A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 244 - 8/15/06

  antelope squirrel BLM at "Off the Grid Energy Fest" Weed of the Week: Mediterranean Sage Desert Tortoise

- Groups Sue to protect Desert Tortoise Habitat
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: San Joaquin Antelope Squirrels
      - Weed of the week: Mediterranean Sage
- Marijuana Raids

- Headlines and highlights: Wild horse gather, Off the Grid Energy Fest, jobs, and more
- Upcoming Events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Desert TortoiseGroups Sue to protect Desert Tortoise Habitat

"Groups sue for tortoise land" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 08/15/06)
Preservationists are reviving an effort to rewrite how the government manages off-road vehicle use over more than 7 million acres of desert in Southern California to help save desert tortoises. On Monday, a coalition of nine conservation groups filed suit against the federal government in part to prevent off-road driving in washes where the threatened California desert tortoise lives.

"Suit: Plans won't protect tortoise" (San Bernardino Sun, 08/15/06)
The two huge plans designed to protect the threatened desert tortoise and other rare species in the desert are actually damaging the environment by expanding routes for off-roading enthusiasts, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Monday. The suit filed in San Francisco against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to have the plans modified or invalidated.

"Off-roaders subject of lawsuit" (The Press Enterprise, 08/14/06)
Environmental and private property groups filed a lawsuit Monday against federal agencies they allege allow off-road vehicles to run rampant in Southern California deserts, harming imperiled wildlife and disrupting homeowners. The lawsuit seeks to overturn major land-use plans by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management across 7.1 million acres of the desert -- including large swaths in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

"Protecting our tortoise habitats" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 08/14/06)
Report: More published research needed to manage desert reptiles. It sure makes sense - barring ATVs from the fragile habitat of the desert tortoise would protect the charismatic reptiles from being crushed alive in their burrows. But it would be a whole lot easier to justify off-road restrictions and other controversial tortoise-related measures if scientists kept better track of the results.

Related: Desert Tortoise Habitat (pdf, 2mb) (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 8/14/06)

Related: Desert Tortoise Natural Area (BLM Webpage)


antelope squirrel

Where are the San Joaquin Antelope Squirrels found?
a. in widely-scattered habitats throughout California
b. in the San Joaquin mountains
c. in the San Joaquin valley and the surrounding foothills
d. hitchhiking on the backs of especially-tolerant antelope – from which they got their name
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Weed of the Week: Mediterranean SageWEED OF THE WEEK: Mediterranean Sage...
occurs in pastures meadows, rangelands, and other open areas. One plant may produce thousands of seeds which are spread easily because the mature plant forms a "tumbleweed."

Marijuana Plants Seized

"Large Pot Bust Made In El Dorado Hills" (KCRA, 08/14/06)
Law Enforcement officials eradicated more than 1,900 marijuana plants growing in El Dorado Hills, a total street value of more than $8.5 million. "Obviously, they had some weapons out here," said Ray Leloupe of the Bureau of Land Management. "You can see this can of oil has been shot up." (Story includes video)

"Pot raid near Folsom Lake" (Sacramento Bee, 08/16/06)
The statewide war against marijuana moved ahead with a rush Monday as authorities seized nearly 2,000 plants -- many more than 6 feet tall -- in two gardens within a few miles of some of El Dorado County's most expensive homes. The camouflaged gardens on public lands were spread across steep, brush-covered hillsides.

"Rare suspect arrest made in Colusa marijuana raid" (Appeal-Democrat, 08/14/06)
A raid on a Colusa County marijuana-growing operation - the third in 15 days - led to a rare arrest of an accused drug grower, authorities said Friday Sheriff's deputies and an agent of the federal Bureau of Land Management seized 1,096 pot plants at Dead Shot Flat, a rugged, poison oak-choked part of the Indian Valley/Walker Ridge Recreation Area, said Lt. Doug Turner of the Colusa County Sheriff's Department.


"BLM gathers Wild Horses that will be put up for Adoption" (Burney Intermountain News, 08/11/06)
BLM and hired crews removed wild horses from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area to bring the herd population into management levels for the range. Wild horses, which increase their population about 20 percent per year, compete for resources with mule deer, pronghorn antelope and permitted livestock. (This site contains a 6-minute video and/or a 4-minute slide show. A high-speed internet connection is recommended.)
Slide Show:

BLM at "Off the Grid Energy Fest""The BLM joins Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in co-sponsoring the first 'Off the Grid Energy Fest'" (News.bytes Extra)
The event included many demonstrations, with information on solar energy, wind turbines, low wattage light bulbs, hay bail homes, and a special area with solar powered toys for the kids to enjoy.

"Cottonwood Fire now in the hands of BLM fire managers" (The Daily Independent, 8/13/06)
The Cottonwood wildland fire remains 100 percent contained. Some lingering smoke continues to be seen inside the deep perimeter of the fire as hot spots continue to smolder throughout the heat of the day. Fire managers from the BLM California Desert District (CDD) took over managing the incident yesterday.

"Report: BLM right to suspend employee" (Bakersfield Californian, 08/14/06)
The Bureau of Land Management could have done more to ease tension among its staff in Bakersfield, but the agency appropriately disciplined an employee who later killed herself, an outside investigation found.

"Experts say border fence would hurt bighorn sheep" (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 08/14/06)
If a proposed 15-foot-tall triple barrier is built between the United States and Mexico, illegal immigrants may have to take a tip from The Odyssey to get across. That's assuming measures are taken to safeguard the crossing of the endangered peninsular ranges bighorn sheep, whose survival could be threatened by the wall.

BLM's Needles Field Office Closed this week while Moving to New Location (BLM News Release, 08/01/06)
The office will be officially closed for business from August 14 through August 21 as staff move into the new building. Telephone service as well as the availability of staff will be interrupted during the move.

"Cal-Nev pipeline addition planned" (The Press Enterprise, 8/11/06)
The owner of an underground pipeline system that pumps petroleum products from Colton to Las Vegas said it plans to spend as much as $425 million over the next several years to nearly double the capacity of the line. [Steve] Razo, with the Bureau of Land Management, said the agency is in talks with the company but has not yet received an application. The permitting process, he said, would likely require an environmental study that could take up to two years before construction could begin.

"Judge Issues Injunction on Grazing Rules" (Los Angeles Times, 08/11/06)
A judge blocked new grazing rules for ranchers using federal land Friday, saying the regulations would exclude public input. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued a preliminary injunction while environmental groups sue against the federal rules.  The Bureau of Land Management oversees 262 million acres, mostly in 12 Western states; about 160 million acres are used for grazing livestock.,0,899661.story

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include Maintenance Worker, Human Resources Assistant, Secretary, Environmental Protection Specialist, Realty Specialist, and more!


BLM Northwest Resource Advisory Council to Meet in Shelter Cove (BLM News Release, 08/09/06)
Varied natural resource topics, including management of the King Range National Conservation Area (NCA), are on the agenda for a field tour and meeting of the Bureau of Land Management's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council, Thursday and Friday, Aug. 17 and 18, in Shelter Cove.

Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour, 08/19/06
The Piedras Blancas Light Station near Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County is continuing monthly tours of the historic lighthouse grounds

Ridgecrest Steering Committee Meeting, 08/24/06
The public is invited to attend this Information Sharing meeting discussing what BLM is doing with land use planning, recreation, wild horse and burros, and more.


"Recreational activities add up to big economic profit" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 08/12/06)
Study finds outdoor activities worth up to $730B per year to the U.S. "I know the importance. My goodness, it's everywhere," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who oversees the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, public lands that draw millions of users.

c. in the San Joaquin valley and the surrounding foothills

SOURCE: "San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)
This species inhabits the arid grassland, shrubland, and alkali sink habitats of the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent foothills. The squirrels are active year-round and live in either kangaroo rat burrows that they modify, or burrows the squirrels construct themselves.

RELATED: "San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni)" (California State University, Stanislaus, Endangered Species Recovery Program)
Extensive information on identification, historical and and current range, behavior, species interactions and more.

- 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: