A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 187 - 12/15/04

Marshall "Leigh" MarymorFish SloughJames Davis alongside a fire truckSuksdorf's milk-vetchand Wildlife Service

- Off-highway vehicle recreation issues
- Mining, oil
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question: night owl
      - Special status plant of the week
- Meet your advisory council members: Marshall "Leigh" Marymor
- Profile: James Davis
- Photo album: Fish Slough
- Sage grouse
- Other conservation issues
- Invasive pests
- Fuel spills on public lands rights-of-way
- Headlines and highlights: BLM manager commendation, Area 51, wild horses, wilderness bill, fuel spills, more
- Selected upcoming events


"Asbestos concerns at dirt-bike area" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/09/2004)
"Officials should consider restricting or cutting off access to one of the most popular dirt-biking areas in California because riders are being exposed to high levels of naturally occurring asbestos, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency....The Bureau of Land Management, which runs the site 55 miles south of Hollister, should consider closing Clear Creek to all visitors until health hazards can be studied more thoroughly, the EPA said..."

Related: "Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM Hollister Field Office website)

"Group demands end to OHV use on public land" (Hi-Desert Star, 12/13/2004)
At a meeting in Twentynine Palms recently, members of Community ORV Watch met with a number of county and federal officials to address grievances raised on account of off-road vehicle use and abuse....The center of attention at the meeting was the Bureau of Land Management...." Speakers said with the patchwork of public and private lands in the area, it is impossible to tell where public lands end and their private property begins. Said an organizer: ""We're under siege, and we're going to fight this all the way. We live here, and the BLM isn't going to turn our community into an ORV park."


"Firms align with Cemex" (The Santa Clarita Signal, 12/09/2004)
"Firms representing mining, construction and transportation industries have thrown in their lots with Cemex in the legal battle with Santa Clarita over a proposed giant open-pit mine in Soledad Canyon." Cemex holds a gravel-mining permit from the BLM.

"Rep. Gibbons sees opportunity for mining law reform" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/11/2004)
Nevada congressman "says the time is right for significant reform of federal mining laws, including changes in demands for reclamation. 'We need to do it now, when there is a narrow window of opportunity,' he said at the Northwest Mining Association's annual convention....The window is open because there is an 'administration that's supportive of mining and our effort to accomplish structural changes in the mining law'," he said. BLM administers mining claims under provisions of the law.

"BLM voices concerns at meeting" (Bakersfield Californian, 12/10/2004)
"Good news and not-so-good news came out of Thursday's California Oil & Gas Work group meeting in Bakersfield. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management reported it received 68 notices to drill on federal land in California between Oct. 1 and Dec. 8, putting the agency on track to surpass last year's total. However, the BLM also said it continues to wrestle with a lack of industry interest in the oil and gas lease sales it regularly holds in Bakersfield."
(Free registration required.)


Do you know which of these animals is nocturnal? ("Owl" is not one of the choices.) Take your best guess in our online interactive quiz:

See what our readers learned about newt self-defense:

Suksdorf's milk-vetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Suksdorf's milk-vetch...
...appears in Lassen, Plumas and Modoc counties - including public lands administered by the Alturas Field Office in the Infernal Caverns areas, southwest of Alturas. Also near the town of Chester. It's habitat: Loose, often rocky soil, with sagebrush and often in pines west of the Great Basin at 4,800 to 6,400 feet. Learn more:

Marshall "Leigh" Marymor, BLM Central California RAC memberMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Marshall "Leigh" Marymor
Leigh Marymor is a Public-At-Large representative on BLM's Central California Resource Advisory Council. He has extensive knowledge and experience with cultural resources. Read more:

James Davis alongside a fire truckPROFILE: James Davis
James Davis is a heavy equipment operator with BLM's Bakersfield Field Office and runs the 3,000-gallon "water tender 3191" at Midway Fire Station among many other things. In the course of a season James fights fires, drives fire rigs, acts as general and small engine mechanic, operates his favored "water tender", and as all fire fighters must...cooks. Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile:

Fish Slough with water PHOTO ALBUM: Fish slough
Fish Slough is a lush oasis amid an otherwise arid landscape - with less than six inches of rain, and summer temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. An idyllic spot any summer day, the "slough," or water-filled depression, is fed by a creek which bubbles up from the ground.

Related: "Fish Slough Watchable Wildlife Area" (BLM California Web site)
The unusual surface water supply provides for varied plant and animal life, from unique and sensitive species such as Owens pupfish and Owens tui chub, to resident and migrating birds, and small mammals.

"The Ghosts of Fish Slough" (BLM California Web site)

"Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra: Fish Slough, Red Rock Canyon, Casa Diablo" (BLM California Web site)
An online brochure.
(PDF file, 240 kilobytes - Adobe Acrobat Reader required):

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Trail Map: San Jacinto Wilderness"
"This detailed topographic map will help backpackers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy their visit to the San Jacinto Wilderness area."


Greater sage grouse - photo by Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service"Sage grouse efforts enter planning stage" (Klamath Falls, Oregon Herald and News, 12/09/2004)
"Plans to stabilize and rebuild sage grouse populations near Likely and Clear Lake in Modoc County will be developed in a series of meetings over the next six months....Staff from the California Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Resource Conservation Districts and the University of California Cooperative Extension Service outlined their concerns and presented a proposed timetable..."

"Scientists monitor sage grouse numbers" (Ventura County Star, 12/13/2004)
"Nearly 70 percent of the remaining grouse habitat is...managed by a single federal agency, the Bureau of Land Management. For more than four years, the BLM has been undertaking a series of habitat conservation projects across the West, intended to keep the grouse off the endangered species list....And the existence of that strategy and those projects likely played a major role in the Dec. 3 recommendation by a Fish and Wildlife Service advisory panel not to extend the protection of the Endangered Species Act to the sage grouse, despite several petitions from environmental groups...."
(Free registration required.),1375,VCS_226_3395344,00.html

Related - Sage grouse conservation websites:

"Greater Sage-Grouse; California/Bishop Field Office" (BLM national website)
"Data collected by the BLM's Bishop Field Office has been instrumental in developing a sage-grouse conservation strategy for the California-Nevada bi-state area."

"BLM announces national strategy for conserving sage-grouse on public lands" (BLM national website)

"Greater sage-grouse" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website)

"Greater sage grouse conservation" (Western Governors' Association website)


"Critical habitat proposed for Coachella Valley milk-vetch" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release, 12/14/2004)
"More than 80 percent of the land proposed as critical habitat is federally managed, including portions of the drainages that lie within the boundaries of the Service’s Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge; and areas that support populations of the plant and its sand habitat that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management."
PDF file, 80 kilobytes:

Related: "Valley’s milk vetch may be endangered" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/15/2004)
(Note: this item is part way down the page, among other "Local briefs for Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2004."

"Costs for conservation actions for Lane Mountain milk vetch released" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release, 12/8/2004)
"The Service proposed 29,522 acres as critical habitat for the Lane Mountain milk-vetch in April of this year in response to a lawsuit filed against the Service by the Center for Biological Diversity and the California Native Plant Society. Most of this acreage is on Federal and private lands, with a small amount on State lands. Most of the Federally-owned acreage is managed by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Land Management."


"Mormon cricket control strategy in the works" (Lassen County News, 12/10/2004)
"Traveling at 15 miles a year, an infestation of Mormon crickets could reach Susanville in three years and county, state and federal officials are working to slow them down." Regional ecologist with BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville " sit down with county and federal agriculture officials and start work on a strategy. The idea is to control the infestation that may reach 250,000 insects in the Honey Lake area in the summer of 2005."

"Agencies make progress against invasive weeds in Lassen County" (BLM California news release, 12/09/2004)
During the past year the member agencies focused efforts on reducing infestations of yellow starthistle, Canada thistle, tall whitetop, Scotch thistle, puncturevine, Mediterranean sage, spotted knapweed, Russian knapweed, Russian thistle, diffuse knapweed, Dyers woad, oxeye daisy, hoary cress, bull thistle and Dalmation toadflax. The BLM also funded weed education efforts.


"Freight trains collide head-on" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/12/2004)
(A fatal train collision in the California also resulted in overturned cars on public lands managed by BLM. Initial reports indicate the trains were not transporting hazardous materials on their manifests. However, diesel fuel from the overturned rail cars was reported. Damage to public lands is currently being assessed.)

"Regulators fine fuel-transporter firm" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/8/2004)
"In announcing the fine, the EPA noted that the company has had three spills at its facilities in California and Arizona since 2003. They include the rupture of a Kinder Morgan pipeline last month in the San Bernardino County desert, about 20 miles west of Baker. Officials said the rupture spewed an unknown amount of gasoline into a wash area that is habitat for the desert tortoise, a federally protected species." (That spill occurred on BLM-managed land.) A company spokesperson said that spill was caused by an outside party, but an investigation is continuing.
(Free registration required.)


"BLM manager receives Farm Bureau commendation" (BLM California news release, 12/15/2004)
Tim Burke, manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s Alturas Field Office, has received the Modoc County Farm Bureau‘s Distinguished Service Award for 2004. The award, presented at a December Farm Bureau dinner, recognized Burke for his efforts to involve Modoc County in land use planning and management of BLM-managed public lands, and for his leadership in developing a management strategy for Western juniper.

"Security for wild horses slipping" (San Bernardino County Sun, 12/12/2004)
"Animal lovers are furious over an amendment to a congressional spending bill just signed by President Bush that opens the door to the slaughter of wild horses and burros. The legislative rider...authorizes older or unadopted animals to be auctioned at livestock sales yards. Animal rights advocates say that means many of the horses and burros will be slaughtered, with their meat destined for European and Japanese consumers.",1413,208%257E12588%257E2593750,00.html

"NorCal wilderness bill clears Senate, misses House passage" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 12/07/2004)
"A bill to designate 300,000 acres in California's northern coastal counties as wilderness lands passed the Senate Tuesday in the final hours of the congressional session. But the House wrapped up its legislative business without passing the bill, so it won't become law this year." The designations would have included some BLM-managed lands.

"BLM seeks Desert District Advisory Council nomination" (BLM California news release, 12/09/2004)
The BLM is seeking nominations for five southern Californians with an interest and knowledge of the California Desert and its natural resources to serve on its California Desert District Advisory Council for the 2006-2008 three-year term.

"BLM, CDF plan prescribed fire project in western Tehama County" (BLM California news release, 12/14/2004)
A prescribed fire project designed to improve the health and productivity of public and private lands will be conducted over the next several months in the foothills of western Tehama County.

"Area 51 eyed as site for growth" (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/10/2004)
"A Eureka-area man who wants to trade property he owns in Trinity County for public land west of Redding has filed papers showing he intends to develop that Area 51, nicknamed for a maze of trails popular with walkers and mountain bikers....The Bureau of Land Management is weighing whether to complete the land exchange....Even if that deal happens, any development proposal must go through a lengthy process...."
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_17533_3389288,00.html

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include contact representative, geologist, state fire operations specialist and natural resource specialist.

"Current news releases" (BLM California website)

(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.)

12/18/2004 - Coyote Mountains Wilderness Hikes
El Centro

12/21/2004 - Solstice Rock

12/27/2004 - Nature Walks
Palm Desert

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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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