Volume 23 No. 4 July/August 2003

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora




Dr. Pamela Muick, Executive Director of the California Native Plant Society, will speak at our September 24th meeting at the Green Church at 7:00 PM. Based on her years of experience in oak habitats Parn originated the idea for the book "Oaks of California" which she coauthored. Prior to CNPS, she served as Executive Director of Solano Land Trust where she developed the first comprehensive county wide plan for farmland protection in Solano County. Pain is looking forward to sharing with us what's going on in CNPS and hearing our thoughts and questions. Please plan to attend.


The next Chapter Board meeting will be at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, July 22 at Jerry Zartoski's residence (872-3818). All are welcome to attend.


Although the colorful display of desert annuals on the Volcanic Tableland has faded and flowers have changed into fruits, the mountains surrounding our hot valleys are full of all kinds of interesting botanical mysteries awaiting discovery. And the desert annual seeds are waiting for the next big winter rains.

The end of my last newsletter message got lost in cyberspace, so I'll give you the whole quote here from writer/philosopher/conservationist/curmudgeon Edward Abbey: "It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here. So get out there.... enjoy yourselves." This leads me to urge you to go on some of the field trips listed inside, and to make your own field trips. If you find a new place you'd like to share, consider leading or co-leading a field trip next year at the appropriate time.

         Stephen Ingram

May Dedication of the Mary DeDecker Native Plant Garden a Success

Under warm, sunny skies, a crowd of 70-80 folks gathered May 10 at the Eastern California Museum in Independence to honor Mary DeDecker and formally dedicate the Mary Dedecker Native Plant Garden. A number of Mary's relatives, including her husband, daughter, and three granddaughters, were present to join in the festivities recognizing Mary's many contributions. Thanks to two years hard work and a "miracle" spring, the garden looked fabulous that day.

Many people contributed to the success of the native plant garden and the dedication event including: Karen Ferrell-Ingram as the native plant provider who supplied the, garden plants and set up a display on propagation of native plants at the dedication; Jerry Zatorski, who took the lead on design, planting, and garden maintenance; many Bristlecone Chapter members and other volunteers who assisted Jerry in garden planting and maintenance over the last two springs; Stephen Ingram, who "emceed" the event; Annette Busby, Mary's granddaughter, who offered a delightful and moving tribute to her grandmother; Susan Levitsky Cochran, who traveled from the Sacramento area to talk about Mary the botanist; Larry Blakely, who made tribute to Mary's conservation efforts; Bill Michael, Eastern California Museum director; John Wehausen, Carolyn Tiernan, and Roger Schlatter, who opened the event with oboe and flute music; Derik Olson, Fiddlin' Pete Watercott and Pete's brother, who donated and set up the PA system for the day and played some lively music following the speakers; Sue Weis, who brought a cake decorated to depict a map of the garden; Cecil Patrick, who donated wonderful chocolate chip cookies; Betty Gilchrist, who contributed additional refreshments; Paula Brown-Williams, who wrote an Inyo Register article on the garden and who recorded the dedication speakers (we have the video tape if anyone who wasn't able to attend would like to view it!); Anne Halford, who coordinated the garden brochure and commemorative plaque and helped secure BLM's (her employer's) support for the project; Ed Cereda, who constructed the very nice kiosk; Kathy Duvall, Steve Ingram and Larry Blakely for the kiosk displays; and Sally Manning and Heidi Hopkins, who coordinated the event.

A hearty thanks to all who helped and who attended. Mary would have been thrilled.

         Heidi Hopkins

InTouch MicroSpa Benefits Bristlecone Chapter

On April 22nd, Carrie Meyers and InTouch MicroSpa in Mammoth donated the proceeds from every treatment booked on Earth Day to local environmental groups. Our posters and newsletters were on display and six clients chose our chapter as the recipient of their treatment payments. Most were from out of the area but chose our group because "they like flowers." Thanks, Carrie, for benefiting our chapter through Appointments for the Earth at In Touch MicroSpa.

