Volume 24 No. 3 May/June 2004

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora




Our next meeting will be our banquet on Wednesday, July 21,6:00PM, at the new Crowley Lake Community Center, catered by Anything Goes. Our speaker is Jim Andre, director of the University of California, Riverside, Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Bristlecone Chapter Research Center. Currently working on a flora of the East Mojave, Jim has recently conducted an inventory of the springs and seeps of the Owens Valley and compiled a checklist of plants found there. His topic will be Summer Annuals and Fall-flowering Plants of the Eastern Mojave. Learn somegood reasonsto keep visiting the desert year round.Watch fbr more information in the July newsletter and then make your reservations immediately.


The next Chapter Board meeting will be at 7:00 PM on Monday, May 17th at the home of Kathy Duvall. Call Kathy at 387-2122 for directions. All are welcome to attend.


Because our May meeting in Independence is so early this month - scheduled to find the Masy DeDecker Native Plant Garden in full bloom - the meeting may have happened before you receive this newsletter. Our hope is to draw lots of southern Owens Valley members and residents and to spotlight the Garden. If you didn't attend the meeting, try to visit the Garden this month. It only becomes more beautiful and is a fitting tribute to Mary DeDecker. Very soon there will be a plaque in place with a quote by Mary. Thanks to all of you who volunteer there.

At our March meeting, the Bristlecone Chapter board approved the details of a second season of participation in "Seeds of Success." The goal of this project is to collect at least 10% of the world's arid land plant species by 2010 for long term seed storage at Kew Gardens in England. The BLM contracts with our chapter to collect seeds - the bulk of the work is done by Karen Ferrell-Ingram and two Student Conservation Association interns. We benefit additionally because some of the seeds collected are sold in seed packets at our plant sale in September. We are grateful to Karen and the interns, and to Anne Halford, BLM botanist, for their hard work and for our opportunity to be involved.
This is a very busy and exciting time of year with field trips to lead and attend, seeds to collect, plant surveys to be done, a highway to be cleaned, and walks and hikes to be taken to discover native plants in bloom. Enjoy these days!

.. . .....Sherry1 Taylor

Upcoming Bristlecone Chapter Spring Field Trips and Activities

Please note changes in schedule from last newsletter

May 15, Saturday, Swall Meadows Wildflower Walk Leader: Karen Ferrell-Ingram. Our annual walk will take us to see the wide variety of shrubs and wildflowers that inhabit the upper edges of the Owens Valley. We will also take a look at the recovery from the 2002 Birch fire. We will walk about 3 miles on moderate roads and trails. Meet at 9AM at the gravel pit on Sky Meadow Road in Swall Meadows. Take the Swall Meadows Rd. turnoff off of Lower Rock Creek Rd. and take the first right, Sky Meadow Rd. After the road turns to dirt, take the first right turn and you will see the gravel pit. Bring water and a snack. We will finish by lunchtime. Contact Karen at 387-2913 or ingram@telis.org for more information. Dogs ok on this trip, if friendly!

May 22, Saturday. Inyo Mountains Loop, Cerro Gordo to San Lucus Canyon. Leader: Anue Halford. This trip will be an all day auto tour with many stops along the way to look at plants such as the diminutive limestone daisy (Erigeron uncialis var. uncialis), paperbag bush (Salzaria mexicana), Calochortus kennedyi var. kennedyi and Mojave fish hook cactus (Scelerocactus polyancistrus) as well as many others. Please bring a lunch and plant enjoying paraphernalia. A high-clearance vehicle is required and a 4WD recommended. Car-pooling will be encouraged. Meet at 9:OO AM at the Lone Pine Visitor's Center. We will plan on returning to the Visitor's Center between 4:00 or 5:00 PM. Call Anne at 872-5022 for more information.

June 5 and 6, Saturday and Sunday, Wildrose Peak and Tetracoccus Ridge. Leaders: Cathy Rose and Stephen Ingram. Meet at Wildrose Peak trailhead at Charcoal Kilns, Wildrose Canyon, Saturday morning at 10 am. The hike up Wildrose Peak is a moderately strenuous 8.4 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 2200 ft, with frequent botanical stops, of course. Bring your own food, water and camping equipment if you plan to camp at Mahogany Flat Saturday night. On Sunday morning we'll plan to leave the Mahogany Flat Campground at 9 am for the short but tough hike (no trail, rough footing) out Tetracoccus Ridge to see the rare and elusive Tetracoccus ilicifolius, a rare shrub (CNPS List 1B) in the Euphorbiaceae. We'll plan to drive home in the early afternoon. People are free to join us for either day or both. Contact Stephen at 387-2913 ar ingram@telis.org.

June 12, Saturday, Laws area. Leader: Daniel Pritchett. Meet at the Laws Museum parking area at 8:30 AM. Take the Owens Valley challenge: learn about native alkali meadow vegetation in the Laws area; look at hydrographs and monitoring results; learn about relationships between meadows and water table depth; learn about exempt wells and the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and EIR. We will see several CNPS-listed species including Owens Valley endemics, the Owens Valley star tulip (Calochortus excavatus) and Owens Valley checkerbloom (Sidalcea covillei). 4x4 not required but high clearance will help. Temperatures may be high. Bring water, snacks, hat, sunscreen. Trip will end by noon. Contact Daniel at 873-8943 or skypilots@telis.org.

June 15-18, Tuesday-Friday, Granite Mountains Wilderness Study Area Rare Plant Survey -Joint trip with Partner's For Plants. The Granite Mountains Wilderness Study Area is a beautiful and unusual area just north of the Glass Mountains and west of Adobe Valley in Mono County containing diverse plant communities that exhibit both Great Basin and Sierran species affinities. We will set-up a base camp (car camping) and hike 3-5 miles a day over varied terrain to assess potential habitat for several rare plant species to include, but not be limited to; Tonopah milk-vetch (Astragalus pseudiodanthus), Bodie Hills rock cress (Arabis bodiensis), Masonic Mtn. rock cress (Arabis cobrensis), nodding buckwheat (Eriogonum nutans var. nutans), and Alexander's buckwheat (Eriogonum ochrocephalum var. alexandra). Please bring overnight car-camping equipment, field guides/other plant observation supplies, sturdy hiking boots, at least one 5 gallon water jug as well as, food for breakfast and lunch. Dinners will be divided among participants with usually one dinner prepared by two different people each night. Meet at 9:00 AM at the BLM/USFS building on 351 Pacu Lane (just west of the hospital, on West Line Street). Please contact Anne Halford at 872-5022 (for trip details) or Sherryl Taylor (Partner For Plants Lead) at 924-8742 to set up dinner arrangements.

June 26, Saturday, McGee Creek Canyon. Leader: Jerry Zatorski. This hike is a perennial favorite among local native plant enthusiasts. The day trip will take us up the McGee Creek trail a few miles, and what we don't get in distance we'll certainly get in flowers. The trail winds through riparian and mountain chaparral habitats. We expect to find many species in bloom so bring your field guild and hand lens. The part of the trail we'll explore starts at 7900 ft. and goes to 8800. The hiking will be moderate at high elevation, so participants should have proper footwear and clothing for hiking as well as food and fluids. We'll meet at the McGee Creek Trail Head at 9:00AM. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski at 872-38 18 or jerryzat@yahoo.com

July 10, Saturday, We Work for Blooms. Leaders: Sue Weis and Sherryl Taylor. Meet at the Mammoth Ranger Station parking lot at 8:30 AM to carpool to Devil's Postpile National Monument. We'll attack a patch of cheatgrass near the Rainbow Falls trail (easy hike) and then search for sensitive plant Hulsea brevifolia in the burn area. After lunch Sue Weis will lead a native plant walk near Agnew Meadows. We'll return to our cars in Mammoth around 2:00. For more information, call Sherryl at 924-8742 or sherry1t76@aol.com or Sue at 387-2349 or sueweis@aol.com.

July 17, Saturday, Buckwheats in the White Mountains. Leader: Scott Hetzler. This will be an exploration of the numerous buckwheats to be found along Westgard Pass and on top of the White Mountains. No hiking involved but there will be numerous forays made out onto the rocky roadsides in search of diverse buckwheats. Bring field guldes for keying out plants, lunch and water. Passenger cars are fine. Meet at the Glacier View Campground at the north end of Big Pine at 9am. Call Scott at 873-3892 for more information.

