A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 293 - 8/8/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- New BLM Director confirmed
- Carrizo Plain National Monument:
- Public invited on resource tour
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- More from the monument
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfires and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: Minerals sale, bighorn, revisiting Radar, quilts,
- Land use planning: South Coast, Sierra foothills
- More marijuana busts
- Selected upcoming events
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
NEW BLM DIRECTOR CONFIRMED
"Kempthorne lauds Senate confirmation of Jim Caswell as Director of Interior's Bureau of Land Management" (Department of the Interior news release, 8/6/07)
"Caswell was confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on Friday, August 3, 2007....During his confirmation hearings before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Caswell pledged to maintain an even-handed balance between development and conservation of public lands, winning praise from senators of both parties."
"Senate clears BLM Director after Interior blinks on Roan Plateau" (E&E Daily on RigZone, 8/6/07)
"The Interior Department on Friday gave the state of Colorado more time to comment on the oil and gas drilling plan for the Roan Plateau, clearing the way for the Senate to approve the nomination of Jim Caswell as the Bureau of Land Management director."
"Public invited to resource tour of Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California news release, 7/30/07)
The BLM, The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game, in conjunction with the Monument Advisory Committee, will hold the tour of the Carrizo on Aug. 11. “We are looking at a number of resource issues in developing a new Resource Management Plan for the monument. This tour will provide a hands-on opportunity to see some of the areas of interest,” said Johna Hurl, monument manager.
RELATED: "Agenda finalized for tour of Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California news release, 8/7/07)
Participants will need water, snacks, hiking shoes and transportation. A carpool will be formed at the start of the tour. The Friends of the Carrizo will provide lunch at the Washburn Ranch for the tour participants. For planning purposes, please call ahead -- see news release for details:
"Public scoping period for Carrizo Plain has ended" (Taft Midway Driller, 8/3/07)
"We are now going to start working on the plan, which will be based on the public comments," said Johna Hurl, of the Bureau of Land Management, who is also the manager of [the Carrizo Plain National Monument]. Hurl said BLM has "received a variety of comments from a diverse public....She said that BLM hopes to have a draft of the Management Plan in place by early 2008 and will receive further public comments regarding the draft plan."
MEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Jim Patterson...
...is the San Luis Obispo County supervisor for the 5th District, and vice-chairman of the board of supervisors. The Carrizo Plain National Monument is located almost entirely within the 5th District. Read more:
"Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
What is a skink?
(a.) a long, thin snake
(b.) a tiny mouse
(c.) a diurnal lizard
(d.) an odorless skunk
(e.) a neutered muskrat
(f.) a somewhat rare subspecies of the North American irksome sycophant
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
WILDFIRES AND PREVENTION
"Alien invader clings to socks, stoke's West's wildfires" (Associated Press in Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8/7/07)
"[W]hile the arid landscape around Salt Lake City or the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho was once called 'the asbestos area' because it rarely burned, the landscape is now filling with cheatgrass - and it's burning. 'Cheatgrass is changing the West,' said Mike Pellant, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ecologist in Boise and coordinator of the Great Basin Restoration Project that aims to limit the spread of nonnative plants in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, eastern Oregon and northern California."
RELATED: "Invasive plants of California's wildland: Bromus tectorum" (California Invasive Plant Council)
"Cheatgrass is widespread throughout California. It is the dominant annual grass on sagebrush...rangelands on the Modoc Plateau in northeastern California and along the eastern Sierra Nevada to Owens Valley....Cheatgrass displaces native vegetation. It outcompetes the seedlings of native and desirable species for soil moisture....The early-maturing fine-textured herbage of cheatgrass increases the chance of ignition and the rate of spread of wildfires. Repeated wildfires lead to the loss of native shrubs and continued cheatgrass dominance."
"Firefighters find warm welcome at picnic" (Hi-Desert Star, 8/7/07)
Firefighters take time out at a "community’s second annual firefighter appreciation picnic....The highlight of the afternoon was the firefighter competition, a relay that included a dummy drag, hose coupling and overhead ax swing. Competing were firefighters from Morongo Valley, California Department of Forestry, Twentynine Palms, the Bureau of Land Management and the Morongo Valley Fire Department Explorers."
"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.
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"Public notice - mineral material sale" (BLM California, El Centro Field Office)
The BLM is offering for sale by competitive bidding, up to 2,000,000 tons of construction aggregate from four sites on public land in Imperial County, California. The sale will be held on Thursday, August 23, 2007. A contract will be awarded to the highest bidder for each site.
"Radar, the little pink burro - revisited" (News.bytes Extra)
We introduced Radar to our readers two weeks ago, in News.bytes issue 291. Radar was a surprise "bonus" that came after Kathleen Mayberry adopted his mom, Gypsy, at a BLM auction. Two weeks ago, we featured photos of Radar at one day old. See more photos of Radar at two weeks old.
"Feds propose habitat change for bighorns" (Inyo Register, 8/3/07)
"The rocky homeland of the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep has been proposed to be designated as 'critical habitat' in an effort to provide additional protection for the bighorn herds that roam the high country in Inyo County....Virtually all the land proposed for the habitat designation is located either in the Inyo National Forest, on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management or in other forms of federal ownership."
"Lone Pine Visitor Center opens with quilt collection" (News.bytes Extra)
"The Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine is officially open for business. Located just south of the community of Lone Pine on U.S. 395, the center provides information for exploring the public lands in the Eastern Sierra. If you hurry, you will be also be able to see a fabulous collection of quilts done by the local ladies from the Lone Pine area."
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
LAND USE PLANNING
"BLM intends to revise South Coast Management Plan and associated Environmental Impact Statement" (BLM California news release, 8/8/07)
Bureau of Land Management Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office officials say they intend to revise the 1994 South Coast Resource Management Plan and prepare an associated environmental impact statement to replace the current plan. The announcement is the start of the scoping process, which invites public participation, and schedules public scoping meetings. The public is encouraged to help identify questions and concerns during the scoping phase.
"BLM says county's lack of comments on foothills land use plan not unusual" (Amador Ledger Dispatch, 8/3/07)
"A plan concerning the use of more than 230,000 acres of Sierra Foothills land was submitted three weeks ago without comment from the Amador County Board of Supervisors. While the board did not comment officially, John Scull, a BLM representative from the Folsom office, said that is not uncommon. Out of the 15 affected counties, only two boards of supervisors submitted comments during the comment period."
RELATED: "Sierra Resource Management Plan" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office)
The Folsom Field Office has completed the Sierra Proposed Resource Management Plan (PRMP) and Final Environmental Impact Statement which will guide the management of all public lands under the jurisdiction of the Folsom Field Office for years to come. The PRMP contain goals, objectives, and land-use allocations, as well as specific rules and regulations for different activities.
MORE MARIJUANA BUSTS
"Marijuana crops also bad for environment" (Stockton Record, 8/6/07)
"Come September, marijuana growers who have labored for five months in some of California's most remote country will abandon their secret gardens, taking their multimillion-dollar crops. What will they leave behind? Irrigation tubes that snake for a mile or more over forested ridges. Pesticides that have drained into creeks and entered the food chain, sickening wildlife. Piles of trash and human waste in the most rugged and bucolic drainages."
"Pot bust at Yuba" (Grass Valley Union, 8/7/07)
"Local, state and federal law enforcement agents raided three large marijuana plantations Monday on federal and state land near the South Fork Yuba River - encampments most likely operated by a Mexican drug cartel, officials said....Officers from the sheriff's office, the Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, the Grass Valley Police Department, the Nevada City Police Department and CAMP participated in the bust."
RELATED: "Pot farms slideshow" (Grass Valley Union, 8/7/07)
Photos of the operation.
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) a diurnal lizard
SOURCE: "Western skink - Eumeces skiltonianus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Skinks are diurnal lizards, meaning they are active during the day. In areas with warmer climates, skinks are active in the early morning and late afternoon. In the middle of the day, when temperatures are greatest, western skinks avoid the extreme heat by seeking cover under logs or rocks.
"Klamath Network Featured Creature, June 2007 - Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus )" (National Park Service)
"Interesting Fact: In order to protect itself, the western skink can autotomize (lose) its tail when seized by a predator. When detached, the brilliant blue tail thrashes around in an attempt to distract the predator. This gives the western skink an opportunity to escape. When the tail regenerates, it is usually similar to or larger than the original tail. However, the regenerated tail is seldom, if ever, blue in color." (One-page printable fact sheet with two photos)
PDF file, one page, 320 kilobytes:
"Eumeces skiltonianus, the Western Skink"(U. S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center)
:"A common species, although seldom seen in the open....Will lose tail easily, and body scales may come off of young individuals if handled too roughly." (With two photos)
"Western skink - California wildlife habitat relationships" (California Department of Fish and Game)
Summary of information, plus list of several references.
PDF file, 2 pages, 15 kilobytes:
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Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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