2003 Bristlecone Chapter Field Trips -See Newsletter Insert


Help Devil's Postpile be Weed Free

The National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Team will be working at Devil's Postpile for a week in July. On Sunday, July 20th, chapter members and friends are invited to join them to learn about exotics found in the California national parks and pitch in to help remove those growing at Devil's Postpile. Depending on your schedule and energy level you may choose to work in remote parts of the Monument - areas rarely visited - or in a more accessible area. Meet at 7:30AM at the Mammoth Lakes Ranger Station. Free admission and transportation. Bring lunch, water, and sunscreen. Wear appropriate work clothes, boots, hat and work gloves. For more information contact Sherryl Taylor at 924-8742.

After a summer of litter, the Bristlecone Chapter's Adopt-a-Highway strip along #395 on the Sherwin Grade will need a clean-up. If you'd like to join us for a couple of hours some fall morning, please call or email Sherryl Taylor (sherrylt76@aol.com). Tell us which day of the week is best for you.


After three dry, meager years we are now enjoying an abundant seed production season. What this means to the native plant gardener is that we will have a great plant sale next year using all these seeds we are collecting this year! We are also planning to share some of these seeds with gardeners this fall at the plant sale.

Sarah McCullough and Kate Pavich of the Student Conservation Association's Native Plant Corps are working on seed collecting this summer and are putting together local wildflower seed mixes that will be available in September. We will also have a nice selection of native shrubs and perennials in gallons and smaller containers.

The Preview for the plant sale is scheduled for Tuesday, September 9 at 7:00 PM at White Mountain Research Station on East Line Street in Bishop. We will discuss seed propagation of native plants of the Eastern Sierra and the plants that will be offered at the plant sale.

The plant sale will be held on Saturday, September 13 at 9:00AM at White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. Please note the change from the usual location. More information will follow in the September newsletter and on the Bristlecone Chapter website. Please contact Karen at 387-2913 or at ingram@telis.org for info.


If you are driving on the back roads of the Owens Valley this summer and you see a small group of people working diligently through the sagebrush scrub with paper bags and wide-brimmed sun hats, you may have spotted the Seeds of Success crew that is collecting native plant seeds for the Royal Botanical Gardens and the BLM.

The Seeds of Success project is a cooperative effort between the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the BLM, and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), a group that places students in conservation internships. It is a millennium initiative, sponsored by the British government and funded through lottery monies, with the goal of collecting at least 10% of the world's arid land plant species by 2010 for long term seed storage at Kew. The project uses arid land species because plants from arid places tend to produce seeds that can survive the drying and freezing processes used for long term storage. Seeds are being collected at many sites around the world, but the species collected by the BLM are expected to make up a fifth of the total. The BLM will keep half of the seeds that are collected for use in restoration projects or storage in U.S. seed banks. This year there are six teams of seed collectors working at sites throughout the west, including the one working out of the BLM Bishop Field Office.

The Bristlecone Pine Chapter played a role in fielding the crew. The BLM contracted with the chapter for assistance with the project, and the chapter hired Karen Ferrell-Ingram to direct the field work. Karen has been collecting seeds and propagating native plants locally for the BLM and others for nine years. The two SCA crew members are Kate Pavich and Sarah McCullough. Kate grew up in Washington D.C. and studied Botany at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Sarah is from Helena, Montana and has a degree in biology from Yale. Anne Halford, the BLM botanist overseeing the project, completes the crew.

The crew is targeting a list of fifty species. The main focus is on species needed for restoration projects, but species have also been chosen for other ecological values. Desert paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia) is on the list because it is important to pollinators; Bailey's buckwheat (Eriogonum baileyi) was chosen because it is closely related to a rare species; and curly bluegrass (Poa secunda) was chosen because it is a wild relative of cultivated and economically important grass species. The crew is not collecting any agricultural of invasive weed species. Threatened and endangered species are being collected by a separate project partner.

For each target species, the crew is collecting and submitting between ten and twenty thousand seeds and four pressed plant specimens. The specimens will be prepared at Kew and divided between the herbarium collections at Kew, the Smithsonian, the BLM and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

In addition to the Seeds of Success project, the crew will be working on other projects for the chapter and the BLM, including alkali meadow restoration, collecting the seeds that will become the plants for next year's native plant sale and creating seed packets to be sold at this year's sale in September.

         Sarah McCullough


CARMA Update The comment period for the DEIS for proposed CARMA observatory project ended on June 23. I submitted over 10 pages of comments on behalf of the Bristlecone Chapter of CNPS and asked that no further consideration be given to the Juniper Flat alternative. It is now up to project proponents and the Inyo National Forest to respond to the comments.

Inyo County talks tough over the Drought Recovery Policy

In the last issue of this newsletter I wrote about LAD WP's proposed 2003 pumping plan and made predictions regarding Inyo County's response. Specifically, I predicted the County would claim the Drought Recovery Policy (DRP) still applies and that the proposed pumping would violate the DRP but that the County would still acquiesce to DWP's pumping plan.

The bad news is that I was correct.

The good news, however, is that Inyo County did something I didn't predict: it asserted in forceful terms the importance of the DRP, the "outrageousness" of DWP's unilateral decision that the DRP is no longer in effect, and threatened to initiate the Dispute Resolution proceedings specified in the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement over the issue.

This is both good news and bad news. It is good news because DWP's decision must be challenged and it was a wonderful surprise to hear the County's representatives to the Standing Committee (at the Standing Committee Meeting of early June) arguing the importance of the DRP. It was bad news, however, because it was only a threat.

Rather than initiate Dispute Resolution proceedings immediately, Inyo agreed to engage (with DWP) in a process called "mutual gains" negotiations to develop a replacement for the DRP. If the negotiations have not produced an agreement by September 1, 2003, Inyo County will then initiate Dispute Resolution.

Sounds good, right? A firm deadline!

Unfortunately, this sounds alarmingly like Inyo County's strategy last summer with regard to DWP's failure to fully irrigate Laws. Just as it does this summer with regard to the DRP issue, Inyo County last summer had a strong case for Dispute Resolution regarding the Laws irrigation issue. Just as they have done this summer, County Supervisors last summer set a deadline for initiating Dispute Resolution (my memory is September, 2002).

Last summer, unfortunately, the deadline came and went and the county chose secret negotiations instead of Dispute Resolution. The resulting negotiations took longer that the Dispute Resolution process would have, and the fruit of the negotiations is a disastrous giveaway. If the Laws settlement is approved, Inyo County will have given away far more (i.e. well exemptions) through its secret negotiations than it could possibly have lost through Dispute Resolution. If the salary costs of all county staff involved were computed, it is entirely possible the total would be higher than that required for a Dispute Resolution proceeding as well.

This example is what is frightening about the "mutual gains" negotiations now planned. The same county officials who brought us the Laws giveaway settlement will now be trying to develop a replacement for the DRP and there will be the same lack of public scrutiny of the proceedings. DWP has no more incentive to develop a replacement for the DRP than it did to honor its obligations at Laws. The chances of reaching agreement on an effective policy are, in my opinion, nil. It is essential that County Supervisors honor their commitment. When no effective policy has been agreed upon by September 1 the Supervisors should immediately initiate a Dispute Resolution case over DWP's attempt to unilaterally terminate the DRP. However expensive Dispute Resolution may be, the cost (measured both in money and in compromises which undermine the Water Agreement) of negotiations will be higher in the long run.

         Daniel Pritchett

Swall Meadows May 11, 2003

Nature who, with a masterhand,
Hast the great whole into perfection touched.

From The Seasons, J. Thomson English, 18th Century

A lot of moms and others treated themselves to Karen Ferrell-Ingram's Swall Meadows bum-area wildflower search on this Mother's Day, May 11. Nature's more salubrious forces had been at work creating vibrant growth on every hand, including many lovely annuals that do not necessarily appear annually. Karen pointed out that this is an incredible year for them-perhaps triggered by . the early November rain and the successive rains spaced out over the intervening period.

Frequently, there are single specimens of one plant or another growing in more or less solitary splendor, but this year we have panoplies of color on the slopes and meadows. Wild onion (Allium nevadense) was in abundance on a verge along Witcher Creek, masses of Lupinus argenteus above Birch Creek.

It's wonderful being handed a list of plants you may see in any given area. I check off the various names as they are identified and discussed, and at the end I'm always amazed at just how much we've seen and how much is new information to me. We saw at least 30 annuals, perennials, and shrubs in flower, as well as some grasses: the noxious, ubiquitous cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum); Great Basin wild rye (Leymus cinereus) in a moist area-our showiest grass later on when it produces tall seed stalks, good in the garden, loved by goldfinches per Karen; Indian rice grass (Achnatherum hymenoides); our native bunch grass with its deep roots. Karen pointed out yet-to-bloom Owens Valley Penstemon (Penstemon patens).

The fire had wreaked some havoc with the aspens, but the grove we observed was well on the path to recovery. Karen said what we were seeing was probably a single plant propagating itself by root sprouts, as aspens are wont to do here in the West. The aspen is noteworthy in its role as a pioneer tree in the wake of fires or other denuding of the landscape, be it logging or disease.

         Ann Fulton

Molybdenite Creek Field Trip
June 14, 2003

It was a long drive, but well worth it. This was the common sentiment after our 1-2 hour drive and 4-5 mile round-trip hike up Molybdenite Creek, on one of those clear, cool, perfect Eastern Sierra days. The trip was co-led by Sally Miller of the Wilderness Society and yours truly. (Hey, no one else volunteered to do a trip report, and I need the practice writing, so...). Sally gave a brief overview of the proposed additions to the Hoover Wilderness, talked about all the local support for it, and showed us a map of the current and proposed Hoover Wilderness Area. The Sierra juniper grove, our destination, is in part of the proposed addition.

Our group of 18 hoofed it up through the campground (most of us already vowing to come back for one or more nights) and along the creek, which was lined with many familiar plants not seen since last summer. Since the only plant on the list I handed out was Sierra juniper, I had a lot of filling in to do. We saw most of the usual suspects from mid-elevation creekside areas, such as aspens, meadow and big sagebrush, mule's ears, snowberry, wax currant, wallflower, and horsemint. A few more noteworthy plants in flower included wild peony (Paeonia brownii) and whisker-brush (Linanthus ciliatus), which Cathy Rose identified as something much more common on the west side of the Sierra. In wetter areas we saw toad lily (Montia chamissoi), blue-eyed mary (Collinsia torreyi), fivespot (Nemophila maculata), and woodland star (Lithophragma glabrum).

After keeping our eyes fixed mostly down, we found ourselves looking up a vegetated scree slope dominated by magnificent specimens of Sierra juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. australis). We had lunch under the shade of an ancient western white pine (Pinus monticola), enjoying views of the Sweetwater Mountains, and the glacier-carved canyon and moraine all around us. Soon we pressed on through the juniper forest, contemplating the centuries of spiral growth seen in some of the trees and snags. Some of these trees have been dated to 2500-3000 years old, (and a few of them look every day of it!)

Where the lateral moraine joined the trail that wound up the wide canyon, we had a great view of the peaks and slopes farther west. Up here the fragrance of spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) was almost overwhelming, but we kept our grip, turned around, and reluctantly headed down-slope, swearing to come back soon and stay longer.

         Stephen Ingram

Photos Appreciated

Our Bristlecone Chapter has chapter history books from our inception in 1982 until now. It would be nice to have photos the of field trips and events from the past few years. If you have photos you can donate for the books please label them and send them to Kathy Duvall 91 Oceanview Bishop, CA 93524. Thanks, Kathy


Thank you for our many renewals and a warm welcome to the following new members.

Ann M. Fulton - Bishop
Norman L. McKnight - Berkeley
Paul Plansky - Berkeley
Linda Aberbom - Benicia
Janice Gan - Tracy
Bill Feucht - Berkeley
Paula Brown Williams - Bishop
LaDonna Rischer - Bishop
Dick Sykes - Bishop

August 29th.

Summer and Fall 2003 Bristlecone Chapter Field Trips

July 5, Saturday, Seed Collecting. Volunteers are needed to help collect seed for our native plant sale and for BLM's "Seeds of Success" Project. Come learn more about our native flora in fruit. Please contact Karen for location and more information at 387-2913 or at ingram@telis.org

July 12-13, Saturday and Sunday, Coyote Plateau Car Camp. Leaders: Sherryl Taylor and Kathy Duvall. Spectacular vistas and natives' in bloom (including Lupinus padre-crowleyi). Meet at 8:00 AM sharp at the old Smart and Final parking lot behind Joseph's Market in Bishop to caravan to our campsite at 9,000 ft.; a 1-2 hour drive. Map will be provided. Four wheel, high clearance vehicles required on rugged road with some exposure. Opportunities to climb Sugarloaf, view the Palisades Glaciers and hunt for yellow-legged frogs with Phil[ Kiddoo. Bring your own camping gear, water and food and something to contribute to the potluck taco dinner. Group size limited to 15, reserve early. Call Kathy at 387-2122, kduvall@telis.org, and Sherryl Taylor 924-8742, sherrylt76@aol.com for more information. Call Kathy to reserve a place.

July 19, Saturday, Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park. Leader: Jerry Zatorski With a summit of 11,049, telescope Peak, the highest peak in the Panamints, and the surrounding summits are very unlike the stifling deserts below. The Panamint peaks are true sky islands and they hold an enormous wealth of unique flora isolated by a seemingly endless sea of desert beyond. On this excursion we'll botanize our way up the summit trail and go as far as we choose. We ;will meet at the Mahogany Flat campground at 8:00 AM on Saturday. There will be moderate to strenuous hiking at high elevation. There is no available water here, so bring plenty of fluids and food. High clearance and/or 4WD vehicles will be necessary on the road for the last few miles to Mahogany Flat. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski at 872-3818 or at jerryzat@yahoo.com

July 20, Sunday, Devil's Postpile Work Day. Leader: Sherryl Taylor. We will join the National Park Service Exotic Plant Management team to learn about exotics found in the Sierra and help remove them from Devil's Postpile. More than just cheat grass and bull thistle, a half dozen exotic species have been found in the Monument. Those volunteers who are up to a strenuous hike and can spend the day, will work in remote parts of the Monument. A more accessible area will be targeted for those who choose an easier, shorter day. Meet at 7:30 AM at the Mammoth Lakes Ranger Station. Free admission, transportation by carpool or bus. Bring lunch, water, and sunscreen. Wear appropriate work clothes, boots and hat. For more information contact Sherryl Taylor at 924-8742.

July 26, Saturday, Gaylor and Granite Lakes Basin, Leader: Cathy Rose. After a stiff climb of about 1/2 mile, expect a fairly easy, though mostly cross-country, high-elevation, walk of about five miles. We'll visit four lakes and an old mine and see a goodly array of subalpine and alpine plants, superb views, metamorphic and granitic rocks, and mountain birds. Bring lunch, water, camera. Meet at 8:00 AM at Tom's Place for carpooling or 9:00 AM just outside Tiogo Pass to begin hike. Call Cathy for details at 9354329.

September, Native Plant Sale. The plant sale will be scaled down this year due to three years of minimal seed production in the wild. There will be some plants available so please keep an eye on future newsletters for timing and location of plant sales. Contact Karen at 387-2913 or at ingram@telis.org for more information.

September 6, Saturday, Trees of the Eastern Sierra, Mammoth to Rock Creek. Leader: Cathy Rose. In a time of year when flowers are on the wane, we'll look up at the conifers and broad-leaved trees of the Mammoth, Convict Lake, and Rock Creek area. We will take short walks in each place; expect some uphill but at a botanist's pace. Meet at the the Inyo National Forest's Visitor's Center on HWY 203 before entering Mammoth Lakes. Bring lunch and water. Handout provided. Call Cathy at 935-4329 for details.

October 4, Saturday, Hilton Creek fall colors and mosses. Leader: Sue Weis. This is a strenuous 4.5 mile (9 mile round trip) hike with about a 2000 foot elevation gain to the large meadow below Davis Lake. There is a beautiful view of Long Valley and some Penstemon papillatus to help you up the switchbacks. This is one of three locations in the state of the rare moss Helodium blandlowii and Eve Laeger has been invited to come along and discuss the mosses. Meet at the old hostel/packstation building in Long Valley at 8:30 am, bring lunch. Feet may get wet in some areas of the meadow. Call Sue at 387-2349.

FIELD TRIP POLICIES: For all field trips, be sure to bring plenty of water, lunch, good walking shoes or boots, and appropriate clothing for hot sun and/or inclement weather. Also useful would be a hand lens, binoculars, camera, floras, and plant lists. Trips will 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. Everyone is welcome, but not pets. For general question on field trips or if you would like to lead a trip, please call Karen Ferrell-ingram at (760) 387-2913 or write ingram@telis.org.