A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 228 - 4/26/06

  Lynda Roush at her desk, employee profile Miss Earth Day paints a pet rock at the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow Rosalee Bradley, BLM California's Northeast California Advisory Council Least Bell's vireo - this bird is the wildlife trivia subject of the week close-up of purple flowers of Indian Valley Brodiaea - Special Status plant of the week

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: At least?
      - Special Status plant of the week
      - Earth Day and environmental education
- Abandoned mine hazards: arsenic, shafts
- Headlines and highlights: Painting Carrizo, wild horses, jobs, Cemex, more
- Planning and public comments
- Meet your advisory council members: Rosalee Bradley
- Profile: Lynda Roush
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Awards


Least Bell's vireo - this bird is the wildlife trivia subject of the weekWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: At least?
What is a Least Bell’s Vireo?
(a) a small member of the deer family
(b) a small species of fresh water fish
(c) a small lizard
(d) a small songbird
(e) a minimal vermillion carillon
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

close-up of purple flowers of Indian Valley Brodiaea - Special Status plant of the weekSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Indian Valley Brodiaea... a perennial herb, with six-petal flower in rose or pink-purple color. It is sometimes found on grassland, and serpentine soils, on public lands managed by BLM's Ukiah Field Office.


Miss Earth Day paints a pet rock at the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow"Earth Day events" (News.bytes Extra)
BLM California employees, volunteers and partners took part in several Earth Day events around the state this past weekend, involving environmental education, site cleanups and more. Here are photos from three of the locations: Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve near Redding, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, and the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow.

A volunteer shows students  a wildlife adaptation"Three hundred students visit the Desert Discovery Center" (News.bytes Extra)
Almost 300 elementary school students from Victorville learned about the surrounding Mojave Desert at the BLM Barstow Field Office’s environmental education center -- the Desert Discovery Center. Volunteer teachers at the April 5 event brought lessons to life with videos, lectures, games, and interaction with live animals.
Read more, and see photos.


"BLM says arsenic of concern" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/26/06)
"High levels of arsenic left over from a hundred years of mining near the northwest corner of San Bernardino County has federal officials worried about the potential health risk to residents and off-roaders....[BLM] officials cautioned that they don't yet know the extent of the problem. But investigating the contamination and assessing potential health risks are high priorities...."
(Free registration required.)

"Open threats" (San Bernardino County Sun, 4/25/06)
Two men fell down the same abandoned mine shaft near Calico (near but not on public lands) -- one died and the other was paralyzed. "Attempts by state and federal agencies to close the more dangerous mines are ongoing, but only a fraction of a percent is closed each year. Mines exist on both private and public property, and vandalism makes boundaries vague....Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the state Department of Conservation are working together to close as many abandoned mines on government land as possible....[but]it's a drop in the bucket."

RELATED: "CA BLM abandoned mine land activity" (BLM California website)
Of about 17,000 mining properties on BLM-managed lands in California and northwestern Nevada, an estimated 3000 significant properties contain hazardous substances or physical features and/or have environmental problems.

RELATED: "BLM's abandoned mine lands cleanup program" (BLM national website)
Over the last 150 years, much of the land managed by the BLM in the West has experienced some form of mining activity, ranging from exploration to full development. In many cases, these activities were not properly reclaimed, and there are no identifiable responsible parties to help with the clean-up, leaving safety and environmental concerns that BLM must deal with today.


painting: "Where Antelope Play" by Fayrene Parrish, oil on linen"Carrizo on canvas" (News.bytes Extra)
On April 15, the Friends of the Carrizo hosted an art show with the San Luis Outdoor Painters Enterprise, featuring paintings of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Almost 600 people attended the event at the historic Santa Margarita ranch.
Thumbnail: "Where Antelope Play" by Fayrene Parrish, oil on linen
Read more, and see photos.

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office website)

"A wild place to be" (Vallejo Times-Herald, 4/23/06)
A 12,575-acre former cattle ranch is the newest addition to "the Blue Ridge-Berryessa Natural Area...more than 750,000 acres that sweep from lower Solano County to Lake County." The preserve includes land managed by state and federal agencies, plus private property, "creating a vast and diversified recreation area and haven for a wide array of plants and wildlife. The newly purchased Napa County ranch is at the heart of the plan because it connects the Knoxville Wildlife Area to property owned by the Bureau of Land Management."

"County is in bloom" (Salinas Californian, 4/23/06)
"The return of sunshine to the Central Coast has meant a late burst of springtime romance - wildflower style." A list of "the best viewing spots" includes former Fort Ord, managed by BLM.

RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office website)
More information about plants, wildlife, restoration, volunteer opportunities and more.

"Free horse training demonstrations to highlight adoption event" (BLM California news release, 4/12/06)
Northern California horse enthusiasts have the chance to learn about gentle methods of horse training, during the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption event this Saturday, April 29, at the Litchfield Corrals, 20 miles east of Susanville on U. S. Highway 395.
News release.

