A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 240 - 7/18/06

BLM California State Director Mike Pool (left) speaks with Thomas O’Rourke, vice-chairman of the Yurok Tribe, after signing the agreement Rush skeletonweed - weed of the week Tom Zale at the summit of Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains , July 5, 2005 - employe profile Sharp-tailed snake John Reginato and Jim Cooksley, a Redding geophysicist, share a moment. The two served together on the Northwest California Resource Advisory Council

- Beyond the brochure: Sacramento River float trip
- Raging wildfires easing?
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Look sharp
      - Weed of the week
- Coastal preservation and planning: Coast Dairies, Yurok agreement
- Land use, preservation and planning
- Headlines and highlights: Mountain biking, Clint Eastwood, pot, gold, jobs, more
- Employee profile: Tom Zale
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Grazing, energy, Cobell lawsuit

This issue: Take a float trip down the Sacramento River, in this video visit.

RELATED: "Tehama Recreation" (BLM Redding Field Office)
Includes links to printable Sacramento River Bend Area brochure and map, and a boating flyer.

RELATED: "Sacramento River Rail Trail" (BLM Redding Field Office)
The 9-mile long trail is nearly flat and is open year-round to horseback riders, hikers, joggers, and bicyclists. The trail surface is composed of gravel and dirt. A printable brochure and map are available for this trail.

"Herger pushes recreation area: 17,000 acres near Red Bluff would get federal status" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/14/06)
"Public land northeast of Red Bluff is one step closer to becoming a national recreation area, as Tehama County supervisors this week sent a letter outlining their support to Congressman Wally Herger. The Bureau of Land Management oversees 17,000 acres of land that hugs an unaltered stretch of the Sacramento River, from Battle Creek almost to Red Bluff. All the land would be made into a recreation area with little or no change in access for hikers, campers, mountain bikers and horseback riders....",2232,REDD_17533_4844098,00.html

RELATED: "Letter to Wally Herger from the Tehama County Supervisors" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/14/06)
"The Tehama County Board of Supervisors would like to confirm our support for the Sacramento River National Recreation Area (NRA) legislation you will be introducing in the near future.",2232,REDD_17533_4842409,00.html

The Department of the Interior is part of the firefighting alliance that has been battling huge California wildfires. These include the Sawtooth fire that has burned dozens of homes and thousands of acres of land managed by the BLM. The alliance is made up of Federal, State and local agencies who work together to fight wildfires on private, state, and federal lands. Interior, through the National Interagency Fire Center, will continue to commit all necessary resources from BLM, the Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to help suppress these fires.

"One fire losing its teeth, but rain remains concern" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/18/06)
"Firefighters and residents in areas threatened or burned by vicious wildfires in the past week face a new worry: the weather. Thunderstorms that threaten for much of the week could produce enough rain to help firefighters wrest control of stubborn blazes that have blackened nearly 87,000 acres of desert and forest, killed a 57-year-old man and destroyed 50 homes. Too much rain could sweep charred vegetation and rock into desert communities." Links to illustration of "home fire protection" and "battling mudslides and floods."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Breaking news: furious fire" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/18/06)
The Palm Springs Desert Sun homepage includes updated information on huge wildfires about 20 miles north of the city, that firefighters were "cautiously optimistic" about bringing under control later today. This page includes links to more fire stories, dozens or even hundreds of fire photos by news reporters and from their readers, plus videos from the fires.

RELATED: "Communities near fire zone warned of ongoing flood risk" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/18/06)
"While monsoonal weather helped firefighters Monday by keeping radiant heat at bay and even dropping a few sprinkles, fire officials are still warning residents of burn areas in Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley and Pioneertown of the possibility of damaging floods, high winds and lightning." Also, possible thunderstorms are forecast for the next week: "That could mean flash floods, particularly in areas already damaged by the fire."

RELATED: "Inland wildfires" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/18/06)
Current stories on area wildfires -- and as the fires are beat back, increased concern over flash floods. Also, links to related information on wildfire prevention efforts and funding problems.
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Sawtooth's demise in sight" (San Bernardino County Sun, 7/18/06)
" The Sawtooth fire merged Friday with the Millard Complex Fire burning north of Cabazon. Combined, the fires have burned about 84,000 acres in the Low Desert and San Gorgonio Wilderness at a cost of more than $17 million." With links to maps, illustration, photo gallery, audio reports and video.

RELATED: "Current wildland fire information" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during fire season.

"Review aims to boost safety" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/17/06)
"A wall of blinding fire and smoke flashed over firefighters who were among the first to respond to the blaze that ravaged Pioneertown on July 11....Its wrath forced crews - unable to drive from its path - to take refuge in their trucks....'Multiple safety issues are under review in light of these incidents, including the practice of taking refuge inside fire engines, vehicles or houses, as a last resort in the face of an approaching fire storm'....Reviewing the incidents are the federal Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the San Bernardino County Fire Department."

"Who's making sure dry brush is cleared?" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/18/06)
"Required clearing of dry wildflowers and other brush in the rural areas burned by this year's largest wildfire inferno has gone largely unchecked. The 82,000-plus acres and countless homes under attack by the Sawtooth and Millard fires fall between a hodgepodge of local, county, state and federal agencies - which do not have the staff or money to check every property owner each year.... Code enforcement in the high desert area is a checkerboard of sorts, covered by agencies like CDF, San Bernardino County fire and the Bureau of Land Management."
Note: you may need to click the "print article" link at the top of the page, to view the entire story.

"Common sense touted as best way to prevent wildland fires; Use of mechanical equipment on hot days is worst culprit" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/12/06)
"The No. 1 cause of wildland fires is use of equipment -- such as mowers and chain saws -- used to clear fire fuels like brush or dead trees, according to state statistics....Whatever the cause, the end result is almost always the same: hundreds of acres of scorched earth, millions of dollars in damage, and injuries or deaths of residents and fire crews. 'Ironically, sometimes people clearing brush to reduce fire start fires in the same brush.'"

"Fire razes animal highway" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/13/06)
"The Sawtooth Complex Fire's fury [last week] destroyed the bulk of the Pipes Canyon Preserve, a pristine 37,000-acre stretch from the sandy floor of the Mojave desert to the snow-capped San Bernardino mountains. The preserve serves as a crucial corridor for animals to cross from national forest land in the west, to Bureau of Land Management-owned land to the east, said Katie Barrows, associate director of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy."


Sharp-tailed snake

What do Sharp-tailed Snakes eat almost exclusively?
a. prairie dogs
b. slugs
c. lizards
d. other snakes
e. small pointy things -- which accounts for their sharp tails
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Rush skeletonweed - weed of the weekWEED OF THE WEEK: Rush skeletonweed... an introduced Eurasian species which has infested several million acres in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California. It inhabits well-drained, light-textured soils along roadsides, in rangelands, grain fields and pastures. It becomes established most easily in disturbed soils and is very difficult to control once it becomes established.

RELATED: "Rush skeletonweed" (USDA Forest Service)
"In its homeland in Eurasia, Rush skeletonweed is a minor, inconspicuous component of the local ecosystem held in check by a large complex of natural enemies. When introduced into North America, it escaped the controlling effect of these natural enemies, which allowed it to become an aggressive, vigorous, rapidly spreading weed."


"Scenic beachfront land to go public" (San Jose Mercury News, 7/14/06)
"Eight years ago, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation led the effort to buy five miles of stunning beaches and rugged coastline along Santa Cruz County's north coast, saving it from development....the beaches at Coast Dairies Ranch...finally transfer to public ownership....Most of the ranch, 5,701 acres honeycombed with trails and dirt roads east of Highway 1, will transfer this year to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.... 'It's the first step toward fulfilling the dream that Coast Dairies will be owned by the public and open to everyone,' said Reed Holderman, executive director of the Trust for Public Land-California, a San Francisco conservation group that owns Coast Dairies." (This page includes links to video of the ranch.)
(Free registration required.)

BLM California State Director Mike Pool (left) speaks with Thomas O'Rourke, vice-chairman of the Yurok Tribe, after signing the agreement"Rocks of antiquity" (Eureka Times-Standard, 7/14/06)
"The rocks are part of the California Coastal Monument, named in 2000 as a way to manage the physical, biological and cultural resources so unique to California's coast. On Thursday, the Yurok Tribe signed onto an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to help steward the rocks in the region....'The coastal monument is not separate and apart from the communities along the coast,' said BLM State Director Mike Pool. 'In Indian country, that association is deeper.'"

RELATED: "Yuroks, land agency sign agreement" (Eureka Reporter, 7/14/06)
"[Axel Lindgren III ], Tsurai Ancestral Society chairperson, was present Thursday for a gathering at the Trinidad Lighthouse to announce an agreement giving the Yurok Tribe a stewardship role in the management of portions of the California Coastal National Monument that lie within the tribe's ancestral territory in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The Tsurai is one of 50 tribes that make up the Yurok Tribe....Mike Pool, BLM state director, and Thomas O'Rourke, vice chairman of the Yurok Tribe, participated in the signing ceremony" along with representatives of other groups.

RELATED: "Bureau of Land Management and Yurok Tribe announce stewardship agreement for California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California news release, 7/12/06)

RELATED: "California Coastal National Monument" (BLM California website)
The California Coastal National Monument runs the entire length of the California coast (1,100 miles) between Oregon and Mexico, extends 12 nautical miles from the shoreline, and encompasses thousands of BLM administered islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above mean high tide.


"BLM releases proposed management plan for Southern Diablo Mountains and Central Coast of California" (BLM California news release, 7/14/06)
The proposed plan affects approximately 274,000 acres of public lands in Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties, and portions of Fresno, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties.

"Wilderness measure an exercise in compromise" (Sacramento Bee, 7/15/06)
"A locally crafted, congressionally endorsed plan to protect more than 40,000 acres north of Yosemite could be a case study in how a divided Congress handles wilderness. It's called compromise, and it can be a delicate affair." A Senate hearing on the bill is scheduled for July 27.

RELATED: "S 2567 IS - Eastern Sierra Rural Heritage and Economic Enhancement Act (Introduced in Senate) " (Library of Congress website)
"To maintain the rural heritage of the Eastern Sierra and enhance the region's tourism economy by designating certain public lands as wilderness and certain rivers as wild and scenic rivers in the State of California, and for other purposes." Included in this legislation is a designation as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, of four sections -- covering almost 24 miles -- of BLM -administered public lands along the Amargosa River.


"Winning latest Cosumnes battle against water hyacinth" (News.bytes Extra)
Managers at the Cosumnes River Preserve have declared victory in the latest battle against water hyacinth. A half-mile stretch of Lost Slough was cleared of the invasive weed. An excavator removed most of the weed in early July. Volunteers removed another 70 canoe loads of weeds the excavator couldn't reach.

"Single-track trails" (Eureka Times-Standard, 7/18/06)
Trail guide author " believes Humboldt County could be on the list of top destinations for mountain biking....To the south, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is building a 12-mile trail specifically with mountain bikers in mind. The trail in the King Range National Conservation Area is expected to be world class.... That trail has also seen huge volunteer efforts."

County looks at off-road vehicle crackdown" (Lake County Record-Bee, 7/18/06)
"An ordinance that would make riding off-highway vehicles on private or public property illegal -- unless they had written permission -- will be discussed by the Lake County Board of Supervisors today.... The ordinance would not apply to lands set aside for motorized vehicle use, public or private, such as a permitted race course or on designated trails in Mendocino National Forest or on Bureau of Land Management land."

"Area’s black sand made Clint Eastwood’s day" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 7/18/06)
"Rumors that Clint Eastwood was seen in town this month are apparently untrue, but he was in this area filming a new movie from March 15 through April 4. Eastwood was directing 'Red Sun, Black Sand'...said Sherry Davis, director of the Inland Empire Film Commission. The film company had to have special environmental studies done, she said, because the site is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The tanks were operated on a special surface to make sure they did not harm the desert floor."

"Haigh country" (Folsom Telegraph, 7/12/06)
Bill Haigh is set to take over as BLM's new Folsom Field Office manager, on July 24.

John Reginato and Jim Cooksley, a Redding geophysicist, share a moment. The two served together on the Northwest California Resource Advisory Council"Community Leaders Bid Farewell to John Reginato" (News.bytes Extra)
For more than five decades, Redding's John Reginato has been hailed as a tourism leader for Redding and Shasta County. He has been a close advisor to the Bureau of Land Management for over four decades and a leading voice keeping people informed about the natural beauty and richness of Northern California. Now, Reginato and Liz, his wife of over 50 years, are leaving their beloved North State to be closer to a son in Washington State.

"Local Paiute tribe challenges plan to export water, citing potential impacts" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 7/14/06)
"Citing potential impacts to water quality at Pyramid Lake, the tribe has appealed a decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to allow a 28-mile pipeline to cross federal land....The importation project, expected to cost up to $70 million, would pipe 8,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Fish Springs Ranch near Susanville to the hills east of Reno-Stead Airport for storage and distribution...."

