A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 280 - 5/8/07

A group of mountain bikers regroup at an intersection on the Cronan Ranch a mountain pocket gopher in the grass Ric Service, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee Three horses Roy's Diner, just inside the California border along historic Route 66

- Spotlight on partners: American River Conservancy
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Responses to last week's wildlife trivia question
- Energy on public lands
- Wildfire threat
- Wild horse and burro adoption events
- Route 66 followup
- Headlines and highlights
- Meet your advisory committee members
- Selected upcoming event

A group of mountain bikers regroup at an intersection on the Cronan RanchSPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: American River Conservancy
As the population expands into the Sierra Nevada foothills, open space becomes increasingly valuable. With the help of the American River Conservancy, the BLM is able to provide opportunities for open space to ride horses, bike, hike or just enjoy nature. One of BLM’s longest established partners in this region, the American River Conservancy's mission is to protect and enhance natural habitats and to promote a broad ethic of stewardship now and for future generations.


a mountain pocket gopher in the grass
From a photo by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences

Where are the Mountain Pocket Gophers usually found?
(a.) in pockets of sandy soil in coastal foothills
(b.) in the Sutter Buttes - the "world's smallest mountain range"
(c.) in the wetlands of northern California
(d.) in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains
(e.) in drier pockets of the Santa Cruz Mountains
(f.) almost everwhere in California
(g.) in the world-famous - though tiny - Pocket Mountains
------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


Two readers pointed out that tule elk are not native to the Owens Valley, as stated in last week's News.bytes. Tule elk are native to California's Central Valley and were introduced to the Owens Valley in an early attempt to save the species. The brochure we linked to from the Tule Elk State Reserve even mentions that "this subspecies of elk was the predominant form of animal life in the Central Valley, comparable to the bison of the Great Plains," but our editor missed it. We have updated our wildlife database with a correction.

Thanks to Glenn R. Stewart, Professor Emeritus of Zoology and Environmental Science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and Steven Nelson of our BLM California Bishop Field Office for reporting this error.


"BLM plans oil and gas operator seminars" (BLM California news release, 5/2/07)
The Bureau of Land Management is planning two annual seminars for all federal oil and gas operators. An all-day seminar will be held on May 24. In response to favorable feedback from a number of operators, BLM will also conduct a half-day seminar on May 22 that will be more oriented towards field personnel.

"Interior program encourages greater development of geothermal energy on federal lands" (Department of the Interior news release, 5/1/07)
Assistant Secretary of the Interior C. Stephen Allred today unveiled the Department’s latest initiative to promote greater use of renewable energy, announcing new incentives to increase the development of geothermal resources on federal lands. "Secretary Kempthorne is committed to developing alternative energy, such as geothermal, wind, and solar," Allred said.

"L.A. power plan cuts swath through protected lands" (Hi-Desert Star, 05/04/07)
In response to new state laws calling for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increased energy conservation measures statewide, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared that 20 percent of the city’s power would be generated by alternative sources by 2010. A significant part of the mayor’s plan includes using geothermal and solar sources located near the Salton Sea. Transmission of this energy over land will require a high-tension power line, and several of the tentative alternatives hook through the Hi-Desert.


"Wildfire threat extra-high this summer, report says" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/2/07)
"Historic dry conditions have set the stage for another potentially severe fire season -- one that could begin earlier than usual this summer in Southern California.... Locally, officials are somewhat encouraged by the rain and snow in the past couple of weeks. But portions of the Inland area remain on pace to set records for low precipitation....'Certainly, we haven't had fuels this dry for a long time, and there's the potential for a bad fire season,' Bureau of Land Management meteorologist Tom Rolinski said. 'It's just a matter of whether we get the ignitions.'

"Agency Predicts Bigger Risk Of Fire This Summer" (CBS Channel 13, 05/01/07)
The West and Southeast face an increased wildfire risk this year because of ongoing drought and an expected hotter than average summer, the National Interagency Fire Center reported recently."Everybody is getting trained up so that we're ready for when it starts," said Deb Yoder, a smoke jumper with the Bureau of Land Management based in Boise, and one of the nation's 15,000 wildland firefighters. "I'll just make sure I'm ready for whatever happens."

"Fire restrictions announced for Colorado River area" (BLM Arizona news release, 4/30/07)
"Hoping to prevent 2007 from becoming a devastating fire season, fire restrictions on 2.5 million acres of public lands along both the Arizona and California sides of the Colorado River have been announced by the Bureau of Land Management. Effective April 30 through Oct. 31, fire and smoking restrictions will be enforced on all public lands within the BLM's Yuma and Lake Havasu Field Office jurisdictions. The effective dates are subject to extension or withdrawal based on the severity rating."


"Wild horses, burros available for adoption in Clovis" (BLM California news release, 4/30/07)
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, May 12, at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. The BLM will offer 30 horses ranging in age from under 1 to about 5 years old along with 10 burros.

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule - 2007"(BLM California website)

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM national website)

"Hoof it to Placer fairgrounds to adopt a mustang" (Sacramento Bee, 05/06/07)
The conquest of the New World was palpable Saturday at the Placer County Fairgrounds. Sixty-four wild mustangs -- and 20 fuzzy feral burros -- were on display in grassy pens. They're descendants of the horses and pack animals Spanish conquistadors brought to Mexico centuries ago. They munched grass. They neighed and brayed and shook their manes. And the wild things were all up for adoption. How's that for taking home a piece of history?

Roy's Diner, just inside the California border along historic Route 66ROUTE 66 FOLLOWUP
In last week's News.bytes, we featured a Funny.bytes on Route 66. Here is a followup story on Route 66:

"Route 66: Old highway offers greasy spoons, kitsch, ghost town" (Bloomberg News, 5/2/07)
"This stretch of the famous highway, 158 miles between Ash Fork, Arizona, and the California border, is the longest uninterrupted segment still standing. Hard to believe that America's Main Street, covering 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, is now a collection of disparate pieces, many of them overrun with weeds and forgotten. Not here, though."

"Funny.bytes: Route 66" (BLM California website)
In case you missed it, here is a link to last week's Funny.bytes:Take a cartoon drive along America's Mother Road, with our two road adventurers.
Funny.bytes is an occasional look at the lighter side of BLM issues.
Note: this link will work in browsers that have the Macromedia/Adobe "Flash" plug-in -- which should be most browsers. Warning: soundtrack: you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.

"2007 Route 66 events" (Route 66 Preservation Foundation)
California events include in June, the Route 66 Antique Car Show in Pasadena, the 7th annual Route 66 Classic Car Show organized by the Route 66 Museum in Barstow and the Annual Mother Road Rally (motorcycles leave Santa Monica and Chicago on the same day) and in September, the Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino.


Depot, a 6-year-old burro from a wild herd near Susanville"BLM Participates in the Annual Children's Fair in Susanville" (BLM News.bytes Extra)
Sometimes, the best things in life are the simple things. In Lassen County, one of these simple pleasures is the annual Children's Fair.

Recreation Sites along the North Fork of the Kaweah River Temporarily Closed (BLM California News Release, 05/08/07)
“The closure is necessary to protect visitors to public lands.  Overcrowding at these sites creates a dangerous situation and visitors could be trapped if a wildfire started and a rapid evacuation was necessary. We also need to protect public lands and facilities,” said Patty Gradek, acting BLM Bakersfield Field Office manager.

"Groups want judge to enforce Eagle Mountain land-swap ruling" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/4/07)
"Inland environmental groups asked a federal judge to enforce his 2005 ruling that struck down a land swap and effectively quashed an effort to turn an old iron-ore mine into one of the nation's largest landfills near Joshua Tree National Park. The groups contend that those involved in the land swap -- Ontario-based Kaiser Ventures and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management -- have done little to put the land back into public hands. In addition, they said, Kaiser has leased its adjacent lands to a company that allows the military to conduct exercises with live munitions and helicopters in a fragile desert environment."

"NRLT donates 320 acres near Whitethorn to BLM for public use" (The Eureka Reporter, 05/05/07)
A tract of former ranch lands near Whitethorn known as the “3 Vs” property will be permanently free from development as part of a plan for a corridor of protected resources in the Mattole Watershed. The Northcoast Regional Land Trust announced this week that it donated the 320-acre property to the federal Bureau of Land Management for public recreational use. The Whitethorn-area property is located at the headwaters of the Mattole River, only a few miles away from the Kings Range National Conservation Area, which was designated a federal wilderness area.

RELATED: "Mattole Recreation Site " (BLM California Website)
This watchable wildlife viewing site, located at the northern tip of the King Range National Conservation Area where the Mattole River meets the Pacific Ocean, is an excellent location for viewing migrating birds, shorebirds, harbor seals, and sea lions. Best time to visit is May through September.

"An Eel River Run - The importance of the Eel" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 05/04/07 and 05/04/07)
According to reports from the California Department of Water Resources, one-third of the rain in California falls in the north coast, which is defined as the area between Sonoma County and the Oregon border. The various forks of the Eel River run through a good portion of that and, on average rain year, carry and distribute much of that water in Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties. A good portion of the land in the Eel River watershed is owned by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
Part 1 - http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/searchresults/ci_5809252
Part 2 - http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/searchresults/ci_5818480

A fence on the Carrizo Plain National Monument A view over Soda Lake, at Carrizo Plain National Monument"Locals discuss the future of Carrizo Plain" (San Luis Obispo New Times, 05/02/07)
" The Bureau of Land Management is collecting public comments for a new management plan for the area, and about 60 people attended the meeting at the Ludwick Center to share their ideas....'A great opportunity lies ahead of us for this resource,' SLO County Supervisor Jim Patterson, a member of the Monument Advisory Committee, told the SLO meeting."

"Report clears BLM office in official's suicide" (Los Angeles Times, 05/05/07)
An investigation is critical of bureau staff but does not fault them in the death of Carrizo Plain National Monument Manager Marlene Braun.

"Report fails to answer questions on Carrizo Plain manager's suicide" (San Luis Obispo County Tribune, 5/4/07)
Interior Department report rehashes what's already known, friends of the former Carrizo Plain manager say.


"Illegal off-roaders targeted" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/4/07)
"Sheriff's deputies are gearing up for a crackdown on all-terrain vehicles riding illegally in unincorporated areas of the Coachella Valley....'It's a safety issue when people off road illegally,'" said a member of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments' Off-Highway Vehicle Task Force. "The Federal Bureau of Land Management, which has employees on the task force, has listed soil erosion and ''habitat fragmentation'' as problems associated with motorcycles, ATVs, dune buggies and four-wheel drive vehicles that stray from authorized off-roading trails."

RELATED: "Crackdown OK'd on illegal off-roading" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/1/07)
"The Riverside County Board of Supervisors authorized the Sheriff's Department on Tuesday to do more to prevent illegal off-roading in the Coachella Valley." An Off-Highway Vehicle Task Force including members from the BLM "recently identified areas where off-roading has damaged the land...."

"Owner asks for help in finding mustang horses" (Santa Maria Times, 5/4/07)
Two mustangs missing from the Santa Maria area since April 15: "The palomino, Sonny, and bay-colored mustang Blue Gene, were adopted from the Bureau of Land Management, and both feature a freezebrand tattoo on their necks for identification."

"BLM public open house" (BLM California flyer)
"Come see the BLM's Land and Mineral Use Records systems. This open house will be a benefit to energy, title, utility, survey, educational, mining and environmental users."
PDF file, 1 megabyte, one page)

RELATED: "GeoCommunicator"
"GeoCommunicator is the publication site for the Bureau of Land Management's National Integrated Land System (NILS) transaction applications (Survey Management, Measurement Management, and Parcel Management). GeoCommunicator provides searching, accessing and dynamic mapping of data for federal land stewardship, land and mineral use records from BLM's LR2000, and land survey information."

"Contractor pleads guilty in machine gun possession" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/3/07)
The man "admitted in federal court...that he illegally possessed three unregistered automatic rifles -- which are classified under federal law as machine guns -- and a hand grenade." His "legal troubles began Feb. 10 when he encountered a Bureau of Land Management ranger in the Carrizo Wash area of the Anza-Borrego Desert, according to court records. The ranger was responding to a report of automatic gunfire."

 Steve Laymon, Atwell Island project manager, right, giving RAC members a tour of the project areaBLM’s CenCal RAC Tours Atwell Island and Decides to Tackle OHV Management Issues (BLM News.bytes Extra, 05/07/07)
Atwell Island is located in a portion of the now-drained Tulare Lake, once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.

"Butterfly won't get species protection" (Associated Press in Sacramento Bee, 5/3/07)
"A butterfly found only at a popular Nevada off-road vehicle site won't receive federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided....officials said federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is unwarranted because of recently adopted measures to protect the habitat of the Sand Mountain blue butterfly. Also higher-than-expected numbers of the insect were found during a survey last year....The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is installing fences and signs to confine off-roaders to designated routes in the 4,795-acre recreation area...." The area is popular with Northern California off-roaders.

"Invisible federal road stretches 672 miles; local officials ponder how to save it" (Chico Enterprise Record, 5/6/07)
Hidden amid the ridges and canyons along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada is what may be the longest invisible federal road in America, and 90 miles of it pass through Butte County. From its southern terminus on the banks of the Kern River, east of Bakersfield, Ponderosa Way stretches 672 miles north into Shasta County. Conceived in the 1920s and built a decade later using the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps for manpower, the road was meant to be a graded gravel truck route. Many years later, however, just who or what is responsible for this collection of dust and gravel is not at all obvious.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
BLM California is currently accepting applications for Human Resources Assistant, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, Fire Engine Operators, and more.


Ric Service, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory CommitteeMEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Ric Service...
...is the representative for the Winter Park Authority on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee. Read more:


Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

May 11 - Surprise Canyon Tamarisk Bash & Picnic

May 12 - Celebrate the River' Saturday (Red Bluff Daily News, 05/05/07)

Beginning May 19 - Guided Hikes at Headwaters Forest Reserve

May 19 - Guided Hikes at King Range

May 22 & 24 - Oil and Gas Seminar

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer -- and related websites
(d.) in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains

SOURCE: "Mountain pocket gopher - Thomomys monticola" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Mountain pocket gophers occur only in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains."

"Mountain pocket gopher - Thomomys monticola" (California Department of Fish and Game)
"In California, the mountain pocket gopher occurs at elevations above 5000 ft. in the Sierra Nevada, from Fresno Co. north to Shasta and Lassen cos. Occurs also in southeastern Siskiyou Co. and western Modoc Co. Abundant in alpine dwarf-shrub, perennial grassland, and wet meadow habitats. Deep soils at soils at the margins of mountain meadows are preferred."
PDF file, 11 kilobytes, two pages):

"Mountain pocket gopher - Thomomys monticola" (U.S. Forest Service)
A one-page summary of information, with a sketch and a map of its range.
PDF file, 83 kilobytes

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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