A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 277 4/18/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
Free offer: California Coastal National Monument brochure
Not for educators only:
Wildlife trivia question of the week
Earth Day: Get outdoors, plus fire's role in ecosystems
BLM California welcomes three new field managers
Adopt a wild horse or burro
Energy on public lands
Carrizo Plain planning
Headlines and highlights: Mule-human restoration, Imperial drug bust, more
Meet your advisory committee members
Selected upcoming events: Wildflower hikes
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
FREE OFFER: California Coastal National Monument brochure:
A foldout brochure with photos of scenes and wildlife, short summaries of monument information, and tips on helping protect the monument. (Free while supplies last.) OFFER EXPIRED 4/07 when supplies were depleted.
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
What North American distinction does the Mojave Rattlesnake hold?
(a.) It is a contender for the continent's largest rattlesnake
(b.) It is a contender for rattlesnake with the loudest rattle
(c.) It is a contender for the continent's most dangerous snake
(d.) It is the most timid snake, avoiding people
(e.) It has the most colorful set of rattles
(f.) It has the largest dens of any rattlesnake
(g.) It is the only rattlesnake that can consistently hold a beat with its rattle
> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
FEEDBACK TO LAST WEEK'S WILDLIFE TRIVIA:
"With all due respect, I think you do a disservice to your readership in asserting that mountain lions try to avoid human beings. That is simply not true of the mountain lions who see humans in the area along the Sonoma and Mendocino County coasts. Mountain lions are often seen in developed areas of The Sea Ranch in broad daylight. They are also seen staring at humans for long periods of time before becoming bored and strolling away."
EARTH WEEK AND EARTH DAY
Earth Week began this year on April 16, culminating with Earth Day on April 22. BLM-managed public lands help get families and groups outside to celebrate the environment see "Outdoor Recreation" below.
"Fire's role in ecosystems: A hot topic!" (eFieldTrips, for the BLM)
An "electronic field trip" that helps explain the role of fire in nature, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management. Register with minimal information first name, school name, city and state for this "virtual visit."
RELATED: "Pine Hill Preserve Fuels management and fire ecology" (Pine Hill Preserve.org)
This northern California site (in El Dorado County) is cooperatively managed by partners including BLM California: "Periodic fire has been a natural part of the foothill chaparral ecology in the Pine Hill area for thousands of years. These relatively frequent fires cleared out accumulated vegetation without threatening the health of the natural plant community. Native Americans living in the foothills were known to have set fires purposely, mimicking the natural fire patterns." Links to related information.
"Trail will connect Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam" (Redding Record Searchlight, 4/11/07)
"The three-mile-long trail will link the Sacramento River Trail, which runs through central Redding, to the Sacramento River Rail Trail, which follows an old railroad grade from Keswick Dam to Shasta Dam. U.S. Bureau of Land Management workers are using a bulldozer and grader to cut the trail."
RELATED: "Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay" (Redding Convention and Visitor's Bureau)
"The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay is a beautiful, unique pedestrian bridge that crosses the Sacramento River and connects the nationally-designated trail system in Redding, California, with the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and McConnell Arboretum."
"Wildflowers on display at nature preserve" (Folsom Telegraph, 4/17/07)
"If you've got the itch to get outside and get close to nature, the Folsom office of the Bureau of Land Management might have the tour for you. Up in the Cameron Park area, the Folsom office of the bureau is offering wildflower tours in the Pine Hill Preserve, where three of the hundreds plants there are unique only to the preserve."
RELATED: "Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM California website)
See also: "Selected upcoming events" below.
"Free, guided hikes at Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM News Release, 4/12/07)
Outdoor enthusiasts can experience the grandeur of an old-growth redwood forest and learn about natural history of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, in free, guided hikes offered this spring and summer by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM provides the guided hikes as part of a long-term management plan for the Headwaters Forest Reserve. The plan provides for public recreational access, while protecting the reserve’s natural resources.
RELATED: "Falk is not forgotten" (Eureka Times-Standard, 4/19/07)
Julie Clark, a ranger for the Bureau of Land Management in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, "also serves as the resident expert on the abandoned town of Falk, which bustled extracting timber from the headwaters forest for 50 years before being left as a ghost town. Sometimes, when she's leading thirdand fourth-graders on interpretive hikes, Clark throws on the occasional costume and slips into the characters of the past....Clark said she is happy to arrange tours for classes or individuals interested in learning more about Falk." More details, plus photos:
RELATED: "Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM California, Arcata Field Office)
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is 7,500 acres of public land southeast of Eureka, CA. The reserve is set aside to protect and preserve the ecological and wildlife values in the area, particularly the stands of old-growth redwood that provide habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet, and the stream systems that provide habitat for threatened coho salmon.
"You ain't nothing but a rockhound" (Fresno Bee, 4/14/07)
"These adventurers are rockhounds a hardy bunch who love to explore California's geologic landscape in search of treasures from the earth's crust that are interesting, beautiful and sometimes valuable....On public land where rock collecting is permitted, members must obey Bureau of Land Management regulations. It's against the law to remove arrowheads and other materials from prehistoric cultures without an archaeological permit or to gather vertebrate fossils without a paleontological permit."
(May require free registration)
RELATED: "Rockhounding" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office)
Visitors to the Mojave Desert often ask where they can rockhound. Perhaps the best source of information is rock, gem, and mineral groups found throughout southern California. The Code of Federal Regulations provides for the collecting of 'reasonable quantities' of rocks, minerals, semiprecious gemstones, and invertebrate and plant fossils of non-scientific importance, for personal use. Regulations do not allow collecting on 'developed recreation sites and areas,' or where otherwise prohibited or posted. Care should be exercised not to collect minerals on mining claims.
RELATED: "Rockhounding" (BLM California, Needles Field Office)
Rockhounds are welcome to collect limited amounts of rocks, minerals, and gemstones from most federal lands, but there are some exceptions. Some lands are withdrawn or reserved for certain purposes such as outstanding natural areas, research natural areas, recreation sites, national historic sites, etc. Other lands are not open to collecting due to the presence of mining claims. The local BLM offices can provide you with information about available collecting areas and those areas that are closed to rockhounding including any fire or vehicle use restrictions
WELCOME NEW BLM FIELD MANAGERS
"Shane DeForest named BLM’s Surprise Field Office Manager" (BLM CA News Release, 4/12/07)
Shane DeForest, a BLM assistant field manager from Elko, Nevada, will report for duty at his new position later this spring. DeForest began his BLM career in 1993 as a wildlife biologist. He will oversee management of more than a million acres of BLM-administered public lands in eastern Modoc County, Calif., and northwest Nevada.
"Tim Smith named new BLM Bakersfield Field Manager" (BLM CA News Release, 4/9/07)
We welcome Tim Smith back to California. He has a wealth of experience as an outdoor recreation planner and recreation program manager where he led state and national level groups on important strategic planning for the bureau.
"John Kalish named new BLM Palm Springs South Coast Field Manager" (BLM CA News Release, 4/9/07)
John Kalish brings a wealth of experience in working with other federal, state, and county officials and agencies to build seamless partnerships that benefit all those involved. Kalish has been the acting field manager since December of last year.
ADOPT A WILD HORSE OR BURRO
"Horses, burros available for adoption in Medford" (BLM CA News Release, 4/2/07)
Residents of southern Oregon and northern California will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Medford area Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29.
The BLM will offer 20 horses, mostly yearlings, and 26 burros for public adoption during the event at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Medford, Oregon.
"Wild horses, burros available for adoption in Roseville" (BLM News Release, 4/12/07)
Young and healthy wild horses and burros, direct from public ranges, will be looking for new homes when the Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption May 5 and 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville.
The BLM will offer 64 horses ranging in age from under 2 to 5 years old along with 20 burros.
"Horses, burros up for adoption at 'Meet the Mustangs Day'" (BLM CA News Release, 4/16/07)
Residents of the Napa Valley and surrounding areas have the opportunity to adopt a wild horse or burro and enjoy a day of family fun, when the Bureau of Land Management and Napa Valley Horsemen’s Association host “Meet the Mustangs Day,” Saturday, May 19.
ENERGY ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Renewable energy firms eye county" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/15/07)
"At least four solar energy companies, two of which are based in California, are considering building power plants in Imperial County, area economic development experts said....and the Bureau of Land Management is currently considering opening 14,731 acres of public land in the western portion of the county for geothermal exploration and possibly more electric power plants."
"Off-road Ocotillo Wells SVRA In Danger Of Shrinking; Geothermal plants want to move in" (Cycle News, 4/11/07)
"Are the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the California Department of Parks & Recreation (CDPR) about to give away 14,000 acres of the most unique and accessible family recreation in California? To put it simply, both the BLM and CDPR are considering leasing large amounts of land within the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (OWSVRA) for geothermal exploration."
RELATED:"Notice of availability of Draft EIS for the Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area, California" (Federal Register Notice, 2/16/07)
(Repeated from News.bytes issue 269, 2/22/07) 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.
"BLM policy encourages energy development on public land" (BLM News Release, 4/11/07)
As part of the effort to diversify the nation’s energy supply and develop renewable energy resources, the Bureau of Land Management issued updated policy guidance for processing applications for solar energy projects on public lands. “As technology improves and the cost of producing solar energy declines, we need to be prepared for a greater interest in locating solar energy projects on public lands,” said BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson. “The BLM is eager to facilitate environmentally responsible solar energy development as part of our multiple-use mission.”
CARRIZO PLAIN PLANNING
"Feds to discuss Carrizo with locals" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/13/07)
"Federal land managers are inviting residents interested in the future of the Carrizo Plain to attend two upcoming planning meetings. The Bureau of Land Management is conducting the meetings to hear what residents have to say about the Carrizo Plain National Monument, with an eye toward developing a management plan for the land." Note: location has been moved one block away, per more recent updates below.
"Upcoming Carrizo Plain planning meeting moved to larger space" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/16/07)
"Increased interest from citizens has prompted the organizers of an April 24 meeting to plan the future of the Carrizo Plain National Monument to move it to a larger room. The meeting will now take place at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St., San Luis Obispo, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It had been scheduled at the San Luis Obispo City-County Library."
"Carrizo scoping meeting location changed" (BLM California news release, 4/16/07)
The April 24 scoping meeting in San Luis Obispo to gather input on issues to be addressed in the Carrizo Plain National Monument draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement has been moved based on increased public interest.
"Planning update Carrizo Plain National Monument Resource Management Plan Spring 2007" (BLM California website)
(PDF file, 240 kilobytes.)
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"Mules and humans restore historic BLM wilderness site" (BLM News Release, 4/11/07)
This quarter-acre former prospector's camp, 1,300 feet above the south edge of the Mojave Desert, was smothered with old sheet metal, rusty paint cans, angle iron, chicken wire, bullet-riddled appliances, rotting scrap lumber, and broken glass. "Over two days, mules hauled over 2,000 pounds of large and heavy debris out of the wilderness,” said Kat Deely, a leader of the group of BLM's Student Conservation Association interns and Sierra Club volunteers. According to Deely, volunteers removed another 2,000 pounds of debris using backpacks, buckets, and litter frames.
"Suspects arrested in major dunes smuggling bust" (BLM California news release, 4/17/07)
Five suspects were arrested at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area on Saturday, after Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officials discovered 1,820 lbs of marijuana inside two motorhomes camped in the south dunes area.
"BLM fire restrictions take effect this weekend" (Hollister Free Lance, 4/13/07)
"Fire restrictions on 78,000 acres of southern San Benito County Bureau of Land Management property [took effect] in an early effort to prevent wildfires.
BLM lands in the Panoche, Griswold, Tumey and Ciervo Hills will be affected by the restrictions. Campfires, open flames and driving off designated roads will be prohibited....Visitors will also be prohibited from smoking outside their vehicle."
Mike Chiodini, the fire education specialist for the BLM's Hollister Field Office, said the restrictions have been set earlier than usual. because it has been so dry.
"Gold gains generate mining resurrection" (Imperial Valley Press, 4/7/07)
"It’s no secret — the gold rush is on in Imperial County....Toronto-based Western Goldfields Inc. expects to ramp up its Mesquite Mine operation here to 100 percent capacity. The company is pouring close to $100 million dollars into making this possible, and it is optimistic that for the next nine and half years it will be able to produce enough gold to turn a solid profit....This means more jobs and more tax revenue for Imperial County." Imperial County and the BLM distributed the draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) considering the proposed project, in 2000. A 60-day public comment period closed on November 7, 2000. Imperial County approved the revised reclamation plan and (EIR) earlier that year. The final EIS/EIR was issued on March 1, 2002. A Record of Decision was issued July 16, 2002.
"Alabama Hills stewardship public meeting set" (BLM California news release, 4/18/07)
The community of Lone Pine and the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will hold a public meeting Tuesday regarding management of the Alabama Hills.
"Air Force keeps public off beach" (Santa Maria Times, 4/12/07)
"Citing hazards to hikers, the Air Force has permanently restricted access to Point Sal, a move implemented in January to the surprise of state and county officials.
Vandenberg Air Force Base officials said the closure announced just Wednesday comes because of 'extreme safety concerns in the area....These concerns include steep cliffs and potential landslides due to coastal erosion,' the military said in a written statement."
RELATED: "Point Sal" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Point Sal is a 77-acre promontory on the coast of northern Santa Barbara County near the north end of Vandenberg Air Force Base. It is a a fragile area, with sandy soil and a unique blend of wildlife. The area is also a unique meeting point and transition zone for tidepool life and plant life common to the north and south coasts of California. The area is sensitive for cultural resources and geologic values and is listed by BLM as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Currently, there is no public access to BLM-managed land at Point Sal.
"Who owns this bridge?" (Paradise Post, 4/12/07)
"Two old bridges and a dirt road near Magalia are causing controversy among Butte County officials about who is responsible for maintaining them...the bridges were originally constructed under the predecessor company of the Bureau of Land Management, which was called the General Land Office."
"Current job openings BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
BLM California is currently accepting applications for an Administrative Technician, Archaeologist, Wildlife Biologist, Law Enforcement Ranger, various Fire positions, and more.
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related sites
(c.) It is a contender for the continent's most dangerous snake.
SOURCE: "Mojave rattlesnake Crotalus scutulatus" (BLM California wildlife database)
"All of the snakes in the Viperidae family are poisonous, but Mojave rattlesnakes are considered by some to be the most dangerous snakes in North America. They are large, aggressive snakes and do not hesitate to strike if harassed. The venom of this species causes more respiratory distress than any other snake in the pit viper family."
"Snakes on a plain" (Victorville Daily Press, 4/2/07)
"When the weather is warm, humans come out to play and so do snakes. In the High Desert, 'snake' usually means the highly toxic Mojave rattlesnake.... What makes the Mojave rattlesnake unique is that, like black mambas and cobras, the venom is neurotoxic....As a member of the pit viper family, they can lunge and hit their prey as it's moving by sensing it through their tongues rather than striking downward like a cobra."
"Mojave Rattlesnake Crotalus scutulatus" (Centennial Museum & Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, University of Texas at El Paso)
"The venom of this snake may contain a powerful neurotoxin called 'Mojave toxin.' This snake is highly excitable and extremely dangerous; due to its highly potent venom, this snake is considered to be the most venomous snake in the United States."
"For Goodness Snakes! Treating and Preventing Venomous Bites" (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
"People who frequent these wilderness spots, as well as those who camp, hike, picnic, or live in snake-inhabited areas, should be aware of potential dangers posed by venomous snakes. A bite from one of these, in which the snake may inject varying degrees of toxic venom, should always be considered a medical emergency, says the American Red Cross." Includes: First Aid for snakebites, treatment drawbacks and avoiding snakebites.
"Rattlesnakes" (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum)
"The Mohave rattlesnake may be the most dangerous venomous snake in the Sonoran Desert. Quick to go on the defensive, the Mohave has very toxic venom that has caused human fatalities. Venom toxicity varies among different populations. The seriousness of a bite from this rattlesnake, as from any rattlesnake, depends on many factors, including, but not limited to, the amount of venom injected and the health and size of the victim."
"Crotalus scutulatus Mojave Rattlesnake" (University of Texas College of Natural Sciences)
"There are two types of venom found within the distribution of Mojave Rattlesnakes. Venom type A, or 'mojave toxin,' is quite different than most rattlesnake venoms in that it is neurotoxic, and affects the respiratory and nervous systems of its prey. Venom type B is similar to most other U.S. rattlesnakes in being hemotoxic, effectively destroying tissue around the site of the bite....Advanced medical treatments save the lives of the hundreds of people bitten by rattlesnakes each year, with much less than 1% of all bites resulting in fatalities. Most of these fatalities are the result of delays from seeking medical treatment."
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