A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 176 - 9/29/04

Profile: George Phillipscamping in the California desertSpecial Status Plant of the week: Black milk-vetchcamping in northern California

- Off-road in the Imperial Sand Dunes
- Not for Educators Only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Pest, not pet
      - Special Status Plant of the week: Black milk-vetch
      - California quail: Bookstore feature and "answering the call"
- Our readers write: grounded
- Meet your Advisory Council members: Dave Charlton
- Profile: George Phillips
- Photo album: Camping
- Get involved: Volunteer opportunities
- Wild horses and burros
- Off-roading in the Imperial Sand Dunes
- Headlines and highlights, including: Gravel, jobs, new advisory council members, sage grouse, more
- Selected upcoming events


"Winter Guide: Sand warriors" (Yuma Sun, 09/26/2004)
"From Glamis to Buttercup Valley the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area lies relatively undisturbed during the heat of summer. But with the cooling October weather, sand enthusiasts - seasoned and beginner - rev their engines in anticipation of weekend outings and day trips in the country’s largest recreational sand dune area."

Related: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California web page)

"Chambers get help from BLM promoting sand dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 09/23/2004)
"A trio of regional chambers of commerce has ...reached an agreement with the [BLM] to further the corporation's goal of promoting the off-highway vehicle economy. Last week at the Orange County fairgrounds, BLM Director Kathleen Clarke signed a formal assistance agreement with the United Desert Gateway, a non-profit entity dedicated to promotion and education efforts regarding the 160,000-acre Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area."
(Registration required.)


Wildlife Trivia questionBlack ratWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Pest, not pet
Invasive species - animals and plants that come to the U.S. from other areas of the world - often damage their new surroundings and may kill off native plants and animals. Some invasive animals arrive as pets. Not black rats - they were pests long before they arrived in the U.S. Among other problems: they carry the fleas that in turn carry the bubonic plague. But WHEN did black rats first arrive in the United States?
(a) 1609 - with the first colonists at Jamestown, Virginia.
(b) 1776 - on ships carrying British soldiers during the American Revolution
(c) 1815 - along with the first "great wave" of immigration to the U.S.
(d) 1825 - with the first group of Norwegian immigrants.
(e) 1846 - when a "potato famine" began driving Irish farmers out of their native country - many to the U.S.
(f) 1880-1890 - along with more than 5 million human immigrants entering the U.S.
(g) 1910 - hidden in wagons, when the Mexican Revolution drives thousands of people into the U.S. seeking jobs.
(h) 1947 - aboard a UFO that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico.
(Photo credit: Dr. Antonio J. Ferreira, California Academy of Sciences.)
Take your best guess in our online interactive quiz:

More than 200 people "voted" in last week's online wildlife trivia quiz. Check the latest results - and compare your answer - at:

Black milk-vetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Black milk-vetch
Perennial herb with grayish, dense, stiff hairs. Stems are 3/4 - 3 1/8 inches (2-8cm) long, and lie flat on the ground. Leaves are 1 - 2 3/4 inches (2.5-7cm) long, with 7-17 reversed pear-shaped leaflets, 1/8 - 1/2 inch (3-12mm) long. Petals are pink/purple, with the largest petal (banner) 7/8 - 1 1/8 inches (22-29mm) long.

This is a guide and reference book to California's beautiful state bird, the California Quail.

Related: "Answer the Call" (BLM California web site)
"For America's native quail - valued members of our ecosystem" Though quail are found in 44 states, many quail populations are declining because of habitat loss. Areas that once had many quail now have few. Conservation groups and agencies have teamed up to increase supplies of food, cover and water for quail and associated wildlife populations, and increase recreational opportunities. You can "Answer the Call by getting involved with your local BLM office, USDA Forest Service, or Quail Unlimited chapter.


Regarding wildlife trivia questions:
"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! You would be surprised how important this little breath of the outdoors is, in my daily fluorescent-lit grind."
      - Steve B.

David Charlton is from Newberry Springs and represents botanical interests as a renewable resource representative.  He is an accomplished botanist and has conducted field studies throughout the southwestern states, including extensive experience in the California deserts.

George PhillipsPROFILE: George Phillips
George started his career as a forester on a reservation in Arizona. Several states and forestry positions later, we find him a full-time computer systems administrator in BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office. Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile:

camping in the California desertPHOTO ALBUM: Camping
Your public lands offer a variety of camping opportunities all over California. Most public lands administered by BLM are available for "primitive camping," which means you may set up camp outside of a developed campground. If you choose to do so, you must obtain a campfire permit and set up a fire-safe camp with adequate sanitary arrangements. We recommend that you bring some water with you even in campgrounds that offer water at the site. All campers should be aware that there is a 14-day per year limit on the use of any campsite on public lands.

Camping in northern CaliforniaRelated: "BLM California recreation search" (Note: the Recreation Search 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.)

Related: "Camping - BLM California"
Sites are organized by field office. Field offices encompass multiple counties. Click on the corresponding "M" for Map to see field office boundaries.


Volunteers sweep up inside the Siebert Cabin"National Public Lands Day 2004 - Siebert Cabin Recreation Area" (News.bytes Extra, photo feature)
About 35 volunteers recently contributed their services to projects at the Siebert Cabin Recreation Area, managed by BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office. Organizers said workers "got quite a lot of work done involving trail and campsite maintenance and maintenance of tables and benches at several scenic locations."

