Volume 21 No. 1 January 2001

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora



The January meeting will be on Wednesday, the 31st at White Mountain Research Station in Bishop at 7:00 pm. Tom Locker, Fuels Management Officer for the Inyo Nat'l Forest, will give a program entitled: "Fire Management and Prescribed Burning in the Inyo National Forest."  The March meeting will be on Wednesday, the 28th at the high school library in Lone Pine. Check the March newsletter for complete information on the scheduled program. 


Tuesday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the White Mountain Research Station. All chapter members and other interested individuals are welcome and encouraged to attend.  


Happy New Year to everyone! Let’s hope for a floriferous start to the Millenium and many outings to enjoy this amazing area we live in. Please remember to contact Mark Bagley, Field Trip Chair. with the outings you’d like to lead. Just to give everyone a heads up, our chapter will be hosting the June 2002 CNPS state board meeting. We were asked if we could host the June or September 2001 meeting but we already have some big events planned for those months, e.g. the Sierra Spring Sojourn and annual Native Plant Sale. Some of the state board meetings are hosted by chapters and I guess our chapter hasn't hosted one in a while - over 10 years to be exact. Anyway it should be a lot of fun getting together with our fellow plant people.  

........Scott Hetzler 


The Bristlecone Chapter recently launched a website as another source of information about chapter activities and local plants. The address is http://www.bristleconecnps.org. It is an evolving entity that is still in its infancy, but we hope to update it every month or two. Newsletters will be added as they are produced, and newsletters from previous years will also eventually be available on the site.  Information on Conservation Issues, Field Trips, our Native Plant Sale, and other Chapter projects will be posted periodically. We welcome your ideas and comments. Please send them to either Phill Kiddoo, our webmaster, at alwaysuseless@yahoo.com, or Stephen Ingram at ingram@telis.org


Sierra Spring Sojourn 

Our biannual Sierra Spring Sojourn featuring botanical trips throughout the eastern Sierra region will be held the weekend of June 1-3 at Camp Inyo, e.g. Bernasconi Center just as in previous years. For more information and a registration packet please send a self-addressed envelope to Sherryl Taylor, Sierra Spring Sojourn Registrar, P.O. Box 1638 Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546 

Who's In A Name? 

David Douglas' Most Dreadful Night 

David Douglas (1799-1834) was a tenacious, often dour, Scot, a man of great physical strength and endurance, who seemed most at peace with himself and the world when engaged in wild adventure. He did more for the botany of what are now the states of CA, OR, and WA than all botanists who preceded him. Douglas was nurtured botanically, from humble origins, by William Hooker, Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow. Hooker recommended him to the London-based Royal Horticultural Society for botanical exploration duty in North America, and, thus sponsored, Douglas made two trips to western NA during the years 1824-1827 and 1829-1834. 

His journal for the 1824-27 years is a great read Possibly as a result of his fearless nature and unswerving determination, he was rather frequently laid up by injuries, but he was a hard man to keep down. He encountered ghastly weather, trackless wildernesses, rampaging rivers, and unfriendly Indians - all in profusion. He endured (though not without complaint) all that Mother Nature handed out, and gained the respect, and often warm friendship, of the Indians. The following excerpt actually sounds little different from his accounts of many another of his days and nights. He was searching, in the Oregon coast range near the Umpqua River, for a giant pine which he had had intimations of from Indians. He found it on October 26, 1826, but stayed only long enough (he was under serious threat by a group of Indians) to shoot down 3 cones, to collect some twigs, and to make measurements on fallen giants. He later named it Pinus lambertiana in honor of Aylmer Bourke Lambert (1761-1842), English botanical patron and author of a classic work on the genus Pinus; its sugary resin - used by woodsfolk of the area as a sweetener - led to its common name, sugar pine. 

Wednesday [October] 25th [1826] - Last night was one of the most dreadful I ever witnessed. The rain, driven by the violence of the wind, rendered it impossible for me to keep any fire, and to add misery to my affliction my tent was blown down at midnight, when I lay among bracken rolled in my wet blanket and tent till morning. Sleep of course was not to be had, every ten or fifteen minutes immense trees falling producing a crash as if the earth was cleaving asunder, which with the thunder peal before the echo of the former died away, and the lightning in zigzag and forked flashes, had on my mind a sensation more than I can ever give vent to; and more so, when I think of the place and my circumstances. My poor horses were unable to endure the violence of the storm without craving of me protection, which they did by hanging their heads over me and neighing. Towards day it moderated and before sunrise clear, but very cold. I could not stir before making a fire and drying part of my clothing, everything being completely drenched, and indulging myself with a fume of tobacco being the only thing I could afford. Started at ten o'clock, still shivering with cold although I rubbed myself with my handkerchief before the fire until I was no longer able to endure the pain. Went through an open hilly country some thirteen

miles, where I crossed the river to the south side near three lodges of Indians, who gave me some salmon such as is caught in the Columbia and at this season scarcely eatable, but I was thankful to obtain it. Made a short stay and took my course southerly towards a ridge of mountains, where I hope to find my pine. The night being dry I camped early in the afternoon, in order to dry the remaining part of my clothing. Travelled eighteen miles. 

........Larry Blakely 


Re-Negotiating the Water Agreement?


Pumpback Station Blues 

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) has launched a lobbying campaign to persuade Inyo County and other parties to the MOU to allow it to build a pumpback station -- as part of the Lower Owens River Project (LORP) -- with a capacity three times larger than that permitted in the Inyo-LA Water Agreement. The Bristlecone Chapter of CNPS opposes this proposed enlargement. 

In its lobbying, DWP argues that it can meet its requirements for maintaining and enhancing habitat in the Owens River delta without using the full volume of water in the annual Owens River "flushing flows" (i.e. large flows designed to duplicate annual floods which occur in unmanipulated rivers). It claims to be entitled, therefore, to capture these flows with the proposed enlarged capacity of the pumping station. 

Regardless of DWP's claims regarding flows and habitat, any enlargement of the capacity of the pumping station will facilitate development of new well-fields upstream of the station. This fact is not being publicized by DWP and is the basis of our objection to the proposed enlargement. 

The purpose of the LORP is to mitigate impacts of DWP's groundwater pumping -- not induce creation of new well-fields. Water from new wells on either side of the Owens River adjacent to the LORP would drain to the Owens River and flow to the pumpback station. By providing the capacity to capture this water the proposed enlargement would convert the LORP from a mitigation project to the foundation of an expanded program of groundwater pumping and so subvert the purpose of the LORP. 

A DWP spokesman recently explained that the enlarged capacity would be used only to capture the flushing flows which occur two weeks a year. He indicated that for the remaining 50 weeks of the year the enlarged capacity (100 cfs) would not be used. This strains credulity. 

As a party to both the Water Agreement and MOU, Inyo County could insist that the pumpback station meet the requirements of the Water Agreement. According to the director of the Inyo County Water Department, however, the county has taken a position that if the other MOU parties agree to the enlarged capacity, the county would not object. We believe the county should defend its interests and reject the proposed enlargement. 

DWP is, in effect, trying to re-negotiate a portion of the Water Agreement and its efforts are being taken seriously. The Water Agreement and MOU are the products of years of arduous negotiations. DWP signed both documents and it is legally obligated to adhere to them. We ask that DWP carry out its undisputed obligation with regard to the size of the pumpback station.  

The Inyo County Supervisors and the commissioners of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power need to hear our views on this issue -- please consider communicating with them. 

........ Daniel Pritchett

Conservation Chair 

Inyo County Supervisors

County Court House

Independence, CA 93526 

Board of Water and Power Commissioners

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Room 1555H, 15th Floor

111 North Hope Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012 


Eastern Sierra Wilderness Coalition 

Local citizens have recently come together to begin a public education campaign on potential wilderness in the Eastern Sierra. The Eastern Sierra contains spectacular and unprotected wildlands, such as the White Mountains and the San Joaquin Roadless Area. Many of these lands are in the Great Basin, which is under-represented in the National Wilderness Preservation System. If you would like to get involved in this grassroots effort please contact Paul McFarland of Friends of the Inyo at 647-0079, pmcfarland@qnet.com or Sally Miller of The Wilderness Society at 647-1614, sally_miller@tws.org 

Newsletter Deadline: February 28th