Volume 25 No. 1 January/February 2005

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora




The next Chapter Meeting will be on Wednesday January 26 at 7:00 p.m at the White Mtn. Research Station. A speaker and/or panel will be present to discuss the ecology and threats of our local invasive weed species. For more program specifics, please contact our Vice President and Program Chair Sue Weis at (760) 387-2349.

Our next Board Meeting will be at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, January 19. Please 'contact Chapter President Sherryl Taylor for location information. (760) 924-8742. All are welcome to attend.


January, 2005, and the state of our chapter is very strong. Our most successful ever September plant sale will enable us to fund important native plant research in our region. Our well-tended Mary Dedecker Native Plant Garden is resting these months as we anticipate another spectacular spring bloom. Through our Conservation efforts we will continue to speak up for native plants and the health of their habitat. Having enjoyed a season of field trips from March through October we will begin making plans for more trips in the year ahead. Plans for interesting program meetings and field trips have already begun and include; our annual Sierra Spring Sojourn, a May meeting at the Native Plant Garden, and in June, our hosting of the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Penstemon Society. Please see more details of these events in our upcoming newsletters and on our web site. Our chapter's strength lies in your willingness to share your interest in native plants and commit your time, knowledge and energy to insure their health. I'm-thaakful that most all of our Board members have agreed to continue in the jobs they do so well. We welcome Denise Waterbury to the Board to serve as Secretary and thank Sally Manning for her many meetings of excellent minute-taking. Our chapter's continuing strength depends on active new members. Please share our introductory newsletter with a friend. And choose a way to become even more involved in our chapter's activities.

A focus of our efforts in 2005 will be "invasive plants." Please join us for our January meeting as we kick off that effort.

..... . .. Sherry1 Taylor

Botanical Meetings and Jepson Herbarium Workshops To Be Held Locally

SNARL will be hosting two Jepson Herbarium workshops in July 2005. The first "Flora of the Convict Lake Region" will be July 21--24, 2005 and taught by Dean Taylor and Jim Morefield. The second will be "Sierra Nevada Plants: An Introduction to Species and Communities" on July 28--31, 2005, taught by Linda Ann Vorobik. Five spots in each class are being held for locals and offered at the reduced rate of $275 members/$300 non-members of Friends of the Jepson Herbarium. The classes are filling rapidly so you need to reserve space right away if you are interested. Please see


for a detailed description of the classes and registration information.

2005 American Penstemon Society Annual Meeting

The 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Penstemon Society will be held in Bishop over the weekend of June 10-12, 2OO5. Please see upcoming newsletters and our web site for more details and/or contact meeting and field trip organizer Karen Ferrell-Ingram at (760) 387-2913.

Your Local Land Trust: Public Benefits and Opportunities

The Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) invites the public to an upcoming introductory forum to learn more about its tools and programs that benefit the environment and culture of our region. The land trust movement is involved in protecting millions of acres of critical natural habitats, working farms and ranches, historic buildings and beloved scenic vistas across the nation. Locally, the ESLT is focused on programs that benefit the public, the private landowners, and the land so that the unique assets of the eastern Sierra can be enjoyed by residents and visitors far into the future. The ESLT seeks to involve all interested local residents in its programs so that all elements of our community are represented.

The introductory forum will cover land trust tools, ESLT programs and plans, and volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are needed in a variety of areas such as legal review of documents, stuffmg envelopes, helping organize special events, and conducting baseline assessments of potential projects. There is much interesting and important work to be done! More intensive training opportunities are available for motivated volunteers.

Please join us at one of the following events:

Wednesday, February 2, 7:00-8:30 PM at the Town/County Conference Room, above Giovanni's Restaurant, Mammoth Lakes.

Thursday, February 3, 7:00-8:30 PM, South Classroom, White Mountain Research Station, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop.

Please call the ESLT office at 873-4554 to reserve a space or for more information.

Big Pine Native American Garden Project

The Native American Garden project was carried out by the Big Pine Paiute Tribe. The goal was to create a space for native plants that were used by indigenous peoples of the Owens Valley for food or medicines as well as to enjoy other ornamental plants of the Owens Valley.

