A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 205 - 11/9/05

  key parcel added for the San Joaquin River Trail Clay Howe a coyote in the wild

- Headlines and highlights: bighorn sheep trail, pot problems, BLM California jobs, much more
- Wild horse and burro adoptions: coming soon
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Coyote success
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Spotlight: BLM California's advisory councils:
    - Seeking Desert District Advisory Council members
    - Meet your advisory council members: Don Klusman
    - California's advisory councils
    - New members welcomed
    - New recreation advisory council duties
- Wildfire fighting and recovery, including:
    - Joint fire stations dedicated
    - Season winds down
    - Profile: Clay Howe
- Off-highway vehicles
- Energy
- Our readers write
- National and/or Department of the Interior items


"Draft EA for proposed trail actions to protect Peninsular bighorn sheep available for public comment" (BLM California news release, 11/2/05)
The draft environmental assessment (EA) analyzes proposed rerouting/closure of several hiking trails on public lands within the Coachella Valley to protect the endangered Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep...To be considered by BLM, all written comments must be received no later than November 21, to ensure consistency with the city's schedule.

Related: "Trails may change for sheep" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/4/05)
"The federal Bureau of Land Management and the city of Palm Desert are proposing the trail changes, which are primarily west of Highway 74 and south of Palm Desert. The bureau released the draft, which the public can comment on until Nov. 21."
(Free registration required.)

"Pot is big cash crop on public lands" (High Country News, reprinted in Oakland Tribune, 11/8/05)
"The environmental impacts of this illegal, industrial-style agriculture are growing exponentially, as growers denude hillsides, dam creeks to irrigate their crops, spread pesticides and fertilizers, and leave behind literally tons of garbage and human waste. At the same time, encounters between drug traffickers and the public are on the rise....How did things get to this point?"

"McQuiston pitches joint plan: Supervisor proposing economic strategy for IWV" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 11/4/05)
Kern County supervisor "pointed out that representatives from the city, county, Bureau of Land Management and China Lake have been meeting to discuss growth issues related to the Base Realignment and Closure process. 'The thought behind that was that we really need to start working together so that as growth occurs, in order to shape our future, a coordinated effort would benefit all of us...The growth that’s coming is good, but we need to ensure that it’s planned, that it’s orderly, and at the end of the day that it does not encroach on the military mission, which is the very reason we’re seeing that growth.'"

"Desert Manager's Group receives 2005 DOI Environmental Achievement Award" (News.bytes Extra, issue 205)
Department of the Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Assistant Secretary Lynn Scarlett recognized the "exemplary" work of California's Desert Manager's Group, among eleven 2005 DOI Environmental Achievement Award winners in a ceremony at the Department of the Interior's museum on Oct. 25.

"Susanville family joins protest against power plant" (Lassen County News, 11/8/05)
The coal-fired power plant is proposed for BLM-managed lands near Gerlach, Nevada. "Though the plant designed to power 1.45 million homes a year will be located 114 miles from Susanville, members of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors have expressed concern it will draw from northeastern Lassen County at least some of the 16,000 acre feet of water a year it needs to produce power."

"Water company proposes desert reservoir" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 11/3/05)
Barstow's main water supplier says the enclosed reservoir and pipeline would serve area residents. "The 1.5 million gallon above-ground steel tank would be an active reservoir, and would pull in water from the main Barstow aquifer....It still has to be cleared through the BLM because the future reservoir site is potentially on BLM property."

Parcel adds a key link in planned San Joaquin River Trail"Parcel adds a key link in planned San Joaquin River Trail" (News.bytes Extra, issue 205)
The BLM Bakersfield Field Office recently acquired a a key link in the land base for the planned San Joaquin River Trail. The 70-acre parcel is in the canyon of the San Joaquin River. When completed, the San Joaquin River Trail will allow hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians to cross the Sierra on a continuous trail, on a 100-mile trip from Fresno to Devil's Postpile.

