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24 Nov: Solitude Canyon | Revised Proposed Action

Solitude Canyon | Revised Proposed Action On November 8, 2020 the Inyo National Forest released a Revised Proposed Action for the project.  The Forest will bring forward the Lakes Basin portion of the proposal, while removing the Solitude Canyon trail from consideration. The District Ranger cited concerns by State agencies and Forest Service specialists about Mule Deer, as well as issues raised by the public. Over 2,000 public comments were received on the proposal. A final decision memo regarding the remaining portion of trail near Lake Mary will be released soon.

Bodie Hills looking over Mono L and Sierra April 26 2018

17 Nov: New Legislation Seeks Federal Recognition for the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe

New Legislation Seeks Federal Recognition for the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe This Autumn, Congressman Paul Cook introduced legislation, H.R.8208, to recognize the tribal sovereignty of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a tribe. In 2019, Friends of the Inyo submitted a letter of support urging him to move legislation forward recognizing the identity and history of his constituents. Cook’s press release outlines the decades-long struggle to gain recognition from the federal government. Rep. Cook said, “Federal recognition of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe is long overdue, and it’s time we honor their tireless efforts in preserving their culture and history. I commend the…

Copy of constructed drill pad

04 Nov: Oceana Gold Begins Exploration at Spring Peak

One year ago the Forest Service approved drilling at the Spring Peak area under a categorical exemption After new communications with the Forest Service and a site visit in October, we learned that OceanaGold has begun improving roads and constructing drill pads at four locations while they await the arrival of their drilling equipment from Canada. The company has only one year to finish the project under the categorical exemption. Risk to Wildlife and Permit requirements The drilling area contains multiple seeps and springs which are critical seasonal habitat for sage grouse. BHCP and volunteers will be making regular trips…

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12 May: Endangered Species Day | May 15th, 2020

Endangered Species Day May 15th, 2020 Endangered Species Day occurs every year on the third Friday of May and is an opportunity for us to learn and share about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions we can take to help protect and recover endangered species. Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation’s wildlife and wild places. Traditionally, conservation groups and other organizations throughout the country hold tours, special speaker presentations, children’s activities, and more to celebrate Endangered Species. The Endangered Species Coalition coordinates activities and actions around…

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11 May: Action Alert: E-Bikes Comment Period

ACTION ALERT: E-Bikes Comment Period Times continue to be tough and the Trump Administration is advancing their most controversial ideas for our public lands. As we track their work, we took notice of their most recent move to propose allowing motorized mountain bikes, or e-bikes, on non-motorized trails–trails that human-powered recreationists such as mountain bikers, hikers, hunters, and equestrians have fought for years to keep non-motorized. This change threatens decades of hard work to designate quality non-motorized trail opportunities in communities across the West. Adding insult to injury, BLM proposes to enact these changes with no environmental analysis under NEPA–despite…

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02 Apr: USFWS Withdraws Bi-State Sage Grouse for Listing Under Endangered Species Act

USFWS Withdraws Bi-State Sage Grouse for Listing Under Endangered Species Act The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced their decision to withdrawal the Bi-State sage grouse from listing under the Endangered Species Act this week after nearly two years of review. The USFWS concluded that successful implementation of conservation actions and the future commitments of partners of the Bi-State Local Area Working Group are adequate to reducing threats to the bird. The Bi-State sage grouse is a geographically isolated and genetically distinct population of the Greater Sage Grouse. It was originally proposed for listing as threatened in 2013, with…

McMurray Mdws (1)

04 Feb: Action Alert: Inyo County Road Maintenance and Motorized Mixed Use

Action Alert: Inyo County Road Maintenance and Motorized Mixed Use Comments are needed on Inyo County Road Maintenance and Motorized Mixed Use on National Forest Roads. On Jan 13, 2020 the Inyo National Forest provided notice that it is considering granting easements and special use permits to Inyo County for eight roads on the White Mountain and Mount Whitney Ranger Districts of the national forest. The roads considered for easements are portions of Death Valley, Onion Valley, County, and Foothill Roads. Roads considered for special use permits include Division Creek, McMurray Meadows, Coyote and Mazourka Canyon. This proposed action, if…

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08 Jan: Supporting Fire Restoration in the Eastern Sierra

Supporting Fire Restoration in the Eastern Sierra The Inyo National Forest (INF) is busy implementing the new Forest Plan and one of their first steps is an ambitious proposal to approve up to 200,000 acres of the Forest, outside of designated wilderness, for prescribed burning and associated fire restoration. Typically each prescribed fire project needs to go through its own environmental review, reducing the ability to increase the pace and scale of restoration activities.  Under the Eastern Sierra Fire Restoration and Maintenance Project the Forest would be approved to implement prescribed fire and fuels treatment projects for a ten year…

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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…