A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 135 - 11/19/03:
Mountain beaver - photo courtesy  Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of SciencesHoward BrownBOOKSTORE FEATURE: "You can find gold with a metal detector"Al FranklinWhere is This?
- Not for Educators Only:
    - Wildlife Trivia of the Week: Pelting the beaver
    - Photo Quiz: "Where is This?"
    - Students, BLM saving seeds
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Howard Brown
- Profile: Al Franklin
- Bookstore Feature: "You can find gold with a metal detector"
- Imperial Sand Dunes: Popularity, debate
- Wildfire aftermath: Repairing the damage; Flood concerns
- Conflicting land uses with shooting ranges?
- Energy: Mexico power plants; IID transmission line
- National and/or Department of the Interior news
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
    - BLM accuser
    - Judge on Cemex gravel mining
    - Trashing the land


Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the WeekWILDLIFE TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: "Pelting the beaver"
The mountain beaver has what you might call a "secret" - at least something you might not expect of these industrious creatures.
What is it?
(a) They are sometimes carnivorous.
(b) They raise only the strongest single offspring of a litter, pushing the others out of their dens.
(c) They like to raid nests of ground-nesting waterfowl, for their eggs.
(d) They are not actually beavers.
(e) The mountain beaver's voracious appetite for a rare plant, is responsible for the extinction of the Spurious butterfly.
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

Where is This? 1. Hollow Hills Wilderness Area
2. Ibex Wilderness Area
3. Nopah Range Wilderness Area
Make your best guess, and check your answer, in our interactive photo quiz:


"Seeds, dried and frozen, mark the flora of today" (Inyo Register, 10/30/2003)
BLM Bishop Field Office works with student interns in cooperative "Seeds of Success" -- to collect and preserve "at least 10 percent of the world's dry land plant species...for long-term storage...." Partly funded by British lottery funds, the effort will divide the seeds between the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England; the BLM field office; the Smithsonian Institution; and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Seeds collected with BLM are expected to make up one-sixth of the expected 24,000 species.
(PDF file, 80 kilobytes):

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "You can find gold with a metal detector"
BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "You can find gold with a metal detector"From the book description: "Two veterans of metal detecting and prospecting share their lifetimes of secrets to prove that the right detector can produce more ounces of gold per dollar invested than any other type of equipment. Learn how to recover nuggets in stream beds, search for veins, seek nuggets in dredge/mine tailings and open up new vistas of excitement and profit.

Desert District Advisory Council member Howard Brown is a geologist with more than 24 years professional experience as an exploration and mining geologist and mining engineer. He has lived in the Mojave Desert for more than 22 years, and represents mineral/energy interests on the council. Learn more at:

Al FranklinProfile: Al Franklin
Al is currently manager of the Pine Hill Preserve -- a special area located in western El Dorado County that is home to a collection of eight rare plant species, three of which are found nowhere else in the world. After the first of the year, he will be returning to his position as botanist with BLM's Folsom Field Office. Read more about Al at:

IMPERIAL SAND DUNES: Popularity, debate

"Inside look at the outside: Media, business leaders, officials get up-close look at off-roading" (Yuma Sun, 11/15/2003)
"Business leaders, government officials and members of the media from both Arizona and California caught rides on sand rails as part of a tour of the Imperial Sand Dunes on Friday. The tour, put on by the American Sand Association, was intended to help give people who don't normally come to the dunes a better understanding of off-roading activities." BLM manages the dunes off-roading area.

"Dune wars" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/15/2003)
Related: "Off-road fans and environmentalists clash on Imperial County battlefield"

"Dunes revelers face zero tolerance" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/18/2003)
"With no fewer than 100,000 people expected to enjoy the Imperial Valley Sand Dunes Recreation Area over the Thanksgiving holiday, law enforcement and emergency agencies are gearing up for what they know will be a long weekend. More than 100 officers from state, local and federal agencies are expected to be patrolling the dunes over the holiday weekend."


"Teams work on flood control" (Victorville Daily Press, 11/18/2003)
"First the fires. Now the rains. That's the reality U.S. Forest Service officials are grappling with as they prepare for floods a major storm will likely bring to the southern slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains." Preventive measures are being taken by "Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation teams" including representatives of federal, state and local agencies (including BLM).,71901,

Related: "Burned Areas Emergency Rehabilitation and the Emergency Watershed Protection Program" (Web pages hosted for U.S. Forest Service)
The Old Fire and Grand Prix Fire in Southern California pose long-term threats to property, water supplies and vegetation. Federal agencies (including BLM), state and local agencies are working with private landowners: "The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is designed to address potentially hazardous situations through its key goals of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems."

