A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 130 - 10/15/03  --  This week in News.bytes:
Don KlusmanPHOTO ALBUM: "Hiking"Tim CarrollPhoto Quiz: Where is This?BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "California Coastal Access Guide"
- Partial dunes ban
- Not for Educators Only:
    - Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: Sturgeon lifetime
    - Photo Quiz: Where is this?
- Photo Album: "Hiking"
- Northern California spotlight:
    - Meet your Advisory Council members: Don Klusman
    - Advisory Council tours, plans for South Spit
    - Reaction to Headwaters plan
- Profile: Tim Carroll
- Bookstore Feature of the Week: "California Coastal Access Guide"
- Desert wildlife issues:
    - Ravens vs. tortoises
    - Harper Dry Lake nearly dries again
    - Coachella plan delayed
- Wild horses and burros
- National and/or Department of the Interior news, including:
    - Mill sites: Traditional rule reinstated
    - Interior site gets new look
    - Fee demo
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
    - Furry firefighters
    - October is motor touring month: Eastern Sierra
    - Piedras Blancas photos at Hearst Castle
- Selected upcoming events, including:
    - Needles area river clean-up
    - 3rd annual "Celebrate the Monument"
    - Wind energy development scoping meeting


"Judge Reinstates Off-Roader Ban in Dunes Area" (Los Angeles Times, 10/09/2003)
"A federal judge in San Francisco has temporarily reinstated a ban on off-road vehicles on a vast expanse of sand dunes in Imperial County that has been the site of a long-running dispute between conservationists and champions of motorized recreation. The steep, sandy slopes of the Algodones Dunes are a magnet for thousands of dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts but are also home to about 160 rare plants and animals. The U.S. District Court decision, handed down Tuesday, ensures that nearly half the dunes, about 50,000 acres, will remain off limits to off-road machines pending further action in the case.",1,3957446.story

"BLM's plan to open dunes held up" (Yuma Sun, 10/09/2003)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's plan to open parts of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area to off-road vehicles has been delayed for another season, according to environmental groups fighting to keep the area closed. [A] U.S. District Judge...ruled this week that nothing can change at the dunes until the court has had a chance to review a new biological opinion being prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the potential impacts of BLM management activities on the Peirson's milk vetch, a plant found in the dunes."

"Our Opinion: No peace in the dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/10/2003)
EDITORIAL: "Just when it seemed that the continuing battle over the Imperial Sand Dunes was coming to a relatively peaceful conclusion, the plan for the dunes was put on hold again. Environmentalists and dunes users, if they ever got together (hah!) could wallpaper the dunes with all the lawsuits they've filed in recent years regarding the recreation. There is little in the way of compromise offered by either group and dunes matters often end up in court. Basically, it's nasty stuff."

"Closed part of dunes won't open this season" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/9/2003)

"Restrictions on dunes will stay in force" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/11/2003)


1500-pound sturgeon Historical photo courtesy U.S. Geological SurveyQuestion: How long can a white sturgeon live?
(a) 25 years
(b) 50 years
(c) 100 years
(d) 250 years
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.)

Photo Quiz: Where is This?PHOTO QUIZ: "WHERE IS THIS?"
1. Chemehuevi Mountain Wilderness Area
2. Bighorn Mountain Wilderness Area
3. Piper Mountain Wilderness Area
Compare your answer to other readers', at:

PHOTO ALBUM: "Hiking"Learn about desert wildlife or coastal animals on short, self-guided nature trails -- or tackle the grueling Pacific Crest trail. You'll find both types of trails on public lands that BLM manages in California.
Between these extremes, you can find dozens of one-day adventures, from badlands to lush sloughs. Along the way, take plenty of pictures but leave only footprints (and leave no trace) as you visit some of California's most remote but rewarding scenery.


Northwest California Resource Advisory Council chairperson Don Klusman is a natural resources consultant and is the off-highway vehicle recreation representative on the council. He has worked on several national forest and BLM management plans and is currently working on another with a two-state BLM subcommittee. Learn more at:

