A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 231 - 5/17/06

An American badger emerges from a den Nancy Huffman, Northeast California Resource Advisory Council Working on a trail during Moose Anderson Days Weed warning: musk thistle Employee Profile: Ron Woychak

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Badger babies
      - Weed of the week
- Off-roaders clean up
- More volunteers
- Recreation on public lands
- Wildfire danger and prevention
- Headlines and highlights: King Range, kids' fair, wild horses, jobs, more
- Planning: Coachella Plan, Old Spanish Trail questions
- Meet your advisory council members
- Employee profile
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Secretary-nominee, mine cleanup rule

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


An American badger emerges from a denWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Badger babies
The American Badger breeds in summer and fall, but when do the embryos develop?
(a) after a successful breeding
(b) the female can choose whether to allow herself to be fertilized, despite breeding
(c) the next summer and fall
(d) not until later in winter
(e) when it adopts a diet of pickles and ice cream
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Weed warning: musk thistleWEED OF THE WEEK: Musk thistle...
...invades pastures, rangelands, forestlands, waterways, meadows, waste areas, and grain fields. This plant can spread rapidly from seed. It is not uncommon for one plant to produce 20,000 seeds -- with 90 percent of them growing.


"7th Annual El Mirage Days" (News.bytes Extra)
Earlier this month, more than 200 volunteers converged on the El Mirage Cooperative Management Area to help improve the recreation opportunities in this popular OHV area.

OHV partners help BLM" (News.bytes Extra)
Off-road enthusiasts have pitched in to help the Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office improve some of their favorite areas in the brushy hills of Lake and Napa counties.

Working on a trail during Moose Anderson Days"10th Annual Moose Anderson Days" (News.bytes Extra)
On the April 29, members of California Off Road Vehicle Association, Kern County Search and Rescue, California City Police Department and the Student Conservation Association, supported by BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office, worked on clean-up and restoration projects in Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs OHV areas.


"Virginia Freeman presented with award at national ceremony" (News.bytes Extra)
Virginia Freeman of Susanville, a volunteer with BLM's California wild horse and burro program in Susanville, was presented a national "Making a Difference" award at a May 10 ceremony in Washington, D.C.  She has volunteered with BLM-California's Wild Horse and Burro program for more than a decade.

"National River Cleanup Week - Shasta River Volunteer Day" (BLM California news release, 5/12/06)
In honor of National River Cleanup Week, the Redding Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management and the Klamath National Forest are sponsoring a river cleanup on the Shasta River on Saturday, May 20th.


"Monterey horse park approaching the gate" (Monterey County Herald, 5/10/06)
"When planner and architect Steve Chidester looks over 390 acres of the Parker Flats area of Fort Ord, he sees thickets of scrub oak, a sand pit and chaparral-covered fields giving way to turfed paddocks, ponds, riding rings and other amenities of an elegant, world-class facility for equestrian sports....The adjacent 11,000 acres held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management contains 150 miles of trails, making it ideal for equestrian sports that need a lot of room, such as endurance riding and driving horses in harness...."

RELATED: "Fort Ord public lands" (BLM California, Hollister Field Office web pages)
Information on recreation, wildlife, plants, education, restoration and more, on former Fort Ord lands now managed by BLM.

"Danger may lurk at river" (Grass Valley Union, 5/10/06)
"Six people died in boating-related accidents on northern and central California rivers between May 1 and June 30 of 2005, during the height of spring snow melt runoff." With an even heavier snow pack melting this year, "hikers heading down the river might want to think twice about cooling off in area waterways." BLM joined other agencies in a rescue drill - but warned that anyone near rivers, streams or lakes should follow the list of tips.
(Free registration required.)


"Season's first wildfire threatens house" (Hi-Desert Star, 5/10/06)
"The first substantial, threatening brush fire of the wildfire season in the Morongo Basin sprang to life....Flames...swept across 25 acres of dry grass and heavy brush. There was no property damage or injuries to firefighters....Visions of the huge and disastrous Paradise Fire danced in the memories of many Morongo Valley residents, some of whom left weekend activities early to check on their homes." Crews also tried to keep the fire from spreading to BLM-managed Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, which was damaged in the 1985 Paradise Fire.

RELATED: "Big Morongo Canyon Preserve to reopen after Paradise Fire" (BLM California news release, 8/1/05)
The BLM and San Bernardino County Division of Regional Parks closed the Preserve last year, because of the damage from the Paradise Fire. The fire severely burned more than 2,000 acres of the Preserve and Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Most of the boardwalks and trails in the Preserve were damaged, as well as several hundred acres of cottonwoods, desert willows, and other vegetation.

"BLM implements Stage 1 fire restrictions for the California Desert District" (BLM California news release, 5/17/06)
It is that time of year again when rising temperatures combined with dry vegetation warrant the issuance of permits for campfires and barbecues throughout the California desert region.