"Helping hands heal the wilderness; 'Survivors work to stop the destruction of the desert" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/20/06)
"On a weekend in early April, a platoon of eight members descended on an illegally restored cabin site in the Bright Star Wilderness -- a BLM site deep in the high desert of the Paiute Mountains....'Desert Survivors is the premier group teaching folks how to backpack the desert,' said...a BLM wilderness manager guiding the service project. 'Another great thing about them is how much they help us out with site restoration. We have budget constraints, so much to do, and so few hands.'"

"Stolen from US history: Its artifacts" (Christian Science Monitor, 4/26/06)
In Italy "tomb raiders" are "punished with decade-long jail sentences and million-dollar fines. In America, they plunder virtually unnoticed, stripping parks and historical sites of their cultural bounty without fear of getting caught." But their have been some victories against looters: "The biggest known bust of its kind in American history was sparked in 2001, when a ranger patrolling California's Death Valley National Park spotted two men loading rocks into a van." The BLM and other agencies arrested five people who had stolen 11,000 artifacts.

"Stonecrest set on avoiding mine" (Santa Clarita Signal, 4/22/06)
"Canyon Country residents showed up at Pinetree Elementary School this week with questions and reservations about making their community part of the city of Santa Clarita, but for one man there’s no question....Annexing the 1,900-resident Stonecrest development to the city will not just bring better representation, he said, it will also help the city fight a proposed sand and gravel mine that would be located about a mile from the neighborhood."

RELATED: "Meeting does little to sway Stonecrest" (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/22/06)
"Failing to be wooed by officials' pledges of cost savings and better municipal services, some resisted Thursday night's campaign at which city officials called the Stonecrest tract a needed land bridge to a mega-mine planned a mile away, which the city is spending millions to fight. "

RELATED: "Stonecrest, Annexation and Motives" (Santa Clarita Signal, 4/23/06)
Editorial: "Ask yourself, why would Santa Clarita want to annex a territory that would be such a drain, and conversely, why would the county resist the annexation? The answer is Cemex." Cemex holds a gravel mining permit from the BLM.

RELATED: "Cemex-Transit Mixed Soledad Canyon sand and gravel project" (BLM California issue update, 4/26/06)
Learn more about BLM's perspective on this issue.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include contact representative, archaeologist (fire), interpretive specialists and firefighting jobs.


"Northeast California draft land use plans available" (BLM California news release, 4/24/06)
The BLM has released for public review and comment draft resource management plans and environmental impact statements for nearly three million acres of public land in northeast California and extreme northwest Nevada. The plans affect lands managed by the BLM's Alturas, Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices in Alturas, Susanville and Cedarville.

"Nominations being accepted for Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee" (BLM California news release, 4/25/06)
The committee is accepting nominations for five representative positions opening March 16, 2007. The positions are for the cities of Palm Springs and La Quinta; a local environmental or conservation group; a local building or industry organization; and the California State Department of Parks and Recreation or Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Draft environmental impact statement on U.S. Gypsum proposal" (BLM California news release, 4/21/06)
The draft EIR/EIS analyzing the potential impacts of a proposal from U.S. Gypsum to modernize and expand its existing plant near Plaster City, Imperial County, is now available for public review. The BLM comment period ends June 20, 2006.

"Environmental Assessment for Proposed Roads in La Quinta Available for Public Review" (BLM California news release, 4/21/06)
The EA analyzing road proposals by the Travertine Corporation involving portions of Avenue 62, Madison and Jefferson streets has been released by the BLM for public review and comment. The roads are necessary to provide access to the proposed 941-acre Travertine Project, a master-planned resort community including residential, golf, commercial, hotel and conference facilities located adjacent to Coral Mountain in La Quinta. The city first approved the plan in 1995.

Rosalee Bradley, BLM California's Northeast California Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Rosalee Bradley... is a long-time equestrian endurance rider and represents dispersed recreation interests on BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council. Read more.

Lynda Roush at her desk, employee profileEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Lynda Roush...
is manager of of BLM's Arcata Office. She celebrated 30 years of federal service last August. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"Secretary Presents 20 Presidential & Executive Leadership Awards" (Department of the Interior news release, 4/20/06)
Acting Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett presented top awards recognizing 20 members of the Senior Executive Service at the Department of the Interior. Two recipients were former employees of BLM California: Henri R. Bisson and Elaine Marquis-Brong.

(d) a small songbird

RELATED: "Bell's vireo Vireo bellii" (U.S. Geological Survey website)
Includes identification tips, life history, photo and more -- including a sound file of the bird's song.

RELATED: "Least Bell's Vireo" (Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan website)
"Currently, U.S. populations are known only from Santa Barbara County and southern California. Major causes of the decline are cowbird parasitism and destruction of riparian habitats. In San Diego County, however, significant population increases in the period from 1986 to 1996 are primarily due to management of local cowbird populations."

"Songbird missing from California's central valley for 60 years reappears at San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release, 6/15/05)
"The least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) is a musical, chatty bird. Some males have up to 15 different songs that finish with a distinctive, 'cheedle, jeew.' ....The least Bell's vireo once was common from Red Bluff down throughout the Central Valley and south into Baja California. But the removal of 90 per cent of the riparian habitat resulted in their steep decline."

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

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