Advisory council members look over a large map of the South Spit COUNCIL TOURS, PLANS FOR SOUTH SPIT
BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council toured the South Spit at Humboldt Bay, Oct. 8 and 9. Members discussed the interim management plan administered with several partners. The plan offers recreation access to the Spit, while providing special measures to protect nesting areas for the Western snowy plover, a threatened bird. The council recommended support of livestock grazing management concepts under consideration in the BLM's Sustaining Working Landscapes Initiative. The Initiative increases flexibility for ranchers and BLM managers while leaving intact Land Health Standards and Livestock Grazing Guidelines developed by the RAC in the late 1990s.
Read more, and see photos from the tour, at:

graphic: Headwaters Forest ReserveHEADWATERS PLAN

"Final Headwaters plan wrapped up" (Eureka Times-Standard, 10/11/2003)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has released a management plan for the Headwaters Forest Reserve, leaning heavily toward restoration while going light on recreation. The plan calls for intensive watershed restoration and moderate forest restoration in the reserve, an effort expected to take at least eight years and millions of dollars. The plan keeps visitors largely on the outskirts of the 7,400-acre forest, limits on hiking and biking, and excludes horseback riding. Released this week, the plan, expected to be approved by Congress early next year, will likely be in place for 20 years...",1413,127%257E2896%257E1692218,00.html

Proposal keeps recreation on fringe of Headwaters reserve" (Associated Press, in San Francisco Chronicle, 10/11/2003)
"Visitors would be kept mostly to the edges of the 7,400-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve along California's northern coast, under a U.S. Bureau of Land Management plan sent to Congress this week. Millions of dollars would be spent over eight years to restore watersheds and the ancient redwood forest that was purchased in 1999 by the state and federal governments for $380 million to save it from logging by Pacific Lumber Co."

"Headwaters Forest Reserve proposed Resource Management Plan available" (BLM California news release, 10/8/2003)
(Repeated from last week's News.bytes)

Tim CarrollPROFILE: Tim Carroll
Tim Carroll is one of the first resource area geologists in the BLM. He has been at it for 29 years, and wears several hats. One change over the years: "We are more focused on abandoned mines and physical safety concerns of those abandoned mines." Read more in our profile:

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "California Coastal Access Guide"BOOKSTORE FEATURE OF THE WEEK: "California Coastal Access Guide"
"Up-to-date information on scenic and recreational facilities of the California coast. A very useful guide for beachgoers, hikers, campers, swimmers, divers, wheelchair users, joggers, and boaters. Detailing where to go, how to get there, what facilities and type of environment to expect."


"Study: Ravens a threat to desert tortoises" (Victorville Daily Press, 10/14/2003)
"Researchers have charted the decline in desert tortoises for years, and mounting evidence points to the exploding raven population's role in suppressing their recovery. Researchers say that they hope new studies will help them chart a course for better strategies to recover the tortoise. The...journal Ecology describes a study in which researchers deployed plastic foam decoys resembling baby tortoises across the desert....After four days, they collected the 2-inch decoys and examined them for the telltale sign of raven bill punctures. They found such punctures in 29 of the 100 decoys.",99818,

"Draft habitat report hits another snag" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/15/2003)
"A plan to balance development and conservation in the Coachella Valley is being delayed again.
The people behind the 75-year Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan [in which BLM is a partner] say they won’t unveil a public draft of the proposal in October as expected. While support for the plan remains strong, some worry further delays threaten to erode the coalition of environmental and development interests behind the deal."

"Funding problems threaten marsh; Harper Dry Lake nearly goes dry again" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 10/09/2003)
"In a couple weeks, migratory birds can put Harper Dry Lake back on their list of good pitstops along the Pacific Flyway." BLM's Barstow Field Office restored the dry lake this spring to a marsh, but stopped pumping during the summer to conserve water. "By September, the water had dried up, and BLM couldn't afford to pay the electric until after the start of the new federal fiscal year Oct. 1.",70465,


"Mustang trainer's love not mere horseplay; Bishop man teaches new owners how to gentle, bond with formerly wild animals" (Ventura County Star, 10/11/2003)
Jennifer Martin had no intention of bidding the day she took her the [BLM's] mustang and burro adoption in late July in Thousand Oaks....Martin figured it would be a fun and educational experience to show Brittany, 7, the horses that continue to roam free in protected herds throughout the western states....Martin recalls admiring the beauty and spirit of the mustangs, but feeling the apprehension that permeated the herd. Then one horse, a small bay, his curiosity overcoming his fear, walked up to her and Martin was hooked.",1375,VCS_166_2339929,00.html

"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Tulare" (BLM California news release, 10/14/2003)
Wild horses and burros, animals with heritage tied to the settlement of the American West, will be available to the public, when the BLM offers them for adoption at the Tulare County Fairgrounds, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8 and 9.

Also see "Selected Upcoming Events" below for upcoming adoption.


