A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 222 - 3/15/06

Thomas Scott - BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council Anna's hummingbird hovering Employee Profile: David Brinsfield Mendocino gentian Removing off-off road vehicle

- West Mojave Plan
- Off-highway vehicle riding
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Humbig
      - Special Status plant of the week
- Headlines and highlights: History, horses, dogs, Salton Sea, Cemex, BLM California jobs, more
- Energy
- Meet your advisory council members: Thomas Scott
- Profile: David Brinsfield

- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Interior Secretary Norton resigns

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


"BLM issues decision approving West Mojave Plan" (BLM California news release, 3/13/06)
Signing of the Record of Decision comes near the end of an extensive decade-long public planning process for the 9.3 million-acre western Mojave Desert area that will provide a comprehensive strategy to conserve and protect more than 100 listed or sensitive wildlife species and their habitats, including the desert tortoise and Mohave ground squirrel. The BLM decision directly affects 3.3 million acres of public lands administered by BLM and is the first step in approval of the long-awaited West Mojave habitat conservation plan, being developed by San Bernardino, Kern, Los Angeles, and Inyo counties, federal and state agencies, and 11 cities.

"West Mojave Plan Record of Decision" (BLM California website)
PDF file, 285 kilobytes, 23 pages.

"BLM approves West Mojave Plan" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/15/06)
"The development of a 15-year-old plan to balance development and preserve endangered species and natural habitat is drawing to a close."

"Actions renew tensions over use of desert land" (Los Angeles Times, 3/15/06)
"[T]he plan was promptly lambasted by environmentalists and off-road vehicle groups, who said that thousands of miles of riding trails had been improperly mapped, that there were no funds for enforcement or implementation, and that lawsuits were inevitable....On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston threw out another bureau plan and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biological report for the Algodones Dunes to the south...."
(Free registration required.),1,4106126.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

"Landfill could encroach bases, kill WEMO" (Ridgecrest News Review, 3/8/06)
Concern is that East Kern Green Energy Park and related 600-million-ton landfill could interfere with flights from nearby military bases and with "a key provision of the West Mojave Plan that no new landfills will be put in place in East Kern County."Company says it will coordinate with the military and "At this stage, we don't have any reason to believe that we will interfere with the WEMO process."


"Dunes stay off-limits to off-roaders" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/15/06)
"A federal judge Tuesday struck down a plan by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to allow off-roading once more on large sections of desert sand dunes closed six years ago to protect a plant threatened with extinction. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston, in her long-awaited ruling, sides with the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in saying the bureau violated the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws in proposing to open four areas of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area to dune buggies and other all-terrain vehicles."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Closed dunes to stay closed" (Yuma Sun, 3/14/06)
"In what environmentalists are calling a huge victory for public lands, a federal judge's ruling on Tuesday will keep a temporarily closed 49,000 acre portion of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area closed to off-road vehicles."

"Look out below!" (Yuma Sun, 3/14/06)
"A nice drive in the desert led to a frightening fall and a scary night for two sightseers. Two men went for a ride in the desert Sunday morning, but rather than seeing the landscape, most of their time was spent looking at the bottom of a mine shaft."

RELATED: "Stay on designated routes" (News.bytes Extra, 3/14/06)
Staying on designated routes in remote public land areas of the California Desert became an important lesson for an OHV recreationist and his passenger who fell down a vertical mineshaft last weekend in eastern Imperial County (luckily, a broken arm was the only injury). See more photos of the aftermath.

RELATED: "Man, we are saved" (Yuma Sun3/14/06)
"The two men who spent a night at the bottom of a 30-foot mine shaft in the California desert said they were not sure when — or if — they would get out....The two had a nine-channel radio with them, but it was no good at the bottom of the shaft. They knew their friends and family who were also on vacation with them would start looking at some point, but they did not know if they would be able to find them."