"Flight corridor study under way" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 7/16/06)
"The Naval Air Weapons Station air-installation compatible-use zone study in under way, according to city officials.... there are working groups with the city, Kern County and the Bureau of Land Management working on the document."

"Discoveries: Illustrating our environment" (Mammoth Times, 7/11/06)
The illustrations of Joy Fatooh, biologist with BLM's Bishop Field Office: "Whether it's a pack rat scurrying away from its den or the native Black bear wandering in a forest, Fatooh illustrates each image with an experienced eye. While she calls herself an illustrator, she's much more of an interpreter at heart-bringing the wildlife world around her to plant and roadside guides and educational programs in the Eastern Sierra."

"Beyond the headlines, pot farmers are raping our public lands" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/16/06)
Columnist: "It's getting so you can't go anywhere in the backcountry without running into a pot farm. And increasingly, running into the armed-and-dangerous people who tend to the illegal -- but highly lucrative -- cash crop.... Recreation and marijuana farming just doesn't mix." Says a law enforcement agent: "We need to tell the public the real problems....Get the legislature involved.",2232,REDD_17583_4847473,00.html

"Gold still found in hills of Mariposa" (Merced Sun-Star, 7/15/06)
"It's called the Mother Lode and, over the years, hundreds of millions of dollars of gold have been taken from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Even in the little town of Mariposa...more than $60 million in gold was taken from the rocky countryside between 1848 and 1965.... although only one gold mine is currently active there, a local man is getting ready to start up a mine that has a long history in his family" and says he is applying for permits from the BLM.

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

Tom Zale at the summit of Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains , July 5, 2005 - employe profileEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Tom Zale...
...returned to the El Centro Field Office as the multi-resource staff chief, responsible for an interagency team specializing in archeology, wildlife biology, botany, rangeland management, geology, lands and realty, wilderness management and planning and environmental coordination. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.


"BLM publishes new grazing regulations to improve management of public lands grazing" (BLM national news release, 7/12/06)
The final regulations, developed with extensive public input and supported by a detailed environmental analysis, recognize the economic and social benefits of public lands grazing, as well as its role in preserving open space and wildlife habitat in the rapidly growing West.

RELATED: "Lawsuit over new grazing rules" (Associated Press on MSNBC, 7/13/06)
"A conservation group is asking a federal court to block new grazing regulations that it contends would give ranchers more water rights and control over public lands....The Bureau of Land Management announced the final rules Wednesday, and they are to go into effect next month."

RELATED: "Oversight Hearing on Working Ranches, Healthy Range and Maintaining Open Space" (Department of the Interior news release, 7/11/06)
Statement of Ed Shepard, Assistant Director of Renewable Resources and Planning for the Bureau of Land Management, on livestock grazing on public lands and the work the Department of the Interior is doing to provide good stewardship of our public rangelands.

"Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett testifies on Department's leadership in renewable energy production" (Department of the Interior news release, 7/11/06)
Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett testified before the Senate Energy Committee that the Department of the Interior, which manages more than one-fifth of the nation's land, has spurred rapid growth of renewable energy development on public lands while protecting the environment. Lands managed by the department's Bureau of Land Management currently supply almost half of the nation's geothermal generation and more than 5 percent of its installed wind capacity. In 2006 they will supply an estimated 60,000 tons of biomass, she noted.

RELATED: "Oversight Hearing on Onshore Renewable Energy on the Federal Lands" (Department of the Interior website, 7/14/06)
Transcript of Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett;s testimony before the Senate Energy Committee

"Interior secretary praises Crissy Field" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/15/06)
On his first official visit to California, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne visited San Francisco and toured Crissy Field. Kempthorne was confirmed May 26 to lead the Department of Interior, which includes the Bureau of Land Management.

"A quest for cooler heads in Indian suit against US" (Christian Science Monitor, 7/14/06)
"The lawsuit's name is innocuous enough. But Cobell v. Kempthorne carries 119 years of historical baggage, and its outcome could affect hundreds of thousands of people at a cost of billions of dollars. It's also thorny as a prickly pear, so contentious that a panel of federal jurists this week ruled that the case needs a different judge to oversee it." The case has in the past resulted in the Department of the Interior's entire public website -- including BLM's -- being shut down for months at a time.

b. slugs

RELATED: "Contia tenuis (sharp-tailed snake)" (University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web)
Information, plus a photo, on this site "written largely by and for college students."

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