A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 256 - 11/15/06

 Joseph Hinshaw (left) hugs Robo, as Jason Williams stands alongside  Tracy Albrecht wins award Tracy Rowland wins award Terry Henderson, BLM's Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee The late Ted Overton with his air attack plane Botta's pocket gopher in a field

- Two BLM California environmental award winners
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Weed of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- ...on public lands
- BLM advisory councils
- Recreation on public lands
- Meet your advisory council members
- Headlines and highlights: Area 51, gold claims, jobs, more
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Shattering an ancient culture

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

As reported earlier in News.bytes (issues 251 and 253), two BLM California employees were nominated for the BLM’s 2006 national “Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education” awards competition. Each of them won one of the four awards:

Tracy Albrecht wins awardGOLD AWARD: Tracy Albrecht, Interpretive Specialist, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, near Palm Springs, "for her work in developing educational and public outreach programs, a model interpretive plan, a documentary film and a children’s book, all which greatly enhance the public’s awareness of the BLM’s cultural and natural resources."

Tracy Rowland wins awardSILVER AWARD: Tracy Rowland, Project Manager for the San Joaquin River Gorge, near Bakersfield, "for her dedicated work in developing a variety of cultural heritage and natural resource education programs, including the California version of the 'Get Energized!' energy program, and leadership in the development of the San Joaquin River Gorge 'Hands on the Land' field classroom."

The other winners are:
SILVER AWARD: Jeff Brune, Manager, Campbell Creek Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska, "for his leadership and innovation in the development of the Get Energized! energy education program that includes an interactive kiosk, CD-ROM with Educator’s Guide and web-based version."
SILVER AWARD: Jay Moeller, Chief Park Ranger, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Newport, Oregon, "for developing a wide range of interpretive programs, products and projects that have taken YHONA to a new level of creativity and excellence."


Botta's pocket gopher in a field From a photo by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences

How did the pocket gopher get its name?
a. from pockets on their abdomens where they carry their young until they are old enough to be left alone
b. from the French word "poquet" (meaning "seed hole") - because of its habit of burying nuts and seeds which often grow into plants when forgotten
c. from pockets that extend from their cheeks to their shoulders and are used to carry food
d. from a pocket of fat across their backs, that helps them keep warm when they are forced to hunker down outside in cold weather
f. from its full name - "the go-fer with the pocket protector" - so named because the person who discovered them in the 1950s thought they looked like an engineering intern he knew
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

Japanese knotweed breaks up the pavement in a parking lotWEED OF THE WEEK: Japanese knotweed... a riparian species that spreads quickly to form dense tall thickets that shade out other species and prevent regeneration of native plants. In the winter, when knotweed canes die back, bare ground along river banks are exposed - which dramatically increases erosion.

"BLM develops protocol to eradicate invasive Japanese knotweed" (BLM California news release, 11/7/06)
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management's Arcata Field Office has developed a protocol to work with north coast communities and agencies to eradicate Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant that can overrun native plants, damaging fish and wildlife habitat.

RELATED: "Japanese knotweed control protocol, Arcata Field Office" (BLM California)
Without an effective control program, the rapid spread of this weed would cause severe impacts to native riparian vegetation, fish and wildlife habitat, and facilities such as trails and parking areas. This environmental assessment was prepared to ready treatment methods with no or minimal levels of pesticides.
PDF file, 550 kilobytes:

RELATED: "Least wanted: Japanese knotweed" (Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group, hosted by National Park Service)
Includes more information, and photos.

RELATED: "Species profile: Japanese knotweed" (National Invasive Species Information Center, hosted by U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Many links to other sources of information.

"Life and times: Weed symposium" (Monterey County Herald, 11/11/06)
"A war on weeds is being declared for the eighth time at a symposium at California State University-Monterey Bay. The annual symposium features a program with speakers and seminars on Friday, Nov. 17, and field trips on Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 18." BLM is a co-sponsor.

RELATED: "BLM, other groups to host 'War on Weeds' symposium" (BLM California news release, 10/30/06)
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.


Joseph Hinshaw (left) hugs Robo, as Jason Williams stands alongside"Robo is on a new mission" (News.bytes Extra)
Robo the mustang has transferred from BLM's Folsom Field Office to Ridgecrest to work in VisionQuest, a program that offers an alternative to incarceration and early intervention programs to keep youngsters out of the criminal justice system.

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Ridgecrest" (BLM California news release, 11/8/06)
Wild mustangs and burros will be offered to qualified adopters at the Ridgecrest Regional Adoption Center in Ridgecrest on November 17-18. Potential adopters may view the animals on Friday and Saturday beginning at 7:00 a.m. BLM staff will approve adoption applications Friday afternoon and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

"BLM Ridgecrest regional adoption center reduces adoption fee for certain wild horses during November and December"(BLM California news release, 11/8/06)
The BLM's Ridgecrest regional adoption center announced that it will offer mares that are at least four years old for adoption at a reduced fee of $25 each during November. Most of these mares have been exposed to stallions and are expected to be pregnant. In addition, the adoption center will offer geldings (four years old and up) for adoption at $25 each in December. The standard adoption fee for wild horses and burros is $125.


The late Ted Overton with his air attack plane"Training Center dedicated in memory of Ted Overton" (News.bytes Extra)
He devoted 31 summers to fire fighting in northeast California. From the observation seat in an air attack aircraft to the driver's seat in a fireline supply truck, the late Ted Overton was always willing to do whatever was necessary to protect California's citizens and lands from fire. Earlier this month, nearly 100 people, including about 40 members of the Overton family, dedicated to his memory a multi-agency fire training center.

"Esperanza Fire and BLM/CDF fuel treatments" (News.bytes Extra)
Five firefighters lost their lives and people lost homes in the recent Esperanza Fire. But an earlier project prevented even more loss in one community. A prescribed burn and fuel reduction project in 2005 protected the community of Poppet Flat from the Esperanza Fire, and slowed the fire's progress. This short report includes photos and a map that shows the unburned "island" of Poppet Flat (report courtesy of James Gannon with BLM's South Coast Fuels Crew)
PDF file, 525 kilobytes.

LEARN MORE: "Prevention and education" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Topics include "Protecting your home from wildland fire."

RELATED: "Crews battle to protect homes from blaze" (ABC News, 10/27/06)
The fuel reduction also provided refuge to people who might have been trapped on roadways as people fled the wildfire. From this news story at the time: "As many as 1,000 people who had come to the Silent Valley Club RV Resort near Poppet Flat for annual Halloween events were unable to leave after firefighters closed the only road out of the community. TV footage showed vehicles racing through smoke and flames just before the road was closed. Firefighters said it was safer to keep the people in the RV park because the blaze was stymied by an existing firebreak around the area."


"Cities battle for government center" (Victorville Daily Press, 11/13/06)
"To capture $25 million for a new county building, each city in the Victor Valley is doing its best to stand out somehow. A high-speed train station, an architect with a famous heritage, free land, great location -- all of these are features included in proposals to capture the High Desert government center and the 800 people it will funnel to the lucky winner." Victorville's proposal offers "free land that it will purchase north of the city from the Bureau of Land Management...."

"Board to look at Klamath dams" (The Eureka Reporter, 11/13/06)
"The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will consider whether to approve a resolution Tuesday calling for the removal of four dams...on the upper stretches of the Klamath River....PacifiCorp, which operates the four electricity-generating dams, filed an application...for a new license for the 161-megawatt Klamath Hydroelectric Project on the Klamath River between Klamath Falls, Ore., and Yreka. The existing project occupies a total of 219 acres of lands...administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation."

UPDATE: "County leaders advocate Klamath dam removal" (Eureka Times-Standard, 11/15/06)
"Humboldt County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of removing four of the Klamath River's dams, riding what many say is a wave of public opinion and political will toward restoring salmon runs and economies on the river."

"Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve: The land that bridges time" (Valley News, 11/10/06)
"The Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve is a large expanse of land in pristine condition that looks the same as it did 100 years ago. It includes the longest, and last free flowing, protected coastal river in Southern California." San Diego State University "created the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve as a research field station 'to keep the property in its natural state for the preservation and protection of the native plants, animals and habitat, and for related educational and research purposes'....1,200 acres are leased from the Bureau of Land Management."


"BLM advisory council to meet in Lone Pine" (BLM California news release, 11/8/06)
Stewardship of the Alabama Hills will be on the agenda when the Bureau of Land Management's Central California Resource Advisory Council meets November 17-18.

"Interior Secretary names members to BLM Northeast California Advisory Council" (BLM California news release, 11/7/06)
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced the appointment of one new member and four returning members to the citizen-based Northeast California Resource Advisory Council, which advises the Bureau of Land Management on public land issues.

"Members named to BLM Northwest California Advisory Council" (BLM California news release, 11/7/06)
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced the appointment of one new member and three returning members to the citizen-based Northwest California Resource Advisory Council.


"Special hunts planned on Sacramento River area public lands" (BLM California news release, 11/9/06)
Special pheasant hunts are scheduled for November and December on public lands in the Paynes Creek Wetlands area along the Sacramento River Bend north of Red Bluff. The BLM's Redding Field Office, the California Department of Fish and Game and Shasta County Sportsmen's Association expect 200 hunters, aged 8 to 16, to participate in a Youth Pheasant Hunt Nov. 18 and 19. Women will have their chance at a special pheasant hunt in an event set for Dec. 2.

"Repair project completed on Bizz Johnson tunnel, realignment work (began) Nov. 13" (BLM California news release, 11/8/06)
The trail will be closed through the construction area. Through trips between Susanville and Westwood will not be possible during construction. During the project, trail users can enjoy 10-mile round trips from Susanville, through the two railroad tunnels, and back.


"Group appeals Area 51 deal" (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/9/06)
"Susan Weale and many of her neighbors are determined to keep the trails through Area 51 open to the public, despite the federal government's plan to swap the patch of land in west Redding for a piece of the Trinity River watershed. The Shasta Coalition for the Preservation of Public Land, which Weale chairs, filed a notice of appeal this week with the Interior Department's Board of Land Appeals. The move was the latest in the long bureaucratic battle with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which the department oversees. It could end in a courtroom.",2232,REDD_17533_5130696,00.html

"1872 law allows Upper Sac claims" (Mt. Shasta News, 11/9/06)
Mining claims on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service "have raised concerns as to what will be mined, what type of mining techniques will be used, and whether the mining will be subject to regulations." The claimants plan to sell the claims to others, though some dispute if there is gold in the area. "Except for national parks and a few designated wilderness areas, the 1872 law provides for anyone to file a mining claim on Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management land for $170 per claim or site."

"Job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include administrative technician, wildlife biologist, firefighting jobs and more.

Terry Henderson, BLM's Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory CommitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Terry Henderson... the representative for the City of La Quinta on BLM's Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. Read more:


"Stolen artifacts shatter ancient culture" (Arizona Republic, 11/12/06)
"In the dead of night, looters are destroying the history of America, desecrating sacred Indian ruins....Though some of the pillaging is done by amateurs who don't know any better, more serious damage is wrought by professionals who dig deep, sometimes even using backhoes....Depending on where a ruin is, it could be the jurisdiction of U.S. Forest Service rangers, National Parks officers, Bureau of Land Management investigators, tribal police, BIA agents or state investigators."

c. from pockets that extend from their cheeks to their shoulders and are used to carry food.

SOURCE: Botta's Pocket Gopher, Thomomys bottae" (BLM California wildlife database)
The pockets are lined with fur and are mainly used for food storage and transport. The pockets can be turned inside out and then put back again using a special muscle.

RELATED: "Thomomys bottae (Botta's pocket gopher)" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information plus a copyrighted sketch, on this "educational resource written largely by and for college students."

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Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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