A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 251 - 10/4/06

close-up of a ringtail Tracy Rowland Poison hemlock - Weed of the Week BLM State Director Mike Pool signs the Record of Decision approving BLM California's Ukiah Resource Management Plan, as Ukiah Field Manager Rich Burns, right, looks on Burros wait for adoption in Eureka working on a trail for National Public Lands Day

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Conservation: Listening sessions, habitat funds
- More conservation: North Coast wilderness bill
- Sunrise Powerlink
- Ukiah region management plan
- Wild horses and burros
- Recreation on public lands
- Headlines and highlights: Volunteers, horses, award, dunes, wildfire, much more
- National and/or Department of the Interior items


close-up of a ringtail

What use did miners put the Ringtail to?
(a.) detecting dangerous gases in mines
(b.) target practice, as they were considered pests
(c.) fishing companion, as these mammals can easily catch fish
(d.) natural mice traps around their homes
(e.) living "coonskin"-like caps to impress the few women in the camps - despite the severe discomfort from claw scratches, as the little animals clung to their heads

------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Poison hemlock - Weed of the WeekWEED OF THE WEEK: Poison hemlock...
....was intentionally introduced into North America as a garden ornamental in the early 1800's. It is found throughout pastures and waterways within Inyo and Mono Counties.

RELATED: "Poison hemlock" (Montana State University Extension Service)
"The toxicity of poison hemlock has been known throughout history." It presents the greatest danger to grazing livestock - and can affect the safety of cow's milk. Includes sketches and much more information.


"Return to his own habitat" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/28/06)
"Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, returning Thursday to his hometown of San Bernardino, said he came to listen. He heard from a woman whose family property in Colton can't be sold because of an endangered fly; a building industry representative looking for more incentives for property owners to set aside endangered species habitat; an Inland tribe that wants to be trusted to protect endangered sheep on its reservation in Palm Springs; and a fly fisherman worried about the drop of native salmon in California streams."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "They Had His Ear" (The Press-Enterprise, 9/28/06)
"The purpose of [Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's] visit was a 'listening session' on 'cooperative conservation,' a new Washington buzz-phrase implying private citizens working with government to conserve the environment."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Interior chief gets earful on conservation" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/29/06)
"Lori Pierson Cripe had a personal and poignant story to tell the secretary of the interior about problems with the Endangered Species Act....Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who started his political career as student body president at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino before becoming a senator and then governor of Idaho, spent more than three hours San Bernardino listening to developers, environmentalists, city officials and plain citizens talk about environmental protection."

RELATED: "Interior Secretary at listening session in San Bernardino" (News.bytes Extra)
About 160 people joined Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne in San Bernardino to discuss “Cooperative Conservation” last week, the 24th of 26 “Listening Sessions” on the topic being held throughout the country.

"County lands funds for habitat' (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/26/06)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday issued $67 million in grants to protect endangered species from Florida's coastline to the Hawaiian Islands, but no single county reaped as much as Riverside County. The biologically rich region was awarded several grants that totaled nearly $17 million to buy habitat from Murrieta to the Coachella Valley for mountain-climbing sheep, sand-dwelling lizards, buff-colored toads and other animals and plants that are threatened with extinction." Some of that land will work together with habitat currently managed by BLM.

RELATED: "$5 million grant to secure habitats" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/28/06)
"Endangered sheep, lizards and toads could get more room to roam in the Coachella Valley thanks to nearly $5 million from the federal government. But even more money may have been available to preserve local wildlife habitat if valley communities had been able to agree on a formal conservation plan. Nonetheless, conservationists welcomed an announcement by Interior Department Dirk Kempthorne that more than $4.9 million will buy up area habitat."

RELATED: "Habitat money helps cover $2.8 million loss" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/29/06)
"The $17 million in federal grants given to Riverside County this week to preserve nearly 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat makes up for some money the county was shorted two years ago. In 2004, about $2.8 million was supposed to purchase habitat land in western Riverside County, but the Bureau of Land Management...later redirected those funds to other projects," a congresswoman said.

