A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

News.bytes, issue 109 - 5/22/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Proposed Plan Amendment for Western Mojave Routes of Travel Designations Released
- Not for Educators Only:
   - Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: That's "fossorial," not fossil
   - New research source for students, educators, others: "Giant sequoias"
- Photo Album: "Land Sailing"
- Lizard litigation plans
- RS 2477 road rule
- Preservation, planning
- Wildfire season edges northward
- Recreation on public lands
- House passes forest thinning bill
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
   - BLM Bishop Field Office moving
   - Calling volunteers! Wild Willy's Hot Springs boardwalk construction
   - BLM Seeks Desert District Advisory Council Nominations
- Selected Upcoming Events, including:
   - Oil and Gas Lease Sale
   - Fort Ord planning workshop

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Proposed Plan Amendment for Western Mojave Routes of Travel Designations Released" (BLM California news release, 05/21/2003)
The BLM has released the proposed plan amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan for off-road vehicle (routes of travel) designations for the Western Mojave Off Road Vehicle Designation Project.


Wildlife Trivia Question Mark of the Week
"Mammals that are highly adapted to the 'fossorial' lifestyle typically have large front feet, short tails, and short necks. What is it these animals are more adapted to than other animals?
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

View in Nutmeg Grove of Case Mountain Giant Sequoias site"BLM launches Giant sequoias Website" (BLM California news release, 05/22/2003)
Six sequoia groves have long been the site of intense research - and the BLM launches a Website to share what is being learned. "The Web site is ideal for students, teachers and individuals looking for information on these ancient sentinels found only in California. There are reports and photos on special status plants, spotted owls, area hydrology, bats, the affects of fire, as well as tree inventory data on each of the six groves." And watch for results from future studies.

"Case Mountain Giant Sequoia Grove complex" (BLM California Web site)
Home page for the Giant sequoias Web site.

Land sailing on the desertPHOTO ALBUM - "Land Sailing"
Recreationists throughout the world travel to Ivanpah Dry Lake and El Mirage Dry Lake to play! Land sailing is just one of the activities that make these two dry lakes a favorite place for wind-power recreationists.

Land sailor races an incoming storm at Ivanpah Dry Lake

Related: "Ivanpah Dry Lake" (BLM California Web pages)
A popular site for land sailors, and other wind-powered pursuits.

Related: "El Mirage Dry Lake Bed" (BLM California Web pages)


"Group: Horned lizard suit to proceed" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 05/18/2003)
"A type of lizard described by some as a 'mini-dinosaur' is heading back to court." Environmental groups announced they will sue to ask a judge to decide "whether the flat-tailed horned lizard was illegally denied a spot on the federal government’s list of threatened species."

Related: "Group plans to sue over lizard status" (Imperial Valley Press, 05/23/2003)
"The Center for Biological Diversity notified the federal government Thursday it intends to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior because it is not protecting the flat-tailed horned lizard. The lizard is a native to Imperial, San Diego and Riverside counties and Mexico. It has the most restricted range of any horned lizard in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."

Related: "Legal feud over lizards heats up: Environmental group says it will sue feds" (Yuma Sun, 05/19/2003)
Two environmental groups sue over "withdrawal of a proposal to list the flat-tailed horned lizard as an endangered species....A large portion of the lizard's habitat has been lost in Arizona and California due to off-road vehicles, agriculture, suburban development and other human activities, conservationists say." Its habitat includes some public lands managed by BLM California's Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office.

Related: "Flat-tailed horned lizard" (BLM California Wildlife Database)
Flat-tailed horned lizard - Photo: Tyler Grant, Bureau of Land Management(Photo: Tyler Grant, Bureau of Land Management) "Flat-tailed honed lizards require habitats that offer fine sand with little vegetation" and more information.
(Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below)


"BLM offers guided hikes into Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM California news release, 5/22/2003)
BLM's Arcata Field Office will lead guided hikes into the southern end of Headwaters Forest Reserve starting Sunday, June 8. Hikes will be offered Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 15, weather permitting. Reservations are required. The moderately-strenuous three-mile hike offers views of - but does not enter - the old-growth forest. Limit is 20 hikers and 10 cars per day.

"City seeks options to habitat plan" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 05/21/2003)
Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (BLM is one of many partners, as covered in earlier editions of News.bytes): "Lake Elsinore has challenged a Riverside County plan to set aside about 7,000 to 10,000 acres of vacant land within the city for wildlife habitat. That move may mean losing $38 million in transportation funds if the city does not adopt the plan."

