Volume 22 No. 1 January 2002

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora



January Meeting: Our January meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the 30th at White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. Dr. Trevor Burwell, a consultant with Jones & Stokes in Sacramento, will give a slide presentation entitled: "Environmental History of the Pinyon Woodlands and Lower Montane Treeline in Eastern California." Dr. Burwell did his dissertation work on this subject in our area in the late 1990's, completing his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999.


Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Kathy Duvall’s residence. All chapter members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please call Kathy at 872-1466 for directions.

President's Message:

It's starting off to be a great winter with average or above average precipitation in most parts of Bristlecone territory. If the wet weather persists, it will be a fantastic year for wildflowers in our local desert regions! A year of high snowpack also means Mono Lake will rise, riparian areas will experience healthy runoff, and the Owens Valley aquifer might have time for moderate recharge before LADWP sinks more wells for water export, despite the lack of recovery for groundwater-dependent plants in the valley. See Daniel Pritchett's Conservation column, and an article about the Drought Recovery Policy and DWP's selective reading of the policy on the Owens Valley Committee's website at: www.ovcweb.org.

With the start to a new year, we tend to reevaluate our lives and make resolutions for the coming year. So why not take this opportunity to become more active with our local CNPS chapter? We still need people to work on education and hospitality for the Bristlecone Chapter. And we can always use field trip leaders and field trip ideas.

We have a few new Bristlecone Chapter Board members this year. Roseanne Higley will take over for Mary Allen as Treasurer. Thanks for your dedication as Treasurer for the past seven years, Mary! Alisa Ellsworth has volunteered to be Field Trip Chairperson. Please let her know if you'd like to lead or co-lead a trip, or have suggestions. (We will have a field trip "brainstorming" session just prior to this month's meeting at WMRS.) Thanks again to Mark Bagley, our previous Field Trip Chairperson. Sue Weis has taken over Book Sales from Diane Payne. Thank you, Diane, for handling book sales for the past several years! Sherryl Taylor, who is currently our Legislation Chairperson, will also take over as our new Vice-President. Thanks, Roseanne, Elisa, Sue, and Sherryl for your work with the Bristlecone Chapter!

……..Stephen Ingram



The results of the 2002 Bristlecone Officers Election on November 14 are as follows:

President: Stephen Ingram

Vice President: Sherryl Taylor

Secretary: Sarah Sheehan

Treasurer: Roseanne Higley

See complete Chapter Directory on page 6.


Mary DeDecker

Botanical Grant Program

The Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant Program recently completed a call for proposals and received six very interesting project descriptions. The grant program committee considered the following proposals:

Inyo County Community School riparian revegetation project

Study of Swallenia alexandrae of the Eureka Sand Dunes

Survey and collection of bryophytes in the deserts and mountains for a Bryoflora of California

Study of the response of high altitude subalpine pine forests (Bristlecone and Foxtail pines) to elevated CO2 and nitrogen deposition

Study of the evolution of Opuntia

Study on the comparative ecophysiology of Sierra Nevada alpine plants on differing substrates.

The DeDecker Grant Program was initiated last year and we hope to offer the program every year. The purpose of these grants is to honor the memory of Mary DeDecker by facilitating research and projects that increase the understanding and appreciation of our region's native flora and ecosystems. The only requirement is that the project be relevant to the native plants of the northern Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, and Great Basin portions of eastern California. Selected researchers receive up to $500 each for expenses and recipients are asked to present their findings to the Bristlecone Chapter either at a regular meeting or in an article in the newsletter. Last September we enjoyed an interesting presentation by one of our first recipients, Michael Honer, on the flora of the Glass Mountains in Mono County. The grant program is a natural outgrowth of the success of our annual native plant sale. Due to the enthusiastic support our plant sale receives, we are able to fund worthy projects such as these research proposals and other educational efforts. After much thought and discussion, the grant program committee chose the following proposals for funding: Linah Ababneh's proposal to study responses of Bristlecone and Foxtail pines to elevated CO2 and nitrogen, Eve Laeger's proposal to survey and collect for the Bryoflora of California in the desert mountains, and Hester Bell's proposal to study Swallenia alexandrae and its relationship to Distichlis (Saltgrass). We were also very interested in the Inyo County Community School's riparian revegetation project and hope to work with the school by sharing our members' expertise and providing financial support. For more information about the Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant Program contact Karen Ferrell-Ingram at ingram@telis.org or call (760) 387-2913.

Who’s In A Name -Larry Blakely - Please check out the whole Alice Eastwood essay on-line, with photos and references. Thanks Larry!

A Molecular Phylogeny of the Genus Polemonium (Polemoniaceae)

Polemonium is a genus of flowering plants comprising an estimated 28 species. Its distribution is almost entirely within the northern hemisphere, with a single species occurring also in Chile. There are two primary forms of Polemonium. The most widespread part of the genus consists of semi-tall, leafy perennials that usually grow from a woody caudex or rhizome. The leaves are pinnately compound and are the most striking feature of the plant, giving it the common name Jacob’s Ladder. The flowers are generally in cymes, and the corollas which are most frequently blue or violet are rotated to campanulate.

The western United States supports an alpine form of the genus, the Sky Pilot, which has diversified throughout higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and several Intermountain Ranges. These plants exhibit a reduced caudex, with most of their leaves forming a basal cluster and a lightly clustered inflorescence extending out beyond the leaf rosette. The leaves are also pinnately compound, with most taxa also having dissected leaflets.

The majority of recent phylogenetic studies of this genus has focused on the seven alpine species--including P. chartaceum and P. eximium in the Sierra--and has neglected the remainder of the genus. Despite recent allegations that these and the Rocky Mountain alpine members constitute one lineage that may have evolved from a sub-alpine species (P. pulcherrimum), ITS sequence data (non-transcribed nuclear DNA) provides an evolutionary tree in which the alpine species belong to several different lineages. It is evident that, rather than undertaking further investigations of relationships of Polemonium subsets, it is more important at present to examine the evolutionary history of the entire genus.

For my masters thesis at San Francisco State University, I sequenced the ITS region for 37 taxa representing most of the species in the genus. These data allow the following conclusions to be drawn: 1) Polemonium is a strongly supported monophyletic genus, which means that the genus derived from a single common ancestor; 2) the one annual, P. micranthum, is nested within the genus and is not a distinct genus as has been suggested by some; 3) the Mexican-Southwestern P. pauciflorum, P. grandiflorum, and P. mexicanum form a well supported monophyletic group; 4) five species are not monophyletic in the ITS phylogeny, which could be due to hybridization in their species history.

The biogeography of this genus is also of interest. The story that the molecular data tells us is that the genus originated in the western US, probably in the Rocky Mountains. It then has at least two lineages that dispersed to the Old World, most likely through Alaska. One fascinating aspect to consider is that Polemonium occidentale from the Sierra Nevada is more closely related to P. caerulerum in China than it is to its neighboring P. californicum.

Thanks to the CNPS Bristlecone Chapter for providing funds to complete this project!

Ruth Timme - 2001 recipient of the Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant


Mary DeDecker Memorial Garden

Letter from Joan and Annette Busby: This arrived too late to make it into the November newsletter, but Joan and Annette wanted it included with our January newsletter.

Dear Chapter Members, October 25, 2001

September 29 was not only a beautiful autumn day in Indepenence, it was also the day that the Memorial Garden for my mother, Mary DeDecker, was planted. We were pleased to be a part of the large group of volunteers who planted the garden. People ranged in age from the six-month-old Sean Halford and four-year-old Claire Jellison to Mary's husband, 93 year-old Paul Dedecker, who came to see the garden and walked the perimeter path with a big smile on his face.

"It looks like they're doing a good job. Mary would be pleased," he commented.


Special thanks go to Sally Manning, who served as liaison person with the Eastern California Museum; Jerry Zatorski, who designed the garden and supervised the planting; Ron Tiller who installed the irrigation system; Karen Ferrell-Ingram, who raised the plants at the Deepest Valley Native Plant Propagation Center (at White Mountain Research Station), and who helped distribute each plant to its assigned site. Volunteers worked on the two previous days in September, cutting brush and preparing the site. Words like "Eriogonum" and "Lupinus" could be heard as we volunteers dug holes, set each plant, and assembled and installed a wire fence (rabbit proofing) around each one. With so many people helping out, we were finished by 2:30. There was animated conversation about future plans for the garden.


We can think of no more fitting tribute to our mother/aunt/grandmother/great grandmother than this memorial garden, where people can learn about the native plants Mary loved. What could have pleased her more! She would have especially enjoyed the way everyone pitched in and had fun together. Our thanks to everyone who contributed to the garden, from donations of money, time, planning, and generosity of the heart. Be sure to stop by and see it in Independence.



Joan Busby and Annette Busby for the DeDecker Family.



Inyo Mountains Still Need Your Help!

The Inyo National Forest announced earlier this month that it had received and accepted an application for a Special Use Permit (SUP) from the Owens Valley Radio Observatory for construction of an observatory in the Inyo Mountains proposed by the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy.

Acting District Ranger Mary DeAguero wrote that no action will be taken on the SUP application until a full assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act has been completed. She did not give a date as to when the assessment will be initiated.

If you haven’t already familiarized yourself with this issue, please visit the Bristlecone Chapter website at http://www.bristleconecnps.org. If you value the open, undisturbed landscapes of the Inyo Mountains, and all the native organisms – rare and common – which live there, Inyo National Forest Supervisor Jeff Bailey needs to hear from you.

Mr. Jeff Bailey


Inyo National Forest

873 N. Main

Bishop, CA 93514

……..Daniel Pritchett


Death by a Thousand Cuts:

LADWP’s Selective Reading of the Drought Recovery Policy

Over the past few months Mike Prather, President of the Owens Valley Committee has used the image "death by a thousand cuts" to describe the strategy of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in implementing the Inyo-LA Water Agreement. At the Technical Group Meeting of 12/10/01 there was a striking example of this in LADWP’s interpretation of the Drought Recovery

Policy (DRP) as unveiled by its new consulting firm Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH).

LADWP’s interpretation of the DRP is based on two main premises: 1) the sole factors to be considered in determining the applicability of the DRP are soil moisture and depth-to-water-table – condition of native vegetation is irrelevant; and 2) the unit of analysis is the entire wellfield, rather than parcels within wellfields. Both premises are derived from a selective reading of the DRP.

The goal of the DRP is that "soil water in the rooting zone recover to a degree sufficient so that the vegetation protection goals of the [Water] Agreement are achieved." To attain this goal "...soil water, water tables and vegetation conditions will be monitored by the Technical Group to ensure the goal is being achieved.[all italics added]" Both the goal and means of implementation of the DRP clearly require consideration of the condition of native vegetation. This contradicts LADWP’s first premise.

The use of the entire wellfield as the unit of analysis is (LADWP’s second premise) is inappropriate because vegetation is not uniform within wellfields. Recognizing this, LADWP itself delineated parcels of relatively homogeneous vegetation within each wellfield in the 1980's, and the parcels have been used as the basis for vegetation monitoring and management under the Water Agreement ever since. It follows from the explicit goals and implementation methods of the DRP that the vegetation parcel – rather than the wellfield – should be the basic unit of analysis. Decisions regarding wellfields should be made based upon the status of the parcels within them.

When MWH applied LADWP’s interpretation of the DRP, it found that all wellfields have recovered and that "termination of the DRP is appropriate." When the Inyo County Water Department analyzed vegetation conditions as well as depth-to-water and systematically applied the analysis to individual parcels, it found that parcels farthest from pumps have generally met the goal of the DRP while those closest to pumps often have not and therefore the DRP still applies to many parcels throughout the valley. ICWD’s most recent DRP status report (as well as the text of the DRP) is available on its website at www.inyowater.org.

In addition to exemplifying one of the "thousand cuts," LADWP’s DRP interpretation should be considered in light of a recent remark by LA Water and Power Commissioner Dominick Rubalcava, (as reported by ICWD Director Greg James at the Inyo County Water Commission meeting of October 8, 2001). According to Mr. James, Commissioner Rubalcava bragged that LADWP’s budget for litigation alone is larger than the entire annual budget for Inyo County. The implication is that LADWP can do what it wishes with regard to

the Water Agreement because Inyo County doesn’t have the resources to continually initiate dispute resolution proceedings. Is it any surprise that LADWP has now put forward a self-serving interpretation of the DRP which would allow LADWP to end the pumping constraints of the DRP by ignoring the DRP’s explicit mandate to consider vegetation conditions?

……..Daniel Pritchett

2002 Bristlecone Chapter Directory (Area Code 760)

President Stephen Ingram 387-2913

140 Willow Road

Swall Meadows, CA 93514


Vice President Sherryl Taylor 924-8742

P.O. Box 1638

Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546


Past President Scott Hetzler 873-8392

3000 E. Line St.

Bishop, CA 93514


Secretary Sarah Sheehan 872-4039 2530 Sunset

Bishop, CA 93514


Treasurer Roseanne Higley 387-2803 424 Mountain View Dr. Swall Meadows, CA 93514

Membership Kathy Duvall 872-1466 737 West Pine Street

Bishop, CA 93514


Newsletter Editor Anne Halford 873-6714 312 Shepard Lane

Bishop, CA 93514


Conservation Daniel Pritchett 873-8943 P.O. Box 1411

Bishop, CA 93514


Rare Plant Committee, 2002 Chair Anne Halford 873-6714

312 Shepard Lane

Bishop, CA 93514


Plant Communities Sally Manning 873-3790 401 E. Yaney

Bishop, CA 92514


Invasive Exotics Brian Cashore 387-2789 309 Swall Meadows

Bishop, CA 93514

Legislation Sherryl Taylor 924-8742 P.O. Box 1638

Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546


Programs Stephen Ingram 387-2913 140 Willow Road

Swall Meadows, CA 93514


Field Trips Alisa Ellsworth 387-2081

CA Dept. of Fish & Game 407 W. Line St. Bishop, CA 93514

Books Sue Wies 387-2349

P.O. Box 146 Bishop, CA 93515

Posters Stephen Ingram 387-2913 140 Willow Road

Swall Meadows, CA 93514


Plant Sales Karen Ferrell-Ingram 387-2913 140 Willow Road

Swall Meadows , CA 93514


Publicity Heidi Hopkins 647-6271 P.O. Box 409

Lee Vining, CA 93514

Historian Sacha Stuart 876-8012 P.O. Box 1213

Lone Pine, CA 93545

Librarian EvelynMae Nikolaus 878-2149 P.O. Box 396

Independence, CA 93526


Sierra Spring Sojourn EvelynMae Nikolaus 878-2149 P.O. Box 396

Independence, CA 93526



Many thanks for all our members who renewed their memberships. The Bristlecone Chapter would like to warmly welcome new members:

Clark Trowell - Bishop

Brian Knaus - Beatty NV

Stuart Garrett - Bend OR

Larry and Sarah Wylie - Bishop

Chris Howard & Rosie Beach Howard - Bishop

Bob Harrington & Darla Heil - Bishop

Jack & Marilyn Ferrell - Bishop

Janelle Kent - Big Pine Cathy Cannon - Bishop

Alisa Durgarian - Bishop

Georgia C. Connon - Bishop

Leslie Goethals - Mammoth Lakes

Eleanor & Gary Gossen - Dyer

Joan Lubeck - Big Pine

Renee West - Carlsbad


Next Newsletter Deadline: February 27th - Thank you for all your excellent and timely contributions!