"Learning from the past at Stewardship Day" (Red Bluff Daily News, 5/13/06)
"....society historically used sheep and goats to keep the undergrowth of the mountain brush and grass biomass under control and fire safe....The Sunflower Coordinated Resource Management Plan, consisting of 40,000 acres with 65 landowners, is attempting to duplicate the process in a demonstration mode to show how people can again use herbivores to keep our landscape fire safe and productive far into the future." BLM is one of many partners in the plan.

"Fire restrictions announced by BLM" (Mojave Daily News, 5/9/06)
"Fire season is projected to start soon and the Bureau of Land Management has already placed fire restrictions on 2.5 million acres of public lands on the Arizona and California sides of the Colorado River. Effective through Oct. 31, fire and smoking restrictions will be enforced. There are no plans to close any areas along the river to public use, but certain actions are prohibited...."

"Feds fund local fire prevention" (Willits News, 5/16/06)
"Thanks to a $73,054 federal grant, talk is turning into action when it comes to fire safety in the wider Brooktrails area." Part of the money will be used to clear vegetation that could fuel a fire along an escape road and among houses and some will be used for for fire prevention education. "The total amount was provided by the Bureau of Land Management and is managed by the California Fire Safe Council Grants Clearinghouse."

"AZ/CA Colorado River area fire restrictions include no campfires, no charcoal" (BLM Arizona news release, 5/9/06)
BLM has begun efforts to prevent a devastating wildfire season, with fire restrictions on 2.5 million acres of public lands along the Colorado River in Arizona and California.


"Land manager watches domain" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/14/06)
"Steve Borchard enjoys challenges, and to him there's no better place than the California desert to tackle them.... As the appointed head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's desert district, Borchard oversees some 10.5 million acres from the Mexican border to the Sierra foothills, including large swaths of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, from an office in Moreno Valley."
(Free registration required.)

"King Range Conservation Area is unique in many ways" (Redwood Times, 5/11/06)
This is "the only stretch of coastline from the Mexican border to the Oregon/Washington border that is not roaded or developed." The Lost Coast Trail is its "most popular feature," with thousands hiking every year, but other activities go on as well. A new management plan will focus on "forest and fire management."

RELATED: "King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM California, Arcata Field Office web pages)
The King Range covers 64,000 acres and extends along 35 miles of coastline between the mouth of the Mattole River and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The remote region is known as California's Lost Coast, and is only accessed by a few back roads.

BLM firefighter Craig Wilson helps a visitor try out a firefighter's helmet"Lassen County Children's Fair" (News.bytes Extra)
The Bureau of Land Management's Eagle Lake Field Office was well represented when the community of Susanville came together for an annual event to celebrate children. Handing out prizes at a ball-toss game, showing a gentled wild horse and giving tours of a fire engine, BLM staff participated in the 21st annual Lassen County Children's Fair on Saturday, May 6. More than 10,000 people attended the event, which is the largest single-day event in the county.

"Free horse gentling/training sessions coming to Lakeport" (BLM California news release, 5/17/06)
Northern California horse enthusiasts can get free tips and advice about horse gentling and training, when the Bureau of Land Management holds a wild horse and burro adoption event Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport. The BLM will offer 60 mustangs and 10 burros for adoption during the weekend event.

"Many chiefs will manage ex-Hearst land" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/13/06)
"While state parks owns the 949 North Coast acres that used to be part of the Hearst Ranch, several other federal and state agencies will have strong input into how and whether the shoreline property is developed - including things as small as a restroom. That was the message from the third in a series of meetings to help develop a formal management plan for the park." Walk through the park, one spokesperson said, "and you might be on Bureau of Land Management"-managed land.

"Mammoth fossils found may lead to ancient humans" (, 5/12/06)
"A local geologist says mammoth remains may not be the only remains in eastern Kern County. Senior Geologist Dr. Gregg Wilkerson with the [Bakersfield Field Office of the] Bureau of Land Management says the discovery of the remains of a herd of mammoths in Rosamond could point to ancient human remains as well." (Includes link to video.)

RELATED: "Missing fossils recovered and kept in town" (, 5/15/06)
"Some of the missing mammoth fossils found in Rosamond are at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in Bakersfield. About 10 fossils were retrieved by workers at the Buena Vista Museum and the Bureau of Land Management on Friday."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include firefighting jobs, rangeland management specialist, petroleum engineering technician and dispatcher.

"County studies Cosumnes dam" (Sacramento Bee, 5/14/06)
"It's one option being considered to tame and better cope with storm-fed surges along the river....For humans, the Cosumnes offers a glimpse of the drain and flood pattern, now largely disrupted, that once dominated the Central Valley....It is an oasis near the edge of suburbia, rich in 'sandhill cranes that come back in the fall with their haunting, bugling calls ... and the incredible lush green forest to walk into and in the midst of our Central Valley heat feel 5 or 10 degrees cooler'...."
(Free registration may be required.)

