A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 138 -- 12/17/03:
Flute fragment discovered at one of the sitesJames BugeraWhere is this?Duck takes flight at Afton Canyon Watchable Wildlife siteBOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Great Basin - The Story behind the Scenery"

- Not for Educators Only:
     - "Where is this?" Interactive photo quiz
     - Free Brochure "The Great Basin BLM Collections"
- No News.bytes for two weeks
- Bookstore Feature: "Great Basin - The Story behind the Scenery"
- Meet your Advisory Council members: James M. Bugera
- Grazing:
     - Online database
     - More reaction to new grazing rules
- Stolen artifacts = 18 months in prison
- Abandoned mines contaminating fish
- National and/or Department of the Interior:
     - Bioenergy conference
     - Ruling on Endangered Species Act
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
     - Getting a handle on saltcedar
     - Researchers complain about Desert Conservation Act
     - Land agencies, climbers groups work on impacts
     - Two mines safe from protected plants
     - Pot farm danger on public lands
- Selected upcoming events - including a pair of hikes


Where is this?WHERE IS THIS? (Interactive photo quiz)
1. Kelso Dunes Wilderness Area
2. Cadiz Dunes Wilderness Area
3. North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area
Take your best guess and check your answer against other readers, in our interactive photo quiz:

FREE BROCHURE: "The Great Basin BLM Collections"
Flute fragment discovered at one of the sitesSign up online to receive this trifold color brochure - LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE. The brochure highlights archaeological discoveries in BLM collections from eastern California and central and western Nevada. Three sites in particular have helped our understanding of prehistory in this region. The three sites -- the Rose Spring Site in Inyo County, California, and Lovelock and Hidden Caves in Churchill County, Nevada -- were excavated by University of California faculty and students. This brochure was produced in conjunction with the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.

Related: "The Great Basin BLM collections" (UC Berkeley Hearst Museum Web site)
Web site with information related to the above sites, and artifacts found there.

We do not plan to issue News.bytes the weeks of Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, 2003. You should receive your next edition of News.bytes the week of Jan. 5, 2004. Happy Holidays!

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Great Basin - The Story behind the Scenery"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Great Basin - The Story behind the Scenery"
From the book description: "49 Pages of story and photos of the Great Basin....This book is dedicated to all who find Nature not an adversary to conquer and destroy, but a storehouse of infinite knowledge and experience linking man to all things past and present. They know conserving the natural environment is essential to our future well being. This book is full of beautiful photos of the Great Basin."

Desert District Advisory Council member James Bugera represents transportation and rights-of-way interests on the council. He has worked on every highway project throughout the Mojave Desert during the past seven years. Read more about him in this week's Advisory Council feature:


Rangeland Standards and Guidelines - Online database (BLM California site, hosted on Department of Interior server)
Pursuant to the Taylor Grazing Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the BLM issues permits and leases for livestock grazing in specified areas -- known as grazing allotments. Livestock grazing must be managed to follow standards and guidelines ("S&Gs") for healthy rangelands. The purpose of this database is to provide current information on the progress made in implementing standards and guidelines for healthy rangelands. It contains information on the monitoring of compliance with those standards and guidelines. It covers grazing allotments on public lands in California and the far northwestern corner of Nevada managed by the California State Office of the Bureau of Land Management.
(Note: the Wildlife Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

"Grazing rules put ranchers in the saddle" (Sacramento Bee, 12/12/2003)
"The White House proposals call for considering economic effects, not just habitat protection....California ranchers gain while environmentalists seethe under sweeping new grazing rules....that largely ease ranchers' burdens. If adopted, the rules also could shape millions of federally owned acres in California."


"Authorities recover 10,000 artifacts taken from Western historic sites" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/11/2003)
"The ring of relic hunters used probes, sifting screens, shovels and other tools to find items on public lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and Nellis Air Force Base" in several states, including California. Last "major defendant" pleads guilty - another defendant was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $86,196 in restitution. Thirteen sites across the West were damaged in their operation.

Related: "Two more defendants in artifacts case to be sentenced" (Las Vegas Sun, 12/12/2003)

Related: "Prosecution of relic thieves is warranted" (Las Vegas Sun, 12/12/2003)
EDITORIAL: "We understand that federal prosecutors have their plates full...but ensuring that our land's past is preserved and not stolen is important, too. Hopefully this prosecution will send a strong message to archaeological thieves, whether they're displaying the artifacts in their homes or selling them for profit, that looting won't be tolerated."


