A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 215 - 1/25/06

Ron Kemper of BLM's DAC Goodale Creek Campground volunteer at RV Employee Profile:  Steve Borchard Close-up of wooly balsamroot sagebrush lizard in a human hand

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Land exchanges
- Headlines and highlights: Landfill, exchange, firestorm, wild horses and burros, more
- Volunteers
- Plants and animals on public lands
- Recreation on public lands
- Meet your advisory council members: Ron Kemper
- Employee profile: Steve Borchard
- Energy" Geothermal meeting, "Green Path"
- Accused "eco-terrorists" indicted
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: NEPA manual revisions, new appointments


sagebrush lizard in human handWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
When are sagebrush lizards inactive?
(a) During the day
(b) During the summer
(c) During the winter
(d) After a large Thanksgiving meal
--->See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Wooly balsamrootSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Wooly balsamroot...
a single yellow sunflower-like head 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches across on each reddish flowering stem. It is sometimes found on rocky flats, grassy foothills and open pine or oak woodlands in Central Siskiyou County, in Shasta Valley and the surrounding area.


"Valley could reap many benefits from Eagle Mountain Landfill" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/22/06)
Editorial: "A proposed landfill that actually would benefit the environment still is facing roadblocks." Urges Department of Justice to join appeal of a recent court ruling, "that the proposal was based on a flawed land swap" by the Bureau of Land Management. Calling that ruling "groundless," the editorial states, "Eagle Mountain poses to benefit environment protection...."

"Land trade expands desert wilderness sites" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/20/06)
"A land swap nine years in the making will boost wilderness areas, wildlife refuges and other federally designated lands in the desert by 29,500 acres. The land was old railroad property in wilderness areas in the Newberry and Rodman mountains and the Trilobite Wilderness in San Bernardino County and in Gilmore's Camp and two national wildlife refuges in Imperial County. Those parcels now will be in public hands under an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "BLM publishes decision on Palo Verde land exchange" (BLM California news release, 1/18/06)
The BLM has published a notice of availability (NOA) of a decision to exchange approximately 2,000 acres of public lands in eastern Riverside and Imperial counties in and around Palo Verde Valley and Mesa for more than 29,500 acres of private inholdings in Imperial and San Bernardino counties within wilderness areas and other environmentally significant areas.
News release

"DHS, Palm Springs want COD campus" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/20/06)
Palm Springs is vying with Desert Hot Springs to host a new campus for College of the Desert. Palm Springs would like to see it on "about 115 acres north of the Desert Highland neighborhood owned by the Bureau of Land Management....The city could exchange about 2,000 acres of open-space land in the San Jacinto Mountains to the bureau for the 115 acres."


"World taking notice of the West" (Inyo Register, 1/24/06)
"Whether it’s the infamous 'Area 51' or the famous bouldering area north of Bishop, the entire country is starting to notice the diverse range of recreational sites and wild, wide-open lands in Inyo County, California and the West managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 'You’re not alone out there anymore,' Mike Pool, California state director of the BLM, told a local audience at the recent Inyo Associates meeting in Death Valley."
PDF file, 14 kilobytes.

"Into the firestorm" (Discovery Channel website)
Photos and preview of television series on firefighters that fight wildland fires in California and other Pacific states. The series focuses on U.S. Forest Service hotshots, smokejumpers and helitack crews. BLM California has similar crews: the Diamond Mountain Hotshots based in Susanville, and the Kern Valley Hotshots out of the Bakersfield area -- and BLM has smokejumpers stationed in areas throughout the West.

RELATED: "Fire program" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office website)
Information on some of BLM California's firefighters, including hotshots and helitack crews.

"Citizens get their way, no cellular tower in Trinidad -- for now" (Eureka Times-Standard, 1/20/06)
"Members of the Trinidad Planning Commission heard from almost two dozen individuals and then decided to deny, for the time being, a request by U.S. Cellular to construct a communications tower on Trinidad Head....Trinidad Head was transferred to the city in 1983 from the Bureau of Land Management and included several commitments from the city. The existing communications site was developed as a cable television site by Cox Communications before the annexation of Trinidad Head."

