A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California
Issue 268 - 2/13/07
THIS WEEK IN NEWS.BYTES:
NOT FOR EDUCATORS ONLY:
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Future of the Alabama Hills
- Recreation on public lands
- Sunrise Powerlink
- Santa Clarita sand and gravel mine
- Planning and public meetings: Dunes, geothermal, Cow Mountain recreation
- Headlines and highlights: Oil spill, Carrizo Plain, BLM California jobs
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: BLM acting director
WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
How long do white-footed mice usually live in the wild?
(a.) less than twelve months
(b) from two to three years
(c) they die after their first breeding cycle
(d.) up to 14 years
(e.) only until Labor Day
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.
RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
"Spring wildflower tours at Pine Hill Preserve" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
BLM's Folsom Field Office has scheduled six springtime guided field trips to view wildflowers and other features at the Pine Hill Preserve in western El Dorado County. The 4,042-acre Preserve
is one of the most botanically diverse areas in California, with about 10 percent of the state's native flora represented in the Pine Hill area ecosystems.
"Horse clinic educates public about safe packing in backcountry" (The Eureka Reporter, 2/12/07)
"The event was open to the public and offered information on proper techniques for gentle use of the environment while riding, Dutch-oven cooking and available trails in the area. The event also coincided with a three-day horseman’s clinic....the purpose of the clinic is to educate the public about safe and responsible horsemanship, as well as how to protect the backcountry....Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Redwood National and State Parks presented information about trail opportunities and responsible trail use at the event."
"Tips on beating the system for campground reservations" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11/07)
"By spring, the way it's going right now, most campgrounds at the marquee state and national parks will be booked full from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend....Does this mean you give up? You gotta be kidding....there are still roughly 500 to 600 campgrounds with space over the summer months, and most are located along lesser-known streams, lakes or at wilderness trailheads. Most of these are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, PG&E, Southern California Edison and local park districts."
RELATED: "California campers rushing to reserve prime park sites" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/10/07)
"Reserving a prime campsite in a state park is becoming a bit like trying to score tickets to a big concert. ' Some campsites sell out in the first few minutes,' said...a spokeswoman for California State Parks....So if you're planning a camping trip to one of the more popular campgrounds in September you better be ready to book on the morning of March 1....For those into roughing it, the national forests and the Bureau of Land Management offer dispersed camping areas on undeveloped lands. As the BLM Web site puts it: A good campsite is found, not made."
"Officers learn to read the ashes" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/10/07)
"Steven Watkins was on his knees, hunched over a swath of charred grass, scouring the ground for evidence. The engine captain for the Bureau of Land Management, bald and built like a linebacker, was hunting for a needle in a haystack. As part of a training course in wildland fire investigations, Watkins was trying to determine the cause of a recent fire....The work was similar to what you might see on television shows like 'CSI: Miami.' But instead of dead bodies on a city street, 'the vic' was a large tract of forest in a remote mountain area."
(May require free registration.)
"Forest treatment signup underway" (Lassen County Times, on Topix.net, 2/8/07)
"The Lassen County Fire Safe Council is poised to take a major bite out of fire danger in the Susanville area with two landscape-scale projects...." BLM is one of the agencies involved.
"Early warning project set up in Day Fire area" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/10/07)
"The experiment is called the 'demonstration flash flood and debris flow early warning system for recently burned areas in Southern California' -- which are more vulnerable to these potentially deadly disasters because the fire burned off so much vegetation."
"Desert park backers rally against power line" (North County Times, 2/9/07)
"An overflow crowd of more than 500 people -- most of them opposed to San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s proposed power line -- jammed into a Borrego Springs resort Thursday to urge a state commission to reject a request to trim wilderness areas in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to make room for it....The California Public Utilities Commission and U.S. Bureau of Land Management [conducted] so-called scoping meetings [last] week throughout San Diego County, to help frame the scope of an environmental analysis."
"Hundreds fill hearings on power line plans" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/9/07)
"Some wore yellow bandanas imprinted with the words 'Save Anza-Borrego Say NO to Sunrise Powerlink.' They were part of more than 400 people who packed a meeting hall....Many attended to express their dismay over plans to construct the major power transmission line through the heart of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park....For the most part, the route would be along an existing 69-kilovolt SDG&E line built in the 1920s. The utility wants to widen its 100-foot easement to 150 feet....That would allow it to straighten the route" and SDG&E says "would reduce the number of poles from 275 poles, from 40 to 60 feet high, through the park. That would be reduced to 141 steel towers, as tall as 135 feet...."
"State parks commissioners tour proposed Powerlink route" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/8/07)
"In a caravan of 12 four-wheel-drive vehicles, five members of the state parks commission toured the proposed route of San Diego Gas and Electric's Sunrise Powerlink through Anza Borrego Desert State Park Thursday. Others on the tour include opponents of the proposed $1.3 billion power line, state park employees and members of the media."
"Power line could affect climate change fight" (North County Times, 2/10/07)
While thousands of San Diego County residents have decried the controversial wires atop 150-foot poles that would stamp a large set of footprints across the landscape, some students of energy policy say the $1.3 billion project may help fight global warming. But project opponents are skeptical that the proposed Sunrise Powerlink actually would deliver clean, renewable power, much less contribute to the state's emerging campaign to combat climate change."
