A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 210 - 12/13/05

   William Radtkey Silverleaf milk-vetch Profile: Jorge Cervantes Pacific shrew

- Wildlife
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Shrewd shrew?
      - Special Status Plant of the week
- Energy
- Meet your advisory council members: William Radtkey
- Employee profile: Jorge Cervantes
- Headlines and highlights: Corral closure, BLM California jobs, more


"Environmental group sues over status of Sierra bighorn sheep" (Associated Press at, 12/9/05)
"The government isn't doing enough to protect the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, a population numbering only in the hundreds, an environmental group said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday....The environmental group wants the court to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete critical habitat and recovery plans for the sheep. It says the plans are six years overdue [and] those reports would help the Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management better protect the wild bighorns."

"Fish and Wildlife Service reinstates proposal to protect desert reptile" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service news release, 12/7/05)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a notice in today's Federal Register announcing the reinstatement of a 1993 proposed rule to list the flat-tailed horned lizard (phrynosoma mcallii) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This action complies with the terms of a Court Order issued on November 17, 2005, by the US District Court for the Southern District of California."

RELATED: "BLM approves Flat-tailed horned lizard rangewide management strategy" (BLM California news release, 2/25/05)
This plan, approved earlier this year, covers areas managed by the BLM's El Centro Field Office. These lands are located in Imperial County, California.

"Study: State's species imperiled" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12/7/05)
"The diminutive San Joaquin kit fox was historically abundant throughout the San Joaquin Valley. But only about 5 percent of its natural habitat of grass and scrublands remain. Its most important stronghold is the Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County's southeast corner, where biologists counted 119 foxes this year -- the largest number in 30 years."

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument - Biological resources" (BLM California website)
The Carrizo Plain supports a wealth of threatened and endangered species, including mammals, birds, and plants.

"Squirrels get a lot of attention: Animal continues to be center of local debates" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 12/9/05)
"The Kern County Board of Supervisors opposes a petition "that the Mohave Ground Squirrel be listed as a federally endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act," saying the request "appears to be an attack on the expansion of Fort Irwin, which already mitigated all impacts for the Mohave Ground Squirrel." Along with BLM, "Kern County has participated in the West Mojave Plan with other agencies since 1990, in efforts to provide comprehensive conservation planning for approximately 9 million acres of public, military and private lands in the West Mojave region."


Pacific Shrew in the wildWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Shrewd shrew?
Why is is unusual that the Pacific shrew is nocturnal?
(a) Because all other shrews are diurnal
(b) Because it is so cold in their environment
(c) Because most shrews need to eat day and night to stay alive
(d) Because they are so vulnerable to owls in their environment
(e) Because they are under 21 and can't get into the dance clubs after dark
     (See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.)

Silverleaf milk-vetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Silverleaf milk-vetch
Identifying Features:
1. Large and obvious flowers.
2. Many elliptic silvery-silky leaflets.
3. Moist alkaline habitat.


"BLM hosts 4th annual seminar for federal oil and gas operators" (News.bytes brief)
BLM staff hosted 150 representatives from the oil and gas industry at this event. This year, for the first time, an additional half-day seminar focused only on field issues. Representatives from major and independent oil and gas companies, industry associations, contractors, and other agencies attended these seminars in Taft and Bakersfield. Topics included responsibilities on federal leases and up-to-date information on leasing, permitting, assignments/transfers, bonding, field operations, resource protection, and BLM's inspection, idle well and royalty rate reduction programs. There were many positive comments from the participants. The Bakersfield Field office offers this seminar each year.

"On the border" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/10/05)
"Much of the energy produced in northern Mexico goes to the American market. The Chronicle concludes its series on how Mexico and the United States intersect at their common boundary." BLM is involved in rights-of-way permits for related transmission lines.

Portrait of William RadtkeyMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: William Radtkey... a retired wildlife biologist and represents the public-at-large on BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council. Learn more:

EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jorge Cervantes... a Fire Mitigation Education Specialist with BLM's Surprise Field Office. Among other tasks, he works on Community Fire Prevention Plans and visits schools to educate children. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"BLM wild horse and burro corrals temporarily closed" (BLM California news release, 12/9/05)
The Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro corrals near Susanville have been closed to the public while veterinarians and BLM officials look into a disease outbreak that has caused the deaths of more than 40 horses.

RELATED: "Deaths put a halt to wild-horse adoptions" (Sacramento Bee, 12/13/05)
"Bureau of Land Management officials have been treating horses since October, when they began showing signs of an upper respiratory bacterial infection commonly called 'strangles'....The disease cannot be transmitted to people, but BLM officials feared its spread to other horses."

"Claims stoke development fears" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/11/05)
"Forgotten mines in the pristine hills above the Coachella Valley could yield new homes and hotels if changes to a 133-year-old law go into effect. It has prompted fears of an unplanned real estate boom in an area reserved as a natural, scenic backdrop for the desert communities. Critics of a proposal to privatize mining claims on federal land say that's what would befall millions of acres of rustic land across the country - including more than a dozen places in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument."

RELATED: "Santa Rosa San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM California website)
"Providing a world-renowned scenic backdrop to the desert communities of the Coachella Valley, the National Monument serves as a model for community based support. It reflects the vision of the local jurisdictions and national desires to ensure special landscapes within our country are protected as open space for current and future generations."

"Off-roaders petition desert area closures" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/7/05)
" Federal wildlife officials have launched another review to determine if protection of a plant -- a decision that led to closures at a popular desert off-roading area -- is still warranted.... The plant, listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened with extinction, grows at the federally-managed Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial Country, also known as Glamis."

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California website)

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include physical science technician, regional fire management officer and a number of other firefighting-related jobs.

(b) Because most shrews need to eat day and night to stay alive
Most shrews are active day and night to fulfill their dietary requirements, but Pacific shrews are truly nocturnal in that they have very low activity during the day. At night, these animals exhibit high activity levels.

RELATED: "Pacific Shrew (Sorex pacificus)" (Clark Science Center, Smith College website)
A species account, published by the American Society of Mammalogists in 1985. Quite a bit of information - also cites a 1974 study which "concluded that S. pacificus was not active during the day, but awakened periodically to to eat food items cached near their nests."
PDF file, 510 kilobytes:

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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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