July 21, Wednesday, Summer Banquet. Speaker: Jim Andre, Director of the Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center. The Banquet will be held at the Crowley Lake Community Center. Check upcoming newsletters for more information about this fun, biannual event.

July 24, Saturday, Solitude Canyon. Leaders: Cathy Rose and Tony and Sherryl Taylor. You'll be surprised that this quiet, pristine canyon is so close to the town of Mammoth Lakes - just behind the Sherwins. Meet at 9:OO AM at the Coldwater Creek trailhead parking area for a strenuous climb to a volcanic plateau with views of the Mammoth Lakes basin and beyond. Well take a break, identify alpine and sub-alpine species, and perhaps hike to a red volcanic dome for even more vistas. As we descend into beautiful Solitude Canyon we will find very large white and red fir and aspen in the drainage and, we hope, an abundance of native plants in bloom. This is an "on-and-off-trail" hike. Wear good boots and clothes for changeable weather, bring lunch and plenty of water and definitely your camera. We will have left cars at the bottom of the canyon to transport drivers back to their cars. For more details, contact the Taylors at 924-8742 or sherrylt76@aol.com.

July 31, Saturday, Horseshoe Meadows, Cottonwood Creek, Little Cottonwood Creek. Leader: Sue Weis. We'll take the Cottonwood Creek trail from the Horseshoe Meadow area, then loop back to the Horseshoe Meadow road along Little Cottonwood Creek (carshuttle back). We should see alpine flowers and foxtail pine. This is a 6 mile hike starting at about 9800 ft, with the.highest point 10,600 ft. Meet at the park at the north end of Lone Pine at 9:00 a.m. and bring a lunch. Call Sue at 387-2349 if you have any questions.

August 28 and 29, Saturday, Glass Mountain. Leaders: Jerry Zatorski and Scott Hetzler. Glass Mountain is a unique geological feature chiefly composed of obsidian. The endless sagebrush scrub surrounding the area belies the incredible diversity of plant life that can be found on and around the peak itself. On Saturday, we'll botanize meadows looking for late summer blooms. We'll retire to the Sawmill Meadow primitive campsite for Saturday evening. Sunday morning we'll take the short but steep and strenuous hike up to the peak to search for plants that come into their prime after the midsummer monsoon season. The hike to the peak requires participants to be in good hiking shape at high elevation with proper footwear. Participants are responsible for their own camping gear, food and fluids (there is no water available at the campsite). High clearance vehicles are recommended on the dirt roads. We'll meet at 9:00 AM Saturday morning on Highway 120 and McGee Canyon Rd. - 38 mi. east of Hwy 395 or - 31 mi west of Hwy 6 from Benton. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski at 872-3818 or jerryzat@yahoo.com or Scott Hetzler at 873-3892.

September 11, Saturday, Blackrock, Leader: Daniel Pritchett. Meet at the Blackrock Fish Hatchery raceway parking lot at 8:30 AM. Take the Owens Valley challenge: learn about native alkali meadow vegetation south of Blackrock; learn what trout have to do with dying meadows, Look at hydrographs and monitoring results; learn about relationships between meadows and water table depth; learn about exempt wells and the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and EIR. 4x4 not required but high clearance will help. Temperatures may be high. Bring water, snacks, hat, sunscreen. Trip will end by noon. Contact Daniel at 873-8943 or skypilots@telis.org.

September 21, Tuesday, Plant Sale Preview. 7PM at White Mountain Research Station at 3000 East Line St. in Bishop. Slide show of plants that will be available at the plant sale along with information about growing them. Free plant raffle and refreshments will be offered. Contact Karen at 387-2913 or at ingram@telis.org.

September 25, Saturday, 8th Annual Native Plant Sale - 9AM at White Mountain Research Station on East Line St. in Bishop. Native wildflowers, perennials, shrubs, and grasses will be ready to plant in the garden.  Plant lists and more info will be available in mid-summer. Contact Karen at 387-2913 or at ingram@telis.org.

