Stories

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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 We are happy to report that the project proponent Premium Energy, has withdrawn their application for the Owens Valley Pumped Storage Project.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: Bi-State Sage Grouse Listing Update

Bi-State Sage Grouse Listing Update The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on September 27, an extension on the final determination of whether to list the Bi-State Sage Grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is extending their final determination based on substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the available data relevant to the proposed listing, making it necessary to solicit additional information. Therefore, along with the announcement to extend the final determination, USFWS is also reopening the comment periods for the proposed rule to list the species and the proposed rule to designate critical…

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07 Oct: Summer Stewardship Season Goes Out with a Bang on National Public Lands Day

Summer Stewardship Season Goes Out with a Bang on National Public Lands Day Mother nature sent our stewardship events calendar out in style with moody skies and a clear indication that summer was indeed over. Saturday, September 28th was National Public Lands Day, and we celebrated with two stewardship events. We partnered with the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership and the Bureau of Land Management to rehabilitate some fencing to let-down fencing that is friendlier to sage grouse, deer, and pronghorn antelope. Further south on the 395, our Stewardship Crew partnered with the Inyo National Forest, the Eastern Sierra 4WD Club,…

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04 Oct: 25th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act

25th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act This October, Friends of the Inyo and folks across the California desert are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA), the act that established Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and 69 wilderness areas. The CDPA created a collective of protected lands that draws millions of visitors from all over the world each year, driving local economies and creating jobs. These protected lands are the backbone of our tourism economy, provide military security, and make this region a great place to live and…

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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…

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…