A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 146 - 2/25/04
BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Celebrating California Cookbook"
- Not for Educators Only:
      - Wildlife Trivia of the Week: Fun fish?
      - Where is This?
- Bookstore Feature: "Celebrating California" Cookbook
- Photo Album: Samoa Dunes
- Santa Clarita/Cemex court ruling
- Wildfire:
      - Western wildfire season likely to be above normal
      - GAO suggests "shared architecture"
- DARPA Grand Challenge desert robot race
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Carl Twisselman
- Profile: Loretta Pedersen
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - Law enforcement commendation
      - Easier search for BLM California jobs
      - Wild horses and burros: Santa Maria adoption event
      - Grazing on public lands: ranchers to pay more
      - Open house to discuss lease renewal for gun club
      - Fort Irwin, desert plant
      - Department of Interior on budget priorities
- Selected Upcoming Events, including:
        - Guided hikes
        - Volunteers: site rehabilitation and trash removal
        - Geology talk
        - Oil and Gas Lease Sale
        - King Range NCA draft management plan public meetings
        - Wildflower Workshop
        - Open House - Gun Club lease renewal

Wildlife Trivia Question mark of the WeekWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Fun fish?
What is the only species in California that belongs to the Fundulus genus?
(a) The California zebra fish
(b) The California Starhead topminnow
(c) The fun-loving mackerel
(d) The California killfish
(e) The calculus trout
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

Where is This? photo quizWHERE IS THIS?
(1) South Nopah Range
(2) Turtle Mountains Wilderness Area
(3) Palen/McCoy Wilderness Area
Take your best guess and check your answer against other readers, in our interactive photo quiz:

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Celebrating California Cookbook"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Celebrating California Cookbook"
With recipes that turn every meal into a celebration, this cookbook presented by the Children's Home Society of California contains prize-winning recipes from 17 California Food Festivals.

PHOTO ALBUM: "Samoa Dunes"
As a visitor to this 300 acre park you may take advantage of a wide variety of recreational activities, including hiking, surfing, fishing, sightseeing, beachcombing, off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, picnicking, and birdwatching...

Related: "Samoa Dunes Recreation Area" (BLM California Web site) following a link from this page, you can view and print a long checklist of birds seen in this area. Due to the vast array of activities, it is important to respect the rights of other visitors as you enjoy your time. When walking in the recreation area please be aware of OHV riding areas.


"City wins legal role in quarry pact" (Los Angeles Daily News, 2/25/2004)
"The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday granted the city of Santa Clarita the right to intervene and oppose a settlement between Cemex Inc. and Los Angeles County officials.",1413,200%257E20949%257E1976817,00.html

"Gravel mine in hands of court" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 02/25/2004)
"A controversial settlement agreement between cement giant Cemex Inc. and the county of Los Angeles was filed in federal court Monday. If a judge approves it, the agreement could pave the way for a massive mining project in Soledad Canyon." The company holds gravel mining permit from BLM.

"Cemex big winner in proposed settlement" (Antelope Valley Press, 2/25/2004)
"The details of the proposed legal settlement between Los Angeles County and Cemex are out, and the mining company wins in a rockslide."


"NIFC: Wildfire season likely to be above normal in interior West" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 02/23/2004)
"Drought, warm temperatures and damaged vegetation have fire experts predicting a long and destructive fire season throughout much of the interior West this year....Northern and Southern California, the Rocky Mountain region, the northern Rockies, the Great Basin and the Northwest could have normal to above normal fire seasons, according to the report."

"GAO: Agencies could fight fires better with shared architecture" (Government Computer News, 02/23/2004)
The interagency effort required to fight wildfires on public land complicates the use of geographic information systems, the General Accounting Office has found....The five federal agencies most frequently involved in wildfire management are Agriculture's Forest Service; and Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service."


"The great robot race" (Wired Magazine, March 2004 issue)
"Unmanned aerial vehicles are for wimps. 20 driverless bots are about to get down and dirty in the Pentagon's million-dollar rumble from L.A. to Las Vegas. Start your engines....Robots won't be allowed to blow up other robots (apparently, people have been asking). No bumper cars, either; only 'incidental contact' is allowed. DARPA will try to close the area around the race to the public, he says, but the robots could still come in contact with humans. At the very least, they'll encounter a team of about 20 biologists protecting endangered desert tortoises."

"Clash of the headless Humvees" (Popular Science, March 2004 issue)
"Behind the scenes in the race to develop a military vehicle that can drive itself." Includes links to two related stories and almost two dozen photos.,12543,591425,00.html

"Robot Road Warriors: Unmanned vehicles to race for $1 Million in DARPA contest" (, 2/25/2004)

"CajunBot to be featured on CNN show" (The Lafayette, Louisiana Advertiser, 2/19/2004)
"As competition nears, UL Lafayette engineering crew grabs media attention."

"Environmental Assessment for the DARPA Grand Challenge" (BLM California Web site, Barstow Field Office)
DARPA and the Bureau of Land Management have cooperatively prepared this EA, as federal co-lead agencies, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

A member of the Central California Resource Advisory Council, Carl Twisselman has spent 40 years as a cattle rancher.  He is a BLM permit holder and has experience in rangeland health, outdoor recreation, land management and mineral extraction. Read more in our weekly News.bytes feature:

Loretta PedersenPROFILE: Loretta Pedersen
Loretta Pedersen works on budget, personnel issues, and admin oversight of the Ridgecrest Field Office. So, what does she talk about? Being the web person for Ridgecrest. She gets hyped about the challenge of putting web pages together while having fun at the same time. Read more in our weekly News.bytes profile:


Law enforcement commendation
Roger Bruckner, Special Agent-in-Charge for BLM California, was commended in a Feb. 19 resolution at the Western States Sheriffs' Association annual meeting in Reno, Nevada. The resolution cited his work with WSSA members on matters of mutual concern, and cooperation with them on issues such as policing and protecting federally-managed lands. The resolution stated: "...Roger Bruckner has in many ways dedicated his life and efforts in providing leadership and worthwhile programs within the Bureau of Land Management, and as a law enforcement officer interacting with sheriffs in performing his duties at the highest level of competence and professionalism...."

"Job openings - BLM California"
USAJOBS has created a link specifically to BLM California job openings - previously, some users had to work their way through several browser screens to reach this information.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption at Santa Maria event" (BLM California news release, 02/24/2004)
An aura of the old west will settle over Santa Maria's Santa Barbara County Fairgrounds Friday through Sunday, March 12 through 14, when the U. S. Bureau of Land Management offers 80 wild horses and 20 wild burros for public adoption.

"Ranchers will pay more to graze herds on federal land" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 02/20/2004)
"Ranchers across the West will see an increase in the monthly fee they pay to graze their herds on federal land, the Bush administration said Friday. Beginning March 1, the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service will raise their monthly rate from $1.35 to $1.43 per month. The monthly fee covers grazing of a horse, a cow and calf, or five sheep or goats."

Related: "2004 federal grazing fee announced" (BLM National news release, 02/20/2004)
The grazing fee for Western public lands managed by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service will be $1.43 per animal unit month in 2004, up from $1.35 in 2003. The newly adjusted fee, which takes effect March 1, applies to more than 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by the Forest Service.

"BLM schedules open house to discuss lease renewal for gun club" (BLM California news release, 02/24/2004)
In response to growing concerns for public safety, the BLM has scheduled an open house to gather public comments on the preparation of a draft environmental assessment (EA) to analyze the renewal of a recreational shooting lease for the Inland Fish and Game Conservation in Highland, California.

"Desert plant could get listed as endangered" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 02/23/2004)
Listing could affect proposed expansion of National Training Center at Fort Irwin - but Fort official says the area where the plant appears could simply be designated "a mine field" and made off-limits to training exercises." (Note: this item is one of a list of stories at this URL - you may need to scroll down the page to find that particular headline.),35871,

"Secretary Norton details FY 2005 budget priorities to House Appropriations Committee" (Department of Interior news release, 2/25/2004)
The $11 billion budget proposed for the Department of the Interior in fiscal year 2005 would fulfill the President’s commitments to protect communities against catastrophic wildfire, repair and replace Indian schools, and address the National Park Service maintenance backlog, Secretary Gale Norton said today.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: ANSWER to "What is the only species in California that belongs to the Fundulus genus?"
(d) The California killfish (This is a type of topminnow. The Starhead topminnow is not a California fish.)
Learn more about the the California killfish 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.)

02/25/2004 - Oil and Gas Lease Sale

02/25/2004 - Wildflower Workshop
Palm Desert

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

03/02/2004 - Open House - Gun Club lease renewal
San Bernardino

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

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

03/13/2004 - Coyote Mountain site rehabilitation and trash removal

03/14/2004 - Desert Hikes - Wind Caves
El Centro
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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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