A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 212 - 1/4/06

Marshall "Leigh" Marymor Rawhide Hill Onion Gary Cardoza Townsend's pocker gopher

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Go-fer?
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Headlines and highlights: trail, land exchange, land plan, mine hazard, BLM California jobs, more
- Meet your advisory council members: Marshall "Leigh" Marymor
- Profile: Gary Cardoza
- Glamis/Imperial Sand Dunes
- Energy
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Wild horses, herbicides


Townsend's pocker gopher out at nightWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Gofer?
Where is the Townsend's pocket gopher naturally found?
(a) In hollowed out "pockets" in limestone caverns
(b) Curled up in holes in redwood trees
(c) Along the Lost Coast
(d) In the Great Basin
(e) Popping out of Joe Townsend's pocket, to go fer the boss's morning coffee
       (See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes)

Rawhide Hill onionSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Rawhide Hill Onion
Steep eroding serpentine slopes with sparse vegetation and little shrub or tree cover. Associates include buckbrush, foothill pine, California melic, squirreltail, Red Hills soaproot.


"Unbeaten Henderson loop in Palm Desert will get more foot traffic" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/21/05)
"The beauty of this hike is that at 3 miles, it's more than just a walk but less than a strenuous hike. For now, it's also still wild enough that you can spot jack rabbits bounding about between the cholla and clusters of sparrows fluttering up from beneath the creosote bushes....Local hiking clubs are starting to frequent the trail, which opened last February, and the nearby Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor's Center will soon offer guided hikes along the route."

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument " (BLM California website)
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are the two lead agencies in managing the monument.

"Plans surface to buy Area 51" (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/24/05)
Redding-area group proposes buying 400 acres of BLM-managed lands, selling some to local developers to pay for the rest. "The proposal is the latest in a series of moves by residents determined to keep the BLM from trading the 214-acre Area 51 for 566 acres along Grass Valley Creek in Trinity County....The BLM...adopted a policy to consolidate its roughly 1,000 properties by trading away isolated parcels in development's pathway." Group has asked California's two senators to help persuade BLM to drop the swap.
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_17533_4340102,00.html

RELATED: "Area 51 proposal at least deserves BLM's attention" (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/29/05)
Editorial: "It's a creative plan that, on paper, would ensure local control and continued recreational use of Area 51 while making some room for growth. But is it viable? Hard to say....The reason the BLM engages in swaps is that its scattered array of north state property is difficult and expensive to oversee. Consolidation is one tool for repairing that problem, but residents' passion to find creative solutions is another -- and one that will well serve the public good in the long run."
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_18098_4348569,00.html

RELATED: "Issue update: Area 51/Victoria Drive (Salmon Creek Resources)" (BLM California issue update, 12/31/05)
The BLM has been considering a land exchange proposal from Salmon Creek Resources, Inc. that would trade about 566 acres of private land in the Grass Valley Creek watershed in Trinity County, California for about 215 acres of public lands west of Redding, California. The subject public lands are identified for disposal from public ownership in the BLM's 1993 Redding Resource Management Plan.

"Desert land plan nearing completion" (San Bernardino County Sun, 1/3/06)
"After 13 years of often contentious debate and sometimes reluctant compromise, a federal land-use plan for the western Mojave Desert is nearing completion. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is preparing its response to 33 written protests to the plan, which would regulate 3.2 million acres of federal land in a 6.4-million-acre planning area in four counties. The sweeping plan outlines a strategy to protect the endangered desert tortoise and Mohave ground squirrel along with nearly 100 other sensitive animal and plant species while streamlining procedures for potential developers to comply with state and federal endangered species acts before moving ahead with projects in the fast-growing region."

"Mojave lake's history a bit fishy" (San Bernardino County Sun, 1/3/06)
"Scholars at a remote university research center in the middle of the Mojave Desert are attempting to unravel a mystery involving an endangered fish whose ancestors evolved after the last Ice Age....The Desert Studies Center was established in 1976 through a cooperative agreement between the US Bureau of Land Management and a consortium of seven California State University campuses."

RELATED: "About the Desert Studies Center" (California State University Fullerton website)
"The Desert Studies Center, field station of the California State University, provides opportunity for individuals and groups to conduct research, receive instruction and experience the desert environment."

RELATED: "Desert District Advisory Council member" (BLM California website)
Dr. William Presch is director of the Consortium which operates the Desert Studies Center. As featured in News.bytes issue 207, he represents the public-at-large on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council.

"Managing juniper proves a key to ecological recovery" (Modoc Record, 12/29/05)
"The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have joined forces in a cooperative effort to more efficiently and effectively manage the juniper encroachment problem in this area....Called 'sagebrush steppe restoration,' the control of juniper in local forests is quickly becoming a serious problem."
(Only available online through today.)

RELATED: "Western Juniper management strategy" (BLM California, Alturas Field Office website)
It is estimated that western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) currently occupies approximately 2.5 million acres of rangeland in northeastern California. This constitutes a 15-fold expansion of juniper range over the past 130 years. Rangeland health, productivity and diversity are now at serious risk due to juniper encroachment. At the same time, independent energy producers have found western juniper to be a desirable source of biomass fuel.

"BLM to study copper mill cleanup" (Needles Desert Star, 12/27/05)
"The Bureau of Land Management has called for public comment on its plan to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the Lucky Green copper mill in the southwestern Whipple Mountains, about 10 miles north of Big River. Ore was processed on the site in the 1940s and 50s with an acid leach process that apparently used tin cans to precipitate copper, according to the BLM. Even today the area has a conspicuous acrid odor and the BLM believes it may pose a human health hazard....Comments must be received by Jan. 25...."