October 2, Saturday, Buckwheats of Red Rock Canyon, leader: Scott Hetzler. We'll check out the various annual and perennial buckwheats to be found on the northern tablelands and the beautiful rock formations in Red Rock Canyon. Meet at the Y (intersection of HWY 395 and HWY 6) in Bishop at 9:OOAM. Bring a high-clearance vehicle and lunch. Call Scott at 873-3892 for more information.

October9, Saturday, Work party at the DeDecker Native Plant Garden. Check future newsletters for details or call Jerry Zatorski at 872-3818 for information.

Field Trip Policies

For all field trips, be sure to bring plenty of water, good walking shoes or boots, hat, and appropriate clothing for hot sun or inclement weather. Also useful would be a hand lens, binoculars, camera, floras, and plant lists. Trips will leave at the time listed, so please arrive at the meeting site a few minutes early. Carpooling is encouraged. Everyone is welcome, but please no pets unless otherwise indicated. Do not hesitate to contact the trip leader for more details about each trip. If you would like to lead a field trip please contact Karen Ferrell-Ingram at 387-2913 or ingram@telis.org.

Eastern Sierra Wildflowers - A Slide Show

Stephen Ingram will be giving a slide show on May 22 featuring local wildflowers at their best. Presented by the Eastern Sierra Land Trust,Stephen will share his photos of wildflowers from the valley floor to the rocky peaks, from spring's first green shoots to winter's snowy renewal. The ESLT is celebrating its May Membership Drive and recent land conservation achievements. Learn more about the ESLT at www.easternsieralandtrust.org. Join ESLT members and supporters for the free slide show on May 22 at 7PM at the Edisto Gallery and Tea Room at 452 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes. Call 873-4554 for


Drought Recovery Policy jeopardized again: Please contact your County Supervisor!

In 2002 DWP unilaterally terminated the Drought Recovery Policy, over Inyo County's objection (see previous newsletters for discussions of the importance of the DRP and DWP's unilateral termination of it). At the Standing Committee meeting in June 2003, Inyo County representatives agreed the County would participate in secret, facilitated discussions following the "Mutual Gains" protocol to develop an interim management plan to replace the DRP. They stated emphatically, however, that if agreement on a new plan was not reached by September 1, 2003, the County would initiate a Dispute Resolution proceeding over DWP's unilateral termination of the DRP.

On September 1,2003, neither an interim management plan was released, nor was a Dispute Resolution proceeding initiated. In January 2004 it was revealed that scientists and technical experts had failed to reach agreement under the Mutual Gains process and management was going to participate.

DWP then missed the April 20, 2004, deadline under the Water Agreement to submit its 2004 annual pumping plan. Inyo County, however, issued a press release stating that the County had agreed (apparently in a closed session meeting of the Supervisors) to allow DWP to delay release of its pumping plan. The delay was to allow the Mutual Gains process to continue because the county believed agreement would be soon reached on an interim management plan. The press release stated that the deadline for submission of the 2004 pumping plan would be delayed until May 18, and that the expected interim management plan (to replace the DRP) will be released on May 11. There will be a seven day public comment period before consideration of the expected interim management plan by Inyo Supervisors on May 18.

I hope I'm proven wrong, but I take it as a forgone conclusion that any interim management plan will not be as strong as the DRP itself. Had DWP been willing to agree to something comparable, negotiations would not have taken 10 months. Past experience suggests any agreement will be complicated, confusing, and/or poorly written, and/or contain internal inconsistencies (remember, for example, the Irrigation Project at Laws, the protocol for the testing of wells 380 and 381, and the recent settlement of the Sierra Club/OVC litigation over the LORP). Inyo County spokesmen will attempt to win support by asserting that this agreement (whatever its contents) provides for a "reasonable" or "low" volume of pumping and will point out that under On/Off pumping may go as high as 1 50,000 AF/yr.

Please tell your Supervisor that the only meaningful criterion on which to judge any replacement for the DRP is whether the potential replacement requires recovery of soil moisture/water tables to vegetation rooting zones (as the DRP does). If not, the policy should be rejected. The DRP is based on biology and its importance cannot be overstated.

..... . ..Daniel Pritchett, Conservation Chair.

Field Trip Report

Alkali Meadow Rare Plant Salvage -April 3, 2004

Morning mist and cool weather still brought out 14 dedicated volunteers to help salvage rare alkali meadow species; Owens Valley checkerbloom (Sidalcea covillei) and the Inyo County mariposa lily (Calochortus excavatus) fiom a parcel slated for development along West Line Street. Before plants were removed for transplanting Raymond Andrews and Qwina West performed a Paiute blessing to ensure that the plants would do well and grow vigorously in their new home just adjacent to the site.

Approximately 200 Sidalcea Covillei and 25 Calochortus excavatus were lovingly dug up and put into gallon containers and transported to their new home in the front of Interagency USFS and BLM Office which remarkably still contains suitable habitat for both species. Thank you to everyone who came out to help with this project. To date the plants look well - only a handful didn't make it the first week and we're looking forward to their blooms next spring.

... . ....Anne Halford



New Volunteer Program at Mono Lake this summer

The Mono Lake Committee, US Forest Service, and California State Parks are teaming up to sponsor a volunteer program at Mono Lake this summer. Volunteers will have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and share their knowledge of the Eastern Sierra. Participants may staff information desks and/or rove and answer questions at the lakeshore. With additional training,volunteers may also get involved in guiding formal tours for groups.

Free training will be held during the first 3 weeks of June in the Mono Basin. Volunteers are required to attend six half-day training sessions and are asked to donate 8 hours per month from June through September. Participants must be at least 18 years old, and be able to walk short distances and stand for 2 hours.

Please contact Janet Carle at 760-647-6431 or Fran at frances@monolake.org for more information or to sign up. You will be sent details and a training schedule.

Settling the Eastern Sierra Class and Field Trips

"Every dirt road invites me to explore. They all once had a destination--an old homestead, an oasis in the desert, a prehistoric house site, a gold or turquoise prospect--all pieces of our history." Evanne Jardine

Sign up for Evanne's class, Settling the Eastern Sierra, by calling John Connolly at the Department of Parks and Recreation at 934-8989 ext. 227. Join other local residents interested in our region's history, and then travel back in time, encountering obscure facts and great events that have shaped the human history of the Eastern Sierra. Walk where the Paiute pecked messages onto basalt; follow trails used by early explorers, miners and settlers; visit legendary boomtowns like Monoville, Aurora, or Candelaria. Picture ranches and orchards spread throughout the Mono Basin. Learn about Ft. Independence and the Owens Valley Indian Wars, the Water Wars and the advent of tourism.

Settling the Eastern Sierra will meet Tuesday evenings, 6pm to 9pm, beginning 4 May and ending 22 June. In addition to class sessions three fieldtrips will be scheduled to explore historic sites in the area. Fee: $50 per person. Call Evanne Jardine at 924-3837 for further information.

Announcing: New California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) Online Quad. Viewer

Did you ever wish you could just go online to see what the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) has for a particular topographic quadrangle, including occurrences that have been reported but haven't yet been entered into the CNDDB (the "data backlog")? Well, now you can.

The CNDDB has recently developed an online Quad Viewer. The Quad Viewer allows the user to generate lists of rare plants, animals and natural communities by USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle. To use the viewer, go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/whdab/ and click on the left link "Quad Viewer." Follow the instructions that come up when you first launch the program or by clicking the Help tab once the viewer is open. There are separate buttons for the data already processed in the CNDDB and for data still to be processed. In addition, there are tools that generate lists from a nine-quad area (the quad you pick plus the eight surrounding quads) for CNDDB data and the backlog, respectively. These data will be updated monthly.

Roxanne Bittman
Lead Botanist
California Natural Diversity Database
California Department of Fish and Game


The Bristlecone Chapter warmly welcomes the following new members

Janet Carle - Lee Vining
Linah Ababneh - Tucson, AZ
R. Scot Ferguson - Lone Pine
Erik Frenzel - June Lake

Next Newsletter Deadline: June 28th