A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 108 - May 14, 2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Not For Educators Only:
    - Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: Reptilian
- Bookstore Feature: "Driving the Pacific Coast of California"
- Photo Album: "Hard rock mining"
- Energy, oil and gas
- Wildlife habitat: Preservation, plans
- Recreation on public lands: Off-highway
- Recreation on public lands: More
- Invasive species
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
   - Environmental education for kids
   - Fort Irwin expansion plans
- Selected Upcoming Events, including:
   - Wild horse and burro adoption
   - Oil and gas sale


Wildlife Trivia of the Week question mark WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Which of these prehistoric eras is known as the 'Age of Reptiles'?"
(a) Precambrian
(b) Paleozoic
(c) Mesozoic
(d) Cenozoic
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Driving the Pacific Coast of California"

"Packed with information about thirty-seven communities, this guide is your ticket to everything from relaxing one-day breather to a month long tour of the entire 1,100-mile coast. You will discover beautiful white-sand beaches, sprawling bays, countless miles of trails and grassy parks in San Diego, Sun-drenched vineyards open for tours and tasting, elegantly restored Victorian inns overlooking the natural beauty of Monterey Bay, and sublime forests of giant redwoods stretching across thousands of acres."

PHOTO ALBUM: "Hard Rock Mining (corporate leases)"
Hard rock mining operation on BLM-managed landsThe BLM is responsible for maintaining policies and processes for solid mineral resources under Federal jurisdiction. Solid minerals include hardrock minerals, such as gold. BLM regulations establish three levels of authorization: (1) casual use, (2) notice level, and (3) plans of operations. Large mining activities require a plan of operations, and a full environmental assessment and reclamation bonding is required.
(Note: please be patient - clicking on this link will start a search of our photo database for the latest photos related to this topic. It may take a minute or so to load in your Web browser.)

Related: "Mining law - surface management" (BLM California Web pages)
More details on the BLM California hard rock mining program.


BLM hosts 2nd Annual Seminar for federal oil and gas operators
BLM's Bakersfield Field Office and State Office hosted 75 representatives from the oil and gas industry at their daylong 2nd annual Seminar for Federal Oil and Gas Operators. 75 representatives of the industry attended  BLM oil and gas seminarThe seminar provides up-to-date information on on federal leases, permitting, assignments/transfers, bonding, field operations,operator responsibilities, and BLM's inspection, idle well and royalty rate reduction programs.
Participants reacted positively. Said one in an email: "The BLM staff did an incredible job in presenting materials....I've paid much more and gotten much less from other learning opportunities." The Bakersfield Field office learned that this is an effective way to communicate with oil industry customers, and will offer the seminar each spring.

"Power plants still on target" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/8/2003)
Dispute over power plants in Mexico built to send electricity to California (BLM is involved through permits required for power line rights-of-way. "Despite reports to the contrary from media outlets ... the new two power plants near Mount Signal will fire up turbines and start transmitting electricity into the U.S. in early June, as scheduled," company spokespersons say.

"The coming gas explosion in the West" (Denver Post, 05/11/2003)
(This article also appeared in the print edition of the Sacramento Bee, 5/11/03) Op-Ed writer says surface mineral rights owners have ruined large areas of ranchland and landscape, and locals no longer believe they can 'trust industry and BLM to "do the right thing....Many are like us - conservative, Republican, pro-free enterprise people. Others are environmentalists or just care about land and animals. Shortly, there will be a huge natural gas explosion, but it won't be pipelines or gas wells that blow. The explosion will come from the average Westerner who is tired of being used by the oil and gas industry with the help of state and federal officials.",1413,36%257E172%257E1378681,00.html

WILDLIFE HABITAT: Preservation, plans

"Deadlines for species plan accepted" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 05/09/2003)
(followup to stories in last week's News.bytes) "Backers of a proposal to balance wildlife preservation with development in the Coachella Valley say they've agreed to a series of deadlines for enacting the massive plan. The deadlines are meant to maintain enough momentum behind the proposal so it can be enacted by August 2004."

Related: "County sets deadline for species plan" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 05/09/2003)
"...Riverside County will embark on the state's, and perhaps the nation's, largest and most complex species-conservation plan ever attempted. After three years, hundreds of meetings and millions in consultant fees, county supervisors set June 17 as the drop dead date to adopt the pioneering Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan for western Riverside County." BLM is involved through the area's Coachella Valley Plan.

Related: "Saving plants, animals to cost" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 05/08/2003)
"County: Developers will be asked to absorb the price for 56,000 acres of habitat."

Related: "Riverside County buys habitat land" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 05/08/2003)
Related: "Save critical habitat for endangered species in one part of Riverside County and create economic habitat in other areas of the region. That's part of the motivation behind the purchase of 884 acres of ranch land near the San Diego County border." The $5 million purchase is to benefit an endangered butterfly.

"Harper Dry Lake an oasis in the desert" (Victorville Daily Dispatch, 05/10/2003)
Among the four dozen or so people who attend opening ceremony were the mayors of Barstow and Victorville (more details in next story.),57398,

Related: "BLM will celebrate rebirth of an oasis" (Victorville Daily Press, 05/08/2003)
"Harper Dry Lake is wet again" and new stop for migrating birds - and bird watchers. "There's just no place like it in our area," says BLM employee...."there's avocets, egrets and ducks. It's not like being in the Mojave Desert." (Grand opening last Friday.),34738,

"Potrero Canyon sought for refuge" (Riverside Press-Enteprise, 05/08/2003)
A Cold War rocket-testing facility in a scenic canyon could become a preserve for federally-protected species and perhaps "low-impact recreation" such as hiking and birdwatching - depending on a study of groundwater contamination. BLM is a partner along with city, county, state and federal agencies and other groups.


"BLM field office continues grant efforts" (Imperial Valley Press. 5/14/2003)
"The El Centro field office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is applying for three grants totaling $1.3 million from the state Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission for the 2004 fiscal year. In January the commission denied the El Centro office's bid for more than $1 million in grant money when environmentalists on the commission voted against the grant saying the office has not done enough to protect resources."
(Note: If the following daily link no longer works, you can click the "Archives" button at the newspaper site to search for "Bureau of Land Management." As of News.bytes deadline, this story was not yet in the Archives.)

"Carter seeks funds to enforce off-road vehicle laws" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/7/2003)
Imperial County sheriff seeks more than $1 million in off-road patrolling funds for next year. "Law enforcement at the dunes and other off-road areas in the county is expensive. Last season the U.S. Bureau of Land Management spent at least $500,000 each weekend for six big holiday weekends at the dunes. Carter is the lead law enforcement officer on federal land in the county and hopes to pay for personnel, equipment maintenance, radios and office and storage rental."

"Mendo 4x4 Club heads for the hills" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 05/12/2003)
Family-oriented off-road group explores BLM-California managed South Cow Mountain recreation area. "A motto of the California Association of 4WD Clubs Inc., is 'tread lightly.' The clubs ... work hand-in-hand with the Bureau of Land Management to keep the trails open and available.",1413,91%257E3092%257E1387036,00.html

"Cow Mountain" (BLM California Web pages)
related: With over 120 miles of trails, South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area emphasizes off-highway vehicle us. (North Cow Mountain is managed for primarily non-motorized activities, such as hunting, hiking, camping, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling.).


"Behind the Redwood Curtain" (San Francisco Chronicle, 05/11/2003)
Feature story on Humboldt County attractions includes columnist's hike to Headwaters Forest Reserve led by BLM rangers - and discovery that it is "not the best place to see redwood trees." Says one guide: ""That's the hardest part for us to explain....People put in all the effort to save the forest, they did the protests and they put up the money, and now they can't go in and hug the trees....It's to preserve the threatened marbled murrelet and coho salmon....This was set aside not for us...but for the creatures who live there."

"Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM California Web pages)
Related: BLM California Web site, with links to much information about Headwaters Forest and plans for the Preserve.

"INF seeks public comment on new sports event" (Mammoth Times, 05/08/2003)
Public comments for a Special Use Permit application for a "competitive, multi-team, endurance-sports event" planned for July 24-27 - - on public and private lands including BLM-managed areas. Inyo National Forest is collecting public comments for the proposed event.

"Nothing like a careful stroll through old Fort Ord" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 05/08/2003)
Columnist: "After about an hour of climbing hills the landscape suddenly became splattered with purple wildflowers. Park rangers are always bragging about wildflower displays ... that usually are just a few disappointing blooms....But here was something different. The purple flowers seemed to go on forever, interrupted only by splotches of red, orange and pink....The trail is one of the most spectacular wildflower displays I've ever seen. And it's totally under-used. Just watch where you step."

"Fort Ord Public Lands" (BLM California Web pages)
Related: Learn about recreation and more on the parts of former Fort Ord that are now public lands.


"Imported species threaten desert" (Victorville Daily Press, 05/12/2003)
Plants and animals imported from elsewhere in the world now flourish in the state's deserts and threaten native species. One of BLM's problems, illustrated by story's photo, is tamarisk (saltcedar). But the danger ranges even to abandoned cats, that are "a major threat to birds, amphibians and small mammals...[and] costs more than habitat restoration, water quality or any other single thing we do with regard to exotic species.",68061,

Related: "Weeds at home on our roadsides" (Sacramento Bee, 05/04/2003)
A recent article focuses on how invasive weeds spread by way of roads. Example: dirt washed off at an Australian carwash showed 20 species of seeds not even from that region - an example of how weeds "hitchhike" on cars. The weed issue is a growing concern for "road ecology" - the subject of a recent workshop held at UC Davis.


Volunteers work on a trailhead in the Turtle Mountains Wilderness"Volunteer project" (BLM California Web pages)
Volunteers worked with the BLM's Needles Field Office to establish a trailhead and discourage illegal vehicle use in the Turtle Mountains Wilderness.

"SEEP: Environmental education for kids" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 05/13/2003)
"A lot of kids get to learn a lot of stuff they wouldn't otherwise" through field trips with Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program. BLM is one of 10 partners in the program.

"Desert Tower owner fighting battle over cell phone tower" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/7/2003)
Owner of a 70-foot-tall viewing tower protests cell phone tower across a ravine from his roadside landmark, saying it blocks the view. He challenges BLM permit for the tower, built before he owned the landmark, and says it lacks a county permit.

"Hopland Fire gets grant for new gear" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 05/08/2003)
Hopland Volunteer Fire Department receives $10,000 grant from BLM through Rural Fire Assistance Program for 2003. Plans to spend it on items for wildland fire protection equipment, including protective clothing, fire shelters and specialized water nozzles.,1413,91%257E3089%257E1378147,00.html

"Fort Irwin progresses with expansion plans" (Barstow Daily Dispatch, 05/13/2003)
Years-long environmental review process nearing end, for 132,000-acre expansion of National Training Center at Fort Irwin. Military has been seeking larger training area for years; some groups have opposed expansion they say threatens endangered desert tortoise. The Army is buying adjacent private lands to help BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manage populations of the desert tortoise.,75118,

"BLM Northeast Advisory Council meets June 5-6 in Alturas" (BLM California news release, 05/13/2003)
Development of new management plans for northeast California public lands will be a key agenda topic, when the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council meets June 5 and 6, at the BLM Alturas Field Office.


Wildlife Trivia of the Week question mark
"Which of these prehistoric eras is known as the 'Age of Reptiles'?"
Answer: (c) Mesozoic - about 144 to 245 million years ago. And speaking of reptiles...
Granite spiny lizard - Photo credit: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences ...Granite spiny lizards prefer to live in areas with large rocks. Find out why, in BLM California's wildlife database.
(Photo credit: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences)
(Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below)

(Note: the Upcoming Events database is on a secure Web server, and your browser may state "You are about to view pages over a secure connection" and ask you to "Trust a Security Certificate" from the Department of Interior that hosts this site. To view the pages, you must select "Yes" or "OK" for both questions.)

05/15/2003 - NEMO public scoping meeting - Independence

05/16/2003 - Siebert Cabin Recreation Area "Take Pride in America" Volunteer Project

05/17/2003 - Yreka wild horse and burro adoption

06/04/2003 - Oil and Gas Lease Sale

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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