The U.S. Forest Service announced in a media release this week that KORE Mining, Ltd. will begin exploratory drilling as early as Tuesday, November 30, in Long Valley.
“The public should expect that heavy equipment including a drill rig will be on the roads near Whitmore Hot Springs and Antelope Springs Roads,” the media release says.
Friends of the Inyo (FOI), together with the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project and Sierra Club, is suing the U.S. Forest Service for allowing KORE Mining’s destructive activities to proceed.
“This is a bad project for the community of Mammoth Lakes, Southern Mono County, and negatively impacts wildlife, including the imperiled bi-state sage grouse, and our recreational tourism economy,” FOI Executive Director Wendy Schneider said. “It provides no benefit to the people of Mono County.”
What can I do?
Mammoth Lakes area activists are organizing a peaceful protest this Saturday, Nov. 20, from Noon to 3 p.m. A Facebook page that provides details has been set up. You can access it by clicking here or on the button below.
“The goal of this protest is to bring awareness to community members in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra about KORE Mining’s intentions to implement an open pit gold mine,” the protest Facebook page says. “We are encouraging folks to make signs and banners in preparation for the event.”
Friends of the Inyo supports this peaceful protest.
UPDATE: The Pasadena City Council hearing has been continued until Monday, July 19, 4:30 p.m.
From Tim Brick, Arroyo Seco Foundation:
We need your help to save Arroyo Seco trout now!
The Arroyo Seco Foundation is working to restore conditions for steelhead in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains. Yes, steelhead – the anadromous form of Coastal Rainbow Trout. We are collaborating with a variety of agencies and organizations on the LA River Fish Passage Program in downtown Los Angeles and on an assessment of watershed conditions in the mountainous reaches of the Arroyo Seco.
Pasadena has prepared an Environmental Impact Report on the Arroyo Seco Canyon Project (ASCP), which will increase water diversions from the Arroyo Seco stream, a major tributary of the Los Angeles River system that is critical to steelhead recovery prospects. ASCP will build a new five-foot dam and diversion facility to divert additional water from the Arroyo Seco stream for domestic use by the Pasadena Water & Power Department (PWP).
The National Marine Fisheries Service has declared the Southern California steelhead an endangered species and prepared a steelhead recovery plan that includes the Arroyo Seco and the Los Angeles River.
The goal of this recovery plan is to prevent the extinction of southern California steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the wild and to ensure the long‐term persistence of viable, self‐sustaining, populations of steelhead distributed across the Southern California Distinct Population Segment (DPS). It is also the goal of this recovery plan to re‐ establish a sustainable southern California steelhead sport fishery.
While the Arroyo Seco was once home to a thriving population of rainbow trout and steelhead, steelhead have been blocked since 1920 from returning to their mountain home in the Angeles National Forest. Native Rainbow Trout have been present since then in the Arroyo Seco, although the Station Fire and the extended drought of recent years have made conditions difficult for those fish.
Based on survey techniques described by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as inadequate, Pasadena’s ASCP EIR states that there are no fish in the Arroyo. Pasadena’s projections for water availability are based on historical weather and streamflow patterns and do not consider the likely impact of climate change. The design of the new dam and diversion structure do not provide for two-way fish passage around or through those facilities nor for an environmental flow to protect the fish and aquatic species during dry periods as required by CA Fish and Game Code Sections 5901 and 5937.
Throughout the environmental review, the Arroyo Seco Foundation has asserted that Rainbow Trout are still present in the Arroyo Seco and that Pasadena has done an inadequate job of finding and documenting them. The ASCP EIR was tentatively approved by a Pasadena hearing officer on January 6th, but ASF joined with the Pasadena Audubon Society and several individuals to block EIR certification by appealing the decision. The matter was then considered in March by the Pasadena Board of Zoning Appeals, which added a few new conditions to the EIR. ASF and PAS again appealed that decision and forced EIR certification to be considered by the Pasadena City Council. A hearing date for that matter has now been set for next Monday, July 12, 2021.
During the appeal period, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that they had conducted a Rainbow Trout rescue program on the West Fork of the San Gabriel River after the Bobcat Fire last Fall. CDFW personnel translocated 469 native Rainbow Trout into the Arroyo Seco canyon in the area to be impacted by Pasadena’s ASCP program.
Faced with irrefutable evidence of the presence of many Rainbow Trout, Pasadena has not changed its position regarding the design and operation of the new dam and diversion structure that they plan to build. They state that when steelhead passage from the Pacific Ocean is restored, they will evaluate various ways to meet the requirements of the relevant sections of the Fish and Game Code.
The Fish and Game Code requirements for fish and passage and environmental flows, however, are not limited to steelhead trout. They apply to any fish as well as to other aquatic species that would be trapped by the PWP facilities. Clearly it will be difficult and expensive to retrofit the dam and diversion facilities at some distant point in the future when the steelhead return. This is the time to do it to protect the fish that are there now and to establish better conditions for the future.
We are disappointed in Pasadena’s cynical dereliction of its environmental responsibility. We believe that Pasadena and its Water & Power Department must be good stewards of the natural resources they exploit.
Send a Letter to Pasadena Mayor Gordo and the City Council Today
We urge you and your organization to send a letter to Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo (email@example.com) and the City Council this week urging them to require PWP to alter the design and operation of any new dam and diversion facilities to accommodate fish passage and to provide an environmental flow during critical periods as required by Fish and Game Code Sections 5901 and 5937.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need any further information.
I hope this email finds you well! I am emailing you today to update you on the Kore mining proposal located in the Inyo National Forest. I would like to let you know that our office has met with both Kore Mining and the U.S. Forest Service to get a briefing on this proposed mining site and learn more about the project.
As you may know, U.S. Forest Service is the federal authority in charge of the land in question. Attached you will find a U.S. Forest Service scoping letter describing the project proposal and what processes are being done to ensure that any mining is done in the most environmentally and sustainable way possible. I also wanted to provide you with the link provided by the U.S. Forest Service to accept comments and input from the local community and interested parties. https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=59294
While I will be continuing work with both U.S. Forest Service and Kore mining to ensure that your concerns are heard, I highly recommend that you use the link provided to comment on the project as well. While you will be able to use the link provided to comment throughout the process, initial scoping comments should be submitted by Thursday May 13.
On behalf of Congressman Obernolte, I would like to thank you for reaching out to our office with your comments. We will continue to update you as new information is provided.
All the best,
Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Jay Obernolte, California Eighth District
Dear Interested Citizen,
The Mammoth Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest is initiating the analysis process for the proposed Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project proposed by Kore USA Ltd. (Kore Mining). The project boundary area proposed for exploration is within a claim block controlled by Kore Mining and encompasses 230 acres in Section 26, Township 3 South, Range 28 East, Mono County, California. It is located approximately 6.2 miles east of the town of Mammoth Lakes and 45 miles north of the town of Bishop, California (Figure 1).
At this time, we are opening a scoping period to ask for your help in determining the scope of the analysis.
Kore Mining proposes to conduct mineral exploration activities at the claim for a period of less than one year. Ground disturbing activities proposed consist of drilling with heavy equipment, the creation of fourteen drill pads and the use of existing roads and temporary access routes. The total new land disturbance anticipated is 0.93 acres. Project implementation would occur in the summer of 2021. Reclamation of all impacted areas would commence immediately following the completion of drilling activities. No production or mining would be included in this project. It would be for exploration only, to determine the mineral potential of the site. Any actual production proposed in the future would be analyzed according to National Environmental Policy Act guidelines at that time.
A total of fourteen pads measuring 30 feet by 50 feet (1500 square feet) each are proposed for construction within in the claim area. Up to three core borings would be drilled on each pad. The drill pads would also be utilized for staging all vehicles and equipment. Each pad would be surrounded by temporary fencing during the work. Container trucks would be used to hold and transport all drill cuttings and muds offsite and at an appropriate disposal facility. Access to drill pads would require the temporary re-opening of 11 segments (1,849 total feet in length and 10 feet wide.) of non-system Forest Service roads for the duration of the project. All of the temporary access routes would follow pre-existing non system routes that are currently blocked and/or closed. Temporary access routes and drill pads would be cleared of vegetation by hand cutting or mowing with a small tractor and graded level to accommodate the drilling equipment. Six inches of topsoil removed from each drill pad would be salvaged and stored on site for use in reclamation of the pad at the end of the drilling project.
After drilling is complete, the drill pads would be reclaimed by spreading the reserved topsoil, recontouring to approximate original landforms and planting with a Forest Service-approved native seed mix. Temporary access routes would be reclaimed using a spring-tooth harrow, or similar device, to relieve surface compaction and then seeded with the same approved seed mix. Monitoring of the revegetation success would continue for three years after seeding. Additional details about the project can also be viewed on the project website at
This proposal is being considered in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Forest will analyze any potential environmental impacts proposed in the plan of operations and establish any terms or conditions under which the mining operations may be conducted in order to minimize adverse impacts to surface resources (36 CFR 228.8). Surveys for cultural and biological resources will be completed before implementation, to ensure the project protects resources and meets the Inyo National Forest land management plan and other applicable laws, regulations and policy. It is anticipated that this project can be completed under a categorical exclusion under the category established under 36 CFR 220.6 (e)(8), because it is a “short term (1 year or less) mineral investigation and incidental support activities”. Appropriate and legally required environmental studies and consultations will be completed in support of the project to inform the decision, and to determine whether extraordinary circumstances exist that could require preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement.
