Tag Archives: USDA

Inyo National Forest Implementing Fire Restrictions

Inyo National Forest is implementing fire restrictions effective on all Inyo National Forest lands.

 

We want to support a strong fire prevention program, limiting human-caused fires, to keep our firefighters healthy and ready for when we need them in the coming months,” said Tammy Randall-Parker, Forest Supervisor.

 

The forest is basing this decision on increased fire danger, local fire activity, and the availability of firefighters for response. Effective May 13th and through December 31, 2020 or until rescinded, the following restrictions will be in effect:

 

  • No campfires, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. However, for now, campgrounds are closed on the forest.
  • Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.
  • No fireworks. It is prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks.
  • No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Please refer to the webpage for the forest order, the list of developed recreation sites, and full list of restrictions.

 

Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit.

Residents and visitors are reminded that additional simple steps can help prevent human-caused fires. Fire crews regularly respond to vehicle fires along the Sherwin Grade on Hwy 395.

  • Prevent vehicle related fires by maintaining proper tire pressure, ensuring adequate tire tread, and checking your brakes for overheating. Avoid traveling or parking on brush or grass. Ensure chains are not dragging while towing.
  • Use of exploding targets, such as Binary Explosive Targets, and tracer rounds, while recreationally shooting is both a fire hazard and illegal. The use of steel-core ammunition, although legal, can greatly increase the chance of a wildfire.
  • Motorcycles, ATV’s and chainsaws require an approved spark arrestor.

https://www.readyforwildfire.org/

US Forest Service Urging People to Recreate Close to Home

VALLEJO, Calif., April 1, 2020 . – Continuing our service to you while doing our part to address the COVID-19 Pandemic is very important. The USDA Forest Service in the Pacific Southwest is now advising all potential visitors that:

 

“Outdoor recreation can be beneficial for your health but must be practiced safely. We recommend exercising close to your home and complying with local and state guidance for not traveling for your recreation needs. If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Stay safe. For more on avoiding COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov.”

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19.

The Forest Service manages 18 National Forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses over 20 million acres across California, and assists State and Private forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. National forests supply 50 percent of the water in California and form the watershed of most major aqueducts and more than 2,400 reservoirs throughout the state. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R5.

 

SAGE GROUSE

$8 Million Fund Created to Improve Water Quality
and Conserve Greater Sage-Grouse in the Eastern Sierra

By Seth Conners

In a landmark victory for local conservation and the long-term health of the Eastern Sierra, the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has created an $8 million fund to support initiatives conserving the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse and enhancing ranch water quality in the region.
Sage-grouse thrive in wide-open areas with abundant sagebrush, native grasses, and wet meadows – a landscape known as the sagebrush ecosystem, frequently found on working ranches. The RCPP will ensure that sage-grouse, along with other wildlife species that rely on the sagebrush ecosystem, will continue to exist harmoniously on ranchlands for years to come. This funding is available to landowners in the Bi-State area along the California-Nevada border.
Local non-profit Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) spearheaded the funding request with ten other national, state, regional, and private partners.
“Clean water and ranch stewardship are priorities that span state and party lines, and the Bi-State demonstrates that spirit of collaboration. This award is an affirmation of the work we are doing together and the power of partnership,” commented Susanna Danner, Land Conservation Program Director at ESLT.
Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the RCPP is a new and highly-competitive program created in the 2014 Farm Bill. The RCPP awards innovative projects across the country that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability.
One of only 88 projects funded nationwide, this investment is a direct result of the Bi-State Local Area Working Group (LAWG), a dynamic, cross-state partnership formed in 2002 to conserve sage-grouse habitat and protect rangeland health. The LAWG is composed of ranchers, conservationists, private organizations, state and local officials, and public land managers. In 2015, this group played a pivotal role in keeping the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse off the Endangered Species List, effectively working together to solve a problem before additional regulation was necessary.
“This is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when people come together with a focus on solving a problem by harmonizing the diverse interests of all those involved,” remarked Pete Pumphrey, Eastern Sierra Audubon Society Conservation Chair.

What is the Bi-State Sage-Grouse?
When early explorers first surveyed the Great Basin, greater sage-grouse were so plentiful that the sky was said to darken when flocks took to the air. But after facing two centuries of habitat destruction and other threats, sage-grouse are now much rarer in the American West. Once numbering more than 16 million across the western United States, there are now only an estimated 500,000 of these birds left.
Found in eastern California and western Nevada, the Bi-State sage-grouse is a unique population of greater sage-grouse – one that is now considered to be much stronger thanks to years of conservation work by the LAWG.
It is also a bellwether species: the health of sage-grouse populations is indicative of the condition of the land itself. Where sage-grouse are in trouble, it’s more likely that other wildlife – like pronghorn, golden eagle, and more than 350 other species that rely on the sagebrush ecosystem – are in trouble, too.
Building On Success
Eastern Sierra Land Trust and its ten partners have agreed to leverage the RCPP’s $8 million investment by contributing an additional $20 million in funding and in-kind support to bolster sage-grouse conservation and water quality improvements.
According to Steve Nelson, field manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office, “The conservation and enhancement of working ranch lands is a fundamental component of the cooperative, landscape scale effort to conserve greater sage-grouse in the Bi-State area of eastern California and western Nevada.”
The impact of this funding will be far-reaching. In the Eastern Sierra, it means the protection of habitat for sage-grouse and other wildlife, clean water for local families, and the conservation of the region’s ranching heritage for future generations.
To Kay Ogden, Executive Director of Eastern Sierra Land Trust, the RCPP award is a major success for the community as a whole.
“From conservationists, to birding enthusiasts, to ranchers, to fishermen – this is a victory for everyone.”
About the Fund
The $8 million fund will be available for five years to landowners in portions of Inyo, Mono, and Alpine Counties of California and portions of Douglas, Lyon, Carson City, Mineral, and Esmeralda Counties in Nevada – an area of 7,000 square miles. Ranchers can apply to receive funds from this pool in order to complete projects that will enhance sage-grouse habitat and improve water quality on property they own and manage. In addition, local organizations such as Eastern Sierra Land Trust will be available to advise landowners and assist them in the application process.
NRCS will implement RCPP conservation contracts through three existing NRCS programs: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Grasslands of Special Significance, and Wetlands Reserve Easements. Examples of eligible projects include EQIP contracts to restore wetlands, construct wildlife-friendly fencing, prevent erosion by planting native grasses and shrubs, and reduce nonpoint source pollution to creeks and rivers. The RCPP also prioritizes voluntary conservation easements on private ranches and wetlands that provide sage-grouse habitat.
Any landowner interested in pursuing a project that will benefit the goals of the RCPP is encouraged to contact Susanna Danner, ESLT Land Conservation Program Director, at (760) 873-4554 or susanna@eslt.org.