A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 295 - 8/22/07

Ginny Freeman shows differences between a donkey and a burro Western rattlesnake Carrizo Plain National Monument chair Carl Twisselman A volunteer with the Warped Tour scrapes dirt into a hole after planting a tree in a Monterey-area project trainer and mustang framed in a barn doorway

- Musical volunteers green up
- Wild horses and burros
- Off-highway vehicles: Milk-vetch, county ordinance
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Headlines and highlights: Archaeology, mining, marijuana, land use
- Wildfire
- Meet your Advisory Committee members
- Sunrise Powerlink
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:


A volunteer with the Warped Tour scrapes dirt into a hole after planting a tree in a Monterey-area project"Green day for punk rockers" (Monterey County Herald, 8/22/07)
On Tuesday, "about 300 volunteers from the Vans Warped Tour, billed as the longest-running traveling punk rock concert festival in the United States, took time out to help clean up the Peninsula's coastline....'It's just getting people thinking about being eco-friendly,' said Kevin Lymon, founder of the...tour. 'Our tour is a younger demographic, so I feel good about it. I feel like we can get them thinking about being more environmentally conscious.'...The Bureau of Land Management hosted a group that removed invasive species and held native plant seed collection in the Fort Ord back country. "

"Warped Tour cleans up" (Salinas Californian, 8/22/07)
"Trading guitars, drum sticks and microphones for shovels and garbage bags, members of the 13th annual Warped Tour traveling music festival helped clean up Monterey County watershed areas on Tuesday....Of the 900 people who travel on the Warped Tour crew, 300 volunteered to clean up seven sites around the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas. They planted shoreline plants along Carmel River State Beach, collected native seeds on Fort Ord and diverted water back into a pond near Natividad Creek at Natividad Creek Park in Salinas." Projects were developed by agencies including the BLM. (Links to gallery with six photos from the cleanup.)


Ginny Freeman shows differences between a donkey and a burro"Pack in time: Mules, donkeys featured Red Bluff history event" (Redding Record Searchlight, 8/21/07)
"Dave and Ginny Freeman hoped to get the crowd interested in the 1850s debate about which is a better pack animal, the donkey or the mule.....Freeman brought the donkeys -- as well as a mule -- to Adobe Days on Saturday to educate visitors about the tough days of the 1850s, when steamboats docked in Red Bluff and men and beasts packed belongings through the rugged terrain toward gold mines to the north. All for a penny a mile.'....The couple gets their donkeys from Bureau of Land Management burro auctions and they use them for demonstrations -- and their own backcountry packing treks -- around the north state."

trainer and mustang framed in a barn doorway"Norco trainer accepts mustang's challenge" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/20/07)
Ray Ariss, "is one of the 100 U.S. horse trainers competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover. The program challenged trainers from around the country each to tame one wild mustang [gathered by the BLM in Nevada] and turn the animal into a suitable horse for ranch work and recreational riding....Ariss' dedication to the horse has involved marathon training sessions that often keep him up until 1 or 2 in the morning. But Ariss is the first to say that the experience has been worth it. 'They are very special horses, not selectively bred by humans,'" he said. 'They are bred through nature, by evolution.'

"Wild horse and burro adoption schedule - 2007" (BLM California website)
The next BLM California adoption will take place Sept. 15 at Camp Pendleton.

Wild Horses and Burros are also available from one (or both) of our California Wild Horse and Burro facilities:

The Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro facility is located along U. S. Highway 395, about 21 miles northeast of Susanville.

The Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse & Burro facility is located four miles east of Ridgecrest. Adoptions are by appointment only, call (760) 384-5765 or 1-800-951-8720 for details. The facility is available for individual and group tours and has a nice little dirt perimeter road allowing the motorist a quality view of the animals.

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


"Federal officials look at less acres for milk-vetch" (Yuma Sun, 8/20/07)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a 60-day public comment period to receive comments on a proposed rule to revise the critical habitat areas for the threatened Peirson’s milk-vetch plant.....The critical habitat areas being proposed include portions of the Buttercup, Gecko, Glamis, Mammoth Wash and Ogilby Management Areas within the sand dunes, as well as parts of the Adaptive Management Area and the North Algodones Wilderness....The new proposal does not affect the current closures....For years conservationists have argued more protection is needed. Off-roaders, however, feel that their access to the popular recreation areas where they can still ride could be completely restricted. "

RELATED: "Peirson's milk-vetch - Documents" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
Information including "July 27, 2007 - Proposed Rule to Revise Critical Habitat"

RELATED: "Imperial Sand Dunes" (BLM California, El Centro Field Office)

"OHV ordinance remains intact"(Barstow Desert Dispatch, 8/21/07)
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors "decided to keep an off-road ordinance in place despite more than 100 people in opposition.... More than 200 people made the trip to San Bernardino for the meeting." Off-roaders complained about a permit required for groups of 10 or more; property owners supported the ordinance as a way to protect their land.

RELATED: "County's off-road vehicle law left in place" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/22/07)
"David Molinari didn't have the big family Easter celebration in Johnson Valley for the first time in years because they weren't sure if they needed a permit. Folks at the celebration would have gone off-road riding, but a year-old county ordinance requires a permit if more than 10 people get together to ride....Supporters of the ordinance, mostly desert residents, argued they have long been the victims of relentless noise and choking clouds of dust along with harassment and intimidation by off-highway riders."

RELATED: "Off-roaders seek changes in ordinance" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/21/07)
Background to the supervisors' meeting: "Residents of remote desert areas were tired of loud motorcycles and other off-highway vehicles tearing across their property. Responsible riders agreed that such behavior was inexcusable and gave the entire off-road community a bad image. That drew all sides together looking for a solution. In July 2006, an ordinance drafted with input from property owners and the off-road community went into effect. The new rules were meant to rein in the bad apples while allowing riders who follow the rules to have their fun."

"Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area" (BLM California, Barstow Field Office)
Johnson Valley is a varied landscape for the off-highway vehicle driver. It is punctuated by steep red rocky mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, dry lake beds and sandy washes. Elevations range from 4,600 feet to 2,300 feet. Vegetation consists of creosote scrub, annual grasses, wild flowers and Joshua Trees. Most visitors tour the area in four-wheel drive vehicles. There are numerous opportunities for hiking, rock hounding, and wildlife watching.  The eastern boundary is shared with the Twenty-nine Palms Marine Air-Ground Combat Center. DO NOT enter this area.


Western rattlesnake

Western rattlesnakes prey mostly on small mammals, lizards, and birds when available. What preys on western rattlesnakes? (Hint: there may be more than one correct answer.)
(a.) Porcupines
(b.) Mongooses
(c.) Voles
(d.) Mammals besides those listed above
(e.) Very large tarantulas
(f.) Birds
(g.) Other snakes
(h.) Poultry chefs -- because "they taste just like chicken"
------> See answer -- and related information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.



"Steward program giving Inland desert's fragile artifacts a fighting chance" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/19/07)
"When Bruce and Penny Tappeiner saw what had been done to one of their favorite places in the desert, they were horrified. Vandals had attacked the remains of an old stamp mill...pelting the historic stone structure with beer-bottle Molotov cocktails and turning its window and door frames into charred wood and ash. The Tappeiners had been to the site before, but this trip was their first since volunteering to serve as site stewards for the Bureau of Land Management. The program helps government archaeologists protect sensitive sites within their jurisdiction." Includes links to photo slideshow and video.

"Miners staking claims on public land surrounding national park" (Merced Sun-Star, 8/17/07)
"Miners are using a controversial 19th century law to claim more public land around national parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Death Valley. Amid escalating demand for uranium, gold, copper and other metals, a new report shows the number of active mining claims grew 80 percent since January 2003. The rapid increase brings California's active claims to 22,544, and swings a spotlight onto renewed efforts to change the 1872 law that governs Western mining."

"Pot farms thrive despite best CAMP efforts" (Tuolumne County Union Democrat, 8/15/07)
Editorial: "It's not amber waves of grain that are being harvested from isolated plots of Stanislaus National Forest and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties. Instead its the long green of fast-growing marijuana.... Without the effective deterrent of experienced state narcotics agents working with local deputies and rangers who intimately know the pot-growing turf, marijuana would become a far more pervasive problem than it is today."

"Council hears joint land use strategies" (Ridgecrest News Review, 8/22/07)
"'The role of the Joint Land Use Study is to reduce the potential conflict among the military and the surrounding communities, while accommodating growth, sustaining economic growth of the region and promoting public health and safety'," said Ridgecrest's deputy city manager. "The study is a collaboration among state officials, representatives of four counties and 11 cities, members of federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, nongovernment organizations and military representatives from China Lake, Edwards, Fort Irwin and the Marine Corps." The mayor said the effort would be important in the face of any new round of base closures.

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


Aftermath of Inyo Complex Fire"Rehab begins in wake of Inyo Complex Fire" (Inyo Register, 8/14/07)
"An Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response, or BAER Team, made up of the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, recently completed the Burned-Area Report for the 35,151-acre Inyo Complex Fire....Though the Oak Creek Campground west of Independence has been deemed a total loss, Forest Service officials have focused their sights to local trails, roads and waterways that can be restored."

"Vast California wildfire now the state's second largest on record" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 8/22/07)
Thousands of firefighters were fighting a blaze in Los Padres National Forest: "By late Tuesday, the Zaca Fire had scorched 222,557 acres -- an area larger than New York's five boroughs....The Zaca Fire's northeastern corner continued to advance Tuesday toward the miles-long fire line separating it from rugged backcountry covered with century-old chaparral....More than 3,100 firefighters and nearly 30 aircraft were attacking the blaze."

"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.

Carrizo Plain National Monument chair Carl TwisselmanMEET YOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Carl Twisselman...
...is the chairman of the Carrizo Plain National Monument Advisory Committee. He has been a member of several grazing advisory boards and the Cattlemen's Association, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Read more:


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


"SDG&E says commissioner erred in energy ruling" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/17/07)
"San Diego Gas & Electric said yesterday that a state utilities commissioner erred in ruling that the utility could meet a California requirement for renewable energy without the controversial Sunrise Powerlink, the $1.2 billion electricity transmission line it wants to build across the desert. In a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, SDG&E also said Commissioner Dian Grueneich's order last month of a five-month delay in completing the project's environmental review could be shortened to one month."

"Powerlink creates unlikely alliance" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/16/07)
"The common enemy in this case: San Diego Gas & Electric's Sunrise Powerlink, a proposed 150-mile, $1.3 billion electric transmission line that would cut across Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and miles of private property in North County's backcountry. Environmentalists are appalled. So are private-property owners whose land could be economically and aesthetically devalued by the line's 155-foot-tall steel towers." The BLM is involved in rights-of-way permit applications for parts of the proposed route.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

August 23 - Rock and sand lease sale
El Centro

August 24 - Modoc-Washoe Stewardship Committee meeting

August 25-26 and other dates - Guided hike
Headwaters Forest Reserve

Sept. 6 - Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument hike
Palm Desert

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) Mammals besides those listed above
(f.) Birds
(g.) Other snakes

SOURCE: "Western rattlesnake - Crotalus viridis" (BLM California wildlife database)
"Mammals, birds, and other snakes prey upon western rattlesnakes."

"Red diamond rattlesnake - Crotalus ruber ruber" (Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan)
"Wild and domestic animals that have been found to prey on rattlesnakes for food include birds of prey (e.g., eagles and hawks, especially red-tailed hawks), badgers, coyotes, cats, foxes, dogs, certain snakes (e.g., kingsnakes, racers, black snakes and indigo snakes) and hogs. Ungulates such as deer, horses, antelope, sheep, goats, and cattle have a propensity for killing rattlesnakes by stomping them to death. It is interesting to note that kingsnakes suffer no damage from the venom when preying on rattlesnakes."

"Crotalus viridis - western rattlesnake" (Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology)
"Crotalus viridis are found across most of the United States west of Texas and the Dakotas. They are also found in northern Mexico and southwest Canada....The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students."

"Western rattlesnake" (Washington State Department of Natural Resources)
"Caution: This is a venomous and potentially dangerous snake. Rattlesnakes rarely strike unless harassed, handled or stepped on, but any encounter within the striking range could result in a bite."

"Sierra Crossing | Sixth of an eight-part series by Tom Stienstra" (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/10/07)
"The rattle sounded like shaking maracas....This was a rattlesnake, about 4 feet long, coiled and poised on the side of the trail. Luckily, this one was making plenty of noise and could be avoided. 'The ones you worry about are the quiet ones,' said Michael Furniss, expedition scientist. 'That's when you hear nothing.' Then you step on them and get nailed in the calf." Hikers discover rattlesnakes are plentiful in Rattlesnake Canyon. However: "The rattlesnakes scare nearly everyone who see them, but it's the mountain that waits for you to make a mistake that can be the real danger."

"Wranglers hooked on rattlers" (Grass Valley Union, 8/5/07)
"The Ramirezes say they operate the only licensed, bonded and insured snake removal business in Northern California, based out of their Auburn home....The couple is called out every day - usually several times a day - by terrified residents who stumble upon the deadly reptiles while working in their yards. Many people accidentally let rattlers into their homes by leaving their doors open on a warm day....The Ramirezes are also featured on the National Geographic Channel series 'Animal Extractors.'"

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Bureau of Land Management
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(916) 978-4600

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