A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 161 - 6/16/04
Bob Warren, Northwest California RAC memberAn "after" photo - juniper encroachment tourProfile: Larry AmesAccessible view at Payne's Creek - photo albumVolunteers clean up trash at BLM-managed recreation site

- Free offer: Yuha Desert pamphlet
- Plants gone wrong?
      - Junipers encroach on ecosystem
      - Water hyacinth workday at Cosumnes River Preserve
      - "Non-native weed is ba-ack"
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Robert L. Warren
- Profile: Larry Ames
- Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: Imagine this
- Volunteers
- Photo Album: Paynes Creek
- Off-highway recreation:
      - Asbestos, rare plants threaten OHVs in San Benito County
      - Dunes big business for valley
      - Guarding the dunes
      - Pint-sized motorcycles hit
- Other outdoor recreation:
      - Surf your way to a campsite
      - Bookstore Feature: "Campers Guide to Outdoor Cooking"
      - Fee Demo Program improves facilities
- Wildfire:
      - Fire danger: restrictions
      - Wildfire management, air quality
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - Restoring the Yuha Desert
      - Current job openings - BLM California
      - Volunteer opportunity: Campground host
      - Trust buys 520-acres to keep developers away
      - Oil and gas sale
      - DARPA announces second robot race
      - Illegal dumping area closed to public
      - City to confront county on Cemex plans
- National and/or Department of the Interior items:
      - Off-road vehicle case is rejected
      - Secretary Norton, Governor Schwarzenegger Take Pride in America
- Selected Upcoming Events


Part of the back of the Yuha Desert pamphletFREE OFFER - Yuha Desert pamphlet (News.bytes special)
The Yuha Desert is "a hidden treasure in southern California....Deep within its expansive fabric visitors discover ancient patterns that give clues to the people and organisms that lived and thrived in this immense landscape. The Yuha Desert provides a picture of humans working with, and struggling against, one of the most challenging environments in the world."
Now you can "visit" without enduring one of the hottest of the North American deserts. Sign up today to receive a free copy of our new pamphlet "Exploring the Yuha Desert."

"Restoring the Yuha Desert" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/14/2004)
"For the past eight months members of the Student Conservation Association have been sweating under the intense Valley sun, raking away tracks, replanting bushes and cleaning up the moonscape desert, a perfect place for cleansing the soul of urban hum and sacred ground for some Yuha Indians....trying to return parts of the [Yuha Desert] to a more natural state."

"Yuha Geoglyphs" (BLM California Web Page)
Located near the Mexican border in the Yuha Desert, east of Calexico, the Yuha Geoglyphs are a rare example of intaglios. Made by scraping away the desert pavement of darkened pebbles to reveal the lighter sand below, this site portrays an intricate pattern of geometric designs. Geoglyph sites like this were probably used in rituals commemorating myths, and for purification with ceremonial dances.

BLM Dedicates Portion of Historic Trail (BLM News Release, 3/11/04)
(Repeated from an earlier edition of News.bytes) The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail tells the story of the first group of Spanish settlers to make an overland expedition to California from Mexico. The BLM and the National Park Service dedicated a 38 mile section of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail located in the Yuha Desert and West Mesa area of Imperial County.


Scenic vista showing a success of juniper thinning"Juniper encroachment tour" (News.bytes Extra)
Juniper thinning can help wildlife habitat and conditions on livestock grazing allotments and provide fuel for biomass power generation and material for local industries that create products from juniper wood. BLM and almost 20 partners are working on strategies to cope with juniper encroachment on "sagebrush-steppe ecosystems" and restore the diversity of vegetation. Learn more and see photos of a recent group tour, in this News.bytes Extra.

Volunteers fill their canoe with water hyacinth"Water hyacinth workday at Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM California Web site)
If allowed to grow unchecked, water hyacinth can double itself in 18 days, cutting off oxygen to other organisms and clogging water pumps. Staff from the BLM California State Office, along with volunteers from the Cosumnes River Preserve’s Landscape Team, recently worked together to eradicate water hyacinth from the Preserve’s Lost Slough. More information and photos:

"Non-native weed is ba-ack: Despite control efforts, giant salvinia still growing" (Yuma Sun, 06/11/2004)
Agencies and groups battle invasive weed that infests waterways in southern California, Arizona and Mexico.

Wildlife Trivia question markWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Imagine this
One of the following species of wildlife actually appears on BLM-managed lands in California. The rest do not exist at all. Which one of the following species actually exists, and on BLM-managed land in California?
(a) Southwestern pygmy skunk
(b) Oregon bluesnake
(c) Pacific shrew
(d) Northwestern crewel bird
(e) Clear Creek raccoon
(f) Western wackybird
--->See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.<---

Robert Warren, Northwest California Resource Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Robert L. Warren
Robert Warren represents dispersed recreation interests on BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council.
He is the general manager of the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association and tourism program manager for the Redding Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Learn more in this weekly News.bytes feature:

Profie: Larry AmesPROFILE: Larry Ames
An Interpretive Specialist with BLM's Ukiah Field Office, Larry keeps busy with "anything related to public outreach." But that doesn't even include buckskin outfits, the muzzle-loading rifles, the local symphony orchestras and the informal jazz get-togethers. Learn more about these varied interests in our weekly News.bytes feature:

PHOTO ALBUM: Paynes CreekPHOTO ALBUM: Paynes Creek
Paynes Creek harbors trout in its shady pools. There are several good access points to the creek as well as miles of remote solitude. View a selection of scenes from this area near the Sacramento River, managed by BLM's Redding Field Office:

Related: "Paynes Creek" (BLM California Web site)
Oak tress and grasslands cover this natural area, with some volcanic rock scatter. The site offers fishing access for the Sacramento River at Perry's Riffle. There are good opportunities for wildlife watching, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding.

Related: "Payne's Creek Watchable Wildlife Area" (BLM California Web site)
Bands of oak, cottonwood, willow and blackberry line the banks of the Sacramento River where it meets Paynes Creek - offering perches for birds and cover for small mammals. The 3,700-acre Paynes Creek management area includes that intersection and other streams, wetlands and ponds, plus grassland and oak woodland. These features attract a variety of wildlife.


Volunteers clean up public lands site near Susanville"Volunteers clean up public lands site near Susanville" (News.bytes Extra)
Members of the Lassen College Gunsmiths Guild recently continued their tradition of keeping one of their favorite public land shooting spots cleared of litter. They cleared the area of discarded targets, wood scraps and other items. Learn more and see photos in this News.bytes Extra:

"Volunteer opportunity: Campground host" ( Website)
Apply on-line to volunteer as a campground host near the Trinity River. The area is popular for whitewater rafting, driftboat fishing, hiking and camping.

Also see information on volunteers cleaning up invasive water hyacinth, under "Plants gone bad?" elsewhere in this issue.


"San Benito County: Curbing off-road recreation; Asbestos, rare plants threaten freewheeling bikers in the Clear Creek Management Area" (San Francisco Chronicle, 06/14/2004)
"If there is a Garden of Eden for off-road enthusiasts, it might be the Clear Creek Management Area, about 50,000 acres of dirt-bike bliss 55 miles south of Hollister....The barren landscape that makes Clear Creek so attractive to off-road drivers also allowed rare plants to evolve here..." but the soil that is so nourishing to the rare plants "is laced with naturally occurring asbestos -- and may prove to be an unacceptable cancer risk for humans."

Related: "Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM California Web site)

"Dunes big business for valley" (Imperial Valley Press, 06/10/2004)
"Sand is big business, according to representatives of a well-known off-road recreation organization, and Imperial County stands to benefit if the local business community gets involved. Speaker addresses issues at BLM-managed Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

Related: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California Web site)

Related: "Guarding the dunes" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 06/09/2004)
Editorial: "The Pierson milk vetch, a delicate purple-flowering member of the pea family, is thriving on the Imperial Sand Dunes, but its recent proliferation is no reason to endanger it....Around China Lake, we support a plan to expand Fort Irwin, even though it would intrude on habitat for the similarly endangered Lane Mountain milk vetch. The Pierson species of milk vetch is no more desirable than the Lane Mountain. But we're making a value judgment...."

"Pint-sized motorcycles a big hit" (Napa News, 06/10/2004)
"They're fun. They're cute. And they're illegal to ride on any public roadway....The bikes are also banned from public lands open to off-road vehicles, such as the Bureau of Land Management property...."


BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Camp Cooking: Easy recipes for camp and trail"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Camp Cooking: Easy recipes for camp and trail"
Features more than 200 delicious recipes for preparing meats, vegetables, breads and desserts. The book also provides tips for using camp fires, stoves, Dutch ovens, and smokers.

"Surf your way to a campsite" (New York Times, 06/13/2004)
"Finding good information online about campgrounds can be an exercise in wandering in the wilderness, with trail markers that point in conflicting directions or send you deep into the electronic woods." This article suggests how to go about finding a campground on public lands across the United States.

Related: "Camping" (BLM California Web page)
List of many of the campsites on lands managed by BLM California.

"Search for recreation sites" (BLM California database)
(This database is hosted on a Department of Interior Web server. See note under "Selected Upcoming Events" below. )


"Fire danger - Fire restrictions go into effect" (BLM California and news release, 06/09/2004)
In response to the increasing fire danger, the Sequoia National Forest and BLM's Bakersfield Field Office last week announced an Interagency Declaration to impose fire restrictions for all federally protected lands within their jurisdiction as of Friday, June 11.

"BLM special fire restrictions in effect" (BLM California news release, 6/15/2004)
Includes BLM-managed public lands in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne and Yuba Counties.

"More thinning on private land OK'd" (Grass Valley Union, 6/16/2004)
Along with changes in firefighting procedures by BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, "state officials are relaxing cutting rules on private timberlands in an emergency move to thin California's choked woods during a severe wildfire season." Includes tips on keeping your home fire-safer.

"New guidelines balance wildfire management, air quality" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 06/15/2004)
"Wildfire managers want to let lightning-sparked fires burn in remote areas, but said they need to improve how government agencies decide which blazes can be allowed to continue without harming air quality miles away....Land managers for the U.S. Forest Service, Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection already have plotted where they'd like to let fires burn."

"Related: "Health, air concerns may snuff out lightning-caused fires" (Bakersfield Californian, 06/14/2004)
"Forest managers these days are more likely to let nature run its course when lightning storms cause fires. But sometimes, these natural fires can cause enough smoke to threaten human health."

"Related: "U.S. EPA announces fire management protocol" (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency news release, 06/14/2004)


Current job openings - BLM California
BLM California job listings on USAJOBS Web site. New this week: fire engine operator.

"Trust buys 520-acre parcel to keep any developers away" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 06/12/2004)
"The property "just south of the Cleveland National Forest... will eventually be turned over to the federal Bureau of Land Management to keep it from development...."

"BLM Asks for Oil Industry Interests for Upcoming October Lease Sale" (BLM California news release, 6/10/2004)
The BLM requests the oil and gas industry to identify unleased federal lands in California that they believe have potential for development.

"DARPA announces second robot race" (Government Computer News, 06/11/2004)
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will double the top prize to $2 million in the October 2005 race. "Of the 13 self-navigating vehicles that left the starting gate in the first round, none made it past the eight-mile marker of the 142 mile course....DARPA...has a four-year permit from the Bureau of Land Management to hold an off-road rally along several paths through the Mojave Desert between Barstow, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev."

"Illegal disposal site area closed to public" (BLM California news release, 06/10/2004)
The BLM Barstow Field Office announces that an emergency route and area closure will be in effect beginning on June 21, 2004, in and around an unauthorized disposal site west of Old Fort Irwin Road, approximately three miles north of Barstow.

"City officials to confront board on Cemex plans" (Los Angeles Daily News, 06/10/2004)
"City officials plan[ned] to speak out...against the county Board of Supervisors' expected approval of a surface mining permit that would allow mining of a massive sand-and-gravel quarry in Soledad Canyon. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors [was] expected to approve...the environmental-impact report submitted two years ago by Cemex Inc.",1413,200%257E20943%257E2205337,00.html

Update: "Cemex permit vote postponed by board" (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/15/2004)
"The county Board of Supervisors' expected approval of a surface mining permit that would allow mining of a massive sand-and-gravel quarry in Soledad Canyon was postponed Tuesday until next week....",1413,200%257E20949%257E2214702,00.html

"1,500 pot plants nabbed Monday" (Placerville Mountain Democrat, 6/16/2004)
Plants discovered on BLM-managed land in El Dorado County.


"Off-road vehicle case is rejected" (Los Angeles Times, 06/15/2004)
"The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by environmental groups Monday that accused the federal government of failing to safeguard Western wilderness areas from an onslaught of off-road vehicles....The case directly involved about 2 million acres of "wilderness study areas" in Utah, but legal experts said the decision could more broadly affect the legal treatment of lands across the West, including California." California's Attorney General joined others in filing "friend of the court briefs" supporting the environmental groups.,1,152582.story

Related: "Court blocks citizen suits to compel land agencies to enforce laws; Case claimed BLM failed in its duty to protect wild areas" (San Francisco Chronicle, 06/15/2004)
"More broadly, the court made it harder for private citizens and organizations to require federal land-management agencies, such as the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, to follow priorities laid out in federal laws and agency land-use plans."

"Fee Demo Program improves visitor facilities and services at national recreation sites" (Department of Interior news release, 06/15/2004)
"Modest entrance and user fees at national parks, forests, and recreational areas have provided an important source of supplemental funding to address deferred maintenance, visitor services, and other operating needs. Those are some of the major findings of the annual progress report on the Recreational Fee Demonstration program for fiscal year 2003." BLM has been among the agencies authorized to test the fees.

"Secretary Norton welcomes Governor Schwarzenegger to Take Pride in America" (Department of the Interior news release, 06/14/2004)
By partnering with Take Pride in America, Governor Schwarzenegger has pledged that California will help support the mission of Take Pride in America, which includes awareness of the public of citizen responsibility for stewardship of our public lands.

Pacific shrew, photo by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of SciencesWildlife Trivia AnswerWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK -
(c) Pacific shrew. The Pacific shrew is more nocturnal than many other shrews. That is, they show very little activity during the day, but are very active at night. Most shrews stay active day and night, to get enough to eat. (Photo credit: Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences) Learn more about the Pacific shrew 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.)

06/21/2004 - Reptiles Alive
Palm Desert

06/25/2004 - Geology & Mining History Field trip
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