"Environmental assessment for proposed mining operation near Jawbone Canyon available for public review" (BLM California news release, 1/24/06)
The EA identifies alternatives and analyzes potential environmental and cumulative impacts of the proposed project. BLM received a proposal from Matcon Corporation to develop a quarry for shallow open pit mine about a half mile north of Jawbone Canyon, for the production of zeolites, a locatable mineral.
News release.

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


"BLM volunteers recognized in Bishop" (BLM California news release, 1/20/06)
Local area campground hosts Fred Hlushko, Larry and Brenda Parent, Ron and Jeanine Dahncke were recently recognized by the Bureau of Land Management for their many hours of volunteer work.
News release - also

"Organizers say dunes cleanup bigger, better" (Yuma Sun, 1/19/06)
"More than 4,000 people picked up trash in the Imperial Sand Dunes Saturday in what organizers are calling the biggest cleanup ever in the dunes. Jarrod Bullard, south dunes cleanup organizer, said 2,500 people signed up and filled more than 4,000 trash bags....Bullard said the event succeeded because of the involvement of nearby cities and duners." Cleanup sponsors included the United Desert Gateway, featured in last week's News.bytes "Spotlight on Partners."

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California, El Centro Field Office website)


"2nd annual Valentine's Day wild horse and burro adoption highlights free delivery" (BLM California news release, 1/24/06)
The BLM will offer one, green-broke, 3-year old, palomino mare and six halter-gentled mustangs, and an excellent selection of more than 150 mustang yearlings gelding and mares and 40 burros to qualified adopters, at its regional corral just east of Ridgecrest.
News release.

"BLM wild horse and burro adoption returns to Ventura" (BLM California news release, 1/24/06)
Approximately 80 wild mustangs and 20 wild burros will be offered to qualified adopters at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at Seaside Park in Ventura on February 25-26 through the BLM's Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. The animals will arrive at the fairgrounds around noon on Friday, February 24.
News release.


"Free Valentine's Day courtship lecture" (BLM California news release, 1/23/06)
This free romantic lecture with illustrated slides, sponsored by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, is a summarization of a three-year study on desert tortoise courtship behaviors.
News release.

"Free wildflower workshop" (BLM California news release, 1/23/06)
Discover the best places to go for wildflowers, explore wildflower anatomy and learn wildflower pollination strategies at this free workshop on March 13.
News release.

"Snow Goose Festival coming to town" (Red Bluff Daily News, 1/23/06)
"The 7th Annual Snow Goose Festival is coming to Chico, Red Bluff and the Sutter Buttes on the weekend of Jan. 27 to 29. This birding and nature festival draws attention to the migrating and resident waterfowl that can be found wintering among habitats of the Sacramento Valley through a series of tours and informative workshops." The BLM "is offering a hiking tour of lands under its protection in a special management unit known as the Sacramento River Bend Outstanding Natural Area."

"Imperial Sand Dunes 2006 monitoring program to begin" (BLM California news release, 1/24/06)
BLM will continue its ongoing multi-species monitoring program at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area during March and April, with an emphasis this year on selective sampling to build on the last two years of intensive monitoring. Vicki Wood, BLM's El Centro Field Office manager, said the information gathered in 2004 from a dry season with little rainfall and in 2005 from a wet season with substantial rainfall, have provided an "excellent range of data" on which to base the 2006 monitoring.
News release.

"Indio may derail valley growth charter" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/21/06)
"As a 1-million-acre conservation plan for open space in the Coachella Valley approaches final approval, Indio city leaders fear it could stall growth and development - the city's economic bread and butter for the past few years....Indio could be the first valley city to publicly oppose the Coachella Valley Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, created to protect endangered animals such as the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard and peninsular bighorn sheep." The BLM is among the parties working on the plan.

RELATED: "City weighs species proposal" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/22/06)
"Desert Hot Springs may follow Indio in opposing a plan to protect endangered plants and animals on potentially lucrative property in the city....The Coachella Valley Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan aims to balance growth with protection for endangered plants and animals for 75 years on more than a million acres from San Gorgonio Pass to the Salton Sea."

"Suit challenges murrelet protection" (Associated Press in Seattle Times, 1/21/06)
"Hoping to remove one obstacle to logging on public lands, Coos County commissioners are suing to get the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to carry out its promise to take the marbled murrelet off the threatened-species list....Court battles over habitat needs of the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl and salmon led U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to adopt the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994, which curbed logging on federal lands in Washington, Oregon and Northern California by 80 percent to protect fish and wildlife habitat."

