A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 350 - 9/24/08

CCC crew members remove invasive beach grass Cliffs on public lands in Utah California red-legged frog, top view A solar plant in Kramer Junction, CA Marines in vehicles train in a simulated Iraqi village at 29 Palms

- National Public Lands Day: This weekend!
- Virtual visitor: BLM in Utah
- Spotlight on partners: California Conservation Corps
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Recreation on public lands
- Renewable energy
- Twentynine Palms
- Headlines and highlights: Juniper project, mine mercury, wildfire work, burros, Cadiz, jobs
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

National Public Lands Day 2008 - logoNATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY...
...is this Saturday, Sept. 27! We hope you will be joining us. In case you can't make it, it's not too late to sign up for some later events. Some of our BLM-California field offices schedule events later in the year -- for instance, to take advantage of cooler weather in hotter locations.

Roundup of BLM-California National Public Lands Day events:

Oct. 4 - Bishop Field Office - Alabama Hills Community Spirit Day, Part 2. Volunteers will help clean up the Alabama Hills in anticipation of the Lone Pine Film Festival, Oct. 10-12.

Nov. 15 - Needles Field Office - This event is being planned, details to be announced.

"National Public Lands Day photo contest" (NPLD website)
The Eighth Annual National Public Lands Day Photo Contest is "open to all National Public Lands Day volunteers. The contest will allow you to celebrate the natural beauty of our country's public lands and show us why you have lent a hand for our public lands! ... photographs must be taken at a work site on National Public Lands Day 2008." (repeated from an earlier News.bytes)

Cliffs on public lands in UtahNative American cliff ruins in UtahVIRTUAL VISITOR: BLM in Utah
We continue our series on the Bureau of Land Management in other states with a "virtual visit" to Utah. The Bureau of Land Management in Utah administers nearly 22.9 million acres of public lands, representing about 42 percent of the state. This visit to their website highlights recreation, paleontology (nearly 300 dinosaur species have been discovered in Utah, most of them from BLM-administered lands), mineral development, and sites such as the Bonneville Salt Flats, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and more.

CCC crew members remove invasive beach grassSPOTLIGHT ON PARTNERS: California Conservation Corps 
Since 1996, BLM-California's Arcata Field Office and the California Conservation Corps (CCC) have been partnering to remove invasive European beachgrass from the Manila Dunes Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and more recently from the South Spit of Humboldt Bay. The CCC provides a development program to its young labor force by helping them acquire job skills in environmental conservation, fire protection, and emergency response.

California red-legged frog, top view
California red-legged frog - thumbnail from a photo by Joyce Gross

It is illegal to handle the California red-legged frog. Why?
(a.) because their skin contains chemicals that can harm a human
(b.) because they have a venomous bite
(c.) because their skin contains a potent hallucinogen
(d.) because they are federally classified as threatened
(e.) they are a carrier of the dreaded red-legged fever, which drives people with no previous experience to compete in the long jump

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


"L.A. company close to buying part of Onyx Ranch" (Bakersfield Californian, 9/19/08)
"A portion of the sprawling Onyx Ranch east of Isabella Lake ... is close to being sold to a Los Angeles resources company that focuses on building renewable energy resources ... sale of the ranch also has significance for public use and recreation in the area. The ranch is also adjacent to large areas of public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and sits near Jawbone Canyon, a popular off-road recreation area. Oscar Rudnick said the family is interested in working with the Friends of Jawbone Canyon off-roader group to create recreation opportunities on the ranch."

RELATED: "Jawbone Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Open Area"
(BLM-California, Ridgecrest Field Office)
From cross-country play to advanced technical routes, the Jawbone OHV Area offers over 7,000 acres of open-use public land where you can ride anywhere your skill and machine will take you.  Jawbone is also a great starting point to begin to explore the hundreds of miles of trail riding opportunities available in this region and outside of the OHV Open Area

"Ranching family donates rugged land for public trail" (Napa Valley Register, 9/21/08)
"The Ahmanns have granted an easement for use of land along the Napa-Yolo county line, east of Lake Berryessa, to the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District. The donation now gives hikers a chance to trudge up the Blue Ridge, the 3,000-foot highlands controlled by the federal Bureau of Land Management, to take in a view ranging from the Sierra Nevada to the east to Mount Tamalpais to the west."

Part of a line of trash bins at the Imperial Sand Dunes"BLM drops garbage pickup in the dunes" (Imperial Valley Press, 9/19/08)
"The more than 1 million annual visitors who come to the Imperial Sand Dunes will no longer be provided with trash service by the end of January and instead will be encouraged to 'pack it home.' Many, however, are concerned visitors will not take Bureau of Land Management’s advice and pack their trash home, instead leaving it in the desert or dropping it off at local businesses on their way home."
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.

RELATED: "Dunes need trash collection" (Imperial Valley Press, 9/22/08)
Editorial: "The visitors to the Imperial Sand Dunes bring revenue to local businesses and kick up quite a bit of sand. But they also produce a lot of garbage. In the past, much of that garbage has been collected in large containers at the dunes and disposed of ... Starting this season, the BLM will tell people to pack up their own trash and haul it home. That sounds great in theory, but in practice we know it won’t happen."
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.

RELATED: "BLM to Phase Out Trash Collection at Imperial Sand Dunes; Asks Visitors to "Pack it Home"
(BLM-California news release, 9/18/08)
(Repeated from last week's News.bytes) BLM District Manager Steve Borchard said with costs rising and available funding declining, trash collection "simply became a luxury we could no longer afford for our visitors. We want to provide a safe, quality recreation experience, so we're asking our visitors to take home their trash so our available funding can be used elsewhere in the Dunes."

"BLM will lift target shooting restrictions Sept. 29" (BLM-California news release, 9/23/08)
Restrictions on target shooting, in effect since early summer on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management Redding Field Office in Shasta, Butte, Tehama, Trinity and Siskiyou counties, will be lifted Monday, Sept. 29. Target shooting will be allowed from a half-hour before sunrise to noon daily. Use of steel jacket, steel core, armor piercing, tracer, incendiary or exploding ammunition is prohibited. Targets made of material that could emit sparks are also prohibited. Fire-season restrictions on campfires and off-road driving will remain in effect until fall rains reduce fire dangers further.

"Fire restrictions to be lifted on BLM, Forest lands" (BLM-California news release, 9/22/08)
Seasonal restrictions on campfires and firewood cutting will be lifted Sunday, Sept. 28, on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Eagle Lake, Alturas and Surprise field offices and the Modoc National Forest. The announcement affects public lands in Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Sierra, eastern Siskiyou, eastern Shasta counties in California and Washoe and Humboldt counties in Nevada. Some restrictions remain.


A solar plant in Kramer Junction, CA"Solar projects draw new opposition" (New York Times, 9/23/08)
"What's not to like about solar power? Sunlight is clean, quiet and abundant. If enough of it were harnessed and turned into electricity, it could be the solution to the energy crisis. But surprisingly, solar power projects are running into mounting opposition -- and not from hard-nosed, coal-fired naysayers, but from environmentalists. The opposition is particularly strong in Southern California."
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.

"Geothermal projects increase" (Imperial Valley Press, 9/22/08)
"Truckhaven has the potential to become a key producer of geothermal energy, as the Bureau of Land Management agreed to lease 14,731 acres of land to various geothermal plants. But the process from lease to plant will take a while."

"Our View: Not seeing the light on solar"
(Marysville Appeal-Democrat, 9/19/08)
Editorial: "Environmental extremism is a significant impediment to development of traditional energy sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas ... Rohrabacher's legislation would speed government's bureaucratic approval of 130 pending applications for solar power projects on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The legislation would remove the requirement of extensive environmental impact studies for each application."


Marines in vehicles train in a simulated Iraqui village at 29 Palms "Marines eye 400,000 acres for training expansion at Twentynine Palms" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/19/08)
"The federal government is evaluating more than 400,000 acres of public and private land -- including a major off-road vehicle recreation area -- for an expansion of the Marine Corps training center at Twentynine Palms. Marine Corps officials said they need more territory for weapons testing and live-ammunition exercises for 3,000 or more troops."
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its contents online.

RELATED: "Public meetings set in Twentynine Palms and Victorville for Marine Corps withdrawal" (BLM-California news release, 9/23/08)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Marine Corps will host public meetings in Twentynine Palms and in Victorville next month to help the public understand the legislative withdrawal process for consideration of the proposal to expand the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base in San Bernardino County. The public meetings are scheduled for Oct. 23 in Twentynine Palms and Oct. 24 in Victorville.

RELATED: "Marines aim to expand 29 Palms base" (San Bernardino County Sun, 9/19/08)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management this week announced a two-year moratorium on any new uses for the land while the request is reviewed. Both Congress and the president must approve any expansion. The 424,000 acres of state, federal and private land includes a dry lake, lava fields, mining land and much of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area."


"Old-growth Sierra junipers felled amid warming debate"
(Sacramento Bee, 9/21/08)
"The government's so-called 'stewardship project' here in rugged, remote northeast California is a lens through which to view the changing nature of forestry. No longer is managing woodlands in California just about balancing jobs and the environment. These days, carbon, climate and restoration are part of the equation. Juggling that mix is no easy task."
Note: This news site may require free registration to view its content online.

"Testing the waters" (Grass Valley/Nevada City Union, 9/19/08)
Scientists will study "a mercury hot spot located downstream from the largest hydraulic mine site in the Sierra Nevada. The study will examine what type of mercury is in the sediment of the Yuba River watershed and how readily the liquid metal changes into a harmful form known as methylmercury. Aquatic life, including fish consumed by humans, accumulates the poison. 'This is all new science. Nobody’s done this before,' said David Lawler, who is leading the South Yuba Mercury Study, also known as the Humbug Project, for the Bureau of Land Management. The federal agency manages a 7-mile stretch of the river between Edwards and Purdon crossings."

A worker operates a wood chipper to reduce fire danger"Post-wildfire rehabilitation" (Redding Record Searchlight, 9/24/08)
"Helping rugged land in the north state heal from a fire fight can be as much work as battling the blaze itself. Crews have been busy over the past three weeks, hauling in and spreading mulch and seeds on land burned this summer by the Moon and Motion fires, said Tim Bradley, fire management officer with the Bureau of Land Management's Redding field office. The fires charred about 28,000 acres apiece, with the Motion Fire burning over much of the rough terrain in the Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area."

RELATED: "OHV area will be closed for fire restoration work" (BLM-California news release, 8/20/08)
(Repeated from News.bytes issue 345) The Chappie-Shasta Off Highway Vehicle Area northwest of Redding will be closed at least until next spring while areas damaged during the Motion Fire are stabilized and repaired. Crews must also take down trees that are in danger of falling and replace structures that block access to abandoned mines. The closure will affect the Forest Service and BLM-managed parts of the OHV area.

"Bakersfield BLM to reopen areas closed by Piute Fire" (BLM-California news release, 9/19/08)
Areas and roads on BLM public lands south of Lake Isabella temporarily closed in early July due to the Piute fire were reopened Sept. 20. Any traffic venturing cross country or off the existing roads and trails is not allowed.

Two burros in a field"Burros as guard dogs on the farm" (Voice of America, 9/22/08)
"But burros are not only good pack animals. They can also help calm and control nervous horses and guard sheep and goats on farms. Robin Rivello works with the New Jersey chapter of the American Mustang and Burro Association. She says burros have protected farm animals even against bears."

RELATED: "Wild horses and burros" (BLM-California)
California is a leader among wild horse and burro adoptions.

"Cadiz says it has water pipeline route deal" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 9/18/08)
"The developer of a project that would store water supplies for Southern California in a desert aquifer said Thursday it has reached a 99-year lease agreement to use a portion of Arizona & California Railroad Co.'s right-of-way for an underground pipeline. Cadiz Inc. said the railroad right-of-way is more environmentally friendly than an earlier plan to put a pipeline across Bureau of Land Management lands."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include park ranger and law enforcement ranger.

Unless otherwise noted, find more details online at:

Sept. 25-26 - Modoc-Washoe stewardship committee meeting

Sept. 27-28
- Free guided hikes
Headwaters Forest Reserve - call for reservations

Sept. 30
- Rand Historic Mining Complex - public meeting
Johannesburg, CA - more information at:

Oct. 3-5 - Rails to Trails Festival

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(d.) because they are federally classified as threatened

SOURCE: "California red-legged frog - Rana aurora draytonii" (BLM California wildlife database)
California red-legged frogs face threats including reduced habitat, pollution, erosion and competition from bullfrogs.

Red-legged frogs in the news:

California red-legged frog in extreme close-up"Agency wants to boost Calif. frog's protected land" (Associated Press on Google News, 9/17/08)
"Federal wildlife officials on Tuesday proposed more protection for the threatened California red-legged frog, providing up to four times as much habitat than was set aside two years ago. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends designating up to 1.8 million acres in 28 California counties as habitat critical to the frog's survival. The proposal must undergo 60 days of public comment and another review before it becomes final."

"A California frog may be about to get room to stretch its red legs" (Los Angeles Times, 9/17/08)
"California's red-legged frog may be getting some of its land back. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed on Tuesday to more than triple the habitat set aside for the threatened frog"
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.

"1.8 million acres proposed as habitat for red-legged frog" (Modesto Bee, 9/19/08)
"The California red-legged frog regained political territory Tuesday as the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed designating 1.8 million acres in California as critical habitat for the threatened species."
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.

"Service proposes 300% increase in California red-legged frog critical habitat; Comment period opens for proposal based on entirely new analysis" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service news release, 9/16/08)
More information on plan and related comment period.

"California red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytonii)" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Listing status and related documents and plans.

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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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