Tag Archives: Owens Valley

Inyo National Closes Group Camps Under Forest Order

The Inyo National Forest is extending the closure of all group campgrounds and two remote campgrounds under a forest order closure The closure can be terminated or extended depending in conditions.

Please see Exhibit A (in the link above) for a full list of campgrounds included in this order.

The decision is based upon recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health authorities.

Developed recreation group campsites on the Inyo National Forest typically draw large groups of people, creating mass gatherings and concentrated groups of forest visitors. This results in significant management oversight. especially during the high use conditions now being experienced.

Additionally, due to lack of personnel it is necessary to close two developed campgrounds, Grandview Campground and Kennedy Meadows Campground, located in remote areas of the Inyo National Forest. These facilities are located in areas that timely and routine cleaning cannot occur.

This closure is an interim measure. The Inyo National Forest will follow guidelines from the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors is a priority.

Visitors are also urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local health and safety guidance. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

Northern Inyo Hospital Alters Diagnostic Lab Protocol

As the nation opens back up for business, so is the Northern Inyo Healthcare District. The District remains operational with a few limitations. The District asks those returning to its laboratory for blood work to help the District keep all returning patients safe by remembering to schedule their lab appointments.

Two options are available for lab draws at this time. Patients may request an in-house lab draw. This means they would enter the hospital lobby, check-in with admissions, answer COVID-19 screening questions, and then be escorted to the lab room for their draw. Hours for in-house draws are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Alternatively, if the test allows and time permits, patients may request a drive-up car appointment. This allows patients to stay in their vehicles as masked and gloved NIHD phlebotomists come to them in the hospital parking lot.

Car appointments are limited to morning hours, Monday through Friday, 6 -11 a.m., due to the increasingly warm weather. No car appointments are available on Saturdays due to staffing.

NIHD requires patients and their staff to wear masks at all times while on the NIHD campus. Those needing a mask will be given a Project Cover-Up fabric mask for their visit at check-in.

According to Diagnostic Services Director Larry Weber, the District is experiencing heavy walk-in visits for blood draws. While staff welcomes the return to the hospital for such services, it is also filling up the waiting room areas. “We’ve taken steps to promote physical distancing in all our wait rooms,” Weber explained. “We’ve essentially eliminated about half of our normal seating, so when we experience a large number of walk-ins, we struggle to meet those physical distancing requirements.”

Weber strongly suggests patients make a lab appointment when given draw orders by their primary care providers. “This is a system we went to more than a year ago, and it has worked out very well, resulting in minimal delays for patients,” Weber said. “It also helps us better plan for the arrival, screening, and safe care of the patients.”

To make a lab appointment, call (760) 873-2155. Should you have additional questions about available services at NIHD, please call (760) 873-5811 for assistance.

Coronavirus Town Hall Recap: When Will Normal Life Return?

On Thursday, April 9, 2020, Inyo County hosted a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the coronavirus. Officials from all healthcare facilities including, Toiyabe, Northern Inyo Hospital, and Southern Inyo Hospital, along with key figures from the City of Bishop and Inyo County were in attendance.

In total, twelve panelists were present during the discussion, with over 250 citizens tuning in to the town hall.

Inyo County Administrative Officer, Clint Quilter, served as the moderator, fielding questions from the public, and allowing each panel participant to give an update on where things stand when it comes to managing the COVID-19 crisis.

Southern Inyo Hospital CEO, Peter Spiers, was one of the first people to speak. Spiers, who has been in the Eastern Sierra for about eight months, talked about how he believes the community has enough strength and resolve to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Spiers said, “I truly believe that by the grace of God, we have met this challenge with a resolve and commitment as a hospital. This is a unique place. From first day I was here, everyone was committed to making the hospital survive and thrive.”

Spiers also says the healthcare district has been taking a proactive approach since February to prepare for the pandemic. He went on to say, “We took aggressive measures starting in February, and made sure to screen all of our employees before they came to work.”

Chief Operating Officer of Toiyabe, Ethan Dexter, said that the health clinic is taking extra precautions when it comes to helping the public. Dexter remarked that all public health workers are sanitizing and wearing masks when doing wellness checks for patients.

Representing Northern Inyo Healthcare District during the discussion, was Dr. William Timbers, the newly appointed Interim Chief Medical Officer. Timbers gave a fifteen-minute PowerPoint presentation to attendees explaining the background of COVID-19 and told where things stand as far as the latest research on the virus.

After the healthcare officials finished speaking, Quilter turned the presentation over to local government officials from Inyo County and Bishop.

Bishop Mayor, Laura Smith, talked about the need for the city and the Eastern Sierra region to come together and embrace sacrifice for the greater good. Smith said, “City Council officials are elected by the people, and our hearts are with the people who are suffering. We need to band together as an Eastern Sierra community. That is how we are going to move past this problem.”

When it comes to sacrifices, Mayor Smith says the city will meet on April 13, 2020 to discuss what can be done to help the citizens of Bishop, even if it hurts the city fiscally. “There is going to be some sacrifice involved in order to combat this crisis. We are meeting as a city to see what sacrifices need to be made,” Smith remarked.

Chairman of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, Matt Kingsley spoke after Mayor Smith, and commended the community for the job it has done helping those in need. The fifth district supervisor said, “I first wanted to recognize the efforts of our county staff, and the medical workers and volunteers around the community. Lunches are being served to kids and senior citizens, quilting clubs are making masks, and community activities are being organized like Easter Bunny drive-bys,”

Though pleased with the efforts of the community, Kingsley expressed displeasure with the fact that he can only provide a limited amount of help to his south county constituents during this pandemic. “My biggest frustration is not being able to communicate with my constituents. This is a great effort that we are doing in helping the community. But we have to realize that not all constituents have internet, so we have to find a way to help them.”

Inyo County Public Health Officer, Dr. James Richardson, was one of the panelists who had the most to say during the event.

To start things off, Richardson said, “As a public health officer, my goal is to protect the health of the citizens. Right now, the goal is to limit the impact of disease on local healthcare systems so they are not overwhelmed.”

Most of what Richardson discussed related to the importance of covering up with a cloth mask when going out in public, washing hands, and social distancing.

However, the Inyo County Public Health Officer stated that if an outbreak of coronavirus gets bad enough in the area, he will order the construction of alternative sites to help treat patients. “We are willing to develop alternative sites if needed along with increasing beds if things get bad.”

According to Dr. Richardson, there may be light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to life going back to some semblance of normal. “I have noticed recently in the latest predictive models, the estimation of deaths has gone down,” Richardson said. “I suspect in mid to late May, things will start lightening up. There may be an undercurrent of this virus in our community for a while though.”

City of Bishop Appoints New City Administrator

After conducting a comprehensive recruitment facilitated by an executive search firm, the Bishop City Council voted unanimously to appoint Ron Phillips as its next City Administrator at the City Council meeting on January 13, 2020.

The recruitment process yielded 14 applicants, which were put through a rigorous screening. The field was eventually reduced to 4 highly qualified candidates for final interviews. Candidates interviewed before two panels comprised of staff and the City Council.

Mr. Phillips holds a Master’s degree in Regional and City Planning and has a diverse career as a City Manager, Planning Director, Engineering General Manager, Transportation Planner and Past President of the Colorado Municipal League. Ron attended the Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government as a Gates Foundation Fellow in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ron has served as Town Manager in Vail, Colorado, Transportation Services Director for Fort Collins, Colorado, principal in his own consulting firm, and most recently as General Manager for six water utility special districts in Wasatch County, Utah.

The Bishop City Council welcomes Mr. Phillips to the City! He is expected to start on February 1st, and we are excited to have him join the City team.

County to Discuss Indian Wells Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) at its regular meeting Tuesday, January 14. Specifically, the Board will receive a presentation by staff and an update from Supervisor Kingsley, Inyo
County’s representative on the IWVGA. The GSP is scheduled for consideration by the IWVGA on Thursday, January 16, 2020. One of the components of the GSP is inclusion of a project seeking to import water into the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin via the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Inyo County is one of five members of the IWVGA, which also includes Kern and San Bernardino counties, the City of Ridgecrest, and the Indian Wells Valley Water District. The joint powers authority was created for the purpose of implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) within the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin, which the state determined is in “critical overdraft” due to decades of over- pumping. SGMA is requiring development of a GSP as part of the mandate to halt the overdraft and bring the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin into balanced levels of pumping and recharge by 2040. The GSP is
due this month.

“Although Inyo County’s constituency is a relatively small portion of the groundwater users in that basin (i.e., Pearsonville), Inyo County has outsized concerns regarding the future of the basin’s water use due to the intention of our fellow JPA members to import water into the basin via the LADWP Aqueduct,” said Assistant County Counsel John-Carl Vallejo, who serves as Inyo County’s alternate on the IWVGA board.

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors hear the update Tuesday shortly after reconvening from closed session at 10 a.m.

The meeting will be held in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, County Administrative Center, 224 N. Edwards St., Independence.

LADWP Announces Plans to Spread Water In Long Valley During Spring Runoff

BISHOP, CA – Earlier this evening, the Inyo Mono Alpine Cattlemen’s Association’s Spring Tour Dinner Meeting was held at the Talman Pavillion. The meeting included updates on information relevant to ranching interests at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. Staff members from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) were in attendance and announced that LADWP plans to spread 30,000 acre-feet of water in Long Valley starting this coming May 2019.

In a statement shared by LADWP staff at the dinner, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System Rich Harasick said, “It has been a great year for rain and snowfall in California – after recent storms the Eastern Sierra snowpack is 188% of normal as of March 8th. LADWP continues to work on its operational plans and is preparing for the upcoming spring runoff. Efforts are already underway with water spreading started in Inyo County.”

Consistent with past practices, LADWP plans to provide water to its lessees based on LADWP operational needs. In prior years when the Eastern Sierra runoff exceeded the capacity of the aqueduct system, LADWP spread water to its leased lands in the southern Mono area. This was the case during the 2017 record precipitation, when as much water was spread as the land could handle.

LADWP is evaluating this year’s anticipated runoff while also considering the demands of the overall water system, which include customer needs, environmental commitments and hydroelectric generation. Taking these factors into account, LADWP is committed to maximizing the beneficial use of runoff water to the fullest extent and working with its lessees and ranching community to use water efficiently. In order to keep residents and partners of the Eastern Sierra informed of the steps being taken to manage runoff, LADWP will continue to issue additional updates as conditions and operations progress.

LA to Continue Irrigation through August

LADWP TO PROVIDE IRRIGATION WATER IN OWENS VALLEY THROUGH AUGUST

Statement provided by the LA DWP:

Bishop, CA – Unexpected summer rainfall has provided sufficient water in the Los Angeles Aqueduct system for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to continue irrigation in Owens Valley through the end of August. Continued irrigation, in the absence of any savings elsewhere, is only possible because Los Angeles’ extreme reduction in water exports from the Eastern Sierra.

“This weather could not have come at a better time,” Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct James Yannotta said. “These rains are providing much-needed water that will help LADWP to continue irrigation through August.”
Earlier in this extremely dry year LADWP recognized that there might be insufficient water supplies from the Los Angeles Aqueduct to meet all water demands in the Owens Valley and in the City of Los Angeles. The Long Term Water Agreement between the City of Los Angeles and Inyo County protects two end-goals: Providing a reliable source of water for Los Angeles and protecting the Owens Valley environment. The Agreement also contemplates the Parties approving a program to provide for reasonable reductions in irrigation water supply for Los Angeles-owned lands in the Owens Valley and for Enhancement and Mitigation (E/M) programs during periods of dry-year water shortages. Consequently, the Technical Group and the Standing Committee have attempted to evaluate and provide reasonable reductions in other areas to reallocate water for irrigation during the 2015 runoff year. Although the City and the County have not yet agreed to any reductions in E/M projects, the City of Los Angeles has almost entirely reduced the Owens Valley water supply to customers during this irrigation season.
The length and intensity of this four-year drought has surprised most water managers and regulators in the Southwest. The intensity of the scant Eastern Sierra snowpack and potential runoff was not fully realized until early April, which left little time to plan for its impacts, forcing the Department to evaluate operations on a virtual real-time basis. With respect to current conditions, the picture continues to be grim for Angelenos as LADWP will experience an 85% reduction from its normal export from the Eastern Sierra this runoff year.
“The only bright spot in our most recent forecasting is that it appears recent rain events provided additional water that we did not anticipate when we released our Annual Operations Plan in April,” Yannotta added. “Even though most, if not all, of the extremely low snowpack has already melted, recent storms are providing unanticipated run-off into the Eastern Sierra that will allow us to continue irrigating longer than we previously expected.”

The 2015 runoff year is unique in that snowpack was the lowest on record, measuring only 4% of normal, but summer precipitation is appearing somewhat above normal. The hydrologic conditions this year are so different from previous years that there isn’t another year from which to draw a fair comparison. As you would expect, the lack of comparable years has created operational challenges.

LADWP recently received preliminary draft runoff data and field information relating to water availability after the storms. Although Department management is verifying all information, LADWP is confident that there is sufficient water for irrigation in Owens Valley through the end of August.

cover photo by Gary Young

ladwp, owens valley, drought 2015, jim yannotta

Football Officials Needed

Youth and High School Football Officials Needed

Owens Valley youth and high school football officials are looking for new members to join them for the upcoming football season.  If you have an interest in officiating youth and/or high school football games, possess some basic knowledge of football rules, and are willing to attend meetings and training, then they want to hear from you.
If interested, please contact Andrew Marsh at 760-920-1750, or email at almarsh@cebridge.net

cover photo by Gary Young

owens valley, eastern sierra football, andy marsh

Inyo County Accepting Grants for Community Projects

INYO COUNTY ACCEPTING COMMUNITY PROJECT SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM GRANTS

Inyo County is accepting grant applications from non-profit groups and organizations in the county seeking funding for programs, projects or events taking place from the time the grants are awarded later this year to June 30, 2015.

There is $95,000 worth of grant funding available in this cycle of Inyo County Community Project Sponsorship Program grants. The Inyo County Board of Supervisors approved the $95,000 in CPSP grant funding when it recently approved the fiscal year 2014-15 county budget.

Crowd at the Blake Jones Trout Derby, an event that has received Grant Funding
Crowd at the Blake Jones Trout Derby, an event that has received Grant Funding

Over the past seven years, Inyo County CPSP grants have provided funds to county based non-profits to help sponsor events ranging from marathons to fishing derbies, contributed to projects as diverse as web page redesign and printing of promotional brochures, and paid for advertising that promotes local and regional events and programs.

The CPSP program is focused on helping local organizations promote activities and programs that bring visitors to the area, and also supports events and programs that enhance the cultural and recreational quality of life of the county’s residents.

The Program Guidelines and Grant Application forms are available online at the Inyo County website, under Community Project Sponsorship Program, at www.inyocounty.us/Comm_Proj_Spon/CPSP.htm.

The deadline for applying for the Community Project Sponsorship Fall Grant Cycle is Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.

To be considered, three copies of the completed grant application, each with an original signature, must be received by the Office of the County Administrator by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.

No postmarks or facsimile copies will be accepted. Digital grant applications, which still need original signatures, may be sent to jklusmire@inyocounty.us or lpiper@inyocounty.us.

Organizations or groups with questions about the grant guidelines, the application process or the program in general can call Jon Klusmire at 760-878-0258 for more information.

Grant applications being mailed should be sent to: Office of the County Administrator, Attn: Community Project Sponsorship Program, P.O. Drawer N, Independence, CA 93526. If hand delivering, deliver to: Office of the County Administrator, 224 N. Edwards Street, Independence, CA, (760) 878-0292.

Grant applications deemed complete and eligible will be forwarded to a Review Panel for evaluation, ranking and suggested funding levels. The Board of Supervisors is expected to consider the Review Panel’s funding recommendations and make a final decision on the specific grant awards toward the beginning of November.

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INYO COUNTY ACCEPTING COMMUNITY PROJECT SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM GRANTS

http://www.kibskbov.com/inyocountygrants/

Inyo County / Owens Valley / Eastern Sierra / Community Project Sponsorship Program Grants / Grant Funding / Tourism / History / Culture / Recreation / Local / Programs / Events / Non-Profit Organizations