A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 310 - 12/12/07

Mountain pocket gopher A California Department of Corrections inmate worker burns brush cleared from alongside Route 299 Profile: Jen Asercion Heather rides Spirit during 2007 World Ride and Tie Championship Members of the Oil and Gas Work Group

- Spotlight on Partner: Oil and Gas Work Group
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Energy issues
- Wildfire prevention
- Public land planning
- Headlines and highlights: Healthier outdoors, right-of-way fees, mustang story, more
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Members of the Oil and Gas Work GroupThe California Oil and Gas Work Group is a collaborative partnership consisting of members from the Bureau of Land Management, other government agencies, petroleum industry associations, and major and independent oil companies. The work group’s beginnings date back to 1992. At that time, the government agencies were at odds with each other and often had different regulatory requirements for the same operations, which was frustrating to industry. Initial meetings were highly contentious, but all those involved were committed to finding a better way of doing business.


"Family’s tradition inspires free Shasta-Trinity trees" (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/8/07)
"The Bosworths’ early Christmas was for her son, Gregory, who was on leave for two weeks in October from the U.S. Navy.... his deployment to the Persian Gulf meant he wouldn’t be home in Bella Vista for Christmas. To make the early Christmas happen, Debra Bosworth called the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and asked for an early tree permit. She was asked why she’d want a Christmas tree in October." Christmas tree permit contact information includes three northern California national forests, plus the BLM.

RELATED: "Greening the season" (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
What to do with that tree when you're done with it...and other ideas for a more environmentally-friendly holiday season. "The volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day -- about 1 million extra tons."

"Ballooning price of helium could sink your party plans" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/10/07)
"New Year's Eve is one of the biggest balloon events of the year" -- but California party stores advise people to order early, because of a continuing shortage of helium. "The Federal Helium Reserve, located near Amarillo, Texas, distributes a third of the world's helium supply...said Hans Stuart, chief of external affairs for the Bureau of Land Management's Santa Fe regional office. Stuart said the reserve will run out of the gas in 10 years." Helium uses range "from launching the shuttle to cooling MRI machines to making flat screen TVs. But helium suppliers say it's the lower-priority balloon businesses that are feeling the pinch."

Mountain pocket gopher

What is different about Mountain Pocket Gophers' winter burrows?
(a.) they are much deeper into the ground, to keep them warmer
(b.) they build nests above ground in the snow
(c.) they plug the entrances to their burrows with dried grass and bedding
(d.) they migrate below the snow line in the winter
(e.) they decorate with a cozy palette of warm designer colors

------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


"BLM announces public scoping meeting for solar energy project" (BLM California news release, 12/6/07)
The Jan. 4 scoping meeting is one opportunity for the public to provide early input and help the agencies identify issues that will need to be addressed in the analysis of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS). The public is invited to identify issues and submit their comments to the BLM so they can be considered in the environmental analysis. The BLM formal scoping process that began with publication of the NOI in the Federal Register will run through January 15, 2008.

"BLM announces intent to prepare joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for wind energy project" (BLM California news release, 12/7/07)
The proposed Granite Mountain Wind Energy Project would install approximately 27 wind turbines and ancillary electric facilities on approximately 2,640 acres of public and private lands in the Granite Mountains between Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley in San Bernardino County. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2007/december/CDDNews_0814_windy_energy_eis.html

"Geothermal Projects Approved on Inyo National Forest" (BLM California news release, 12/10/07)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service have approved Mammoth Pacific, L.P.’s proposal to increase geothermal fluid production through an existing pipeline from two existing wells on the Inyo National Forest. Mammoth will construct a new short portion of pipeline and replace an underground segment of a pipeline within the current plant area. Once the two pipe segments are completed, a geothermal well within the existing Casa Diablo field will be capped and no longer used.

"Agencies publish draft environmental impact statement on energy transport corridor designations in 11 western states" (BLM national news release, 11/9/07)
The agencies will solicit comments during a 90-day public comment period on the draft programmatic environmental impact statement.  Public meetings will be held in each of the 11 states and in Washington, D.C.  During this period, briefings and consultation will continue to occur with each governor’s office, tribes, Congress, and historic preservation officials. One meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2008 in Sacramento.

RELATED: "West-wide Energy Corridor Programmatic EIS Information Center" (Cooperative web site)
Includes links to much more information. For public meeting locations, click on the link under public participation for "Getting Involved" and then "public meetings."

The BLM is partners with other agencies and communities in California Fire Safe Councils, helping residents create "defensible space" to protect their homes from wildfire.

A California Department of Corrections inmate worker burns brush cleared from alongside Route 299"Wildfire danger prompts crews to cut away bushes along Highway 299" (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/11/07)
"Mostly untouched by flames for more than 30 years, the tangle of vegetation flanking Highway 299 around Shasta is ready to turn a small spark into a big blaze. To avoid such a wildfire, which could threaten homes and snarl traffic, crews are clearing 100-foot swaths for seven miles along both sides of the highway....The cost of the $70,000 project is being covered by a grant from the California Fire Safe Council because it will reduce the risk of wildfire for houses in and near Shasta...."

RELATED: "Fuel reduction project on State Route 200 west of Redding" (California Department of Transportation news release, 12/6/07)
"The Western Shasta Resource Conservation District has received a National Fire Plan grant from the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management through the California Fire Safe Council to construct a shaded fuel break along both sides of State Route 299 west of Redding."
PDF file, 24 kilobytes:

"Threat of wildfires near Tehachapi seen as probability by local officials" (Tehachapi News, 12/11/07)
Tehachapi-area officials are working to clear overgrown vegetation, but "the real challenge in minimizing the effects of wildfires, they say, lies in educating residents on how to protect their own lives and properties in case of wildfire. An easy-to-understand guide for avoiding wildfires and minimizing damages to individual properties is available at any Tehachapi area fire station.... Wildfire control projects locally are being coordinated and promoted by the Greater Tehachapi Fire Safe Council....For more information about fire safety or to arrange a Council speaker for your organization," Tehachapi residents are urged to call the Tehachapi City Fire Department.

"The Orange Grove: Fires are easier to prevent than fight" (Orange County Register, 12/4/07)
Op-ed by George Ewan, Wildland Fire Defense Planner for the Orange County Fire Authority and Michael O'Connell, Executive Director of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy: "Funding through the California Fire Safe Council has been important to many community fire watch programs but it is hugely insufficient when compared with the problem....Fires will continue to occur, and the cost to fight them will be large. But without a better long-term strategy and more funding for prevention, the kinds of disasters we have witnessed this fall may become more frequent and more costly."


"BLM releases Eastern San Diego Proposed Resource Management Plan" (BLM California news release, 12/7/07)
The PRMP/FEIS 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. The area is adjacent to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Cleveland National Forest, several Indian reservations, and the U.S.-Mexico border. The PRMP will provide future management guidance for use and protection of the resources in this area.

"Cosumnes River Preserve draft plan available for review" (BLM California news release, 12/10/07)
When final, the plan will provide direction and guidance for the operations and maintenance of the existing 46,000-acre Preserve over the course of the next 10 years. The primary issues addressed in the draft management plan include long term operations and management of the preserve, acquisitions and easement management, habitat restoration and enhancement, recreation, environmental education, cultural resources, and continued protection of preserve lands.

"BLM Releases Cosumnes River Preserve Draft Herbicide Use Analysis" (BLM California news release, 12/11/07)
Approval of the EA will provide the implementing partners with direction and guidance for the continued use of herbicides to control invasive weeds on approximately 14,756 acres of preserve lands for the next three years. The primary issue addressed in the EA is control of non-native invasive weeds on preserve-owned lands.


"Get Healthier Outdoors symposium" (News.bytes Extra)
Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Lynn Scarlett spoke to the Get Healthier Outdoors Symposium on Dec. 4, in Folsom. The symposium was organized by the California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism and was designed to bring recreation and health professionals together to discuss successful programs for promoting healthier lifestyles by connecting Californians to the outdoors. Ms Scarlett's remarks concerned the need for physical activity and how the Interior lands provide people with a variety of opportunities for getting fit.

"BLM announces wet weather closure at South Cow Mountain" (BLM California news release, 12/10/07)
As has been done in previous years, the BLM will temporarily close the off-highway vehicle area to motor vehicles once the area has received an accumulation of four inches of rain, any additional rainfall amounting to a half inch with 24 hours, or an inch within 72 hours. Non-motorized activities such as hiking will still be permitted. The area will remain closed to motor vehicles for at least three days after rainfall stops to allow conditions to dry out.

"BLM proposed changing right-of-way rental fees to better reflect fair market value" (BLM national news release, 12/11/07)
The rent schedule covers most linear rights-of-way granted under the Mineral Leasing Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Both laws require the holder of a right-of-way to pay fair-market value to occupy, use, or traverse public lands for such facilities as power lines, fiber-optic lines, pipelines, roads, and ditches. The proposed revised rental fee schedule would also be adopted by the U.S. Forest Service for uses on National Forest lands, consistent with existing practices and as required by the Energy Policy Act.

Heather rides Spirit during 2007 World Ride and Tie Championship"Wild horse and burro, Fall/Winter 2007/2008" (BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program)
Click on the first link under "Hot Topics" for either a Microsoft Word or PDF version of the newsletter. On page 14 is the story of Spirit, a wild mustang from the California-Nevada border who was adopted out the BLM California wild horse and burro facility in Susanville, and competed in the 2007 World Ride and Tie Championship.

"Let land swap stand, former owners urge" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/7/07)
"A land swap struck down by a federal judge two years ago should be overturned, allowing one of the nation's largest landfills to be built in a mine pit near Joshua Tree National Park, an attorney...argued before a federal appellate panel Thursday.... At issue in the case is a 1999 land swap in which the U.S. Bureau of Land Management gave Kaiser 3,481 acres of public land around the former Kaiser Steel Co. mining pits to be used for the landfill operation. In return, Kaiser gave the BLM almost 2,500 acres along its 52-mile rail line that heads toward the Salton Sea."

RELATED: "Eagle Mountain Land Exchange and Landfill" (BLM California Issue Update, 12/07)
Background and status of federal litigation concerning a land exchange completed October 13, 1999. In the exchange, BLM conveyed scattered public lands in and around an existing open pit mine on private lands to Kaiser Eagle Mountain, Inc. In return, BLM received private lands which are habitat for threatened and endangered species.

"Greenhorn Creek: A fun zone for vandals" (Grass Valley Union, 12/11/07)
"The land in the Greenhorn area is primarily private land, Jones said, with some smaller segments of land owned by the Tahoe National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. Regardless of who owns the land, sheriff's deputies and search and rescue volunteers must respond to calls of illegal activity and to rescue stranded 4WD enthusiasts."

"Gualala fireworks sent island birds flying" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 12/10/07)
"The island is part of the California Coastal National Monument...and is protected by the federal Bureau of Land Management. Last year, the fireworks were opposed by some Gualala-area residents, led by Sea Ranch residents, who contended the previous year's show had a negative effect on the island's sea birds....a biologist hired by the organizers disputes" the negative reports.

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

Profile: Jen AsercionEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jennifer Asercion...
...like most students, works at two occupations.  She is a student trainee human resources specialist in the HR branch of support services division for BLM and works towards a masters degree at Chapman University. Read more:

Find details online at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(b.) they build nests above ground in the snow

SOURCE: "Mountain Pocket Gopher - Thomomys monticola" (BLM California wildlife database)
During the winter months, mountain pocket gophers build nests above the ground in the snow.

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

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