Policy

Kathy Bancroft

‘Haaland’s mining justice moment’: Must-read opinion piece from Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribal Leader in the 9/2/2021 Inyo Register

By Kathy Bancroft Lone Pine, California, the town where I was born and have lived all my life, sits in the valley by Conglomerate Mesa a mile from Death Valley National Park. I call the place Payahuunadü, meaning “land of flowing water.” The Mesa hosts a vibrant, beautiful and productive ecosystem of rare and unique desert plants, as well as culturally sensitive and archeologically significant artifacts. Returning to the Mesa, I am thrown back to my childhood, gathering pinyon nuts, listening to my relatives share our stories, and performing traditional rituals. Conglomerate Mesa is the traditional homeland of my people,…

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A Win for the Sierra Nevada Red Fox

By Jora Fogg, Friends of the Inyo Policy Director Sometime soon, National Forest access and smoke conditions permitting, I will head on a multi-day excursion into the High Sierra backcountry to an area where the elusive and rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) has been sighted. I’m especially excited because on September 3rd the Sierra Nevada Red Fox will receive protection under the Federal Endangered Species Act. In 2018 the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released a Species Status Assessment (SSA) Report for the Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment. The SSA team represented USFWS biologists, in consultation…

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Action Alert: Comment by Aug. 30th to Protect Conglomerate Mesa from Foreign Drilling!

In their next phase of destructive gold exploration, Canadian company K2 Gold, through its subsidiary Mojave Precious Metals, LLC, is proposing to build 2.6 miles of brand new roads and 1.1 miles of overlanding routes to access 30 different drill sites and drill 120 holes on Conglomerate Mesa. The total impact is estimated to be 12.2 acres, more than 61 times as much as K2 Gold’s previous exploration activities. The Ridgecrest Bureau of Land Management has opened up its 30-day public scoping comment period through August 30th. If you love Conglomerate Mesa and want to protect it, participate now!

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Action Alert – DEADLINE EXTENSION: Comment on Two Long Overdue River Management Plans by Aug. 6!

Friends of the Inyo was actively involved in the designation of the Owens River Headwaters (ORHW) and Cottonwood Creek as Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) in 2009. We worked for years to Congressionally protect these free-flowing rivers and the water they supply to humans and wildlife. The development of river management plans is a fundamental provision of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act; such plans are intended to be completed within three years of designation. Now, after 12 years of inaction, and thanks to litigation, the U.S. Forest Service is finally completing this task. Last year, Resource Assessments were completed for…

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Action Alert: Comment by July 23 on Two Long Overdue River Management Plans

Friends of the Inyo was actively involved in the designation of the Owens River Headwaters (ORHW) and Cottonwood Creek as Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) in 2009. We worked for years to Congressionally protect these free-flowing rivers and the water they supply to humans and wildlife. The development of river management plans is a fundamental provision of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act; such plans are intended to be completed within three years of designation. Now, after 12 years of inaction, and thanks to litigation, the U.S. Forest Service is finally completing this task. Last year, Resource Assessments were completed for…

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Comprehensive River Management Plan – Owens River Headwaters and Cottonwood Creek | Coalition Comments

For the Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) to fulfill its protective purpose, it is essential that the plan go beyond a simple recitation of resources and issues and focus on current and future actions that could harm the free-flowing condition, outstandingly remarkable (OR) values, segment classification, and water quality of the protected river. Unfortunately, the draft CRMP for the Owens River Headwaters Wild and Scenic River (WSR) fails this test. In particular, the CRMP and accompanying Resource Assessment fail to provide crucial information about groundwater extraction from aquifers that contribute to the flow of the Owens River Headwaters WSR.

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Devils Postpile Wastewater Treatment System Comments

The plan for a wastewater treatment system in Devils Postpile National Monument represents proactive efforts of the National Parks Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to address the current failing wastewater system. This project as currently described will protect public lands and reduce the maintenance burden on management agencies. Specifically the proposed septic system will protect waterways from contamination by eliminating the need for aging mechanical force mains and lift stations. Removing the aging mechanical infrastructure will reduce danger of failure and accidental discharge, reduce the agency’s energy costs, and reduce maintenance needs.

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Help Fight Multiple Threats of Harmful Mine Development

Three beautiful Eastern Sierra landscapes, Conglomerate Mesa, Long Valley and the Bodie Hills, are under threat from foreign mining companies whose proposed projects would generate profits for them at the expense of  destroying economically and ecologically important landscapes in Inyo and Mono counties. These projects threaten the scenic beauty of our landscapes with toxic contamination of soil and water, damage to the habitat of struggling species, dust, noise and light pollution, all conditions that are detrimental to our area’s recreational tourism and ranching economy. These proposals to destroy lands for profit also show great disrespect to the Eastern Sierra’s native…

Obernolte Telephone Town Hall

Action Alert: Speak up for Conglomerate Mesa at Rep. Obernolte’s Virtual Townhall

Thursday June 24th at 5:00pm Congressman Obernolte will host a telephone town hall to hear directly from you on the issues impacting our community. What can I do? We encourage you to attend and advocate for the protection of Conglomerate Mesa from K2 Gold’s mining activity. To participate in this event, please register at least one hour ahead of time via Rep. Obernolte’s website here. You can also call in at the time of the event at (833) 305-1684.

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Locals Brace for Fire Threat From Adventure Travelers | Adventure Journal

Just in time for the summer surge in tourism, Astra Lincoln beautifully summarizes the issues faced when fire policy, recreation, and land management intersect in the Eastern Sierra. Astra worked multiple past seasons as a Trail Ambassador for Friends of the Inyo. In Mammoth Lakes, California, a town in the Eastern Sierra known for its skiing and outdoor recreation, tourism has been booming. The town’s residents are terrified. After 2020’s landscape-altering fire season, in which 4 percent of the total area of California burned, Mammoth Lakes locals are keenly aware that rises in tourism come with unique wildfire risks. There…