"Get involved" ( web site)
The Redding Field Office is recruiting volunteers to fill the position of "Campground Host". Campgrounds are located on the Trinity River in Trinity County, an area popular for whitewater rafting, driftboat fishing, hiking, and, of course, camping!

"BLM asks help to restore Mule Deer Range" (BLM California news release, 09/22/2004)
BLM California is asking for the assistance of volunteers on a National Public Lands Day event for the Mt. Tom area near Bishop on Saturday, Oct. 9. The project involves restoring a critical winter food source for an ecologically important population of migratory mule deer.


"Range animals get benefit of doubt; Wild-horse, burro adoptions meant to dispel stereotypes" (Contra Costa Times, 09/26/2004)
"Katie...hesitated as she extended her hand through the fence of the holding pen, then eased up as a horse nudged its dust-specked nose against her fingers. The horse was a shimmering bay mustang named Charlie Brown, one of 80 wild horses on display Saturday at the federal Bureau of Land Management's annual horse and burro adoption at the Brentwood Oaks Equestrian Center."
(Registration required: the same registration works with San Jose Mercury News.)

"Wild horses and burros up for adoption in Woodside" (BLM California news release, 9/9/2004)
Adoption is Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3. Interested adopters can preview the animals when they arrive at the Mounted Patrol Grounds at about 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1.

"BLM strategy to manage horses upheld in federal court" (BLM California news release, 09/24/2004)
The BLM had determined that wild horse and burro populations in 159 of 192 herd management areas were overpopulated and that some animals needed to be removed to prevent damage to the rangelands and threats to watershed health. The BLM set forth a strategy which calls for gathers and removals, increased numbers of adoptions and creation of more facilities to hold excess wild horses or burros.


"Committee gives nod to gravel plans" (Imperial Valley Press, 09/24/2004)
"A trio of sand and gravel reclamation plans in the Ocotillo area was approved by the county environmental evaluation committee on Thursday, clearing the way for potential expanded mining operations...near the foot of the Coyote Mountains." The sites are on BLM-managed land.
(Registration required.)

"Members named to BLM Northeast California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM California news release, 9/28/2004)
The council will welcome two new members and three returning members, following appointments by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.

"Members named to BLM Northwest California Resource Advisory Council" (BLM California news release, 9/28/2004)
The council will welcome three new members and one returning member.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS Web site)
Current openings include biological science technician, interpretive park ranger, civil engineer, firefighting-related positions, geologist, administrative technician and civil engineer.

"Rebecca Watson Visits H. L. Power Plant" (Lassen County News, 09/27/2004)
"The role of local biomass fuels in electric power production were at the forefront of conversations during the recent visit of Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary for land and minerals management in the U.S. Interior Department."

"Kathleen Clarke Presents Awards" (Lassen County News, 09/27/2004)
"Calling a local stewardship group 'a model of incredible success,' the national director of the Bureau of Land Management...visited Cedarville Saturday, Sept. 18 specifically to honor members of the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee."

"Statement...before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee...on sage-grouse conservation" (BLM California news release, 09/24/2004)
Statement of Chad D. Calvert, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, U.S. Department of the Interior: "[T]he Department is working with stakeholders across the spectrum to put forth an unprecedented effort for this species. I will first discuss the BLM's efforts to conserve sage-grouse....The greater sage-grouse is generally found at elevations of 4,000 to over 9,000 feet, and its historic range included Washington, Oregon, California..."

"Testimony...before the House Resources Committee...The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indian Land Transfer Act" (BLM national office web site, 09/21/2004)
This legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to transfer two parcels of public land totaling approximately 991 acres in Riverside County currently managed by the BLM, into trust status for the benefit of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians. The Department of the Interior supports the bill, and recommends certain technical and clarifying amendments....

"In the Mojave Preserve, emotions still run hot" (Los Angeles Times, 09/26/2004)
"About an hour's drive northeast of Barstow, the preserve was established as part of the California Desert Protection Act. The legislation set aside more land than any previous conservation law in the lower 48 states...and it created new wilderness in areas managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In all, the act increased protection for more than 9 million acres of desert."
(Registration required.),1,7885035.story?coll=la-headlines-california

"BLM crews plan fire projects near Tule Mountain and Adin" (BLM California news release, 9/28/2004)
For safety, hunters and other back country visitors are urged to stay out of the fire areas while burning is under way.

"Rancher saddled with problems" (Los Angeles Times, 09/26/2004)
"...[S]tarting a horse sanctuary on his 2,000-acre ranch must have seemed like a great idea at the time. But that was before outraged animal lovers got together...before local officials conducted what they said was probably the largest seizure of neglected horses ever in the United States, and before Shoshone elders likened...treatment of their horses to the government's treatment of them." The wild horses came from a grazing fee dispute between the BLM and Western Shoshone tribal members in Nevada.
(Registration required.),1,2194854.story?coll=la-headlines-california

(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.)

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

10/02/2004 - Wild horse and burro adoption

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

10/09/2004 - Pebble Beach Fire Safety Fair
Pebble Beach

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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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