A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 332 - 5/22/08

Harry McQuillen at the Cosumnes River Preserve A Scotch broom plant in front of a field of them Name the mustang originator with winner Cosumnes River Preserve biologist Mark Ackerman A mustang carries trash bags from the marijuana cleanup

- Cosumnes River Preserve
      - In the field: Video introduction to Preserve manager
      - Preserve plan
      - Employee profile: Cosumnes biologist
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: Cosumnes critter
- More wildlife news: Piedras sea lions, desert tortoise
- Weed of the week:
      - Can't brush it off
      - Weed fight: free loaner tools
- Mustang Makeover:
      - Spotlight on trainers
      - Name the Mustang
- More on mustangs: Cleaning up marijuana damage
- Wildfire and prevention:
      - "Wildfire season promises no mercy"
      - Restrictions to reduce danger
      - Protecting your home
- Preservation and conservation:
      - Headwaters Forest Reserve
      - Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument
- Headlines and highlights:
      - Deputy Secretary town meeting in Sacramento
      - Hollywood in the desert
      - Clear Creek planning
      - Cattle monitoring
      - More
- National and/or Department of the Interior items: Energy, environment, mining

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Harry McQuillen in front of wetlands at the Cosumnes River PreserveIN THE FIELD at the Cosumnes River Preserve
Welcome to our first "In the Field" online video. We plan to repeat this feature on occasion, as BLM-California managers introduce public lands that they manage. Now, let Harry McQuillen introduce you to the Cosumnes River Preserve, which he manages.


"Cosumnes River Preserve Management Plan - Final" (BLM-California, Folsom Field Office, 3/08)
PDF file, 14 megabytes, 336 pages:


Cosumnes River Preserve biologist Mark AckermanEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Mark Ackerman...
...is a wildlife biologist for the Cosumnes River Preserve. Most likely to be seen wearing waders and slogging through the shallow waters, Mark maintains the wetlands at the preserve, monitors and  inventories birds, assesses habitat conditions and designing wetland projects and improvements. 

Wildlife trivia: what is it?
What is it?

As shown in the video above, many types of birds reside or stop over at the Cosumnes River Preserve. But one of the earthbound animals spotted at Cosumnes is the slider – which does not belong there. What is a slider?
(a.) A muskrat-like animal that can squeeze through small openings
(b.) A smooth-skinned lizard that moves sideways as easily as forward
(c.) A toad that can cross hazardous surfaces, thanks to a slimy layer it generates under its belly
(d.) A common pet turtle that is not native to California
(e.) A fast-moving snake that moves much like a sidewinder
(f.) A small round animal with an outer layer of fat, favored among predator species because it can be swallowed easily without chewing first

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


"Elephant seal colony posing increasingly hefty challenges" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/18/08)
"The recent unsolved shooting deaths of three elephant seals at Piedras Blancas brought San Luis Obispo County’s seal rookery into newspapers across the country. But catching the perpetrators of that grisly crime is only the latest challenge the burgeoning seal colony is posing for park rangers and wildlife managers. During the most recent breeding season, several wayward seals crossed the highway onto the Hearst Ranch. Another was hit by a car and killed ... Seals using beaches popular with people cause a variety of public safety problems and can result in the beaches being closed ... An estimated 15,000 seals visit Piedras Blancas every year."

RELATED: "Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
On May 8, 2008, the light station was designated an Outstanding Natural Area.

"Desert tortoises gets 'head start' to survival" (Air Force News, 5/14/08)
"As part of Edwards effort to increase the desert tortoise population, people from Environmental Management here established the Head Start Program ... designed to bolster the population of younger age class tortoises to adult ages ... As a federal agency, the Air Force has a requirement to help restore and recover endangered species, such as the desert tortoise ... Once the team learns more and can prove that this program works, it can be relayed to other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management."

A Scotch broom plant in front of a field of themWeed of the Week graphicWEED OF THE WEEK: Scotch broom...
...is a perennial shrub six to ten feet tall. It was introduced to California in the 1850's as an ornamental in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and later used to prevent erosion and stabilize dunes. Seeds are known to survive at least five years in the soil and possibly as long as 30 years. Cutting the plant off at the base will not kill it as it readily resprouts. The entire plant with root system must be pulled. Details from our BLM-California, Arcata Field Office:

BLM botanist Jennifer Wheeler attacks Scotch broom with one of the loaner weed pullers"Agencies loan tools to defeat Scotch broom" (BLM-California news release, 5/20/08)
Scotch broom is one of the most recognizable plants in northern California -- and one of the most threatening to native plants and landscapes. To combat it, property owners can borrow Weed Wrenches from the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office and the Del Norte County Department of Agriculture in Crescent City. There is no fee in the "lend a wrench" program -- which encourages property owners to attack Scotch broom this spring, while the soil is still moist.

Photos of Scotch broom and the tool at work:

Thirty-two top trainers have 100 days to gentle and train mustangs -- then will compete for $7500 in prizes at the Horse Expo in Sacramento in June. We have been following some of these mustangs and trainers in News.bytes.

Sandi Anderson with Outback Jack"Inland trainers try to turn wild mustangs into saddle horses" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/21/08)
Sandi Anderson "is one of three local trainers ... who will compete for the Mustang Challenge ... in Sacramento. Jenna Nelson, of Redlands, and Yucca Valley's Gavin Jordan are also competing ... Anderson said that as soon as her horse, Outback Jack, came off the trailer at her ranch home perched above Lake Matthews, she knew she'd lucked out. 'Within half an hour, he came up and touched me,' Anderson said, adding that most mustangs take a couple of days to make such a move. 'I turned around and (a friend) got a picture of me looking like I had won the Kentucky Derby."
(Note: this news site may require free registration to view their content.)


Photos of trainers as they work with their mustangs:

Name the mustang originator with winner"Name the Mustang Challenge" (Mustang trainer website, in conjunction with Mustang Heritage Foundation)
"We have a winner" -- Trainer Matt Replogle held a contest to have Clark County, Nevada schoolchildren name the mustang he is training for the Mustang Challenge in Sacramento this June. One youngster suggested the name of his sister, serving in Iraq...
Note: this site includes sound effects -- you may want to adjust the volume on your computer.


A mustang carries trash bags from the marijuana cleanupThe team waits for their assignment by inspecting the camera"Mustangs adopted through BLM help clean remains of old marijuana garden" (Ukiah Daily Journal, 5/15/08)
"A Bureau of Land Management program to find homes for wild mustangs bore unexpected fruit Wednesday when three of those horses and seven BLM employees worked to remove garbage left over from an illegal marijuana grow." The "rugged, remote area" made if difficult to haul out " fencing, tarps, empty fertilizer bags, irrigation lines, sleeping bags and the general trash of a long-term camp." Their owner "generally uses the horses as pack animals though the 50 bags of trash they hauled away Wednesday was unusual cargo."

"Mustangs, volunteers help clear public land marijuana gardens" (News.bytes Extra)
Faced with the daunting task of hauling marijuana-growing debris from the rugged, steep and brushy slopes of North Cow Mountain, staff at the Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office last week turned to America’s Living Legends, adopted mustangs, for some much-needed help The BLM staff needed to remove thousands of feet of plastic irrigation pipe, fertilizer bags, plastic sheeting, metal and camping debris from eight marijuana garden sites where as many as 5,000 plants were seized in a law enforcement raid two years ago.


"Firefighters: Hot, dry summers are perfect wildfire weather" (Bakersfield Californian, 5/19/08)
"Kern County Deputy Fire Chief Phil Castle said there’s only been about a couple inches of rain in the valley this year and it won’t take much for a patch of brush to transform into a raging wildfire. 'People need to be extra careful,' Castle said.... 'We can’t change the environment and the hot, dry conditions,' said Debbie Santiago, fire mitigation and education specialist for the Bureau of Land Management. 'We need people to change their behavior.'" Includes video.
Note: This news site may require free registration to view their content.

"BLM puts seasonal fire restrictions in place for public lands in Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Trinity and Siskiyou Counties" (BLM-California news release, 5/15/08)
The restrictions were put in place to lessen the danger of human-caused fires and will remain in effect until fire dangers are lessened.

"BLM implements Stage I fire restrictions for the California Desert District" (BLM-California news release, 5/15/08)
Effective May 15, Stage I restrictions require that all campfires and barbecues are allowed with a permit that can be obtained at all BLM field offices, fire or ranger stations and patrol personnel. Stage I general area of influence includes BLM lands north and east of the Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests. Stage I areas may be elevated to Stage II during periods of extreme fire danger.


"Fire restrictions imposed along Colorado River" (Needles Desert Star, 5/14/08)
"The Bureau of Land Management has imposed fire restrictions on 2.5 million acres of public lands along the Colorado River in Arizona and California."

"Wildfire season promises no mercy" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 5/19/08)
"Wildfire season has arrived in Western Nevada. If the three fires in the Reno area in April are any indication, the season has the potential to be a bad one. 'We're bracing for the worst,' Reno fire Division Chief Marty Scheuerman said ... Fire chiefs at Lake Tahoe have reason to be nervous. Last summer was Tahoe's worst wildfire in modern history."


"Reduce the fuels, save your home" (Mammoth Time, 5/15/08)
"Ladder fuels reduction is an important element of fire protection as it dramatically increases the chance of your home surviving a wildfire," states an announcement from the town of Mammoth Lakes. Also, "creating a defensible space of 100 feet around your home, including tree thinning, limbing or brush removal provides a safe area for firefighters, and more importantly, a significant reduction in flammable vegetation."

"National system not meeting Cal Fire's needs, director says" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/19/08)
"With another fire season bearing down on Southern California, the national system used to order additional firefighters and equipment during a fire siege is not meeting the needs of California, its largest user ... Local fire bosses, frustrated by frequent hardware glitches and delays in the federal Resource Ordering and Status System, began bypassing ROSS and making direct requests for firefighters and equipment from other agencies, [Cal Fire Director Ruben] Grijalva said."


Old Falk rail barn being rebuilt for Headwaters Reserve" (Eureka Times-Standard, 5/17/08)
"Preservationists are deconstructing, piece by piece, an historic train barn at the old town of Falk, shuttling it across the South Fork of the Elk River, and preparing to reconstruct it. The barn is one of few remnants of the 1880s-era timber town still standing in the Headwaters Forest Reserve. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management expects to have the barn moved and rebuilt along the trail that runs from the end of Elk River Road as soon as Friday, where it will serve as an interpretive and educational center."

RELATED: "Headwaters Forest Preserve" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)

RELATED: "Palco case rests on judge's scale" (Eureka Times-Standard, 5/16/08)
"Parties in the Pacific Lumber Co. bankruptcy case on Thursday launched their final salvos in the 16-month war over how the 140-year old timber giant will be reorganized. The arguments had Judge Richard Schmidt of Corpus Christi, Texas, frustrated and apparently torn between a plan he seems to want to approve and one he can confirm as a matter of law." The BLM is not a party to Palco's Habitat Conservation Plan, which is overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of California, but one result of the negotiations was the acquisition in 1999 of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, managed by the BLM.

"Conference cohorts clean up trails" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 5/22/08)
"The group, in town for a conference in Indian Wells, volunteered to work on the trails in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument ... 'We don't have sufficient staff to do these kinds of things,' National Monument Manager Jim Foote said. 'Without volunteers, there is a lot of work that would not get done.'"

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000 "in order to preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational, and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and to secure now and for future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy the magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources in these mountains and to recreate therein.”

"Historic stamp mill burns" (Sonora Union-Democrat, 5/15/08)
"The historic Longfellow Gold Mine Stamp Mill building in Big Oak Flat was destroyed by fire Tuesday afternoon, but at least two history buffs believe the equipment in it may be salvageable." Marc Fossum, chairman of a committee of the Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society "said the mill was owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and his committee was in negotiations with BLM to save the equipment."


Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett gestures as she addresses employees"Deputy secretary holds town meeting in Sacramento" (News.bytes Extra)
Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett hosted more than 200 employees of the Department of the Interior at a "Town Hall" meeting yesterday in Sacramento. The ninth in a nationwide series designed to gather employees’ views as well as share Interior priorities for the last months of this Administration, the meeting began with a short video appearance by Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

"Elevated arsenic levels discovered south of Calico Ghost Town Park" (BLM-California news release, 5/14/08)
A preliminary environmental assessment of a mill tailings site just south of the San Bernardino County historic Calico Ghost Town Park has determined that elevated levels of arsenic are present and pose a potential public health hazard. 

"Hollywood comes to the desert" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 5/17/08)
"'Land of the Lost,' starring Will Ferrell, and directed by Brad Silberling, will soon finish shooting at the Trona Pinnacles. Over eight days, the 140 cast and crew members are shooting scenes for what is rumored to be a $100 million plus 'big summer comedy' to be released in July 2009 by Universal Pictures." Crews on public lands at the Trona Pinnacles and Dumont Dunes operated under film permits from the Bureau of Land Management.

RELATED: "The Trona Pinnacles" (BLM-California, Ridgecrest Field Office)
This unique landscape consists of more than 500 tufa (calcium carbonate) pinnacles rising from the bed of the Searles Dry Lake basin. These tufa spires, some as high as 140 feet, were formed underwater 10,000 to 100,000 years ago when Searles Lake formed a link in an interconnected chain of Pleistocene lakes stretching from Mono Lake to Death Valley.

"Clear Creek roads closing" (Hollister Freelance, 5/16/08)
"The San Benito County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 for the temporarily closure of unmaintained county roads in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Clear Creek Management Area ... County Administrative Officer Susan Thompson said there is approximately 25 miles of roads the county owns that will be immediately closed due to the state's mitigation of asbestos levels."

A member of the public brings up a point with BLM-California's Sky Murphy"Discussing the future of Clear Creek" (News.bytes Extra)
About 250 members of the public, mainly off-highway vehicle users, discussed the future management of the Clear Creek Management Area at a scoping meeting Monday night in Hollister and another Wednesday night in San Jose.

"Ranchers get on board BLM’s mutual-monitoring program" (Inyo Register, 5/13/08)
"Following the lead of the owners of the Lone Tree Cattle Company, more ranchers have now signed cooperative rangeland monitoring agreements with the Bureau of Land Management. As a result of the agency’s ongoing effort to expand the number of Eastern Sierra ranchers participating in these cooperative agreements, BLM Bishop Field Manager Bill Dunkelberger has announced two new participants in its mutual-monitoring program with grazing allottees."

"Cemex bill faces hurdles" (Santa Clarita Signal, 5/18/08)
"Cemex has two, 10-year mining contracts with the federal Bureau of Land Management, and is authorized to mine ... sand and gravel ... on 400 acres of land in Soledad Canyon. The city of Santa Clarita has long opposed the mine as a scourge that would add pollution and unwanted traffic...." A bill to end the dispute between the city and Cemex still must pass the House and Senate.

"City questions transfer of federal land to Pechanga" (North County Times, 5/20/08)
"For four years, a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa that would add land to the Pechanga Indian Reservation has been stuck in Congress. But just as the legislation that would transfer nearly 1,200 federally-owned acres to the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians has moved out of the House and into Senate committees, a letter sent out last week by Temecula's city manager has landed like a cannonball." Said the congressman's chief of staff: "Its goal is to transfer undevelopable, steep and surplus land from the (Bureau of Land Management) to the Pechanga."


"Bus overturns in Calif. desert, 1 dead, 22 hurt" (Associated Press on Google News, 5/18/08)
"Firefighters from the San Bernardino County Fire Department, Barstow Fire and Bureau of Land Management" assisted at the scene after a bus turned over on Interstate 40 near Ludlow, California on its way to Laughlin, Nevada.

"Conservancy hoping for wild and scenic status" (Pahrump Valley Times, 5/16/08)
"This could be the year a congressional bill is introduced to give the Amargosa River the designation of a wild and scenic river, Brian Brown, a founding member of the Amargosa Conservancy, told attendees at the Devil's Hole Workshop here last week. Conservancy members are advocating the designation for a 23-mile stretch of the river between Shoshone, Calif., and Dumont Dunes that would place it under strict control by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management."

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

See our calendar online at:


"Feds: Most oil, much of gas beneath public lands off limits" (Associated Press in San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/21/08)
"A new report from the Bush administration says most of the oil and more than 40 percent of the natural gas beneath public lands in the United States are off limits to drilling. Opening those reserves -- by rolling back environmental safeguards and employing new drilling technologies -- would give energy companies access to an estimated 19 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, administration officials said...."

RELATED: "U.S. sits on locked pools of oil, gas" (Ventura County Star, 5/22/08)
"Locally, the BLM study examined federally-owned land in the Ventura Basin, which it defined as the broad swath of oil-producing areas across most of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, from Fillmore on the east to Point Conception to the west. The region includes the Los Padres National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and northern Channel Islands."

RELATED: "Report offers road map for energy relief" (BLM national news release, 5/21/08)
"The report is the third in a series of congressionally mandated scientific studies of U.S. onshore Federal oil and natural gas resources and limitations on their development. All onshore Federal lands throughout the U.S. believed to have energy potential are included in this latest study.  These public lands are estimated to contain 31 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The BLM administers leasing of onshore Federal oil and gas resources." Includes link to audio podcast of announcement by Assistant Secretary of the Interior C. Stephen Allred.

RELATED: "Ignoring America's energy resources ignores energy security" (BLM news)
Op-Ed by C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management: "The truth is America has abundant energy resources.  We simply choose not to develop most of them. We cannot, and must not, ignore key energy resources available to us here at home."

"Analysis: Bush team battered by courts on environment" (Sacramento Bee, 5/19/08)
"Federal courts appear to have done what relentless green lobbying could not in more than seven years: rein in what critics call a de facto deregulation of the environment by President Bush's administration."

"Clean-Air Rules Protecting Parks Set to Be Eased" (Washington Post, 5/16/080
"The Bush administration is on the verge of implementing new air quality rules that will make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas, according to rank-and-file agency scientists and park managers who oppose the plan." Any new rules would apply to some wilderness areas managed by BLM-California.
Note: this news site may require free registration to view their content.

"Mining law reform stalls" (The Hill, 5/20/08)
"The General Mining Act of 1872 turned 136 this month, despite a hard push by environmental groups and congressional Democrats to replace the measure. Reform supporters had high hopes the Old West-era law would be updated and royalties would be placed on mining operations for the first time. One bill passed by the House would generate about $40 million annually to clean up abandoned mines that pose environmental hazards in the West ... The Bureau of Land Management, Office of Surface Mining, the Forest Service and the EPA often fund the cleanup for these sites."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) A common pet turtle that is not native to California

Slider - a common pet turtle in the wildSOURCE: "Slider - Pseudemys scripta" (BLM California wildlife database)
Sliders, also known as pond sliders, are an introduced species. They are common pet turtles, and were probably introduced into California as a result of pet owners releasing them into the wild.

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