A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 252 - 10/11/06

Volunteers ready to greet visitors to the detail of ripgut brome, weed of the week - with its prickly awns close-up of 3 burros awaiting adoption close-up of a coiled common kingsnake cleaning up at the Boston Mine

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Wildfire aftermath and prevention
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: Area 51, living history, preserving lands, award winners, and more
- Santa Clarita gravel mine

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


close-up of a coiled common kingsnake

How does the common kingsnake subdue its prey?
a. with venom
b. by repeated biting
c. by constriction
d. by drowning it
e. by frightening it to death
f. by capturing its knight, bishop and queen
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

detail of ripgut brome, weed of the week - with its prickly awnsWEED OF THE WEEK: Ripgut brome... native to Eurasia. It now occurs throughout California to British Columbia. Within the public lands administered by BLM's Arcata Field Office, ripgut brome occurs as a problem weed on the Samoa Peninsula in the native foredune community.

RELATED: "Project aims to clear exotic flora" (Daily Nexus, 9/29/06)
Our weed of the week in California news, as UC Santa Barbara targets rip gut: "The plant got its name from its prickly awns, needle-like appendages that can tear up the stomachs of cows that eat them. 'These native species will make [the area] more aesthetically pleasing and dogs will not get awns stuck on their paws and ears....If you never experienced awns in your socks, you should walk around there during spring and you will hate the weed like everyone else.'"


"Remains of the Day fire" (Ventura County Star, 10/7/06)
In the aftermath of fires fought by many, including BLM firefighters: "The threat is gone now. The blaze has been reduced to a smolder inside the containment area. But some of the crews have not left. They are back on the fire lines, hoping to naturalize the clean dirt lines that they created only a few weeks before. By placing vegetation and building small berms, they also hope to halt erosion in the area."
(Free registration may be required.),1375,VCS_226_5050177,00.html

"Fire season chills out, but danger still exists" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/7/06)
"Recent rains have dampened the California wildfire season at least temporarily but the threat of autumn blazes still exists, authorities say...'What little rain we've had has soaked into the ground and hasn't saturated fuels....We expect warmer temperatures and drier conditions this weekend....things could turn around quickly."

"Cooler weather allows for fall burning projects" (Red Bluff Daily News, 10/9/06)
"The arrival of cool fall weather is reducing fire dangers in northeast California, providing conditions suitable for prescribed burning projects designed to reduce wildfire dangers and to improve forest and rangeland health. Crews from the Lassen National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and Lassen Volcanic National Park plan to complete burn projects on days when weather conditions and fuel moistures allow for safe and successful burning."

"BLM lifts special fire restrictions (Folsom Field Office)" (BLM California news release, 10/6/06)
Due to the onset of cool, rainy weather, BLM's Folsom Field Office has lifted Stage One fire restrictions on all BLM-managed public lands within the Folsom Field Office boundary. This includes BLM-managed public lands in Nevada, Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Mariposa Counties, a total of about 230,000 acres.

"Fire safe council is seeking safety professionals" (Hollister Freelance, 10/11/06)
"The San Benito Fire Safe Council is issuing an open call for all safety professionals, retired firefighters and anyone who wants to keep abreast of local fire safety issues to join the council tomorrow evening to help develop a wildfire protection plan for the community....The Fire Safe Council is a nonprofit loosely associated with the Bureau of Land Management, designed to promote awareness of fire safety and mount projects to help local residents protect themselves."

"Brush fire declared fully contained" (Lompoc Record, 10/11/06)
"Less than a day after a wind-driven brush fire broke out east of Santa Maria, firefighters Tuesday announced full containment of the blaze, which burned some 840 acres of private and public land." A BLM firefighter credited quick work by some 200 firefighters, helped by air tankers. The fire crossed lands managed by BLM and by the state.

"Air traffic control on the fire line" (Government Computer News, 10/9/06)
"'Situational awareness' is critical in coordinating the air and ground assault, but until recently, the communication system was only partly automated. Ground personnel marked fire locations in pencil on paper maps and called or faxed the information to headquarters. So in 1999, the Forest Service partnered with the Bureau of Land Management to plan a computerized Automated Flight Following (AFF) system and started bringing it online two years later."

"All fired up in remote town" (San Bernardino County Sun, 10/7/06)
"The millions of Las Vegas-bound travelers on I-15...have historically depended on a modest, dedicated group of firefighters to save their lives....The fire crews currently operate out of a pair of rundown, ancient houses....That's about to change [with a] state-of-the-art $3.5 million fire station in the tiny town best known for the world's tallest thermometer....The fire station has been a vague dream for more than 20 years, but it looked like it might really happen when the county bought five acres from the federal Bureau of Land Management in 2001."

"Current wildland fire information" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Currently updated Monday-Friday unless wildfires flare up again.


close-up of 3 burros awaiting adoption"BLM offers burros for adoption at Longears Cele 'bray' tion" (BLM California news release, 10/5/06)
A limited number of wild burros, healthy and ready to train, will be offered for public adoption during the annual Longears Cele‘bray'tion, a fun-filled donkey and mule show set for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14 and 15, at the Tehama County Fairgrounds in Red Bluff.

"Shout of the desert" (North Coast Journal, 10/5/06)
Columnist muses on recent wild horse and burro adoption in Eureka: "I kept remembering the down side of our love affair with wild equines....federal law now protects the animals. But they have no natural predators on this continent....They breed like rabbits, they eat voraciously, and -- at least back near that village outside of Las Vegas...they often wander into the highway for treats from tourists and, often, get hit by cars. ....I never do arrive at a comfortable answer. My mind says, get 'em all off the public lands. My heart, though, goes all soft and stupid when I'm staring one of them in the face."

"Wildlife among us: burro" (Mojave Daily News, 10/8/06)
"[P]rotected under the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act of 1971 and managed by the Bureau of Land Management," Nevada's wild burros are cited as causing problems for wildlife.


"Area 51 swap to continue" (Redding Record Searchlight, 10/7/06)
"The Bureau of Land Management's state office has approved the trade of 215 acres of public land west of Redding for 566 acres along a tributary of the Trinity River, dismissing 19 letters by people and groups opposed to the swap.",2232,REDD_17533_5050010,00.html

RELATED: "BLM reaffirms land exchange for Grass Valley Creek and 'Area 51'" (BLM California news release, 10/6/06)
The Bureau of Land Management has reaffirmed that a land exchange involving acquisition of lands in Trinity County and transfer of public lands west of Redding into private ownership is in full compliance with federal laws and regulations and is in the public interest.

cleaning up at the Boston Mine"2006 Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Award Recipient" (Department of the Interior website)
BLM California's Abandoned Mine Lands Team won an award for their efforts in the "Boston Placer Mine Sluice Tunnel Remediation Project, Red Dog, California." This was the first successful pilot mercury removal/recovery/recycling project undertaken in California. The project was featured as a News.bytes Extra in issue 235.

RELATED: "Boston Mine cleanup" (BLM News.bytes Extra)
Repeated from issue 235, 6/13/06 - with many photos.

Volunteers ready to greet visitors to the "Living history in San Diego" (News.bytes Extra)
Recent visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park could learn from a "living history" exhibit run by volunteers from the BLM and the park. The General Land Office and survey camp was used to demonstrate how the exploration and surveys of the public lands in the west led to the BLM Public Lands, National Parks, Monuments, Forests, and Wildlife Refuges the public enjoys today.

"Bono reveals plan to protect wild areas in county" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 10/10/06)
"More than 100,000 acres of desert and mountains in Southern California would be eligible for wilderness protections under a proposal unveiled Monday." Among other the provisions, the bill would "add 3,557 acres to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument," which is managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM California website)
The National Monument's mountains rise abruptly from the desert floor to an elevation of 10,834 feet at the top of Mount San Jacinto. Visitors may take the breathtaking Palm Springs Tramway to access the high elevations.

"BLM announces increased camping space at Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California news release, 9/29/06)
Approximately five acres of new camping pads along Gecko Road were completed over the summer to bring the total camping pad space along the road to about 21 acres, which is a 19 percent increase. Specific sites were determined after studying aerial photos along with visitor camping preferences to determine the most effective locations.

"Mining firm fights school location" (Marysville Appeal-Democrat, 10/5/06)
"Western Aggregates appealed a decision by the Bureau of Land Management to allow a heavy equipment training school to be built in the Yuba Goldfields near Linda....The appeal now goes to the Department of Interior Board of Land Appeals. A body of administrative judges will consider Western Aggregates' appeal and time extension request."

"Senior complex advances" (Sacramento Bee, 10/5/06)
"Plans for a major senior housing and assisted-living complex in Cameron Park received preliminary approval last week after the developer proposed additional measures to compensate for the loss of rare plants on the site." BLM administers the nearby Pine Hill Ecological Preserve to protect rare plants in the area.
(Free registration may be required.)

"Boaters have good, clean fun" (Yuma Sun, 10/7/06)
"A fleet of about 15 motorboats of all kinds shoved off" to clean up trash along the Colorado River between Arizona and California. "Trash bags were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Adopt-a-Shoreline program, and many local businesses donated funds" for the 18th annual Reverse River Run.

"U.S. EPA settles with Taft, CA company for Clean Water Act violations" (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency news release, 10/5/06)
" In addition to paying a $35,870 fine, the mining company will transfer 22 acres of land in the Cuyama River watershed to the Bureau of Land Management for protection of habitat and the endangered California jewelflower."

"Trinidad Head appeal processed" (The Eureka Reporter, 10/6/06)
"The Eureka office of the California Coastal Commission has received an appeal of the city of Trinidad’s decision to grant an expansion of cellular transmission facilities on Trinidad Head....[the appellant] alleges that the city relied on its 1983 development plan with the Bureau of Land Management, rather than its certified Local Coastal Program, when it approved the Trinidad Head and previous projects."

"A position of power" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/10/06)
Profile of San Diego Gas & Electric official who is "leading SDG&E's effort to win public support for the Sunrise Powerlink, the proposed $1.3 billion, 150-mile transmission line from Imperial County into San Diego." BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for parts of the proposed route.

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


"Court rejects city's suit" (Los Angeles Daily News, 10/4/06)
"The U.S. Supreme Court dealt Santa Clarita a tough blow this week by upholding the consent decree that allows Cemex to establish a 56.1-million-ton quarry planned in Soledad Canyon." BLM approved the gravel mine in 2000.

"Council to call on Calif. cities to fight Cemex" (Santa Clarita Signal, 10/7/06)
"The City Council is expected to support a resolution Tuesday officially opposing Cemex Inc.'s proposed mega-mining project and its impacts to the Santa Clarita Valley in an effort to encourage California cities to do the same. The purpose of the resolution is to provide an official city document for the council to send to cities throughout California...."

"City: Cemex spinning court decision" (Santa Clarita Signal, 10/6/06)
"Santa Clarita city officials believe Cemex Inc.'s interpretation of a recent U.S. Supreme Court petition denial misleads the public into thinking the court upholds an approval the corporation's mega-mining plans in Soledad Canyon." A Cemex spokesperson disagrees.

CALENDAR - Selected upcoming events:
Except where noted, more details can be found on the BLM-California calendar:

Oct. 21 - Piedras Blancas Lightstation tour

Oct. 22 - National Monument 5th anniversary: make a ‘toytoise', step into a butterfly aviary, and enjoy other free art activities. Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. (More activities Oct. 24-25, including anniversary documentary, plus nature hikes)

Oct. 26 - Ridgecrest Steering Committee meeting

Oct. 21-22 Wild horse and burro adoption, San Luis Obispo - preview Oct. 20 (BLM California news release, 9/27/06)

c. by constriction.

RELATED: "Common kingsnake - Lampropeltis getulus " (BLM California wildlife database)
Kingsnakes commonly eat other snakes, including poisonous rattlesnakes, lizards, rodents, birds, and bird eggs.

RELATED: "Lampropeltis getula (common kingsnake)" (Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology)
More information, at this site "written largely by and for college students."

RELATED: "Lampropeltis getula" (Discover Life)
A dozen photos of kingsnakes, with various coloration (copyrighted photos).

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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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