A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 270 - 3/1/07

a marbled on the water Selection from a photo showing a view to south into Hot Springs Valley along Kern Canyon fault with Auxiliary Dam in forground. (see Bakersfield Californian story for the photo.) A desert tortoise makes its way across the desert Employee profile: Betty Lamirault Wild mustangs vie for attention at a recent adoption event

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More public lands wildlife in the news
      - Geology and public lands
- Openings on BLM advisory councils
- Headlines and highlights: Energy, Carrizo, coast danger, jobs, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Kim family tragedy


a marbled on the water

Which of the following is true of the marbled murrelet?
(a.) They are the only cannibalistic avian species
(b.) Their eggs change color to blend in with their surroundings
(c.) This species was not classified as a type of bird until almost 45 years ago
(d.) Birders did not find an example of this bird's nest until 35 years ago
(e.) They compete for territory by drawing a circle in the sand with their beaks, and taking turns trying to knock each other out of it
(f.) They are the only known bird species named after an extremely unsuccessful automobile brand from the 1950s
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

A desert tortoise makes its way across the desertMORE WILDLIFE ON PUBLIC LANDS: Desert Tortoise

"Wildfires, weeds hurt desert tortoise habitat" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/24/07)
"Wildfires fueled by invasive weeds in the Mojave Desert have taken a toll on federally protected desert tortoises, and scientists studying the problem need another year to gather data to chart the right course of action....More than 1 million acres of desert tortoise habitat burned in 2005 in the Mojave Desert region that spans southern parts of Nevada, Utah, California and Northern Arizona." A biologist "noted the increased interest among scientists to treat burned areas with herbicides to reduce the dominance of non-native grasses....the Bureau of Land Management doesn't have authority to do expansive treatment."

RELATED: "Desert tortoise - Gopherus agassizii" (BLM California wildlife database)
Desert tortoises have existed for three million years, and during that time they have adapted to the many climatic and geological changes that have occurred in southern California.

RELATED: "Watchable Wildlife: Desert Tortoise Natural Area" (BLM California web pages)
This public land in the northwestern Mojave Desert in northeastern Kern County, is managed to protect a unique habitat in its natural state. The BLM closed the public land in the natural area to vehicle use, and about 35 miles of woven wire fence has been installed. Visitors will find an interpretive kiosk and self-guided nature trails.


"Geology, history field trip schedule announced for 2007" (BLM California news release, 2/27/07)
The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Field Office and Buena Vista Museum of Natural History are offering earth science field trips throughout central California. These trips are designed for persons of high school age and older -- it is not necessary to have a technical background. They are also recommended for teachers. Each trip includes a full spectrum of environmental and land management topics. Prices vary for each trip, depending on stops at museums or other locations that charge admission. The first upcoming trip is March 16-18, 2007:  "Mother Lode Part II, Central and East Belt Gold Mines, Jackson to Auburn."

"Geology and mining history field trips" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office web pages)
Sponsored by Bureau of Land Management and Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, these field trips include several scheduled outings for 2007. Also two of the "custom tours" include a look at the "geology and mining history of the Kern Canyon-Lake Isabella area" and "the geology and ecology of the Kern Canyon, Kern River and Lake Isabella" (see next story).

Selection from a photo showing a view to south into Hot Springs Valley along Kern Canyon fault with Auxiliary Dam in forground. (see Bakersfield Californian story for the photo.)"Scientists: Fault still active, but threat is minimal" (Bakersfield Californian, 2/27/07)
"The earthquake fault that runs beneath Isabella Lake has produced at least one earthquake as recently as 5,000 years ago and must be considered an active fault, scientists have concluded. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last year in the wake of growing concerns about seepage under the lake's auxiliary dam and increasing doubts that the Kern Canyon Fault was as inactive as officials believed when the dam was built."

RELATED: "Keyesville Special Management Area" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office web pages)
This area consists of 7,133 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management southwest of the Lake Isabella Dam. At the bottom of the page are links to locator maps of the area.


"BLM seeks members for Northwest California advisory council" (BLM California news release, 2/23/07)
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management is accepting nominations for membership on the Northwest California Resource Advisory Council, a citizen group that advises the agency on management of public lands and natural resources. There are five vacancies – four for three-year terms, and one for a two-year term – on the 12-member council.

RELATED: "BLM Northwest Resource Advisory Council to meet in Ukiah" (BLM California news release, 2/27/07)
Public land recreation topics highlight the agenda for a field tour and meeting of the U. S. Bureau of Land Management's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council set for Wednesday and Thursday, March 7-8, in Ukiah. The tour and meeting are open to the public.

"BLM seeks members for Northeast California advisory council" (BLM California news release, 2/23/07)
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management is accepting nominations for membership on the Northeast California Resource Advisory Council, a citizen group that advises the agency on management of public lands and natural resources. There are five vacancies for three-year terms on the 15-member council.

"BLM seeks Central California Resource Advisory Council members" (BLM California news release, 2/22/07)
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking nominations to fill four positions for three-year terms on the 12-person Central California Resource Advisory Council, a citizen's panel which advises the BLM on the stewardship of federal public lands. To ensure a balance of viewpoints on the RAC, nominees must represent one of three major categories of interest.


"Draft Environmental Impact Statement for proposed wind energy project available for public review and comment" (BLM California news release, 2/23/07)
BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office is seeking public comment on a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing a proposed wind energy project in Palm Springs, California. The 45 day public review and comment period will begin on February 23, 2007.

Wild mustangs vie for attention at a recent adoption event - see related story at the Kern Valley Sun"Mustang adoption draws many locals" (Kern Valley Sun, 2/28/07)
"Local residents turned up Saturday in Ridgecrest for a Wild Horse and Burro adoption -- some to volunteer, some for fun and information, and others to bring home a wild mustang. The event was sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management at the facility outside Ridgecrest."

RELATED: "Wild horse and burro adoption"
March 10, in Victorville. See "selected upcoming events" near the end of this issue.

RELATED: "Wild horses, burros available in Turlock" (BLM California news release, 2/22/07)
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 Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. The BLM will offer 70 horses ranging in age from under 2 to about 5 years old along with 20 burros. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The adoption event opens with an hour of silent bidding beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Animals not taken during bidding will be available for a $125 adoption fee. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at the arena at about 2 p.m. on March 23.

"Oil industry CEO to speak at Carrizo Plain study session"(Taft Midway Driller, 2/27/07)
"The CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association will weigh in on whether or not the Taft City Council should support a proposal to have the Carrizo Plain National Monument declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations."

RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office web pages)

"Volunteer cleanup crew sets sights on Giant Rock" (Hi-Desert Star, 2/27/07)
"Everyone is invited to help out at the second annual Giant Rock cleanup from 9 to noon March 24. Organizer Dan Woodman asks participants to show up with work gloves and pickup trucks with trailers, if possible. Trash bags and beverages will be provided....In addition to trash pickup, Woodman is tackling graffiti again this year. The Bureau of Land Management has a policy prohibiting sandblasting but has OK'd the use of tan and brown paint to cover the graffiti. "

"San Diego County called epicenter of threats to 1.5 million-acre state park system" (North County Times, 2/25/07)
"Running out of room for building highways, sewer pipes and power lines on private property, developers and utilities are increasingly turning to state parkland....Park supporters in San Diego County are perhaps most concerned about the future of Anza-Borrego, where San Diego Gas & Electric Co. wants to plant ...the proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line....proponents...say they set their sights on state land only after surveys showed there was no other way to build their projects. And not everyone agrees the projects will hurt the parks." BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the Sunrise Powerlink.

"Man rescued from jetty" (Eureka Reporter, 2/25/07)
"Two men were swept off the North Jetty west of Eureka Sunday afternoon by an approximately 20-foot wave....the Coast Guard and rangers from the Bureau of Land Management have posted warnings on the road on the way to the jetty and have personally warned people of the hazardous conditions on the Humboldt and Del Norte coast."

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

Employee profile: Betty LamiraultEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Betty Lamirault...
... is an administrative officer responsible for budget, personnel and operations of the Needles Field Office. Read more in this week's News.bytes Employee Profile.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

March 1 (tonight) - Cow Mountain public meeting
Public meeting to identify issues related to recreational activities and opportunities on Cow Mountain.

March 2-4 and upcoming weekends - Wildflower walks
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

March 10-11 - Wild horse and burro adoption


"No blame placed in Kim death; BLM report unable to resolve issue of logging road gate" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/27/07)
"Nobody was to blame for leaving open a gate to an old logging road that the Kim family of San Francisco took on their way to getting hopelessly lost in the southern Oregon mountains on a stormy November night, according to a federal report. The fact that employees and work crews observed that the gate was open three separate times before the infamous trek into the mountains that led to the death of James Kim did raise some concerns in the 18-page report that the Bureau of Land Management issued last week."

(d.) Birders did not find an example of this bird's nest until 35 years ago

SOURCE: "Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus" (BLM California wildlife database)
"The marbled murrelet, an outwardly unassuming seabird, maintained a secret identity for over a century. Then, in 1974, a tree climber in Santa Cruz county California nearly stepped on a peculiar bird’s nest and blew its cover. It was the last North American bird species to have its nest discovered."

RELATED: "The secret life of marbled murrelets" ("Science Findings,issue 90" USDA Forest Service, Feb. 2007)
The latest information on populations of this bird, conservation efforts and monitoring, plus a bibliography.
PDF file, 665 kilobytes, 6 pages:

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Bureau of Land Management
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(916) 978-4600

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