"State issues mercury warning" (Sacramento Bee, 12/17/2003)
"State health officials urged anglers Tuesday to curb their consumption of fish from five Sierra reservoirs and parts of the Bear and South Yuba rivers because of toxic mercury found in bass, catfish and trout....Authorities expect there will be many more warnings as scientists test waters below hundreds of old mines in the Sierra Mother Lode, where miners used toxic mercury to separate gold from ore." Many of these abandoned mines are on public lands managed by BLM California or other agencies.

"Location of inactive mines in Nevada and Placer counties" (BLM California Web site)
Orientation map and list of abandoned mine remediation projects involving BLM California -- including watersheds of the Bear and South Yuba rivers mentioned in the above article.

"BLM California abandoned mine lands activity" (BLM California Web site)
Statewide orientation to abandoned mine remediation sites involving BLM California.

"Sierra Nevada fish warning" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17/2003)


"Healthy landscapes and thriving communities: Bioenergy and Wood Products Conference, Jan. 20-22" (Department of the Interior news release, 12/16/2003)
The conference is designed to share information on bioenergy and its potential as a renewable energy source. Conference planners look to participation by community and civic leaders; wood products and bioenergy industry leaders and land managers from federal, state, tribal and local governments, conservationist and environmentalist and other stakeholders and interested organizations. Workshops for regions (including the Pacific Northwest and California) will help to identify barriers, solutions and action plans.

"Judge rejects 'No Surprises' habitat conservation plan" (Los Angeles Times, 12/16/2003)
"A federal judge struck down a key provision of the Endangered Species Act, ruling that an incentive for landowners to participate in conservation planning was adopted without adequate public consultation and must be reconsidered." Observers cite potential impact to federal land use plans.,1,1566326.story


"BLM gets handle on saltcedar" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 12/12/2003)
"People thought we were absolutely nuts to take this on..." but "[a]fter more than a decade of work, a thirsty, destructive plant is finally under control at Afton Canyon." Visitors touring the area -- including members of BLM's Desert District Advisory Council -- learned that "[a]lthough roughly 200 acres of saltcedar remain in Afton Canyon, the invasive species is no longer growing out of control.",83164,

Related: "Afton Canyon Watchable Wildlife site" (BLM California Web site)
Duck takes flight at Afton Canyon Watchable Wildlife siteRelated: Afton Canyon's surface water makes it unique in the southern California desert. Known locally as "The Grand Canyon of the Mojave" for its dramatic geological formations, this is one of the only places where the Mojave River flows above ground year-round - providing significant wildlife habitat amid the desert.

"Scientists say Desert Act limits them" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/16/2003)
Some scientists say rules and regulations from 1993's California Desert Protection Act blocks much research. "The act set aside large areas of Bureau of Land Management territory and regions of Death Valley as wilderness. It also created the Mojave National Preserve, much of it designated as wilderness....researchers say they are unintended victims of a law that unfairly pits science and environmental preservation against each other."

Related: "Scientist: No help without access" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/15/2003)
Researcher, environmentalists disagree about how much mechanized travel restrictions may hurt or help wilderness areas.

"AP Interview: Drug czar says pot guards endanger public lands" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15/2003)
"Mexican cartels have taken over much of California's marijuana farming, boosting both the potency of the drug and the propensity for violence from armed guards protecting the crop, the nation's drug czar said Monday. They're planting huge marijuana plots on public lands, creating a growing danger to hikers and hunters stumbling into the line of fire...."

"Mines safe from plant concerns" (Barstow Daily Dispatch, 12/20/2003)
"Complaints from three Newberry Springs area mines and from environmentalists have prompted the [BLM] to adjust part of a new desert plan, a bureau official said Friday." The topic was one of many discussed during an eight-hour meeting over BLM's West Mojave Plan.,2544,

"Land agencies and climbers' groups working on impacts" (The Inyo Register, 12/12/2003)
"Impact at local bouldering areas has been the topic of debate in recent years, with an explosion of visitors impacting several public recreation areas..."

(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.)

12/20/2003 - Desert Hikes - Buzzard Peak
El Centro

12/23/2003 - Geologist-led hike of Palm Springs Desert Museum trail
Palm Springs

01/02/2004 - Horse and burro gather plans public meeting

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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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