A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 330 - 5/6/08
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
- Clear Creek asbestos closure
- Not for educators only:
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- More wildlife news: elephant seals shot near Piedras
- Carrizo Plain National Monument
- Headwaters Forest Reserve
- Energy and alternative energy
- Headlines and highlights
- Meet your Advisory Council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items
Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:
CLEAR CREEK ASBESTOS CLOSURE
"Clear Creek off-roader paradise lost due to asbestos" (Los Angeles Times, 5/2/08)
"For the off-road warriors of Northern and Central California, few wild landscapes are as enticing as the Clear Creek Management Area, with its deep canyons, scampering feral pigs, rainbow-hued flowers and giant rock formations. But on Thursday, a 48-square-mile swath of the Diablo Mountains in San Benito and Fresno counties was labeled a virtual death zone where five visits a year over three decades could lead to lung cancer and other crippling diseases."
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"BLM closing Clear Creek to get rid of asbestos" (Hollister Freelance, 5/2/08)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has issued an immediate, temporary closure of 31,000 acres of public lands in the Clear Creek Management Area in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties to all public use...."
"Open house and public meeting planned for Clear Creek asbestos health risk presentation" (BLM-California news release, 5/1/08)
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host an open house and a public meeting May 8 in Santa Clara for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to present its human health risk assessment for asbestos exposure from recreational use of BLM’s Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA). BLM will also present information on its recent closure of about half the area in response to the findings.
"BLM issues immediate temporary closure of Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM-California news release, 5/1/08)
BLM's action is in response to a human health risk assessment released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that concludes the exposures measured by EPA for many recreational activities at CCMA are "above the EPA acceptable risk range of lifetime cancers." It also notes that children "have greater risk than adults due to higher exposure measurements [and] are of special concern because their exposures occur earlier in their lives." This risk impacts recreational off-highway vehicle use, and extends to other forms of public recreation use/access in CCMA, according to the assessment.
"BLM seeks public input for Clear Creek Management Area Resource Management Plan"
(BLM-California news release, 5/1/08)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host two public meetings this month to work with interested parties to develop a range of alternatives for long-term management of the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA). The meetings are planned for May 19 in Hollister and May 21 in San Jose.
"Clear Creek Management Area" (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website)
"The final Clear Creek Management Area Asbestos Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessment report was released by EPA on May 1, 2008 and is summarized on this website, please use the tabs at the top to navigate among the pages." Includes links to much information.
"Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM-California, Hollister Field Office)
"Based on the results of the Environmental Protection Agency’s CCMA Asbestos Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessment, the Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office has issued a Temporary Closure, effective May 1, 2008."
NOT for EDUCATORS ONLY:
From a photo by Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK:
What are the main predators of the mountain lion?
(a.) bears and wolves
other mountain lions engaged in territorial disputes
(f.) flatlander lions
------> See answer -- and several current news stories related to mountain lions -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
MORE WILDLIFE NEWS
"Shock at the rookery after three seals are shot dead" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/5/08)
"Wildlife investigators are searching for suspects in the shooting deaths this weekend of three elephant seals near San Simeon, an attack that may be connected to the shooting of six sea lions in Oregon along the Columbia River. Visitors to the Piedras Blancas rookery, about 12 miles north of Cambria on Highway 1, were shocked to learn of the shooting Sunday, which happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The violence is said to be a first for the rookery."
"Shock over seal killings" (Silicon Valley Mercury News, 05/06/08)
"Elephant seals are protected under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it illegal to harass, shoot or feed them. Violating the law can result in fines up to $20,000 and jail time. Because the crime occurred in the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary, an extra $130,000 fine may apply."
"Federal investigation continues in elephant seal shootings" (KSBY-TV San Luis Obispo, 5/4/08)
"A Federal investigation continues after three elephant seals are shot to death near San Simeon. The animals' bodies were found Saturday at the north end of the rookery off Highway 1. The California State Parks department says the shooting happened late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Federal law protects the elephant seals and killing them can result in thousands of dollars in fines and prison time."
"Piedras Blancas Lightstation" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Elephant seals regularly visit the beach in this area.
CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT
"Carrizo Plain National Monument: An up-and-coming destination" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/30/08)
"The Carrizo Plain National Monument boosts local economies, but Kern County and the town of Taft stand to derive the biggest benefit. That’s one of the conclusions of a study released this week by the Wilderness Society, a national environmental group. The 47-page report found that the existence of the 250,000-acre monument in the southeast corner of San Luis Obispo County benefits surrounding communities by diversifying the region’s economy."
"EDC visits Taft, donates $25,000" (Taft Midway Driller, 4/29/08)
"The Kern Economic Development Corporation held its April meeting at Taft City Hall to discuss updates to its strategic general plan. After the meeting, Fourth District Supervisor Ray Watson presented the Taft District Chamber of Commerce a check for $25,000 for an automated information kiosk to promote the community's assets to tourists ... The kiosks have touch screens to highlight areas such as the Carrizo Plain National Monument."
"Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
HEADWATERS FOREST RESERVE
"Trail improvement projects begin at Headwaters" (BLM-California news release, 5/1/08)
Trail improvement projects, including reconstruction of an historic train barn, are set to begin on the Elk River Trail at the Headwaters Forest Reserve. A section of the trail will be closed in mid-May while heavy equipment is on site, and trailhead parking may be limited. Those planning trail outings during the spring should call the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Arcata Field Office, (707) 825-2300, to check on conditions.
"Reserving the redwoods" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2/08)
Editorial on Pacific Lumber Company bankruptcy: "Unfortunately, in the parties' haste to conclude proceedings, they appear to have forgotten to make the public one promise: that whatever deal gets struck, it will come with a conservation easement that permanently limits development and manages the forest in a sustainable way. A conservation easement would preserve this forest's beauty and majesty for generations to come - and it needn't have negative impacts on shareholders' bottom lines, either."
"Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)
The BLM is not a party to Palco's Habitat Conservation Plan, which is overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of California, but one result of the negotiations was the acquisition in 1999 of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, managed by the BLM. 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.
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"'Fishnyland' is a magic kingdom for trout, anglers" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/3/08)
Outdoors writer: "Once scheduled for development with fly-fishing trophy trout ponds and a golf course, Conway Ranch north of here now is home to the Eastern Sierra's newest hatchery ... Alpers and his group agreed to stock 10,000 pounds of trout each year in Mono County in exchange for the use of the land and water on Conway Ranch ... Dan Lyster, director of economic development in Mono County ... said more than $2 million in grant money was used to purchase 835 of the more than 1,000 acres of ranch land, with Bureau of Land Management purchasing the rest."
"Public meeting set to discuss Clear Creek greenway" (BLM-California news release, 5/2/08)
The BLM is planning development of public access areas, trails and a salmon viewing overlook in the Clear Creek Greenway, a 5,000-acre tract between the Sacramento River and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The agency has acquired the area for public ownership in transactions over the past 15 years. A meeting is set for May 14 in Redding.
ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
"N. California surging ahead on solar power" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/4/08)
"A progress report reveals that fogbound homeowners in San Francisco and Northern California are rushing to 'Go solar' at a much higher rate than residents in sunny San Diego and the rest of Southern California ... The difference between SDG&E's attitude toward solar and PG&E's 'is like night and day, which is striking since we have a lot more sun than any other area of the state,'" said an activist. "SDG&E officials dismiss such criticism, saying the utility is committed to developing solar and other renewable energy sources, notably in the Imperial Valley as part of its controversial Sunrise Powerlink project."
RELATED: "San Diego Gas & Electric Company's Sunrise Powerlink Project" (State of California Public Utilities Commission)
The CPUC is the lead agency for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Draft EIR/EIS was released to the public on January 3, 2008.
HEADLINES and HIGHLIGHTS
"Government seeks to slow juniper encroachment" (Lassen County Times, 05/06/08)
"To Wendel resident George Cramer, trees — even juniper trees — are vital to our survival.
To the Bureau of Land Management, the juniper trees have encroached on the sagebrush steepe over the past 100 years or so and need to be removed."
"Cemex may trade mining contract for local land" (Victorville Daily Press, 5/1/08)
"Cemex cement company has agreed to trade a mining contract in Los Angeles County for up to 8,000 acres of federal land near Victorville, which will then be sold to the city. The deal is dependent on legislation introduced to Congress late last week ... The city has already been in discussions with the BLM to purchase this land for several years, [Victorville City Manager Jon] Roberts said. As part of the city’s general plan update he said they are working to designate the area to be zoned with a specific plan, and that it would likely be primarily for residential and commercial use."
"Rialto City Council to hear about pipeline from Colton
Terminal to Las Vegas" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/6/08)
"A Texas energy company will address the Rialto City Council tonight about a proposal to expand the capacity of its
233-mile-long fuel pipeline, which runs from a tank farm just south of Interstate 10 to Las Vegas. An environmental impact report will be required for the expansion proposal to meet state and federal requirements.
The Bureau of Land Management, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the San Bernardino County will
prepare those reports."
"Power's path contested" (San Bernardino County Sun, 5/4/08)
"The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says it has yet to pick a preferred route for Green Path North, a proposed electrical corridor running from Desert Hot Springs to Hesperia ... But folks from the California Desert Coalition and a local chapter of the Sierra Club say a route has been chosen, and they intend to show people where the agency intends to install the high-tension corridor ... Members of the coalition said they have pieced together the route by examining documents submitted by the LADWP to the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Energy."
"Lease applications for geothermal development denied" (Mt Shasta News, 4/30/08)
"The Bureau of Land Management's California State Office in Sacramento announced in early April the rejection of five lease applications for geothermal developments on the slopes of Mt. Shasta from Whitney Creek to Military Pass ... The BLM rejected the lease applications based on the nonconcurrence of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service."
"BLM offers property owners fuels reduction permits" (BLM-California news release, 5/1/08)
Property owners who share boundaries with Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered public lands may now apply for permits to clear flammable vegetation from public lands adjacent to their private property. The BLM Redding Field Office will issue free "hazardous fuels reduction variance permits" valid for public lands in Butte, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties.
"BLM Asks for Oil and Gas Lease Expressions of Interest" (BLM-California news release, 5/2/08)
BLM is required by law to periodically offer federal land for lease for oil and gas exploration and development. The oil and gas industry is encouraged to submit an "expression of interest" for federal land parcels in California that have potential for development.
"BLM Plans Oil and Gas Lease Auction on June 11" (BLM-California news release, 5/2/08)
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct an auction of oil and gas leases on federal land on June 11. The lease auction will be held at the BLM California State Office, Sacramento. The competitive lease auction involves 36 parcels for a total of 52,463 acres of public lands in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR ITEMS
"Armed to kill in national parks?" (Christian Science Monitor, 5/6/08)
"Last week, Interior put out for public comment a rule that would allow people with concealed-weapons permits to carry loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. Advocates say it's a matter of consistency – bring all federal lands in line with state laws. The National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service would simply be conforming to state gun rules that apply to Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service land."
"Interior Department opens public comment period on proposed park and refuge firearm regulations" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/30/08)
"Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced the beginning of a 60-day public comment period on updates to regulations regarding the carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The proposed update to existing regulations would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is permitted to carry a concealed weapon and is authorized to do so on similar state lands in the state in which the national park or refuge is located."
WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related articles
SOURCE: "Mountain Lion - Felis concolor" (BLM California wildlife database)
Humans are the main predator of mountain lions. As human populations increase, mountain lion habitat gets taken over by housing communities. Mountain lions typically stay away from humans, but as their environment becomes encroached the animals feel more threatened and occasional attacks occur.
"How humans, vanishing cougars changed Yosemite" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2/08)
"Agile, fast and fierce, cougars once hunted their prey throughout Yosemite National Park, but as human invasions and hunting began about 80 years ago, the predators steadily disappeared, and the entire ecology of the fabled valley was disrupted ... With fewer cougars to prey on them, Yosemite's mule deer multiplied and browsed on the tasty shoots of young black oak trees. The oaks disappeared, pines and firs replaced them, and even the wild evening primrose, known for its nutritious roots and its perfumed oil, grew rare among the altered plant growth in the valley's moist meadow soils."
"Mountain lion hunted in Eagle Rock" (Los Angeles Times, 5/2/08)
"Animal experts advise foothill-area homeowners to keep their pets indoors, especially at night, and to avoid leaving pet food or water bowls outside. Birdbaths, kiddie pools and other standing water sources could also attract mountain lions or animals that they prey on, such as deer."
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"Black cougar caught in photo?" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/3/08)
"Such a creature may exist, experts say, but there has never been a documented sighting of a black cougar, also known as a mountain lion or puma. And the furry shape in the two photographs captured 50 feet from Callen's stationary digital camera might just be a black house cat, as common as a crow."
"Mountain lion kills goats on farm near Gilroy" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/3/08)
"A mountain lion jumped a 5-foot-high chain-link fence on a farm near Gilroy and attacked and killed five goats Friday before fleeing when the homeowner came outside, authorities said ... Game wardens issued a permit allowing the homeowner to hire a hunter to kill the mountain lion if it appears again."
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