A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue date: 2/20/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Off-roaders sue to open more of Imperial Sand Dunes
- Not For Educators Only:
     - FREE OFFER: Public lands map
     - Wildlife Trivia of the Week: Venomous
     - Weed of the Week: Hottentot fig
- Off-road: More issues
- Wild horses coming!
- National news: Budget negotiations
- Power line right-of-way
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
     - Wanted: Nominees for Desert Advisory Council
     - Wilderness bill
     - Hiking trail dispute cools
- Selected Upcoming Events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"Duners file suit to open acreage" (Yuma Sun, 02/20/2003)
Off-road organizations sue to remove Pierson's milk vetch from a federal list of endangered species -- could reverse a temporary ban on motorized vehicles on 49,000 BLM-managed acres of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area.

"Off-roaders want answers on plant" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 02/20/2003)
"Removing the milk vetch's 'threatened' status could allow Imperial Sand Dunes to reopen"

"Off-road group sues over milkvetch" (Imperial Valley Press, 02/19/2003)
"'This is sort of a lightning rod petition,' [spokesman says]. 'Basically, they (Fish and Wildlife) haven't acted on our petition to delist so we're forcing them to act.'"

Westernmost section of the U.S. map FREE OFFER - National Geographic Map: "Public Lands of the United States"
(While they last!) Step into a big backyard - your backyard! America's public lands are yours to hike, to climb, to swim, to explore, and yours to protect and use wisely. To receive a copy of your 34" x 23" map published by National Geographic, visit the Web page below, to send us your name and mailing address for your free copy.
-->This offer expired March 2003.<---

- Hottentot fig
... invasive noxious weed -- commonly called "ice plant." A succulent which stores water in swollen leaves or stems - it can survive in a drought or after being uprooted. Hottentot fig grows low to the ground and blankets dunes with a sprawling growth habit. This weed displaces native plants all along the California coast.

Mojave rattlesnake - photo credit: Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences Trivia Question mark of the weekWILDLIFE TRIVIA OF THE WEEK:
How many venomous snakes occur in California?
(See answer near end of this edition of News.bytes)



Off-highway quad vehicle"BLM Desert District Schedules Open House to Solicit Public Comments on OHV Grant Applications" (BLM California news release, 02/13/2003)
The BLM has scheduled a public scooping meeting to obtain public comments on the off-highway vehicle (OHV) grants being submitted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division.

(See more public meetings regarding off-highway vehicle grants, under "Selected Upcoming Events" below)

"Public will have to pay to use popular recreation spot" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 02/14/2003)
Users of Sand Mountain Recreation Area near Reno will pay a fee starting March 12. BLM says fee needed because of increasing costs to maintain the area - popular among northern Californians using all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and sandboards.

THE WILD HORSES ARE COMING! (Wild burros, too)

wild horse - in the wild"Prospective buyers seek the perfect animal" (Merced Sun-Star, 02/17/2003)
"A small boy stood beside the cold metal bars of a corral at Chowchilla's Fairgrounds Saturday. One small arm and leg wound through the rungs, as the boy's eyes remained glued on the wild animals fenced inside..." Feature story on last weekend's wild horse and burro adoption in Chowchilla.

Related: "Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Turlock" (BLM California news release, 02/12/2003)
Plan ahead for the next wild horse and burro adoption. This BLM event will be held in conjunction with the Back Country Horsemen Rendezvous.


"Power line still possible for forest" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 02/16/2003)
Valley Rainbow Interconnect high-voltage line: "State utility regulators say a San Diego utility doesn't need a high-voltage electric transmission line through Riverside County." But proponents still pursuing line through Cleveland National Forest on the southwest edge of the county. U.S. Representative plans to introduce bill to direct U.S. Forest Service and BLM to designate a transmission line route through the forest.

NATIONAL NEWS: Budget negotiations

"Spending Bill Caps 2-Year Surge" (Washington Post, 02/19/2003)
Federal agencies operating under a "continuing resolution" since Fiscal Year 2003 began October 1, now see actual budgets. "President Bush will sign legislation this week setting a 2003 budget that raises federal spending by 7.8 percent over last year, capping a remarkable two years in which the federal budget increased by 22 percent."

"House Approves Civil Service Pay Raise of 4.1 Percent; Senate to Consider It Next" (Washington Post, 02/14/2003)
"The suspense surrounding the 2003 federal pay raise -- a financial cliffhanger for many civil service employees -- nears an end."

"Congress OKs $40 million for SB County" (San Bernardino County Sun, 02/14/2003)
"The huge spending bill approved Thursday by Congress includes more than $40 million for San Bernardino County projects... For desert lands, the [BLM] gets $800,000 for a new communication system, $600,000 to increase ranger patrols and $250,000 to help complete a West Mojave conservation plan.",1413,208%257E12588%257E1179016,00.html

"U.S. may leave forest care to timber firms; Provision tacked onto federal spending bill" (San Francisco Chronicle, 02/13/2003)
A "little-noticed provision added at the last minute to Congress' huge domestic spending bill" would let U.S. Forest Service and BLM "award unlimited number of "stewardship contracts" - essentially paying logging companies trees, for maintaining trails or thinning forests to reduce the risk of wildfire. Critics say the plan could open up wide swaths of public land to heavier logging."


"BLM Seeks Nominees for California Desert District Advisory Council" (BLM California news release, 02/20/2003)
The BLM is seeking nominations of people to serve on its California Desert District Advisory Council for the 2004-2006 term.

"Ron Noordman receives Partner Agency Employee of the Year award from Pacific Crest Trail Association"
Ron Noordman of BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, was recognized by the Pacific Crest Trail Association at their annual meeting. Ron received the Partner Agency Employee of the Year award for his outstanding service and commitment to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail - for more than 20 years.
(Note: this item is on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

"Firefighter school gets a home at McClellan" (Sacramento Bee, 02/16/2003)
New firefighter school at former McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento formed by U.S. Forest Service will serve all federal agencies. BLM spokesperson says job is getting harder because of 'wildland fire-urban interface issues' - more people living in the forest, so firefighters save lives and homes in addition to trees and brush. 'People like to live out in the woods, and we have an obligation to protect them ... That's what this facility is for.'"

"Our Voice: More desert lands protected by BLM" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 02/14/2003)
Editorial: "'What makes this deal different from any other involving purchases of wilderness is that it was funded with private donations and then given to the public,' said [representative of company involved in desert preservation land transfer.] 'The conservation group ought to get a pat on the back for that.' We would agree that private efforts to acquire and protect land better serve the modern conservation mission than government acquisition of privately held lands."

"PRBO Conservation Science joins coastal monument team" (BLM California news release, 02/18/2003)
PRBO Conservation Science, a California organization with extensive involvement in management and protection of coastal resources, has joined the BLM and other agencies as a "collaborating partner" in the California Coastal National Monument.

"Hiking-trail dispute cools" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 02/19/2003)
"Parties vow cooperation in conflict pitting dogs and sheep: Hikers who want to walk their dogs in the wilderness will ... steer clear of captive bighorn sheep under proposal..."

"Wilderness group rallies support for bill" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 02/18/2003)
Group supports inclusion of five areas managed by BLM's Barstow Field Office, into California Wild Heritage Act, expected to be introduced soon in U.S. Senate. Some off-roading groups say it would close too many areas to their sport.
(Note: the link to the following online newspaper article ends with a comma (,). This link may not work in some browsers -- if this is the case, you can copy and paste the complete URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" line.),24782,

Related: "Coalition petitions to protect desert land" (San Bernardino County Sun, 2/18/03)
Senate Bill said to include 2.4 million acres.,1413,208%257E12588%257E1188753,00.html

Trivia Question mark of the weekWILDLIFE TRIVIA ANSWER to: "How many venomous snakes occur in California?"
There are nine venomous snakes in California. Learn more about each on the BLM California Wildlife Database.
(Note: these item are on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)

Mojave rattlesnake (known as "the most dangerous snake in North America"):

Red diamond rattlesnake:


Speckled rattlesnake:

Western Diamondback rattlesnake:

Western rattlesnake:

Great Basin Rattlesnake:

Lyre snake (although not dangerous to humans):

Night snake (although not dangerous to humans):


(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.)

02/25/2003 - Hollister OHV grant workshop

02/25/2003 - Ukiah OHV grant workshop

02/26/2003 - Ukiah OHV grant workshop

02/27/2003 - Northeast California Advisory Council

02/28/2003 - Northeast California Advisory Council

03/08/2003 - Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Carrisa Plain

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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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