A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue date: 8/27/2003

This week in News.bytes:
baby bird Employee profile San Andreas fault - geology field trip Bookstore feature
- Not for Educators Only:
   - Wildlife Trivia of the Week: Unintended consequences
   - Bookstore Feature: "Handbook of Rocks, Minerals & Gemstones"
   - Photo Album - "Birds"
   - Tours: Kern's rich geological past
- Profiles: "Chris Knauf"
- Land Use Planning, including:
   - Shasta County meetings: Land use planning
   - Modoc Plateau future a worry
   - County official against federal land plans
- $1 million robot race
- Community fire safety
- National news related to BLM California
   - BLM director
   - Sage grouse
   - Rock climbing
- Headlines and Highlights, including
   - New range near Carrizo
   - Robots to race across desert
   - Marijuana garden removed
   - New Idria Mine cleanup?
- Congressional hearing and meetings
- Selected Upcoming Events


Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the weekWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Unintended consequences
Question: Why were inland silversides (a type of fish) introduced to California?
Bonus question: What went wrong?
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)


Any of the class Aves of warm-blooded, egg-laying, feathered vertebrates with forelimbs modified to form wings. This Photo Album feature includes birds from a wide variety of environments on lands managed by BLM California: from desert to shoreline, from mountaintop to level plains.

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Handbook of Rocks, Minerals & Gemstones"
"A simple introduction discusses the basics of mineralogy and provides a list of general features used in the identification of rocks. This is followed by a comprehensive description of each rock and mineral, including its history, origin, and structure, composition, properties, classification, and where it is found in North America and throughout the world. The 600 stunning photographs, a unique collection amassed from around the world, are opposite the text and are reproduced at approximately life size, to aid identification."

San Andreas fault - destination of one geological field tripTOURS: KERN'S RICH GEOLOGICAL PAST

"Education on the rocks" (Bakersfield Californian, 08/24/2003)
"Kern County's oil seeps may not be as famous as the La Brea Tar Pits in downtown Los Angeles, but they're still impressive to visitors. 'This is so cool,' said [one visitor who] paid $10 to tour the seeps. 'I would've paid way more for this. You can't get out here without special permits'." The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and the Bureau of Land Management in Bakersfield co-hosted the tour.

Related: "Field trips offer insight into Kern's rich geological past" (Bakersfield Californian, 08/24/2003)
"The [BLM] and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in Bakersfield regularly co-host geology and mining history field trips that are open to the public. Organizers say it is not necessary to have a technical background to attend or benefit from the field trips."

Related: "Geology and mining field trips" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office Web site)
Public tours and trips planned for 2003-2004, by our BLM Bakersfield Field Office and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History - designed for high school age and older. Some allow continuing education credit for teachers through California State University Bakersfield.

Profile: Chris KnaufPROFILE: "Chris Knauf"
Chris Knauf is Natural Resource Specialist with BLM California's El Centro Field Office. Chris is the program lead for a variety of programs. In the thumbnail photo at left, he monitors "sand food" in the Imperial Sand Dunes. More:


"Modoc Plateau future a worry" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 08/22/2003)
"It's often forgotten way up there in California's corner pocket. But the Modoc Plateau, a vast land swept with sagebrush and crowned with volcanic spires, is a jewel that possesses unique wilderness qualities, environmentalists say."

Related: "BLM to host Shasta County meetings to discuss land use planning" (BLM California news release, 08/21/2003)
The BLM will host public meetings in Redding and Fall River Mills to gather public comments and ideas on development of new land use plans for public land in Northeast California and Northwest Nevada. Includes information for people who cannot attend the meetings.

"Supervisor speaks out against federal land plans" (San Bernardino County Sun, 08/20/2003)
"Citing alleged shortcomings of three federal agencies...county Supervisor Bill Postmus is calling for a moratorium on additional land-use plans in the High Desert. 'San Bernardino County has experienced significant impacts from desert management and so-called protection over the past 27 years,' he said. 'Enough is enough!'" At a congressional field hearing in San Diego last week, "he said San Bernardino County has lost more than 600,000 acres over the past four years through federal land grabs.",1413,208%257E12588%257E1582123,00.html

Related: "Our Opinion: It's public land, so stay out" (Victorville Daily Press, 8/27/2003)
Editorial: "Much as we like his proposal, we don't hold out much hope for First District Supervisor Bill Postmus's call last week for 'a hard look at policies undertaken in the name of environmental protection.'
He has every right to be concerned, seeing as how San Bernardino County has 8 million acres of public land, and government — both state and federal — has been steadily eroding the general public's access to that land for nearly 30 years.",7830,


"Robots in Mad Max race across desert" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 08/24/2003)
"In a "Mad Max" race across the California desert next spring, road warriors will charge over the rugged terrain to Las Vegas, where $1 million awaits the winner. Only there won't be any Max, or any other driver. Just robots. The military, in a push to get unmanned vehicles on the battlefield, launched the Barstow-to-Las Vegas competition to lure the average Joe mechanic and inventor." Exact route will not be revealed until two hours before the start of the race, but is expected to cross BLM-managed lands.

"It's a Challenge, but don't call it a 'race'" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 08/24/2003)
"Having banned the Barstow-to-Las Vegas motorcycle race in 1990, the [BLM] has since prohibited any race or competitive event in that part of the desert. 'That's kind of our dilemma and what we're scratching our heads about with them,' ... the BLM's deputy district chief of resources, said of the military. 'We're telling them very specifically that it cannot be a race,' he said. The Grand Challenge also can't have time limits on stretches of desert where racing is prohibited, he said.

"DARPA Grand Challenge for Autonomous Ground Vehicles (March 2004)" (BLM California Issue Update)
The Barstow Field Office is working with DARPA to permit this landmark event. Both publicity and route confidentiality are important to its success. Potentially controversial issues also need to be resolved.
(Note: this document 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.)


"Mattole fire work fueled up" (Eureka Times-Standard, 8/27/2003)
Local fire-safe council thinning brush and forests to protect community from fire. Their work ties in with fire break projects of the BLM in the King Range, and California Department of Forestry along Shelter Cove Road.,1413,127%257E2896%257E1594426,00.html

"Amador Fire Safe Council" (Amador County Ledger Dispatch)
With help of BLM grant, community attacks problem of fire safety in areas near forest lands. Group has hired a coordinator to help inform the public, created "fuels reduction" and demonstration lots and is working on helping senior citizens who do not have resources to create "defensible space" around their houses.

NATIONAL NEWS related to BLM California

"BLM director puts more emphasis on traditional public land users" (Associated Press, in Nevada Appeal, 08/25/2003)
"Contrary to her critics' claims, the head of the [BLM] insists she enjoys the solitude of federally protected wilderness just as much as the next person. 'There is something wonderfully unique about those primitive wilderness areas,' BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said. 'In this busy, fast-paced world we live in where we are all wired with two or three devices, that sort of solitude is treasured. But there also are many people _ especially in the West _ who think those lands should be open for all types of recreation. And in many Western communities, you also have local economies that are dependent on their ability to access public land for grazing, mining, logging, traditional uses'."

"Editorial: A new vision at the BLM? Agency chief's remarks give cause for hope" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 08/25/2003)
"Westerners who live on or near public lands supervised by the federal Bureau of Land Management can take some tentative encouragement from a recent interview granted to The Associated Press by new BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. 'In many Western communities, you ... have local economies that are dependent on their ability to access public land for grazing, mining, logging -- traditional uses,' the BLM chief explains. 'All those things are critical to the well-being and the quality of life of the people who live on those lands.' While demands for recreation will continue to grow -- and the BLM hopes to accommodate them -- traditional users such as ranchers should not be fearful of being run off the land, Ms. Clarke said."

"BLM extends public comment period on draft National Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy" (BLM national news release, 08/21/2003)
The public will have additional time to comment on the BLM's draft Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy, which seeks to provide for the survival of the sage grouse through management of its habitat on BLM-administered public land throughout the West. The new deadline is November 1, 2003. The BLM developed its proposed strategy to support on-going State government wildlife agencies in their efforts to avoid listing of the sage-grouse as a threatened species through their own state sage-grouse conservation plans.

"Wearing down the mountains; Are rock climbers leaving cliff faces in less than peak condition?" (Time, 09/01/2003)
"This fall the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service are due to release a long-awaited policy on where to allow bolting - the practice of drilling bolts into cliff faces to which climbers attach safety ropes. Other contentious issues include protecting ancient rock art, preventing degradation of the base areas around climbing cliffs and minimizing interference with wildlife, such as nesting raptors. Even the chalk that climbers put on their hands to get a better grip can be a problem. Often it leaves a smudgy trail on rock faces, resistant even to rain.",9171,1101030901-477962,00.html

"Reservation preservation war" (Washington Post, 08/23/2003)
Office of Management and Budget ordered consolidation of online and telephone reservations system to the nation's many parks, federal lands and recreation areas, including BLM camping areas. Company that was praised for its work with National Park Service, now protests that it has a competitive disadvantage because of that order.


"Exploring the range" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 08/25/2003)
"Starting in September, hikers and horseback riders will have 14,314 acres of new open space to explore. The state Department of Fish and Game is opening to the public a wildlife area in the southeast corner of San Luis Obispo County." The land will be "a crucial wildlife corridor" between BLM-managed Carrizo Plain National Monument and Los Padres National Forest.

Related: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California Web site)
Explore this national monument through photos, maps, planning documents and more.

"Volunteers Needed for National Public Lands Day River Clean-up" (BLM California news release, 8/27/2003)
The BLM Needles Field Office will join forces with tri-state area agencies and volunteers in a Colorado River clean-up as part of the 10th Annual National Public Lands Day. The event on Saturday, Oct. 5 will include cleanup on beaches and river access points along the Colorado River between Topock and Needles. Prizes, environmental education and a cookout will also be featured.

"BLM advisory council to host meeting on grazing policies" (BLM California news release, 8/27/2003)
Potential changes in BLM livestock grazing policies will be the subject of a public meeting to be hosted by the BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council on Wednesday, Sept. 3, in Redding.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Stockton" (BLM California news release, 8/26/2003)
Wild horses and burros from western public rangelands are headed to the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton next month, where they will be available for public adoption. The BLM will offer 80 horses, including halter-trained yearlings, and 20 burros to qualified adopters on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21. Potential adopters can get a preview look Friday afternoon.

"Bizz Johnson shuttle set for Sept. 6" (BLM California news release, 8/27/2003)
The shuttle transports mountain bikers, hikers and joggers from Susanville to Westwood, allowing them return trips of seven, 18 or 25 miles on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail without having to arrange their own vehicle shuttles. Weekend shuttles will also be offered two Sundays in October, one for the annual "Fall Colors Ride" and another despite the now-cancelled Rails to Trails Festival.

"Marijuana garden removed from canyon" (Porterville Recorder, 08/25/2003)
Tulare County sheriff's deputies removed about 8,300 marijuana plants from gardens in remote mountains of northern Tulare County Thursday, continuing a series of raids....The plantation was found on public Bureau of Land Management land near Sequoia National Park." Agents from the BLM and the Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) also took part.

"Farr pushes New Idria cleanup" (The Pinnacle, 08/21/2003)
New Idria mine near Hollister: "toxic orange water pouring through a watershed" or a future with "swarms of tourists enjoying an historic park, snapping photos and perusing a state-run souvenir shop?" Last week, "the Congressman held court over an unprecedented meeting of the many likely agencies that would be involved in the cleanup of the defunct ghost town." One of his ideas: have BLM take over the land once it is cleaned up, since it borders BLM's Clear Creek Management Area.

Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the weekTo: "Why were Inland silversides (a type of fish) introduced to California?"
They were introduced to California waterways in an attempt to reduce the gnat population.
Bonus answer to "what went wrong": Unfortunately, inland silversides prefer to feed on zooplankton and other invertebrates - rather than gnats. The introduction has led to a large increase in the silverside population, and the extinction of the Clear Lake splittail.
Learn more about Inland silversides on our BLM California online wildlife database (Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

  • September 9, Hearing S.1107, Recreation Fee Authority Act; NPS Recreation Fee. Senate Energy, Subcommittee on National Parks. DOI Witness: Lynn Scarlett;
  • September 11, Hearing S.511 on PILT by Senate Energy Subcommittee on Public Lands & Forests. BLM Witness: to be announced;
  • September 17, Business Meeting by Senate Energy.

(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.)

08/28/2003 - Scoping meeting for Northeast California and Northwest Nevada land use plan

09/03/2003 - Northwest California Advisory Council

09/09/2003 - South Yuba River planning meeting
Grass Valley

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
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