A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 207 - 11/22/05

  William Presch Fish Slough Milk-Vetch question mark John Willoughby

- Recreation on public lands
- Headlines and highlights
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: What am I?
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Energy/alternative energy
- Meet your advisory council members: William Presch
- Profile: John Willoughby
- National and/or Department of the Interior items


"No bikes on Hopalong Trail raises hackles" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/18/05)
"A battle may be brewing between state and Palm Desert officials over whether bicyclists will be allowed on soon-to-be built sections of the city's Hopalong Cassidy Trail....The council voted unanimously to go forward with the $303,000 trail construction project to complete the 10-mile Hopalong Cassidy Trail and reroute parts of the popular Art Smith and Bump and Grind trails. But council members expressed open disdain for the biking prohibition....The project also includes a new agreement with the federal Bureau of Land Management, which will be providing expanded services at the National Monument Visitors Center."

RELATED: "New trail gets the OK" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/18/05)
"The Palm Desert City Council...approved construction of a new trail in the Santa Rosa Mountains....The council also agreed to pay the Bureau of Land Management $55,000 annually for new services. The city previously paid the bureau $7,000 to take care of the trail each year. The extra funds will pay for ranger patrols, interpretive walks, landscaping, janitorial services, and expanded staffing at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Draft Environmental Assessment 06-04: BLM proposes to reroute the Art Smith Trail, construct the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, and close the Schey Trail on public lands" (BLM California, Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office website)
The Bureau of Land Management, in cooperation with the City of Palm Desert, proposes to reroute the Art Smith Trail, close a potion of the existing Art Smith Trail, seasonally close trails in Dead Indian Canyon, construct the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, and close a portion of the Schey Trail. This page links to a draft environmental assessment.

"Dunes season maintains 'Zero Tolerance,' temporary closures" (BLM California news release, 11/22/05)
With the approaching Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Imperial Sand Dunes recreation enthusiasts will see a continuation of the "zero tolerance" law enforcement policy and interim lawsuit closures temporarily remaining in effect.

"Redding dirt bikers help improve off highway vehicle area" (BLM California news release, 11/15/05)
The Redding Dirt Riders motorcycle club has donated two concrete picnic tables to the Bureau of Land Management for installation at the Copely Mountain Off Highway Vehicle Staging Area, part of the Chappie-Shasta OHV area near Redding.

"Wildlife area emerging after years of planning" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/20/05)
Public meeting held to "discuss the Department of Fish and Game's management plan for the expansion of the San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area.....the northwest section of the wildlife area is open to the public and hunting....When it's all done, the wildlife area will stretch 14,500 acres, include some incredibly game-rich areas and connect hunters to Bureau of Land Management land and more hunting opportunities."

"BLM Pit River campground closes for the winter season" (BLM California news release, 11/15/05)
The facility will re-open in time for the start of the stream fishing season next April.

"Permits for recreation on public land" (Federal Register notice, 11/22/05)
"The proposed rule is needed to remove from the regulations inconsistencies with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA), which authorizes the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to establish, modify, charge, and collect recreation fees at Federal recreation lands and waters for the next 10 years. You should submit your comments by January 23, 2006."
Text file, 28 kilobytes:
PDF file, 68 kilobytes:


"BLM seeks public comment on proposed treatments of vegetation on BLM public lands in Western US" (BLM news release, 11/10/05)
(Note: A public meeting is being held in Sacramento on November 29 to provide information for the public and to offer an opportunity for public comment.) The BLM released its extensive environmental analysis of proposed vegetation treatments that will combat the spread of noxious and invasive plants and reduce the amount of highly flammable forest and rangeland fuels, such as stands of pinyon and juniper trees or dead and down woody materials, on BLM-managed public lands.

"Battle looms over Death Valley's Surprise Canyon" (Pahrump Valley Times, 11/18/05)
"Words like bower and grotto aren't often used to describe the Death Valley desert, but a narrow canyon in the Panamint Range, aptly named Surprise, is all about the unexpected....Conservationists hope to restrict access to natural treasure in the Panamint Mountains."

RELATED: "Let nature reclaim canyon" (Las Vegas Sun, 11/16/05)
Editorial: "In May 2001 the Bureau of Land Management closed the road to vehicles....Today, nature is reclaiming the streambed....The BLM is studying whether to make the closure to vehicles permanent. Many off-road enthusiasts do not agree, but we believe it should."

RELATED: "Surprise Canyon interim closure; EIS; Inholder access" (BLM issue summary, 11/22/05)
"The area has become controversial due to a lawsuit-related closure, demands for access from new inholders, and a long-term determination on motorized access into the canyon involving BLM and National Park Service."
BLM Issue summary.

"House signs off on reservation land" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/16/05)
"The House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that would add nearly 1,000 acres of federal land to the Pechanga Indian reservation.....It now heads to the Senate. The legislation would transfer 991 acres owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management to the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians near Temecula. One 971-acre parcel is adjacent to the reservation property and about a half-mile from the Pechanga casino. Another 20-acre parcel is about 20 miles north of the reservation."
(Free registration required.)

"Land decision up in the air" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/20/05)
"The federal government wants more time to decide whether to appeal a judge's decision striking down a land deal that would allow a company to build one of the nation's largest landfills near Joshua Tree National Park....At issue is a 1999 land swap between Kaiser and the BLM. The federal agency gave Kaiser 3,481 acres of public land around the company's mining pits so they could be used for a landfill. In return, Kaiser gave the BLM almost 2,500 acres of land along its 52-mile railroad in Riverside County."
(Free registration required.)

"Property struggle turns ugly" (Bakersfield Californian, 11/20/05)
"In exchange for 19 new high-dollar lots, the company is offering to buy 40 acres of open space owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management just to the west and move the city park there....the federal agency isn't likely to sell the property to either side until they iron out their differences. And, until the land is sold, those 40 acres of property will be open and free for any member of the public to use."
(Free registration required.)

"National parks' pot farms blamed on cartels; Mexican drug lords find it easier to grow in state than import" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/18/05)
"Hikers in national parks such as Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon are encountering a danger more hazardous than bears: illegal marijuana farms run by Mexican drug cartels and protected by booby traps and guards carrying AK-47s.....Some growers have responded to drug raids in Sequoia and other parks by moving their farms to nearby Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management lands."

RELATED: "Statement of Art Gaffney, Forest Supervisor, Sequoia National Forest...drug production on public lands" (U.S. Forest Service website)
Congressional testimony.

"To die on the plain" (San Luis Obispo New Times, 11/17/05)
"Marlene Braun envisioned the dawning of a new day at the Carrizo Plain, but she never lived to see it." The Carizzo Plain National Monument was designated by Presidential Proclamation in January, 2001 for management by the BLM.

"Health concerns prompt temporary emergency closure of Wild Hot Springs near Tecopa" (BLM California news release, 11/22/05)
The closure affects an unpermitted, improved hot spring facility on public lands within the Amargosa River Area of Critical Environmental Concern in southern Inyo County. The temporary closure will remain in effect until BLM completes an environmental assessment that addresses public health and safety concerns and complies with State law, and implements a decision regarding management of the facilities and hot springs.

"Environmentalists urge Gibbons to oppose bill" (Associated Press in Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/21/05)
"Environmentalists are urging Rep. Jim Gibbons to oppose federal legislation that would potentially open up to development 412,000 acres of wilderness study areas in Nevada and California."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include physical science technician, fire prevention and firefighting jobs.

"Adoptions source of controversy" (Antelope Valley Press, 11/17/05)
"The Bureau of Land Management's Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro program is not without controversy. Some believe the process is too easy, allowing people who are not fully prepared for the responsibilities to adopt animals."

"Meeting to discuss Round Mountain plan" (BLM California news release, 11/22/05)
The public meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 30 in Nevada City, is to discuss the Round Mountain/Rock Creek management plan, and its implementation. The management plan covers approximately 2,200 acres of federal public land between the South Fork Yuba River and Nevada City.

"Washoe Planning commission denies use permit for plan to export water from Honey" (Lassen County News, 11/22/05)
One of two proposals is to "build a 24-mile pipeline to transport 2,500 acre-feet of water a year from the Dry Valley area in southern Lassen County" to a housing development north of Reno. The Bureau of Land Management prepared the related North Valleys Rights-of-Way Projects Final Environmental Impact Statement, and a supervisor requested time to review the 300-page document.

"Air Pollution Control Board sets guidelines for controlled burns" (Lassen County News, 11/22/05)
"The smoky haze that covered Susanville was generated from multiple prescribed burn projects in the Plumas and neighboring national forests, agricultural burning in the Sacramento Valley and winds that were lighter than forecasted....Representatives from the Lassen National Forest, Plumas National forest, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and several other neighboring forest agencies attended Tuesday's meeting to discuss the problems associated with controlled burns and the most advantageous solutions."


WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is a Yuma clapper rail?
(a) An endangered, nonvenomous snake
(b) An endangered mammal in the rodent family
(c) An endangered bird
(d) An endangered amphibian that lives in Central Valley wetlands of California
(e) A noisy, steel-wheeled train that you can ride from El Centro to Yuma, Arizona
      (See answer near end of this issue of News.bytes)

sketch of Fish Slough Milk-VetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Fish Slough Milk-Vetch
Astragalus lentiginosus var. piscinensis is distinguished from A. lentiginosus var. albifolius and A. lentiginosus var. sesquimetralis by two reduced pairs of lateral leaflets and one terminal elongated leaflet. It has been found in Inyo and Mono counties.


"Project a big step for green power" (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/17/05)
"The Department of Water and Power announced it will commit $240 million to the Green Path project, which will build and upgrade transmission lines throughout Southern California to give populated areas access to power from pockets of heat deep beneath the Imperial Valley." Transmission lines involve BLM rights-of-way.

RELATED: Mayor backs funds for geothermal plan" (Los Angeles Times, 11/17/05)
Mayor proposes "that the city spend $240 million to help construct a transmission line that will allow Los Angeles to tap electricity from geothermal fields in the Salton Sea area" to help "meet his goal of having renewable energy sources make up 20% of the electricity provided by the city Department of Water and Power by the year 2010." The project "is a partnership between the Los Angeles agency, the Imperial Irrigation District and the nonprofit group Citizens Energy" and would involve rights-of-way across BLM-managed lands.,1,7245733.story

RELATED: "Pine Tree Wind pacts OK'd" (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/16/05)
"The Pine Tree project will supply Los Angeles with power from 80 giant wind turbines in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. ...While the challenges are significant, DWP officials are counting on Pine Tree to move the department closer to its goal of having a 20 percent renewable power portfolio while reducing CO2 emissions by more than 200,000 tons a year." The project will require rights-of-way for transmission lines and access roads, across BLM-managed lands.

"Mexico OKs oil refinery pipeline plan" (Yuma Sun, 11/21/05)
"Mexico’s secretary of energy has given an Arizona company permission to build and operate a pipeline to supply a refinery that company wants to build in Yuma County....
The company wants to build a 150,000 barrel-per-day facility on vacant land 40 miles east of Yuma. But before it can move forward with those plans, the federal government must conduct an environmental impact study. The Bureau of Land Management is slated to conduct that study...."

"Sempra Energy downsizing power plant" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 11/11/05)
"Sempra Energy is scaling back its 1,450-megawatt power plant by 250 megawatts because there's not enough water near Gerlach to support it. At the same time, Sempra officials said the company will not reduce a planned 1,650-megawatt connecting station for the Los Angeles/Pacific transmission line to export power to Southern California." Residents of areas including northeastern California have expressed concerns about the project. BLM is preparing an environmental report related to the proposed coal-fired power plant.

"Julian may fight to keep power line away" (North County Times, 11/15/05)
"San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s new power-line system proposal won't be built anywhere near Julian, if a local citizens group has its way....The utility is months away from selecting the exact route for the Sunrise Powerlink. It would run from the Imperial Valley to a new substation in North County, then southwest to SDG&E's Penasquitos substation, which despite its name is located in Carmel Valley." The power line route would involve rights-of-way across BLM-managed land.

Dr. William Presch is a professor of zoology at California State University, Fullerton and director of the California Desert Studies Consortium. He represents the public-at-large on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council.

John WilloughbyPROFILE:John Willoughby...
...oversees BLM California's Special Status Plant (SSP) Program, provides instruction and guidance on the monitoring of SSP plants and vegetation, and designs or helps others design monitoring programs. For example, the current monitoring program for the Peirson's milk-vetch in the Algodones Dunes (also called Imperial Sand Dunes) is a program that John designed. Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile.


"Mining law change key to buying of public land" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20/05)
"Under the House bill passed Friday, for the first time in the history of the 133-year-old mining law, individuals or companies can file and expand claims even if the land at the heart of a claim has already been stripped of its minerals or could never support a profitable mine. The measure would also lift an 11-year moratorium on the passing of claims into full ownership."

RELATED: "Some fear a vast sell-off of U.S. land" (Los Angeles Times, 11/16/05)
"A budget bill that the House of Representatives is expected to vote on this week would force the federal government to put "For Sale" signs on public recreation lands in California and the West, including national forest holdings throughout the Sierra Nevada and remote parts of the Mojave Desert. Backers of the bill insist that the amount of land affected would be small, but former Interior Department officials and some experts on natural resource law say the legislation could result in the sale of millions of acres.",1,6393764.story

"Nomination deadline extended for Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board" (BLM national news release, 11/15/05)
The Bureau of Land Management is extending until November 30, 2005, the deadline for public nominations to fill three vacancies on the national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. The categories to be filled represent humane advocacy, livestock management, and wildlife management.

"Secretary Norton applauds Senate confirmation of P. Lynn Scarlett as Deputy Secretary of the Interior" (Department of the Interior news release, 11/21/05)
In her role as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, Scarlett has discharged the authority of the Secretary for all phases of management, budget and other administrative activities and serves as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary.

"Secretary Norton announces resignation of Craig Manson, commends his stewardship of nation's parks and wildlife" (Department of the Interior news release, 11/16/05)
Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Craig Manson has accepted a teaching position at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

RELATED: "Interior Department official will return to Sacramento area" (Sacramento Bee, 11/17/05)
"Manson was a Superior Court judge in Sacramento before his nomination to the Interior Department in 2001."

"Norton announces President Bush's intent to nominate David Longly Bernhardt as Solicitor" (Department of the Interior news release, 11/18/05)
Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that President George W. Bush intends to nominate David Longly Bernhardt as Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior. The position is subject to confirmation by the United States Senate once the official nomination is made by the President.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA: ANSWER to "what is a Yuma clapper rail?"

(c) An endangered bird. It is sometimes seen at BLM-managed Dos Palmas Preserve:

...or at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge:

"Yuma clapper rail" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office website)
This webpage links to various documents with information about the Yuma clapper rail.

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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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