A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 233 - 5/31/06

Tom Davis, BLM California Desert District Advisory Council 2 kayakers negotiate rapids on the Susan River Employee Profile: Bessie Hayes Close-up of a deer mouse's face and ears Eureka-area students lie down on the beach to spell out "Help beaches Thrive" after doing just that, themselves

- Spotlight on partners
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Ocean Day
      - Weeds of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Cemex, arsenic, magic mustangs, jobs, more
- Recreation on public lands: Eagle Lake, kayaks, horses
- Meet your advisory council members
- Employee profile
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Secretary of Interior confirmed


An SCA member works on a trail with a mattock hoeSPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: "BLM, California State Parks and the Student Conservation Association" (an occasional feature of News.bytes)
The future of public land management lies in the hands of the next generation. That's why BLM-California so highly values its strong partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA). SCA volunteers spend more than 1.6 million hours each year nationwide conserving our nation's natural spaces.


Close-up of a deer mouse's face and ears

...may be considered "cute" and can be handled easily -- but they carry diseases, so close contact should be avoided. Which disease are they the primary hosts for?
(a) Rabies
(b) Lyme disease
(c) Distemper
(d) Plague
(e) Hantavirus
(f) Chinchucker syndrome
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Eureka-area students lie down on the beach to spell out "Help beaches Thrive" after doing just that, themselves"Ocean Day" (News.bytes Extra)
Intent on improving their environment and making a public statement, more than 600 school children descended on the South Spit of Humboldt Bay for a second annual beach improvement and "aerial art" project. Dubbed "Ocean Day" this year, the students from a dozen Eureka-area schools pulled a dump truck load of invasive European beach grass, a plant that crowds out native species important to wildlife and a healthy beach and dune community.

WEEDS OF THE WEEK: European beachgrass...
... swiftly invades and displaces native foredune habitats and is the primary threat to several endangered plant and animal species. Native to Europe and the east American coast, European beachgrass inhabits coastal sand dunes; it was cultivated and spread for dune stabilization, baskets, and brooms.

Weed of the week: sea figand sea fig...
...(commonly referred to as "iceplant") is an invasive noxious weed of particular concern on the Samoa Peninsula of Humboldt Bay, where it is displacing native plants (as are European beach grass, yellow bush lupine, and Hottentot fig). Iceplant was commonly used for roadside landscaping and to control erosion, until its problems became apparent.


"Open house planned regarding arsenic remediation plans" (BLM California news release, 5/22/06)
The BLM is planning an open house tonight (Wednesday, May 31) for the residents of Red Mountain, to outline initial actions BLM plans to take to address recently discovered high levels of arsenic in the community. BLM also plans to share preliminary information it has collected on arsenic concentrations in the areas of Randsburg and Johannesburg in northwestern San Bernardino and northeastern Kern counties.

RELATED: "Agencies scrutinize arsenic from mines" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/30/06)
"The federal government is stepping up efforts to investigate and control arsenic contamination from mines near the northwest corner of San Bernardino County. Officials are worried that arsenic-laden dust kicked up by wind and by off-road vehicles is a health hazard to residents and recreationists....The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees public land around Red Mountain and nearby communities, has secured $500,000 in emergency funding to begin controlling the contamination."

"Conservation employee honored for his work after fire" (Redding Record Searchlight, 5/31/06)
John Ribinsky of Shingletown "was recently honored for his work in the aftermath of the 2004 French Gulch fire." Steve Anderson, field manager for BLM's Redding field office , "credited Ribinsky for protecting numerous homes from flooding, improving community drainage infrastructure, maintaining watershed integrity, and improving the conditions for the natural resources in the area.",2232,REDD_17508_4730702,00.html

"City, county officials debate Cemex mine" (Santa Clarita Signal, 5/25/06)
"A meeting intended to inform residents of the Stonecrest community of county services ended up being mostly a debate between city and county officials about the effects a planned mining project could have on the housing development....The city has spent millions of dollars in a years-long legal battle to keep the mine from operating." The company holds a permit from the BLM.

RELATED: "Bill would cancel Cemex lease" (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/25/06)
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon said he would introduce a bill in Congress "to cancel Cemex's lease to mine 56.1 million tons of sand and gravel in Soledad Canyon - a project the city has spent $6 million battling - and limiting any future mining at the site to historic levels of 300,000 tons a year. But McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, acknowledged in a phone interview the measure's chances of passage are slim. Still, it was time to take action, he said."

RELATED: "City backs mine bill" (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/26/06)
"Michael Murphy, the city's intergovernmental relations officer, said Santa Clarita officials will travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby for passage of the bill."

 San Joaquin Valley"Mustang M.A.G.I.C" (News.bytes Extra)
As a teenager, Carrie Anderson, like many girls her age, found that a horse had a key to her heart. Today, the San Joaquin Valley resident is showing that wild horses, "America's Living Legends," can be the keys to changing lifestyles for young people whose behavior might be pointing them toward a life of turmoil.

"Transmission line receives preliminary approval" (, 5/31/06)
"A high-voltage transmission line that would link a proposed hydroelectric plant near Lake Elsinore to the state power grid was endorsed by a key regulatory agency....The project would occupy 2,412 acres of federal lands, including acreage managed by the Agriculture Department, the Forest Service, the Cleveland National Forest, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Defense (Camp Pendleton)."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include firefighting jobs, human resources assistant, administrative technician and dispatcher.

"Public comment periods" (BLM California website)
Currently lists eight separate items with public comment due dates during June or July.

"Fighting to save the desert tortoise" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 5/30/06)
"Wildlife experts say the threatened desert tortoise has virtually disappeared from the High Desert, and efforts to save it are being hampered by constant construction and the spread of disease." A consultant says when a desert tortoise is discovered on land proposed for development, "the tortoise is just relocated to land operated by the Bureau of Land Management. While the move may be helpful to the tortoise, its habitat is being destroyed...."


2 kayakers negotiate rapids on the Susan River"Susan River kayaking"(News.bytes Extra)
Only 40 miles long and no wider than 75 feet, Northeast California's Susan River pales in comparison to California's mighty rivers such as the Sacramento and American. Diehard kayakers, however, are discovering that the tiny Susan River can offer challenging runs, with some rapids rated at class four or greater.

"Clear Creek prepares to close 30,000 acres" (Gilroy Dispatch, 5/24/06)
"Concerned about off-road vehicle enthusiasts, dirt bike riders and others being exposed to potentially hazardous asbestos, the Bureau of Land Management will close nearly half of the Clear Creek Management Area in southern San Benito County next month. The closure of 30,000 asbestos-laden acres at the Clear Creek is prompted each year by the onset of dry weather and the dust that results....Much of the earth in the 75,000-acre area is laced with naturally occurring asbestos."

RELATED: "BLM to enforce dry season use restrictions in Clear Creek Management Area" (BLM California news release, 5/19/06)
The temporary restrictions, from June 1 through Oct. 15, 2006 are in response to concerns and data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about health risks from exposure to naturally occurring asbestos.

"Eagle Lake visitors boost economy" (Lassen County News, 5/31006)
"Visitors to Lassen County who enjoy fishing, hunting and the outdoors make a significant contribution to Lassen County’s economy," says the county's senior development specialist. He says "county planners hope to attract visitors who go to Reno or Lake Tahoe....the county’s economic base is in transition from one based on timber, cattle and agriculture to one based on service -- visitors and tourism."

RELATED: "Eagle Lake" (BLM California website)
Eagle Lake is the second largest natural freshwater lake wholly in California. It is well known for its fish and wildlife. Around its shores are located one of the last colonies of nesting osprey and the largest nesting colony of western and eared grebes in the western United States. It is the home of the Eagle Lake Trout which are native only to Eagle Lake.

"Saddle up: Livestock use bill passes House" (Lusk, Wyo. Herald, 5/25/06)
H.R. 586, the Right-to-Ride Livestock on Federal Lands Act of 2005, "preserves the use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on public lands, including wilderness areas, national monuments, and other areas administered by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Forest Service where there is a historical tradition of such use." The measure now goes to the U.S. Senate.

RELATED: "Right-to-Ride Livestock on Federal Lands Act of 2005" (Library of Congress website)
Text of the three versions of this bill: as introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, as passed by the House and as referred to Senate Committee after being received from the House.

Tom Davis, BLM CA Desert Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Tom Davis...
...serves on BLM California's Desert District Advisory Council, in a public-at-large position traditionally committed to Native American participation. Read more.

Employee Profile: Bessie HayesEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Bessie Hayes...
...plays an important role at BLM's Barstow Field Office, making sure credit card expenses, travel vouchers, collections and paychecks are accurate and complete. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"Senate confirms Kempthorne for Interior" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 5/26/06)
"Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne won Senate approval as Interior secretary on Friday after confirmation proceedings that highlighted the administration's policy on offshore energy exploration."

RELATED: "Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne" (Department of the Interior website)
Biography of the new Secretary of the Interior.

RELATED: "Kempthorne confirmed to lead Interior Dept." (Reuters on MSNBC, 5/26/06)
"The U.S. Senate confirmed President Bush's nominee, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, as interior secretary Friday, after several lawmakers lifted procedural holds that allowed the vote to proceed. Kempthorne replaces Gale Norton and will be the 49th interior secretary, charged with overseeing federal lands."

(e) Hantavirus. The deer mouse can also host plague, and can transmit Lyme disease -- but it is not the primary host of these two diseases.

RELATED: "Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse)" *University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, "Animal Diversity Web")
Much information, plus photos, at this "educational resource written largely by and for college students."

RELATED: "Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus)" (Northern State University website)
"Deer mice are the primary carriers of the hantavirus. The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome was first recognized in 1993 and, since that time, a total of 131 people have been reported to have contracted this illness in the United States. Of those affected, half have died." Fact sheet prepared with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Division of Wildlife.

RELATED: "Hantavirus" (Washington State Department of Health website)
What it is, how it is spread and how to avoid it.

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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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