The proposed action is currently available for a 30-day public scoping period. With this scoping notice we would like to invite your comments regarding issues, opportunities, concerns, and suggestions for the proposed project. You may submit comments on the project website at:
Go to “Comment/Object on Project” on the right side of the page and you can type in your comments or attach a file.
While public participation in this analysis is welcome at any time, comments received by May 6, 2021 will be most useful in informing the analysis. Please contact Colleen Garcia, Minerals Program Manager, 351 Pacu Lane Suite 200 Bishop, CA 93514, by email at email@example.com and/or by phone at (760) 920-0285 for questions about the project or scoping process, or if you cannot submit your comment on the project website.
I appreciate your interest in the management of the Inyo National Forest.
If it’s not one battle to protect the fisheries in the Eastern Sierra, it’s something else. While I’m not the longest standing fly-fishing guide operating in the area, I’ve been doing this long enough now to fully realize the fights. It could be over water during drought years, battling bureaucracies with proposed reg changes, or putting a spotlight on the destruction of dispersed camping.
Last summer at Hot Creek, I watched an angler 50 feet downstream of me drop his drawers and empty his bowels in the grass 15 feet from the water. I was guiding two clients. They weren’t surprised when I asked the guy what he was doing, then asked him to never return to the Eastern Sierra again. I’d take that experience last summer on Hot Creek any day of the week over the looming threat we all now face of Canadian-based operation Kore Mining proposing taking one giant shit right next to my most favorite fishery in the world: Hot Creek.
Mining laws today date back a minute. 1872. The General Mining Act of 1872 was written when miners looked for metals with pack mules and handpicks. It’s an outdated set of laws that no mining company in the country wants to fix. Prospecting minerals on federal lands can pay big bucks. But mining is different today than it was in the past, and that begs consideration of every new mining proposal that comes up.
Fortunately, common sense still dictates that companies don’t have a complete carte blanche to dig up federal soil just anywhere. One of the most controversial mining proposals of current times is that of Pebble Mine which ended last November when the Trump Administration killed off hopes of digging up Bristol Bay, Alaska. Pebble Mine wanted to extract gold, copper, and molybdenum. Bristol Bay is also home of one of the largest salmon runs in the world, a money maker for both commercial fishers and its tourism-based economy. Every proposal faces a different set of environmental concerns, some benign, and some truly legitimate.
Kore Mining is interested in drilling the ground around Hot Creek to look for gold. Sitting on claims several decades old, and a budget of $8 million, they intend to disrupt about a five-acre region of pristine forest located directly behind Hot Creek. If gold is found, they’d bid the claim to a major company to open pit heap leach gold mine the region. USFS is still cleaning up pollutants from the Mill City mining which happened over a hundred years ago. Cabin owners have been kicked out of their cabins and denied rights to their property. We haven’t even resolved this mess, and yet mining is being proposed again?
What could possibly go wrong? Well, first of all, where does Kore Mining intend to get its water to drill? If they do drill and hit the water table, waste water will contain arsenic, boron, and chlorine. This is directly above one of the region’s best fisheries, Hot Creek. I’ll also add the fact that water eventually flows into the Owens River, Crowley Lake, and then Los Angeles kitchen sinks.
Kore Mining doesn’t use pack animals. Extensive truck traffic hauling water and waste in and out on roads that are now overgrown will create noise, light, and air pollution. I don’t believe guests staying at Hot Creek Ranch envision a week of fly fishing accompanied with the sound of drilling. Athletes training at Whitmore would breathe air pollution. Let’s suppose gold is found. What do we have? One large open pit mine.
How’s the air pollution working for people living near Owens Lake? The area being proposed to explore is wildlife habitat. Deer, sage grouse, etc. Deer tags aren’t as easy to come by as they used to be, and the sage grouse is a protected bird. I can’t imagine mining that close to Hot Creek Hatchery would be good for an already embattled entity. Thousands and thousands of visitors walk Hot Creek each summer to see the geothermal area. I see them when I’m fishing and guiding. They end up with this magnificent view of the fields and Mammoth Mountain. Now substitute that with an open pit mine.