"Local fire officials call for action" (Victorville Daily Press, 11/13/2003)
"A blue-ribbon commission...[met] to review firefighting efforts during the Southern California wildfires and determine ways to mitigate future catastrophe. The 22-member commission consists of federal, state and local officials....Forestry officials do not expect much finger pointing or back patting because the call for action is so strong.",93678,

"Secretary Norton and Mexico's Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Alberto Cardenas-Jimenez, Agree to Extend Wildfire Protection Agreement for Additional Ten Years" (BLM California news release, 11/12/2003)
This agreement has enabled fire fighters and their equipment to cross the border and help fight wildfires that threaten both countries. "The recent experience in Southern California reinforces the need to work together to manage fires," said Norton.


"DOE sets public hearings on power plants" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/13/2003)
"Imperial Valley residents can have their say about two new Mexican power plants accused of contributing to air pollution in the Imperial Valley...The BLM administers right-of-way permits for the power transmission lines that cross the international border." Two public meetings are set for Nov. 20 - one in El Centro, one in Calexico.

Related: "County supports Mexicali power plants studies" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/18/2003
"The Imperial County Board of Supervisors made sure its voice is on the record before federal officials come to the Valley on Thursday by outlining its support of wide-ranging environmental studies for two controversial Mexicali power plants that recently became operational."

"BLM slates hearings on IID transmission line" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/11/2003)
Meetings tonight and tomorrow on "draft environmental impact statement/environmental impact report for the proposed Imperial Irrigation District desert southwest transmission line project."

"Legislation would aid local energy industries" (Bakersfield Californian, 11/19/2003)
"The energy bill the U.S. House of Representatives passed Tuesday is beneficial to local oil and gas producers and Tehachapi's wind energy industry, advocates of both sectors say."


"Shooting range irks neighbors" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/14/2003)
A target shooting and skeet range has operated since the late 1940s near sand and gravel mining operations. Operators of the non-profit fish and game club are asking the BLM -- which manages 40 acres on which the range sits - to renew their lease for another 20 years. But houses have since been built in the surrounding area -- and some neighbors want the range shut down.,1413,208%257E12588%257E1765961,00.html

"BLM may close shooting range" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 11/16/2003)
"Agency considers proposal for land off Swasey Drive: It's just two square miles. But this public parcel along Swasey Drive contains much more than its size would suggest. And the word is out. Folks are flocking here for as many reasons as there are blue oaks on the rolling hills. And their use of the land isn't always compatible."

"BLM takes shot at guarding piece of county history" (Redding Record-Searchlight, 11/18/2003)
"The Bureau of Land Management has set its sights on a plan to protect archaeological treasures west of Swasey Drive and close a long-established shooting range. Gun owners may gripe, but the BLM is right to want to preserve a rich lode of Shasta County's history."


"Despite recusals, Clarke held numerous meetings on Utah issues" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17/2003)

"Secretary Norton urges Interior conference to expand citizen stewardship partnerships" (Department of Interior news release, 11/18/03)
Speaking to the opening session of Joint Ventures: Partners in Stewardship Conference in Los Angeles, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said for conservation to succeed in the 21st century, “we must involve the people who live on, work on and love the land.”


"DA mulling charges against BLM accuser" (Imperial Valley Press, 11/17/2003)

Related: "Rangers probed in alleged abuse" Congressman files "a letter of inquiry with the [BLM]'s legislative affairs office...concerning abuse allegations raised against two federal rangers by one of his constituents."

"Judge: Fish can swim in cement" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 11/14/2003)
"Environmental groups lose fight to block Cemex mine with endangered species law." Federal judge rules "that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service followed federal laws to protect an endangered fish found primarily in the Santa Clara River."

Related: "Cemex wins round in fight for quarry" (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/13/2003),1413,200%257E20949%257E1764961,00.html

"Trashing the county" (The Nevada County Union, 11/18/2003)
"Trash vigilantes...endless battle against illegal dumping gets results" in their neighborhood in the Sierra. On bordering BLM-managed land, a ranger says, "'We spend thousands of dollars every year in this area to deal with the problem'....If it's any consolation...the problem isn't unique to Nevada County. (He patrols BLM land in Nevada, Yuba and Placer counties.) 'It's rampant everywhere, not just Nevada County,' he said. 'It's just turned into a huge problem'."

Related: "DHS woman battling the BLM" (KESQ Channel 3 News, 11/14/2003)
"The [BLM] keeps up the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the public's enjoyment. But how far can they go to protect it? A Desert Hot Springs woman is accusing the BLM of overstepping their bounds..." by investigating how her trash got dumped on an illegal spot on the outskirts of the city.

"What is the mountain beaver's 'secret'?"
(d) The mountain beaver is not actually a beaver. They are the only survivor of the "Aplodontidae" family. ("An early offshoot of the Aplodontidae, the now-extinct Myagaulidae, were Mountain beaver - photo courtesy  Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciencesanimals the size of woodchucks that had prominent horns" says the University of Michigan / Museum of Zoology / Animal Diversity Web. The mountain beaver does divert water like beavers -- but into extensive tunnels they build, with numerous openings and many dead-ends. Mountain beavers close off old burrows using chunks of clay or stone.
Learn more about the Mountain beavers 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.)

12/06/2003 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Palm Desert

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Bureau of Land Management
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