"Comment on plan to restore water to wildlife" (Needles Desert Star, 1/19/06)
"A proposal first floated by the California Department of Fish and Game to restore artificial water sources in the Mojave National Preserve has finally reached the public comment stage. The state agency began meeting with the National Park Service in the summer of 2004 regarding the proposal to retrofit 12 former ranch wells in the Mojave National Preserve as wildlife guzzlers." BLM is working with a similar issue in the Sheephole Mountains Wilderness.

RELATED: "Guzzlers proposed by CDFG - Sheephole Valley Wilderness" (BLM California issue update, 11/28/05)


"Unhappy trails: Bikers, hikers and equestrians at odds over Fort Ord land" (Monterey County Herald, 1/24/06)
"Lately, the discontent seems to have multiplied on the Fort Ord property, [managed] by the Bureau of Land Management. Hikers, bikers and equestrians have gone public with their frustrations and in some cases, animosity toward one another." Some members of each group blame the others for interfering with their enjoyment of the site, and damage to trails.

"Keeping the devils out of 'heaven' " (Modesto Bee, 1/22/06)
"Their fences have been ripped out and their "No Shooting" signs used for target practice. But Lake Don Pedro residents are hoping the threat of $1,000 fines and jail time finally will do the trick....early this month, the federal government stepped in, placing an "emergency closure" on the area -- banning firearms and motorized vehicles. While just a couple of small signs indicate the change, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management now prohibits anyone in the area after sundown."
(Free registration required)

RELATED: "BLM lands closed to vehicle, shooting use" (BLM California news release, 1/5/06)
The BLM has placed an emergency closure on approximately 80 acres of public land in Tuolumne County near Lake Don Pedro, known as the Salambo Mine, to the use of firearms, motorized vehicle use, and all public use after sundown.
News release.

"Dumont Dunes crowds causing heap of problems for Tecopa" (Inyo Register, 1/24/06)
"BLM trying to educate recreationists on importance of truly packing out trash – not just dumping it in nearby towns: Off-road enthusiasts enjoying the Dumont Dunes have been well-trained when it comes to the 'pack it in and pack it out' concept concerning their trash. Now they are getting a little reminder that they need to pack their trash all the way back home, instead of stopping and dumping it in Tecopa."
PDF file, 15 kilobytes.

RELATED: "Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office website)
Most visitors ride motorcycles or ATVs, sand rails, or tour the area in vehicles with four-wheel-drive. The area off Dumont Road is used extensively for OHV and sand rail staging and play. There are many opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, rockhounding, and bird- and wildlife-watching in the hills away from the dunes. The wilderness to the north is closed to vehicles.

"Schey Trail leads to beautiful, breezy overlook" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/20/06)
"The popular Schey Trail in Palm Desert has been one of the "victims" of the recent trail closures (rightfully) made in deference to Pensinsular bighorn sheep. The entrance to the Schey Trail at the Art Smith Trailhead is closed until October. But that shouldn't prevent hikers from enjoying one small, lovely part of the trail, which is not subject to restrictions."

RELATED: "BLM approves reroute of the Art Smith Trail, construction of the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, and closure of trail segments on public lands" (BLM California, Palm Springs-South Coast website)
The record of decision and final environmental assessment related to the trail closings and related actions.

RELATED: "BLM approves trails action plan to protect Peninsular bighorn sheep" (BLM California news release, 12/1/05)
News release.

...serves as a renewable resource representative on BLM California's Desert District Advisory Council. He holds a BLM grazing permit and represents grazing interests on the council. Read more.

RELATED: "BLM District Advisory Council to meet in Borrego Springs" (BLM California news release, 1/24/06)
BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council will participate in a field tour of the BLM-administered public lands on January 27 and meet in formal session the next day. Tour stops will include public lands in western Imperial County and eastern San Diego County. The public is welcome to participate in the tour, but should plan on providing their own transportation, drinks, and lunch.
News release.

Steve BorchardEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Steve Borchard...
...says he has a passion for sustainable natural resource management and recognizes the importance of working with people who use and care about these resources. He will be able to put this fervor to good use as BLM's new California Desert District manager. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"Telephone Flat oversight meeting Thursday at KNF" (Siskiyou Daily News, 1/23/06)
The Telephone Flat Geothermal Project Oversight Group will meet Thursday evening at Klamath National Forest headquarters in Yreka. "The meeting is open to the public....The group will discuss mitigation and monitoring plans for Calpine Corp's Telephone Flat geothermal project near Medicine Lake....The group was developed in accordance with the Nov. 2002 Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management record of decision approving development of the geothermal project."

"District to explain Green Path" (Imperial Valley Press, 1/23/06)
"Green Path" calls for the Imperial Irrigation District to route "green, or renewable, energy through its transmission system to interconnections to be built by...Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a nonprofit Boston-based organization called Citizens Energy." IID board says the $150 million upgrade to its transmission lines "makes sense in that it will expand IID’s system and allow it to help Southern California meet its renewable energy requirements." BLM is involved through rights-of-way permits required for sections of the power lines.
(Free registration required.)

"Ramona hearing set for disputed power line plan" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/25/06)
"[T]he California Public Utilities Commission has agreed to hold a hearing next week about a controversial electricity transmission line in Ramona rather than in San Francisco." BLM rights-of-way permits would be required for part of the Sunrise Powerlink, "a 120-mile-long, $1.4 billion line....Although an exact route has not been designated, it appears the line would start in Imperial County and cross the northern backcountry of San Diego County, affecting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Cleveland National Forest and possibly the communities of Ranchita and Warner Springs."


"Accused domestic terrorists indicted" (Los Angeles Times, 1/20/06)
"Eleven people have been indicted in a series of arsons in five Western states, the federal government announced today, accusing the defendants of being a cell that carried out domestic terrorism in the name of environmental and animal rights." Among their alleged targets were "U.S. Bureau of Land Management wild horse facilities, including one in Litchfield, Calif."
(Free registration required.),0,5037322.story?coll=la-home-headlines

"11 indicted in eco-crime wave" (Portland Oregonian, 1/21/06)
"The firebombings began at two Forest Service ranger stations in the Willamette National Forest around Halloween of 1996, marking the emergence of the Earth Liberation Front in the United States. The crimes ended with an arson at a Bureau of Land Management stable in Litchfield, Calif., a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

"Prosecutors portray close-knit arson team" (Seattle Times, 1/21/06)
"Federal prosecutors say members of a group that called itself 'the Family' swore each other to secrecy as they conducted a seven-year campaign of arson and vandalism....Incendiary devices made from 5-gallon plastic buckets, milk jugs, petroleum products and homemade timers were used in the series of attacks from 1996 through 2001 in Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, California and Colorado, according to the indictment."

"Investigation continues into BLM corral fire" (BLM California news release, 10/15/01)
News release from 2001, about the investigation of "a suspicious haystack fire,  the discovery of incendiary devices and vandalism to several corral fences" at the Litchfield Corrals.
2001 News release.

"Indictment" (U.S. Department of Justice website)
PDF file - 3.2 megabytes, 83 pages:


"BLM proposes to update NEPA manual" (Bureau of Land Management national news release, 1/25/06)
To allow for increased efficiency in implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the BLM has published a set of draft revisions to Chapter 11 of the Department of the Interior’s Departmental Manual (DM), which guides the agency’s implementation of NEPA. The proposed revisions to 516 DM – Managing the NEPA Process appear in today’s Federal Register. The Notice opens a 30-day public comment period during which time, persons with an interest may submit comments on the proposed changes.

"Secretary Norton promotes Shane Wolfe to press secretary position" (Department of the Interior news release, 1/23/06)
Wolfe has served as deputy press secretary since August 2004. He replaces Dan DuBray, who moved to Interior's Bureau of Land Management to be Assistant Director for Communications.

"Ed Meagher Named Interior's Deputy Chief Information Officer" (Department of the Interior news release, 1/24/06)
Edward Francis Meagher, an experienced federal information technology manager, has been named deputy chief information officer for the Department of the Interior.

(c) During the winter

RELATED: "Sagebrush lizard" (Washington State Department of Natural Resources website)
More information, plus links to photos of the lizard and habitat information.
NOTE: You will need to scroll down to "reptiles" in the left-hand frame of the page, and click on "sagebrush lizard."

RELATED: "California wildlife habitat relationships system: sagebrush lizard" (California Department of Fish and Game website)
Information on where they live in California, their habitat and life history, plus references.

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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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