A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 190 - 1/12/05

Ron Kemper Jim Evans

- Minerals and mines: Bat homes, Soledad Canyon
- Court ruling on desert OHVs
- Botany: Joshua trees, desert wildflower season
- Fire prevention projects
- Our readers write: hunting for information
- Meet your advisory council members: Ron Kemper
- Profile: Jim Evans
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question: grounded?
      - Special status plant of the week
- Bookstore feature
- Headlines and highlights: filming near Auburn, eagle hikes, planning meeting, jobs, Burning Man, more
- National policy items: sage grouse, wilderness
- Selected upcoming events


"Plenty of vacancies at the bat motel" (Los Angeles Times, 1/11/2005)
"From the Mojave to the Sierra foothills, state officials estimate today that 47,000 old mines lie on California's public and private lands: a great, scattered testament to our state's history but also a grave danger to hikers, bikers, off-roaders and curious kids. In the last three years, at least four Californians have died in old mines.... Bat Conservation International, a 20-year-old nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas, estimates that more than half of North America's 46 bat species, including many threatened species, 'depend on abandoned mines at one time or another during the year.'"
(Free registration required.),1,6949469.story

"Clean air rule passes" (Los Angeles Daily News, 01/08/2005)
"A new measure that would help reduce unhealthful particulate air pollution...would affect almost 400 sand and gravel facilities located in Southern California. The South Coast Air Quality Management District's 12-member governing board...[approved] a measure introduced more than a year ago that garnered support from Santa Clarita officials, who say it will impose new guidelines on the planned sand and gravel quarry in Soledad Canyon by Mexico-based cement company Cemex Inc." Cemex has a 1990 contract with BLM for gravel production at the site.,1413,200%257E20949%257E2641260,00.html

Related: "Officials back proposed mine rule" (Los Angeles Daily News, 01/07/2005)
(Background, in earlier story.) "A proposed rule that would help reduce emissions produced by gravel being backed by Santa Clarita officials...",1413,200%257E20949%257E2638992,00.html

Related: "Cemex-Transit Mixed Soledad Canyon sand and gravel project, Los Angeles County, CA" (BLM California issue update)
The BLM approved the project with mitigating measures on August 1, 2000.


"Federal Court Issues Injunction Prohibiting OHV Travel in Desert Washes" (BLM California news release, 1/4/2005)
A Federal Court in San Francisco has issued an injunction prohibiting off-highway vehicle use in wash zones within 571,000 acres of public lands in the Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert region of the California Desert to protect the threatened desert tortoise. The areas affected are public lands administered by the BLM within designated desert wildlife management areas in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Court Order (PDF file, 65 kb):

BLM Restriction Order (PDF file, 49 kb):

Map (PDF file, 62 kb):

Detailed Wash Zone map:

"Tortoise protection closes big chunk of sand to off-roaders" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 01/06/2005)
"More than a half-million acres of desert washes will be temporarily off-limits to off-road driving in response to a plea on behalf of endangered desert tortoises. The ban by a federal judge in San Francisco goes into effect immediately over a wide swath of desert in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties east of the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park."

"Our opinion: Victims of environmentalists" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/10/2005)
Editorial: "This newspaper has long advocated an intelligent mix of recreational access to such a beautiful natural resource as our desert lands with a measured eye to conservation and protecting the environment. However...."

"Tortoise ruling stops traffic" (Imperial Valley Press, 01/07/2005)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, obeying a federal court ruling handed down last week, issued an order...prohibiting off-highway vehicles from thousands of miles of washes in a wildlife management area intended to protect the desert tortoise."

"Off-road vehicles banned from tortoise habitat" (San Bernardino County Sun, 01/04/2005)
"A federal court decision temporarily banning off-road vehicles from desert washes in tortoise habitat was hailed Tuesday by environmental groups and assailed by OHV buffs.",1413,208%257E12588%257E2634708,00.html

"Judge blocks off-roaders" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 01/05/2005)
"The ban will be in effect until biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reassess the impacts of off-roading on tortoises, a species threatened with extinction...."
(Free registration required.)

"Judge backs desert refuge" (Los Angeles Times, 01/05/2005)
"A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to ban off-road vehicles from more than half a million acres of California desert that are home to the reclusive desert tortoise, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act."
(Free registration required.),1,5921248.story

"Court bans off-road vehicles in favor of desert tortoise; Ruling says recovery of species was in jeopardy on 572,000 acres"
(San Francisco Chronicle, 01/06/2005)


"BLM submits proposal to monitor Joshua Trees of Owens Peak Wilderness" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 01/05/2005)
"Joshua trees define the Mojave Desert in that their range and the boundaries of the Mojave coincide. ....Joshua trees provide critical habitat for bird species and is a food source for small mammals, such as woodrats, especially in times of drought. For these reasons and others, the BLM hopes to monitor Joshua trees in and outside of wilderness to better manage them in both land use areas."

"Winter showers bring desert flowers" (Yuma Sun, 01/09/2005)
"Due to recent rains, the desert is in bloom. And...the landscape will only become prettier the more it rains....Due to the wet weather conditions in the desert at present, experts are predicting that the 2005 wildflower season may be early and above average." Among the "best places to go right now" cited in the article, are the flats near BLM-managed Imperial Sand Dunes. "Certain wildflowers are definitely starting to bloom right now, but it's still a little early for some plants," said a natural resource specialist with BLM's Yuma, Arizona Field Office. Among the flowers seen so far in the California-Arizona desert: "desert sand verbena, desert sunflower, ajo lily, blazing star and phacelia."

Also see "desert wildflowers" and "W equals wildflowers" under Selected Upcoming Events below, for desert wildflower events in the Palm Springs area.


"BLM Proposes Fuels Reduction Work Near Oak Creek" (BLM California news release, 01/06/2005)
BLM's Bishop Field Office is proposing to reduce hazardous fuels on up to 15 acres of public land adjacent to and in the vicinity of state, private, and tribal land along the north side of Oak Creek, northwest of Independence, California. The project would help protect nearby residents and their homes from wildland fire, and increase safety for firefighters working to suppress a fire near the community.

"Project may be too noisy" (The Union, 01/06/2005)
"Neighbors wary of fire-safe project's potential racket...For more than a year, Nevada County's Fire Safe Council has been hunting for a place to sort and process brush, scrappy trees and pine needles. After investigating 14 sites, none of which seemed right, the nonprofit council found the 106-acre parcel owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management ...."

OUR READERS WRITE: Hunting for information
"Great job! I really like the travel info on where to go and what to see. I use the info to set up weekend excursions and short trips. Would like to see a bit more on hunting areas, especially for bird hunting."
      - B.W., Hesperia

Response: Thank you. We are glad to hear that some of the information in News.bytes has practical/recreational use. When we receive new or updated information on recreational activities on public lands in California, we will definitely plan to pass it on to our readers. If you have not already, you may want to review the introductory information on "Hunting and target shooting" on the BLM California website:
In addition, when regional sports pages publish current information on hunting on public lands, we do try to include links to those stories in News.bytes.

Note: hunters may also find useful, "California maps available for sale" under the Bookstore Feature below - especially for keeping track of boundaries between public and private lands.

Ron Kemper represents federal grazing interests as a renewable resource representative on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. Read more in this weeks issue of NewsBytes.

Jim EvansPROFILE: Jim Evans
Somewhere on the BLM California web site is a photo of Jim Evans working with the public - and the caption calls him "Old Grumpy". Truth be told, he is anything but. However, he will tell you that is one of the many nicknames that his wife has for him! Read more about this 23-year-veteran of BLM in this week's News.bytes Profile:


California ground squirrelWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Grounded?
How antisocial is the California ground squirrel?Take your best guess in our online interactive quiz:

At what time do Tailed frogs breed? See how our readers answered in the past week:

Bodie Hills rock cressSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Bodie Hills Rock Cress
Arabis bodiensis could be confused with A. cobrensis based on the similarity of stem pubescence and with A. inyoensis based on the similarity of the widely spreading siliques. The gently curved, glabrous siliques distinguish A. bodiensis from the other two species. This plant has been found in Mono County, California and in western Nevada.

BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Peterson Field Guides: Western Trees"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Peterson Field Guides: Western Trees"
"A guide to identifying western trees in any season. This guide includes 387 species--all the native trees of western North America, plus introduced species that have escaped from cultivation. Range maps, descriptions, and keys give step-by-step clues to identifying even leafless trees."

"California maps available for sale" (BLM California online bookstore)
This map series covers the state (on 104 maps) and is published in a Surface Management edition and a Surface/Minerals Management edition. Both editions show color-coded public and private land ownership, roads, water features, points of interest and the township and range lines. Some maps contain topographic lines, others are planimetric.


"River a backdrop for Japanese tale" (Auburn Journal, 01/05/2005)
"About 160 cast and crew members rolled onto a scenic stretch of riverfront property....With 'Memoirs of a Geisha' director Rob ('Chicago') Marshall overseeing filming that started near daybreak, the banks of the south fork at a popular rafter takeout for picnics were festooned with bamboo poles holding 20-foot-long sheets of brightly colored silk." The film crew rented the site for a "closed set" (closed to the public) - "on part of the 528-acre Cronin Ranch the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is expected to take possession of within the next two months."

"BLM announces free guided hikes for bald eagle viewing" (BLM California news release, 01/11/2005)
Hikers have the opportunity to see bald eagles and the beautiful scenery of Lake County's Cache Creek Natural Area, when the U. S. Bureau of Land Management offers free, guided hikes during January and February.

"BLM to hold planning meeting" (BLM California news release, 01/06/2005)
BLM's Folsom Field Office is asking the public to help identify issues and concerns regarding future management of about 35,400 acres of public lands in Calaveras County at a public meeting January 19 in San Andreas, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

"Plan to curb illegal dumping offered" (Union Democrat, 1/10/2005)
"Raising fines, installing guard rails at popular dump sites and requiring landlords to provide curbside collection for renters are among 15 steps Tuolumne County supervisors tomorrow will consider taking to reduce illegal trash dumping....A committee of foothills officials spent more than a year developing ways to address the problem. Their recommendations include stiffer penalties for offenders — including jail time — setting up obstacles at popular dump spots and finding a way to fund an ongoing prevention program." BLM was represented on the committee.

"Ceremony held for local Eagle Scout" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 1/11/2005)
"In conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, [he] completed his Eagle Project the summer of 2004."

"Burning Man already a hot ticket" (San Francisco Chronicle, 01/06/2005)
"Burning Man tickets went on sale at noon Wednesday, although the man won't burn for another 239 days, and folks snatched up some 10,000 of them before sundown." The event takes place in the Black Rock Desert, on public lands managed by BLM California's Surprise Field Office and BLM Nevada's Winnemucca Field Office.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include geologist and state fire operations specialist (closing soon).

"The long and short of it" (Mammoth Times, 01/06/2005)
Feature story/opinion piece on wild horses and "The Wild Horse Annie Act."


"Sage grouse doesn't merit protected list, U.S. finds" (New York Times, 01/08/2005)
"The Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that the sage grouse, a ground-dwelling bird of the arid West, will not be placed on the lists of species requiring special protection. The grouse's numbers have declined, sporadically, for the last century. The decision, which followed the recommendation of an internal group of scientists and managers, rested in part on the idea that private-public conservation efforts, like those recently expanded by the Bureau of Land Management, would help restore and maintain existing grouse populations."
(Free registration required.)

"Environmentalists, feds face off over wilderness lawsuit" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 01/07/2005)
"The clash over expanding oil and gas drilling in the West will play out in federal court next week when environmentalists challenge a deal between Utah and the Interior Department on proposed wilderness areas that critics argue sacrifices the region's pristine areas for unbridled development....The deal, though, reaches far beyond Utah; it applies to millions of acres throughout the West previously shielded from development while advocates lobbied for permanent protection."

(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.)

01/10/2005 - There's a Monument in Your Backyard
Palm Desert

01/12/2005 - Folsom Resource Management Plan Public Meeting

01/13/2005 - Northeast Resource Advisory Council Meeting

01/15/2005 - Bald Eagle Hike

01/16/2005 - Bighorn Sheep & the American West
Palm Desert

01/19/2005 - Ecology of the Palm Oasis
Thousand Palms

01/19/2005 - Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour
San Simeon

01/19/2005 - Folsom Resource Management Plan Public Meeting
San Andreas

01/22/2005 - Out of the Frying Pan & into the Freezer
Palm Desert

01/22/2005 - Habitat Restoration, Cosumnes River Preserve

01/22/2005 - Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour
San Simeon

01/22/2005 - Bald Eagle Hike

01/24/2005 - Desert Wildflowers
North Palm Springs

01/26/2005 - Folsom Resource Management Plan public Meeting

01/27/2005 - "W Equals Wildflowers"
Palm Desert

01/29/2005 - Bald Eagle Hike

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
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(916) 978-4600

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