Monday
Apr162018

Why Trout Unlimited Cares about the Bodie Hills

Trout Unlimited (TU) is a national sportsmen’s organization that makes fishing better by conserving, protecting and restoring trout and salmon and their watersheds in North America. So why is TU interested in the Bodie Hills, a complex of public lands which offers virtually no fishing opportunities at present, as well as a founding member of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership? 

This question can be answered in five words: waterhabitat, and potential angling opportunity.

First, water. The Bodie Hills are the ecological transition zone between the Great Basin and the eastern Sierra Nevada—which means they are in the rain shadow of the Sierra and are characterized by high desert sage and scrub ecology. Yet the Bodies do collect some snow and rain and their porous bedrock filters and releases it into small streams, such as Rough and Arastra Creeks, which, surprisingly, are seasonally an important water source for the East Walker River and its legendary wild trout fishery. 

A proposed open pit gold mine above upper Rough Creek, in the heart of a Wilderness Study Area, could degrade water quality and other habitat values in this stream—and perhaps even in the lower East Walker River. TU’s involvement in the effort to better protect the Bodie Hills began in earnest when a foreign-owned mining interest sought approval to develop a claim for the Paramount mine project. Our engagement in this conservation campaign has focused on publicizing the habitat and sporting values of this remarkable area, and organizing sportsmen and women to support good conservation outcomes in the Bodies. TU has led or helped organize cleanup events and fishing outings with service veterans, in partnership with Vet Voice Foundation.

Second, the Bodies have very high habitat values, especially terrestrial habitat. Since the Gold Rush era, the Bodie Hills have seen little development—they have not been sliced and diced by many roads, fences, mines or ditches. Thus, this area is home to a number of game species, among them a population of bi-state sage grouse, one of the few pronghorn herds in California, and some of the biggest mule deer bucks in the state. The Bodies are well known among deer hunters who may wait for years to draw a tag for the fabled X-12 zone.

While many of TU’s members also hunt, our interest in the habitat values of the Bodies includes aquatic habitat in Rough, Arastra and Bodie Creeks. Historically, these streams were spawning and rearing habitat for the Lahontan cutthroat trout, the trout species native to the Walker River watershed. And with a little work, they could be again—in fact, a small population of Lahontans was transplanted successfully some years back to Bodie Creek. The Lahontan cutthroat is now formally listed as a Threatened species, and analyses linked to the federal recovery plan for this beautiful native fish indicate that with some restoration work Rough and Arastra Creeks could also be repopulated with Lahontans. 

Which leads us to potential fishing opportunities in the Bodies. Most tributaries to the East Walker River have trout in them and are fishable. Presently Rough and Arastra Creeks may have non-native trout in their reaches that remain wet through the dry season. They are technically open for fishing (with a Nevada fishing license). But there is little or no public access to them. With some cooperative work with the BLM and Forest Service and grazing permit holders, and some habitat restoration, Rough and Arastra Creeks could provide backcountry small stream fishing opportunity.

Every angler and hunter knows that there is no sporting opportunity without good habitat. If the current trend of a warming climate continues, lower elevation streams and upland habitat will continue to get drier and become less productive for cold water fish (like trout) and wildlife, and higher elevation habitat such as that found in the Bodie Hills will become even more important. We must protect our last, best wild places where Americans can fish and hunt. The Bodie Hills is one such place, and deserves special designation to ensure it remains that way.

 

Tuesday
Jul252017

Volunteer at Bodie State Park with the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership

Join us August 5th 2017 at Bodie State Historic Park to help us steward these amazing public lands and spend a day in the Bodie Hills.  We will help care for this unique and special place by removing unnecessary fences that disrupt wildlife movement.  Please wear work appropriate clothing including long pants, hat, and closed toed shoes.  Tools and gloves will be provided.  

Volunteers will get a light breakfast, lunch, raffle prizes and a free entrance day to the park along with a free interpretive tour after lunch.  

Meet at the Red Barn at Bodie State Historic Park at 8:30 am on Saturday August 5th.

For more information email: info@friendsoftheinyo.org or april@bodiehills.org   (760) 873-6500

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Jun232016

APRIL SALL, ACCOMPLISHED CONSERVATION LEADER, JOINS BODIE HILLS CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP AS DIRECTOR

We are pleased to announce April Sall's arrival to our conservation efforts in the Bodie Hills.

After completing a degree in Biology from Humboldt State University, April began working for the NPS at Joshua Tree National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore in the Resource Mgmt and Fire depts. She then took the position of Preserve Manager for both Pioneertown Mountains and Mission Creek Preserves for The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC), which owns and manages over 150,000 acres in the state and provides free outdoor education. In 2007, April took on the role of Conservation Director for TWC, working with staff and other local, state, and federal entities to advocate for additional conservation designations and responsible energy development in the California Desert and TWC’s expansion into Northern Ca.

April was the lead for TWC on the California Desert Protection Act of 2010, 2011, and 2014, introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein.  In 2015 she left TWC after 10+ years and was a consultant for conservation efforts to protect the California desert resulting in three new National Monuments: Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, and Castle Mountains.

April has served on the BLM’s California Desert District Advisory Council as the Public at Large representative for 6 years and was elected Chair, and is still the Chair of the California Desert Coalition.  She sits on other boards and open space and conservation committees.   April is an avid hiker and enjoys outdoor recreation and exploration. 

April brings a great wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership and we are thrilled about her joining the team!

 

Wednesday
Apr292015

Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership Open House May 2

 

Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership opens new office in Bridgeport, CA

Open House ceremony on May 2, 2015; public and press invited

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. – The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership (BHCP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting habitat, scenic, and historic values in the Bodie Hills and promoting sustainable economic growth in the region, has moved its headquarters to the Town of Bridgeport in northern Mono County, California.

 

The Partnership will host an Open House to celebrate its new offices on Saturday, May 2, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Public officials, media, and area residents are invited to attend to learn more about the mission of the BHCP and how designating the Bodie Hills as a national monument will permanently protect wildlife, traditional recreational uses, and ranching in the area as well as air and water quality and the scenic backdrop for the Bridgeport Valley.

 

WHO:                Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership - Jeff Hunter, Director

 

WHAT:              Open House to celebrate new headquarters

 

WHEN:              SATURDAY MAY 2, 2015 – 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

WHERE:             158 Kingsley Street, Suite #1, Bridgeport, CA  (corner S. Sinclair)

WHY:                    The BHCP is committed to protecting the extraordinary natural, scenic, and historic qualities of the Bodies and promoting the year-round recreational opportunities of these public lands. Because the BHCP emphasizes collaborative strategies and partnerships to achieve its mission, it makes sense for the Partnership to operate from Bridgeport, gateway to the Bodie Hills, the county seat, and the heart of northern Mono County (motto: Wild by Nature).

 

The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership (www.bodiehills.org) was formed in 2011 to protect and publicize the unique recreational, scenic, and habitat values of the Bodie Hills. Our vision for the Bodie Hills embraces Triple Bottom Line principles and the three P’s: People, Profit & Planet. The Partnership works to ensure that sustainable traditional uses of the Bodies such as grazing, hunting, off-highway vehicle use, mountain biking, snowmobiling and other snow sports, and wildlife watching are conserved; to better manage the land for at-risk species such as the bi-state sage grouse; to grow tourism and recreational visitation to this remarkable area; and to help deliver sustainable economic growth for local communities.

 

Wednesday
Jan072015

Letter to Editor: The Bodie Hills

The following LTE appears in the January 1, 2015 editon of the Mammoth Times.

To the Editor,

 The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership was formed in 2011 to protect and publicize the unique recreational, scenic, and habitat values of the Bodie Hills. Our vision for the Bodie Hills embraces Triple Bottom Line principles, which emphasize the three P’s: People, Profit & Planet.  Thus we are working to ensure that sustainable traditional uses of the Bodies, such as grazing, hunting and fishing, off-highway vehicle use, mountain biking, snowmobiling and other snow sports, and wildlife watching are conserved, that we expand tourism and recreational visitation to this remarkable area, and that local communities benefit from this visitation.

The Partnership is also helping to address the challenge of managing the Bodies for sage grouse. In 2014, more than 50 volunteers organized by the Partnership contributed nearly 300 volunteer hours restoring sage-grouse habitat and improving the visitor experience in and around the Bodie Hills. This includes a cleanup of the old shooting range at the Travertine Hot Springs (May 22), the removal of a 2-mile section of electric fence from along Bodie Creek (Aug 16), the removal of a half-mile section of barbed wire fence and the removal of hazardous fuels from in and around Bodie State Historic Park (Sept 27), planting of 400 sagebrush & bitterbrush plants in the footprint of the Indian Fire (Oct 18), and helping to plant 4000 sagebrush plants in the footprint of the Spring Peak fire (Nov 15).  We are grateful for all of our volunteers and partners who made this work possible.

Another highlight of a very productive year is our recent opening of an office in Bridgeport. We look forward to becoming more active in this community, working with local residents and businesses to promote visitation to this area and the public lands that we are blessed to have around us.

As 2014 ebbs, we’re looking forward to a productive 2015. We hope to double our volunteer numbers in the coming year, enabling us to do more work in the Bodies to restore and sustain the good habitat there for sage-grouse, mule deer and pronghorn antelope (among other critters). As they say, “What’s good for the bird, is good for the herd.” We also look forward to continuing the conversation with Mono County residents and officials about how we can best protect, enjoy, and profit from the Bodie Hills.

We’ll be staffing our Bridgeport office 2 days a week until later this spring, when we will expand our hours to 3 days a week. If you see the American flag flying outside our office at 158 Kingsley Street – Suite #1, please come in for some coffee and conversation.  Alternatively, you can call me at 760-935-3960 and schedule a meeting.

Happy New Year! 

Jeff Hunter

Director

Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership