A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 289 - 7/31007

Granite Launch boat launch wins award Preparing for a marijuana bust by helicopter Desert pupfish - from a photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Carrizo Plain National Monument Committee member Michael Khus-zarate Inside view of Rancho Dos Palmas

- Free offer
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wildfire fury
- Marijuana bust
- Recreation on public lands: OHVs, archery hunting, boat launch award
- Energy across public lands
- Headlines and highlights: Dos Palmas, Coachella Plan, more
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- Selected upcoming events
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Confirmation hearings for BLM nominee
- News stories related to wildlife trivia subject

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


Desert pupfish - from a photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceFrom a photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

What does the desert pupfish eat?
(a.) worms and small snakes
(b.) roots and leaves of small plants that overhang the water
(c.) algae and small invertebrates
(d.) small animals that venture further than usual into the water
(e.) other fish
(f.) cactus leaves and dogfish treats
------> See answer -- and recent news stories on desert pupfish -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"Lightning, wind hamper firefighting" (Associated Press at Forbes.com, 7/11/07)
"Crews hoping for wet weather to help combat lightning-sparked wildfires in California faced a new threat Wednesday: too much rain. Flash flood warnings were posted for much of the eastern Sierra Nevada on Wednesday as the National Weather Service predicted a 40 percent chance of rain over a cluster of wildfires in Plumas National Forest."

"Lightning sparks wildfire on Inyo National Forest" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/07)
"Three wildfires ignited by a lightning storm [spread] quickly Saturday through a popular wilderness park in the Sierra's eastern front, forcing the evacuation of at least 200 people from the small town of Independence...more than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze that consumed at least 17,000 acres of the 2-million-acre Inyo National Forest....The fires had spread overnight beyond park boundaries, into nearby Bureau of Land Management territory, onto water-system land owned by the city of Los Angeles, and into the Fort Independence Indian Reservation." BLM firefighters have been heavily involved in the firefighting.

"Wildfires close long stretch of U.S. 395" (Los Angeles Times, 7/8/07)
"In the latest indication that this will be a long, smoky summer, two lightning-sparked wildfires burned unchecked Saturday through 34,000 acres of the Inyo National Forest, forcing officials to shut down long stretches of U.S. Highway 395, the gateway to the Eastern Sierra Nevada....Highway 395 is an essential thoroughfare to a list of destinations that reads like a California travel guide: Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe, the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks."

"Fire prevention councils plead for state money" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/07)
"State forestry and fire prevention officials say their tight budget means every dollar spent on fire prevention is one less available for firefighting. But supporters of the California Fire Safe Council, which operates a statewide grant clearinghouse, say prevention is far cheaper....This year, federal agencies -- led by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management -- contributed 98 percent of the $4.2 million distributed by the state Fire Safe Council. The rest came from private donations."

"Active fire season keeps Rio Bravo Hotshots on the fire line" (Kern Valley Sun, 7/11/07)
"There are a total of 89 Hotshot crews from the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs." The Rio Bravo Hotshots are stationed in Lake Isabella, California, near the southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

"Supervisors ask feds to clear lands" (Grass Valley Union, 7/11/07)
"As fire consumed 66,000 acres in California Tuesday, it dominated much of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors' meeting. The board pleaded in a letter to the Bureau of Land Management to reduce wood fuels on 17,000 acres of its property in Nevada County to help defend the county from flames."

"Tribe works to save ancestral land from fire" (Nevada Appeal, 7/11/07)
"With more than 25 years experience fighting wildland fires and his training as an environmental specialist, Cruz, 47, is one of the few people in the United States who can be in front of firefighters' bulldozers as they race to build a suppression line around a raging wildfire. His work is critical to protect archeological sites. When the devastating Angora fire broke out June 24, Cruz reported to the site."

"Inyo Complex Fire Takes 38,000 Acres" (TV-33, KSRW-FM, 7/9/07)
Personal account of fire evacuation, by reporter for Eastern Sierra television station: "What do you take? From more than 30 years of living, memories, comforts. I took my pet cat, Tuxedo, books that are important to me and photos."

"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center)
Updated daily during wildfire season.

"InciWeb - Incident Information System" (Interagency website)
Current information on wildfires and other emergencies, nationwide.


Preparing for a marijuana bust by helicopter"Shasta County agencies launch operation to eradicate marijuana" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/11/07)
"SWAT members from the sheriff's office and the Redding Police Department will raid marijuana gardens in Shasta County every day for at least the next two weeks and 16 agencies will be assisting them. The sheriff's office will then continue its efforts to wipe out marijuana gardens until autumn...." The Bureau of Land Management is one of those agencies.

"Pot raids funded by grants" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/11/07)
"Although its sheriff's office is leading a 17-agency blitz on illegal marijuana gardens in Shasta County, funds for the operation aren't coming from the county. Grants totaling $180,000 from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies are paying expenses, including office supplies, deputy overtime, gasoline, food, ice and water for 'Operation Alesia,' Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Tuesday."


"Off-road groups want in on debate" (Victorville Daily Press, 7/11/07)
"Off-roading groups are concerned that they could be left out of the discussion on how to prevent motorized vehicle damage to public lands....Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility...released figures on criminal activity on lands under the protection of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management or the BLM between 2004 and 2007....In interviews Tuesday, representatives of the national Off-Road Business Association and Blue Ribbon Coalition said they support law enforcement cracking down on irresponsible riders who give the sport a bad name, but they also feel scapegoated."

"Zone A deer archery season opens Saturday" (Lake County Record-Bee, 7/11/07)
"Not that many hunters hunt with a bow, but the sport is gaining in popularity. One reason is the challenge of hunting deer with bow." The author points to U.S. Forest Service and "thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management land open to hunters" in the area of Cache Creek.

Granite Launch boat launch wins award"Granite Launch wins national award" (News.bytes Extra)
The Granite Launch on the Lower Kern River -- a project of BLM California's Bakersfield Field Office --has been selected by the States Organization for Boating Access to receive their 2007 award for Outstanding Project - Small Access Category


"Prognosis is mixed on using state's hot water for power"(Phoenix East Valley Tribune, ZA - 7/9/07)
"With the price of energy soaring and with utilities looking to develop alternative technologies, engineers are looking at the possibility of using Arizona’s underground hot water as an endless source of clean renewable energy to generate electricity...the best geothermal option for Arizona utilities may be to buy it from other states such as California," and some deals are already in the works. "To try to boost the industry, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are developing a program to lease blocks of federally owned land in Arizona and other western states for geothermal development."

"Powerlink's supply called into question" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/11/07)
"San Diego Gas & Electric Co. said yesterday its proposed Sunrise Powerlink might carry 'dirty' electricity, although the utility insisted it intends to fill the line with power generated from clean, renewable sources. In his second day of testimony at California Public Utilities Commission hearings into the project, Jim Avery, a senior vice president of SDG&E, said the utility was aggressively seeking projects that would fill Sunrise with green energy."

RELATED: "SDG&E official faces foes of Sunrise Powerlink" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/10/07)
"San Diego Gas & Electric's top official for the Sunrise Powerlink project yesterday faced his first formal cross-examination from opponents of the proposal, as state regulators opened hearings into the power line plan. The opponents began by peppering James Avery, a senior vice president of SDG&E, with questions regarding the utility's claim that the line would help the region meet California's requirements for renewably generated electricity, as well as improve reliability."

RELATED: "Officials debate importance of Sunrise Powerlink" (KPBS San Diego, 7/10/07)
"Expert testimony continues through the month over a plan to build a high-voltage power line from El Centro to San Diego. A state agency is listening closely to determine whether the Sunrise Powerlink project is needed." An observer "calls the hearing process a battle of experts. That battle continues through the month as more than 30 witnesses are questioned in a court-like setting.  The PUC plans to make its decision in January." BLM is involved in rights-of-way permitting for the proposed route.


Inside view of Rancho Dos Palmas"Passing of an era?" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/8/07)
"Its adobe walls have withstood the desert climate and visits from weary travelers and prospectors for more than 80 years. But Rancho Dos Palmas may not survive the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to demolish it if supporting organizations cannot prove the building is structurally sound -- or come up with the money to make it so....the demolition, if it happens, would not take place until December or January."

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule - 2007"(BLM California website)
July 21-22 in Lakeside - last BLM California adoption until September.

"Boxer's push to protect honeybees" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/6/07)
"U.S. populations of pollinating honeybees are mysteriously collapsing, and that could cause irreparable damage to crops worth billions of dollars a year across the nation. That in turn could mean higher food prices, and because all kinds of wildlife depend on pollinated plants for food, the decline of pollinators could spell trouble for other animals." Proposed solutions might include more research, and "setting aside pesticide-free land on the government's vast holdings of hundreds of millions of acres, especially in the West, for colonies of bees and butterfly gardens."

"Desert Hot Springs may sign on to habitat plan" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/11/07)
"The Desert Hot Springs City Council voted Tuesday to work with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments on a regional plan it originally rejected that is designed to balance environmental needs and the area's growth." The BLM is a partner in the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

"City committee satisfied with code enforcement update" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 7/6/07)
"A discussion of potentially annexing Bureau of Land Management lands, led [the mayor] to conclude: 'It sounds like to me this is pretty much a dead issue to this Committee.' Public Services Director Jim McRea said the prospect is not quite so dire, but rather, 'It’s something you want to watch.'"

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

Carrizo Plain National Monument Committee member Michael Khus-zarateMEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Michael Khus-Zarate...
...of the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee, is an active member and representative of the Coastal Branch of the Chumash Nation. Read more:


RELATED: "Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office)

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

July 21-22 - Wild horse and burro adoption

July 21-22 and 28-29 - Guided hikes
Headwaters Forest Reserve

July 28 - King Range guided hike: "Rising moon setting sun"
(Reservations required)


"Under fire, BLM Director nominee to appear in Senate" (E&E Daily reprinted in Rigzone, 7/9/07)
" President Bush's selection to head the Bureau of Land Management is already facing a procedural hold due to a fight on natural gas drilling in Colorado. This week, he gets to explain his thoughts on energy production at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on several pending nominations."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) algae and small invertebrates

SOURCE: "Desert Pupfish - Cyprinodon macularius" (BLM California wildlife database)
The desert pupfish mouth id typically upturned to allow them to easily eat off the surface of the water. Their diet largely consists of small invertebrates and algae.

"Plucky pupfish survive Salton Sea pumps" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/4/07)
"Federal scientists last year created the shallow ponds dotted with small islands to see if they would attract any of the 400 bird species that frequent the Salton Sea, which is on the verge of an ecological collapse....Recently, rare pupfish thought only to live in the sea and a couple of tributaries were found in large numbers in the test ponds, southeast of the sea near Niland. The discovery means the local irrigation district, which owns the land, is concerned that it may be required to maintain the newly created habitat after the three-year pilot program ends." Includes link to story podcast.
(May require free registration.)

Pupfish showing up at Salton Sea" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6/29/07)
"Pupfish, an endangered species, have unexpectedly started showing up in a saline habitat test site along the Salton Sea, scientists confirmed this morning. Officials are not sure how the fish got there or exactly how many have populated the four shallow ponds that spread across about 100 acres at the south end of the sea. Experts estimate more than 1,000 of these fish — mostly juveniles roughly the size of a fingernail — are in the area designed to study bird activity." Includes link to video of pupfish in the ponds.

"Repopulation program helping endangered pupfish" (Arizona Republic, 7/10/07)
"Earlier this month, biologists hauled 146 of the tiny fish from a tank at Boyce Thompson Arboretum to Mud Spring in the Tonto National Forest, northeast of Phoenix. Ross Timmons, a biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said the project is intended to help re-establish the fish in its natural range. Desert pupfish once swam the rivers of Arizona, California and northern Mexico, but have neared extinction as those rivers either dry up or fill with non-native fish that prey on the smaller natives."

"Pupfish make big ripple to survive" (USA Today, 7/9/07)
A species of pupfish in neighboring Nevada is not doing so well: "Today, the Devils Hole pupfish population has dwindled to 38, confirmed by government divers in their spring count, and the fish has become the object of intense study by federal agencies and private groups to stave off extinction....This pupfish, which numbered nearly 600 in 1994, finds itself in a class with some of America's rarest creatures, including the Florida panther and, before its recovery, the whooping crane."

- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some publications remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.

DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to:
OR visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/caso/getnewsbytes.html.