Jora Fogg

01 Aug: Action Alert! Defend NEPA on Forest Service Lands!

  Friends of the Inyo and conservation groups around the county are fighting back against a terrible rule change that would fundamentally undermine the Forest Service’s NEPA policies and practices. Specifically, the proposed changes would create loopholes to increase the speed and scale of resource extraction, including logging and mining, while eliminating public awareness and input on up to 93% of proposed projects. Additionally, the Forest Service has proposed several new “categorical exclusions” that would allow the agency to move project planning behind closed doors by excluding the public from the decision-making process and eliminating any science-based review of impacts to water, wildlife, and recreation. Read…

03 Jul: New Proposal Would Slash Environmental and Public Review for Forest Service Lands

Comments needed by August 12! The USFS is proposing sweeping changes to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules. NEPA law requires the agency to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of projects such as fuels reduction treatments, restoration, and development. The proposed rule is designed to increase the pace and scale of “work accomplished on the ground” which we acknowledge is a meaningful objective necessary to restore fire to the Sierra Nevada and remove hazardous fuels. Unfortunately, the proposed rule contains too many exemptions for commercial timber harvest and the ability for the Forest Service to conduct…

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03 Jul: Bridgeport Ranger District seeks Public Comment on Grazing Proposal

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is considering reopening historic sheep allotments near Bridgeport, CA to cattle grazing. The project area covers roughly 20,000 acres of public land in the Cameron Canyon, Jordon Basin, Dunderburg, and Summer Meadows areas, west of highway 395 and south of the community of Bridgeport. Due to the listing of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in 1999 and the significant threat of disease transmission to wild sheep, domestic sheep grazing permits were cancelled in 2010 and 2014, respectively. After nearly a decade of recovery from grazing these meadows, uplands and riparian systems have been allowed to rest…

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26 Jun: 2019 Owens Lake Bird Festival Bird List

  Thanks to everyone who joined us for the 2019 Owens Lake Bird Festival! We hope to see you April 24-26th, 2020.  Here are the birds we saw at this year’s festival: American Wigeon Mallard Blue-winged Teal Cinnamon Teal Northern Shoveler Northern Pintail Green-winged Teal Redhead Ring-necked Duck Lesser Scaup Bufflehead Ruddy Duck California Quail Chukar Common Loon Eared Grebe Western Grebe Clark’s Grebe American White Pelican Great Egret Snowy Egret Black-crowned Night-Heron White-faced Ibis Turkey Vulture Northern Harrier Cooper’s Hawk Red-shouldered Hawk Red-tailed Hawk Virginia Rail American Coot Black-necked Stilt American Avocet Black-bellied Plover Snowy Plover Killdeer Spotted Sandpiper…

06 Jun: Update: Eastern Sierra Pumped Storage Projects

Premium Energy Holdings, LLC (PE) is proposing two massive pumped storage projects in the Eastern Sierra that could impact local communities, recreational uses, and habitats in Inyo and Mono County. Pumped storage involves pumping water up-slope during times of low energy demand/high energy production and then releasing it (in pipes or tunnels) downhill to power turbines and generate electricity when additional energy is required. On May 24, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that regulates hydropower projects including pumped storage, rejected the company’s application that proposed multiple “closed-loop” reservoir/pum systems within Wheeler Ridge’s John Muir Wilderness.  This proposal would…

03 May: New threat of hydroelectric comes to the Eastern Sierra!

Through a public notice and the diligence of our members and supporters, we recently learned of a proposal submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for construction of a large pump storage facility in the Wheeler Crest, Rock Creek and Owens River Gorge. Pump storage involves pumping water up-slope during times of low energy use/high energy production and then releasing it (in pipes in this case) downhill to create electricity when additional energy is required. This massive proposed project would impact the communities of Round Valley, Paradise and Swall Meadows. The project is within habitat for the endangered Sierra…

03 May: Bi-State Sage Grouse Public Comment Period

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is soliciting additional public comments on its proposed rule to list the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Greater Sage Grouse as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This action follows a ruling overturning a 2015 USFWS and Department of Interior decision not to list the bird. As a result of this ruling, the agencies are required to re-analyze listing the Bi-State Sage Grouse. The notice announcing the reopening of the public comment period requires submission of comments by June 11, 2019. Comments can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov by searching under docket number…

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09 Jan: Friends of the Inyo’s Eastern Sierra 2018 Policy Work: The Year in Review

It was a busy year in policy for Friends of the Inyo as we worked to protect the Eastern Sierra’s public lands: Our Work to Protect Our National Forests We welcomed a new Forest Supervisor on the Inyo National Forest, and introduced her to our 30-year history of engagement with forest planning and stewardship.    The Inyo National Forest released its final proposed management plan.  We filed an objection because we believe the proposed plan does not do all it can to protect the Forest’s ecosystems.  To facilitate public involvement in the development of the best possible plan, we held…

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12 Dec: What the 2018 election means for the Eastern Sierra

The November 2018 election brings new opportunities and challenges for Eastern Sierra’s public lands. Democrats won enough House races to take back control of the House of Representatives which means Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona will take the gavel as the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. We are optimistic Grijalva’s years of support for public lands will help many of California’s public lands bills move forward.   California has 44 million acres of federal public lands. Our partners at CalWild report that, as a result of the election: 23%, or 10.4 million acres,of California’s federal public lands are now…

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16 Nov: Devils Postpile Fire Management Plan

After 18 years the Devils Postpile National Monument is updating their Fire Management Plan. Managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and designated by presidential proclamation in 1911, the Monument protects 800 acres surrounded by the Inyo National Forest. 687 acres of the Monument is federally designated Wilderness. A new fire management plan is needed because the current management direction mandates full suppression and does not allow natural ignitions to be managed for ecosystem benefit. It also restricts fuels treatment projects to the northeastern 15% of the Monument that is not federally-designated Wilderness. Prior to 18th century fire suppression, lightning-ignited fire occurrence…