RELATED: "New law formalizes private lands conservation program" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/3/06)
The law authorizes the Department of the Interior, through the Partners Program, to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners to restore, enhance, and manage private lands to improve fish and wildlife habitats.

"Coast Dairies property: A walk to beach reveals neglect, but potential" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 10/01/06)
"Eight years of negotiations put the 407-acre coastal stretch between Scott Creek and Four Mile Beach in the hands of the state this summer, a gift from the nonprofit Trust for Public Land. It's one of the largest additions of public beaches in decades, but it's just the beginning. Early next year, the trust will hand over the roughly 5,700-acre inland portion of Coast Dairies to the federal Bureau of Land Management....trails aren't slated for the near future...State Parks isn't ready for an onslaught of visitors."


"Senate passes North Coast wilderness bill" (Sacramento Bee, 9/30/06)
"Push to protect 273,000 acres gets wide support, sent to Bush....Among the major additions is more than 42,000 acres of BLM land in the King Range National Conservation Area, a stretch of coastal lands along Northern California's famed Lost Coast that the BLM said would be the crown jewel of its wilderness holdings."
(Free registration required.)

"King Range National Conservation Area" (BLM California website)
The recreation opportunities here are as diverse as the landscape. The Douglas-fir clad peaks attract hikers, hunters, campers and mushroom collectors, while the coast beckons to surfers, anglers, beachcombers, and abalone divers to name a few.

"Bill to protect state wilderness areas heads to president" (Oroville Mercury-Register, 9/30/06)
"Areas protected in the bill include King Range, the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States; Cache Creek, home to the second-largest wintering bald eagle population in California; and portions of Eel River, which hosts 30 percent to 50 percent of the state's endangered summer-run steelhead trout."

"North Coast wilderness bill headed to Bush" (Eureka Times-Standard, 9/30/06)
"A bill that would designate 273,000 acres of public land in Northern California as wilderness has been sent to President Bush after finally clearing both the U.S. House and Senate. The legislation would add 29,000 acres to the existing 500,000-acre Trinity Alps Wilderness and 26,000 acres to the Yolla Bolly Middle-Eel Wilderness Area. Areas in the King Range National Conservation Area would also be deemed wilderness."


"SDG&E unveils non-park routes for power transmission line" (North County Times, 10/3/06)
"San Diego County's electric utility outlined late Monday three alternate routes for a proposed power transmission line that would go around Anza-Borrego Desert State Park instead of through it, in response to a directive given by a state commissioner. But [an] attorney for San Diego Gas & Electric Co., maintained...that none of the three is acceptable because each would cause more damage to the environment than the utility's preferred route through the park." BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for parts of the proposed route.

"Alternate routes for Powerlink offered" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/4/06)
"As ordered by state regulators, San Diego Gas & Electric has disclosed alternate routes it considered for its proposed Sunrise Powerlink that don't cross Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. But the utility insists none of the alternates would reduce the environmental impact of the transmission line, which SDG&E says would best be run across the state park. "

"Backcountry helps shape Sunrise study" (North County Times, 10/3/06)
"Residents from Ramona and other backcountry communities told state and federal officials Tuesday that they should examine whether the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line would spark wildfires and make them harder to put out, in an environmental study of the $1.3 billion project....The meeting was designed to gather suggestions on issues to be addressed in the environmental study that the California Public Utilities Commission and U.S. Bureau of Land Management will undertake jointly."

"Opinions aired about proposed Sunrise Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/28/06)
"Although both supporters and opponents of SDG&E's proposed Sunrise Powerlink were hoping for something more definitive, county supervisors gave little indication about how they feel about the massive power transmission line yesterday. For more than an hour, the board heard testimony about the project, a $1.3 billion 150-mile line that would run from Imperial County to San Diego's coast. The supervisors have no say in whether the line is approved by the state Public Utilities Commission...."

"Supervisors hold hearing on proposed Sunrise transmission line" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/27/06)
"San Diego Gas & Electric officials maintain the transmission line, which would be capable of delivering 1,000 megawatts of power, is needed to improve the reliability of the region's power grid. Environmental groups object to the proposed route, which would cut through a portion of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park."

"Powerlink plan up for public hearing" (San Diego Business Journal, 10/2/06)
"The public will use these meetings to identify issues and alternatives to be addressed in the environmental review documents of the Powerlink - a 120-mile transmission line capable of delivering energy to 650,000 homes by 2010. The California Public Utilities Commission and U.S. Bureau of Land Management will be hosting the meetings and are expected to publish the environmental documents in 2007."

"SDG&E's Proposed Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project" (California Public Utilities Commission)
Much information about the proposed project.

"BLM, CPUC invite public comment for proposed Sunrise Powerlink project" (BLM California news release, 8/31/06)
Updated 9/19/06 with public meeting dates being held this week.


"BLM releases management plan for Ukiah region public lands" (BLM California news release, 9/28/06)
A blueprint for conservation of more than 270,000 acres of public lands in northwest California is in place with approval of a Resource Management Plan for the Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office. BLM State Director Mike Pool and Ukiah Field Manager Rich Burns this week signed a Record of Decision approving the document. For the next 15 to 20 years, the plan will provide broad guidance for managing landscapes stretching from the rugged Pacific Coast in Mendocino County to the deep canyons and oak woodlands flanking Cache Creek in Colusa, Lake and Yolo counties.

BLM State Director Mike Pool signs the Record of Decision approving BLM California's Ukiah Resource Management Plan, as Ukiah Field Manager Rich Burns, right, looks onRELATED: "Signing ceremony for Ukiah region management plan" (News.bytes Extra)
Staff members from the Bureau of Land Management's Ukiah Field Office joined with State Director Mike Pool, Associate State Director Jim Abbott and a group of public lands stakeholders to celebrate completion of the Ukiah Resource Management Plan.


Burros wait for adoption in Eureka"Wild horses and burros take Eureka" (News.bytes Extra)
The BLM's Wild Horse and Burro adoption program made a return to the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka during the weekend of Sept. 30, placing 28 animals in the care of North Coast horse and burro enthusiasts. See photos from the event.

"Wild horses, burros available for adoption in San Luis Obispo" (BLM California news release, 9/28/06)
Young and healthy wild horses and burros, direct from public ranges, will be looking for new homes when the Bureau of Land Management offers them for public adoption Oct. 21 and 22.

"Thousands stampede to the Barstow Rodeo" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 10/2/06)
More than 5,000 fans came to see the action at the Annual Barstow Rodeo Stampede, where the Marine Corps color guard rode wild mustangs obtained from the Bureau of Land management and tamed by the Marines.


"Lots to see along the Piedras Blancas coast" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 9/30/06)
A writer shares his experience hiking the coast line near the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Lightstation tour" (BLM California calendar)
The Piedras Blancas Light Station near Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County is continuing monthly tours of the historic lighthouse grounds in 2006.

"Klamath, Trinity are places to be" (Eureka Times-Standard, 9/28/06)
"The magic words for sport fishermen on the North Coast are Klamath and Trinity. ' Every place you go on the Klamath there are fish,'" said one guide. He "points out that the recreation closure of the river by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forestry Service has been lifted as of last Saturday. 'It is still smoky but the fishing has really started to pick up in the Del Loma section of the river....'" he said.

"Officials on guard for poachers" (Union Democrat, 9/28/06)
"It's not the hunters that local and state officials are most concerned about during deer-hunting season. It's poachers and the trespassers. And already this year, authorities are hearing about violators....Hunters can shoot during legal season on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land. They cannot hunt on private property unless they have permission from the owner."


working on a trail for National Public Lands Day"Volunteers turn out for National Public Lands Day, improve lands along South Fork of American River" (News.bytes Extra)
Users of BLM-managed lands along the South Fork of the American River, from bluebirds to horseback riders, will benefit from work performed there last weekend in honor of National Public Lands Day. See photos and video of some of the 100 volunteers at work.

Tracy Rowland"Tracy Rowland finalist for national environmental education award" (News.bytes Extra)
Tracy Rowland, Project Manager for the San Joaquin River Gorge, has been named one of only four finalists nationwide for the Bureau of Land Management's 2006 Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education Award, presented by the National Association for Interpretation. Read more, and see photos of some of the programs she has coordinated.

"Judge keeps dunes closed to off-roaders" (Press Enterprise, 9/29/06)
"A federal judge this week reaffirmed an earlier decision to keep portions of a popular desert off-roading area closed to protect a plant threatened with extinction. Stephen Razo, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, said the agency is reviewing the judge's ruling. 'As far as the dunes, things will remain status quo for now,' Razo said. The riding season will begin around the end of October with some 50,000 acres, or about one-third of the dunes -- also known as Glamis and Algodones -- still closed, Razo said."
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Federal court orders revisions to parts of dunes management plan" (Yuma Sun, 10/2/06)
"A federal judge ruled that 49,000 acres of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area will remain closed indefinitely and ordered the revision of certain sections of the management plan that governs activity in the area....Whether this area is reopened to off-road activity or whether more land is closed will depend on the changes to the management plan." BLM-California manages the area.

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California website)
The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in California.  This dune system extends for more than 40 miles along the eastern edge of the Imperial Valley agricultural region in a band averaging five miles in width.

"BLM trying to curb arsenic contamination" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 9/29/06)
"The Bureau of Land Management is looking at ways to close parts of the Red Mountain/Randsburg area due to mine waste arsenic contamination. 'What we have been reviewing is the levels of contamination,'' said BLM’s Hector Villalobos....The waste piles are from mining which was previously done in the area."

RELATED: "Red Mountain arsenic remediation" (BLM Website)

"Firm wants Goldfields training site moved" (Marysville-Yuba City Appeal-Democrat, 10/2/06)
"Western Aggregates wants Yuba County to consider moving the site for a proposed heavy-equipment training center in the Yuba Goldfields to property owned by the company....In an October 2004 proposal to the Bureau of Land Management, the Operating Engineers No. 3 Apprenticeship Training Committee suggested the school be on about 60 acres on Hammonton Road along the Yuba River."

"BLM Bishop Field Office co-sponsors dispute resolution workshop" (News.bytes Extra)
In the Old West, land disputes were settled one-on-one with six shooters out on some dusty street. Participants in this workshop learned more modern strategies for resolving land disputes that involve multiple points of view.

"Cemex drops suit challenging review" (Los Angeles Daily News, 9/26/06)
"Cemex has dropped its lawsuit challenging the environmental review in the city's plan to annex 1,885 acres where the company's 56.1 million-ton mine is planned, a company official said Tuesday. In exchange, the city of Santa Clarita agreed to prepare a full environmental impact report instead of the more abbreviated one officials planned." BLM approved the gravel mine in 2000.

RELATED: "Cemex drops suit against city" (Santa Clarita Signal, 9/28/06)
"Mexico-based cement maker Cemex Inc. has terminated a lawsuit against Santa Clarita over environmental studies of land for its 69-million ton sand and gravel mine the city originally deemed inadequate." A city spokesperson said "The lawsuit was terminated at least a month ago, and city staff have already begun the new environmental studies."

"In Tijuana, violence underscores environmental difficulties" (Voice of San Diego, 9/29/06)
"Flak-jacketed policemen carrying shotguns and automatic rifles ran interference" for a convoy of U.S. visitors who had planned" a day-long tour through Tijuana to examine environmental challenges that plague the California-Baja California region." The tour was cut short by security concerns. "Officials such as California State Parks director Ruth Coleman and Mike Pool, state director of the Bureau of Land Management, got an up-close look at the border. But a major question lingers: Will a tour and day-long meeting translate into action?"

"Task force finds marijuana gardens having street value of $28 million" (Lassen County News, 10/3/06)
"A Lassen County Narcotics Task Force recon mission found two huge marijuana gardens in Lassen County near Little Valley and the Pit River Canyon....the task force with the assistance of the Lassen County/Susanville Police Department Interagency SWAT Team, Bureau of Land Management, Campaign Against Marijuana Plantations and P.J. Helicopters secured and dismantled the marijuana garden."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Find current listings -- and you can often apply online.


"State fire season among the worst" (Eureka Times-Standard, 10/3/06)
"With as much as a month left in fire season, Trinity County's Bar Complex is likely to be in the state's top dozen largest wildfires in the past 75 years....Other fires that began during the Northern California lightning fires are still burning." In southern California, "The Day Fire is being called the state's fifth largest since reliable records began being kept in the 1930s. That fire's costs have grown to $70 million." BLM firefighters have helped fight many of the wildfires.

"Air crews slow blaze" (Santa Clarita Signal, 10/3/06)
"Though the Day Fire - which nabbed a spot as the No. 1 priority fire in the nation, and was reportedly the fifth worst blaze in state history - was announced as 100 percent contained Monday, Southern Californians may not be out of the woods yet. 'We most likely have not seen the worst of our fire season,' county Fire Department Capt. Mark Savage said. 'We need Mother Nature to help us with a significant rain event.'"

"Crews finally contain California's 5th-Largest wildfire on record" (Los Angeles Times, 10/3/06)
Light rain on Sunday helped: "After achieving full containment of the 162,700-acre Day fire Monday evening, crews broke camp at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and began making their way home....More than 2,000 firefighters were still assigned to the fire Monday, mopping up burning embers, removing equipment and building barriers along steep sections of the line to prevent erosion during winter rains."
(Free registration required.),1,6660445.story

"BLM assists Lake City in beefing up fire protection" (BLM California news release, 9/28/06)
Fire fighters in the Surprise Valley community of Lake City have a new weapon in their fire protection arsenal, with the addition of a quick attack fire truck acquired through the Bureau of Land Management's Rural Fire Assistance grant program.

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


BLM Director Kathleeen Clark announces appointments of new directors in State Offices (BLM national news releases, 9/29/06):

"Ed Shepard named BLM State Director for Oregon and Washington"

"Tom Lonnie To head Bureau’s Alaska State Office"

"Tom Dyer tapped to head Idaho BLM"

Secretary Kempthorne praises Senate’s confirmation of four members of Interior’s leadership team (Department of the Interior news release, 10/2/06)
They are David Longly Bernhardt, Solicitor; C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management; Mary A. Bomar, Director of the National Park Service; and Robert W. Johnson, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. The Senate completed action on these confirmations early Saturday morning, Sept. 30, 2006.

"Indian nations rebuilding" (Sacramento Bee, 10/3/06)
"The many faces of Indian Country were on display Monday at the National Congress of American Indians 63rd annual convention, being held this week at the Sacramento Convention Center. On Monday, the event drew 2,000 Indians from more than 120 Indian nations. 'The most important issue before us is the face of our children -- faces clouded by sadness and sorrow,' said U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who oversees the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. 'Drugs, alcohol and gangs are stealing their joys and their youth.'"
(Free registration required.)

"De-greening immigration" (Washington Times, 10/1/06)
"The desert environment is fairly sensitive, so we're concerned about the damage to habitat, plants and animals," said [Shela A.] McFarlin, who authored the Bureau of Land Management's 2006 report on environmental damage from illegal immigration....The Bureau of Land Management estimates that only 1 percent of the 25 million tons of garbage left in the Southern Arizona desert has been hauled off since 2002."

(d.) natural mice traps around their homes. Ringtails mostly eat small mammals, and are so good at killing their prey that miners used to keep them around their homes to kill mice.

SOURCE: "Ringtail, Bassariscus astutus" (BLM California wildlife database)

RELATED: "Bassariscus astutus (ringtail)" (Animal Diversity website)
More information, plus a copyrighted sketch, at the University of Michigan site "written largely by and for college students."

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