Volume 21 No. 4 July 2001
THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
September Meeting: Our September meeting will be in the Mammoth Lakes area at the Green Church. Michael Honer, a graduate student at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, will give a slide-illustrated talk based on his research on the Flora of the Glass Mountains. Michael has spent two field seasons collecting in the range, and was one of our first two recipients of a Mary Dedecker Botanical Grant. The meeting will be on Wednesday, September 26, and will begin at 7pm. The Green Church is on HWY. 395 at Benton Crossing Road.
NEXT CHAPTER BOARD MEETING
Tuesday, July 24 at 7:00 p.m. at Sally and Daniel’s house at 401 E. Yaney Street. All chapter members are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Acting President's Message: With the unexpected resignation of "El Presidente" Scott Hetzler, I am temporarily assuming the duties of our chapter president. Unlike Al Gore, I never had aspirations to become president, but we all need to do what we can to support our local CNPS chapter. Thanks, Scott, for all of your work over the past 6 years.
Our Fourth Sierra Spring Sojourn was a great success with newcomers and repeat sojourners coming to the Owens Valley from around the state. The field trips covered areas from the cool upper elevations of the White Mountains, to great blooms in canyons on both sides of the Owens Valley, to the unique plant communities of the valley floor. Heidi Hopkins, a Bristlecone member with the Mono Lake Committee, gave a great slide talk Friday night on their fight to save and restore Mono Lake's streams. The Banquet was also well-attended, and Dr. Dieter Wilken's talk on the rich history of California plant exploration was fascinating. Many people worked hard to make the Sojourn successful again, and we are all thankful for their efforts, but I wanted to thank especially EvelynMae Nikolaus, Doris Fredendall, Sarah Sheehan, Sherryl Taylor, Kathy Duvall, Diane Payne, and all of the field trip leaders.
Many people have utilized and enjoyed our new website. I'd like to thank Phill Kiddoo for setting it up and continuing to maintain it. Phill updated it lately with field trip dates as well as plant sale information. Check it out at www.bristleconecnps.org.
Native Plant Gardening News
Seeds have sprouted and cuttings have rooted in preparation for another exciting Native Plant Sale. The 5th annual Native Plant Sale is scheduled for Saturday, September 8 at 9:00 am at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop. Be there a little early to peruse the offerings and talk to volunteers about what will grow best in your garden. To learn even more about the Plant Sale offerings, come to
the Plant Sale Preview on Tuesday, September 4 at 7:00 pm at the White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. We'll have slides of most all the plants to be sold, free plant raffles, and refreshments.
The Bristlecone Chapter has recently donated two interesting books to the Inyo County Library System. Two copies of Glenn Keator's
"Complete Garden Guide to the Native Shrubs of California" and two copies of his "Complete Garden Guide to the Native Perennials of California" are available at all the branches of Inyo County's
Thanks to webmaster Phil Kiddoo, a preliminary plant list for the Plant Sale and the Planting Guide are up on the Bristlecone website. Keep your eye on the website for additional information relating to the plant sale and all activities of the Bristlecone Chapter.
Mono Lake Committee offers Native Plant Workshop
a part of Annual Restoration Days, Labor Day Weekend, 2001
The Mono Lake Committee, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of Mono Lake, is hosting its annual "Restoration Days" over Labor Day Weekend, August 31 – September 2, 2001. Included in Restoration Days is a "Native Plant Workshop" and non-native plant removal in the field.
The process of curtailing water diversions to Los Angeles and restoring the health of Mono Lake has been championed by the Mono Lake Committee (MLC), and Restoration Days is an annual event celebrating these continuing efforts. For over twenty years the MLC has been working to protect Mono Lake from excessive water diversions, to heal the damage done to the lake and it’s tributary streams, and to educate the public about wise water use and the incredible diversity of our natural environment.
"Restoration Days is an opportunity for people to witness and participate first-hand in the restoration of the Mono Basin," said Heidi Hopkins, MLC Eastern Sierra Policy Director. "Mono Lake is a prime example of how the principles of human-aided restoration and adaptive management can work to restore natural environments." This year, Restoration Days will focus on the ecologic health of the riparian corridors of Rush Creek and Lee Vining Creek, vital parts of the Mono Basin ecosystem.
On Saturday, September 1, the Mono Lake Committee will host a hands-on "Native Plant Workshop." This workshop will be led by MLC staff and experts in the field, and will feature the unique plants of the Mono Basin. Interactive discussion will focus on the damage done by water diversions and the invasion of non-native plant species. Participants will see native plants on film and be able to touch them in a herbarium collected by MLC staff . A slide show will document the restoration of native plants along the riparian corridors of Rush and Lee Vining creeks. Like all events at Restoration Days, it is free and open to the public.
To follow up the workshop, on Sunday, September 2, scientists and Committee staff will enlist the help of the public in removing tamarisk from the Rush Creek delta.
Also referred to as salt cedar, tamarisk is a woody, deciduous tree or shrub with numerous, small, 5-petaled, pink flowers and feathery bright green leaves. It may sound harmless enough, but this Eurasian exotic plant, introduced in the early 1800s as an ornamental used for erosion control, has become a nightmare for restoration efforts across the West. Since its introduction, tamarisk has quickly spread into natural wetlands and riparian areas where it tends to form dense thickets along streams—displacing native trees such as cottonwood and willow. Its life history characteristics are what make it so successful and so difficult to manage.
"We invite the public to come help us restore the Mono Basin ecosystem and have some fun over Labor Day weekend," said Hopkins. Other events during Restoration Days include a Garden Reception at the MLC Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining on Friday, August 31. At the reception, MLC Co-Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin will deliver the 2001 "State of the Lake" address – a slide presentation and report that summarizes the social, ecological and economic health of Mono Lake.
On Saturday, Lucy Parker, a descendant of the Yosemite Miwok, Mono Lake Kutzadika’a and Pomo peoples, will offer a Kutzadika’a blessing for Mono Lake at the annual Rehydration Ceremony on Saturday afternoon. Creek walks, lakeshore tours, and canoe trips will also be offered throughout the weekend. Other activities for children and families include bird watching, swimming, and storytelling and s’mores by a campfire Saturday night!
For more information or a complete schedule of events, phone the Mono Lake Committee at (760) 647-6595, e-mail the Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the Restoration Days web page at www.monolake.org/events/restdays.htm.
Eastern Sierra Land Use Workshop: What tools work now? September 8 & 9
Organized by the Sierra Nevada Regional Initiative. Topics will address land use issues and planning opportunities in Inyo, Mono and Alpine counties. To be held at the Double Eagle Resort in June Lake. Details to follow. Contacts: Andrea Lawrence, 934-2877; Pat Eckart, 934-3726 - PLEASE CALENDAR SEPT. 8/9
CNPS Bristlecone Chapter 2001 Summer Field Trip Schedule
July 13-15, Friday-Sunday. Backpacking to Bogs of Big Pine Creek Basin. Leader: Jerry Zatorski. Mid-July is the perfect time to explore the Eastern Sierra's upper montane basins. From 9,300 to 11,000 ft. in elevation, the basin and more specifically the bogs of the north fork of Big Pine Creek hold an incredible assortment of species from lilies to larkspur to orchids. On this trip we will explore the many bogs in the area looking for various botanical wonders and the occasional mushroom as well. Although this trip is certainly possible in a long day's hike, it is far better to be taken in over a whole weekend. The trip will begin on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm at the Big Pine Creek trail head; we will backpack in about 3.5 miles to a base camp on the south side of the creek just below third falls. Please, this is not recommended for beginners; there is a 3,000 foot elevation gain, beginning at 7,800 feet at the trailhead and going as high as 10,800 feet. This trip is limited to seven participants, and there is a $5/person cost to cover the wilderness permit fee. All participants are responsible for their own backpacking gear and food. For maps, if you can not make the Friday afternoon departure time, and for more information you can contact the trip leader, Jerry Zatorski at 872-3818.
