Stories

27 Aug: Panamint Valley Lithium Mine Update

In April this year, Friends of the Inyo submitted comments on an Environmental Assessment proposing exploratory drilling for lithium in Panamint Valley. This project, lead by Battery Minerals Inc., proposes four drill sites north of Trona located off Ballarat Rd, Wingate Rd., and Indian Ranch Rd. In early August, much to the disappointment of Friends of the Inyo, the project was approved by the BLM. Battery Minerals Inc. can move forward with exploration operations. In our comments, we highlight a number of inadequacies in the environmental assessment. For example, it’s possible that the projects groundwater consumption will reduce water flows…

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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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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…

05 Apr: Action Alert: Lithium Mine in Panamint Valley

Proposed Lithium Mine in Panamint Valley What’s Happening? The BLM is considering allowing exploratory drilling project for lithium in Panamint Valley. Battery Mineral Resources, headquartered in Toronto, Canada proposes to drill four holes 2,000 feet deep on Panamint Lake just outside of the Surprise Canyon Wilderness. What Is Lithium? Lithium is used in a variety of renewable energy technologies such as the batteries that power electric vehicles. As the country begins to transition towards a more renewable and green economy, we need lithium to power the batteries that power our tech. Currently, the majority of the world’s lithium is produced…

05 Apr: CSU Long Beach Spring Outing to Conglomerate Mesa

“Oh, wow!” With wide eyes and a big grin, the last student crests the hill and catches his first views of Conglomerate Mesa. Our group, a dozen strong, gathers at the saddle just below the Mesa’s summit. Bryan Hatchell, Desert Lands Organizer at Friends of the Inyo, squats down to point out a spring parsley in bloom. The mid-day sun is warm on our backs, but now the gentle breeze from the West convinces us to put our jackets back on. We are all happy to take a break and quietly soak in the view. On Sunday, March 31st, Bryan…

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05 Apr: Spring Outdoor Programs Recap

Whew, the month of March has been a doozy for us and our stewardship and education programs! We started off with SnowSchool with the Bishop Elementary School fifth-graders up at Cardinal Village in Aspendell. In partnership with the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, and the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, we engaged 150 students over three days in snow science, creative activities, and fun games. A mere week later, we headed a bit lower to our high desert ecosystem in the Buttermilk Country, for a morning of Stewardship with the Flash Foxy Women’s Climbing…

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05 Mar: Spring Stewardship Opportunities Abound

This Spring, we have a trio of volunteer opportunities in our desert and high-desert ecosystems. Saturday, March 23, 2019 – Death Valley National Park Badwater Basin Effacement Volunteer Project – Our partners at Death Valley National Park are looking for enthusiastic volunteers for a day of restoring a playa in the Badwater Basin, treating OHV trespass. Space is limited to twelve people, so please RSVP to me at alex@friendsoftheinyo.org and I will send you the full details. Sunday, March 24, 2019 – Flash Foxy Women’s Climbing Festival Stewardship Day – Join us and partners as we send off the Women’s Climbing Festival…

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01 Mar: Success! Bodie Hills Winter Outing

On February 23rd, Friends of the Inyo staff and 21 eager guests set out for an adventure in the Bodie Hills. We convened at the bustling Virginia Creek Settlement for a hearty breakfast and great company. Nearly too full to function, our entourage of adventure seekers piled into cars and set out for the Bodie Hills. We soon arrived at the trailhead in Aurora Canyon and prepared ourselves for a trek in untouched snow. Snowshoers buckled up and skiers locked themselves in. Our Executive Director, Wendy Schnieder, quickly briefed the group on safety and best practices for a Bodie Hills…

27 Feb: Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Becomes Law

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Becomes Law On March 12th, 2019 the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act was signed into law. Several areas were awarded a congressional designation by this bill. Among them are the Alabama Hills which were designated a National Scenic Area. This is the first instance of a California Desert National Conservation Land being awarded this designation. Click the link below to read the official press release by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group to learn more. Alabama Hills Stewardship Group – Press Release    

07 Feb: Action Alert: Encourage Mono County to Attend INF Objection Meeting

Click here to read about the background of the Inyo national Forest plan. What’s happening? After a 35 day government shutdown, the Forest Service recently rescheduled their critical Objection Resolution meeting for February 19-21 at Cerro Coso Community College in Bishop. These meetings offer our last chance to get critical changes made to the plan regarding wilderness, rivers, wildlife, and recreation. Although the Forest Service recommended some new wilderness in the plan, they didn’t recommend any within Mono County – failing to recognize the Glass Mountains and other special wild places. The plan also falls short on recognizing eligible Wild…