Tag Archives: Inyo County

Bishop Creek Sewage Update

Inyo County and Bishop Paiute Tribe release statement on Bishop Creek Sewage Spill

April 11, 2016
By Arnie Palu

Inyo County Environmental Health and the Bishop Paiute Tribe have issued a statement further detailing the sewage spill into Bishop Creek.  The unauthorized release of raw sewage into the South Fork of Bishop Creek started on March 14th and continued until it was discovered on March 24th.  Officials continue to monitor flows and note that people and their pets are still advised to refrain from body contact activities in Bishop Creek.

Inyo County Environmental Health, Bishop Paiute Tribe statement:


On Friday, March 25, 2016 the Bishop Paiute Tribe and the Inyo County Environmental Health Department issued a media release notifying the public of an unauthorized release of raw sewage into the South Fork of Bishop Creek. Few details were available at the time and further information is now available.

A clog in the Bishop Paiute sewer system resulted in sewage backing up and discharging through an upstream manhole. The release traveled some 1500 feet over Tribal land before entering the South Fork of Bishop Creek. A review of the sewer systems’ flow records appear to indicate that the discharge began on March 14, 2016. The discharge was discovered the evening of March 24, 2016, and the clog was removed and the discharge stopped later that evening. Flow records indicate the discharge over the eleven day period averaged 68,000 gallons a day, and a total discharge of approximately 700,000 gallons. A significant portion of this flow percolated into the ground prior to reaching the Bishop Creek. Visual observations estimated the flow into the creek to be approximately 30 gallons per minute on the evening of March 24th. On March 25th, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power requested that the flow to the South Fork of Bishop Creek be increased in order to provide a flushing action that could assist in the remediation. The flows were increased by 7-8 cubic feet per second for a five hour duration.

Latest monitoring results show decreasing E. Coli bacteria levels in the section of stream downstream of where the discharge occurred. These levels still exceed the surface water standards set by the Bishop Tribe and the Lahontan RWQCB, but are lower than levels typically found in Bishop Creek during the summer. People, and their pets, are still advised to refrain from body contact activities in Bishop Creek at this time. This advisory applies to the South Fork of Bishop Creek near See Vee Lane and immediately downstream.

Bishop Creek, Inyo County, Bishop Paiute Tribe

Marijuana Grow Located

Large Marijuana Grow cleared

From Mono County District Attorney Tim Kendall.

On June 1, 2015 the Mono County DA’s Office conducted flight operations in accordance with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana eradication program. The purpose of the program is to locate large scale outdoor marijuana grows on public lands within Mono County. These flight operations resulted in the detection of several marijuana grows in rugged and remote locations in the southern Mono County area. The grow sites were very large in size and ran up to approximately seven miles in length.

As a result the Mono County DA’s Office, with the assistance of the Forest Service, initiated a two month investigation. The investigation was also aided with the assistance of the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department since some of the marijuana grows crossed over into Inyo County.

During the investigation, it was determined that the largest grow, which was located in Mono County, was typical of grows commonly operated by Mexican Drug Trade Organizations. Along with those characteristics, several Hispanic males were identified and were seen tending to the garden armed with rifles.

On August 11, 2015 Investigators with the Mono District Attorney’s Office, assisted by Inyo County District Attorney’s Office, Forrest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Guard and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, conducted a raid operation to arrest and detain any gardeners found in the site.

Due to unknown reasons, it was determined that the persons responsible for tending to the garden had fled, leaving the garden unattended. The heavy late July rains appeared to have damaged the marijuana plants within the garden and therefore that is suspected to be the reason that the garden was abandoned.

During eradication and reclamation efforts approximately 40,000 marijuana plants with a conservative street value of well over $2 million dollars were located and destroyed from this site. During reclamation efforts a total of 4,401 pounds of trash was removed. Some of that consisted of 10.82 miles of irrigation hose and 550 pounds of fertilizer.

