A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 114 - 6/24/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Wildlife feature item: Desert deer checkup
- Draft West Mojave Plan draws fire
- Off-road issues heat up
- Bookstore Feature: "Guidelines For Fair Market Value Appraisal of Mineral Interest"
- Energy and public lands
- Photo Album: "Forestry"
- National news, Department of Interior news, including:
   - Congressional testimony
   - Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton
   - Wilderness
   - Volunteer program
   - Public land buying reformed
- Headlines and highlights, including:
   - July 4 weekend: Learn about seaweed, tidepools and geology
   - Fire restrictions set: northwest California
   - New District Advisory Council members
   - "Shedding light on a local landmark"
   - Public can comment: Amargosa River Management Plan
   - Kiosk planned for Trona area
   - Old Spanish Trail
   - Agency monitors wild horses
- Selected Upcoming Events

WILDLIFE FEATURE ITEM: "Desert deer checkup"

Desert deer darts away after exam by researchers. Photo credit: Kevin Marty/Imperial Valley Press"Capture nets data on desert deer" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/19/2003)
Scientists from BLM and other agencies, game wardens and veterinarians capture, examine and release deer in eastern Imperial County. The purpose: determine effect of water sources - such as relatively new "wildlife guzzlers" - on deer's range and health.

"Desert deer research" (News.bytes Extra, 6/26/03)
More photos related to the story above.

"Wildlife Database" (BLM California Web site)
Learn more about animal life on BLM-managed lands in California.
(Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below)


"Hearings set on West Mojave Plan" (Victorville Daily Press, 06/24/2003)
"The public will soon get to comment on the controversial West Mojave Plan when the Bureau of Land Management and the county hold several public meetings to address the issue. Seven meetings, starting July 15 in Victorville, are designed to educate the public as well as take ideas and information that may have been overlooked when drafting the plan....",83283,

"Public meetings scheduled for draft West Mojave plan" (BLM California news release, 06/23/2003)
The BLM, the county of San Bernardino, and the city of Barstow have scheduled seven public meetings to gather public comments on the draft West Mojave Plan, which was released for public review on June 10, 2003.

"Environmental groups blast road proposals; West Mojave Plan draws fire from all sides for route designations" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/25/2003)
County officials hate it. Plant preservationists hate it. Off-road recreational enthusiasts don't like it. Tortoise advocates despise it. And environmentalists can't stand it. The Off-Road Vehicle Designations proposed for the West Mojave Plan, a sweeping conservation strategy for 3.2 million acres of public land, seems to be a road map leading to a morass of litigation and protests for the Bureau of Land Management.",40327,

"Environmentalists file protest over Bush's Mojave Desert plan" (Associated Press, in San Jose Mercury News, 06/24/2003)
"Environmentalists filed a legal protest to the Bush administration's proposed management plan for Southern California's West Mojave Desert, arguing it would put at risk 3.2 million acres of endangered habitat by opening them to off-road vehicles." One of 26 protests filed against the plan, it is a first step in filing a federal court lawsuit.

"Groups fight off-road plan by bureau" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 06/25/2003)
"Mojave Desert: The environmentalists put their opposition in a joint statement to the BLM."


Glamis dunes - also known as Imperial Sand Dunes"San Diego judge tosses lawsuit seeking to reopen dunes" (Associated Press, in San Jose Mercury News, 6/25/2003)
"A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by off-road enthusiasts seeking access to 49,000 acres of the Imperial Sand Dunes that were closed in 2000 to protect a rare plant....[The judge] rejected arguments by the American Sand Association and other off-road groups that the [BLM] lacked authority to close the dunes and failed to fully consider the environmental impacts of their decision.

Related: "Federal judge upholds ban on off-road driving" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/26/2003)
"A federal judge this week upheld a ban of off-road vehicles from more than 40 percent of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area closed in November 2000 to protect a rare plant. It's unclear whether the ruling will affect the [BLM's] plan to reopen the 49,300 acres of dunes in November."

Related: "Activists, off-road lovers fighting new duel in the desert" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 06/22/2003)
"Amid Imperial County's majestic desert dunes, a line in the sand has been drawn. On one side are motor-sport enthusiasts who view the [BLM-managed] Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area as nature's playground, meant not just for plants and animals able to withstand the desert heat, but for humans and their motorized toys, too. On the other side are environmental activists who see the dunes as a unique natural resource to be preserved and protected. Often at odds, the two sides are squaring off again over the federal government's plan to give dune riders more room to roam beginning in October."

"Off-roaders in uphill fight on canyon" (Los Angeles Times, 06/23/2003)
After a flash flood washed away a gravel road, Surprise Canyon "earned legendary status as the only [off-highway vehicle run] known to require winching up water-slicked falls. 'Surprise' became an off-road rite of passage." Now, "a battle rages for this canyon's future. Two years after a lawsuit compelled the [BLM] to temporarily ban motorized vehicles from Surprise Canyon, the agency has teamed with the National Park Service - which controls the canyon's top half - to decide whether to [restrict vehicle access] for good."

"Off-road organizations sounding off against BLM's efforts to close roads" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 06/24/2003)
Story discusses complaints about BLM decisions by local groups, individuals and government bodies; controversial issues such as impact of off-road closures on local economies; desert tortoise recovery; and vandalism and illegal riding in closure area.

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Guidelines For Fair Market Value Appraisal of Mineral Interest"
BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Guidelines For Fair Market Value Appraisal of Mineral Interest"Appraisals for minerals under concern with the Federal Government almost always fall into one of five categories. These are: Mineral Material Sales, Mineral Trespass, Mineral Conveyance, Condemnation and Taking, and Exchanges. This Guideline has discussions of the techniques necessary to make a mineral appraisal in each of the five categories.


"Results of June 4 oil and gas sale in Bakersfield"
BLM organizers report a successful event in their recent sale of oil and gas leases on BLM-managed land.
Note: PDF file, 20 kilobytes:

Related: "Oil and gas leasing program" (BLM California Web site)
More information on oil and gas leasing on public lands, and results of earlier oil and gas lease sales.

"Public lands: Meeting America's energy needs" (Department of Interior news, 06/24/2003)
Assistant Secretary for the Department of Interior testifies to Congressional subcommittee about nation's critical energy needs: "The Bush administration is committed to a long-term strategy that produces traditional energy on federal lands in an environmentally responsible way."

PHOTO ALBUM - "Forestry"

Photo Album - ForestryBLM's forests and woodlands are managed to sustain, maintain, and restore ecosystem integrity, diversity and productivity, thus providing long-term ecological and economic benefits. The BLM-California forest management program produces 1.0 million board feet of timber harvested annually.
(Note: Please allow a minute or so for this feature, as it will actually search the database for items in this category, including recent additions.)


"Norton announces reform of real estate appraisal function" (Department of Interior news release, 06/19/2003)

Related: "Public land buying reformed" (San Jose Mercury News, 06/20/2003)
"In a series of reforms that will overhaul the way government buys land....U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton ... unveiled major changes to increase the independence of appraisers working for the Department of Interior" including BLM. Meant to answer concerns over prices government pays for private lands for parks and wildlife refuges. Now, "the 100 or so Interior Department appraisers will report to a central unit run by other appraisers, where they can be free from political pressure."

"Norton defends settlement to roll back land protection" (Salt Lake Tribune, 06/18/2003)
"Interior Secretary Gale Norton ... defended the federal government's withdrawal of wilderness potential for nearly 6 million acres of Utah public lands. 'Only Congress can create a wilderness area,' she told a national audience...'We are making that clear by settling the lawsuit.' Norton said ...BLM lands...never were part of the nation's wilderness system and can be managed as natural areas without being formally designated by Congress."

"Tussle over a western 'Jewel'" (Los Angeles Times, 06/24/2003)
Rugged Utah area had been under study for possible wilderness designation. Department of Interior agreement with state officials removes that temporary protection. The debate: is the area a local resource necessary for community jobs from extracting oil and other resources - or a national treasure belonging to all Americans, "as important to all Americans as the Statue of Liberty is to people in Utah"?

"Bush and the environment: Common sense works wonders" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 06/20/2003)
Guest editorial by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton calls for "common-sense solutions to on-the-ground challenges" in environmental issues on public lands: forest thinning for wildfire prevention, endangered species protection, allocation of Western water supplies.

Also available at the Department of Interior Web site:

"Gale Norton rouses Congress" (New York Times, 06/21/2003)
EDITORIAL: Critical of recent decisions that reduce wilderness designations, protections.

"Road claims shot down in national parks, refuges" (Rocky Mountain News, 06/20/2003)
"National parks, refuges, monuments and wilderness areas will be exempt from any state attempt to reopen historic trails, a Bush administration official said...",1299,DRMN_21_2052976,00.html

"U.S. Conference of Mayors supports Take Pride in America" (Department of the Interior news release, 06/23/2003)
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has passed a resolution supporting Take Pride in America, a national partnership program that encourages volunteerism on America's public lands. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton launched Take Pride in America at the National Press Club on April 16, 2003.

"Department of Interior statement on S. 546, the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act" (BLM National news release, 06/16/2003)
Statement of Christopher Kearney, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, Department of the Interior, before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation, and Recreation, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources concerning S. 546, the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act. Expresses support of the Act, would like to work with Committee on amendments.


Offshore rock and wildlife near Shelter Cove - King Range"Learn about seaweed, tidepools and geology on weekend outings to Shelter Cove" (BLM California news release, 06/19/2003)
Topics ranging from edible seaweed to Shelter Cove's geology will highlight three guided hikes to be offered by the Bureau of Land Management over the July Fourth holiday weekend.

"Fire restrictions set for BLM lands in northwest California" (BLM California news release, 06/20/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management has announced that seasonal fire restrictions will go into effect Monday, June 23, for the North Coast region. The BLM's Arcata Field Office said the restrictions affect BLM-managed public lands in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, including the King Range National Conservation Area.

"BLM seeks public comment on Amargosa River Management Plan" (BLM California news release, 06/23/2003)
The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Barstow Field Office is seeking public input on the development of an environmental assessment (EA) and implementation plan for the management of the Amargosa River, which was designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) by the Northern and Eastern Mojave (NEMO) Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.

"Secretary of the Interior appoints new District Advisory Council members" (BLM California news release, 06/23/2003)
The Secretary of the Interior has appointed four members to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) California Desert District Advisory Council for the 2002-2004, 3-year term.

"BLM District Advisory Council to Meet in Riverside" (BLM California news release, 6/26/2003)
Agenda items on Friday include a series of economic reports by council members. On Saturday the council will hear an update on the draft West Mojave Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that was published jointly by BLM, the county of San Bernardino, and the city of Barstow in June 2003. The draft includes a joint Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement.

"Next Bizz Johnson trail shuttle set for July 5" (BLM California news release, 6/25/2003)
The service, a partnership of the BLM and Lassen Rural Bus, provides a way for hikers, mountain bikers and joggers to arrange one-way trips on the trail without having to arrange for vehicle shuttles.

"Shedding light on a local landmark" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 06/25/2003)
"For decades, a sliding gate has kept would-be visitors from the Piedras Blancas Light Station off Highway 1 north of San Simeon. But starting Saturday, that gate will open one day a month, allowing 100 visitors to get a look at what the U.S. Bureau of Land Management calls "the most massive and ornate of any California lighthouse."

Related: "Piedras Blancas Light Station" (BLM California Web site)

"Kiosk planned for Trona area" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 06/24/2003)
BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office using grant to build information kiosk at Trona rest stop of Highway 178. "It will provide information for travelers about Trona, sightseeing, and other recreational opportunities in the area on BLM and National Park lands."

"Old Spanish Trail to be jointly administered by National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management" (Department of Interior news release, 06/21/2003)
"It's been called the longest, crookedest, most ornery pack trail in the history of the United States." The Old Spanish Trail crosses six western states - including California - and became a part of the National Trails System last December.

"Agency monitors wild horses" (Los Angeles Times, 06/25/2003)
"Santa Barbara County Animal Services officials are monitoring the daily feeding of more than 450 wild horses being kept on a Buellton ranch after receiving reports that some of the animals were undernourished." They include 127 wild horses rounded up by the BLM in Montana and 250 horses seized by the federal government in Nevada.

(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.)

06/27/2003 - California Desert District Advisory Council

07/15/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting

07/16/2003 - Draft West Mojave Plan public meeting
Lone Pine

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
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