"Stewardship Day celebrated on ranch" (Red Bluff Daily News, 05/15/2003)
BLM among many partners in 40,000-acre Sunflower Coordinated Resource Management Plan west of Red Bluff - and among presenters of information on "fire management of chaparral and timber lands, water development for wildlife and fire control, carbon sequestering, mechanical brush treatment, animal grazing and browsing, to maintaining fuel breaks and chemical treatment to control brush sprouting."


"First brush fire of season burns near Hesperia" (Victorville Daily Press, 05/22/2003)
About 100 firefighters and one water-dropping helicopter stopped a "small but stubborn brush fire" near Hesperia Wednesday - "the first significant brush fire of what officials expect to be a long, hot and busy brush fire season.",91685,

"Wildland fire season starts today" (Bakersfield Californian, 05/19/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the Kern County Fire Department announced the official start if the fire season Monday. "Fire officials say property owners in rural areas prone to wildland fires should take steps to protect homes and other buildings by clearing away brush and material that could fuel a blaze..." - but say it is hard to get some people to listen until disaster strikes.

"Severe wildfires still a possibility" (Associated Press, in Reno Gazette-Journal, 05/19/2003)
"April's snowfall may delay the fire season in the Sierra Nevada, but experts said there's the possibility of severe wildfires, fueled by flourishing grasses caused by late winter rainfall and more lightning because of a weakening El Niņo."

"Fire season begins today in Sequoia National Forest" (Porterville Recorder, 05/20/2003)
"Vegetation on the hills is turning brown, and temperatures are climbing. Summer is approaching and firefighters are in place and ready, so the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Kern County Fire Department have announced fire season starts today." A wetter winter could bring taller grass and greater - rather than less - fire danger.

Northeastern California: "Federal agencies will open fire season on June 1" (BLM California news release, 05/20/2003)
With warm spring weather finally settling over northeast California, federal resource management agencies have announced that fire season officially begins Sunday, June 1.


"State official opposes road rule" (San Bernardino County Sun, 05/20/2003)
"California's secretary of resources has opposed a federal rule allowing local governments to gain ownership of roads on federal land....[she] wrote a letter last week to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton asking her not to process any applications to turn over the roads." San Bernardino County was the first to apply under new "RS 2477" provisions, to take over Camp Rock Road across BLM-managed land between Daggett and Lucerne Valley.,1413,208%257E12588%257E1404061,00.html

Related: "County's claim to road opposed" (Victorville Daily Press, 05/22/2003)
"Fearing that the county's stewardship will lead to the destruction of fragile desert terrain by motorists, state officials have asked the federal Bureau of Land Management to block the county's efforts to acquire Camp Rock Road, officials said Wednesday. The partially paved road cuts across the Mojave Desert, running from Lucerne Valley to Daggett.",77210,

"Civil-War Era Law Sparks Battle over Public Land Use" (National Public Radio, 05/20/2003)
Links to page that features an AUDIO broadcast:

Written transcripts are also available from the NPR site, but for a fee.
(Please note: The NPR instructions say: "Just click on the headline or the audio icon to listen to the story. You'll need an audio player to hear it and you can find the right one for your computer at If you have any problems, please visit the NPR audio help page"
Also please note: While testing this link, the News.bytes staff noted some problems with older media players or browser versions - such as Netscape 4.7 behind a corporate firewall.


"BLM ready for recreation season at North Fork Kaweah River" (BLM California news release, 5/22/2003)
As Memorial Day nears, the BLM is ready for visitors to the popular recreation area along the North Fork of the Kaweah River in Tulare County - and offers several reminders to enhance the recreation experience.

"Lawmakers help off-roaders notch early budget victory" (Bakersfield Californian, 05/22/2003)
"Kern County lawmakers have gotten up to $10 million penciled into an early version of the state budget for off-highway vehicle recreational areas in Kern County." $10 million would go toward official state OHV area near Bakersfield. The rest would go toward buying a buffer of private land "in the Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs areas [that owners complain] has been overrun by off-roaders using the nearby area owned by the [BLM]."


"House OKs forest-thinning plan" (Sacramento Bee, 05/21/2003)
"Legislation making it easier for federal foresters to conduct controlled burns, thinning operations and even logging to reduce the threat of catastrophic fire easily passed the House on Tuesday after President Bush gave it a hearty endorsement."

"Forest thinning OKd by House" (The Union, 05/20/2003)
"It's overdue," says local supporter. "It's not really a ruse for the timber industry. ... We see this as a windfall for the forest, not for the industry. The bill will help the forest in perpetuity."

"Remarks by the President on the Healthy Forests Initiative" (White House press release, 05/20/2003)
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton joins President Bush as he makes statement in support of his initiative: "Nine months ago I stood at the scene of Squires Peak fire in Oregon. On one side of a dirt road, where small trees and underbrush had been removed before the fire rolled through, the forest was green and alive. On the other side of the road, where a similar thinning project had been stalled by lawsuits, the landscape was charred and the trees looked like matchsticks. The contrast between these two sides of the forest was startling, and it was tragic."

"Bill to fight forest insects passes House" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 05/21/2003)
"Under the bill [passed House, still requires Senate and Presidential approval] the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management would have greater authority to make quick decisions about areas to thin. In the case of insect infestations, up to 1,000 acres could be harvested under expedited procedures to stem the outbreak before larger areas are overtaken and the trees killed."

"House OKs Bush plan for 'Healthy Forests' - Bill would give federal officials broad new authority to log" (San Francisco Chronicle, 05/21/2003)
"The House overwhelmingly passed President Bush's "Healthy Forests" plan Tuesday to give ... sweeping new authority to log and clear brush in the nation's forests to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. The legislation would limit environmental studies, citizen appeals and court challenges on projects to thin 20 million acres of fire-prone forests, mostly in California and other western states."


"Inyo National Forest and BLM to move" (BLM California news release, 05/19/2003)
The Inyo National Forest Supervisor's Office and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be relocating to their new office the last week of May.  The two offices will be co-located in the new two-story building on Pacu Lane off of West Line Street in Bishop.

Related: "Agencies to open new offices" (Inyo Register, 05/21/2003)
"The Bureau of Land Management and the Inyo National Forest local management offices are to be housed in a new building on the Paiute Bishop Indian Reservation.... [a] never-before-venture between the BLM, INF and Bishop Tribe."

Wild Willy's Hot Springs Boardwalk Construction (BLM California volunteer item)
A National Trails Day volunteer project, 9 a.m. Saturday, June 7, near Bishop: construct a boardwalk through a state rare natural alkali meadow community to a hot spring. The objective: reduce impacts to the meadow and help accelerate recovery of revegetation efforts. Participants should bring a lunch, water, boots, hat, gloves and other clothing in case of inclement weather. Hand tools will be provided.
Directions: Drive south of Mammoth Lakes on U.S. Hwy. 395 to the Benton/Crossing Road. Meet at the "Green Church" at the junction of U.S. Hwy 395 and the Benton Crossing Road. Contact: Anne Halford (760) 872-5022, Email:

"BLM Seeks Desert District Advisory Council Nominations" (BLM California news release, 05/19/2003)
Desert Rat: "A person who exhibits a sincere interest in, fondness for, and knowledge of the desert and its natural resources."  BLM California Desert District Advisory Council :  A group of 15 desert rats, including five whose terms as council members expire on December 31.

"'Wedge' to make room for visitors" (Palm Springs Desert Dispatch, 05/15/2003)
Palm Springs plans $850,000 remodeling of Tramway Gas Station for a new city visitors center. City officials say reconfiguring its space is needed if city plans to invite other agencies - including BLM - "to become part of a multi-agency visitors center."

"Geothermal debate still steaming" (Mount Shasta News, 05/20/2003)
"When the snows melt and the roads again become passable, Calpine Corporation will begin anew exploration and construction of two much debated geothermal power plants at Medicine Lake." Extensive story on the "continuing saga [that] actually began 32 years ago" when Glass Mountain was identified as a source of geothermal power. BLM is involved through the permitting process.

"EDITORIAL: Energy firm runs for border" (Ventura County Star, 05/20/2003)
"It's bad enough when cross-border discrepancies in regulation allow one nation to pollute another. It's even worse, however, when the contamination is from an American firm that has deliberately sought to evade tough regulations in its own country by hopping just across the border. Several American energy firms hoped to do just that, proposing recently to construct power plants in Mexico and send the electricity into California, maximizing profits at the expense of public health in the border region." (Related to stories in last issue of News.bytes: BLM involved through rights-of-way for power lines.),1375,VCS_125_1974533,00.html

Wildlife Trivia Question Mark of the Week "Mammals that are highly adapted to the "fossorial" lifestyle typically have large front feet, short tails, and short necks. What is it these animals are more adapted to than other animals?"
ANSWER: The "fossorial" lifestyle involves digging or burrowing. An example of a mammal highly adapted to this lifestyle is the mole...
shrew-mole - Photo credit: Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences... but California moles include one type that is not very good at the fossorial/digging lifestyle: the shrew-mole. It is also distinctive in size. Learn more in the BLM California Wildlife database. (Photo credit: Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, 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.)

06/03/2003 - Fort Ord planning workshop

06/04/2003 - Oil and Gas Lease Sale

06/07/2003 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Palm Desert

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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