A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 174 - 9/15/04

SPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: McDonald's Rock CressValerie Parkernal Recreation Aread the Pacific OceanBookstore Feature: "Audubon's Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians"
- Not for Educators Only:
      - Wildlife Trivia Question of the Week: We're back!
      - Bookstore Feature: "Audubon's Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians"
      - Special Status Plant of the Week: McDonald's Rock Cress
- National Public Lands Day
- Energy
- Recreation
- Wild horses and burros
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Carole Anne Wiley
- Profile: Valerie Parker
- Geology
- Photo Album: King Range National Conservation Area
- Our readers write: Trivia not trivial?
- Headlines and Highlights, including heat, jobs, grazing, gold, gravel and more


OUR READERS WRITE: Trivia not trivial?

"Bring back the TRIVIA!   We had plans to use these questions to enhance our science curriculum and promote student interest in current issues.  We planned to offer extra credit for internet research and, the correct answer.  We hope to see it back!"
      - J.D., St. Helena

RESPONSE: We also had hoped to bring back this feature with the return of the regular school year. You will find it in News.bytes again, beginning with this issue. We hope it will help with the students' science and interest in current issues!

Question: What is the only class of vertebrates that does not have at least one poisonous/venomous species? (There is actually a difference between poisonous and venomous - but this question includes both poisonous and venomous species.)
(a) Mammals
(b) Fish
(c) Birds
(d) Reptiles
(e) Amphibians
Take a guess in our online interactive quiz - and compare your answer to other News.bytes readers. ---->See next week's News.bytes for the answer.<----
(Warning: the item "Wildlife Trivia: more venom" at the end of this issue of News.bytes eliminates one aswer to this question.)

Bookstore Feature: "Audubon's Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Audubon's Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians"
"An Illustrated Guide to North American Reptiles" features 657 full-color images of the reptiles and amphibians of North America, including snakes, toads, frogs, lizards, salamanders, and crocodiles, as they appear in their natural habitats. The field guide's unique visual key arranges the photographs according to their subject's shape, color, or markings for simple and accurate identification. Easy-to-use thumb-tabs help identify animal by type.

Special Status Plant of the Week: McDonald's Rock CressSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: McDonald's Rock Cress
This erect perennial herb ranges from 5-15 inches (12.7-38.1 centimeters) tall. McDonald's rock cress has relatively large, conspicuous lavender to purplish flowers (petals are spoon shaped) upon a basal rosette, usually flattened with oblong, toothed, and hairless leaves from which the flowering stems 3.73-11.8 inches (10-30 centimeters) arise.


"11th Annual National Public Lands Day" (BLM California website)
Join us on Saturday, September 18 in the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands American's enjoy. BLM sites are near Barstow, Bishop, Cedarville, Fort Ord, McCain Valley, Redding and Ridgecrest.

"BLM National Director will honor local stewardship group; Kathleen Clarke visit will include National Public Lands Day project" (BLM California news release, 09/10/2004)
BLM's national director will visit Cedarville Saturday to honor the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship steering committee for 25 years of success in collaborative approaches to management of natural resources. Kathleen Clarke will present a "BLM Director's 4C's Award," recognizing the committee for exemplifying Interior Secretary Gale Norton's 4C's principles: "Communication, Consultation and Cooperation, All in the Service of Conservation."

"Volunteers needed for Public Lands Day at Fort Ord" (BLM California news release, 09/10/2004)
BLM seeks 200 volunteers for event from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday, September 25. Projects include fence removal, soil erosion control, native seed collection, invasive plant removal, facility site enhancement and maintenance - and are designed to accommodate adults as well as children. Displays, games, raffles, free BBQ and live entertainment will be available in the afternoon.


"More windmills on the way nationwide" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/15/2004)
"Windmills churning the air at the western end of the Coachella Valley will multiply on public land across the West under a plan by the Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Land Management recently unveiled a plan to set aside more than 160,000 acres in the western United States for windmills, like those marking the skyline north of Palm Springs."

Related: "BLM land in California suitable for windmills" (Redding Record Searchlight, 09/12/2004)
"Now famously abundant along the Altamont and Tehachapi passes, wind-driven turbines also belong on federal land elsewhere in California, according to the long-awaited government study. Some 72,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land statewide appear promising for future wind power development, the BLM's study concludes. This is considerably more than any other state."
(Requires registration),2232,REDD_17540_3175617,00.html

Related: "Wind Energy Development - Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement available" (BLM California news release, 09/10/2004)
The BLM has prepared this DPEIS to (1) assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with wind energy development on public lands in 11 western states (excluding Alaska) and (2) evaluate a number of alternatives to determine the best management approach to mitigating potential impacts and facilitating wind energy development. The public has 90 days to review and comment on the DPEIS following publication of the required EPA Notice of Availability.

"Power on the line" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 09/12/2004)
Editorial: Urges support for electric transmission lines between Phoenix and California. "While Edison says it's completed an internal environmental review, the proposal still needs the support of the federal Bureau of Land Management and the California Public Utilities Commission, along with state and regional land-use agencies." (Transmission lines across public lands require rights-of-way permits from BLM.)
(Requires registration.)

"BLM to conduct oil and gas lease sale October 27, 2004" (BLM California news release, 09/10/2004)
The lease sale will be held in Bakersfield. The sale room will open at 8:00 a.m. to allow bidders to register and obtain a bid number. The competitive oral auction will begin at 9:00 a.m. The lease sale involves 16 parcels for a total of 6,423 acres of public lands in three counties: Fresno, Kern and Kings.


"BLM Director Clarke to Give Awards at Sand Sports Super Show" (BLM California news release, 9/15/2004)
BLM's national director, Kathleen Clarke, will present special awards Friday to the Imperial Sand Dunes Law Enforcement Coalition and the American Sand Association at the Sand Sports Super Show in Orange County. The awards will honor the Coalition and the ASA for their leadership in conservation and recreational safety programs throughout the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

"Long Term Visitor Areas" (BLM California website)
Every year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered at BLMīs Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs), where visitors may camp for as long as seven months.

"Gun range lease extended" (San Bernardino County Sun, 09/11/2004)
"There wasn't much around the ... range when it opened in the 1940s, just a handful of houses about a quarter-mile away....In 1964, when it started leasing its land from the [BLM], the range still had few neighbors. But as hundreds of houses sprouted within earshot of the range, so did complaints about the noise it had produced for decades.....BLM officials have decided to renew the lease for 20 years, however, with some stipulations to reduce noise and open later on Sunday morning.",1413,208%257E12588%257E2396007,00.html

"History of the desert comes to life in guided four wheel drive tour" (BLM California news release, 09/01/2004)
A free, guided four-wheel-drive tour into the rugged region east of Susanville: Lassen County Historian Tim Purdy and BLM Archaeologist Don Manuel will lead the day-long outing to sites ranging from a failed 1800s irrigation dam to archaeological sites containing evidence of the first human occupation of the region. Because of the long hours, hot weather and rough roads, organizers said the trip may not suitable for very young children.

"Off-road group tackles Sand Mt. trash in annual cleanup" (Lahontan Valley News, 09/09/2004)
"About 150 volunteers took to the dunes at Sand Mountain Saturday with trash bags in hand to pick up the wind-scattered scraps left behind by recreators over the past few months....[the group] has been lobbying to keep Sand Mountain open to off-roaders since last year, when a [BLM] biologist recommended banning vehicles from an area north and northwest of the dune to protect a rare butterfly and its habitat....According to the BLM, the vast majority of Sand Mountain visitors are from out of state...." Many are from California.


"Wild Horses and Burros Up for Adoption in Woodside" (BLM California news release, 09/10/2004)
Directly from wide-open ranges in northern Nevada and California, wild horses and burros will be looking for good adoptive homes when the BLM hosts a public adoption event Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3, at the San Mateo Mounted Patrol Grounds in Woodside.

"The California Wild Horse And Burro Show" (California Wild Horse And Burro Show Association website)
The 4th Annual California Wild Horse And Burro Show and BLM Wild Horse Adoption will be held September 25-26 at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop. More information about the show can be obtained from this non-BLM Web page.

"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Brentwood" (BLM California news release, 8/24/2004)
Interested adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, and all day Friday. Adoptions are Saturday and Sunday. There is a fee for participation in the workshop that runs from Monday, Sept. 20 through Friday, Sept. 24. Members of the public can observe workshop proceedings free of charge.

Related: "Thundercloud's hard-scrabble life" (Contra Costa Times, 09/10/2004)
"The story of Thundercloud's hard-scrabble life is written all over his body. Bite marks cover the hide of the small sorrel mustang, the imprint of hoof prints is plainly visible on his ribs, and parts of both ears are missing -- all battle scars from fights with other stallions over the herd of mares he once ran with on the open range." A trainer applies his skills to "gentling" horses like him, as part of the BLM wild horse and burros adoption in Brentwood this weekend.
(Registration required - Same user name and password also works with San Jose Mercury News)

Carol Anne Wiley represents environmental interests as the environmental protection representative on the Council.  She is a long-time resident of Victorville, and is an active member of numerous environmental and conservation organizations.

Valerie ParkerPROFILE: Valerie Parker
Remember typing on a WANG "dedicated" word processor? Valerie does. She has followed BLM's progression into the world of personal computers - and now does "all things computer related for the Ukiah Field Office." She is also an EEO counselor and a mediator. Read more in this weekly News.bytes feature:


"Two-day field trip trough the northern Mother Lode" (BLM California news release, 09/13/2004)
The BLM and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History are co-sponsoring a two-day field trip through the northern Mother Lode portions of California in Sierra and Plumas counties, September 18-19. This program gives an introduction to the historic hardrock and placer mining operations of Northern California. Topics include the effects of human activity on changing the landscape and how land use decisions are limited by geologic factors that were initiated 120 million years ago.

"Scientists ready to have a blast near Cedarville" (Klamath Falls Herald and News, 09/10/2004)
Scientists with permits from BLM plan blasts this week to study the "extension paradox" - "variations in the thickness and structure of the earth's crust. As the crust is stretched it becomes thinner and, usually, lower in elevation. But that's not the case in some sections of northern Nevada. Scientists hope to find out why."

Related: "Scientists to study earth's crust beneath northwest Nevada, Northeast California" (BLM California news release, 09/07/2004)

nal Recreation AreaPHOTO ALBUM: King Range National Conservation Area
National Conservation Areas (NCAs) are designated by Congress to conserve, protect, enhance, and manage public land areas for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.  NCAs feature exceptional natural, recreational, cultural, wildlife, aquatic, archaeological, paleontological, historical, educational, and/or scientific resources.

View from the King Range toward the Pacific OceanRelated: "King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM California Web page)
A spectacular meeting of land and sea is certainly the dominant feature of the King Range National Conservation Area. Mountains seem to thrust straight out of the surf; a precipitous rise unsurpassed on the continental U.S. coastline. King Peak, the highest point at 4,087 feet, is only three miles from the ocean.


"Blistering heat takes toll" (Bakersfield Californian, 09/10/2004)
"Summer is tough on just about anyone who calls the Bakersfield area home, but it can be particularly hard on those whose office is outdoors." Among those interviewed is BLM Barstow Field Office's recreation chief, who has worked outside in 117-degree weather: "But it's a dry heat."
(Requires registration.)

"In grazing debate, some ranchers are switching sides" (Washington Post, 09/13/2004)
"The debate over how to treat the ranchers underscores the growing political and economic tension over the federal government's decades-old policy of promoting grazing on federal land with low-cost permits.....activists on both sides of the debate differ on whether ranching is a boon or a threat to sensitive federal lands."

"Many head to the hills in search for precious metal" (Stockton Record, 09/13/2004)
"About 150 years ago, the second largest nugget of gold ever discovered was pulled from the earth in Calaveras County -- a 160-pounder extracted from Carson Hill just south of here....To this day, many people seeking fortune, or just some adventure, head out to the county's creeks and streams, its ancient riverbeds and its old hydraulic mining pits in search of the precious metal." The manager of the BLM's Folsom Field Office has spoken with many of them.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
BLM California job listings on USAJOBS Web site. Current openings include archaeologist, administrative technician and supervisory fire management officer.

"Fire recovery projects to be discussed at community meeting" (BLM California news release, 09/10/2004)
Fire recovery and watershed stabilization projects will be reviewed in a French Gulch community meeting Wednesday, Sept. 15. Representatives from the BLM, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District and the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area will be present to provide an overview of the fire situation and rehabilitation plans. They will answer questions and address public concerns.

"Cemex suit heads back to federal court" (Santa Clarita Signal, 9/8/2004)
"Santa Clarita’s attempt to challenge county officials’ approval of the proposed Cemex sand and gravel mining project in Soledad Canyon has hit a roadblock in state court.
The defendants filed a notice Friday to 'remove' the case to federal court, where the city has been rebuffed in the past. Because one of the defendants is the U.S. government [the BLM], the case is automatically removed to the federal court if there’s a request to do so," the city attorney said.

Related: "Only a miracle - or a congressman - can stop Cemex now" (Santa Clarita Signal, 09/08/2004)
Editorial: "It’s painful to watch the city continually bang its head against the wall in its fight to block the Cemex sand and gravel mine, especially knowing the effort has cost us more than $2.5 million in taxpayer dollars that we’ll never see again....The latest setback came Friday in a lawsuit the city filed."

"Conservation agency in jeopardy" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/15/2004)
"A Palm Desert-based group credited with preserving thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and open space...could be disbanded in the name of government efficiency." The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy has been mentioned in past issues of News.bytes because of its efforts to preserve open space between the Coachella Valley Preserve, which BLM co-manages, and Joshua Tree National Park. "The race to preserve the natural character of the land is particularly intense here because the Coachella Valley’s population is projected to more than double to about 660,000 by 2030."

Speaking of venomous: Gila monster - photo credit: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of SciencesSpeaking of poisonous/venomous: Some lizards have earned a reputation for being venomous, but there is only one venomous lizard in California - the Gila Monster. (And it appears on public lands managed by BLM California). Learn more about this reptile in our BLM California online wildlife database.
Photo at left: John H. Tashjian, California Academy of Sciences.
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.)

09/17/2004 - Mother Lode Gold Belt: Northern Mines Field Trip

09/18/2004 - National Public Land Day

09/25/2004 - Fort Ord National Public Lands Day event
Fort Ord

10/01/2004 - San Benito County Fair
Tres Pinos, CA 95075

10/02/2004 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Palm Desert

10/02/2004 - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee meeting
Palm Desert

10/02/2004 - Wild horse and burro adoption

- 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: