Jora Fogg

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07 Oct: Haiwee Pumped Storage Update

Haiwee Pumped Storage Update Back in June we updated you on two proposed pumped storage projects in the Eastern Sierra. We are happy to report that the project proponent Premium Energy, has withdrawn their application for the Owens Valley Pumped Storage Project. Nevertheless, they continue to pursue the Haiwee Pumped Storage Project, for which the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission opened a 60 day public comment period on September 27, 2019. This project would have one upper reservoir and one lower reservoir with either an underground pressure tunnel or above ground penstock connecting them. The filling of the reservoirs would be…

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07 Oct: Inyo National Forest Plan Update

Inyo National Forest Plan Update The Inyo National Forest released their Final Environmental Impact Statement and a preview of the Final Plan on September 20, 2019. The Final Record of Decision is expected to be signed by the Forest Supervisor on or near October 21, 2019. After a 30 day waiting period the final plan will take effect. Implementation of the new plan will begin at this time with future planning processes such as Comprehensive River Management Plans for the Forest’s Wild and Scenic Rivers and winter travel management. Since 2012, Friends of the Inyo has worked to shape the new…

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07 Oct: Bi-State Sage Grouse Listing Update

Bi-State Sage Grouse Listing Update The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on September 27, an extension on the final determination of whether to list the Bi-State Sage Grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is extending their final determination based on substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the available data relevant to the proposed listing, making it necessary to solicit additional information. Therefore, along with the announcement to extend the final determination, USFWS is also reopening the comment periods for the proposed rule to list the species and the proposed rule to designate critical…

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21 Aug: Bodie Hills Mining Threat Returns

  Canadian based Radius Gold has filed a preliminary application to begin gold mining exploration in the heart of the Bodie Hills near the Dry Lakes Plateau and Rough Creek drainage. This new proposal was recently brought before the Mono County Land Development Technical Advisory Committee for consideration.  The proposed exploration site sits on a split parcel of state leased mineral rights land and private land used for cattle ranching. You can access the “pre-application” to Mono County click here. Access for the exploration is within the BLM managed Bodie Wilderness Study Area (WSA). The WSA is subject to restrictions…

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01 Aug: 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…

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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…

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06 Jun: Eastern Sierra Pumped Storage Projects Update

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…

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03 May: Pump Storage threat 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…