Students at the Big Pine Indian Education Center helped plan and then plant the garden. They went to the DeDecker Garden in May to see the variety of plants available and compiled a list of plants they wanted to plant. They did research on the internet to find additional information on each plant, and assembled a collection of pictures of the plants. In addition, some students went to Bishop to see the plants at White Mountain Research Station in their early growing stages.

On October 5th, six students helped plant 59 native plants and 27 species in the courtyard between several Tribal buildings. In addition to the plants donated by the Bristlecone Chapter, other important plants historically used by the Paiute, such as Sawaniva (Yerba mansa) and Silver Sage were collected from around the area and transplanted as well.

A drip irrigation system has been partially installed, and paths of decomposed granite have been laid around the garden. Posts for a shade structure were collected north of Deadman Summit and installed in the courtyard. The plan is to complete the irrigation and shade structure in the spring of 2005. At that time, identification tags with the English, Latin, and Paiute names will be installed for each plant. A brochure or guide containing more detailed information about each plant is also planned.

........Chery1 Chipman


Inyo County Revolution!

In January 2005, three new Inyo County Supervisors will take office, Water Department director Greg James will have retired, and County CEO Rene Mendez will complete his fmal month of employment. This constitutes the biggest change in Inyo County government (especially with regard to water issues) in the 10 years I've lived here. Like any change in administration, it offers both opportunities and dangers.

During the supervisorial campaign last February, the Bristlecone Chapter sent six questions- regarding the Inyo-LA Long Tenn Water Agreement (LTWA) to all candidates. The three new supervisors all took the time to answer the questions, which is a good sign because they were not necessarily easy to answer! The answers suggest to me that our new supervisors mean well, but still have much to learn about the confusing history and details of the LTWA and associated documents.

Because they still have homework to do, they are vulnerable to misinformation, which abounds. A recent example is the inflammatory press release (apparently distributed by a Big Pine rancher) regarding the proposed planting of cottonwood trees along Baker Creek. Development of this proposal is a requirement of the MOU to the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and, if implemented, would help mitigate groundwater pumping impacts and enhance habitat for the yellow-billed cuckoo. The press release, read on KIBS news, made the proposal sound like an ORV road closure, which it is not.

A1l of the incoming supervisors made an issue in their campaigns of the need for supervisors to listen to their constituents. Let's hold them to their campaign promises! It is a given that the new supervisors will be barraged with half-truths and distortions from LADWP and its apologists. If we don't make our views known and provide accurate information to set the record straight we will lose a historic opportunity.

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

Winter Reading for Native Plant Gardeners

I have come across three fairly new books that can enliven a winter evening and make a gardener's hands itch to get out and into the dirt. Sometimes I think that the best gardens exist in the imagination and these books could supply the inspiration for some excellent garden fantasies, along with much practical information.

Alpine Plants of North America; An Encyclopedia of Mountain Flowers from the Rockies to Alaska, by Graham Nichols, Timber Press, 2002. Don't be dissuaded by the misleading title- the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin mountain ranges are included in this wide ranging if not truly encyclopedic effort. The author is a British nurseryman who has been fascinated with western alpine plants for decades and has much experience in growing them in gardens and containers. This book could be very helpful to the mountain gardener who wants to capture the beauty of the high country in their gardens or troughs.

Native Plants for High-Elevation Western Gardens, by Janice Busco and Nancy Morin, Fulcrum Publishing, 2003. This practical and educational guide was published in partnership with the Arboretum at Flagstaff so the focus is on plants of the mountainous southwest region. Still, many plants from our area are described in the informative species profiles that make up the bulk of the book. Each species is described in detail with facts about season of bloom, outstanding features, cultural requirements, wildlife benefits, along with historic and modern uses of the plant. There is a good section in the beginning about planning and maintaining a native plant garden that transcends all quibbles about the geographical focus of the book.

The Zen of Gardening in the High and Arid West; Tips, Tools,and Techniques, by David Wann, Fulcrum Publishing, 2003.; This is a very useful, stirring, energetic, and funny book, perfect for devouring during a long, dark, winter snowstorm. The author has a deep understanding of the challenging climate in which we try to cultivate gardens with many strategies for the practice of sustainable living in the intermountain west. He discusses vegetable gardening, choosing the right plant for the right place, soil building and nurturing, the value of horticultural therapy for humans and our planet, and much, much more.

Happy winter gardening dreams!

Next Newsletter Deadline: February 28th