A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 214 - 1/17/06

close-up of red-flowered Gentner's Fritillaria "Big Bear" Johnson BLM Director Kathleen Clarke looks at anti-litter poster Employee Profile: Charna Lefton

- Spotlight on Partners: United Desert Gateway
- "Big Bear" Johnson - longtime volunteer honored
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Tail tale
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Headlines and highlights: water, recreation, fire, controversies, BLM California jobs, more
- Land management plans: Clear Creek, Hollister Field Office, NPR-2
- Energy: geothermal, power lines
- Meet your advisory council members: Charlene Wardlow
- Employee profile: Charna Lefton
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: New communications director

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Signing the UDG agreement, September 2004SPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: United Desert Gateway
In a unique partnership, BLM and the Chambers of Commerce for the cities surrounding the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area joined forces in 2004 to form the United Desert Gateway (UDG). The UDG is aimed at developing support, improving communication and broadening cooperation with the designated gateway communities of El Centro, Brawley, and Yuma, as well as other interests, associated with the ISDRA and other BLM managed lands in the region. Learn more in this occasional News.bytes feature on BLM partners:

RELATED: "Thousands help clean up dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/15/06)
"It was like a race to see who could find the most trash, as dune buggies zigzagged over the sandy plains, swooping litter from the grounds and shoveling it into plastic garbage bags. Saturday marked the ninth annual Sand Dunes Cleanup at the ISDRA, drawing thousands of volunteers to help tidy both the north and south dunes. The event, sponsored by the United Desert Gateway, KD Cycle and True Excitement, signaled an end to the busiest season at the dunes."

RELATED: "Volunteers needed for dunes cleanup" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/13/06)
"The ninth annual Sand Dunes Cleanup is a full-day event in which adventure lovers can give back to the recreational areas they so enjoy by leaving the north and south dunes spic and span for the down season."

RELATED: "Sifting through the Imperial Sand Dunes" (Yuma Sun, 1/11/06)
"Organizers of Saturday's cleanup at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area believe it will be bigger and better than ever because of increased cooperation across the region....The United Desert Gateway, a nonprofit organization made up of the chambers of commerce for Yuma, El Centro and Brawley, is one of the main sponsors of the event."

Dave “Big Bear” Johnson drumming for a group of fourth-gradersLONG-TIME VOLUNTEER HONORED
Dave "Big Bear" Johnson was recognized by President Bush and Interior Secretary Gale Norton with the Secretarial and Presidential Take Pride in America awards for his significant volunteer contributions to BLM California over the past 20 years -- over 4,000 hours per year as a resident volunteer caretaker, cultural interpreter, ranger and educator at the San Joaquin River Gorge management area. Now 76 years old, Johnson continues to work more than 30 hours a week, but will retire from his BLM duties in a few weeks.

News release: "David 'Big Bear' Johnson Recognized for Significant Volunteer Contribution" (BLM California news release, 1/17/06)
News release

"Dave 'Big Bear' Johnson honored with BLM/TPIA Volunteer Award" (News.bytes Extra, issue 214)
Excerpts from videotaped remarks by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, plus photo of Big Bear.


The long-tailed brush lizard is relatively ______ compared to other lizard species?
(a) Fast
(b) Inactive
(c) Small
(d) Large
(e) Terrified of revolving doors
---->See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

close-up of red-flowered Gentner's FritillariaSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Gentner's Fritillaria
This perennial herb arises from a fleshy bulb. Flowering individuals produce single, erect flowering stems 20 to 28 inches tall, with groups of narrow leaves arranged in several whorls. Flowers are deep red to maroon, usually streaked or mottled with pale yellow.