"Off-roader laws face hard turn" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/13/06)
Cathedral City "considers enforcing one of the strictest anti-off-road laws in Southern California to give police more time to patrol the rest of the city." Off-roaders worry they "won't be able to ride in the Coachella Valley anymore." Among areas previously closed to off-roaders are BLM-managed public lands in the valley. "More communities spreading across the desert also means more complaints from residents living near once-isolated areas." Still-legal areas include BLM-managed Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area.

RELATED: "Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office website)
More information about this area.

"Public access battle more intense than ever before" (Pahrump Valley Times, 3/10/06)
"[T]his remote road through Death Valley National Park's Surprise Canyon has become a supremely complicated political maze." Environmental organizations "filed a lawsuit in 2001 resulting in the canyon's closure to vehicle traffic....On the other side of the debate are proponents of off-road vehicle recreation" and others. "Even the federal agencies in charge of Surprise Canyon don't seem to agree. The Bureau of Land Management...seems to be leaning toward keeping the canyon open to off-road vehicle traffic."

"State switches decision: Sheriff will get off-road grant" (Hi-Desert Star, 3/10/06)
"In a reversal of a previous state decision, California's Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division this week awarded the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department a $67,000 grant to enforce off-road laws in the Morongo Basin. Grant money will pay for law enforcement on holiday weekends and in response to trespass and other illegal activities."


Anna's hummingbird hoveringWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Humbig
Anna's hummingbird has the the largest ___ of hummingbirds in California.
(a) Tongue
(b) Wingspan
(c) Eggs
(d) Range
(e) Hummer
(Thumbnail from a photo by Steve Caldwell, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website)
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Mendocino gentianSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Mendocino gentian
A perennial, this plant
is decumbent (mostly lying flat but with tips curving up). It o occurs in Del Norte and Mendocino counties -- including BLM-managed Red Mountain Area of Critical Environmental Concern east of Leggett -- and in southwest Oregon.


"This special area needs special care" (Stockton Record, 3/8/06)
"When explorer Jedediah Smith first laid eyes on the Sacramento River Bend in 1828, he came across two native American Indian tribes, the Yana and Momlaki, that flourished in a diverse habitat of the rolling blue oak savanna, wetlands, riparian corridors and ribbons of freshwater creeks that entered the mighty river. More than 175 years later, not much has changed in the 17,000-acre Bend Area, which is owned and overseen by the Bureau of Land Management."

"Salton Sea area to be swept for bombs" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/9/06)
"Established in the 1940s, the Salton Sea Test Base played a role in atomic testing in the Manhattan Project and for decades after. It was also the site of conventional missile testing. The Navy completed transferring the site to the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies in 2000. The Salton Sea Authority wants to take ownership of 15,000 acres that include the site and sell the land for homes."

RELATED: "Salton Sea Test Base - transfer of Navy lands to BLM in Imperial County, CA" (BLM California issue update, 3/13/06)
While the final transfer from Navy to BLM jurisdiction has not occurred, BLM is currently managing the resources at the SSTB under the MOU developed in 2000. The Navy is still conducting ongoing site assessments onsite to determine the required clearances for eventual disposal/transfer to BLM or another entity.
Issue update.

RELATED: "Government must take responsibility for ordnance Navy left at Salton Sea" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/13/06)
Editorial: "If the U.S. government is going to sell the site, it has an obligation to clean up the mess. Conducting a partial cleanup during the past decade and warning off people from entering the area has been adequate enough while the site remained remote. But those days are rapidly coming to an end."

"Casting light on a beacon's plight" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/13/06)
"When third-grader Conner...went to Piedras Blancas Light Station last week, he brought along a hand-built model of the lighthouse, classmates from Grover Heights Elementary School and $360 they'd raised to help restore the tower's lantern room. Why does Conner, 8, care so much about replacing the beacon building's top, removed by the Coast Guard in 1949 after an earthquake? 'Because it's missing.'"

RELATED: "BLM-California upcoming events" (BLM California website)
A calendar of upcoming events - including public tours of Piedras Blancas Light Station.

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station" (BLM California website)
Photos, some history, drawings of the structure, volunteer opportunities and more.

"Herds rescued by the Bureau of Land Management" (North County Times, 3/10/06)
Last weekend's wild horse and burro adoption: "On Friday, after a more than four-hour trip, the horses stormed out of the trailers that had brought them and into corrals at the fairgrounds. Eight horses were released at a time. One tan-colored mare tentatively put her nose to the ground before she made a run for it. In a sea of black horses, a white mustang broke out and an audience of prospective adopters gave a simultaneous 'aww.'"

RELATED: "Free horse gentling/training sessions coming to Turlock" (BLM California news release, 3/7/06)
San Joaquin Valley horse enthusiasts can get free tips and advice about horse gentling and training during the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro adoption event Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26, at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock.

"Bureau of Land Management announces "Dog Day" at Fort Ord" (BLM California news release, 3/14/06)
The second annual "Dog Day" event is scheduled for April 1, 2006 at the Fort Ord public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The family-fun festival is free and sure to be a hit with pet owners from around the Monterey area.

"Supervisor urges vote on annexation" (Los Angeles Daily News, 3/10/06)
County supervisor asks for "second chance" for "the nearest neighborhood to a massive sand and gravel mine proposed in Soledad Canyon," who oppose annexation to City of Santa Clarita. "The city has spent millions to fight the planned Cemex mine." Cemex holds a permit from BLM to mine the gravel.

"Remodeled Kelso Depot has rich desert history" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 3/14/06)
Backward Glance: "In 1985 the railroad decided that it was not feasible to run the station any more so they closed the depot entirely. The railroad company had planned to demolish it but through efforts of local people and the Bureau of Land Management it was spared the wrecking ball."

"Point Arena becomes collaborative partner with California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California news release, 3/14/06)
Point Arena on California's Mendocino coast, is the first city to become a partner in the California Coastal National Monument. The monument consists of more than 20,000 rocks and small islands stretching the length of the California coast.

"Delgado named to conservation partnership position for California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California news release, 3/13/06)
Julie Anne Delgado, a 20-year veteran in BLM natural resource conservation, has been named the resource protection and partnership coordinator for the California Coastal National Monument. In her new position, Delgado will oversee resource protection initiatives and help coordinate partnership activities for the national monument.

"Free educational workshop offered on Western Snowy Plover" (BLM California news release, 3/9/06)
North Coast residents can learn about the western snowy plover (a threatened shorebird) and become a volunteer beach docent, by participating in a free two-day workshop that includes and educational session and a field trip to Clam Beach. The workshop is Thursday, March 16 at Moonstone Beach; and Sunday, March 19 at Clam Beach.

"BLM Implements Interim Closure at Calico Early Man Site" (BLM California news release, 3/8/06)
As a result of increasing concerns regarding safety for volunteers and the visiting public, the BLM has implemented an immediate interim closure of all pits at a depth of five feet or more at the Calico Early Man Site near Barstow.
News release.

"Public invited to trail dedication at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve" (BLM California news release, 3/7/06)
The BLM and the Friends of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve invite the public to a dedication March 25 for the new trail system at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Activities begin at 8:00 a.m. with guided bird walks to view some of the more than 240 species of birds at the Preserve.

"Clear Lake to undergo monitoring" (Clear Lake Observer, 3/15/06)
"County officials are looking for ways to pay for new state and federal rules that require monitoring Clear Lake's nutrient composition while, at the same time, offering no funds to do it....Other agencies besides the county that will or should be involved in this process include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, area tribes, resource conservation districts, Lake County Department of Public Works, and the cities of Lakeport and Clearlake.",1413,254~26916~3268313,00.html

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include field manager, supervisory outdoor recreation planner, outreach and administrative program support technician, criminal investigator, fire lookout and several wildfire-fighting jobs.