Related: "San Joaquin River Trail Council"
"The San Joaquin River Trail is a combination of existing trails, old trails to be reconstructed and new trails to be constructed....The Trail follows the San Joaquin River and parallels or follows various historic trails. Notably the Mono Indians used the approximate route to cross the High Sierras to trade and gather obsidian. The French Trail, which started near the Hogue Apple Ranch north of North Fork, followed the natural terrain the Mono Indians used and blazed a pack trail to carry supplies to the gold miners in the Mammoth Lakes area."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include civil engineer, contact representative and several firefighting positions.

"Big Morongo Canyon Corner" (Hi-Desert Star, 11/9/05)
"When the Paradise Fire roared through Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, it left behind a trail of damage.....Many of the trails remain unwalkable....We don't like this one bit, and we reckon you don't either....With the BLM money, we've already purchased 40 percent of the materials needed to replace the handicapped access boardwalk on the Marsh Trail and portions of the Mesquite. We've also redesigned two portions of the Mesquite and West Canyon Trails, and relocated a section of the Marsh Trail to a drier location, so that no boardwalk will be needed there."

Related: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM California website)
Nestled among the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the desert oasis at Big Morongo Canyon is one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian (stream) habitats in California.

"Grazing on taxpayers" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/6/05)
Editorial: "Ranchers benefit from the ability to let their livestock graze on federally owned land -- while taxpayers eat a financial loss. Congress needs to change that inequity. A report released last week says grazing on federal land cost taxpayers $123 million last year, even though the government charges for grazing privileges. Livestock graze on 235 million acres of federal land, including ranges in Barstow and Needles."


"Free horse gentling/training sessions coming to Gilroy" (BLM California news release, 10/18/05)
Horse enthusiasts have the opportunity to get free tips and advice about horse gentling and training, during the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro adoption event, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12 and 13. A preview of the 80 mustangs and approximately 10 burros begins at about 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11. Adoptions get underway with an hour of silent bidding from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday. After bidding, all horses and burros remaining will be available for a $125 adoption fee.

"BLM special holiday 1-day wild horse and burro adoption highlights free delivery" (BLM California news release, 10/19/05)
The BLM will offer more than 200 wild horses and burros to qualified adopters during a very special holiday, 1-day adoption on November 19 at its regional corral facility east of Ridgecrest, California. To make this adoption even more special, the BLM also will offer four to six halter-gentled mustangs and one, halter-gentled, molly mule yearling for adoption. And . . . free home delivery within 150 miles of the facility for all animals adopted only during this special event.

a boy checks out the horses available at the Yuba City adoption"Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Event - Yuba City - October 29-30, 2005 " (BLM California Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program rolled into the Northern Sacramento Valley community of Yuba City Oct. 29-30, and 34 animals found homes with new families.


...have been hunted, poisoned, and trapped to keep them away from human territories and to prevent them from killing farm animals such as sheep. Despite these efforts, coyote populations continue to grow and their range continues to expand. What is one reason for their success?
A) A growing immunity to poisons;
B) Versatility in adapting to food and environments;
C) A prodigious production of 25 or more offspring per year;
D) Successful mutations into metacoyotes;
E) Their investments in a judicious balance of diversified markets.

See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Known only from four populations on and to the southwest of Fort Irwin, California, in the vicinity of the Paradise Range, Lane Mountain, and Coolgardie Mesa.


"BLM seeks Desert District Advisory Council members" (BLM California news release, 11/4/05)
The BLM is soliciting nominations for five southern Californians to serve on its California Desert District Advisory Council for the 2007-2009 three-year term, which would begin January 1, 2007. The five positions to be filled include one representative each for public-at-large, renewable resources (grazing interests), and environmental protection, and two elected officials representing county government.

Don KlusmanMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Donald Klusman... a natural resources consultant and is the off-highway vehicle recreation representative on BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council.

