A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 250 - 9/26/06

Mountain quail - wildlife trivia subject of the week Chapel at Patton Camp in the southern California desert Roy’s Café -- one of the quintessential Route 66 roadside stops in the Mojave Desert, along the "Mother Road." Joyce North, a wild horse adopter and BLM volunteer, hugs Nugget, one of her favorite horses - story at Eureka Times-Standard close-up of the top of a Russian knapweed plant

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Conservation and preservation
- Outdoor recreation
- Rights-of-way controversies
- Headlines and highlights: Smithsonian photos, call of the wild horses, fall hiking, wildfires, more
- Marijuana roundup
- Reminder: National Public Lands Day is Saturday

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Mountain quail - wildlife trivia subject of the week

What is unique about the migration patterns of the Mountain Quail?
a. they do not follow the same patterns from year to year
b. they will migrate with other bird species
c. they migrate the opposite direction from most birds, moving north as the weather gets cold
d. they walk most of the way
e. They invariably choose the most popular winter beach resorts, even though they claim to hate crowds
Thumbnail from a photo by Glenn and Martha Vargas © California Academy of Sciences
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

close-up of the top of a Russian knapweed plantWEED OF THE WEEK: Russian knapweed... native to central Asia. This weed invades cultivated fields, orchards, pastures, and roadsides. Dense colonies replace native and desirable vegetation.

RELATED: "Species profile: Russian knapweed" (National Invasive Species Information Center)
Includes links to many sources of information on this plant pest. Links on the right side of the page lead to search for more photos, and recent news articles.

RELATED: "At work with the weed warriors of the West" (NPR:National Public Radio, 9/25/06)
BLM Colorado fights Russian knapweed and last week's "Weed of the Week" - tamarisk, also known as saltcedar.


Joyce North, a wild horse adopter and BLM volunteer, hugs Nugget, one of her favorite horses - story at Eureka Times-Standard"Call of the wild" (Eureka Times-Standard, 9/24/06)
"Wild mustangs. The phrase itself evokes visions of a herd of beautiful, strong animals galloping across the plains, their manes streaming out behind their heads in the wind. Adopting a wild mustang or burro is one way some North Coast residents have 'captured' that feeling, through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program, and another chance to do just that is coming up next weekend."

"Horses, burros available for adoption" (BLM California news release, 9/6/06)
Young, healthy and direct from public ranges, wild horses and burros will be looking for new homes, when the Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in Eureka.

"Nevada's wild horses: Soon gone forever?" (KLAS-TV, Las Vegas, 9/19/06)
"In the high desert of Southern California, [BLM's] Ridgecrest Wild Horse and Burro facility stands as a safe haven for up to 1,000 horses and burros gathered from public lands. The 50-acre facility can hold more than 1,000 horses at any given time....At Ridgecrest, there are frequent adoption events advertised in the media. The wranglers will even provide free transportation and will stop whatever they're doing if a potential adopter shows up. They adopted hundreds of horses out of Ridgecrest last year."


Chapel at Patton Camp in the southern California desertRoy’s Café -- one of the quintessential Route 66 roadside stops in the Mojave Desert, along the "Mother Road.""BLM California employees' photos hang in Smithsonian" (News.bytes Extra)
Two BLM-California employees were honored at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. last week for their public land photographs, The two photos are part of the Smithsonian's new exhibit, "America’s Priceless Heritage: Snapshots in Time." Rolla Queen, archeologist, and Steve Razo, public affairs officer, both part of the BLM’s California Desert District, were among 17 other BLM photographers whose 21 images were chosen to be on display at the new exhibit, open now through November 30.

RELATED: "America's Priceless Heritage slideshow" (Smithsonian Institution)
An online slide show of the photographs - and click the "learn more" button for more information about these sites:

"House passes lighthouse protection" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 9/25/06)
"The House has passed a bill that would designate the Piedras Blancas Light Station as an outstanding natural area worthy of special national protections and grant funding." The bill still must be passed by the Senate. BLM manages the site.

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office website)
The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse on California's central coast
was completed in 1875. It was built to fill the gap between the lighthouses at Point Conception and Point Sur.

"Interior Secretary returns for talk on conservation" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/26/06)
"Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who grew up in San Bernardino, is returning to the Inland region Thursday to hear ways to improve conservation for endangered species through voluntary and incentive-based in a series of public meetings scheduled nationwide....He is in charge of agencies that manage more than 500 million acres of U.S. land. They include the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: Cooperative Conservation listening session
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and other senior federal officials will attend a cooperative conservation “listening session” in San Bernardino this Thursday, Sept. 28. (The event formerly was scheduled in Colton). For more information about this and other listening sessions, visit the Cooperative Conservation website at:

"BLM Alturas Field Office accepts land donation at Timbered Crater" (BLM California news release, 9/21/06)
The two parcels, 195 acres of private land, were within the Timbered Crater Wilderness Study Area (WSA), a rugged volcanic region of public land in far northern California. The land was purchased by the Wilderness Land Trust, a conservation organization, and given to the BLM which will manage it for the public as part of the 18,000-acre WSA.


"Hiking: Take your best four-legged friend on a fall frolic in the woods" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/22/06)
"Among hikers, fall is the best-kept secret there is. In many ways, autumn is the perfect season to hike....Generally, there are a few guidelines to follow when hiking with your pet. National forests and Bureau of Land Management lands are generally free of leash regulations, except where trails are crowded or there are wildlife issues. In wilderness areas, dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. National parks and state parks typically do not allow dogs on trails. Check with a ranger before you go."
(Free registration required.)

"A dialogue on getting kids outside" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/26/06)
At a conference called the National Dialogue on Children and Nature: "The goal was to bring together Americans from as many sectors as possible, and to ask them for their ideas on how to get kids outside again. The first speaker was not your usual suspect. 'We are here today to light a fire of passion that opens the doors to the great outdoors so children can see, hear, smell, taste and touch nature,' said Dirk Kempthorne, the new U.S. secretary of the interior. 'I want and need your ideas.' Government can never do all that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles should do, he said. But government 'can be a catalyst, an encourager, motivator.'"

"BLM California outdoor recreation" (BLM California website)
Learn about some of the recreation opportunities on public lands in California managed by the BLM.

"Public advisory committees to provide recommendations on federal recreation fees" (Department of the Interior news release, 9/22/06)
The U. S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior announced the establishment of a new public advisory committee structure to provide recommendations concerning recreation fee proposals for public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.


"Power line gambles on the sun" (North County Times, 9/24/06)
"A San Diego utility's campaign to obtain permission from a state agency to build a 150-mile power line across the backcountry of San Diego and Imperial counties hinges in large part on a huge gamble, project opponents and energy analysts say. The gamble is that a Phoenix company's plans for a massive solar power plant in the Southern California desert, unlike anything the world has seen up to this point, will be successful." BLM California is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the Sunrise Powerlink.

RELATED: "SDG&E's proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission project" (California Public Utilities Commission)
Includes much information on Sunrise Powerlink, including the amended application, a graph of the proposed power line and a "PUC guide to public participation."

RELATED: "Owners just say 'no' as power lines loom" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/21/06)
"A small skirmish in what has become a war over San Diego Gas & Electric's proposed Sunrise Powerlink played out yesterday morning at a remote ranch in Grapevine Canyon. It involved sheriff's deputies, a Sempra corporate security official, two surveyors and [two property owners], who felt their land was about to be invaded."

"Trinidad Head group prepares appeal" (Eureka Reporter, 9/22/06)
"An appeal of a decision by the Trinidad City Council to approve the construction of a cellular communications tower at Trinidad Head is being prepared and will be sent to the California Coastal Commission....Trinidad Mayor Dean Heyenga maintains his decision to support the project largely was based on a Bureau of Land Management decision that the cellular site conforms with previous agreements with the city."

"Board withdraws appeal of Honey Lake Valley water exportation to Reno" (Lassen County News, 9/26/06)
"Lassen County has withdrawn its appeal of a plan to export 8,000 acre feet of water a year from eastern Lassen County for new housing north of Reno." The project needed a right-of-way permit from the BLM. The county decided to pursue other means to block the project, rather than appeal BLM Nevada's environmental impact statement.

"Ivanpah's soil perfect for rare plant, but will it ground airport?" (Las Vegas Sun, 9/25/06)
"The Ivanpah Valley - shown on old maps as Roach Lake - is just a dusty patch of desert between Jean and Primm, 30 miles south of Las Vegas" and extending into California. Clark County wants to build an airport there, because McCarran International Airport is nearing capacity. Environmentalists are opposed, saying it would lead to sprawl and endanger the desert tortoise and a rare plant.


"06 fire season hasn't yet shot its last round" (Redding Record Searchlight, 9/20/06)
Editorial: "[I]t was the headline -- 'Gun might have set fire' -- that drew umbrage. 'Guns don't start fires,' we were informed. 'People do.'....A target shooter's bullet indeed hit a rock and set the fire, CDF spokeswoman Linda Galvan said Tuesday, but the shooter, who was on a Bureau of Land Management-designated range, promptly called firefighters and stuck around to report what happened."
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_18098_5007105,00.html

"Current wildland fire information" (National Interagency Fire Center)
California firefighters were still battling several wildfires.

"Council to hear sign dissent" (Santa Clarita Signal, 9/25/06)
"In other business, the council is expected to appropriate an additional $800,000 from its contingency and the Cemex reserve accounts to cover legal services, a public outreach campaign, legislative advocacy and environmental consultation through December of this year. The money will support the city's Cemex megamine opposition effort and its efforts to receive legislation support that could limit mining in Soledad Canyon, according to council reports." BLM approved the mine in 2000.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY... this Saturday, September 30, 2006. Those locations marking the event on different dates are noted below:

Folsom Field Office - South Fork American River Public Lands:

RELATED: "Helping hands needed for Public Lands Day on American River" (BLM California news release, 9/15/06)

Barstow Field Office - Rainbow Basin Natural Area Improvement Project

Bishop Field Office, two events Sept. 30 and Oct. 6

Carrizo Plain National Monument - historic El Saucito Ranch:

National Public Lands Day events in California (
Includes BLM-sponsored events, and many others.


"Mexican rings suspected in pot gardens" (Red Bluff Daily News, 9/22/06)
"Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the suspected growers of more than 16,000 marijuana plants seized Wednesday and Thursday from Bureau of Land Management land 40 miles west of Red Bluff."

"Pot farm hit near Bodfish" (Kern Valley Sun, 9/23/06)
"Members of the Kern County Sheriff's Department Major Violators Unit and other officials eradicated a large marijuana garden located on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands near Erskine Creek in an area close to Bodfish...."

"Officers raid marijuana garden" (Red Bluff Daily News, 9/20/06)
"Officers from the Tehama County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, TAGMET and CAMP raided a marijuana plantation [45 miles west of Red Bluff] and removed 30,639 marijuana plants that averaged 12 feet in height. It took two dump trucks to haul the plants away for destruction."

d. they walk most of the way. These are the only North American quail to complete most of their migration on foot rather than in flight. Flying is used only as a last resort.

SOURCE: "Mountain quail - Oreortyx pictus" (BLM California wildlife database)

"Mountain quail - Oreortyx pictus" (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "The Birds of North American online")
Extensive information in 19 sections, plus extensive references and several photos.

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

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