A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 209 - 12/6/05

DAC member David Charlton water shrew Myna Sarzotti at the office Special Status plant of the week

- Headlines and highlights: Imperial Sand Dunes, law enforcement, wildfire prevention, more
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: shrewbility
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Wildlife: Bighorn sheep
- Meet your advisory council members: David Charlton
- Profile: Myna Sarzotti
- Alternative energy
- National and/or Department of the Interior item: Mining sale bill


"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes second look at status of Peirson's milk-vetch" (US Fish & Wildlife Service news release, 11/30/05)
"The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that a new petition to remove the threatened Peirson's milk-vetch (Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii) from its current listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides substantial information indicating such action may be warranted. The Service will now initiate a 12-month status review of Peirson's milk-vetch, a desert plant found only in portions of the Algodones Dunes in Imperial County, California, to determine whether the plant should be proposed for delisting."

RELATED: "Algodones Dunes monitoring studies" (BLM California website)
BLM has conducted several monitoring studies of the special status plants of the Algodones Dunes (also called the Imperial Sand Dunes), Imperial County, California, since 1998. The two most recent reports are for Peirson's milk-vetch (Peirson's milk-vetch 2005 report, September 8, 2005) and for Algodones Dunes sunflower and vegetation (Algodones Dunes sunflower-vegetation report, November 29, 2005):

"Our opinion: Life and death in the dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/2/05)
Editorial: "[Y]ou have a city the size of Modesto in the dunes over holiday weekends, and when that many people gather, some are going to die or get seriously hurt, particularly when they are speeding around on motorized vehicles. We think county sheriff's deputies and US Bureau of Land Management rangers are doing great work in keeping the rowdiness and mayhem to a minimum, but there is always going to be an element in the dunes that is there for the lawlessness, and no measures taken will stop it."

"Sheriff's team ends marijuana season" (Red Bluff Daily News, 11/30/05)
"This year the team handled 26 cases and eradicated 81,353 plants, arrested 11 suspects, seized 24 firearms and confiscated 182 pounds of processed marijuana," the Tehama County sheriff said. "According to the attorney general's press release dated Nov. 10, Tehama County would be ranked fifth in the state of having the most plants seized." BLM is one of the agencies that assisted.,1413,134%257E26762%257E3149145,00.html

"Ex-BLM supervisor to pay fine in theft" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/30/05)
"A former supervisor with the US Bureau of Land Management in Hollister was sentenced to three years' probation Tuesday for using a government charge-card to rack up nearly $18,000 in personal expenses."

RELATED: "Confusion fueled fraud, attorney says" (Monterey County Herald, 12/1/05)
"The attorney for Robert Beehler, a former supervisor for the Bureau of Land Management, said his client encountered confusing credit card policies that contributed to his embezzling about $18,000." A US attorney disputed that claim.

"Cemex dispute takes new turn" (Los Angeles Daily News, 12/1/05)
"While acknowledging that jurisdiction over the land would not give them authority over mining, city officials have taken steps to annex 1,885 acres in Soledad Canyon, where a mega-mining operation they oppose is planned....Mexico-based Cemex, which was granted the right to mine 56.1 million tons of sand and gravel by the US Bureau of Land Management in 1990, plans to contest the city's application with the LAFCO [Local Agency Formation Commission]...the agency that oversees municipal boundary changes in Los Angeles County."

"Grants fuel fire safety funds" (Grass Valley Union, 12/2/05)
"State and federal agencies are giving away money to community groups trying to protect themselves from fire, an official from the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County said this week....The US Bureau of Land Management, the U. S. Department of Forestry and the US Park Service are among the agencies that pony up the money for such projects each year," he said.
(Free registration required.)

"BLM finds wild horses new homes" (Kern Valley Sun, 11/30/05)
"Two valley residents are pleased with their experience of adopting wild mustangs from a government agency that wants them to go to a good home instead of being destroyed - the BLM."

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


The water shrew shares an unusual ability with the basilisk lizard -- what is it?
(a) They can glide through the air
(b) They can run on top of the water
(c) They can repel attackers with an offensive musk
(d) They can change color to match their background
(e) They can repel attackers with their fierce halitosis
(f) They have memorized every cheat code from the video game, "Biological Imperative XXVII: Season of Unreason."
      (See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

Long Valley milk-vetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Long Valley milk-vetch
Perennial herb with slender stems, 1 1/8 to  8 inches long - observed only in Mono County. Habitat: sandy areas, sagebrush shrubland - elevation 6528 to 8096 feet.


"Federal agency OKs sheep trail closures" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/1/05)
The BLM "approved the closure of some Coachella Valley hiking trails and the construction of new ones to protect endangered bighorn sheep."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "BLM approves trails action plan to protect Peninsular bighorn sheep" (BLM California news release, 12/1/05)
In an effort to further protect the endangered Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep the Bureau of Land Management signed the decision record to construct new trails and close segments of existing trails on public lands within the Coachella Valley.

RELATED: "For sheep's sake: Feds redraw trails" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/3/05)
"Parts of some Palm Desert-area trails are closing and new paths are being created to protect the endangered Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep....The decision is getting mixed reviews from local hikers."

David Charlton, DAC memberMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: David Charlton...
...represents botanical interests as a renewable resource representative on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. He is an accomplished botanist and has conducted field studies throughout the southwestern states, including extensive experience in the California deserts. Read more:

Myna Sarzotti in the officePROFILE: Myna Sarzotti
An auto accident brought Myna to BLM's Bakersfield Field Office almost 18 years ago, where she got a job as a fire dispatcher. She she has been working there ever since. Read more in this week's Employee Profile.


"Construction to begin on Basalt Canyon geothermal pipeline project" (BLM California news release, 1/30/05)
The pipeline will be constructed on forest system lands located north of State Route 203 near the town of Mammoth Lakes, California. The purpose of this project is to develop and produce up to a maximum of 4,000 gallons per minute of geothermal fluid from two previously approved geothermal wells, and deliver this geothermal fluid through a geothermal pipeline to the existing MPLP power plants located in Mono County, California. This project helps meet the goals of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to increase development of domestic renewable energy resources.

RELATED: "Projects & plans - Basalt Canyon geothermal pipeline project" (Inyo National Forest website)
Links to more information, and a Record of Decision regarding the project.

RELATED: "Mammoth Pacific geothermal plant" (News.bytes Extra, issue 209)
Photos of the geothermal plant, and a drilling rig used to tap a geothermal well.

"Modoc project seeks wind in the Warner Mountains" (Modoc Record, 12/1/05)
"The latest 'green' energy project set on government land in sparsely populated Modoc County is a proposal by a Houston-based company to harness wind in the North Warner Mountains' Fandango Valley. A recent proposal for a special-use permit...calls for the placement of 10, 164-foot wind-experimental towers on land controlled by the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management."


"This land may not be your land" (Los Angeles Times, 12/4/05)
"Supporters say the mining law changes, part of a spending bill passed by the US House of Representatives last month, are intended to revive dying rural mining towns. But the possible consequences have provoked fierce disagreement." Acting chief of Mojave National Preserve expresses concerns about BLM-managed land adjacent to the Preserve: "He fears if it is sold to private owners as a result of the new bill, it could be very profitable to put commercial strips next to the highway, exposing the preserve to light, noise and pollution."
(Free registration required.),1,3365324.story

Question: The water shrew shares an unusual ability with the basilisk lizard -- what is it?
Answer: (b) They can run on top of the water - because of their large feet and air bubbles trapped in their fur. Water shrews are also excellent swimmers and can dive down to the bottom of a body of water to feed on aquatic insects. However, as soon as they stop swimming, air bubbles trapped in their fur propel them back to the top.

RELATED: "Sorex palustris (water shrew)" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information, photo and list of references. The site disclaimer notes: "The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts."

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