"Issues of Interest: Mill site location and patenting" (Department of the Interior Web site, 10/10/03)
On October 10, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Rebecca Watson announced that the Department of the Interior is issuing a final rule to improve regulations on locating, recording and maintaining mining claims or sites. The final rule includes a provision, based upon a new Solicitor's opinion, which will restore the Department's traditional interpretation of the mining law's mill site provisions.

Related: "Interior Department Corrects Erroneous Mill Site Interpretation" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/10/03)

Related: "Interior Dept. overturns mining decision" (Associated Press, in ABC News, 10/10/2003)
"The Interior Department has overturned a Clinton administration opinion that reduced the amount of land for waste from mining operations, rolling back another environmental decision made under President Bush's predecessor. The department said its solicitor general under Clinton had misinterpreted the 1872 Mining Law by concluding that each 20-acre mining claim on federal land is limited to a single five-acre waste site. The mining industry and the Interior Department under Secretary Gale Norton have blamed the earlier opinion for a significant drop in U.S. mineral exploration, mine development and mining jobs since 1997."

Related: "Mining change praised, panned" (Las Vegas Sun, 10/13/2003)
"Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed off on a new interpretation of the 1872 Mining Law, overturning an opinion put in place under the Clinton administration in 1997, which the industry claimed limited its ability to grow. The department now says for mines on public land, mill sites with waste still must only be 5 acres, but that 20-acre claims can have an unlimited number of the mill sites. A mill site is land adjacent to a mine for offices, equipments and to hold waste dug out from the mine itself. The prior opinion limited a 20-acre mine to only a 5-acre mill site."

"Interior site gets new look" (Federal Computer Week, 10/09/2003)
"The Interior Department launched a new version of its Web site this morning in a move intended to make the site more informative and easier to use. 'We've worked to make the department site more user-friendly, and more valuable to the public,' said [the] senior content manager for the Web project."

"Legislation proposed to make fee demonstration program permanent" (Bend Bulletin, 10/14/2003)
"Fees for visiting federal lands may become permanent if legislation introduced in the House of Representatives becomes law. The legislation...would make permanent the 1996 Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. That program allows federal land management agencies to charge visitors to use trailheads and other facilities on public lands. Agencies may keep 80 percent or more of the money collected at the site for improvements and maintenance. The program is now temporary and is slated to expire next year."

"GUEST OPINION: Bush Faces Hostile Environment; His record has been distorted. From air and water pollution to forests and wildlife, things are getting better." (Los Angeles Times, 10/14/2003)
"Now it's true that there are some major defects in Bush's environmental policy — mainly its lack of global warming reform and its failure to seek meaningful fuel-economy increases for SUVs and the misnamed "light" pickup trucks that increasingly dominate auto sales. But otherwise most of the charges made against the White House are baloney — baloney being rolled and deep-fried with cheese for purposes of partisan political bashing and fund-raising.",1,2365428.story


"Furry firefighters make upper ridge safer" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 10/11/2003)
Herd of 280 goats roamed 80 acres clearing vegetation to create a "much-needed fire break" for the Butte County Fire Safe Council. After this fire season, hand crews will clear another 25 acres. BLM awarded $100,000 grant to the council this year.

"Oct. is 'Motor Touring Month'" (Inyo Register, 10/2/2003)
"Chambers, public officials team to promote exploration of Inyo."
PDF file, 100 kilobytes - reprinted courtesy the Inyo Register:

Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra including Death ValleyRelated: "Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra including Death Valley" (BLM California Web site)
"From the canyons of Death Valley to tree line in the High Sierra, most of Inyo County is open to exploring by vehicle - as long as you stay on established roads." (The SUV guide is a cooperative effort of the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association and it partners and friends, including BLM, area Chambers of Commerce and others.)

Related: "Eastern Sierra bouldering management" (BLM California issue update)
Another popular sport in the Bishop area of the eastern Sierra is bouldering. This document describes the explosive growth of and status of bouldering management on BLM-managed public lands there. (Note: the Issue Update Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

"National Geographic Theater Hearst Castle"
Piedras Blancas Light Station - historic photo exhibit through Dec. 31.

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

(c) 100 years. During that time, the white sturgeon can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh more than 1000 pounds!
Although there are bigger sturgeon in other countries, the white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America. Learn more about the white sturgeon in 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.)

(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.)

10/25/2003 - Needles Public Lands Day River Clean-up

10/25/2003 - 3rd annual "Celebrate the Monument"
Palm Desert

10/25/2003 - Descanso wild horse and burro adoption

11/03/2003 - Wind energy development scoping meeting

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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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(916) 978-4600

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