July 21, Saturday. Tioga Crest, Sierra Nevada. Leaders: Cathy Rose and Kathy Duvall. Meet at 8:00 am at Tom's Place to carpool up Tioga Pass Road (Highway 120) to the Saddlebag Lake turnoff, or meet at 9:00 am at the turnoff. From there we'll arrange a car shuttle for this walk which will start at the Gardisky Lake trailhead and end at Saddlebag Lake. This will be a hike of about 5 miles at high elevations. From the trailhead, at about 9,700 feet elevation, we'll hike a very steep trail up to Gardisky Lake, at about 10,500 feet. From there we'll climb less steeply, but cross-country, up to the Tioga Crest at about 11,300 feet. We'll ramble along the crest with superb views and a rich selection of alpine plants, including Salix arctica and S. reticulata spp. nivalis, the two tiny high-elevation dwarf willows. A steep trailless 1,200 foot descent will put us on the east side of Saddlebag Lake from which we'll walk on an old road to the cars. This is a moderate hike along the crest, but with a strenuous ascent and descent. It will be a botanical adventure, mostly trailless, requiring some effort but with great rewards. Bring lunch and plenty of water. Call Kathy (872-1466) or Cathy (935-4329) for more information.
August 4, Saturday. North Fork Bishop Creek, Eastern Sierra. Leader: Joan Benner. Meet at 9:00 am at the North Lake trailhead, located at the North Lake campground, approximately 1/4 mile up from the trailhead parking area. This will be a moderately paced walk, at high elevations, on moderately steep trails. The exact destination will depend on where the flowers are best at the time. Bring lunch and plenty of water. For more information call Joan at 938-2929.
FIELD TRIP POLICIES
Everyone is welcome, including non-members, but please no pets. Generally, day trips last most of the day while the overnight trips conclude early Sunday afternoon. For all field trips, be sure to bring plenty of water, lunch, good walking shoes or boots, and appropriate clothing for hot sun or inclement weather. Also useful are a hand lens, plant books and floras, and in the Sierra, insect repellent. Be prepared to carry your lunch on a hike. Trips leave at the time announced, so please arrive at the meeting sites a few minutes early. Unless indicated, the average car should do fine. Car pooling is encouraged. For more information contact Field Trip Chairperson Mark Bagley at 760-873-5326 or e-mail: email@example.com.
FIELD TRIP REPORTS
Our Bristlecone chapter's May 12th trip to Death Valley's Eureka Valley was the perfect desert field trip that provided a heavy overcast sky with cool breezes and temperatures in the 70's. We met botanist Dana York from Death Valley National Park and identified almost 100 species of plants. As an added bonus, the drive over to Eureka Dunes from Big Pine was incredible with blooms of native plants lining the route the entire distance. The drive back included rain and fog for some of us!
Eureka Dunes are the 2nd highest dunes in North America and are at the northern end of the Mojave Desert. There are over 50 different plants on
the dunes. The dunes are comprised of little sand grains just the right shape and size of provide a sandy mulch to protect plants as they grow. These sand grains hold moisture at about a 50 degree temperature 8 inches below the surface. There are 3 endemic plants on the dunes. Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis (Eureka Valley primrose) blooms April to July on the apron of the dunes between the valley floor and the steeper sands. They begin with beautiful rosettes of leaves and produce a fragile white flower. Many Oenothera were in bloom on Saturday. Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans (shining milk-vetch) is a silky, hairy perennial that blooms on the dune apron also April to June. This is another rare plant with white flowers tinged with lilac. Swallenia alexandrae (Eureka Valley dune grass) was higher up on the dunes in large clumps up to 12 meters wide. They grow from rhizomes beneath the surface and are clipped by hungry rabbits. We also saw many Sphaeralcea ambigua var. ambigua (apricot mallow), Baileya planiradiata (woolly desert marigold), Camissonia claviformis (brown-eyed primrose) and Tiquilia plicata (string plant).
Around the NE side of the dunes, we wandered the valley floor, looking at blooms of Abronia turbinata (sand verbena) Caulanthus cooperi (Cooper's caulanthus) and Psorothamnus polyadenius (indigo bush). Blister beetles were busy mating, and then eating the wee flowers of Nama demissum (purple mat). We also learned that the Sphinx moth visits Oenothera. There are five endemic beetles on the Dunes and one endemic bee. Their relationships with plants must tell an interesting story.
During lunch we listened as Dana spoke of older rare plants on the sky islands such as Last Chance Peak and rare plants in the Pinyon-Juniper forests. The remnant stands of Bristlecone in remote mountain ranges were also discussed. Heading east after lunch, our destination was a rocky flat along the main road in the Last Chance Range. Tetradymia (horsebush) was in prolific bloom with deep yellow flowers. The green-hued flat was filled with apricot mallows, Stanleya elata (Prince's plume), Encelia actoni (brittlebush) and Chaenactis (pincushion).
Our return trip included several stops at outcrops of limestone. Different and rare plants included Mimulus rupicola (rock mimulus), Cymopterus gilmanii (Gilman cymopterus), Gutierrizia microcephala (matchweed), the little Astragalus panamintensis (Panamint milk-vetch) and Argyrochosma jonesii (Jones lip fern). Enceliopsis nudicaulis (naked-stemmed daisy), a relative of the Panamint Daisy, was prolific on one outcrop where we also found onions. Our last stop was up a short canyon of twisted metamorphosed sedimentary rock. We found the beautiful Penstemon fruticiformis (desert bush penstemon) with glands on the outside of its pale lavender flowers. Viguiera reticulata (Death Valley goldeneye) was also growing there.
A warm thank you to Dana for showing our chapter what the new additions to Death Valley National Park have to offer--more than we ever imagined! We will have another field trip next year with Dana. And please don't forget to put Eureka Dunes and the Last Chance Range on your list of beautiful places to visit next April and May.
Sprawl Proposed For Eastern Sierra
For most travelers and residents of the Eastern Sierra, the green, pastoral oasis of Round Valley at the bottom of Sherwin Grade is a beloved landmark. For the Round Valley mule deer herd, it is a historic winter home. For a developer from Costa Mesa, Round Valley may be a gold mine.
Pacifica Development, Inc. is proposing to build 355 dwelling units on 280 acres in Round Valley. The development would encompass the old mining village of Rovana and many acres of wet meadows, riparian areas, irrigated pastures and Antelope bitterbrush and Black brush scrub. This subdivision, which would be 13 miles away from Bishop, defies the logic of good planning and the recommendations of the Inyo County General Plan, which encourages development to be contiguous to established infrastructure and communities.
Besides being the largest development ever proposed for Inyo County, Pacifica's scheme could strike a fatal blow to the Round Valley deer herd. The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) considers the site critical habitat but their several attempts to purchase the property for wildlife habitat were met with rejection. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also made an unsuccessful attempt to pursue a land trade with the developer. Biologists from both DFG and BLM consider the mitigation plan and so-called "Wildlife Corridor" proposed by the developer to be inadequate. Intensifying the impact to the deer is the fact that about 10,000 acres of remaining winter range have burned in recent years.
There are many questions and far-reaching impacts related to this proposed development. Some of them are: impacts to water resources and vegetation from water usage of a large development, impacts on people, pets, and wildlife from predators that follow the deer herd, impacts to federally endangered Sierra Bighorn Sheep who winter two miles from the proposed development, impacts and legality of destroying wetlands and changing stream courses, and many, many other issues.
The public comment process related to this development is just beginning. According to the Inyo County Planning Department, the 30 day Public Scoping period will be starting in early July. Concerned citizens should insist that Inyo County provide alternatives in the Environmental Impact Report that will give lawmakers a range of practical choices for creating a well-planned and reasonable development. To find out details, deadlines and to get on a mailing list, call Jan Larsen at Inyo County Planning at (760) 878-0263 or 872-2706 or e-mail InyoPlanning@telis.org. For the viewpoint of the Bristlecone Chapter and other concerned citizens, call Karen and Steve at 387-2913 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bristlecone Chapter will be providing written comments to Inyo County concerning impacts to wetland vegetation, rare plants, and bitterbrush and Black brush scrub habitat. Public officials and the developers need to hear the questions and comments of everyone who cares about the Eastern Sierra, wetlands and wildlife, and good planning.
Upper Harkless Update: The Melodrama Continues
In an article in the June 28 edition of the Inyo Register, representatives from CARMA announced their decision to consider three alternative sites for CARMA's proposed observatory. While it is still premature to consider Upper Harkless Flat (UHF) completely out of danger, the likelihood of construction at this site currently seems small.
The bad news is that construction at two of the three potential alternative sites would require considerable disturbance of essentially undisturbed areas. This was one of the main objections to the proposed construction at UHF. The two alternative sites in question are Harkless Flat, and an un-named basin about 2 miles north of Little Cowhorn Valley which CARMA calls "Juniper Flat." While there are CNPS-listed species at all three potential sites, at Harkless and Juniper Flats major road construction and/or widening would be required. At these two sites, largely undisturbed native ecosystems in the back-country would effectively be converted to "front-country" by road construction.
The third potential alternative site is Westgard Pass, where state highway 168 crosses the White Mountains. At this site no access-road construction would be needed at all because the observatory would be sited along the paved highway. The level of disturbance at this area appears to be higher than at other potential sites. Based on the criterion of minimizing total disturbance, Westgard Pass appears to be the best site of the three. Unfortunately, the Inyo Register article stated that Juniper Flat -- not Westgard Pass -- will be the project proponent’s preferred alternative.
According the article, "News of the site change has so far been well-received by local environmental and public groups, like the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club for example." Wilderness Society representative Sally Miller was quoted as saying "We certainly value the knowledge and technology produced by the observatory and we applaud CARMA for considering sites outside areas of concern." Paul McFarland of Friends of the Inyo wished the astronomers "luck in their studies and in pursuit of their project through the NEPA process." The Inyo Register article would have us believe the proposed project is virtually a done deal and that there is a veritable love-fest between CARMA and local environmental groups.
Before CARMA can begin the project, however, it must apply for a Special Use Permit (SUP) from the Inyo National Forest (INF) and before the SUP can be issued all three potential sites must be evaluated under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Before the NEPA evaluation can begin INF Supervisor Jeff Bailey must decide to accept CARMA's application for an SUP. The decision to pursue the project and initiate review under NEPA is in the hands of Supervisor Bailey. If he decides the proposal is not appropriate for the sites, he is not obligated to act on the SUP application CARMA plans to submit.
In December, 1998, Supervisor Bailey publicly questioned whether construction of an observatory at UHF was an appropriate use of public land. To my knowledge Supervisor Bailey has not indicated whether he believes any of the three new alternatives would be appropriate sites for construction of an observatory.
The Inyo Register article cited above is part of CARMA's aggressive public relations campaign to pressure Supervisor Bailey to accept its forthcoming SUP application (expected later this summer). Although you will not receive financial compensation from the National ScienceFoundation for your efforts to influence Supervisor Bailey (as CARMA does), you may receive compensation in the knowledge that your letters have had a big impact in the past and will continue to have impacts in the future. If you care about the Inyo and White Mountains please communicate your views to Jeff Bailey.as soon as possible and visit the proposed site at Juniper Flat. More information regarding this issue, including a map of Juniper Flat will be posted soon at the Bristlecone CNPS website at www.bristleconecnps.org/conservation.
Supervisor Jeff Bailey
Inyo National Forest
873 North Main St.
Bishop, CA, 93514
The Bristlecone Chapter Warmly Welcomes the Following New Members
Bill Mitchel - Bishop
Lynn Johnson - Sacramento
Lisa Cutting - Bridgeport
Tomi Sollen - Santa Barbara
Dorothy MacCulloch - Santa Barbara
Linda Aberbom - Richmond
Janice Gan - Tracy
Mark Kiner - Bishop
Trudy Naylor - Bishop
Richard Potashin - Independence
Pat Foley - Bishop
Mary Jo Johnson - Ridgecrest
Next Newsletter Deadline: August 29th