"Sun Lakes residents seek Banning support for buried power lines" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/10/07)
"Some Sun Lakes Country Club residents want the city to support their effort to get an overhead electrical transmission line that bisects the club's golf course placed underground when the line is upgraded in a regional project. Southern California Edison officials said that would extend construction time from three weeks to at least four months for the one-mile segment. It also would cost about $5 million and not benefit ratepayers as a whole, they said."
(May require free registration.)
"SDG&E's proposed Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project" (California Public Utilities Commission)
Information on the project, its history, public comments, and more.
SANTA CLARITA SAND AND GRAVEL MINE
"Cemex declares truce on mine" (Los Angeles Daily News, 2/7/07)
"After an eight-year, multimillion-dollar battle with the city, Cemex officials said Tuesday they've called off plans to open a massive gravel mine in Soledad Canyon next year and want to negotiate a compromise instead....The issue dates back to 1990, when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management awarded a 20-year contract to Transit Mixed Concrete Co., in return for $28 million in royalties. Cemex later bought TMC and inherited the leases in 2000."
"City, Cemex agree to one year truce" (The Signal of Santa Clarita, 2/7/07)
"A one-year cease-fire was announced Tuesday in the long fight between Santa Clarita and global cement company Cemex Inc. over a planned sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon - a development that city officials hope is a light at the end of the tunnel....The city has agreed to stand down from all of its campaigns against Cemex and the planned 69-million-ton mine....Cemex has agreed for the coming year to not move forward in trying to secure any needed permits for the project."
"Cemex, city agree to talk truce" (Los Angeles Daily News, 2/8/07)
"Santa Clarita has agreed to lay low in its aggressive $8 million battle against gravel mining giant Cemex, a fight that included a bitter annexation struggle of a neighborhood near the company's proposed quarry in Soledad Canyon."
"Sand, gravel could run short; report comes amid Cemex talks" (Los Angeles Daily News, 2/10/07)
"Folks in City Hall are thrilled Cemex won't open its proposed Soledad Canyon mine in 2008, but the move could prove costly for California taxpayers and consumers in the coming years....a report issued last week by the state shows long-term demand for sand and gravel - a key ingredient in cement and asphalt products used in construction - will far outweigh the supply. The 56.1 millions tons of aggregate Cemex is permitted to mine in the canyon over 20 years was included in the projection. 'If Cemex's 56 million tons is not going to be mined, the area will have less than 7 percent of the aggregate it will need,' said John Parrish, the state geologist and former executive officer of the state mining and geology board."
PLANNING AND PUBLIC MEETINGS
"Ma-le'l Dunes Cooperative Management Area Draft Public Access Plan" (BLM California, Arcata Field Office web pages)
The Ma-le'l Dunes CMA consists of 444 acres of public land along a mile and a half of coastline within the Humboldt Bay dine system. It has a rich cultural history and a unique combination of coastal dine, wetland, and estuarine ecosystems. The southern 154 acres of the area and owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The northern 290 acres are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Public meetings scheduled for proposed geothermal project" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled three open houses to gather comments on the draft environmental impact statement, which analyzes the proposed leasing of approximately 14,731 acres of BLM-managed public lands for geothermal exploration and development in the Truckhaven area located in western Imperial County. The meetings will be March 20 and 21.
"BLM seeking input on Cow Mountain Recreation Area management plan" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
People interested in the Cow Mountain Recreation Area near Ukiah and Lakeport can participate in upcoming public meetings to advise the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on issues that should be addressed in a new Recreation Area Management Plan. The meetings will be 7-9 p.m. on three upcoming dates.
HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS
"BLM announces upcoming wild horse and burro schedule" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
BLM will offer an excellent selection of wild mustangs and burros to qualified adopters at three upcoming wild horse and burro adoptions throughout southern California. And, BLM will deliver your adopted animal(s), free of charge, to an approved facility within 150 miles of the BLM Ridgecrest horse corrals. This service is provided to encourage potential adopters who can not find reasonable transportation to participate in the program. The minimum bid is $125 per animal.
"Weather blamed for spill" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/7/07)
" The cold weather is being blamed for causing a burst pipe that created an oil spill in Los Padres National Forest last week....While the creek has some natural seepage of oil and tar, some insects and a songbird covered in oil have been found dead in the river, according to David Christy, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management....The cleanup was about 60 percent complete by Tuesday evening..."
"Carrizo Plain monument may gain 'heritage' honor" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/12/07)
"An environmental group is petitioning the National Park Service to nominate the Carrizo Plain National Monument as a World Heritage Site....The National Park Service selects which sites in the United States will be nominated for designation. The deadline for nominations is April 1."
RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California web pages)
The Carrizo Plain is the largest remaining tract of the San Joaquin Valley biogeographic province with only limited evidence of human alteration. It includes the largest remaining contiguous habitats for many endangered, threatened and rare species of animals such as the San Joaquin kit fox, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, the San Joaquin bluntnosed leopard lizard, antelope squirrel and the giant kangaroo rat, and also provides habitat for many listed plant species.
"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS
Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:
Feb. 17 - Open house and wildflower celebration
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center
Feb. 17 - Restore native plants while you listen to live music
Feb. 23 - Nature hike on the Victor Trail
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center
NATIONAL AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ITEMS
"Jim Hughes is acting director of Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management" (Department of the Interior news release, 2/7/07)
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that James M. Hughes is the acting director of the Department's Bureau of Land Management, which manages 258 million acres of public land and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral resources. Hughes, who has been BLM's Deputy Director for Programs and Policy since 2002, will serve until a new BLM Director is nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as provided by law.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
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