Marijuana photo 2

Numerous other illegal and highly toxic pesticides were found being used in the garden and Hazmat crews later responded to recovered and removed those pesticides.
Large scale marijuana gardens on public lands creates a danger to the public and to our recreational users of these lands. Unfortunately, hunters, hikers and others that come across these types of gardens and the individuals who attend these gardens put themselves in great danger. Along with the public danger there are also serious environmental impacts that these marijuana gardens create. If you ever encounter a marijuana garden you should quickly and quietly remove yourself from the area. Do not continue on your path and do not make contact with anyone in the area. Immediately call the Mono County District Attorney or any other law enforcement agency as soon as you possibly can.

photos provided by the Mono County District Attorney

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Increase in Plague Activity

Inyo National Forest Advisory: Increase in Plague Activity in the Sierra Nevada

Based upon recent incidents of rodents with plague and a handful of cases where plague was contracted by people visiting nearby federal lands, the Inyo National Forest would like to advise recreationalists and residents to take the following steps as a matter of caution while visiting the Inyo National Forest.

  • Never feed squirrels, chipmunks or other rodents and never touch sick or dead rodents.
  • Avoid walking or camping near rodent burrows.
  • Wear long pants tucked into socks or boot tops to reduce exposure to fleas.
  • Spray insect repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing, especially socks and pant cuffs to reduce exposure to fleas.
  • Keep wild rodents out of homes, trailers, and outbuildings and away from pets.

 If you notice dead rodents without obvious signs of injury while recreating, please contact your local health department (Mono County: 760-924-1830; Inyo County: 760-873-7868) or the California Department of Public Health’s Vector-Borne Disease Section at 916-552-9730. If possible, note the type of rodent (i.e. mouse, chipmunk, squirrel, etc.), location and date seen. If you are in a campground, please notify the campground host in addition to the health department.

 Early symptoms of plague may include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin. People who develop these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention and notify their health care provider that they have been camping or out in the wilderness and have been exposed to rodents and fleas.

Although the presence of plague has been confirmed in wild rodents over the past few weeks in nearby areas, the risk to human health remains low. In California, plague-infected animals are most likely to be found in the foothills and mountains.

 The California Department of Public Health has plague information, including precautions people can take to minimize their risk.

inyo national forest, plague, inyo county, mono county

Cerro Gordo trip

Friends of the Eastern California Museum Cerro Gordo tour

UPDATE (8/26/15)  event postponed.

The Friends of the Eastern California Museum (FECM) is pleased to announce another exciting upcoming program. On Saturday, August 29th, the Friends will be offering a field trip to the silver mining camp of Cerro Gordo. The trip will include a guided tour by the town’s caretaker. High clearance vehicles are suggested though the road has recently been put in good shape by the Inyo County road department and is passable to most passenger cars with drivers experienced in dirt road-mountain driving.

The trip is limited to 30 people and the cost is $20 for FECM members and $25 for non-members. People wishing to take the trip must sign up in advance and may do so by calling the Museum at (760) 878-0258. Attendees will meet at the Eastern California Museum in Independence at 9:00 a.m. on the 29th. Ride sharing is strongly recommended and people should also take plenty of water and a lunch.

The mission of the Friends is to support the Eastern California Museum and its program and to raise awareness of the museum to Eastern California residents and visitors.

Cover Photo provided by the Friends of the Eastern California Museum

eastern california museum, cerro gordo, independence california, inyo county

Inyo Man rescued by Nye County

Nye County units rescue Inyo Co. Man

A team of Nye County Nevada personal rescued a Inyo County man last week.  The Nye County Sheriffs Department has released details from the search and rescue, but are not releasing the name of the victim.

Nye County Sheriffs department statement:

On Wednesday, August 12th Nye County Sheriffs Office Dispatch was contacted by Inyo County referencing an individual lost in the desert.  NCSO Dispatch spoke with this man on his cell phone however due to his condition he was extremely difficult to understand and often could not respond.

NCSO Dispatch utilized GPS capabilities on the man’s cell phone and located coordinates of his location.  The coordinates were at the base of the Nopah Mountains and extremely difficult to access.
NCSO Street Crimes Detectives, Patrol  Deputies, and NCSO Administration began search efforts.  Nye County Search and Rescue, Emergency Services and Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services assisted in efforts.

NCSO Personnel were able to locate the man utilizing all terrain vehicles.  When located he was severely dehydrated and sunburned.  NCSO Under-sheriff Moody began administering fluids via IV to the man and providing medical treatment.
Utilizing all terrain vehicles the man was transported to Pahrump Valley and Fire Rescue services who transported him to Desert View Hospital.

nye county sheriffs department, inyo county, pahrump nevada

Quilts for Kids

Quilt and Craft retreat benefits Children

Submitted by Wild Iris.


Inyo and Mono Counties, CA: Quilters and crafters are generous, giving people by nature. If you happen to be a quilter or crafter the CASA of the Eastern Sierra’s first annual Quilters’ and Crafters’ Retreat is a great opportunity for you to benefit abused and neglected children while enjoying the fellowship of like-minded friends, the beauty of the Eastern Sierra, and taking time to complete some of those projects begging to be finished.
CASA of the Eastern Sierra is a non-profit collaboration and partnership between Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis Center and the Superior Court of California, for the Counties of Inyo and Mono. The retreat will be Friday, August 21st through Sunday, August 23rd and is being held at the Sierra Adventure Center in Big Pine. Registration includes lodging, meals, snacks, an outdoor evening reception, beautiful hiking, quality time with friends, and classrooms to sew, craft, scrapbook, create and take photos.

Imagine being a child removed from your parents and placed in the home of a stranger. It’s likely you are confused, frightened, and uncertain as to what the future holds. The Eastern Sierra needs CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers who are trained to identify the needs of children such as these. By building a relationship with the child, as well as teachers, therapists, and others involved, CASA volunteers become a consistent and trusted adult in the child’s life. A CASA is trained to provide the child with a sense of security, as well as serving in the critical role of being an independent voice for the best interest of abused, neglected, and abandoned children in Inyo and Mono Counties.
Please join us at the 1st Annual Quilt and Craft Retreat to benefit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the Eastern Sierra. Cost for the entire weekend is $225.00. For more information or to register please call Ginnie Bird or Lisa Reel @ Wild Iris, 760-873-6601, gbird@wild-iris.org, or visit the Wild Iris website www.wild-iris.org to complete a registration form.

cover photo, Wild Iris Executive Director Lisa Reel

wild iris, casa of the eastern sierra, inyo county, mono county, eastern sierra news

Inyo Exhibit at the State Fair

Inyo’s Best on Display at the State Fair

Inyo County received a silver award at this year’s California State Fair.  The State Fair opened Friday, July 10.  The exhibit features popular events that take place throughout the year.  New contributors to the exhibit are the Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center, Inyo Council for the Arts, Tri County Fair, and Death Valley 49’ers.  Banners often seen at town entrances are hanging on the exhibit walls to encourage fair visitors to visit Inyo County and enjoy its many activities.  Events featured also include Mule Days, High School Rodeo Finals, Owens Lake Bird Festival, Manzanar Pilgrimage, Concert in the Rocks, fishing derbies and other community events from Bishop to Shoshone.  The exhibit is staffed daily by residents from Furnace Creek, Darwin, Lone Pine, Independence, and Bishop.  The Fair runs through Sunday, July 26, 11-10 weekdays, and 10-10 weekends.  Rich and Kathy White designed and constructed the exhibit and will have it set up at the Tri County Fair for those who are unable to see it in Sacramento.

fair 012
Photo submitted by Rich and Kathy White
inyo county, california state fair, rich and kathy white, tri-county fair

Water fight!

Tech Group looks at water cuts

The Inyo County/Los Angeles department of water and power technical group met Monday morning in Bishop to discuss potential cuts to “in valley” water uses that would spare water for irrigation. The meeting included an update on the grim runoff projections with the LADWP letting everyone know that they will not export any water from the Owens Valley into Los Angeles during the first half of the 2015-2016 runoff year, and most likely not until November, 2015. Noting that for the entire runoff year only 42,400 acre feet will be exported. This is due to the fourth consecutive year of extreme drought. How ugly is the picture?…the LADWP estimates this years runoff to be just 36% of normal, compared to 52% last year.

The grim runoff picture means less water will be available for in valley uses, including irrigation and court ordered enhancement/mitigation projects. A major portion of Mondays meeting focused on potential areas where water could be saved to make sure irrigation to local lessee continues. On April 27th the LADWP had written ranchers notifying them that all irrigation would end on May 1st, that order was later lifted for lands in the Bishop cone. At the time the LADWP’s spokesperson Amanda Parsons said, “Collaboration with local partners” will allow the LADWP flexibility with how they distribute water for in-valley uses.

On Monday, officials discussed several areas where water could be shifted. The areas discussed included cuts to Klondike Lake, Goose Lake, Owens dry lake and the Lower Owens River Project (LORP). Any potential cuts would have to be approved by both the Inyo Board of Supervisors and LA officials, and any adjustments to the LORP would have to be cleared by those in the MOU group. Also the State lands commission and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution control district would have a voice in any adjustments to water going on the dry lake.

Other meeting notes:
Wilkerson Rancher Gary Gilbert is claiming the LADWP violated the long term water agreement when they cut water to his Wilkerson lease. The DWP said their action to cut irrigation was not a violation.

Daris Moxley questioned why the McNally Ponds mitigation project has only received water 7 times since 1991.

Sally Manning questioned the accuracy of testing being done at well 385 located near 5 Bridges Road north of Bishop. Manning spoke passionately about the wells negative effect on fish slough.

Allan Bacoch from the Big Pine tribe noted that the Big Pine area is “being pumped heavily and there are clear impacts.”

And a representative from the Lone Pine tribe noted that pumping has dropped ground water levels 10 feet in the past year.

The discussion will continue at Tuesdays Inyo Board of Supervisors meeting and Thursday at the Standing Committee meeting.  The Standing Committee meeting will begin at 10am at the Lone Pine Visitors Center for a field trip to the Owens Dry Lake and Lone Pine High School Farm, then reconvene at the Board Room at 1pm.

cover photo by Gary Young. www.garyyoungphotography.com

ladwp, eastern sierra news, drought 2015, inyo county

Ranch water will flow

LADWP will not cut irrigation water

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has rescinded a proposed irrigation water cut off to Owens Valley lessees. Just prior to Tusday’s Inyo supervisors water workshop word came down of the LADWP’s proposal to cut water to local ranchers May 1st due to the severity of this year’s record drought. Now May 1st has arrived and LADWP spokesperson Amanda Parsons is confirming that the water will continue to flow to local ranchers. Parsons credits the “Collaboration with local partners” for allowing the LADWP flexibility with how they distribute water for invalley uses. The LADWP is under legal obligation to provide water for various enhancement and mitigation projects, including but not limited to the Owens Lake and Lower Owens River Project.

Monday the Inyo County/Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Technical Group will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the DWP Multi-Purpose Room at 300 Mandich Street, Bishop. The meeting will include a discussion of the 2015-2016 Annual Owens Valley Operations Plan, and a discussion of water distribution for irrigation and other environmental projects in the Owens Valley. The public will be offered the opportunity to comment on each agenda item prior to any action. There will also be a public comment period to open the Monday meeting.



The Owens Valley Committee Meets

Letter from the OVC:
The Owens Valley Committee met Wednesday to discuss short-term solutions for getting water to the valley’s ranchers. The group called this emergency meeting in reaction to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s letter of April 27, which notified valley ranchers they’d be cut off from all irrigation water starting May 1.
OVC has been aware for quite some time that ranchers are being squeezed by LADWP. In its December 2014 newsletter, OVC wrote,
LADWP has long seen ranch water as a waste. Over the last several years, they have attempted to coerce ranchers and farmer to reduce water use by financial incentives, and have successfully petitioned the County to reduce irrigation duty to 3 acre feet by the use of sprinklers on some parcels. ‘Water conservation’ has become a euphemism for exporting more water to Los Angeles.’ ‘Saving’ ranch water isn’t a good thing in the Owens Valley. When a rancher irrigates with ditches, riparian habitat is formed, not only along the ditch, but through ‘tail water,’ or water at the end of the ditch that extends beyond the official irrigated parcel. [‘Saving’ water] eliminates tail water and destroys riparian and meadow habitat that has been irrigated for decades, as well as killing the tree and shrub hedgerows between fields.
Pressuring ranchers about water use is nothing new for LADWP. Deciding to cut off irrigation water entirely, however, is one of LADWP’s most obvious, glaring violations of the Long Term Water Agreement to date. Though LADWP rescinded this action on April 29, OVC is seriously concerned that LADWP has set an alarming precedent for future moves against Owens Valley agriculture. Ranchers and farmers are important contributors to Owens Valley’s economy, as well as stewards of the land. Agriculture is the second largest economic driver in Inyo County. $19.8 million in economic contribution, or 77% of total agricultural production, is dependent on irrigation. Ranchers’ entire livelihoods are at risk if they do not receive the water promised by the Long Term Water Agreement. Bankruptcy of ranch owners means long term “water savings” for LADWP because there is no guarantee that the DWP will spread water as effectively as Owens Valley ranchers doing their day to day jobs.
Confusing and inconsistent numbers regarding water storage and supply were circulated at the “Talking Water Workshop” on April 28th in the Inyo County Board of Supervisors chambers. The OVC would like to know the exact figures regarding water amounts LADWP has in storage at Crowley, Pleasant Valley, and Tinnemaha Reservoirs. DWP is planning to send about 42,000 acre feet to Los Angeles this year. The reservoirs upstream of the Owens Valley could supply some of that water to ranchers instead.
Some options the Owens Valley Committee discussed Wednesday were:
1. Lowering the minimum flow in the Lower Owens River Project (LORP) from 40 to as low as 30 cubic feet per second (cfs) for the remainder of the run-off year. This water would be reallocated to in-valley use.
2. Reductions in flows to the Owens Lake delta during the irrigation season. This water would be reallocated for in-valley use.

OVC will only consider options that guarantee re-allocated water remains in the Owens Valley.  The Owens Valley has been in an artificial drought since the early 1900s when the City of Los Angeles began exporting water south. This drought intensified in 1972 when LADWP began heavily pumping groundwater and sending it down a second barrel of the aqueduct. Predictably, increased water export spurred increased growth—including water-guzzling lawns, ponds, golf courses, swimming pools, etc.—in the naturally arid Los Angeles basin and surrounding area, and created more of a thirst for Owens Valley water. Like many western cities, Los Angeles has created a problem for itself by actively encouraging a “need” for more and more water.
The Owens Valley Committee appreciates any actions taken to cut back on water usage in Los Angeles—but the City needs to do more. In deciding to issue a letter to Owens Valley ranchers cutting off their access to irrigation water on May 1, LADWP took unilateral and unquestionably illegal action in direct violation of the Long Term Water Agreement and 1991 EIR. This is not a legitimate option. The Owens Valley has been living in an artificial LA-imposed drought for more than a century. The burden of sacrifice during this state-wide drought should not fall on the shoulders of Owens Valley’s ranchers, thereby causing more damage to the valley’s already severely depleted ecosystem. The burden of sacrifice should fall on the shoulders of the City of Los Angeles.

cover photo by Gary Young.

ladwp, inyo county, drought 2015, owens valley committee, eastern sierra news

Lower Owens River Project Draft Report

LORP 2014 Draft Report Available

This years annual report is now available for review and can be downloaded from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Powers website.  The report can be found at www.ladwp.com/LORP.  The report represents the completion of the eighth year of monitoring and contains the Memorandum of Understanding Consultant’s Adaptive management recommendations.  A hard copy of the report may be reviewed by the public at the LADWP office at 300 Mandich Street, Bishop.  Inyo County and the LADWP will be conducing a public meeting on the draft report at a meeting set for 9am on Wednesday, January 14th at the Inyo County Board of Supervisors Chambers at 224 North Edwards Street, Independence.  The meeting will provide the public the opportunity to offer comments on the draft report and any other LORP-related issues they would like to discuss with staff from the LADWP, Inyo County, and the MOU consultants.

eastern sierra news, lower owens river project, ladwp, inyo county