A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 290 - 7/18/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild Horse and Burro
- Free Offer - Chappie-Shasta OHV Guide
- Marijuana Eradication
- Headlines and highlights:
- Employee Profile - Pamela Graham
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Swainson's hawks belong to the buteo family of hawks, which also include red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks. Unlike other buteos in the western United States, the Swainson's hawk:
(a.) Eats mainly insects
(b.) Migrates very long distances
(c.) Catches fish underwater
(d.) Eats mainly carrion
(e.) Is a fan of a certain Seattle football team
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
"Homes Protected by Community Fuel Break" (News.bytes Extra)
Construction and on-going maintenance of the Sunrise Fuel Break, and other fuel breaks, is a critical part of firefighting efforts to protect both private and public resources. Individual homeowner involvement is an integral part of protecting private property, as our natural resources exist in a fire adapted eco-system.
"Firefighters battle blaze east of Visalia" (Tulare Advance-Register, 7/16/07)
A 100-acre blaze in a remote part of Yokohl Valley is burning on public under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the Condor Preserve.
"Portions of Pine Hill Preserve closed due to fire danger" (BLM California news release, 7/12/07)
Due to extremely dry conditions, the Bureau of Land Management is closing nearly 500 acres of the Pine Hill Preserve in western El Dorado County to the public to reduce the possibility of a catastrophic fire. This includes all preserve lands between Green Valley Road and Highway 50.
"Smoking banned at river" (Grass Valley Union, 7/13/07)
"Those who enjoy a cigarette after a dip in the river will have to save it for their cars now that state and federal agencies have posted a smoking ban on public lands due to threats of wildfire." The smoking ban at the South Yuba River State Park began July 10. "[The] Bureau of Land Management banned smoking at the beginning of summer....'The fire danger is so high right now it’s really dangerous to be smoking on trails'...."
"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during wildfire season.
"InciWeb - Incident Information System" (Interagency website)
Current information on wildfires and other emergencies, nationwide.
"Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Guide"
A guide and map of the Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area managed by BLM's Redding Field Office. Other popular uses include hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain bike riding, horseback riding, target shooting, and sight-seeing. Includes keys to "vehicle recommendation" and "level of difficulty" markers, camping and staging areas, trail riding and safety tips and more. While supplies last.
RELATED: "Off-highway vehicle areas" (BLM California)
Numerous opportunities for off-highway vehicle recreation exist on BLM managed lands in California. Miles of trails and open areas await all types of OHV enthusiasts.
RELATED: "Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM California, Redding Field Office)
Ten miles northwest of Redding, the Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway area offers 200 miles of roads and trails over 52,000 acres for off-road enthusiasts. Elevation ranges from 600 to 5000 feet with a wide variety of topography, soil, and vegetation types. The southeastern portions offer rocky and challenging terrain, while the more remote northwestern portions offer scenic views of Mt. Shasta, Lake Shasta, and the Trinity Alps.
ENERGY ON PUBLIC LANDS
"County requests delay in approving solar projects" (Antelope Valley Press, 7/16/07)
Kern County supervisors have asked that applications for solar energy projects on federal lands within the county be put on hold until an ongoing land use study determines any effects of the proposed projects on military activities in the region. The request was presented in a letter to the California office of the Bureau of Land Management, which controls the federal lands in question.
"Fears over power lines in national parks"(Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/15/07)
"[P]reservationists now worry that the national military park in Pennsylvania's picturesque fruit belt soon may be in the shadow of high-powered transmission lines. It is not just Gettysburg that worries them as a result of a 2005 law that gave federal regulators new authority over where power lines are built. They fear the law could place hundreds of national and state parks and other protected sites in the Northeast and Southwest in or near the path of massive power lines."
"Areas where power lines could go" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/15/07)
"The Energy Department has proposed two 'national interest' electric transmission corridors in the Northeast and Southwest. If the corridors are approved by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, federal regulators can order power lines built in them....Joshua Tree National Park and Carrizo Plain National Monument in California....Units of the Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation System, including about 750,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management National Monuments, 21 million acres of the California Desert Conservation Area, and about 250,000 acres of other national conservation areas. The areas include 3 million acres of wilderness and about 400,000 acres of wilderness study areas."
MARIJUANA ERADICATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Drug czar gives warning; Federal official calls marijuana growers dangerous terrorists" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/13/07)
"The nation's top anti-drug official said people need to overcome their 'reefer blindness' and see that illicit marijuana gardens are a terrorist threat to the public's health and safety, as well as to the environment. John P. Walters, President Bush's drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn't hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties. Walters made the comments at a Thursday press conference that provided an update on the "Operation Alesia" marijuana-eradication effort." Links to photos and video.
"Raids bust gardens" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/14/07)
"In the two-week blitz of marijuana gardens in Shasta County, the local, state and federal agencies are focusing on gardens close to recreation sites...."
"More pot found in 'Operation Alesia'" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/15/07)
""Operation Alesia," an ongoing marijuana eradication effort in Shasta County, netted 60,821 plants in raids on three gardens Friday, officials said....The number of plants confiscated totaled 149,519 in the fourth day of the operation." Links to more than a dozen photos.
"Shasta County pot eradication operation begins" (Mount Shasta News, 7/11/07)
"Seventeen local, state and federal agencies are participating in Operation Alesia, which has the stated goal of 'education, eradication and reclamation of marijuana cultivation sites on public lands' in Shasta County..."
"Officers raid cartel marijuana plantation" (Grass Valley Union, 7/14/07)
"Mexican nationals arrested in bust on federal land....Investigators from the sheriff’s office assisted officers from the United States Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the raid....The property is owned by the BLM....Agents found 19,138 plants and two firearms, a .357 revolver and a .22 caliber handgun...."
"County strikes overdue blow with 'Alesia'" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/15/07)
Editorial: "Pot planters have hidden their gardens in California’s forests for a generation or two, but the scale of the illegal operations has increased dramatically in the past decade and especially in the past couple of years."
"Marijuana still a growing risk on public lands" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/8/07)
Editorial: "It's despicable how illegal pot-growing on public lands has ballooned, but federal decision-makers back in Washington are belatedly catching up to the scope of the problem and devoting resources to fighting it."
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"Gualala fireworks disturb birds" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/11/07)
"Gualala's fireworks display disrupted sea birds nesting on a federally protected near-shore island, but scientists said they still have to determine how bad the disturbance was and if there will be lasting effects....It was the second year for the fireworks, which went off over objections that last year's display caused a major disruption of birds nesting on Gualala Point Island.
The island, which sits 100 yards off The Sea Ranch and about a mile from Gualala, is part of the [California Coastal National Monument, managed by the BLM]. There are said to be more than 100 nests on the island."
"BLM eager for decision" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/13/07)
"After learning that it could take a federal appeals board a year to issue a ruling on a controversial proposed north state land swap, the Bureau of Land Management's state director is asking board members to speed up their decision....In the swap, the BLM would trade a 216-acre parcel near Shasta off Victoria Drive known as Area 51 to a Humboldt County man for 566 acres in the Trinity River watershed. The trade has been opposed by people who use Area 51's matrix of trails for hiking and mountain biking."
"BLM Continues to Seek Representatives to Serve on a Technical Review Team for The Meccacopia Special Recreation Management Area" (BLM California news release, 7/17/07)
The Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office is seeking volunteers to participate on a Technical Review Team (TRT) to assist on the preparation of the Meccacopia Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP).
"Lassen SWAT offers bugs to battle puncturevine" (BLM California news release, 7/11/07)
Agencies involved in the Lassen SWAT (Special Weed Action Team) are offering area residents a free new weapon for their battle against pesky puncturevine: weevils. Containers of the tiny weed-eating insects will be distributed to those attending a puncturevine bio-control workshop Thursday, July 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Bureau of Land Management Eagle Lake Field Office.
"City and Cemex continue conversations" (Santa Clarita Signal, 7/15/07)
"Five months into a one-year truce with Cemex, Santa Clarita officials say the conversations are continuing with the global cement company that is seeking to mine in Soledad Canyon. Cemex is planning to operate a 69-million-ton sand and gravel mine just outside Santa Clarita's eastern borders, and Santa Clarita officials, citing the effects on air quality and increased truck traffic, have spent several million dollars and waged public relations campaigns fighting it." Cemex holds permits from BLM for its proposed gravel mining.
"Water threat abated" (Lassen News, 7/10/07)
"The plant, which was proposed for 60 miles northeast of Susanville, would have pulverized 5 million tons of coal a year to be burned to produce electricity. A rail spur would have brought the coal to the plant each year from...Wyoming. Since the spur would have cross federal land, the Bureau of Land Management required an Environmental Impact Survey." Lassen County residents worried about large amounts of water the plant would pull from underground. Meanwhile, other companies are studying wind power potential in Lassen County.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Currently accepting applications for wildlife biologist, natural resource specialist, dispatcher, and various fire positions.
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS
"BLM nominee urged to fix relations with states, ethics problems" (Associated Press in Denver Post, 7/12/07)
"President Bush's nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management, James Caswell, got a stern warning from senators Thursday that he must help restore trust in the agency, which has been criticized for lax ethics and has alienated some Western states over energy drilling. At the first hearing of his confirmation process, several senators told Caswell that he has a reputation for being a 'straight-shooter' and that they have high expectations."
"Full Committee Hearing...Director of the Bureau of Land Management" (U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, 7/12/07)
The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources held confirmation hearings on four high-level nominations, including James Caswell, nominated as Director of the Bureau of Land Management. The entire hearing is 1:45:00 (1 hr, 45 min est.), and requires Real Media Player installed on your computer. Sen. Crapo's introduction of Mr. Caswell at is 17:20 (17 minutes, 20 seconds); Mr.
Caswell's statement starts at 36:45. Download the Real Media video: http://energy.senate.gov/public/_files/energy071207.ram
For more information on the hearings, visit the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources website:
"BLM nominee pledges 'balance'" (Casper, Wyo. Star-Tribune, 7/13/07)
"James Caswell, nominated to head the Bureau of Land Management, won praise from senators of both parties Thursday as he pledged to maintain an even-handed balance between development and conservation of public lands.
Western senators raised numerous energy and public lands issues with Caswell and other nominees to key energy and mining positions, all of whom had a joint hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee."http://www.trib.com/articles/2007/07/13/news/wyoming/caa96edc9e24d0b9872573170002365a.txt
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