Community News

Annual Hantavirus Warning

‘Tis The Season for Hantavirus

From the desk of Inyo and Mono county Public Heath officer Dr. Richard Johnson:
Although mice carry the hantavirus all year, this is the start of the season when humans typically begin activities that put them at risk of being exposed to the hantavirus. Spring cleaning activities, such as opening up closed buildings that have been unused overwinter, often provide habitats for deer mice and become sites for human exposure to the hantavirus. Although hantavirus infections are relatively rare, it is not unusual for us to have several cases per year in the Eastern Sierra. The risk of death is significant. Individuals cleaning areas where the mice may be present are well advised to heed the recommendations below in order to avoid exposure.
Hantavirus is carried by certain species of rats and mice, and especially the deer mouse, pictured above. Infected rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. The virus can be transmitted to people when infected mouse urine, saliva, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up, temporarily aerosolizing the virus, which can be breathed in by humans.

We recommend the following precautions:
seal openings that may allow mice to enter homes and workplaces;
remove brush, woodpiles, trash, and other items that may attract mice;
tightly close garbage cans, pet food containers, and other food
sources;
wear protective gloves to handle dead mice or to clean up nesting areas, urine, or droppings;
before cleaning up nests or droppings found inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the area for at least 30 minutes;
do not stir up nests by sweeping or vacuuming. Dampen areas before clean-up;
use a disinfectant or 1-to-10 bleach-water mixture to clean up dead
rodents, nests, urine, and droppings.
Early symptoms of hantavirus infection include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. These symptoms may be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath. If hantavirus is suspected, people should contact their health care provider immediately. Remember, infections with hantavirus may feel like the “flu”; however, it is no longer flu season!

For more information, including a map of surveillance activities, go to: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/HantavirusPulmonarySyndrome.aspx

mono county news, inyo county news, eastern sierra news

Bishop Solar Project

Bishop Invites Comments on Solar Project

The City of Bishop invites comments on the environmental study for its Well and Sewer Plant Solar project. The $600,000 project will add solar arrays at two city well sites and at the city sewage treatment plant. These arrays would provide most of the power used by the wells and sewage plant, would save the city about $60,000 per year in electricity costs, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 470,000 pounds per year.

One 5,000 square foot solar array would be constructed at the city’s Well 2 site near the Tri-county Fairgrounds, one 11,000 square foot solar array would be constructed at the city’s Well 4 site on West Line Street near Mummy Lane, and two arrays with a combined
area of about 12,500 square feet would be constructed at the sewage treatment plant about 1/2 mile east of the Bishop Creek Canal. An environmental document called an Initial Study has been prepared for the project. The document describes the project in detail and is available on the City of Bishop website. This document identifies and evaluates potential environmental impacts of the project and suggests the project will not have a significant adverse environmental impact.

The study was released for public review March 31st and comments are due May 1st. The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the study at its regular meeting April 27th and is expected to adopt the environmental document at their meeting May 11th. Construction of the project is expected in the fall of 2015. Contact the City of Bishop Department of Public Works at City Hall or publicworks@ca-bishop.us or 760-873-8458 for more information or to provide comment on the project or environmental document.

city of bishop, solar project, bishop news, eastern sierra news

Come for Vacation, don’t leave on Probation

CHP and CDFW conducting checkpoints

The California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be holding checkpoints this weekend. The CHP sobriety checkpoint is Saturday, April 25th on highway 395 at the south end of Bishop. The DFW checkpoint is scheduled for Monday, April 27th on highway 108, north of Bridgeport.

In recent years, Fish and Wildlife has conducted a similar checkpoint south of Bishop, however this year they are shifting their focus to Mono County. According to CDFW officials their checkpoint will, “Promote safety, education and compliance with laws and regulations. The wildlife checkpoint is being conducted to protect and conserve fish and wildlife, and to encourage safety and sportsmanship by promoting voluntary compliance with laws, rules and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement. All anglers and hunters will be required to stop and submit to an inspection. CDFW officers will also be providing informative literature about the invasive quagga mussel and New Zealand Mudsnail.”

The Saturday CHP checkpoint will be staffed by officers who are trained in the detection of alcohol and or drug impaired drivers. Officers will be on site providing on the spot assessments of drivers suspected of drug use. Officers will be equipped with state of the art hand held breath testing devices with provide an accurate measure of blood alcohol concentrations of suspected drunk drivers.

Funding for the CHP checkpoint is provided to the CHP by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the national highway traffic safety administration.

chp, cdfw, eastern sierra news, bishop news, mono county

Mono Praises Sage Grouse Decision

Mono County Praises Grouse Decision

Bridgeport, CA – On April 21st, 2015 the United States Department of the Interior hosted a multi-agency event announcing that the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Greater Sage-grouse will not be listed as threatened. Mono County hailed this action as a step forward in achieving species preservation and ensuring that new regulatory burdens were not imposed on private and public land owners of the Eastern Sierra.

Mono County Board of Supervisors Chair Tim Fesko, representing Mono County at the announcement event, commented, “A listing would have been devastating to Mono County. The proposed critical habitat blanketed 82% of private lands in Mono County, and would have been a regulatory burden that would have deeply damaged our fragile rural economy. Today’s action by the Department of the Interior shows that Mono County’s ongoing commitment to resolving this issue through participation paid off for our communities and for the species. Mono County had a choice when the proposed listing was issued: Commit to the conservation effort based on the understanding that the Sage Grouse should not be listed for scientifically verifiable reasons, or fight the listing. Mono County chose conservation and the power of partnerships and collaboration over political grandstanding.”

Mono County has been involved since the early days of the Local Area Working Group (LAWG) in 2000 and was at the table for the 2004 Bi-State Action Plan, participated in the 2012 update, and regularly attended the LAWG meetings. Mono County has taken a local government leadership role and helped to:
1. Develop a summary report of conservation actions and future agency commitments for the entire Bi-State.
2. Support and host outreach and education forums on topics such as pinyon-juniper management and critical habitat.
3. Encourage and enhance inter-agency communication and coordination.
4. Work with private landowners to mitigate impacts, follow best practices, and secure resources for conservation work; and count leks with agency biologists to assist with population monitoring.

If the Grouse had been listed, Mono County would have been forced out of a conservation role and into a regulatory role, directing Landowners to obtain clearance/permits from Federal agencies. Mono County commends the USFWS for its decision to not list the species, and its recognition and support of the tremendous efforts of federal, state and local agencies, conservation entities and local landowners in the collaborative planning and implementation of the Bi-State Action Plan. Congratulations also to Steve Nelson, BLM Area Manager, on receiving the STAR Award from Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell for his grouse preservation leadership during Tuesday’s announcement.

WASHINGTON – Tuesday, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) released the following statement after the United States Department of the Interior announced it will not list the sage grouse found in California and Nevada as an endangered species:
Cook said, “Today’s announcement by Secretary Jewell is recognition of the hard-work done by state and local governments to protect sage grouse habitat. Because of this effort, the sage grouse habitat has been stabilized and draconian federal regulations will not be implemented. This is a victory for my constituents who would have faced economic harm if the sage grouse was listed as an endangered species.”

mono sage
Center, BLM’s Steve Nelson. Photo provided by Mono County.

cover photo by BLM

sage grouse, mono county news, eastern sierra news, paul cook

Alpers Talks Fish

Mono Supervisor Tim Alpers is ready for fishing season

Talking to Mono County Supervisor Tim Alpers may be the best way to gear up for the fishing season.  While retired from raising the legendary trophy trout, Alpers still speaks passionately about fishing industry.  A quick visit from Alpers is all one needs to shake off any doubts about the pending fishing seasons.

Alpers bio on his website, timalpers.com indicates, “I graduated from Bishop High School and the University of Nevada-Reno, then spent the 1970s teaching and coaching on the high school and collegiate level. In 1979, my wife, Pam, and I returned to the eastern Sierra to live in Mono County. My life has been blessed over the years by having had the opportunity to operate the Alpers Ranch/Resort, develop the legendary Alpers Trout, and serve 4 terms on the Mono County Board of Supervisors. There is no place on earth like California’s Eastern Sierra.”  Visit timalpers.com for more.

Alpers is a great champion for Mono County and the entire eastern high sierra.

cover photo from timalpers.com

tim alpers, eastern sierra news, mono county, fishing season

Phantom Lakes of the Desert and their Fish

Desert Lakes and Fish presentation

Come to the free slideshow, “Phantom Lakes of the Desert and their Fishes,” by retired Fish & Wildlife biologist Phil Pister, at the Monday, May 4 meeting of the Mono Basin Historical Society.  His personal history and knowledge of the Owens Valley pupfish, the ancient expanse of regional lakes, and our few native fishes will make for a memorable evening.  The program begins at 7 PM at the Lee Vining Community Center; arrive then or at 6 PM for a potluck dinner and business meeting.  All are welcome!
The Lee Vining Community Center is on Mattly Avenue, down the street from the Mono Basin History Museum/Old Schoolhouse and world famous Upside Down House, which are operated from May through October by the non-profit Historical Society. The Society meets the first Monday of each month, with programs open to the general public.

Phil Pister
Phil Pister
fish and wildlife, phil pister, eastern sierra news

Bishop Creek ready for the Opener

Trout Season Opens Saturday

The general trout opener will commence on Saturday, April 25th, one hour before sunrise.  California Department of fish and wildlife indicates that they are, “Making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener.  This years unprecedented drought could play a major role in determining how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 25th.

Lake Sabrina
Lake Sabrina
bridge to North Lake
bridge to North Lake
Intake 2
Intake 2

Mandatory Boat inspections remain at Crowley

As Opening of Fishing Season approaches, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will be hosting Quagga and Zebra Mussel inspections for trailered watercraft from April 22 through April 24, 2015. The Department reminds local boaters that all motorized vessels planning to launch at Crowley Lake must be inspected prior to launch.

Boat inspections will be held at the Vons/Kmart parking lot in Bishop and at the Crowley Lake Fish Camp.  Vons/Kmart inspections will be held April 22 and 23 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Friday, April 24 from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Crowley Fish Camp inspections will be held April 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 23 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and April 24 from 7 a.m. to dark.

On Opening Day, April 25, boats can also be inspected from sunrise until sunset but, due to high demand, waiting until Opening day is not recommended. Boat inspections at Crowley will continue throughout the fishing season.

Boats showing signs of contamination with invasive mussels, or found to contain any water or debris that could harbor invasive mussels, will not be allowed to launch into Crowley Lake.

Pre-inspected boats may use the pre-paid line at the main gate at South Landing of Crowley Lake to expedite entry. If you are planning on launching a boat into Crowley Lake please keep the following in mind:

–All boats and trailers must be CLEAN and DRY or they will be denied access.

–If the owner of the vessel chooses not to clean the vessel they will not be allowed to launch.

–All drain plugs must be removed prior to boat transport.

–All vehicles towing boats will be required to have a visible Inspection Certification during boat launching at Crowley Lake.

–Boat owners should be aware there may be an extended wait to enter Crowley Lake Reservoir due to these important protective measures.

Inspections are required for the protection of the fishery at Crowley Lake and in order to keep the reservoir open to recreational boating. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Crowley Lake Fish Camp appreciate the cooperation of boat owners and will work to expedite the inspection and certification process.

For more information contact LADWP at (760) 873-0409 or www.LADWP.com/mussels or Crowley Lake Fish Camp at (760) 935-4043.

eastern sierra news, bishop creek, fishing opener, ladwp, crowley lake

photos by Arnie Palu

OVC Annual Event Set

Owens Valley Committee Annual Event

The Owens Valley Committee invites you to its annual social event, lecture, and fundraiser on Sunday, April 26, 2015. The gathering will take place from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Mountain Light Gallery, 106 Main Street in Bishop.
Special guest Bruce Embrey of the Manzanar Committee will be speaking on this year’s theme, “Partnering to Protect Owens Valley.” The event will include live music, hors d’oeuvres and beverages. There will also be a silent auction featuring artwork and crafts by local artists and artisans and much more. A suggested donation of $10 at the door is appreciated.
The Owens Valley Committee is a non-profit organization dedicated to seeking just and sustainable management of Owens Valley land and water resources. OVC envisions a valley in which existing open space is protected, historic uses sustained, and depleted ground water reserves and surface water flows are restored as Los Angeles phases out its dependence on Owens Valley water.
Please join the OVC for an evening of conversation, music, and partnership, set amidst Galen and Barbara Rowell’s stunning photographs of the Owens Valley and beyond.

owens valley committee, ladwp, owens valley news, eastern sierra news

Forest Campgrounds Opening

Inyo National Forest Campgrounds, Schulman Grove Visitor Center Scheduled to Open

The Inyo National Forest is planning to open recreation facilities on the White Mountain and Mt. Whitney Ranger Districts in the upcoming weeks.

On the White Mountain District, Grandview Campground in the White Mountains is currently open; this is a dry campground with no water. The Schulman Grove Visitor Center is scheduled to open on April 24th and will be open four days a week, Friday – Monday. The summer schedule, open seven days a week, is expected to start in mid-May.

In the Big Pine drainage, Sage Flat, Upper Sage Flat, and Big Pine campgrounds are scheduled to open by April 22nd.

In Bishop Creek, the Bitterbrush Campground is open and the Bishop Park, Forks, Intake 2, Big Trees, and Four Jeffrey campgrounds are scheduled to open by April 22nd.  The Sabrina, Table Mountain, Mountain Glenn, Willow, and North Lake campgrounds are scheduled to open at a later date, dependent on weather.

Along Rock Creek, the Holiday Campground (a winter service campground) is open, but will close on April 23rd when French Camp and Tuff campgrounds open. Iris and Big Meadow Campgrounds are projected to open on May 8th, East Fork is projected to open on May 15th, and Upper and Lower Pine Grove and Rock Creek Lake campgrounds are projected to open on May 22nd. Please be aware that there is road construction going on the Rock Creek Road; expect 30 minute delays and limited parking. The McGee Campground will be open by April 23rd.

On the Mt. Whitney District, Upper and Lower Grays Meadow and Lone Pine campgrounds are currently open. Whitney Portal Campground is working to open April 18th, but will definitely be open by April 23rd. Onion Valley Campground will open by April 23rd as well. The Horseshoe Meadow Road and the Horseshoe Meadow campgrounds will open on April 24th. Please note that fishing will not be open in Cottonwood Creek until July 1st.

Forest Service campgrounds can be reserved at www.recreation.gov. Many other camping opportunities exist in Bureau of Land Management campgrounds and various Inyo County, Mono County and private campgrounds in the Eastern Sierra.

inyo national forest, eastern sierra news, eastern sierra campgrounds, eastern sierra camping

Manzanar opens Barracks Exhibits

MANZANAR OPENS LONG-AWAITED
BARRACKS EXHIBITS

During World War II, more than 10,000 Japanese Americans coped with spartan living conditions at Manzanar. They were from cities and farms, young and old, rich and poor, extended families and single people. All were forced from their pre-war homes to live in crowded apartments in identical barracks in Manzanar.
Visitors now have the opportunity to learn more about the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar through new permanent exhibits installed in two reconstructed barracks. The exhibits feature extensive photos, documents, and quotes illustrating the challenges and changes people faced at Manzanar. Six audio stations and one video station feature a total of 42 oral history clips.
Exhibits in barracks 1 focus on the early days of Manzanar, when thousands of people arrived to an unfinished camp. Barracks 1 also includes a Block Manager’s office, featuring the papers of Block Manager Chokichi Nakano. Barracks 8 features an “improved” apartment with linoleum and wall board. A second room explores the Loyalty Questionnaire and its profound long-lasting impacts.

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“We’re happy to have the new exhibits installed in time for next weekend’s annual Pilgrimage,” said Superintendent Bernadette Johnson. “The Pilgrimage is a time when people come together to share stories. The new exhibits make it possible to experience the living conditions and create personal connections for our visitors as they tour the barracks and hear stories told by incarcerees.”

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Admission is free. For further information, please call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310, visit their website at www.nps.gov/manz, or explore their page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

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manzanar, owens valley news, manzanar national historic site