A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 158 - 5/27/04
Profile: Dona MaxcyClear Creek restoration, Ukiah Field OfficeRandy Rister of BLM's California Desert District Advisory CouncilBookstore Feature: "Don't get sick"Wildlife Trivia subject: rubber boa
- Not for Educators Only:
      - Wildlife trivia of the week
      - Environmental education
at "SEEP"
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Randy Rister
- Profile: Dona Maxcy
- Wildfire:
        - Forecast "goes from bad to worse"
        - Residents prepare defense
- Land use planning: Recreation
      - Fort Ord: "A decade of promise and delay"
      - Gun club "still aiming for range"
      - Off-road groups lobby in D.C.
- Bookstore Feature: "Don't Get Sick"
- Cemex: Santa Clarita sand and gravel plans
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - Wild horses coming to Chico from champion-producing herds
      - Current job openings - BLM California
      - Lawsuit over geothermal plans
      - Interior Secretary Announces $2.3 Million in conservation grants for California
- National and/or Department of Interior items:
      - Interview with Interior Secretary Gale Norton
- Selected Upcoming Events

The rubber boa eats small mammals and lizards. It kills this prey by:
(a) Biting them to inject a poison that acts on their nervous system and paralyzes them;
(b) Chasing them with its superior speed, until they drop from exhaustion;
(c) Using its strong tail to flip them against nearby objects;
(d) Coiling around them tightly enough to suffocate them;
(e) Bouncing them on the ground until they pass out:
(f) Hitting them with a rock.
(g) Popping out a tin can and frightening them to death.
(Photo: California Academy of Sciences)
--->See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

"SEEP volunteers teach kids about wildlife" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 05/21/2004)
Fifth graders learn about "plants, birds, archaeology, art, history, and water conservation" in the Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program. (BLM is one of 10 partners in the effort.) Volunteers bring wildlife specimens to classrooms to show and explain. Then students take a field trip to Sand Canyon, where volunteers "introduce the different subjects with hands-on experiments and projects."

Note: Our "Photo Album" is currently not available, while some of the hardware that operates it is undergoing repair. We expect this News.bytes feature to return next week.

"As a rockhound who visits the areas of numerous BLM field offices, I think Newsbytes is awesome - it comes out often, is extremely informative, unafraid of news articles from other publications that might not be fully supportive of the BLM - excellent qualities! Keep up the good work."
- David D, Van Nuys, CA

Dona MaxcyPROFILE: Dona Maxcy
Dona Maxcy takes a break from her job by "reliving my youth through my daughter, and traveling around the country in my convertible Mustang with her." The de-stressing technique must help in her job -- she just won the first-ever BLM "Asset Manager of the Year" award. Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile:

Randy Rister - California Desert Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Randy Rister
Randy Rister represents wildlife interests on the California Desert District Advisory Council. He has more than 20 years of experience working with various county, state and federal agencies and private organizations toward environmental conservation and habitat restoration. Read more in this News.bytes feature:


"Wildfire forecast goes from bad to worse" (Sacramento Bee, 05/23/2004)
"Months ago, national fire managers predicted the 2004 wildfire season would be a bad one in the West. Now, they're changing their forecast: It's going to be worse...."

"Editorial: Winter blizzard brings extra risk of summer fires" (Redding Record Searchlight, 05/20/2004)
Editorial: "As fire season approaches, Shasta County has the distinction of being singled out by the National Interagency Fire Center as facing high risk for destructive blazes this summer -- the only county in the parched West to earn such an honor." Cites flammable debris and grounding of BLM and U.S. Forest Service airtankers: "All this only puts a greater weight on the shoulders that ultimately bear responsibility anyway: Property owners need to mind their land, for their own and their neighbors' sake. Maintaining defensible space around houses is the law, as well as a life-saver of a good idea.",2232,REDD_17536_2896288,00.html

"Reducing wildfire fuels; Area residents prepare defense" (The Union, 05/22/2004)
"Anyone who survived the 49er Fire of 1988 can describe the devastation of a runaway blaze in the wild. Although the fire destroyed 165 homes and blackened 33,000 acres from North San Juan to the outskirts of Beale Air Force Base, brush and homes have sprung up again in the ensuing 16 years. That mix presents new danger...." A BLM grant aided a "fuels reduction" project to help reduce the danger from flammable vegetation.

"BLM Proposes Fuels Reduction Work in Virginia Creek/Willow Springs Area of Mono County" (BLM California news release, 05/21/2004)
The purpose of this project would be to decrease the intensity of future wildfires in this area, and to increase the safety of residents, private property, and firefighters working to protect the community and suppress fires.


"Fort Ord: A decade of promise and delay" (Monterey County Herald, 05/23/2004)
"A decade after it closed, Fort Ord has the distinction of being one of the most difficult base conversions in the nation, a victim of maddening bureaucracy and overlapping jurisdictions.....Until the Army clears the chaparral [that hides unexploded shells from years of practice firing], much of the open space cannot be transferred to the Bureau of Land Management for its habitat conservation plan."

"Fort Ord's future will build on past success" (Monterey County Herald, 05/24/2004)
Part of a series of Monterey County Herald stories on changeover of former Fort Ord from military to civilian use.

"Alabama base cleanup quite a different scene" (Monterey County Herald, 05/24/2004)
"Two sprawling forts, 2,000 miles apart. One closed in 1994, the other five years later. But the second shuttered Army base, Fort McClellan in Anniston, Ala., seems to be light years ahead of the first, Fort Ord, in the speed of its cleanup....Lack of Superfund status, going it alone aided Fort McClellan's quick closure."

"Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California Web site)
Some of Fort Ord has already been turned over to BLM management: Here the BLM protects and manages 35 species of rare plants and animals and their native coastal habitats. While habitat preservation and enhancement are primary missions at Fort Ord, there are also more than 50 miles of trails for the public to explore on foot, on bike or on horseback.


"Gun club still aiming for range" (Redding Record Searchlight, 05/26/2004)
Members "aren't giving up on their seven-year quest to put a shooting range off Walker Mine Road northwest of town....the Redding Gun Club will appeal a local Bureau of Land Management official's decision to scuttle its purchase of as many as 260 acres.",2232,REDD_17533_2914913,00.html

"Roughing it" (Bakersfield Californian, 5/27/2004)
"36 desert cabins have been fixed up (mostly) for public use, but don't expect much in the way of amenities. The best part? They're free." Volunteers with the Adopt A Cabin program have been working on them, coordinated by the BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office.

volunteers prepare lunch inside the cabinRelated: "Adopt a Cabin meeting, May 2004" (BLM California Web page)
Photos from the recent meeting at the "Boxcar Cabin" feature views inside and out.
(At left: volunteers prepare lunch inside the cabin.)

"Leimgruber and off-road recreation groups lobby in D.C. for land access" (Imperial Valley Press, 05/25/2004)
Imperial County Supervisor "has been in the nation's capital for the last few days, trying to push the case for off-highway vehicle recreation and its economic impact to the Valley's economy. 'Closures in this area are having a serious negative impact on the struggling economy,' [he] said. 'Many of our merchants depend on this recreation for their survival'." He and off-highway groups "are pushing for more public lands to be opened or reopened for motorized vehicle use...."

"OHV group meets with BLM head" (Desert Trail, 5/26/2004)
"A new manager at the Bureau of Land Management apparently means a new, more cooperative relationship between the BLM and community activists seeking to curb illegal off-highway vehicle use in the Morongo Basin."

"New signs make visiting areas around Bay simpler" (The Eureka Reporter, 05/20/2004)
"Visitors to the South Spit and other public areas around Humboldt Bay will now have an easier time learning about the area and how to get around it, thanks to new signage....The project was made possible with a more than $30,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy and an approximately $20,000 match" from many local sources including BLM.

"The hidden dangers of camping and hiking, how to avoid swallowing things that will make you turn green, and other back-country health tips for camper and hikers."


"Cemex open to options" (Los Angeles Daily News, 05/21/2004)
"The company behind a massive sand and gravel mine approved for Canyon Country appeared willing Friday to look at options during a meeting with Santa Clarita city officials in Washington, D.C.",1413,200%257E20949%257E2164110,00.html

"Realtors rally against mine" (Los Angeles Daily News. 5/26/2004)
"About 1,000 local real estate agents have united for a massive movement to inform the public about the possible effects of the proposed sand and gravel quarry in Canyon Country." Cemex, Inc. has held a sand and gravel permit for the site from BLM, for about 10 years.,1413,200%257E20949%257E2174056,00.html

"Sides continue battle over mine" (The Signal, 5/23/2004)
"Thirteen years and counting. Whatever the final outcome, the Cemex mining project will likely go down in the books as the longest running legal battle in Santa Clarita Valley history."

"Plan for river disputed" (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/26/2004)
"A small nocturnal amphibian could curtail development around the Santa Clara River, according to a U.S. U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposal to broaden critical habitat because the endangered arroyo toad is more widespread than previously thought...." Said a local environmentalist: "People may not care about a little 2-inch toad, however this toad has the ability and potential to protect our community from the Cemex mining project and from the massive proposed housing developments which will surely impact our quality of life....",1413,200%257E20949%257E2174032,00.html


"Wild horses coming to Chico from champion-producing herds" (BLM California news release, 05/25/2004)
Wild horses will be up for public adoption at Chico's Silver Dollar Fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13, and they're coming from herds that are known for producing endurance champions. These 60 horses come from the Twin Peaks, Buckhorn and Devil's Garden herds of northeastern California. The herds produce good-sized wild horses, two of which recently won top national honors in American Endurance Ride Conference competition.

"Interior Secretary Norton announces $2.3 Million in grants to support 47 cooperative conservation projects in California" (BLM California news release, 05/24/2004)
The $2.3 million in challenge cost-share grants are to support 47 cooperative conservation projects in California, from constructing a filtration wetland near Tule Lake to enhancing California condor recovery efforts.

"Calpine halts geothermal projects" (Mount Shasta News, 5/26/2004)
"In the face of continuing legal challenges, Calpine Corporation has announced it will cease major work at the Medicine Lake geothermal electrical generation facilities until 2005....some surveying and other minor work will continue, but that there will be no well drilling.

Related: "Environmentalists sue over California geothermal plans" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 05/19/2004)
"Environmental groups have sued the federal government over geothermal projects it has approved in California's remote Medicine Lake Highlands region, considered sacred by Indian tribes."

Clear Creek restoration project"Anderson sworn in as Redding Field Office manager" (BLM California Web page)
Steve Anderson, the new field manager for the Redding Field Office, received the oath of office from State Director Mike Pool during a brief ceremony on the banks of Clear Creek Thursday, May 13. Photos of the event and a related tour to highlight a partnership that is resulting in restoration of Clear Creek, including a return of spawning salmon.

"Desert woman contests eviction" (San Bernardino County Sun, 05/21/2004)
National Park Service states woman is "living illegally on federal land in the Mojave National Preserve. [The woman] disagrees, claiming her five acres is on private land." Her attorney disputes conditions of the lease issued by The BLM, "which administered the area until it became a national preserve in 1994....",1413,208%257E12588%257E2164320,00.html

Current job openings - BLM California
BLM California job listings on USAJOBS Web site. Highlights this week include several firefighting or fire prevention positions, and an ecologist.


"Profile: A champion of 'cooperative conservation': Interior Secretary Gale Norton" (High Country News, 05/26/2004)
Interview with the Secretary of the Interior. "Norton has been an outspoken opponent of government regulation, and instead looks for economic incentives for conservation."

"Senate puts nail in fee demo coffin" (The Aspen Times, 05/21/2004)
"Through unanimous consent on the Senate floor, a bill was passed that would reauthorize the National Recreation Fee Demonstration Program for the National Park Service but allow it to expire on Dec. 31, 2005, for the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service."

The rubber boa eats small mammals and lizards, killing them by: (d) coiling around them tightly enough to suffocate them. Learn more about the rubber boa 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.)

05/28/2004 - Geology & Mining History Field Trip

06/04/2004 - Central California Advisory Council meeting

06/05/2004 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Palm Desert

06/11/2004 - Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Preview

06/12/2004 - Wild Horse and Burro Adoption
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