"BLM California Resource Advisory Councils" (BLM California website)
Links to new and existing member information, meetings, minutes and more on BLM's Northeast California, Northwest California, Central California and Desert District advisory councils, and Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and Carrizo Plain National Monument advisory committees.

"Secretary Norton announces new appointments to BLM Resource Advisory Councils" (BLM California news release, 10/28/05)
Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced the appointment of five new members to three of California's regional, citizen-based Resource Advisory Councils, which advise the Bureau of Land Management on public land issues.

"BLM seeks representatives to serve on Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team" (BLM California news release, 10/14/05)
The BLM's Barstow Field Office is accepting applications for representatives to serve on the Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team, which will advise on the collection, expenditure, and accountability of fees collected at Dumont Dunes, and development of future faculties and services. One member each from nine categories will be selected. Deadline for applications is 11/18/05.


BLM and U.S. Forest Service dedicate shared fire stations"BLM and U.S. Forest Service dedicate shared fire stations" (News.bytes Extra)
About 100 community members and employees attended the dedication of the new Mono Basin Fire Station, seven miles north of Lee Vining, California. BLM funded construction of the new fire station to share with Inyo National Forest, as part of integrated wildfire program management in eastern Sierra.
BLM California also built and funded Topaz Station, to share with Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest as part of a similar program of integrated wildfire management. Learn more and see photos.

"Officials relieved as fire season closes out" (Modesto Bee, 11/8/05)
"The season's first storm brought scattered rain to the Central Valley and snow to the mountains Monday. The shifting weather also brought relief to firefighting officials, who announced the end of a surprisingly uneventful wildfire season. 'We definitely dodged a bullet — big time,'said Ken Hood, fire and fuels division chief for the federal Bureau of Land Management. 'I'd say it was the quietest fire season in 20 years for us.'"

"BLM lifts campfire restrictions in the California Desert District" (BLM California news release, 11/4/05)
Several elements of the fire prevention order remain in place and are prohibited, including use of fireworks; burning of hazardous or explosive materials; discharge of certain ammunition, or operation of an off-highway vehicle without a properly installed spark arrestor.

"Bill speeds process of wildfire recovery" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/4/05)
"The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act would require that any catastrophic event (such as a wildfire or hurricane) that affects more than 1,000 acres be quickly evaluated. The bill would expedite environmental review of the land and ensure that a restoration plan is in place within 30 days....The legislation introduced Thursday also would make additional funds available for removing trees following a catastrophe, including money from annual federal spending bills and from the Bureau of Land Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency."
(Free registration required)

Clay HowePROFILE: Clay Howe
Growing up as a child Clay was enamored with the wildland fire fighting that he got to watch each summer. Clay's father was a seasonal foreman with the Shasta Hotshots in the 1950's. Firefighting is quite obviously in his blood.
Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile:


"S.B. County board recommends tougher off-road rules" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/4/05)
"The county is considering the new rules on four-wheelers, motorcycles, buggies and other off-road vehicles after High Desert residents complained about excessive noise and dust....The proposal would bar off-road vehicles from within 200 yards of a home unless the owner has given written permission....The rules also would not apply to areas specifically designated for off-road use. The federal Bureau of Land Management has designated five areas totaling more the 300,000 acres in the county for off-road use."
(Free registration required)

Related: "Commission gives recommendation to off-road rules" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/4/05)
"Though many support the ordinance and believe it will cut down on excessive noise, dust and trespassing, others say the document should include a decibel level to regulate the noise....Critics of the ordinance say the problem is people coming from out-of-area on the weekends and that complaints of trespassing and intimidation should be dealt with by law enforcement rather than code enforcement....Most of the 30 people who spoke on the issue during public comment supported the ordinance, though a handful of off-road enthusiasts asked the county not to take away a popular family activity."

Related: "The dust-up over area off-roading" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/5/05)
"San Bernardino and Riverside counties are wrestling with ordinances that would decide the who, where, when and how of off-roading activity. As the number of off-roaders continues to multiply, the places for them to rove are being subtracted which adds up to a melee among riders, environmentalists and landowners."

Related: "Off-highway vehicle riding" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office webpage)
Includes information on OHV riding in the area, as well as links to the BLM-managed OHV areas mentioned in the news articles above.


"BLM sets meeting to hear suggestions for managing geothermal energy" (BLM news release, 11/7/05)
The Bureau of Land Management will hold a public meeting Nov. 17 in Reno to solicit suggestions on how best to implement the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that relate to geothermal energy on the public lands.

Related: "BLM plans regional geothermal meeting" (Lake County Record-Bee, 11/8/05)
"Almost half of the U.S. geothermal energy production occurs on federal land, much of it in California and Nevada. As reported last month, the BLM's Ukiah Field Office is undergoing the first update on their Resource Management Plan in the past 20 years" and area residents had questions about land that could be used for geothermal production.,1413,255~26901~3123240,00.html

"Geothermal plant on hold until 2006" (Mt. Shasta News, 11/9/05) In a letter to "Calpine Corporation, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service state that work on the Telephone Flat geothermal plant near Medicine Lake will not be allowed to continue until issues regarding the Record of Decision are resolved. Calpine had applied to begin cutting timber for well pads this fall, but issues brought up at a September Telephone Flat Geothermal Project Oversight Committee meeting caused government agencies to call a temporary halt to the work."

"BLM asks for oil industry interests for the next lease sale" (BLM California news release, 11/8/05)
For its next lease sale on Wednesday, March 15, 2006, the BLM is asking the oil and gas industry to submit an "expression of interest" identifying federal public lands that are not currently leased and have potential for development. An expression of interest is a letter or a form listing the legal descriptions of land an individual or company is interested in seeing offered for lease.

"Soaring gas prices send drillers scrambling" (Bakersfield Californian, 11/3/05)
"Soaring prices at the gas pump and record profits for oil companies have led to increased drilling locally and nationally.....The Bureau of Land Management, which manages oil and gas on federal land, has seen a 30 percent jump in permits approved to drill wells in California during the 12-month period ending Sept. 30."
(Free registration required.)

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"New BLM cost recovery fees take effect November 7: Charges will cover administrative costs of developing energy minerals" (BLM national news release, 11/1/05)
The new fees include costs of actions such as environmental studies performed by BLM, lease applications, name changes, corporate mergers, lease consolidations and reinstatements, and other processing-related costs. Such fees are already charged for mining claim recordation, but after the new rule takes effect, these cost recovery fees will extend to other processing fees, including those related to oil and gas, mining law administration, geothermal, coal, non-energy leasables sand and gravel permits, and other minerals extraction activities.

Related: "Minerals management: Fee changes" (Federal Register Notice, 10/7/05)
PDF file , 28 pages, about 250 kilobytes:

Related: "Minerals management: Fee changes" (Federal Register Notice, 10/7/05)
Text version, about 190 kilobytes:

"Critics assail federal mining measure as Western land grab" (Associated Press in North County Times, 11/8/05)
"Critics ranging from environmentalists to hunters are denouncing a mining proposal tucked in a massive budget bill as a push to sell tens of millions of acres of public land in the West to the highest bidder and gut environmental reviews of oil and gas drilling and other development. The provisions in the bill by the House Resources Committee are aimed at updating the 1872 mining law, long criticized for selling off federal lands in some of the country's most scenic areas for rock-bottom prices: $2.50 to $5 an acre. However opponents say the language of the new bill is so loose that anybody with the money can stake a mining claim and buy the land without having to actually mine it."


B) Versatility in adapting to food and environments -- Coyotes are opportunistic animals. They can eat a large variety of foods and live in a wide range of habitats.

We are still working to get our "wildlife database" back online.

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