A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 151 - 4/8/04
MEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERSWhere is this?Profile: Jerry MooreWhitewater rafting on the Merced RiverBOOKSTORE FEATURE - "Gem Trails of Southern California"
- Our readers write
- Not for Educators Only:
      - Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week
      - Where is this? (online photo quiz)
- Photo Album: Merced River
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Bill Vanherweg
- Profile: Jerry Moore
- Bookstore Feature - "Gem Trails of Southern California"
- Off-highway vehicles
- Wildflowers
- Wildfire: Prevention, warnings, effects
- Wild horses and burros
- Land use planning
- The desert tortoise
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - BLM offers "loveable alternative for Easter"
      - Job openings - BLM California
      - Students teach students about geology
      - Groups dispute plant habitat size
- National and/or Department of Interior items, including:
      - BLM working on online forms
      - Recreation grants
      - New drug testing policy could set precedent
- Selected Upcoming Events, including:
      - Meetings
      - Hikes
      - Open houses
      - Selected Earth Day events

We received more than 2,000 responses this past week, to News.bytes, our 150th anniversary issue, and our offer of a free map to new subscribers. We appreciate the feedback and the nice compliments. Here are some sample responses:

California whipsnakeWildlife Trivia question markWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Snakely whiplash?
The California whipsnake is also known by another name. What is it?
(a) False bullsnake
(b) Striped racer
(c) Bugsy muncher
(d) Sedentary couchkartoffel
(e) Sleek medusa
(See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.)

Where is this?WHERE IS THIS?
1. Ishi Wilderness Area
2. Indian Pass Wilderness Area - Correct Answer
3. Ibex Wilderness Area
Take your best guess and check your answer against other readers, in our interactive photo quiz:

Running whitewater rapids on the Merced RiverPHOTO ALBUM - "Merced River"
From the high country of Yosemite National Park, the Merced River shows no mercy on its headlong rush through glacially-carved canyons, rugged mountains and foothills to the San Joaquin Valley. Ample access points allow you to punch rapids at your own pace.

Related: "Merced River" (BLM California Web site)
More on the Merced River -- and after a full day on the river, check out the Railroad Flat or McCabe Flat campgrounds.

- Bill Vanherweg
Central California Advisory Council member Bill Vanherweg has lived and worked in Central California for more than 35 years. He has fourteen years of experience as a wildlife biologist in the San Joaquin Valley, Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert. Learn more in our weekly News.bytes feature:

Related: "Federal agencies seek nominations for national monument advisory committee" (BLM California news release, 04/02/2004)
The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service call for nominating applications from the public, to fill five positions on the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. The positions will include one representative each for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the cities of Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert, the Winter Park Authority, and the Pinyon Community Council.

Jerry MoorePROFILE - Jerry Moore
Material handler Jerry Moore is a fixture in BLM California's state office. He has seen five state directors (one of them twice) and has witnessed many, many changes over the years. Learn more about Jerry in this week's Newsbytes feature:

BOOKSTORE FEATURE - "Gem Trails of Southern California"BOOKSTORE FEATURE - "Gem Trails of Southern California"
From agate to zoisite, this definitive guide to collecting gems throughout Southern California highlights the best that the area has to offer. Taking up where "Gem Trails of Northern California" left off, this companion book covers all of Southern California from just north of San Luis Obispo south to the Mexican border and all points in-between.


"OHV: Don't pay for plant count out of our pockets" (Imperial Valley Press, 04/06/2004)
"Off-highway vehicle groups are petitioning Congress and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, furious that user fees from the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area are the sole funding source for a mandated plant survey of the Peirson's milk-vetch....BLM El Centro Field Office Manager Greg Thomsen said he has spoken with many representatives of the OHV community but concedes there's little he can do."

"BLM Ukiah seeks comments on OHV grant request" (BLM California news release, 04/05/2004)
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management's Ukiah Field Office will accept public comments on its request for California off-highway vehicle grant funds, during a public meeting Wednesday, April 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ukiah Field Office, 2550 North State St., Ukiah.

NOTE: See more OHV grant meetings/open houses under "Selected Upcoming Events" below.


"A lake of pure sunshine" (Monterey County Herald, 04/03/2004)
"California's many natural treasures include its wildflowers, which are blooming now on Fort Ord" (including public lands there managed by BLM).

"BLM offering guided wildflower viewing hikes in Cache Creek area during April" (BLM California news release, 03/22/2004)
Outdoor enthusiasts have the opportunity to take in the beauty of nature's springtime wildflower displays, when the BLM leads a series of wildflower hikes to in the Cache Creek area of Lake County.

"Wildflowers on public lands managed by BLM California" (BLM California Web site)
There are some prime wildflower-viewing areas on public lands managed by BLM California. Check out these sites arranged from south to north - note that wildflower conditions can change quickly, depending on heat, rain and other conditions.


"Dry forecast spells danger in western USA" (USA Today, 04/04/2004)
"Much of the West faces the danger of major wildfires this year, climate and fire specialists forecast. Potential hot spots include areas of southern California and Arizona hit by catastrophic fires last fall. The threat of major fires could rival summers 2000 and 2002, the worst wildfire seasons of the past half-century...."

"Forest agencies begin prescribed burn program" (Red Bluff Daily News, 04/05/2004)
"Burning will begin as weather conditions ensure safe and efficient burning conditions," coordinated by the Susanville Interagency Fire Center.

"BLM comes through with Fire Safe Council funding" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 04/08/2004)
Grant funds were sought to fuel break against wildfires, and hiring a full-time fire safe council coordinator.,1413,91%257E3089%257E2071099,00.html

"Fire damage prompts temporary closures of public lands near San Diego" (BLM California news release, 03/30/2004)
Significant threats to public safety and damage to natural resources caused by the recent fires in San Diego County has necessitated temporary closures of public lands within San Diego County to motorized vehicles.


"BLM offers loveable alternative for Easter" (BLM California news release, 03/30/2004)
You could give the usual Easter bunny and colored eggs . . . but this year consider a true gift of love . . . adopt a wild horse and burro . . . and the BLM can help! On April 17 and 18 the BLM will offer 80 Mustangs and 20 burros to qualified adopters at the Lake Perris Fairgrounds through its Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program.

"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Chowchilla" (BLM California news release, 03/26/2004)
Wild horses and burros directly from America's western rangelands will be looking for new homes in late April, when the U. S. Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption in Chowchilla.


"Hollister seeks public input to develop revised resource management plan" (BLM California news release, 04/01/2004)
BLM's Hollister Field Office is asking the public to participate in the development of a revised resource management plan for the central coast region. The public is encouraged to help identify issues, questions, and concerns during the scoping phase, which begins May 3 and continues until August 2, 2004.

"Land users asked for input on Alabamas...future management policy of popular areas" (Inyo Register, 04/02/2004)
Meeting meant "to involve local people from diverse interest groups such as the climbing, OHV recreation, filmmaking, shooting, hiking, biking, birding, horseback riding and rockhounding communities to help set up a non-profit group dedicated to creating a consensus on how the Alabama Hills should be managed...." including BLM-managed lands. (The participants met last Friday.)


"Commentary: Tortoise protection in Mojave Desert must be a priority" (Desert Dispatch, 04/02/2004)
"Head out into the desert 25 years ago and you would likely find a desert tortoise among the creosote scrub. With thousands of tax dollars spent each year on surveys for the desert tortoise, our state reptile is becoming increasingly harder to find.",80601,

"The do's and don'ts of the desert tortoise" (Marine Corps News, 04/01/2004)
"Summer is just around the corner and that means more activity from wildlife in the area...specifically the desert tortoise."

"Desert Tortoise" (BLM California web pages)
Desert tortoises have existed for millions of years, and during that time they adapted to the many climatic and geological changes that have occurred in southern California:

Desert Tortoises in Palm Springs Resource Area:

Desert Tortoises in Southern California:

Desert Tortoise Natural Area:


"BLM Alturas announces road reopening" (BLM California news release, 04/05/2004)
Warm spring weather has improved conditions on many back country roads, and the Bureau of Land Management's Alturas Field Office has lifted travel restrictions in two areas of Lassen and Modoc counties.

"On Foot: Pacific Crest Trail meeting of the minds Saturday"" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 03/30/2004)
"The trail is a 2,650-mile scenic wonder that winds its way through the Sierra Nevada and other Pacific ranges connecting trails from Mexico to Canada....Eventually, the hope is to place the last bits of land into the hands of the Bureau of Land Management or the Forest Service" by obtaining about 300 miles of trail now privately owned. (Meeting was held last weekend.),1413,135%257E28338%257E2050432,00.html

Job Openings - BLM California
BLM California job listings on USAJOBS Web site.

