worse for 2007.... Meanwhile, more and more Californians have been leaving urban centers for the 'wildland-urban interface'...lands where cities meet rural landscapes. As a result, officials have seen an exponential rise in the devastation left by wildfires "
(May require free registration.)


"An off-highway park near Taft?" (Midway Driller, 2/13/07)
"Attention turned to the area northeast of Taft after a proposal for an OHV park north of Bakersfield was rejected. That left millions of dollars in registration funds to pay for an off-highway vehicle park still available for use in Kern County. The federal Bureau of Land Management owns several square miles in the area, land it took over from the Department of Energy....[A supporter of the idea] said the area is ideal for a riding park, since it produces very little oil and much of the land has already been disturbed, easing environmental concerns."

"Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team meeting scheduled" (BLM California news release, 2/16/07)
BLM's Barstow Field Office has scheduled the next meeting of the Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team for Tuesday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. in the Barstow Field Office.

RELATED: "Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area " (BLM California Barstow Field Office web pages)
"The Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area, also referred to as an Open Area, is an exciting and remote area for off-highway vehicle recreation. Bordered by steep volcanic hills and the slow running Amargosa River, the region is easily recognized from a distance by its distinctive sand dunes."

"Officers hear fewer off-road complaints this holiday" (Hi-Desert Star, 2/20/07)
"The Presidents’ Day weekend was, by law-enforcement accounts, reasonably uneventful on the off-road vehicle front this year. Historically, the occasion has ranked second only to Thanksgiving weekend for citizen complaints about ORV activity in the Basin, but a pre-planned increase in enforcement presence this year seems to have had results. County code enforcement officer Mike Romage reported his office coordinated with the county sheriff and the Bureau of Land Management to put more officers in the field this year."


"BLM announces upcoming wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
On February 24-25, Galway Downs, located in Temecula, will host its first ever BLM adoption. Potential adopters may view the animals on Friday and Saturday beginning at 7:00 a.m.

A visitor looks over a wood stove, a broken hot tub, wheel rims -- among the items dumped illegally near Rock Creek off of Rock Creek Road, north of Nevada City."Trash piles up near creek" (Nevada City Union, 2/21/07)
"Trisha Janes maneuvered her noisy bio-diesel pick up along a narrow fire road on Bureau of Land Management land. Tree limbs scratched the sides of the vehicle as she bumped along to a spot where fresh tracks were visible in the mud....Items such as a broken hot tub, barn red decking, end tables, a futon frame, rusted woodstove, smashed microwave, bed springs and a smashed glass aquarium were heaped with discarded ice cream containers and medicated foot powder."

"Decision near on Area 51 deal" (Redding Record Searchlight, 2/16/07)
"Steve Anderson has a decision to make about the controversial Area 51 swap. As head of the Bureau of Land Management's Redding office, he's weighing whether to complete the trade of the 216-acre parcel west of Redding for 566 acres in the Trinity River watershed or wait for one more ruling from a federal appeals board."

"Notice of temporary restriction order; Lost Coast Headlands" (Federal Register Notice, 2/14/07)
Lost Coast Headlands consists of approximately 400 acres and is located along the coastal bluffs approximately 6 miles southwest of Ferndale, CA. These restrictions are needed on a temporary basis until a Resource Management Plan (RMP)
Amendment, which will be initiated in 2007, is completed for the area.

"County faces loss" (San Bernardino County Sun, 2/18/07)
"Under a Bush administration proposed budget cut, rural counties would lose a total of $42 million in compensation from the Department of the Interior's Payment in Lieu of Taxes program."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include civil engineer and firefighting-related jobs such as state fuels specialist, fire lookout, range technician and Hotshot wildland firefighter.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

Feb. 23 - Nature hike on the Victor Trail
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

Feb. 27 - Alabama Hills stewardship meeting
American Legion Hall, Lone Pine


"Permits for recreation on public lands final rule" (Federal Register Notice, 2/21/07)
This final rule updates the regulations of the BLM that explain how to obtain recreation permits for commercial recreational operations, competitive events and activities, organized group activities and events, and individual recreational use of special areas. The final rule is needed to remove from the regulations inconsistencies with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which authorizes the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to establish, modify, charge, and collect recreation fees at Federal recreation lands and waters for the next 10 years.

(c.) Hantavirus, Lyme disease and plague.

SOURCE: "Deer Mouse - Peromyscus maniculatus" (BLM California wildlife database)

RELATED: "Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: What you need to know" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
"Anything that puts you in contact with fresh rodent urine, droppings, saliva or nesting materials can place you at risk for infection."

RELATED: "Rodents that carry the types of hantavirus which causes HPS in the United States" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Also links to maps showing the much wider range for deer mice than white-footed mice.

RELATED: "Lyme disease and animals" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
"Ticks that carry Lyme disease are very small and can be hard to see. These tiny ticks bite mice infected with Lyme disease and then bite people or other animals, such as dogs and horses, passing the disease to them."

RELATED: "CDC plague home page" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
"In the United States, the last urban plague epidemic occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-25. Since then, human plague in the United States has occurred as mostly scattered cases in rural areas (an average of 10 to 15 persons each year)....In North America, plague is found in certain animals and their fleas from the Pacific Coast to the Great Plains, and from southwestern Canada to Mexico."

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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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