"BLM will make decision on possible land swap" (Redding Record Searchlight, 1/18/06)
"A decision on whether to swap a swath of federal land west of Redding for private property in Trinity County could come in mid-February, U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials said Tuesday. An appraisal of the 214-acre property known as Area 51 should be completed before the end of this month....",2232,REDD_17533_4396192,00.html

"Community wildfire protection plan complete" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 1/11/06)
"The community wildfire protection plan was created to protect residents and resources of the county from the potential devastation of wildfires, Mendocino County Fire Safe Council Executive Director Julie Rogers said....'A completed plan benefits not just the Fire Safe Council, but also other efforts toward wildfire protection in Mendocino County. That includes CDF and the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service'....",1413,91%257E3089%257E3198348,00.html

"Former California BLM employee Tim Smith receives National Public Lands Foundation honor" (BLM California news release, 1/17/06)
Former BLM California recreation program lead, Tim Smith, was presented with a national honor at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The national Public Lands Foundation named Smith as its Outstanding Public Lands Professional Technician for 2005. Smith is now BLM field manager in Lake Havasu, Ariz., but the award "highlights his significant contributions to the outdoor recreation program during a recent tenure in Sacramento."
News release

"County approves move to buy land at auction" (Inyo Register, 1/10/06)
Inyo County supervisors vote to buy 152 acres of land at a tax auction, but to try to swap it for public land that can then be developed. "The discussion about potential land swaps with government agencies and the decision to get into the land swap business pointed out the complexities and controversy surrounding public and private land issues in the county. The first move the supervisors made was to approve a resolution that would help the Bureau of Land Management create a single map that showed all the public land in the county."
PDF file, 17 kilobytes, duplicated by permission of the Inyo Register

"12-year-old killed in off-roading accident" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/16/06)
The girl "was driving her mini dune buggy in the desert in the Superstition Hills off-highway vehicle area north of Wheeler Road on Sunday when she attempted a hard left turn around 3 p.m....In another case, a 21-year-old Chino Hills man was killed Saturday when his quad collided with a dune buggy in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Glamis."

"Driving habits are part of off-road course" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/18/06)
"Volunteers are needed to teach responsible driving habits and respect for the wilderness to off-road enthusiasts during a two-day training session in the San Bernardino National Forest." The curriculum for the classes, Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, "was created by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Sheboygan, Wis. The federal Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service also advised on the lesson plans, which are aimed at children and specific to the San Bernardino mountains and forest."
(Free registration required.)

"Feds say West won't be shortchanged for firefighting air tankers" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune)
"There will be sufficient air tankers, helicopters and other firefighting resources to battle what could be severe wildfire season in the West, federal officials say. Fewer single-engine air tankers will be reserved for full-time firefighting use but more will be called up on an as-needed basis." Arizona governor "voiced concern over the possibility that the Bureau of Land Management might be planning to reduce the number of single-engine air tankers and helitankers."

"BLM to Improve Conditions an Fish Slough" (BLM California news release, 1/17/06)
BLM's Bishop Field Office has been awarded a grant from California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to implement a road re-route and improvements to road surfaces in the Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern in Mono County. The road re-route is necessary to avoid a wet meadow and sensitive plant habitat.
News release

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

"Owens Valley Residents, DWP Locked in Standoff" (Los Angeles Times, 1/9/06)
"A fight over creek water has the tiny enclave of 40 Acres gearing up for a legal showdown." Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gate that controls water supply was built on BLM-managed land "without receiving formal permission." Local residents are "trying to shore up their claims to the water needed for household chores, irrigation and fighting fires" in preparation for a court fight.
(Free registration required.),1,5792450.story

"DWP to restore water flow to portion of Owens River" (North County Times, 1/13/06)
"The $29 million project calls for returning a steady flow of water from the Los Angeles Aqueduct to the Owens River below Big Pine, and to the delta of Owens Lake....[and] to create hundreds of acres of wetlands, and maintain off-river lakes and ponds for waterfowl, shore birds and fish....The DWP had already received the required permits from the Department of Fish and Game, the State Lands Commission, Caltrans, the Bureau of Land Management, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and Inyo County."


"BLM releases Clear Creek Management Area Record of Decision" (BLM California news release, 1/13/06)
The record of decision (ROD) for designating off-highway vehicle routes and amending the management plan for the Clear Creek Management Area affects approximately 63,000 acres of public lands in San Benito and Fresno counties and is the result of more than 10 years of public input and participation. The ROD designates 242 miles of routes and 478 acres of barren areas for motorized vehicle use in CCMA and expands the boundaries of the San Benito Mountain Research Natural Area to about 4,150 acres.
News release

RELATED: "Record of Decision: Clear Creek Management Area Resource Management Plan Amendment and Route Designation" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office website)
(This document includes four PDF files that are linked to each other - click the link to the first page, and follow bookmarks on the left of the PDF files):

"BLM extends comment period on Draft Hollister Plan" (BLM California news release, 1/13/06)
The BLM extended the comment period on the draft resource management plan for the Hollister Field Office until January 27, 2006. This extension was granted at the request of members of the public. Because the comment period included the end of year holiday season and because some members of the public had difficulty accessing the document online, BLM found the requests for extension had merit.
News release

"BLM seeks public comment on Draft Plan Amendment for managing NPR-2" (BLM California news release, 1/13/06)
The draft plan amendment and environmental assessment regards management of lands recently transferred to the Bureau of Land Management, known as the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 2 (NPR-2), located in Kern County. The proposal includes both leasing new lands and ongoing oil and gas related activities on lands that are already leased.
News release

RELATED: "Draft Caliente Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Assessment regarding management of lands recently transferred to the BLM known as the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 2 (NPR-2)"
(BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office website)
PDF file, 1.3 megabytes - 75 pages:


"Dispute swirls around geothermal project" (Klamath Falls Herald and News, 1/14/06)
"Controversy continues to boil over plans to develop a $200-million geothermal energy project at the Medicine Lake Highlands...east of Lava Beds National Monument in California.....Because of concerns, the BLM and Forest Service, which manage federal lands at Medicine Lake Highlands, imposed a temporary halt to work pending further reviews....BLM's Alturas field office manager, said that barring unforeseen circumstances, the oversight process should be completed by early March. On-site work could begin after that, although various lawsuits could cause further delays."

"Proposed power line energizes opposition" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11/06)
"The battle lines are being drawn, and they are far clearer than the route of a power line proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric Co....150-foot-tall towers that would carry 500-kilovolt lines through the backcountry. Residents of Warner Springs, Lake Henshaw and Ranchita are appalled at the prospect of the massive towers in their rural communities." Parts of proposed routes for the power lines would require rights-of-way permits from the BLM.

RELATED: "'Sunrise' plan gets a stormy reception" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/12/06)
They came to find out about a huge power line that many had just learned could be coming by their homes....Was anyone opposed to the plan, meeting organizer Mary Aldern asked? Every hand in the 100-plus audience went up."

Charlene Wardlow of BLM Northwest California Resource Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Charlene Wardlow...
...serves on BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council. She has extensive experience working on geothermal permitting processes on public lands and has strong associations with alternative energy organizations. Read more.

EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Charna Lefton... the new congressional and governmental liaison for BLM California. An Albuquerque native, Charna has worked in Bolivia and Ecuador, and has worked for BLM before. Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile.


"BLM Director appoints Dan DuBray as communications director" (Bureau of Land Management national news release, 1/12/06)
Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke announced the appointment of Daniel J. DuBray as Assistant Director for Communications. DuBray will oversee the BLM's public affairs, legislative and regulatory affairs, intergovernmental affairs, and the Bureau's environmental education and volunteer programs.
News release

(b) Inactive - they spend much of their time lying on the ground or on the branches of shrubs.

RELATED: "Long-tailed Brush Lizard (Urosaurus graciosus)" (Tucson Herpetological Society website)
Information about this species, and three large photos of an Arizona suspecies, Urosaurus graciosus shannoni.

- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: