A publication of
Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue date: 2/26/2003

This week in News.bytes:

- Not For Educators Only:
     - Plant of the Week: Closed-throated beardtongue
Bookstore Feature: Location and Patenting of Mining Claims and Mill Sites
     - Wildlife Trivia: Venom again this week - but not snakes this time
     - Comments on last week's Trivia Question - "Yes and No"
     - GREAT response to last week's free offer!
- More on BLM and education
- Weed threat
- Navigating the BLM California Web site, including:
     - A new California Web site: archeology answers
- National news:
     - Habitat grants
     - Renewable energy potential
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
     - Meeting on wild horse gather plans
     - Pit River campground plans
     - BLM classes focus on ecology
     - Snow-bound Easterners tour leads through Big Morongo
     - Biologists say milk vetch needs more study
     - Sheep still dogged
- Selected Upcoming Events


Plant of the Week:  Closed-throated beardtongue PLANT OF THE WEEK: Closed-throated beardtongue
Perennial herb, spreading mainly by underground system of roots and runners. Leaves are rather widely oval and pointed at tips. If in shade, plants may remain under 6 inches tall and without flowering stems. In the sun, mature plants send up one to several flowering stems, from 12 to 20 inches tall, with blue to red-purple, tube-shaped flowers.
Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the week
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is California's only venomous lizard?"
(Answer near end of this issue of News.bytes)
Bookstore Feature: "Location and Patenting of Mining Claims and Mill Sites" BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Location and Patenting of Mining Claims and Mill Sites"
This book -- written by BLM California staff -- explains how to locate and patent mining claims in California. It shows locations, monuments and claim maps.


A sample comment from the public (a biologist working with the military, I believe): "I'm sure you've gotten responses from individuals who want to include additional rattlesnakes to your lists of species..." and he goes on to list a few he might include. He and others make good points. The wildlife biologist who devises our Trivia Question of the Week agrees there is room for debate - and explains why she made the choices she did.
(Note: this item is on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.)
More details at:

We have run out of last week's free offer of the National Geographic Map: "Public Lands of the United States". Almost 1,000 individual requests reached us in the first 48 hours, exhausting our supply. Thank you! for your interest in BLM and other publications.


"BLM classes focus on ecology" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 2/24/2003)
""Students learn about science, environment during field trips."

"Junior duners get environment lesson" (Yuma Sun, 02/23/2003)
"A new program aims to teach young off-roaders how to safely have fun in the dunes and still preserve the natural environment....Future classes may go beyond this basic introduction to teaching children and teens riding skills and blending the program with the [BLM]'s junior ranger program."


"Harmful Weeds Threaten Nation's Ecosystem" (BLM California news release, 02/24/2003)
Invasive plants know no boundaries.  As a result, states across the country are losing precious wildlife habitat and desirable native plants as invasive plant species rapidly overrun public and private lands.

"National Invasive Weeds Awareness Week Questions & Answers" (BLM California news release, 02/24/2003)

"Noxious Weed: Yellow starthistle" (BLM California Web page)
Yellow starthistle infests much of California, among other states. It invades roadsides, vacant lots, pastures and rangelands.
     One example of the harm it does: During dry years when other plants die back, horses may be forced to eat yellow starthistle. That can cause "chewing disease" which prevents them from eating - and they starve to death.
     Also worth noting: yellow starthistle may start with a small infestation of a site - and not increase for several years. It becomes genetically adapted to that site - and then the population "explodes" and spreads rapidly. Small populations must be eradicated!
   Just one of many places starthistle is being fought, is on land managed by BLM California's Bishop Field Office:


"Navigating BLM California's Web site"
Focus this week - News releases, Advisory Councils, Federal Register Notices, news archives, public comment periods and more:
     The BLM California website has so much information, it helps to have a map to navigate. The best place to start is at Home, On the left-hand side of the page, under the state of California graphic, is a menu. The very first on the list is "News." Clicking on "News" takes you to another menu of news releases, Federal Register notices, advisory council information, public comment period listings, and an archive of previous years' news releases and Federal Register listings. The most current information is in the "News Releases" and "Federal Register Notices."
      News releases are posted almost daily as news items are submitted from BLM California's 15 field offices, Desert District office and state office. The Federal Register is reviewed daily and California related notices are extracted and added to the local website. Take a trip to these sites and find the latest in news and information on BLM-California:

NEW BLM CALIFORNIA WEB PAGE: "Frequently asked questions for BLM archeological and paleontological project approvals"
The BLM issues Cultural Resource Use Permits for research, for compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, and for compliance with the Archeological Resources Protection Act - and to authorize paleontological research. Answers questions such as:
"Who needs to apply for a Cultural Resource Use Permit?" - "How do I apply? - "How long does it take?" - "Where do I apply" - and more.