"BLM Horse and Burro facility to remain open" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 12/23/05)
"Responding to reports that the Bureau of Land Management temporarily closed its wild-horse and burro facility at Susanville, Ridgecrest BLM Field Manager Hector Villalobos said the Ridgecrest facility is still open."

"Georgetown gets grants for pool" (Mountain Democrat, 12/23/05)
"The Georgetown Divide Recreation District spent the past 10 years acquiring the current Regional Park site through a long-term lease agreement from the Bureau of Land Management. The district has 141 acres under lease that are expected to accommodate the pool and recreation center. 'GDRD also is seeking to expand the park with another 83 acres from BLM for trails and equestrian facilities'," stated a press release from the recreation district.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include archeologist, physical science technician, supervisory outdoor recreation planner, supervisory resource management specialist and various jobs related to firefighting.

Marshall "Leigh" MarymorMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Marshall "Leigh" Marymor...
...represents the public-at-large on BLM's Central California Resource Advisory Council. His primary area of interest is American rock art, but has extensive knowledge and credentials to fulfill the public-at-large category. Read more.

Gary CardozaEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Gary Cardoza...
...has focused on getting BLM California firefighters the equipment and training they need to stay safe. After 35 years in federal service, Gary retired this month -- but not before receiving a National Safety Award for innovations he has brought to BLM's fire program. Read more in this week's Employee Profile.

RELATED: "BLM fire employee Gary Cardoza receives national award" (BLM California news release, 12/22/05)
Gary Cardoza, the Bureau of Land Management's Fire and Aviation State Equipment and Operations Specialist, has been presented with the agency's National Safety Award for his outstanding contribution to the BLM's fire management program over the past 18 years.


"For riders of dunes, true grit--and risk" (Los Angeles Times, 12/30/05)
"There are no speed limits, no age limits and no roads across these sands. Formed by ancient Colorado River delta sediments fanned out across the desert floor, the area is also known as Glamis, after the nearby town, or the Algodones Dunes....They are among the most popular -- and most deadly -- places in the nation for riding off-road vehicles, particularly on holiday weekends in winter."
(Free registration required.),0,2937711,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines

"New Years weekend at dunes will focus on safety" (BLM California news release, 12/28/05)
"Through the partnerships we enjoy at the Dunes, we are able to better promote a safe and enjoyable recreation experience for the thousands of enthusiasts who visit us throughout the year," said the manager of BLM's El Centro Field Office, which manages the area. "We can't stress enough the need for off-road vehicle operators to think 'safety' every time they operate that vehicle," adds the office's chief area law enforcement ranger. "If you wear the proper gear and comply with all laws, you will provide a safe environment not only for yourself, but the people around you."

"Imperial Sand Dunes home page" (Bureau of Land Management website)
Information on this popular destination.

"Probe: Parents should be responsible on dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 12/29/05)
Glamis Imperial Sand Dunes: "We concur the dunes are a remarkable recreational resource and a huge boon to the economy here. The last thing we want is for the dunes to be closed to off-roaders. At the same time, safety is a huge concern. If that many young people were dying, per capita, playing high school football, the sport would be banned or greatly reformed."
(Free registration required.)


"Proposed Desert Southwest Transmission Line Project Final EIS/EIR released for public review" (BLM California news release, 12/23/05)
The EIS/EIR assesses potential environmental impacts to construct, operate and maintain the 118-mile long 500 kilovolt electrical transmission line, which would be parallel and adjacent to Interstate 10 between North Palm Springs and Blythe.

RELATED: "Notice of availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the Imperial Irrigation District's Desert Southwest Transmission Line Project, California" (Federal Register Notice, 12/23/05)
The public is provided 30 days for review and comment after the date that the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability for this document in the Federal Register. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any of several methods.

"BLM Explores split estate issues and seeks recommendations" (BLM news release, 12/22/05)
In split estate situations, the surface rights and subsurface rights (such as the rights to develop minerals) for a piece of land are held by different parties. The Energy Policy Act is specifically concerned with situations where surface rights belong to private individuals while the rights to oil and natural gas resources are publicly held and managed by the federal government.


"Wild horses denied free rein" (Denver Post, 12/26/05)
"The notion of wild horses roaming the American West might be more a national delusion than a reality. Almost 35 years ago, Congress proclaimed that the West's wild horses were an American treasure. It passed a law in 1971 to protect them from slaughter. But the realities of the Bureau of Land Management wild horse and burro program are different from the romantic images painted then by Congress and still held by many Americans....The problem with wild horses is basically a math problem. It has left the BLM looking for that magic sustainable number."

RELATED: "Problems arise when Eastern urbanites dictate Western land issues" (Colorado Springs Gazette, reprinted in Barstow Desert Dispatch, 12/27/05)
"[U]ntil that balance of power shifts westward -- and states in the region demand a true partnership with Washington -- urbanites and Easterners will continue to impose their ideas of environmental virtue on Westerners."

"BLM plan to use herbicides in 17 western states draws fire" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/24/05)
A Bureau of Land Management proposal to apply herbicides to nearly 1 million acres in 17 Western states is drawing fire from environmentalists and organic food producers."

(c) The Great Basin. The Great Basin is almost 200,000 square miles of arid land between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Range, where any water drains inward rather than toward the sea.

RELATED: "Great Basin Information Project" (National Biological Information Infrastructure website)
More information about this region, including a searchable bibliography.

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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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