RELATED: "Cosumnes River Preserve" (BLM California, Folsom Field Office web pages)
The mission of the Preserve is: safeguarding and restoring the finest remaining example of California Valley oak riparian (stream side) ecosystem and its surrounding habitats; restoring and creating freshwater wetlands to increase the Pacific Flyway´s populations of migratory waterfowl and demonstrating the compatibility of human uses - particularly agriculture, recreation, and education - with the natural environment.

"Attorney to weigh in on Trinidad Head concerns" (Eureka Times-Standard, 5/15/06)
Trinidad, California city attorney will look into legality of permits for Trinidad Head. " The Yurok Tribe and a number of residents are questioning whether the city followed its own ordinances and the conditions of the Bureau of Land Management transfer of the Head property." Several residents had objected to cellular phone towers on land that BLM had transferred to the city years ago.

RELATED: "Officials battle over Trinidad's cellular plan" (Eureka Times-Standard, 5/10/06)
City elected officials disagree over approval process for updated cell phone towers on Trinidad Head. "Other issues clouding the decision included the recent letter from the Yurok Tribal Chairman to the Bureau of Land Management asking the federal agency to review whether or not the city had complied with the conditions set when it took over ownership from the property from the Bureau." A city council member "said he would feel uncomfortable taking any action on the matter until the BLM had reviewed the situation."

"Lights, camera action in Calexico" (Imperial Valley Press, 5/10/06)
"Violence erupted in downtown streets here Tuesday when guns were drawn and criminals fought to get away from federal officials. Then someone yelled 'cut,' and everything came to a stop." Film crews for the movie "Border Lost" were expected to film through last week, in Calexico and on Imperial County public lands managed by the BLM.


"Desert plan still faces hurdles" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/15/06)
"As the deadline nears for nine Coachella Valley cities to approve a controversial plan to balance wildlife protection and development in the desert for the next 75 years, backers of the proposal say they are cautiously optimistic....Two cities [are] holding out for revisions." BLM is one of many partners in the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "County offers endorsement of growth plan" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/10/06)
"Riverside County leaders on Tuesday endorsed one of the most ambitious plans of its kind to balance economic development with preserving habitat for wildlife." BLM is a partner in the "Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan - a $1.8 billion proposal that aims to preserve habitat for 27 species of desert plants and animals as the valley continues its unprecedented growth."

RELATED: "Land-use plan gets thumbs up" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/16/06)
"The La Quinta City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan designed to balance development and environmental interests in the Coachella Valley during the next 75 years....But officials in Desert Hot Springs and Indio say they could reject the proposition."
(Free registration required.)

"BLM, NPS discuss impact of promoting the Old Spanish Trail" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/11/06)
"Will promoting the first overland trail to California from New Mexico and points east lead to damage to the fragile trail that runs near Barstow and through Ft. Irwin? Several speakers at a joint Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service planning meeting in Barstow Tuesday night for the Old Spanish Trail said they feared that was the case. The meeting was one of over 20 to be held in communities on or near the trail."

RELATED: "Old Spanish National Historic Trail Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement" (BLM New Mexico website)
The trail route crosses six western states - New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California - and links some of the West's oldest communities from Santa Fe to Los Angeles.

...and her family have farmed in the Tulelake area of Modoc County for more than 50 years. She represents the public-at-large on BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council. Read more:

Employee Profile: Ron WoychakEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Ron Woychak...
...became the regional fire management officer for the California Desert District last year and is enjoying the challenges of this new position.
Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile:


"Senate panel backs Kempthorne for Interior" (Associated Press in San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/10/06)
"A Senate committee Wednesday sent Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's nomination as interior secretary to the full Senate, although procedural delays by lawmakers may stall his final confirmation to the Cabinet."

"White House proposes mine clean-up rule changes" (Washington Post, 5/10/06)
"The Bush administration on Wednesday suggested legislation to protect organizations and local governments from legal liability if they try to improve abandoned hard-rock mines. Under existing clean water laws, anyone cleaning up abandoned sites are held liable for any pollution on the contaminated property that could date back as far as 100 years."
(Free registration required.)

"If confirmed, interior choice plans to overhaul species law" (Denver Post, 5/11/06)
"Dirk Kempthorne is on his way to becoming secretary of the interior after Wednesday's Senate committee vote in his favor, and when he gets there he plans to start work on an overhaul of the Endangered Species Act. Kempthorne, Idaho's governor, tried to revamp the landmark environmental law 11 years ago when he was a senator. And in written responses to the senators weighing his nomination, he made the need for 'improvements' in the law one of his clearest goals."

(d) not until later in winter. "Embryos are held in a sort of suspended animation until December to February, when they implant into the uterine wall and resume their development."

RELATED: "Taxidea taxus (American badger)" (University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web)
More information, "written largely by and for college students."

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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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