"Secretary Norton Announces $34.8 million in grants to support habitat conservation for imperiled species on private lands" (BLM California news release, 02/25/2003)
The new partnership program is to help private landowners conserve and restore habitat of endangered species and other at-risk plants and animals. Grants are awarded to states in two tiers: on for administrative program needs and the second to support project implementation - with at least 25 percent non-federal matching funds. California is slated to receive total of $1,740,000.

"High renewable energy potential in West" (United Press International, 02/21/2003)
"The Bush administration ... released an extensive estimate of the potential for renewable energy projects on millions of acres of federal lands in the West. The report ... will give land-use planners a better means of determining which areas might offer the best returns on investments in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal power." California had four of 20 BLM "planning units ... with high potential for power production from three or more renewable energy sources."

Related: "DOI and DOE announce availability of new report that evaluates renewable energy resources on public lands" (Department of Interior news release, 02/21/2003)
The report studied resources on BLM, Tribal and Forest Service lands. "Our public land managers will be able to use this information as a tool for planning purposes as we work to increase our domestic sources of renewable energy," said Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management Rebecca Watson. "By working in partnership with DOE to locate and identify sources of renewable energy on public lands, we maximize our efforts in implementing the president's National Energy Policy."


"BLM plans public meeting on wild horse gather plans" (BLM California news release, 02/26/2003)
Use of helicopters and motor vehicles for gathering wild horses and burros from public lands will be discussed in BLM public meetings in April.

"BLM planning improvements to Pit River campground" (BLM California news release, 02/26/2003)
New campsites, improved fishing access, a kayak launch, and new restrooms will be available for visitors to the Bureau of Land Management's Pit River campground this summer, following completion of an extensive renovation project set to begin in early March.

"From all sand to water views" (The Boston Globe, 02/23/2003)
Travel article from the currently-freezing Northeast: "It was not that we had a yen for the so-called "desert communities" southeast of Los Angeles ... but it was zero in Boston and in the 60s where my wife had a business meeting, so ... we added vacation days to business." Travel piece includes visit to BLM-managed Big Morongo Canyon, where "during spring and fall migrations, the half-mile Marsh Trail has the second-highest density of breeding birds in the United States."

"Biologists: Milk vetch, Imperial dunes need more study" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 02/24/2003)
"More scientific data on just how off-road vehicles affect the unique ecology of the Imperial Sand Dunes would help the government make better decisions about how to manage access to the area, according to scientists familiar with the dunes .... 'Everything has gotten so political lately," [one biologist] said. 'I just don't know they pay that much attention to the science.' But ... many colleagues disagree over how much more study is warranted at the dunes, a legal and political battleground between off-roaders who flock to the area by the tens of thousands and environmentalists who say the dune buggies destroy species uniquely adapted to the giant waves of sand."

"Sheep still dogged on trail" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 02/25/2003)
"Efforts to keep man's best friend from harassing the Coachella Valley's most prominent wild species are meeting resistance on a popular hiking trail. New sign informing hikers that it is illegal to walk dogs ... disappeared just days after workers installed it." Trail is near area of BLM-managed land that is of concern for the same issue.

Gila monster - photo courtesy  John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences
"What is California's only venomous lizard?"

Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the week

Gila monsters are California's only venomous lizards. They are large, stocky lizards with short arms and legs. These lizards range from one and a half to two feet long!

The Gila monster's head and back have bead-like scales, similar to "corn on the cob." They have blotches of black, yellow, orange, or pink. The face is always black. The venom is not generally deadly to humans, but it does cause extreme pain. Gila monsters also have a very strong bite and they do not let go easily. For this reason, Gila monsters should not be taunted, touched, or threatened by humans.
Learn more in the 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.)


(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.)

02/26/2003 - Ukiah OHV grant workshop

02/27/2003 and -
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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