A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 235 - 6/13/06

 Wheel helps separate mercury from sand and gravel Employee Profile: Dave Lawler close-up of a patch of the Weed of the Week: puncture vine Coast mole

- Abandoned mine lands
- Employee profile
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Wildfire, wild horses, jobs, more
- Environmental concerns
- Public meetings and/or comments
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: New Secretary of the Interior sworn in


Wheel helps separate mercury from sand and gravel"Boston Mine cleanup"" (News.bytes Extra)
More than 158 years after the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California, the Bureau of Land Management finished a pilot program to remediate some of the effects caused by the lust for gold. The Boston Mine is one place where miners used mercury to extract the heavy gold from the lighter dirt and sand - leaving a legacy of mercury contamination to this day.

"Abandoned Mine Lands" (BLM California website)
Nearly 13,000 mine properties in California and northwest Nevada are listed in the Bureau of Mines Mineral Industries Location System database as on BLM land. An estimated additional 5,000 sites not recorded in the database are likely on BLM land. Of these 18,000, an estimated 3,000 significant properties contain hazardous substances or physical features and/or have environmental problems.

Employee Profile: Dave LawlerRELATED: "EMPLOYEE PROFILE: David Lawler... a mining engineer and the state abandoned mines land coordinator for BLM California, working to clean-up abandoned mines throughout the state. "We are trying to do the right thing as land stewards," he says. Read more in this week's Employee Profile.


Coast mole

What is the main natural predator of Coast moles?
(a) coyotes
(b) badgers
(c) wolverines
(d) owls
(e) gopher snakes
(f) life insurance salespeople
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

close-up of a patch of the Weed of the Week: puncture vineWEED OF THE WEEK: Puncturevine... familiar to many California mountain bikers, whose tires may go flat soon after running over it. This Mediterranean native is also toxic to livestock, and can damage a dog's pads. Puncture vine is scattered throughout northeastern California and northwestern Nevada.

RELATED: "Puncture vine - fact sheet" (University of Nevada College, Reno Cooperative Extension)
Printable fact sheet and "Wanted Poster" for this weed.
PDF file, 165 kilobytes:


"Poster contest winner hits the big time with a billboard" (Tehachapi News, 6/10/06)
A fourth-grade student's winning entry in a "Fire Safe" poster contest is blown and put on an area billboard, to "remind residents of the significant wildfire danger in Tehachapi area communities." Almost 350 elementary school children entered the contest, organized by the local Fire Safe Council and BLM.

"A student's forest paper sparks one hot debate" (Los Angeles Times, 6/11/06)
Oregon State University graduate student "was just studying how forests grow back after a fire. But after his research appeared in the online version of the journal Science...a federal agency briefly yanked funding for his project, irate politicians and timber interests e-mailed [his dean] to complain, congressmen grilled him, and professors at his own university tried unsuccessfully to keep the paper from being published..." Journal's editor "pointed to the brief suspension of the research project's funding by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as part of a broader discord between science and politics.",1,3556484.story

"Trinidad Head program celebrates natural monuments" (The Eureka Reporter, 6/12/06)
"The Trinidad Museum has entered into a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management to foster appreciation and conservation of the rocks and islands off the Trinidad Coast.... Sunday, from 2-4 p.m., an event sponsored by the Trinidad Museum and the Bureau of Land Management will look at the geologic origins of the many seastacks and rocks, and look at the life forms they support."

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California website)

"Towers legal on Trinidad Head?" (Eureka Times-Standard, 6/13/06)
" Like cellular signals bouncing back and forth, the issue of whether communications equipment on Trinidad Head is permissible is once again before the City Council on Wednesday.... The discussion has been a regular topic in recent months, initiated by U.S. Cellular's application earlier this year to significantly increase the size of the communications facility on the Head." At issue is whether they city is complying with conditions set in 1983 when the land was transferred from BLM.

"Horses, burros available for adoption in Auburn" (BLM California news release, 6/6/06)
Young, healthy wild horses and burros from public ranges will be looking for new homes, when the Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. The BLM will offer 65 horses ranging in age from under 2 to about 5 years old along with 10 burros.

"Ghost town" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/11/06)
"Tucked in the desert between Indio and Blythe, Eagle Mountain is a shadow of its former self. The miners and their families left after ore production stopped in 1982. When a privately operated prison closed three years ago, its guards moved out, too." A proposed landfill is "tied up in court" as "environmentalists and local residents...sued over a land swap between Kaiser and the federal Bureau of Land Management that was needed to develop the iron-ore pit into a dumpsite."

"Shavers Valley is desolate, but desirable" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/7/06)
"The California Wilderness Coalition has identified Shavers Valley as one of the state's 10 most threatened wild places. The designation comes as landowners in the area are trying to turn thousands of acres of the property between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mecca Hills Wilderness into a "new city" with as many as 15,000 houses, golf and commercial development." Also on their list are two areas managed by BLM, Furnace Creek and Surprise Canyon.

"Geologists get closer look at rockslide" (Merced Sun-Star, 6/13/06)
" A team of geologists -- including three landslide experts from the U.S. Geological Survey -- are set to begin closer examination of the massive Ferguson Rockslide that has closed Highway 140 to El Portal indefinitely." Representatives of the BLM are among members of a "disaster command team working to mitigate the impact of the 600-foot-wide slide." The road is one of several routes into Yosemite National Park, but other routes are open.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include rangeland management specialist and several firefighting jobs.


"Helping hands" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 6/13/06)
"The Barstow Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is hosting a Desert Restoration Internship Program this summer for high school students....The program will provide students with an opportunity to practice restoration techniques in a desert environment while learning about conservation, resource management and environmental stewardship. The program's primary focus will be the restoration of illegal intrusions and signing legal trails within the limited use area of Juniper Flats."

"Healing desert's wounds" (Los Angeles Times, 6/7/06)
"In Southern California's vast outback, a century of mankind's heedless incursions...have left lasting wounds on a fragile landscape slow to mend....these twentysomethings camp out in California's badlands of biodiversity for months at a time, rising early to wield shovels and rakes in a ritual of surgical repair." Story about the Student Conservation Association, that works with BLM.,1,3661148.story

"BLM notes South Spit successes, asks for public's continued help" (BLM California news release, 6/7/06)
More than two years into a multi-agency conservation partnership at the South Spit of Humboldt Bay, the U. S. Bureau of Land Management reports success at maintaining and improving important wildlife habitat while providing for public recreation access. Agency officials say public support has been the key to the successes and are asking for continuing cooperation, particularly on rules regarding vehicles and dogs.


"BLM to hold public comment meetings in Redding, Intermountain Region" (BLM California news release, 6/6/06)
The public meetings are to provide information and receive comments on three draft resource management plans for Northeast California. The plans contain a range of alternatives for management of nearly three million acres of public lands overseen by the agency's offices in Alturas, Cedarville and Susanville. Each draft plan contains an environmental impact statement describing the environmental effects of each planning alternative. Meetings are tonight (Tuesday, June 13), June 14 and June 15.

"Public comment period on U.S. Gypsum proposal extended" (BLM California news release, 6/9/06)
In response to public requests, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended the public comment period through Monday, July 17, 2006, on a draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) analyzing a proposal from U.S. Gypsum to modernize and expand its existing plant near Plaster City in Imperial County.

"Federal agencies release preliminary map of potential energy corridors on federal lands in the West" (BLM news release, 6/9/06)
The four federal agencies preparing to designate energy corridors on federal lands in 11 western states for electricity transmission and oil, natural gas and hydrogen pipelines today released a map showing preliminary corridors. The informational map was developed using comments received during a public scoping period in the fall of 2005, and offers an update on progress in the identification of potential corridors and an opportunity for public comment on work to-date.

RELATED: "Energy corridor map released; Lake Mead would be only national park bisected" (Associated Press in Mojave Daily News, 6/11/06)
"The corridors cross 11 states and cover thousands of miles, stretching from Washington to Wyoming and Montana to California....The energy bill calls for the corridors to be in place by August 2007. Friday's maps were only preliminary; a draft environmental impact statement on the corridors is due out later this year."

RELATED: "California's energy interests protected in federal energy corridors; Draft map released to solicit public input" (Sacramento dBusiness News, 6/12/06)
"The Energy Commission provided to the federal government information on the potential impacts corridor proposals could have on California's landscape, including affects on sensitive species, recreational resources, cultural and historical resources, wild and scenic areas, and compatibility with conservation plans."


"Secretary Kempthorne's remarks at swearing-in ceremony" (Department of the Interior website)
Transcript of his remarks.

"President participates in swearing-in ceremony for Dirk Kempthorne as Secretary of the Interior" (White House release, 6/7/06)
Transcript of remarks by President Bush and Interior Secretary Kempthorne.

"Interior secretary adds mementos to dad's wall" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/13/06)
" The boy who grew up on Fremontia Street in San Bernardino and sold vegetables door to door during summer vacations now is in charge of more than 500 million acres of U.S. land and 70,000 employees. Dirk Kempthorne oversees the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management."
(Free registration required.)

"Interior's new secretary -- general or foot soldier?" (High Country News, 6/12/06)
"Historically, the power emanating from the Interior Department has fluctuated.... Kempthorne, a former senator, returns to Washington as an insider known for his personal charm. That, combined with his ability to broker deals on initiatives that otherwise appear doomed, could help catapult Kempthorne past his predecessor.... Pulling compromises out of contentious situations is standard operating procedure for Kempthorne."

(d) owls.

RELATED: "Scapanus orarius - Coast mole" (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
Photos and more information, including a map of its range and references to other sources.

RELATED: "Coast Mole - Scapanus orarius" (California Department of Fish and Game)
Fact sheet with information such as habitat, life history and other references.
(PDF file, 15 kilobytes):

- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: