A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 239 - 7/11/06

Trona Pinnacles - a popular location for filming on public lands managed by BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office Deena Wilson - employee profile Perennial pepperweed One windmill to another: "What's wrong?" foothill yellow-legged frog

- Funny.bytes
- Spotlight on partners: Ridgecrest Regional Film Commission
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
      - Hands on the Land
- Wildfires
- Headlines and highlights: wilderness bill, jobs, more
- Employee profile
- National and/or Department of the Interior items

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

One windmill to another: "What's wrong?"FUNNY.BYTES
Who doesn't love wind energy? Wendy thinks she knows.
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues. Note: this link will work in browsers that have the Macromedia/Adobe "Flash" plug-in. Warning: soundtrack -- you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.

RELATED: "Energy companies measure wind on eastern Lassen County peaks" (Lassen County News, 7/11/06)
"'You could just about look at all the high points and somebody is looking at putting something there,' said Dayne Barron, manager of the Bureau of Land Management's Eagle Lake Field Office. Barron said five or six energy companies have taken out permits in the last year. Some now have equipment in place to measure wind speeds and duration on peaks in eastern Lassen County; others are just starting the application process."

Trona Pinnacles - a popular location for filming on public lands managed by BLM's Ridgecrest Field OfficeSPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: "Ridgecrest Regional Film Commission"
BLM California's Ridgecrest Field Office manages areas with many popular film locations, including the Trona Pinnacles, Cuddeback Dry Lake, Jawbone Canyon, Dove Springs, Spangler Hills, and the Olancha Dunes. The office has partnered with the Ridgecrest Regional Film Commission to streamline commercial film production on public lands.


foothill yellow-legged frog 

The foothill yellow-legged frog is threatened by:
a. pollution
b. development
c. bullfrogs
d. fungus
e. all of the above
f. it is not threatened -- it is just always afraid.
(Thumbnail from a photo by Galen Rathbun, California Academy of Sciences.)
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Perennial pepperweedWEED OF THE WEEK: Perennial pepperweed...
....out-competes native vegetation and crops, forming its own monoculture. Attempts at mechanical removal spreads the plant and increases its numbers. Native to southern Europe and western Asia, large infestations of this species are now found within Siskiyou County and scattered infestations occur along the Sacramento River.

"July 2006 newsletter" (Hands on the Land website)
This month's featured site is the San Joaquin River Gorge. Each year, more than 6,000 students take part in natural and cultural resource programs at the site. The most popular is "Grub Gulch" -- staff dress in costume to recreate a 1880s gold mining town, and students are also encouraged to dress the part. (BLM is partner in Hands on the Land -- a network of field classrooms stretching across America from Alaska to Florida -- as a sponsor of Partners in Resource Education.)
(PDF file, 185 kilobytes)

RELATED: "Site Profile: San Joaquin River Gorge" (Hands on the Land website)
More information about this site, including educational partners and facilities.


"Elite Hotshots ready for state's wildfire hot spots" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/9/06)
"During the wildfire season, the [the Redding Hotshots] -- one of about 80 federal teams in the nation and considered the creme de la creme of wildfire ground crews -- responds to major fires across the continental United States, Alaska and Canada....It is one of only three 'development' crews in the country, emphasizing...wildfire-fighting strategy in career professionals and academics...The 20 crew positions rotate annually, and recruits come from all over the country, 'Many or most...are career (U.S.) Forest Service managers, but we also have people from other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, and county departments as well.'"

"Wildfire increase linked to climate" (Los Angeles Times, 7/7/06)
"Rising temperatures throughout the West have stoked an increase in large wildfires over the past 34 years as spring comes earlier, mountain snows melt sooner and forests dry to tinder, scientists reported....More than land-use changes or forest management practices, the changing climate was the most important factor driving a four-fold increase in the average number of large wildfires in the Western United States since 1970, the researchers concluded."
(Free registration required.),0,6719343.story?coll=la-home-headlines

"Families demand changes for firefighters" (Associated Press in Monterey County Herald, 7/10/06)
"In the years since the so-called Thirtymile fire, family members of the victims have repeatedly demanded policy changes at the U.S. Forest Service, from increasing training to removing the shroud of secrecy over disciplinary actions. An investigation found that fire bosses had broken all 10 of the agency's standard safety rules and ignored numerous signs of danger on the fire line that day, July 10, 2001....The Forest Service and other wildland firefighting agencies have worked together to establish minimum requirements for training and experience."

RELATED: "After Cramer fire, liability issues toss a 'big, damp blanket' over leadership" (Associated Press in Portland Oregonian, 7/9/06)
A firefighter "worries about being held criminally liable if a member of the California Hotshot crew he supervises is killed. The Cramer fire in Idaho made that fear very real. And firefighter advocates warn that concerns about civil or criminal liability could keep firefighters from seeking or accepting promotions at a time when the federal government is struggling to fill fire crews."
(Free registration required.)


"BLM rejects bid for Area 51" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/11/06)
"Mike Pool, U.S. Bureau of Land Management state director, said the agency had considered every reasonable alternative or proposal of what to do with the 216-acre parcel known as Area 51 before deciding in April to swap it for 566 acres along Grass Valley Creek in the Trinity River watershed.",2232,REDD_17533_4836014,00.html

"BLM says Trinidad Head towers fit within allowed use of property" (Eureka Times-Standard, 7/11/06)
"The Bureau of Land Management has ruled that the city of Trinidad acted appropriately in allowing cellular towers on Trinidad Head. The federal agency's Arcata Field Office released the results of its compliance examination recently, noting that the existing communication towers do not violate the 'regulations and policies for lands that have been patented under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act.'"

"Wilderness bill built on consensus; Snowmobilers, conservationists join in crafting deal" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/10/06)
"An unusual alliance of off-road vehicle enthusiasts, environmentalists and local officials in the Eastern Sierra has crafted a deal to set aside more than 40,000 acres of wilderness near Yosemite National Park, which lawmakers are calling a model of how to build consensus to protect public lands....More than 93 percent of the land in Mono County is controlled by government entities -- the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power -- and many locals, especially off-road vehicle enthusiasts, were alarmed at the proposal."

"A peg below the rest" (Imperial Valley Press, 7/10/06)
"The rest stop in the Imperial Sand Dunes, which greets travelers arriving from Arizona, is a mix of decaying, putrid port-a-potties, a handful of shabby salt-cedars, something that once might have been a stone monument to something and onramps to Interstate 8 that are uncomfortable if not dangerous for drivers. State roads officials say some toilet improvements will be made at the rest area in coming months, but a permanent replacement for the shabby site won't be in place until 2013." Local officials would like the state to do more, and sooner. The stop is near BLM-managed Imperial Sand Dunes, which thousands of OHV enthusiasts visit.

"Transmission tower felled by wind" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/7/06)
"A 140-foot tower that props up a major Southern California power line crumpled to the ground in the remote Riverside County desert, apparently walloped by a fierce gust of wind." An unusual whirlwind apparently caused the collapse -- and "cut off power to 44,410 customers, mostly in the Coachella Valley, for four minutes until automated equipment in the region's power grid restored service." Southern California Edison has applied for permits from BLM and others, for Devers-Palo Verde2, a second power line alongside this one, to increase power supplies.

"Leaders oppose dust rule revision" (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/7/06)
"Changes to a rule that helps reduce dust emissions from mines like the proposed Cemex quarry in Soledad Canyon face opposition from city officials who will testify at an upcoming hearing on the matter." Cemex holds a permit from the BLM for gravel mining.

"Calendar of events" (BLM California website)
Upcoming BLM California events, including Piedras Blancas Light Station public tour this weekend, July 15.

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

Deena Wilson - employee profileEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Deena Wilson... the new Equal Employment Opportunity manager for BLM-California. She manages the EEO complaint process and alternative dispute resolution program. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"Editorial: Wild West sell-off" (Sacramento Bee, 7/7/06)
"While some sales and swaps of federal land make sense, they need to be fully vetted, and shouldn't include earmarks that direct all proceeds to certain states and counties. That creates some perverse incentives for communities to sell off their greatest assets -- their natural scenery -- which belong to all of us."

"District judge removed from Indian case" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/11/06)
"U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth was removed Tuesday from a 10-year-old lawsuit in which thousands of American Indians claim the government mismanaged billions of dollars in federal trust funds.... Siding with the government, a panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that Lamberth had lost his objectivity and ordered the case reassigned to another judge." Court actions led to the shutdown of Department of Interior and BLM websites for several months.

e. all of the above. Bullfrogs are one of the biggest threats, among introduced animals -- native to the eastern U.S., they are larger and more aggressive. Development reduces habitat. And a fungus is a recent threat, as described in the following story:

RELATED: "Extinction crisis for amphibians" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/06)
"A strange new fungus disease that kills frogs and toads and every other species of amphibian is spreading around the globe and -- combined with pollution and overdevelopment -- is driving more and more of the creatures to extinction, a coalition of the world's top biologists warns."

"Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii)" (Placer County Planning Department)
Extensive information, including population and trends in California and Placer County, habitat requirements, behavior and more.
(PDF file, 55 kilobytes):

"Rana boylii, the Foothill yellow-legged frog" (U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center)
Photo and a short description.

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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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