A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 133, 11/5/03  -  This week in News.bytes:
Profile: Kim BunnWhere is this?Meet your advisory councils: David KilpatrickGala reception for Piedras Blancas exhibitBluegill
- Not For Educators Only:
    - Where is this?
    - Wildlife trivia of the week: Pop quiz
- Wind energy meetings: Sacramento hosts first
- Meet your Advisory Council members: David Kilpatrick
- Profile: Kim Bunn
- Wildfire: "Picking up the pieces"
- Fort Ord burn
- Land use planning:
    - South Yuba
    - Redding area: Swasey Drive
- Desert wildlife issues:
    - Lizard lawsuit
    - Bighorn sheep protection

- Bookstore Feature: "California's Wilderness Area 1 - Mountains and Coastal Ranges"
- Record marijuana seizures on public lands

- National and/or Department of Interior news:
    - Supreme Court to hear wilderness case

- Headlines and Highlights, including:
    - Wild horse and burro adoption
    - Northeast California: Lakes low - check ahead
    - Piedras Blancas reception
    - Needles river cleanup a success
    - Illegal dumpers trash desert
    - ...and more
- Selected Upcoming Events

Wildlife trivia question markWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK
What is the danger of introducing non-native fish species into California's waterways? (You may have learned the answer in past issues of News.bytes):
(a) They have a low survival rate.
(b) They cross-breed with native species and produce mutant monsters.
(c) They pollute waterways with their litter.
(d) They crowd out native species.
(e) Like rude guests, they refuse to leave when they are no longer welcome.
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

Where is this? WHERE IS THIS?
1. Clipper Mountains Wilderness Area
2. Little Picacho Wilderness Area
3. Indian Pass Wilderness Area
Take your best guess, and compare your answer to other News.bytes readers, in this interactive feature at:


Initial National Wind Energy Scoping Meeting Receives Positive Welcome in California: Public testimony on the preparation of a programmatic environmental impact statement for wind energy in the West received several positive comments and suggestions from people who testified in the first scooping session held by BLM in Sacramento, California. See photos from the meetings:

Related: "Interior Dept. schedules local meetings to gain public input on development of Wind Energy" (Department of Interior news release, 10/31/2003)

David KilpatrickMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: David Kilpatrick
David Kilpatrick represents energy and mineral interests on BLM's Central California Advisory Council. He has over 25 years of management and operating experience in the oil and gas industry and is currently the president of his own consulting business. He has been actively involved in the regulatory aspects of BLM lands for the past 10 years.

Profile: Kim BunnPROFILE: Kim Bunn
Kim Bunn is a wildlife biologist with BLM California's Folsom Field Office. Besides her regular duties, she works with BLM wildlife biologists from around the state, to update the online wildlife database she originated while an intern. "My whole job is interesting!" she says. Read more about Kim in this week's News.bytes Profile:


" Ramona residents pick up pieces" (North County Times, 10/31/2003)
Residents return after wildfire roared through their neighborhoods. BLM firefighter comments on the fire.

"Senate approves record package to fight wildfire" (Associated Press in USA Today, 11/4/2003)
"The Senate on Monday approved $3.4 billion to fight wildfires -- record-level spending that came as firefighters in Southern California sought to douse fires." The funding is part of two controversial bills that await the President's signature.

"California wildfires put airtanker pilots to the test" (Associated Press, in Sacramento Bee, 10/30/2003)
"In two decades of fighting fires from the sky, air tanker pilot Peter Bell had never seen anything like the vortex in the Southern California skies this week. There was a big spiral, like a tornado, that sucked all this dirt and garbage into the sky," he says. Windshields on six tankers were cracked by the debris, and cockpits filled with smoke. Another pilot saw a 4-by-8 foot sheet of plywood sail past at 1,500 feet."

"Common bond strengthens firefighters" (Associated Press, in USA Today, 10/30/2003)
"They come from throughout the West, some aboard shiny urban fire engines and others in aging buses, a diverse collection of men and women - even prison inmates. All share a common purpose - to quell the fires devastating Southern California."

"National fire center stressed cost cutting" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/1/2003)
"Six months before this week's devastating wildfires, federal authorities charged with coordinating firefighting nationwide declared saving money a top priority. The National Interagency Fire Center in May added cost-containment to its goals, behind firefighter and public safety, fire detection and attack and community protection."

"National fire news - Wildland fire update" (National Interagency Fire Center Website)
Wildfire news for public lands across the West, updated daily.

"Senior Indian Affairs officials working with state and federal agencies to assist Tribal members impacted by California wildfires" (Department of Interior news release, 11/4/2003)
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Aurene M. Martin, met with representatives of state and federal agencies and tribal leaders in a “rapid response” assistance effort to help some 2,750 members of a dozen Native American tribes who have been affected by three major wildfires in southern California. Ten deaths have been reported, an estimated 30,000 acres have burned and 130 homes have been destroyed on reservations of tribes in the region.


"Army makes case for burn" (The Salinas Californian, 10/31/2003)
"Out of control blaze cleared former Fort Ord firing range; Action makes way for ordnance removal...'There are hundreds or thousands' of partially buried anti-tank rockets, spokesperson says...The land eventually is to be turned over to the [BLM] and converted to a recreation-trail area."

"Cloud of smoke has silver lining" (Coast Weekly, Monterey County, 10/30/2003)
"Fort Ord burn will mean good news for wildflowers and critters, as Army tries to figure out how it got away."

"A fort of ordnance" (Register-Pajaronian, 11/1/2003)
"Test rockets, artillery shells litter the landscape of former base...Most of the land in the hills to the east of the former Fort Ord will be turned over to the Bureau of Land Management which hopes to make the land more user friendly after the clearing project is complete...Says BLM project manager for Fort Ord: ' "We are going to put in trails to allow the public to enjoy this beautiful landscape that, up until now, has been off limits.'"


"South Yuba River planning meeting Nov. 5 - tonight" (BLM California news release, 11/03/2003)
A public meeting to work on a comprehensive management plan for the public lands along the 39-mile stretch of the South Yuba River from Spaulding Reservoir to Lake Englebright will be held on Wednesday, November 5, 2003, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm in Grass Valley.

"BLM releases draft plan for Swasey Drive public lands; Public meeting Nov. 19" (BLM California news release, 11/03/2003)
The BLM has released for public review and comment a draft management plan and environmental assessment for public lands in the Swasey Drive area west of Redding. The documents describe proposed recreation uses and resource protection measures for the two-square-mile area that includes lands designated by the BLM as an "Area of Critical Environmental Concern."

DESERT WILDLIFE: Lizard lawsuit, Bighorn sheep protection

"Group seeks to reverse ruling on desert lizard" (Imperial Valley Press, 10/31/2003)
The flat-tailed horned lizard "has been at the forefront of an enormous back-and-forth legal battle between federal officials and environmental interest groups seeking broader protections for the animal....The animal's primary habitat...includes public land in Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties, Arizona and Baja California."

Related: "Lizard defenders file suit over species' status" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/30/2003)
"Environmentalists in an ongoing battle with the government over the status of a desert lizard are taking the fight to court." Lawsuit "accuses the government of illegally denying the flat-tailed horned lizard protection as a threatened species."

Related: "Flat-tailed horned lizard" (BLM California wildlife database)
Flat-tailed horned lizardFlat-tailed honed lizards require habitats that offer fine sand with little vegetation. They are most often found near ant nests, as ants are their primary food. Learn more about this desert denizen in our BLM California wildlife database. (Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

"BLM Implements Closure to Protect Bighorn Sheep" (BLM California news release, 11/5/2003)
The BLM is implementing an immediate closure of the public lands in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument that overlook the bighorn sheep breeding pens located on the Bighorn Institute to all recreational and casual use.

Related: "Trail system targets hikers with hounds" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/30/2003)
"[Palm Desert] City officials are hoping to lure hikers and their dogs to their new trail system on the eastern edge of the city. The trails will be built...adjacent to Bureau of Land Management land east of Highway 74. Dogs are not allowed on the BLM land and trails. The new trails that allow dogs will lead to the city parks and give a view of the valley floor."

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "California's Wilderness Areas, Volume 1 - Mountains and Coastal Ranges"
California's Wilderness Areas, Volume 1 - Mountains and Coastal Ranges"The user-friendly guide to 61 of California's non-desert wild places. Including the most popular wildernesses - Ansel Adams, John Muir, Desolation, and Yosemite; as well as the lesser known but equally spectacular - South Warner, Siskiyou, Sespe. This essential guide contains 61 wilderness descriptions with locational maps, 180 specific day and overnight hikes, 75 color photos depicting each wilderness. This guide reveals places you never knew existed and hikes to do throughout the year."


"Authorities seize record amount of marijuana in California" (Associated Press, in San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/29/2003)
"Law enforcement officials in California seized a record 466,000 marijuana plants in the newest fall harvest, nearly 100,000 more plants than last year...Three out of four plants seized in 2003 were on public land, including popular family destinations...Members of local sheriffs offices, the U.S. Forest Service, California National Guard and Bureau of Land Management conducted 182 raids, seized 50 weapons and arrested 35 people."

"Cops make big bust" (PaloVerde Valley Times, 11/3/2003)
Officers from several agencies including BLM arrest four suspects with 105 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of about $475,000.

"Tulare County tops state for pot seizures" (Porterville Recorder, 10/30/03)
A Tulare County Sheriff's Department spokesperson "stressed the gardens, some on public lands, provide a safety hazard to the public."


"Suit tests management of wilderness by BLM; Is government inaction actionable?" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/04/2003)
The U.S. Supreme Court stepped into a battle between the Bush administration and environmental groups Monday by agreeing to decide when the government can be sued for allegedly failing to protect undeveloped lands.

Related: " High court ruling to hear wilderness case a blow to environmentalists" (Associated Press on CNN, 11/04/2003)
"Environmental groups suing to keep off-road vehicles off pristine Western lands were dealt a setback Monday as the Supreme Court agreed to consider the government's argument that the case is invalid. The court's decision to hear the case jeopardizes an appeals court ruling favorable to the environmental groups."

Related: "High court case could impact parks" (United Press International in Washington Times, 11/03/2003)

Related: "Supreme Court jumps into fight over Western lands" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3/2003)
"The Supreme Court said Monday it will use a dispute over wilderness areas to decide what legal rights people have when they're angered by government action -- or inaction. The case puts the justices in the middle of a fight between environmentalists and the Bush administration over allowing off-road vehicles in wilderness study areas."

"BLM director apologizes to employees for criticisms in Reno" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 10/31/2003)
"The head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management apologized to her 10,000 employees nationally for her criticism a week ago of agency bureaucrats"

"Interior to consider dropping claims to some monument roads" (Salt Lake Tribune, 11/3/2003)
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton says precedents set within national monument in Utah could affect "Revised Statute 2477" road claims on public lands throughout the West (some counties in California have said they will make claims). "There are a number of things about [the Utah pact] that are a good model and could resolve a vast majority of the road disputes in the West," Norton said...."There are other issues where the federal government and the local communities will have to agree to disagree and resolve that in the judicial process."


"Shooting suspect turns himself in" (The Union Democrat, 10/29/2003)
"A man suspected of shooting at a [BLM ranger] the Red Hills area was arrested, marking the second arrest in the case.

"Horses, burros up for adoption in BLM program" (Fresno Bee, 10/31/2003)
"It's easy to drive around California and imagine that the days of wild land and untamed horses are long gone. Think again. A unique Bureau of Land Management program will bring a group of wild horses and burros to the Tulare County Fairground from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9."

Related: On Friday, BLM's Mindy Odom is scheduled to appear live on TV with her trained wild horse "Pinocchio." TV Channel 47 (KGPE), covering the Fresno-Visalia-Merced area, plans to air the live footage on their morning show.

"BLM offers reward for information on theft and vandalism at dunes" (Yuma Sun, 11/03/2003)

"EPA, USFS and BLM close Rinconada Mine area for cleanup work" (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency news release, 11/4/2003)
"The closed area...near...Santa dangerous and fences should not be bypassed or damaged. Preliminary soil sampling in the Rinconada Mine area has revealed elevated mercury levels which, if inhaled or ingested from dust, can pose health problems. There are also hazardous tunnels left over from past mining operations."

"Illegal dumpers trashing desert around Ridgecrest" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 11/04/2003)
Local officials say much of the dumping is on private land, and ownership needs to be traced. BLM tries to monitor dumping on public lands.

"Play: by the people, for the people; links agencies, state tourism Web resources" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 11/02/2003)
Sports columnist: "I wish I had a nickel for every time someone's asked me, 'Hey, where can I go horseback riding near Alturas?' OK, well, maybe nobody's asked that question, exactly. But, curiously enough, the answer would be the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Alturas Recreation Area. How do I know? Well, I checked out..., a huge database site."

"High Desert lakes are low; Visitors should check on conditions" (BLM California news release, 10/31/2003)
Warm, dry summer and fall weather impacted high desert reservoirs in Northeast California and Northwest Nevada, and anglers should check on conditions before heading out on fall fishing trips.

Volunteers unload trash from pickup truck into dumpster"Needles river cleanup a success" (News.bytes Extra)
On Saturday, October 25 about 100 people took part in the Colorado River Cleanup in honor of National Public Lands Day. The cleanup began at 8:00 a.m. and ended with a cook-out in the afternoon at Santa Fe Park in front of the historic Harvey House. Despite the terrible Santa Ana winds, volunteers filled two 40-yard dumpsters while cleaning between Needles and Topock. See photos and learn more, at:

"Piedras Blancas Lighthouse reception" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM employees and volunteers strolled in their top hat and tails, and whirled around in ankle length dresses modeling the 1870's to 1903 attire that would have been worn by Coastal Californians residing in the vicinity of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. The fashion show and other festivities were held to commemorate the exhibit of restored photographs, paintings and blueprints that illustrate the rich history of the Piedras Blancas Light Station.

(d) They crowd out native species. (Half-credit for answering (e) Like rude guests, they refuse to leave when they are no longer welcome.) In many cases, these introduced species can adapt to a variety of habitats. They compete fiercely with our native fish for food, space, and breeding grounds. Once the introduced fish become dominant in a pond, stream, or lake, native fish populations drop -- in some areas native fish have become extinct. Most of these non-native fish were introduced as game species for fishermen, but as their populations expand the fish tend to be smaller in size because of lack of space. That drives fishermen away, and non-native fish numbers grow even larger.
bluegillThe bluegill, the most abundant species in the sunfish family in California, is a good example of the negative impact introduced species can have on our native fish. (In an earlier News.bytes Wildlife Trivia question, you learned that the Sacramento perch is the only sunfish family member native to California.) Learn more about the bluegill 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.)

11/17/2003 - Joint Ventures - Partnership in Stewardship Conference
Los Angeles

- No Program Area - Upcoming Events
11/18/2003 - Joint Ventures - Partnership in Stewardship Conference
Los Angeles
- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links
to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's
"Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication.
If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites,
or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR
sign up online at: