A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 271 - 3/7/07

Wildlife Trivia question mark students learn about riparian zones at a Sand Canyon Environmental Education program Dr. Allan Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne cuts a giant birthday cake to celebrate the 158th birthday of the Department of the Interior Painted Rock and Soda Lake at the Carrizo Plain National Monument

- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Environmental education: Sand Canyon
- Carrizo Plain plans
- Energy
- Wildfire season continues...or is a new one starting?
- Headlines and highlights: San Diego plan, jobs, more
- Meet your advisory council members
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Happy birthday

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Wildlife Trivia question mark

What animal does the American Pika most resemble?
(a.) a raccoon
(b.) a Gila monster
(c.) a guinea pig
(d.) a Sonora Mountain kingsnake
(e.) a sloth
(f.) a lowercase transposition
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


students learn about riparian zones at a Sand Canyon Environmental Education program"Featured Site: Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program" (Hands on the Land newsletter, March 2007)
"As a Bureau of Land Management site, Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program (SEEP) is a community-based program in Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley, California. Based primarily in an arid ecosystem, SEEP aims to give students an appreciation of natural ecosystems and to emphasize the importance of water conservation in the desert environment."
PDF file, 305 kilobytes:

Painted Rock and Soda Lake at the Carrizo Plain National MonumentCARRIZO PLAIN PLANS

"Still a lot to be said on future of Carrizo Plain" (Taft Midway Driller, 3/2/07)
Editorial: "Whether or not the Carrizo eventually gets World Heritage Site status is out of our hands....What remains are things we can control. The Carrizo can still be marketed as a tourist attraction, and Taft can profit by providing services to the tourists....The chamber needs to move ahead with its plans to work with the Bureau of Land Management to become the eastern gateway to the Carrizo. The BLM is planning a series of scoping meetings to seek input for a management plan for the Carrizo. That plan will dictate how the 250,000-acre preserve is administered and what kind of land uses will be allowed."

"BLM resumes planning process for Carrizo Plain" (BLM California news release, 3/2/07)
With the recent re-appointment of the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee, BLM is resuming work with the public on a draft resource management plan to guide the monument's future. In cooperation with the committee, the BLM and its managing partners, The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game, will conduct public scoping meetings later this fall to gather input on issues to be addressed in the draft RMP and EIS, expected to be ready for public review and comment sometime in 2007.

"Carrizo proposal blasted" (Taft Midway Driller, 3/2/07)
"No vote was taken, but the Taft City Council made it clear Tuesday night that it isn't going to support a proposal to have the Carrizo Plain National Monument declared a World Heritage Site. In fact, the council may consider a resolution opposing the Wilderness Society's plan to have the United States Department of State nominate the 250,000 acre nature preserve for inclusion in the World Heritage program."

"Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office web pages)
The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species, and is an area culturally important to Native Americans.


"Public land eyed for energy" (Imperial Valley Press, 3/4/07)
"Federal authorities are considering opening up 14,731 acres of public land in western Imperial County for geothermal exploration and possibly more electric power plants....The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that oversees the public lands, mailed out notices earlier this month saying it has received five lease applications for geothermal exploration in Truckhaven."

RELATED: "Public meetings scheduled for proposed geothermal project" (BLM California news release, 2/13/07)
The BLM 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. Dates are March 20 and 21. (Repeated from earlier News.bytes.)

"Unlocking clean, cheap energy" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/6/07)
"California scientists are playing key roles in developing new energy technologies to counteract the effects of global warming. Nanotech solar cells, the world's largest planned solar-electricity plant and new technologies for breeding biofuels like ethanol are among the brighter prospects on the energy research front in the Bay Area and the Golden State....The main problems the scientists say they face are not scientific but rather are figuring out technical ways to refine and cheapen the technologies until they're reliable and cost-competitive with other energy sources." The Stirling solar energy project illustrated is proposed to be located on public lands administered by BLM. Environmental documents are currently being prepared for public review and comment.

"SDG&E wants Borrego Springs option on table" (North County Times, 3/1/07)
"Borrego Springs -- San Diego County's electric utility is trying to preserve the option of stringing wires through this desert town, in case its preferred route for a new power line through the heart of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park doesn't work out....The [California Public Utilities] Commission proposed eliminating the route because it would pass through sheep habitat and four state wilderness areas." The BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the proposed power line.

RELATED: "Utility offers reroute" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/1/07)
"San Diego Gas & Electric Co. is floating a new proposal for the route of its controversial Sunrise Powerlink that would take the line through Borrego Springs instead of through the heart of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park....The new route could mollify environmentalists, who oppose running the Sunrise Powerlink through the center of the park, but it has upset some Borrego Springs property owners."

RELATED: "Powerlink plan called cheaper than options" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/3/07)
"California's electricity grid operator says the Sunrise Powerlink, a controversial, $1.3 billion transmission project that San Diego Gas & Electric Co. wants to build by 2010, won't provide any economic payoff until at least five years after that date. But the state's Independent System Operator said the project would later pay off for local utility customers and was cheaper than alternatives for ensuring regional electric reliability."

RELATED: "SDG&E's proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission project" (State of California, Public Utilities Commission website)
More information on the proposal.

WILDFIRE SEASON CONTINUES...or is a new one starting?

"Brush fire near Moreno Valley threatens homes, snarls traffic" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/4/07)
"A wind-whipped fire hopscotched through the hills east of Moreno Valley on Sunday, charring about 680 acres, threatening 10 homes and causing long traffic backups after the eastbound lanes of Highway 60 were closed....Whipped by erratic wind gusts of more than 30 mph, the flames carved a patchwork through the area. A small area would burn, perhaps an acre or 2, but hundreds of feet around that area would be untouched. Then a ravine or gully would burn....Firefighters credited homeowners who removed brush and dead vegetation from around their residences with helping keep damage to a minimum....About 150 firefighters" including BLM fought the blaze.

"Only you can prevent Black Forest fires" (Lake County Record-Bee, 3/6/07)
" Efforts are under way to prevent fires in Lake County's 255-acre Douglas fir forest....Forest conservation efforts have been ongoing for years, but this year's Earth Day, April 21, will bring focus to keeping roadside fires from igniting one of the county's most beautiful forests....This year's Earth Day project will be what the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is calling a 'demonstration project' for fire prevention."


"Eastern San Diego Draft Resource Management Plan available for review" (BLM California news release, 3/2/07)
The Eastern San Diego County Draft Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) is available for public review and comment. The draft RMP/EIS addresses public lands managed by the BLM’s El Centro Field Office in the eastern portion of San Diego County, CA. These public lands cover about 100,000 acres, spanning a portion of the eastern escarpment of Southern California’s Peninsular Ranges.

"Students’ “Awesome” Conservation Work on Public Lands Celebrated" (News.bytes Extra)
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) celebrated its 50th anniversary by honoring its partnership with Federal land management agencies in California, including the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and National Park Service.

"Report illegal dumping to county authorities" (Lake County Record-Bee, 3/7/07)
"Just take a drive on any back road and you'll see mountains of garbage dumped along the roads....Bureau Of Land management personnel have told me they are constantly removing trash but a week later its back....Since Lake County is known for its beauty and tranquil lifestyle, driving the backroads and seeing trash everywhere does nothing but give the county a bad name....One solution is for anyone seeing someone dumping trash to take down their license plate number and turn it in to the authorities."

"Squaw Lake upgrades campground" (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 3/3/07)
"Most weekend campers are like the snowbirds we entertain in Southern California during the winter - we like to camp where it's pleasantly warm. Near Yuma, Ariz., is a Bureau of Land Management campground that we've always liked at this time of the year. It's called Squaw Lake and it lies around 20 miles east of Winterhaven on the California side of the Colorado River." (This site in California is managed by BLM's Yuma, Arizona Field Office.)


RELATED: "Squaw Lake Campground" (BLM Arizona web pages)
"This site provides opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing. boating, and picnicking, and has direct boat access to the Colorado River. Wildlife include numerous waterfowl, as well as quail, coyotes, and reptiles."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current listings include wildfire fighting jobs and archaeological technician.

Dr. Allan Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory CommitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Dr. Allan Muth...
...is the representative for natural science and academic research on the the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. Read more:


Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne cuts a giant birthday cake to celebrate the 158th birthday of the Department of the InteriorOn Sunday, March 3, the Department of the Interior, BLM's "parent" agency, celebrated its 158th birthday.
Read a little about the Department of the Interior, its California connections, and find links to more about the history of "The Department of Everything Else" in this News.bytes Extra.

"Final update of federal oil and gas regulations will improve energy development on public lands" (Bureau of Land Management national news release, 3/7/07)
"In a move that will enhance the nation's energy independence and security, the Bureau of Land Management today published final revised regulations governing oil and gas activity on the public lands. The rule published in today's Federal Register updates the set of regulations known as Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 1. The Order establishes the requirements that companies must meet to obtain approval for oil and gas exploration and development on all Federal and Indian lands (except those of the Osage Tribe)."

(c.) a guinea pig

SOURCE: "American Pika - Ochotona princeps" (BLM California wildlife database)
Pikas look similar to guinea pigs, but they have rounded ears and have no visible tail.

RELATED: "American Pika - Ochotona princeps" (California Department of Fish and Game)
Description, habitat and references. PDF file, 16 kilobytes:

RELATED: "Ochotona princeps (American pika)" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology's Animal Diversity Web)
Information and photos, on this website "written largely by and for college students."

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