A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 288 - 7/5/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week - bald eagle delisted
- Wild horses and burros and adoptions
- Free offer repeated: California desert poster
- Wildfire season precautions
- More wildfire precautions: BLM and Fire Safe Councils
- Recreation on public lands
- Off-highway vehicles
- Headlines and highlights: Power, Amargosa, jobs
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:
- National Landscape Conservation System Act
- Energy map viewer
- Bald eagle: Wildlife Trivia answer and more related items
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
From a photo by Jim Pickering, BLM California
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
The bald eagle made news last week when it was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. This was one of the first species protected by the Endangered Species Act enacted in 1973. What led to bald eagles being protected under this Act in the first place?
(a.) Over-hunting drastically reduced their numbers
(b.) Acid rain from coal-fired power plants damaged their habitat
(c.) A surging population of egg-eating snakes reduced the number of young
(d.) California condors out-competed them for territory
(e.) A common pesticide damaged their eggs
(f.) Their numbers declined because of overuse on United States currency
------> See answer -- and related news and websites -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
FREEPEAT OFFER: California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) poster
We have obtained 100 more posters! Because of high demand, we are repeating last week's free offer. The CDCA celebrated its 30th anniversary late last year -- help us keep the celebration going by downloading the brochure or filling out the form to request one of the free posters!
The full color, glossy poster depicts the spectacular and diverse scenery, wildlife, cultural resources, recreation, and other public uses on the almost 11 million acres of public lands in the CDCA. BLM is again offering a copy of the poster free to the first 100 people who request it. NOTE: One to each person, please -- if you requested a poster last week, it is already in the mail to you.
The brochure notes that "Of the 300 million acres of public lands in the country at that time , Congress singled out only one area worthy of special designation and management: the California Desert Conservation Area."
PDF file, 940 kilobytes, eight pages:
WILDFIRE SEASON PRECAUTIONS
"Clear Creek Fire narrowly missed homes" (Redding Record Searchlight, 6/30/07)
"Air tankers and helicopters swarmed over an exclusive subdivision...as a wildfire tore a path over Clear Creek Road and threatened nearly 100 homes....The 200-acre Creek Fire serves as a reminder of the dangers of wildfire for the north state....No homes were lost in Friday's fire....most of the homes in the subdivision sat on plots that had been cleared of thick brush, were built of fire-resistant materials, and had had their gutters cleared of leaves and other woody debris....The fire burned mostly on land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, as well as some private land."
"Fire restrictions go into effect for Eastern Sierra" (BLM California news release, 6/26/07)
Inyo National Forest Supervisor Jeff Bailey and Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office Manager Bill Dunkelberger signed fire restriction orders that went into effect Friday, June 29.
Other BLM California fire restrictions - see the BLM California homepage at:
"Firefighters urge residents to observe fire restrictions" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 6/29/07)
"Vegetation in western Nevada and eastern California has dried out much earlier than normal this year and a large crop of low-elevation grass and brush from two consecutive wet winters is particularly vulnerable right now."
Temporary Helibase established at Tehachapi Airport" (Tehachapi News.7/2/07)
BLM firefighters were among those fighting the White Fire.
"Authorities investigate chainsaw theft from BLM fire station" (BLM California news release, 7/2/07)
Law enforcement officers from the Bureau of Land Management and Modoc County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the theft of five chainsaws from the BLM’s West Valley Fire Station east of Likely.
MORE WILDFIRE PRECAUTIONS: BLM AND FIRE SAFE COUNCILS
BLM is partners with other agencies and communities in California Fire Safe Councils, helping residents create "defensible space" to protect their homes from wildfire.
"Getting defensive"(Grass Valley Union, 6/30/07)
"A catastrophic wildfire roaring through Nevada County could be more devastating than the one that destroyed more than 250 homes near Lake Tahoe this week, according to fire experts....Creating defensible space does not mean ruining the appearance of your property, according to Joanne Drummond, executive director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada City."
"Angora devastation: Could it happen here?" (Plumas County News, 7/2/07)
"More than 225 homes have been lost and several thousand people evacuated as wind-fanned flames consumed the forest near South Lake Tahoe last week....People can't always control where a fire will start, but they can modify the ground fuels and its behavior, said Jason Moghaddas, fire ecologist on the district. Moghaddas was sharing an idea expressed by Jerry Hurley, Plumas County Fire Safe Council's wildland fire coordinator."
"BLM California Desert District adds fire engine" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management's California Desert District recently increased its fire response capability with the addition of a new fire engine for the interagency Hole-in-the-Wall fire center located in the Mojave National Preserve.
"Fire Safe Council will host public meeting in Columbia" (MyMotherLode News, 6/29/07)
"Hwy 108 Fire Safe Council President Jerry Tannhauser is inviting homeowners in the Big Hill Road, Yankee Hill Road, Columbia, Gold Springs, Sawmill Flat and Springfield Ranch area, to meet and discuss fire protection, emergency preparedness, and fire prevention measures....A public meeting will be held on Thursday, July 5th...."
"Officials: Protection plan key to federal funding" (Grass Valley Union, 6/28/07)
"Nevada County needs its own wildfire protection plan in order to receive federal money for fire prevention projects, said David Ganz, a consultant hired by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County....Ganz and officials of the Fire Safe Council, federal Bureau of Land Management and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection stressed the importance of a plan that details fire fighting priorities."
"Tempers are hot; not right time to lay blame" (Modesto Bee, 6/29/07)
Editorial: "Emotions are running hot, but there is scant evidence that either environmentalists or the TRPA slowed attempts to thin Tahoe's overstocked, drought-damaged forests....The state could help. Years ago, it helped create the California Fire Safe Council, which now includes 125 local groups committed to community-based fire protection. The Forest Service and other agencies have helped fund this network...."
(Free registration may be required.)
"Dan Walters: California: A disaster in waiting" (Sacramento Bee, 7/1/07)
Columnist: "We may not be able to predict them, but we know that Californians face perpetual peril from wildfires, earthquakes, floods, landslides, droughts and other natural or semi-natural calamities. The latest is the Angora fire... that swept through more than 200 homes near Lake Tahoe last week.....if the past is any guide, after a few days or weeks, we'll shut off the alarm button and figuratively turn over and go back to sleep until the next disaster strikes and the finger-pointing and alarm-raising begin anew."
"Criticism of salvage logging grows" (Sacramento Bee, 7/2/07)
"After a large fire, land managers face controversial choices: let the forest regenerate on its own or harvest scorched trees and replant. The practice of salvage logging and replanting removes deadwood that might fuel the next fire. But new research shows salvage logging is not an automatic choice....trees that pose a risk to people and property on public lands burned in the Angora blaze will be removed...."
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Clear Creek not free for much longer" Hollister Free Lance, 6/29/07)
"The Bureau of Land Management will begin charging user fees for its Clear Creek Management Area in January 2008 but is giving the public a month to voice opinions. The Clear Creek Management Area, in San Benito and Fresno counties, is used mostly for off-highway vehicle recreation, according to the BLM."
RELATED: "BLM Announces Intent to Collect Fees at Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM California news release, 6/27/07)
The Bureau of Land Management has announced it intends to collect user fees starting no earlier than January 2008 at the Clear Creek Management Area to meet increasing demands for visitor services at the popular recreation site in Fresno and San Benito counties. BLM is seeking public comment on the proposal for the next 30 days.
"Bus shuttle planned for Saturday, July 7, at Bizz Johnson Trail" (BLM California news release, 6/28/07)
A summer series of weekend bus shuttles continues at the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail near Susanville, allowing trail users to plan outings without arranging their own vehicle shuttles.
"InterAgency Visitor Center's grand opening worth the wait" (Inyo Register, 6/29/07)
"While the large crowd gathered under a large, white tent next to the new building, they were treated to the sight of the Sierra, and Mt. Whitney, towering into the blue sky. Tucked behind trees and shrubs several hundred feet away was the old visitor center building, a small edifice complete with what looked like an odd rectangular box on its roof....It was hard to imagine that the squat little structure had routinely hosted more than more than 80,000 visitors a year."
"BLM provides alternate route for public safety at Rand Mountain" (BLM California news release, 6/27/07)
In an effort to remediate the potential physical hazards associated with historic mining activity and areas with high levels of arsenic in the Rand Mining District area, the Bureau of Land Management has re-routed a popular off-highway vehicle access route (BLM Route 110) into Randsburg away from the main Descarga Mill tailings.
"Off-road vehicles rev up controversy on public lands" (Christian Science Monitor, 7/3/07)
"Off-road vehicles now pose the single biggest threat to America's public lands and represent a fast-growing law enforcement problem. That's the verdict of a new coalition of former public land managers and rangers....Understaffing, weak penalties, and lack of enforcement of trail restrictions, among other problems, have led to environmental degradation and an increasingly chaotic environment at many popular federal recreation areas that are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of off-road-vehicles, the coalition says....One popular BLM-run recreation area, Imperial Sand Dunes in California, has ORV visits soar to 1.2 million each year...."
"Reckless off-roaders called scourge" (Los Angeles Times, 6/29/07)
"A new group of retired land managers and forest rangers said Thursday that reckless off-road vehicle recreation was the No. 1 threat to public lands in the West....Agencies have suffered sharp budget and staff cuts in recent years -- especially in the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service -- making it more difficult to police legal trails and close illegal ones, members said."
(Free registration required.)
"Battle over off-roaders not over" (Victorville Daily Press, 7/1/07)
"Critics and supporters of a county ordinance regulating off-highway vehicle use are both promising to pack the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting later this month, when the board will revisit the rules at the request of a group of off-highway vehicle enthusiasts....It is the connection between irresponsible off-roading and several major problems facing public lands that makes this form of recreation such a threat, said Tom Egan, a member of the Rangers for Responsible Recreation and a former wildlife biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service...."
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"Cheaper power on the way?" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/3/07)
"Southern California Edison isn't taking 'no' for an answer when it comes to a proposed 230-mile-long transmission line that would funnel cheaper Arizona power along Interstate 10 through the Coachella Valley and into the state....The proposed power transmission line - to be paid for by California utility users - would connect the Devers substation near Palm Springs with the Palo Verde generating station switchyard west of Phoenix. It would be built using high wire constructions along I-10 on right-of-way already granted by the Bureau of Land Management and would parallel much of an existing transmission line." http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070703/BUSINESS/707020324/1003
"Fireworks will go off, but birds monitored" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/3/07)
"An uneasy truce has been reached in the sea birds vs. fireworks controversy in Gualala, clearing the way for the aerial display to go ahead Friday....The state Coastal Commission still believes the planners need a development permit, but will not issue a cease-and-desist order beforehand....If the fireworks cause a significant disturbance to birds on Gualala Point Island, a mile away, the commission could hold the planners in violation and levy fines....There are said to be more than 100 nests on the island, which is under the protection of the federal Bureau of Land Management as a California Coastal National Monument."
"Amargosa Conservancy focuses on major goals"
"Our goal is to ensure the Amargosa River will continue to exist for future generations," said the president of the conservancy. Members "gave BLM officials from California a tour of the Amargosa River from the headwaters...down to Saratoga Springs, at the southern end of Death Valley National Park....'We wanted them to see the physical river system and there are springs along the way that contribute to this river system and when you do something in one area you're most likely to affect something in the other area.'"
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
MEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Neil Havlik, PhD...
...is the natural resources manager for the city of San Luis Obispo and has filled the position as chairman of the Carrizo Plain National Monument's Advisory Committee since its inception in 2002. Read more:
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:
July 7-8 and 14-15 - Guided hikes
Headwaters Forest Reserve
July 13 - Imperial Sand Dunes Technical Review Team meeting
July 21 - Wild horse and burro adoption event
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS
"Editorial: Landmark landscape act" (Sacramento Bee, 6/29/07)
"Congress and the president over the years have set aside remote, rugged, nationally significant landscapes -- more than 800 individual units. While there has been administrative oversight of those areas, there has been no formal system authorized by Congress to assure their protection. That's about to change....While the bill does not include funding, it does ensure that the National Landscape Conservation System joins the national park system as part of the permanent inheritance of the American people."
"BLM adds energy map viewer to popular NILS GeoCommunicator website" (BLM national news release, 7/5/07)
"This public web-based application is an interactive map viewer that permits users to search and display land and mineral use authorization and conveyance records including: oil and gas, geothermal, solid mineral and coal leases, mining claims, stipulations, and more, as well as download and dynamically map Public Land Survey System data. The new Energy Map Viewer allows users to see most of the energy related authorizations the BLM issues [including] oil and gas leases/ agreements/ densities, lease sale parcels, oil shale leases, coal authorizations, geothermal, wind energy, and solar energy."
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(e.) A common pesticide damaged their eggs. Hunting of bald eagles for their feathers had earlier reduced their numbers, until a 1940 federal law helped populations stabilize. But the widespread use of the pesticide DDT after World War II decimated the eagle population across the U.S. DDT prevented the proper formulation of calcium necessary to produce strong eggshells. The thinned eggshells cracked when an adult bird tried to incubate them.
SOURCE: "Bald Eagle Soars Off Endangered Species List" (U.S. Department of the Interior news release, 6/28/07)
"Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the removal of the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species....After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle is now flourishing across the nation and no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act." Includes links to more information, and how to comment on a post-delisting monitoring plan.
Remarks of Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, on the delisting of the American bald eagle" (Department of the Interior, 6/28/07)
"Today, I am proud to announce: 'the eagle has returned.' In 1963, the lower 48 states were home to barely 400 nesting pairs of bald eagles. Today, after decades of conservation effort, they are home to some 10,000 nesting pairs, a 25-fold increase in the last 40 years."
"Critics say species list is endangered"(Los Angeles Times, 7/5/07)
"The bald eagle may be soaring back from near-extinction, but hundreds of other imperiled species are foundering, as the federal agency charged with protecting them has sunk into legal, bureaucratic and political turmoil....Some 200 of the 1,326 officially endangered species are close to expiring, according to environmental groups, in part because funds have been cut for their recovery." The Endangered Species Act and its implementation has a major effect on BLM programs and projects on the public lands it administers.
(Free registration required.)
"A symbolic gesture? (Los Angeles Times, 7/4/07)
Editorial: "Even as we cheer the comeback of the bald eagle, the legislation that made it possible is endangered."
(Free registration required.)
"Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fact sheet)
Just-updated summary of information on bald eagle biology, its troubled history, and recovery. "Although the Service removed the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, the bird will still be protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Both laws prohibit killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests, or eggs."
PDF file, two pages, 265 kilobytes:
"Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Birds: Bald eagle" (San Diego Zoo)
Kids-oriented page with a summary of information, photo slideshow, and link to a sound clip of a bald eagle.
- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links
to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication.
If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.
DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites,
or of products or advertisements on those sites.
News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:
To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/caso/getnewsbytes.html.