"Improvement project to begin at BLM Pit River campground" (BLM California news release, 04/05/2004)
Work on a wide-ranging improvement project will get underway soon at the Bureau of Land Management's Pit River Campground west of Fall River Mills. The BLM will close the campground beginning Monday, April 19, to begin construction of the improvements, many of which were suggested by campground users. Project completion and campground reopening are slated for July 16.

"Students teach students about geology" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 04/01/2004)
"About a dozen high school student docents taught third-graders about the newly revamped Desert Discovery Center..... Rose Foster, who coordinates volunteer efforts for the Bureau of Land Management's Barstow field office, said the goal of the program is to have the third-graders eventually teach the science lessons when they reach ninth grade, which will be the final step in the Junior Naturalist Certification Program.",78843,

"Groups dispute plant habitat size" (San Bernardino County Sun, 04/07/2004)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes designating 29,522 acres of critical habitat for the Lane Mountain milk-vetch on federal and private lands on or near Fort Irwin, north of Barstow." BLM manages public lands in the area, and has been involved in discussions of expanding National Training Center at Fort Irwin.,1413,208%257E12588%257E2069384,00.html


"E-forms on the fly at BLM" (Government Computer News, 04/05/2004)
BLM's senior property manager "aims to cut operating costs by re-engineering the cumbersome routing of 400 paper forms involving 10,000 internal users - not to mention the numerous external users who lease federal lands."

"Self-funded PKI" (Government Computer News, 04/05/2004)
"The government is a slowpoke at building public-key infrastructures....But the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management is incorporating digital certificates for PKI in an agency-wide smart-card program, and doing it without a budget."

"Hair, saliva, sweat of government workers could be tested for drugs under proposal" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 04/06/2004)
"The proposal will expand the methods to detect drug use among 1.6 million federal workers beyond urine samples. It is being implemented with an eye toward the private sector, however...."

"Federal workers face drug tests" (Washington Times, 04/07/2004)
"The targeted employees are already subjected to random drug testing, tested after workplace accidents, or have shown signs of drug use."

"New federal drug testing would permit rescreening" (Washington Post, 04/07/2004)

"Yuba Goldfields figure in Feinstein's judicial vote" (Marysville-Yuba City Appeal-Democrat, 04/03/2004)
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she voted against the judicial nomination of William Myers, in part, for his role in supporting a land transfer in the Yuba Goldfields." The land contains gravel and rock now mined under permit from the BLM.

"Secretary Norton announces $92 million in grants for state recreation projects" (Department of Interior news release, 04/06/2004)
Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton announced that close to $92 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is being provided in Fiscal Year 2004...for state recreational projects that will enhance outdoor opportunities for present and future generations. California's share is listed at $7,773,970.

"Documents related to Cheney case ordered released" (Reuters, 04/01/2004)
A federal judge ordered several government agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, to release documents related to an energy policy task force led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

The California whipsnake is also known as (b) Striped racer. (Photo credit: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences.) (By the way, "couchkartoffel" is German for "couch potato" - at least according to the Google automated online translator.)
Learn more about the California whipsnake 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.)

04/12/2004 - Desert wildlife lecture
Palm Desert

04/13/2004 - Bishop OHV grant open house

04/13/2004 - Moreno Valley OHV grant proposal open house
Moreno Valley

04/14/2004 - Hollister OHV grant proposal workshop

04/14/2004 - Ukiah OHV grant request meeting

04/14/2004 - Bald Eagle watching at Lake Hemet
Garner Valley

04/15/2004 - Smokey Bear Storytime
Palm Desert

04/16/2004 - RV Fire Safety Program

04/22/2004 - Earth Day Celebration
Palm Desert

04/22/2004 - Susanville Interagency Fire Center building dedication

04/23/2004 - Desert District Advisory Council meeting

04/24/2004 - Chowchilla wild horse and burro adoption

04/24/2004 - Mother Nature Earth Jam
Palm Desert

04/29/2004 - Northeast California and Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Councils joint meeting

- 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: