A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 255 - 11/7/06

downed trees are part of the restoration along Clear Creek A BLM worker attacks our Weed of the Week - Himalayan blackberry EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Joy Gipson-Taylor Photos and prizes - "Share the Experience" photo contest

- Spotlight on Partners: Lower Clear Creek restoration project
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: What am I?
      - Weed of the week
- Recreation
- Wildfire and prevention
- Planning
- Headlines and highlights: donation, horses, birds and beetles, jobs, more
- Employee profile: Joy Gipson-Taylor
- Calendar: Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Photo contest reminder

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

downed trees are part of the restoration along Clear Creek SPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: Lower Clear Creek restoration project:
As if on cue, fall-run chinook salmon splashed upstream through the sparkling riffles of Clear Creek. Local, state, federal and private partners in the Lower Clear Creek Restoration Project came to get a close look at creek restoration, after damage by more than 100 years of gold and gravel mining. The partners celebrated the return of spawning salmon, an amazing increase in riparian plant growth and bird diversity, and growing public interest in returning to the stream to enjoy outdoor recreation. Read more and see photos here:


Wildlife Trivia question mark

What am I?

What is a Coachwhip?
(a.) a thin lizard found in California's Coachella Valley
(b.) a very slender, undomesticated canine
(c.) a non-venomous snake with a braided-looking tail
(d.) a small variety of wildcat with a long, thin nose
(e.) the tiny, slender mouse that was turned into the coachman's whip for Cinderella's pumpkin
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

A BLM worker attacks our Weed of the Week - Himalayan blackberryWEED OF THE WEEK: Himalayan blackberry...
...can quickly overwhelm many native plants in riparian areas, towering above them and blocking sunlight. A colony of blackberry can widen by 10 feet or more in a year, smothering every plant in its path. Huge areas of diverse riparian shrubs and forbs have been turned into low productive monocultures by this uninvited plant.

RELATED: "Rubus discolor" (University of California at Davis)
"Himalayan blackberry is native to western Europe...There is no botanical evidence to show that it is native to the Himalayan region. It may have found its way there as a cultivar." Includes a sketch, photos, and info on how to recognize it, what problems it causes, and how to fight it.

RELATED: "Species information: rubus discolor" (USDA Forest Service Fire Effects Information System)
An example of how the definition of a weed depends on where it is located: "Himalayan blackberry is the most commonly harvested wild blackberry in western Washington and Oregon, although its fruit is reportedly less flavorful than that of the native trailing blackberry (Rubus ursinus)." It can also provide food for wildlife. But "the introduced Himalayan blackberry has spread aggressively in many parts of the United States. It is now regarded as a serious pest in parts of the Pacific Northwest...." Links to much more information and list of 35 references.

RELATED: "BLM, Native Plant Society to host 'War on Weeds' symposium" (BLM California news release, 10/30/06)
The symposium on controlling noxious and invasive weeds in Monterey and San Benito counties will be held November 17 at the California State University Monterey Bay. Events planned for the symposium include field trips to public lands where BLM is working with volunteers from CNPS to control the growing number of non-native species. These species are degrading habitat for native plants and animals and posing a risk to visitors and their pets.

"Secretary Kempthorne announces new members of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee" (Department of the Interior news release, 11/2/06)
The new members of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC) will provide advice and recommendations to the National Invasive Species Council. ISAC is made up of 30 individuals representing a broad range of stakeholders including those in the scientific, conservation, agriculture communities, state and tribal governments and industry organizations that are impacted by invasive species.


"Off-road adventures abound in S.B. County" (San Bernardino County Sun, 10/27/06
"A few miles outside Barstow are several areas where off-roading takes place, and just about any vehicle capable of taking on the varied terrain is engaged in this free-for-all of driving. Motorcycles seem to gravitate to the Stoddard Valley area, and other types of 'Sand Rails' take on the hills and dips that abound there. But even an activity as free and easy as off-roading does need some supervision, and there is a government agency in place to handle it."

RELATED: "Trevor's travels takes you off-roading" (San Bernardino County Sun, 10/27/06)
Audio report (mp3 file) related to the story above.

RELATED: "Off-highway vehicle riding" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office)
Information on OHV areas managed by BLM California's Barstow Field Office. Links at the bottom of the page take you to more information on specific OHV Recreation Areas: Dumont Dunes, El Mirage, Johnson Valley, Rasor and Stoddard Valley.

"Nomination deadline extended for membership on public advisory committee for recreation fees in California" (U.S. Forest Service news release, 10/26/06)
The U.S. Forest Service "will continue to accept nominations until Nov. 27 of people interested in providing recommendations concerning recreation fee proposals on federal lands in California. Members of this new public advisory group, a Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RAC), will help federal agencies implement, eliminate or change recreation fees for public lands. The members of the public and local communities work collaboratively with FS and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)."

"Repair project - on Bizz Johnson Trail" (BLM California news release, 10/24/06)
Work will begin Tuesday, Oct. 31, on a project to repair ceiling damage in the east tunnel of the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail. The tunnel will be closed during the project. Work could take up to a month, but will not impact use of the trail, as a bypass trail around the tunnel will remain open.

"On shore leave at Clear Lake" (Los Angeles Times, 10/29/06)
Travel columnist: "We ventured back to the area despite a dreadful first trip here a couple of years ago....A blizzard of promotional material from the county's economic development office promising a breathtaking makeover lured us back. Beneath the unvarnished veneer is an area that is beginning to resemble Napa and Sonoma, minus the attitude." One stop was for "a short walk on some Bureau of Land Management property in the Wilson Valley, just past the northern fork of Cache Creek."
(Free registration required.),0,5062601,full.story?coll=la-home-travel

RELATED: "Cache Creek Natural Area " (BLM California, Ukiah Field Office)
Along the creek, wetland grasses, rushes and sedges grow under a canopy of cottonwoods, willows, oaks and alders providing excellent wildlife habitat. About half the Cache Creek area is shrubland, with vegetation including mixed chaparral, serpentine chaparral and chemise chaparral. The remainder of the area is about equally divided between native oaks and grassland. Numerous bird species have been spotted here.


"Under control" (Monterey Herald, 10/30/06)
"Bad fires burn uncontrollably, range over thousands of acres and threaten human homes and lives. Good fires are set deliberately by people who know what they're doing. These controlled fires, called prescribed burns, prevent bad fires from starting....Fire has 'been around a long time' and plays a key role in California's ecosystem, said Bruce Delgado, a botanist with the Bureau of Land Management at Ford Ord."

"BLM lifting Northwest California fire restrictions" (BLM California news release, 11/2/06)
The Bureau of Land Management has lifted restrictions on outdoor use of fire on the public lands it manages in Mendocino, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Glenn and Colusa counties. Campfire permits are required, and can be obtained from the BLM Ukiah Field Office. "Even with the beginning of fall weather, people still need to be careful with fire," said a BLM fire management officer. "Fires should never be used on windy days, and campers must fully extinguish campfires before leaving a campsite."

"BLM lifting fire restrictions on California North Coast" (BLM California news release, 10/31/06)
With the arrival of cool fall weather in Northern California, the Bureau of Land Management has announced it is easing fire restrictions for public lands managed by its Arcata Field Office in Humboldt, Trinity and northern Mendocino counties. Campfire permits are required, and campers should use caution with any fires.

"Firefighters pay tribute to 5 'brothers'" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/6/06)
"In times of grief, families pull together. That was the case Sunday as more than 8,000 people - including firefighters from as far away as New York, Connecticut and Florida - Devore to mourn five firefighters who died battling the Esperanza Fire." The U.S. Forest Service firefighters had worked with many firefighters from BLM and other organizations in the past and on and this wildfire.

RELATED: "Esperanza wildfire coverage" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/6/06)
Includes "more than 300 photos, dozens of videos and additional coverage of the Esperanza fire, including public documents related to the fire and the arson investigation that led to the arrest of a suspect..."

RELATED: "Inland wildfires" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/7/06)
Links to many stories and photos of the Esperanza Fire.
(Free registration required.)

RELATED: "Fire stories of loss and survival"(Palm Springs Desert Sun, 11/3/06)
"Many mountain residents evacuated last week during the Esperanza fire say law enforcement was quick to get them out. Some drove through neighborhoods with loudspeakers, urging residents to leave. Others banged on doors to wake residents in the the hours before sunrise. But some residents didn't need any notice; the wildfire illuminated rooms in their homes, and smoke wafted through windows. Here are their stories..."


"Final environmental review for Devers-Palo Verde powerline available" (BLM California news release, 11/3/06)
A final environmental impact statement and final environmental impact report analyzing the proposed Devers-Palo Verde electrical transmission line projects between Southern California and Arizona has been released by the Bureau of Land Management and the California Public Utilities Commission and is available to the public.

"BLM plans public meeting on wild horse and burro gather plans" (BLM California news release, 11/3/06)
BLM Wild Horse and Burro specialists will explain gather plans for the lands managed by BLM in the California desert. The specialists will also explain how helicopters and vehicles are used throughout the process. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 6, at the BLM Needles Field Office.

"BLM releases proposed plan amendment to designate Furnace Creek Road" (BLM California news release, 10/30/06)
The Bureau of Land Management's notice of intent to prepare a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area plan for the long-term management of a 3.7 mile-long portion of the Furnace Creek Road is available for public comment. This portion of the Furnace Creek Road is located on BLM-managed public lands in Mono County and leads up to the Inyo National Forest boundary. The proposed amendment will consider whether to designate this section of the road as open, closed or limited.


"Foundation gives away 100th computer" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 10/24/06)
"He said individuals, corporations such as Boeing and agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management have donated the majority of computers to the foundation" including more than 100 from the BLM.

"The birds and the beetles" (Fresno Bee, 11/2/06)
A second-grade teacher "watched in amazement as students ran about the vast lands, collecting beetles and spotting birds....The pond, about a 10-minute trip south of campus, is part of the Atwell Island Project. The 6-year-old project is designed to preserve, restore and educate people about natural lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management."
(Free registration may be required.)

"Trona resident turns love of horses into sweepstakes trophy: Local rider wins top honor in DEF parade" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 10/24/06)
"Trona resident Vicki Hobby loves horses. She loves owning them, training them, riding them, and competing on them. Hobby and her 18-year-old Appaloosa Clarence earned top marks in the Desert Empire Fair Parade....Hobby has been riding for over three decades and has owned horses for 16 years. Two of her four horses were purchased from the Bureau of Land Management corrals."

"BLM offering mares, geldings for adoption at reduced fees" (BLM California news release, 11/1/06)
The Bureau of Land Management's Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Susanville will offer mares that are at least four years old for adoption at a reduced fee of $25 each during November. Many of these mares have been exposed to stallions and are expected to be pregnant.

"Helicopter logging set for BLM-managed forest near Junction City" (BLM California news release, 11/2/06)
More than 200 fir trees, blown down in a windstorm last winter, will be removed from a forested area west of Junction City in a helicopter logging operation scheduled for several days during the next two weeks. The BLM asks that anglers and other recreation users avoid the Trinity River between Lime Point and Pigeon Bar during the helicopter operations.

"BLM Clear Creek Management Area entrance station vandalized" (BLM California news release, 11/6/06)
BLM officials Friday found the area's entrance station had been vandalized by unknown suspects. If you have any information on the vandalism, please contact BLM Law Enforcement Supervisor Gerald Tuma at (831) 630-5000.

"SANDAG panel urges neutral position on power line" (North County Times, 11/1/06)
"A panel recommended Wednesday that San Diego County's public officials not take a position for or against a controversial power line until environmental studies are completed next year. The San Diego Association of Governments' energy working group, composed of business leaders, city and county officials, environmentalists and students of the energy industry, voted 13-1 to recommend that the association board sit on the sidelines, for now." BLM permits are required for rights-of-way on portions of the route that cross public lands.

"FERC public hearing this Wednesday" (Oroville Register, 11/7/06)
"This week, the public can comment on a draft environmental document for the Lake Oroville project, which is part of renewing the state's license to generate electricity on project 2100 facilities.... The project would occupy 2,000 acres of federal lands, including lands managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management." The meeting is 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8.

"City goes further to stop Cemex" (Santa Clarita Signal, 11/3/06)
"The city of Santa Clarita on Thursday released a five-minute video describing potential impacts of Mexico-based Cemex Inc.'s proposed mega-mine in Soledad Canyon as part of its Stop Cemex campaign." BLM approved the mine in 2000.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include outdoor recreation planner, lands and minerals assistant, wildlife biologist, administrative technician, firefighting positions and student trainees.


EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Joy Gipson-Taylor...
...manages the alternative dispute resolution and diversity programs in the Equal Employment Opportunity office for BLM in California. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

Nov. 18 - "Amazing adaptations" - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Nov. 18 - Piedras Blancas Lightstation public tours, San Luis Obispo County

Nov. 21 - There's a National Monument in Your Backyard - Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

Nov. 28 - Great Basin Workshop, Reno, Nevada


Photos and prizes - "Share the Experience" photo contest"'Share the Experience' photo contest highlights and helps protect America's parks, forests and other public land" (Department of the Interior news release, 10/31/06)
As we enter the holiday season, Americans can help protect our nation’s national parks, forests, and public lands by snapping photos highlighting their extraordinary grandeur, according to the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Agriculture. The grand prize-winning photo will grace the front of the “America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass” now under development. The contest ends Dec. 31. Viewers can browse a photo gallery of entries already submitted, and learn about other prizes including a hybrid SUV.

More information on the “Share the Experience” photo contest and prizes can be found at:

(c.) a nonvenomous snake with a braided-looking tail

RELATED: "Coachwhip - Masticophis flagellum" (BLM California wildlife database)
Coachwhips are among the fastest snakes in North America. They are capable of traveling at speeds up to eight miles per hour. Their major predators are hawks, but their great speed and agility allow them to escape many dangerous situations. When threatened, these snakes may seek safety in a tree or in the burrow of a mammal.

SOURCE: "Masticophis flagellum (coachwhip)" (University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web)
"The Coachwhip derived its name in part to the appearance of its tapered tail which is similar to that of a braided whip. In popular folklore, the Coachwhip was thought to wrap itself around a person and lash out with its tail, administering powerful beating whiplike movements. Following these actions it would place the edge of its tail into the nose of the victim to differentiate whether it was still breathing. There is no evidence to support these beliefs. However, the Coachwhip is known to be a very nervous snake, and will attack repeatedly if cornered." Includes 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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