"Additional proposed changes to federal oil and gas regulations would improve energy development on public lands" (BLM news release, 3/14/06)
In a move that will help the nation meet its energy needs, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service are jointly proposing further revisions of regulations governing oil and gas activity on the public lands. These further proposed revisions supplement an earlier proposal that would revise an existing set of regulations known as "Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 1."

"Sempra Energy halts Gerlach project study" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 3/8/06)
"Sempra Energy has stopped work on a federally required environmental study for its coal-fired power project near Gerlach, prompting opponents to question whether the project has a future." The environmental impact statement by BLM "is required because a short stretch of railroad tracks would cross federal lands to the proposed plant site." Northeastern California residents have been concerned that the project would deplete their groundwater.

RELATED: "Granite Fox power plant may not happen" (Lassen County News, 3/14/06)
"The 1,200-megawatt Granite Fox coal-fired power plant, proposed near Gerlach, Nev., may be history," according to a local assemblyman. If plans do go forward, "the plant, proposed for 60 miles northeast of Susanville, will pulverize 5 million tons of coal a year, which will be burned to produce electricity."

"BLM and MMS seek public input on regulatory efforts to promote new forms of oil and natural gas production" (BLM national news release, 3/8/06)
The BLM and Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced that they are seeking public input as they prepare to draft regulations relating to potentially promising new forms of oil and natural gas production. These new forms of production, if found to be technically and commercially viable, could help reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources.

Thomas Scott - BLM's California Desert District Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Thomas Scott... Natural Resource and Wildlife Specialist and Professor with the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of California in Riverside, and represents wildlife interests on BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council. Read more.

Employee Profile: David BrinsfieldEMPLOYEE PROFILE: David Brinsfield... out of BLM's Bakersfield Field Office,as a Field Operations Supervisor of four fire stations. He has worked in wildfire-fighting and prevention for 14 years with BLM. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"Secretary Norton announces departure from Interior" (Department of the Interior news release, 3/10/06)
After five years of leading cooperative conservation efforts and responsible energy development, Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton today announced she will leave the President's Cabinet at the end of March. In a letter to President Bush, Secretary Norton thanked the President, "for inviting me to be part of your Administration for a meaningful and rewarding five years."

RELATED: "Why Interior is such a difficult agency to lead" (Christian Science Monitor, 3/13/06)
"Secretary Norton, who announced her resignation Friday, oversaw more than 500 million acres of national parks and wilderness, water reclamation projects, most energy development, Indian tribal issues, endangered-species protection, and tracts of arid Western rangeland where cattle roam and the deer and the antelope play. The position is a challenging one that often embroils its occupants in controversy - and is likely to continue to do so."

RELATED: "Norton legacy: Drilling, land sale plans" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 3/11/06)
"While unpopular with conservationists, she has won supporters because of her ability to negotiate delicate compromises by involving the public and local governments in federal decisions....Few federal agencies have as much influence over the western U.S. as the Interior Department, which oversees American Indian affairs, national parks, and mining, drilling and grazing on millions of acres of publicly owned lands."

RELATED: "Cabinet official Norton resigns" (Los Angeles Times, 3/11/06)
"Norton's departure ends a controversial tenure viewed as largely favorable to energy and mining interests at the expense, critics say, of environmentally sensitive areas and a tradition that used to give more weight to science than politics.",1,1362744.story

"Jumbo jet applies for firefighting job" (USAToday, 3/12/06)
"There could be a new weapon to help battle wildfires this year -- a very big weapon. An Oregon-based aviation company has spent $40 million to convert a Boeing 747 into a firefighting air tanker that can deliver a monster payload of water or chemical retardant on forest and grass fires."

(d) Range. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, forests, chaparral, agricultural areas, and residential areas.

RELATED: "Anna's hummingbird Calypte anna" (U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center website)
Including identification tips, life history, maps of its range, and more.

RELATED: "Anna's hummingbird" (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website)
A large photo of an Anna's hummingbird.

RELATED: "Anna's hummingbird" (Smithsonian National Zoological Park website)
Link to another copyrighted photo of an Anna's hummingbird.

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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