A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 145 - 2/19/04
Henricus JansenA pair of alert mule deerWhere is this? photo quizKathy SimmonsEagle hikes

- Rights-of-way: Racing robots
- Not for Educators Only:
    - Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: Fawning over mule deer
    - Where is this? (Interactive photo quiz)
- Photo Album:" Rainbow Basin"
- Eagle hikes
- Mining and minerals issues on public lands:
    - Revenues
    - Cemex: Congressional bill
    - Court ruling
- Wildfire preparations
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Henricus Jansen
- Profile: Kathy Simmons
- Bookstore feature: "California Trail - the story behind the scenery"
- Headlines and highlights, including:
    - Boy survives 40-foot bike plunge into mine shaft
    - 63 off-road drivers get tickets
- Fort Irwin expansion delayed again
- National and/or Department of the Interior News:
    - Budget testimony
    - Utah roads precedent
    - Public lands fee program may lapse
- Selected Upcoming Events, including:
    - Guided hikes
    - Oil and Gas Lease sale
    - Geology talks
    - King Range NCA management plan public meeting
    - Wildflower Workshop


"BLM approves DARPA Grand Challenge" (BLM California news release, 02/18/2004)
The BLM has issued a Decision Record approving the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Grand Challenge scheduled to take place March 13, 2004.

"Robots, start your engines: It's a mad, mad, mad race; Driverless cars to be tested in the Mojave" (San Francisco Chronicle, 02/15/2004)
Introduction to "a vehicle that just might revolutionize warfare -- and the daily commute." It will be racing other robotic cars in a mad dash across the Mojave Desert -- the grand finale to the Grand Challenge, an unprecedented [$1 million] contest sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."

"Robotic truck 'Bob' makes his maiden voyage" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 02/17/2004)
First test run for robot pickup truck from California Institute of Technology.

"This Humvee is car and driver" (Wired, 2/8/04)
Focus on another entry.,2554,62333,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

"Robotics race through desert gets approval" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/18/2004)
"Federal officials OK the competition, but set guidelines to protect endangered turtles."

"Environmental Assessment for the DARPA Grand Challenge" (BLM California Web site)"

"DARPA Grand Challenge" (BLM California Issue Update)
(Note: the Issue Update Database is hosted on the Department of Interior's secure Web server - see note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below):


Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the week
Young mule deer - fawns - start life with a spotted coat. At about what age does the coat turn to the adult's tan color?
(a) One month;
(b) Four months;
(c) One year;
(d) Two years;
(e) Three years.

(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.)

Where is this? photo quizWHERE IS THIS?
1. Sheephole Valley Wilderness Area
2. Rice Valley Wilderness Area
3. Pahrump Valley Wilderness Area
Take your best guess and check your answer against other readers, in our interactive photo quiz:

Eagle-watchers get out their cameras and binocularsSince January 17 this year, BLM staff and volunteers have taken groups of eager birdwatchers into BLM's Cache Creek Natural Area in search of bald eagles. Visitors have also been treated to vistas of Cache Creek canyons and sightings of golden eagles and free-roaming Tule elk.
February 21 will be the final eagle hike of the season -- but the Ukiah Field Office will be offering free guided hikes in the spring to view the abundant wildflowers of the area. For more information, contact the BLM Ukiah Field Office at 707-468-4000. In the meantime, see some photos from a recent hike.

Rainbow Basin Natural Area - view toward the hillsPHOTO ALBUM: Rainbow Basin
Rainbow Basin Natural Area is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, due to landscape features and paleontological resources in the area. Many visitors come to see multi-colored rock formations and walk the scenic canyons. A variety of desert-adapted wildlife is found here, including the desert tortoise.

Related: "Rainbow Basin Natural Area" (BLM California Web page)
Rainbow Basin Natural Area is located 8 miles north of Barstow. Vehicle trespass is a major concern, so all routes not signed as "open" are closed to vehicles. Please also respect the private property in the area.

