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A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue date: 9/10/2003

This week in News.bytes:
PHOTO ALBUM: "Ultralights"MEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: "Alan Ehrgott"Pierson's milkvetchwild burros for adoption
- Plant listing review could affect off-roading
- Not for Educators Only:
    - Wildlife Trivia of the Week: Sunny fishposition
    - Where is this?
- Photo Album: "Ultralights"
- Wild horses and burros
- Meet your Advisory Council members: "Alan Ehrgott"
- Profile: "Ken Wilson"
- National and Department of Interior news:
    - Federal locality pay
    - Fee demo testimony
    - Grazing proposal
- Headlines and Highlights
- Selected Upcoming Events


"Desert plant may not be rare; Milk-vetch: officials agree to review its threatened listing, which could affect offroaders" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 09/06/2003)
"A plant that has shut down parts of a popular off-roading area in the California desert could be dropped from the nation's endangered species list, federal wildlife officials said Friday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a rare move, agreed to review the threatened status of the Peirson's milk-vetch after a scientist hired by off-roaders said the plant has a healthy number of seeds in the ground."

"Dunes plant may not need protection after all" (Imperial Valley Press, 09/05/2003)

"In the years since wide swaths of the dunes here were closed to protect Peirson's milkvetch, a weed-like plant with purple flowers that reportedly only grows here, off-road groups have argued the plant doesn't need protection. They have said Peirson's milk-vetch isn't harmed by off-road use but is thriving near areas where off-roaders camp. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday the off-road groups might be right."

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Initiate a Status Review of Peirson's Milk-Vetch" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release, 09/05/2003)

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced...that a petition to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the threatened Peirson's milk-vetch provides substantial information indicating such action may be warranted. The Service will initiate a status review for Peirson's milk vetch, a desert plant found only in portions of the Algodones Dunes in Imperial County, California, to determine whether the plant should be proposed for delisting."

Pierson's milkvetch"Peirson's milkvetch" (BLM California Web page)
Some information about Peirson's milkvetch -- named for Frank Peirson, an early California plant collector who was the first to prepare a scientific collection of the plant back in 1927.


Wildlife Trivia question mark of the weekWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "How many fish in the sunfish family are native to California?"
a) 1
b) 5
c) 10
d) 35
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.)

Wilderness area - but which one?"WHERE IS THIS?"
- Ibex Wilderness Area
- Hollow Hills Wilderness Area
- Nopah Range Wilderness Area
Take your best guess -- and see how others answered:

PHOTO ALBUM: "Ultralights"
PHOTO ALBUM: "Ultralights"Ultralight pilots include those who build or buy their own one-person aircraft - one that doesn't require a regular pilot's license or the expense of a hangar, and can be towed behind a car or truck. A popular spot for ultralights is El Mirage Dry Lake bed, managed by BLM California's Barstow Field Office.

Related: "El Mirage Dry Lake Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area" (BLM California Web site)
Because of its unique flat surface, the El Mirage Lakebed is a destination for many visitors. There is ultra-light and other aircraft activity that would not be found in other off-road riding areas. El Mirage also has opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, rock hounding, and plant, bird and wildlife watching.

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Pin: Mammals - Black-Footed Ferret"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Pin: Mammals - Black-Footed Ferret"

The Black-Footed Ferret lapel pin comes with an information card - that gives information about its habitat, some history, and more. The pin is about 13/16" in diameter.


"Kids train wild horses for events and parades" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 09/05/2003)
"A kid's horse drill team is not unusual, but a new drill team...lets kids train wild mustangs to ride in parades and other events. 'The one thing that really sets our (drill team) apart from others is the fact that our children tame and train their own mustangs with some adult help,' said one organizer -- who adopted her horse from the BLM.

"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Woodside" (BLM California news release, 09/05/2003)

Wild horses and burros, America's "Living Legends," will be looking for good adoptive homes when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosts a public adoption event Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4 and 5, at the San Mateo Mounted Patrol Grounds, 521 Kings Mountain Rd., in Woodside, Calif.

"Wild burros offered for adoption in Orland" (BLM California news release, 09/05/2003)
wild burros for adoptionA group of wild burros will be looking for new homes, when the U. S. Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption Saturday, Oct. 4, during the third annual "Longears Cele-bray-tion," a show and competition event for donkey owners, set for the Glenn County Sheriff's Posse Memorial Arena in Orland.

"Free horse training demonstrations coming to Stockton wild horse event" (BLM California news release, 09/05/2003)

Phil West, a California horse trainer, offers free horse training demonstrations during the U. S. Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro adoption event, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21, at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton.


Central California Advisory Council member Alan Ehrgott has extensive experience in natural resource protection through habitat acquisition, stewardship, education and management programs. He is also executive director of the American River Conservancy.

PROFILE: "Ken Wilson"
PROFILE: "Ken Wilson"
Ken Wilson is the new California State Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison. Ken comes to BLM after spending 24 years at the Six Rivers National Forest with the U.S. Forest Service. One highlight of his career so far: a three-year excavation -- with 400 members of the public -- of an 1860's copper mining camp.


"BLM Northeast Advisory Council to discuss grazing management" (BLM California news release, 09/05/2003)
Potential changes in Bureau of Land Management livestock grazing policies will be the subject of a public meeting to be hosted by the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council on Friday, Sept. 26, at the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, 2950 Riverside Dr., Susanville.

"National Stewardship meeting to be held in Cedarville" (BLM California news release, 09/05/2003)

Presentations, panel discussions and a field trip, all focusing on the benefits of community-based decision making, will highlight the national meeting of the Experimental Stewardship Program, set for Wednesday, Sept. 17 through Friday, Sept. 19, at the Modoc District Fairgrounds in Cedarville.

"Rimrock Ranch land could be sold" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 09/09/2003)
A businessman who owns land for proposed 1,500-home development, hopes BLM's West Mojave Plan will be in effect by the time the development needs an environmental study. Proponents hope the plan "will eliminate the need for developers in the Barstow and Victor Valley areas to hire consultants to do biological studies for their projects. Instead, the plan proposes a pre-approved program to protect sensitive species that could be affected by new development, instead of the existing case-by-case policy.",79368,

"West Mojave Plan"
(BLM California Web site)
Related: Links to more information about the West Mojave Draft Plan Amendment/Habitat Conservation Plan - including maps, and links to each chapter of the draft plan. Public comment period closes Sept. 12.


"'A bit of panic' over locality pay" (Washington Post, 09/07/2003)
Congressman says "numerous federal employees in his Monterey County district fear that new definitions of metropolitan statistical areas could...leave them with less locality pay. If Monterey County lost its locality pay designation, a federal employee earning $50,000 would see that salary drop by about $5,000, aides to Farr said....Employee concerns about the program may not be limited to California. According to a staff report prepared for the Federal Salary Council, federal employees in 13 counties across the nation would fall out of the program under geographic definitions adopted by the Office of Management and Budget in June."

Related: "Federal Salary Council's Recommendations for Locality Pay in 2004" (Federal Salary Council Web site, 09/07/2003)

"...recommendations for the establishment or modification of pay localities, the coverage of salary surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for use in the locality pay program, the process of comparing General Schedule (GS) pay to non-Federal pay, and the level of comparability payments for January 2004. (The Web page includes links to HTML and PDF versions of the 2004 - and 2003 - recommendations.)

Related: "House votes to freeze locality pay areas until 2005" (Government Executive Magazine, 09/05/2003)

Related: "Congress approved legislation...that ensures federal employees in Monterey County, Calif., will retain their special locality pay through 2004 no matter what decision the Federal Salary Council makes in October."

"Interior Department proposing new nationwide recreation passes" (Associated Press, in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/9/03)
"The Interior Department is proposing creation of a nationwide outdoors pass to standardize fees in national parks, forests, dams, recreation areas and other federally owned public lands." The $65 Golden Eagle pass now "covers entrance fees at national parks, at wildlife refuges managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, and at national monuments and other areas overseen by the [BLM], all...part of the Interior Department...[and] also covers national forests....But officials hope the new nationwide pass could also be used at dams and recreation areas under the care of the Bureau of Reclamation, also part of the Interior Department, and any state parks that want to participate."

Related: "Recreational Fee Demonstration Program enhances visitor facilities and services" (Department of the Interior news release, 09/09/2003)
In testimony before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Lynn Scarlett stated that S. 1107 should be amended to allow for a new interagency national pass, standardizing recreation fees, and forming partnerships with states and gateway communities. Consolidating these passes would decrease visitor confusion about various agency passes and shift the emphasis to recreation opportunities on federal lands, Scarlett testified.

"Land for peace: An end of 'grazing war'?" (Salt Lake Tribune, 09/09/2003)
Ranchers have mixed reaction to environmental group's proposal to buy grazing permits on public lands across the West, and permanently retire them. Proponents say it would help ranchers get out of debt, while improving watersheds, wildlife forage and recreation. Opponents say it would harm rural economies.


"Conservation groups move to buy 8,800 acres near park" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 09/06/2003)
"More than 8,800 acres of Coachella Valley land once slated to host homes and golf courses would be set aside to protect plants and animals ....if conservationists can raise $26 million by the end of the year to buy the property..." A proposed 7,000-home self-contained city "threatened to block the movement of sand and species to and from the Coachella Valley Preserve" - an area managed by partners including BLM California. Group says if it does not raise the money, development still might happen.

Related: "Conservancy pledges millions for land" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 09/09/2003)
"Conservationists seeking to add more than 8,800 acres of real estate to the Coachella Valley's land preservation portfolio got a $10 million boost on Monday. The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy help The Nature the land on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park." Spokesperson says the contribution "by no means seals the deal." The group will try to get more funding from the BLM, the state Wildlife Conservation Board and other government and private sources."

"BLM increases price to play at sand dunes" (Yuma Sun, 09/05/2003)
Fee increases at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (as reported in last week's issue of News.bytes).

"Diggin's long gone, but Ol' Ben still a miner for a heart of gold" (Modesto Bee, 09/04/2003)

Story of a colorful local character: "Tuolumne County legend and mining caricature Ben Fullingim, who turns 99 today, lived on public land in the Mother Lode for more than 30 years....In 1980, he went to war with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. A neighbor who had fought with Fullingim for years complained to the BLM that Ben was essentially an illegal squatter, not a miner. The BLM agreed, saying there weren't enough minerals on his claim to support him."
Thousands of supporters signed petitions to support his staying on the land.

Wildlife Trivia question mark of the weekWILDLIFE TRIVIA OF THE WEEK - ANSWER
Answer to: "How many fish in the sunfish family are native to California?"
a) Only one - the Sacramento perch. California once had many species of sunfish - this is the only survivor. All other fishes in the sunfish family that occur in BLM-managed waterways were introduced from outside California. These introduced fish are in many cases, what drove the other species to extinction.
LEARN MORE ABOUT the Sacramento perch in BLM California's 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.)


(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.)

09/17/2003 - Annual meeting of the Experimental Stewardship Program

09/19/2003 - California Desert District Advisory Council

09/20/2003 - Stockton Wild Horse and Burro adoption

09/25/2003 - Northeast California Advisory Council

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News.bytes published by

Bureau of Land Management

California State Office

2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834

Sacramento, Ca 95825

(916) 978-4600

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