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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: August Already? Stewardship Season is Flying By!

Though the cliché is the enemy of originality, they often develop because there are nuggets of truth in there. In this case, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” has proven to be the apt descriptor of our summer season of stewardship thus far. We kicked things off at the 10th Annual June Lake Trails Day, where 65 volunteers came out to take care of the Rush Creek & Parker Bench Trails, and clean up around Gull and June Lakes. What a great day! The next weekend, we partnered with the Sierra Eastside Mountain Bike Association (SEMBA) to brush the Lower…

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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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22 Jul: New Company Interested in Mining Conglomerate Mesa

In April 2019, the BLM State Office upheld the Perdito Project environmental assessment that approves exploratory drilling via helicopter access at Conglomerate Mesa. This means exploratory drilling could begin anytime. While there is no company currently positioned to carry out the exploration, Friends of the Inyo recently learned that a company has visited the area and is interested in leasing the claims. That company is K2 Gold, based in Vancouver, Canada. K2 Gold is an exploration-focused mining company with many ongoing projects in the Yukon Territory and Alaska. They appear to have the resources to execute the Perdito Plan of…

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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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03 Jul: Join us on a Hike this Summer!

Our Trail Ambassadors have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on their interpretive hikes for the season, and they’re ready for the world to see! We’re starting things out with a bang, with Robin leading not one, but TWO Botany Hikes in Rock Creek on the same day. He’ll be leading hikes at 9 AM & 1 PM, out of Rock Creek Lakes Resort (across the street from the Rock Creek Lake).  The rest of the hike schedule will be as follows: Botany in Rock Creek with Robin – Saturdays 7/6 (9 AM & 1 PM), 7/20 (1…

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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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04 Jun: 2019 BioBlitz at Conglomerate Mesa

On the weekend of May 10th, Friends of the Inyo teamed up with the California Native Plant Society, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and volunteers to document the flora and fauna of Conglomerate Mesa. While preparing for the trip, the weather seemed to want to play their cards close to the vest and hide what was in store for the weekend. A changing forecast of rain, partly to fully clouded skies, to sunshine led us to question whether or not we would make it up to the rugged roads to the Mesa… To our surprise, when everyone arrived Saturday, the…