Henricus Jansen is a charter member of the Northeast California Advisory Council and is a professor in rangeland management at California State University, Chico. He played a leadership role in the development of the Healthy Land Standards and Livestock Grazing Guidelines and related land use guidance for off-highway vehicles. Read more in our weekly News.bytes feature:

Kathy SimmonsPROFILE: Kathy Simmons
As Regional Administrative Officer based in BLM's Ukiah Field Office, Kathy is an advisor to the six northern California field office managers and support team staff. "I feel like the mom of the group," she says. But "Mom" is retiring soon after 28 years with BLM. Read more in this week's News.bytes profile:
Profile: Kathy Simmons


"States receive more than $1 billion from share of federal mineral revenues" (Department of the Interior news release, 02/17/2004)
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced that 36 states received more than $1 billion during 2003 as part of their share of federal revenues collected by the department's Minerals Management Service. California received more than $25.3 million.

"Boxer Bill May Slow Down Mining" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 02/12/2004)
"In December, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer announced that she will introduce legislation that would scale back a massive mining project in Soledad Canyon." Last week, she introduced "Senate Bill 2058, a companion legislation to U.S. Rep. Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon's, that would cancel certain leases from the Bureau of Land Management that authorize the extraction of sand and gravel in Soledad Canyon."

"Mining may no longer be king of the mountain" (High Country News, 02/16/2004)
"Court ruling gives land managers power to say 'no' to mining companies." (Mentions possible impact on proposed Glamis mine in southern California.)

"Bill Aims to Ban Oil Drilling in Los Padres" (Los Angeles Times, 2/19/2004)
"The distant battles between wilderness advocates and the oil and gas industry have, until now, played out across a handful of Rocky Mountain states. But a Bush administration plan to allow oil drilling in proposed wilderness areas in the Los Padres National Forest near here has brought that fight to Southern California." Proposed legislation would prevent new oil leases - which would be administered by BLM.,1,4039249.story


"SNAPSHOTS" of National Fire Plan, in California
"Snapshots" highlights BLM activities in support of the National Fire Plan. The first edition of 2004 features stories about homes saved from southern California wildfires by homeowners who created "defensible space." Other programs covered are in the Bishop area and in rural areas throughout California.
(Note: this is a PDF file, 210 kilobytes.)
Snapshots California - 2/13/04

"BLM plans prescribed burning project near Weaverville" (BLM California news release, 02/17/2004)
Fire crews from the BLM and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) plan to begin a slash pile burning project near Weaverville during the week of February 23.

"CDF aims winter fire safety education program at homeowners" (Roseville Press-Tribune, 02/16/2004)
"Firefighters are going door-to-door to educate homeowners in fire-prone areas of Placer County on ways they can make their property fire safe...the expansion [of the program] into the winter months with a $64,000 Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Reduction grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management allows trimming to take place at the best time of year for trees because they are in their dormant stage."

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "California Trail - the story behind the scenery"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "California Trail - the story behind the scenery"
Subtitled "Voyage of Discovery." From the book description: "65 pages of photos and information. This book covers the California Trail from Independence, Missouri to California. Beautiful photography complements the written story of the California Trail."


"Bike rider, 11, survives 40-foot plunge into unfenced mine shaft" (Los Angeles Daily News, 02/16/2004)
"According to Bureau of Land Management research, more than 47,000 abandoned mine shafts -- remnants of the 1849 gold rush -- remain in California. Many of them are in popular off-road recreation areas. 'We knew there were some old mine shafts, but most of them have barbed wire around them,' [the boy's father] said. 'But when you're riding, it's kind of a follow-the-leader thing'.",1413,200%257E20954%257E1960431,00.html

Related: "BLM California abandoned mine land activity" (BLM California Web site)
BLM California, from mid-2000, has been conducting watershed-based projects to identify abandoned mine sites with environmental and/or safety issues.

"63 off-road drivers get tickets" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 02/16/2004)
"Authorities issued 63 citations Sunday morning as part of a crackdown on off-road vehicles on private property...Off-road enthusiasts can contact the Bureau of Land Management or check online at for maps of areas where off-road riding is allowed."

"Moroccan locale offers more than just deserts" (Reuters at Yahoo! News, 02/18/2004)
Filming desert movie scenes: "'Hidalgo' filmmakers did supplement their Moroccan footage with some scenes shot in California's deserts at locations like Dumont Dunes. But there they ran into a modern-day problem they didn't have to face in Morocco -- dune buggies."

"Central Coast rancher pleads innocent to animal cruelty charges" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 02/13/2004)
"Last April, residents complained to county officials that wild horses were seriously undernourished....Authorities checked on the animals and two ranch raids led to removal of 167 horses." The rancher "purchased most of the mustangs from the Western Shoshone Indians in Nevada early last year for $1 each. About 250 of the 500 horses came from a federal Bureau of Land Management roundup."

"Fort Irwin expansion delayed again" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 02/17/2004)
"The release of an environmental document required for the Fort Irwin expansion has again been pushed back. The draft environmental impact statement could be released next month, with public hearings to follow in April...." Official says document is working its way through the Department of the Army. Expansion talks have included BLM.,82841,

"BLM California vacancy announcements"
This list is in PDF format - Adobe Acrobat Reader is required:
Jobs Feb. 2004

Related: "USAJOBS - Bureau of Land Management Search"
Search for BLM jobs nationwide.


"Secretary Norton stresses priorities, goals and impact of FY 2005 Budget" (Department of Interior news release, 02/12/2004)
Interior Secretary Gale Norton outlined the President's $11 billion budget request for Interior, calling it the single clearest statement of how the department plans to work toward its goals in the upcoming year and emphasizing the impact Interior's actions have on the American people.

Related: "Statement of Gale A. Norton, Secretary of the Interior, before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on the 2005 President's budget request" (Department of Interior news release, 02/12/2004)

"Lawmakers cool to BLM request; Fund hike to control wild horses unlikely" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 02/12/2004)
"The Bureau of Land Management is running into more problems trying to come up with additional money from Congress for wild horse controls, a development that threatens new plans to reduce herds roaming the West."

"Auditors say Interior's deal with Utah illegal" (Salt Lake Tribune, 02/13/2004)
A legal opinion by government auditors says the Interior Department's agreement with Utah for the state to take control of miles of rural roads is illegal, but Congressman...says the state and federal agency "should proceed as agreed...." The agreement has been cited as precedent-setting for other states, including California.

"Congress hobbles fee program for public lands" (Vail Daily, 02/13/2004)
"The ability of the U.S. Forest Service to charge a fee to visit...public lands was dealt a potentially lethal blow in the U.S. Senate....The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 23-0 to make the Recreation Fee Demonstration Project permanent for only the National Park Service. The ability to charge the fee would lapse for three other federal agencies - the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service."

A pair of alert mule deerWildlife Trivia ANSWERWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK - ANSWER:
To the question "At about what age does the mule deer fawn's spotted coat turn to the adult's tan color?
(b) Four months. (Photo credit: Sherry Ballard, California Academy of Sciences)
Learn more about the mule deer 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):

Related: "Biologists map mule deer to understand, fix decline" (Associated Press in Redding Record-Searchlight, 02/15/2004)
While mule deer are still a common site in some areas, their numbers are dropping sharply in others. The decline is great enough that "[w]ildlife biologists are mapping mule deer habitat from Mexico to Canada and identifying specific regional problems to try to stem the deer's decline across the West."

(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.)

02/21/2004 - Cache Creek Free Guided Hikes

02/21/2004 - Geology Talks at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto National Monument
Palm Desert

02/23/2004 - King Range NCA management plan public meeting

02/23/2004 - Nature Hike to Stone Pools at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

02/24/2004 - King Range NCA draft management plan public meeting

02/24/2004 - Wildflower Workshop
Palm Desert

02/25/2004 - Wildflower Workshop
Palm Desert

02/25/2004 - Oil and Gas Lease Sale

02/26/2004 - King Range NCA draft management plan public meeting
San Francisco

02/26/2004 - Earthquakes and Faults of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Palm Springs

03/03/2004 - King Range NCA draft management plan public meeting

03/04/2004 - King Range NCA draft management plan public meeting
Shelter Cove

- 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 visit our News.bytes subscription page at: