Jora Fogg

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…

DC

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…

Flag

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…

Fire-prescribed fire forest understory

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…

owens dry lake

29 Aug: Owens Lake Big Day

August 21 was the annual fall migration Big Day at Owens Lake. Big Days” are known in the birding world as days where we count as many individual birds as possible in one day. Our own board member Mike Prather organizes observers to assist Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) with these counts each spring and fall. This acts as a snapshot of peak migration numbers that help inform DWP’s management of the lake. While I’ve participated in many a spring Big Day, this year I decided to join the August event as well. The shorebirds and waterfowl…

backpacking near meadow

29 Aug: Highlights of the Final Forest Plan

The long awaited Inyo National Forest Land Management Plan was released in late July. Since then, Friends of the Inyo has been reviewing the final plan and supporting documents to understand how the plan intends to care for 1.9 million acres of Forest service lands in the Eastern Sierra. The plan includes how to manage and plan for recreation, protect at risk species, and recommendations for Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers designations. We’re finding that the final plan is a mixed bag. We remain concerned about the level of protection the plan would provide for natural resources on the…

Jora Fog and CLF in Washington DC

02 Aug: DC Trip to Protect Public Lands

Desert Lands Focus of Washington Visit Last month, the Conservation Lands Foundation sent a coalition of public lands groups to Washington DC. I was fortunate to join, and meet with our congressional offices about public lands. Friends of the Inyo has a long history working to protect the California desert. With recent administrative attacks it was a perfect time to meet with congressional staff and touch on current threats and opportunities. From hearing rooms to hallways to cafeterias, our meetings took place just about everywhere. Our packed three-day agenda consisted of a visit to the Senate building to meet Feinstein…

hiking alpine meadow sierra nevada

09 Jul: Senate Passes Encouraging Farm Bill

On June 28 the Senate passed (86-11) a bipartisan Farm Bill that is free of attacks on the environment. The passage of a clean Senate bill is an important step forward, but we are not out of the woods yet as a conference committee still needs to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills. The Senate’s work has just begun, as they begin meeting with the House to come to a resolution. The bipartisan Senate bill rejected numerous attacks on our national forest and public lands that were present in the House Farm Bill. That bill narrowly passed just last…