What can you do? Be vocal. Be loud. Be objective. This simply can’t happen. You can start by writing USFS Mineral Programs Manager Colleen Garcia (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the deadline of May 6, 2021. Please also contact Reid Dagul (Reid.Dagul@mail.house.gov) and express your objection. Share this information. Get in touch with organizations fighting this fight. Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited are just a couple of many. This is the biggest fight Hot Creek has seen yet, and it has to win.
Chris Leonard Mammoth Lakes, California fly fishing guide & activist
I think I’ve been avoiding posting about this because it just seems so discouraging. During the pandemic year, we’ve all needed a lift. But I can’t avoid it any longer. After so many years of advocacy for the LA River from, for example, Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and Heal the Bay, to transform it from miles of concrete into a robust ecological space for surrounding communities as well as all Angelinos, now we have a celebrity-fueled vision to create elevated platform parks.
Talented as he is, celebrity architect Frank Gehry is clearly the wrong person to redesign our city waterway. Here is a letter to the editor printed in today’s Los Angeles Times in response to its opinion piece, “A river renewal plan to benefit the Gateway Cities.“
Mark C. Salvaggio writes: ” I have seen this so-called river plan. Lets MacAdams would be rolling over in his grave if he saw it. He started Friends of the Los Angeles River and was a mild-mannered poet and outdoors type of guy. MacAdams never sought to develop the L.A. River into an urban spectacle as envisioned by architect Frank Gehry. This plan would require billions of dollars and would destroy the “parkway” vision of MacAdams. This is what happens when big shots grab onto a community-based idea.”
When I searched the word “fish” in the recently released LA River Master Plan, I found three references: one to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, then these two mentions.
“Along the LA River, access points take on many different forms. Following the advocacy that led to the LA River’s designation as a federally protected waterway in 2010, there are now two section of the river designated as River Recreation Zones created to allow access into the river for kayaking, canoeing, and fishin (sic).”
“The 11.3 miles of soft-bottomed section (portions of the channel with earthen bottom) at Sepulveda Basin, The Glendale Narrows and the tidal estuary are the most ecologically healthy; however, much of the river corridor continues to support algae, insects, fish, and local and migratory birds.”
That’s literally it. Three mentions of fishing, one part of a state agency’s official name. Incredible.
On a recent fly-fishing trip to the awesome Southern Sierra, the guide I was with told me that the LA is now a destination spot for fly fishers who wanted to test their skill against out infamous carp. Celebrities now fish for carp; hip web publishers ballyhoo it, and generally speaking its cred has come a long way from when I started this blog more than 10 years ago.
So, if you love fishing and don’t want to drive for hours to find a decent spot to toss a fly, please take a few minutes, click on the LA River Master Plan above and comment. We all need to voice our opinion that this plan is going in the exact opposite direction it needs to go. I mean we already have a guarantee from the U.S. Army corps to restore a wide swatch of the river to its natural state. Yes, the money has languished in the Congressional coffers for years, but it has still been approved.
Please take a moment. Tell the city we want to have more areas to fish, not fewer, and certainly not to have to go underneath elevated park platforms to do it.
Pebble Mine is dangerously close to becoming a reality. Take action now
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just released its final environmental impact statement for the Pebble Mine — the last step in securing a permit for a dangerous mine in our most important salmon fishery. Take a stand for Bristol Bay and tell Congress, President Trump and the EPA to veto this project using the resources below!
Why Save Bristol Bay
Sportsmen and women from across the world dream of fishing Bristol Bay’s wild rivers, which support the world’s largest remaining wild salmon fishery, 35 fish species (including all five species of Pacific salmon) and nearly half of wild sockeye populations. Located in southwest Alaska, Bristol Bay also provides undisturbed wildlife habitat for moose, caribou, black bear and large populations of migratory waterfowl.
For generations, this unparalleled watershed has been one of North America’s renewable resources, providing dependable employment for more than 14,000 people who are currently rely on Bristol Bay’s renowned sportfishing, hunting and outdoor recreation economy. Bristol Bay’s rich natural resources are Alaska’s economic lifeblood. Moreover, this watershed is foundational to the cultural heritage of Native Alaskans.
However, a proposed copper and gold mine threatens this unique and treasured landscape. The Pebble Mine would be one of the largest gold, copper and molybdenum mines in the world. The mineral deposit being targeted sits in the heart of salmon country in the headwaters of the famed Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers. One natural disaster could cause catastrophic damage to the watershed and wipe out the livelihoods of tens of thousands.
Minerals in Bristol Bay were first discovered 30 years ago by Canadian mining company Conoco, though it was not until 2007 when the Pebble Partnership was formed that a formal mining proposal in Bristol Bay was put forth. Soon thereafter, the environmental review process for development of the mine commenced. In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency began reviewing the Clean Water Act 404 permit.
Through the EPA’s extensive review process, scientists found that development of the Pebble mining project would result in the following:
— direct loss of 55 to 85 miles of streams, 4 to 6.7 square miles of wetlands and, if fully developed, a potential loss of up to 114 miles of stream and 30 square miles of wild country for tailings storage facilities;
— 10.7 billion tons of mine waste, 20 times the size of all mines in Alaska (3,000 pounds of waste rock for every person on the planet);
— toxic mine waste stored behind a 740 foot high, 4-mile-long tailing dam – the largest earthen dam in the world, located upstream of the world’s largest salmon run;
— construction of a 100-mile road, 100-mile slurry pipeline and a power plant big enough to power Anchorage – all to open a 54 square mile mining district.
In 2017, the EPA waffled on whether to act on this science by proceeding with the Clean Water Act determination but instead vowed to carry on with the review process.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to move ahead by releasing its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and most recently, its final EIS for the proposed Pebble Mine. The FEIS release starts a 30-day wait period before the decision to issue or deny a permit for the Pebble mining project is made. Public comments are no longer being accepted during this process, and we could expect a decision as early as August.
This environmental analysis evaluated risks, impacts and benefits. According to the FEIS, phase one of the proposed copper and gold mine project would undermine Alaska’s thriving salmon fishery and damage 4,614 of acres of wetlands and 191 miles of streams. Many more miles of streams and thousands of additional acres of wetlands would be permanently ruined, resulting in irreversible and damaging impacts to fisheries, the ecosystem and the local outdoor recreation economy.
How You Can Help
Join Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in encouraging your lawmakers, President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler to conserve Bristol Bay, deny the Pebble Mine permit and stand with their constituents in protecting our economies and ensuring the future of our hunting and fishing traditions. Click here to send your message of support (at bottom left of page.)
BISHOP, California. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bishop Field Office is seeking public input for the future management of the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine in Inyo County. Today’s release of an environmental assessment lays out three proposed alternatives and begins a 30-day public review period that ends on August 7, 2020.
Set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley, the Alabama Hills are a unique formation of rounded rocks and eroded hills that encompass more than 29,000 acres of public land that is well known for its mix of scenic, cultural, geological, educational, biological, historical, recreational, cinematographic, and scientific values. In March 2019, President Trump signed Public Law 116-9 (P.L. 116-9), also known as the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which designated 18,745 acres within the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area. The BLM is currently preparing a management plan for the Scenic Area and adjacent public lands in the Alabama Hills Special Recreation Management Area.
Implementing P.L. 116-9 is a top priority for the Department of the Interior as we work to strike a proper balance for land and resource management, increase access for hunting, fishing, and recreation, and create economic prosperity, while protecting and preserving America’s treasures.
“We welcome continued public engagement in our effort to develop a comprehensive plan for management of the area,” says Bishop Field Manager Steve Nelson. “We also look forward to completing the plan and working with the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, the local tribe, and the Lone Pine community to implement management strategies that will ensure the long-term protection, conservation, public access, and responsible use of this magnificent landscape.”
Written comments on the proposed alternatives in the environmental assessment can be submitted via email to: email@example.com; by fax: 760-872-5055; or by mail to: BLM Bishop Field Office, Attn: Alabama Hills Management Plan, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514.
Before including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other personal identifying information in a comment, commenters should be aware that the entire comment, including personal identifying information, could be made publicly available at any time. While the public may ask the BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.
For specific questions, please call Project Manager Monica Buhler at (760) 872-5000.
The salmon is in tears … and so am I. We all are greatly negatively impacted by the loss of the wild salmon and its habitat.
A man made perfect storm of destruction is aimed directly for the salmons’ home and natural habitat, Bristol Bay and its tributaries.
This Category FIVE Storm of devastating environmental destruction of the Salmon is being done by the President in the name of exploitation of mineral resources at Pebble Mine. In a word… GREED!
This from CNN: The EPA told staff scientists that it was no longer opposing a controversial Alaska mining project that could devastate one of the world’s most valuable wild salmon fisheries, just one day after President Trump met with Alaska’s governor, CNN has learned. https://cnn.it/20MAxg5
If you wish to join the fight against the shameful actions of this administration, then please visit this website to become informed: http://www.savebristolbay.org/
Every little bit helps. The salmon and I both Thank you for your support. I’ve included information about Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust below.
PLEASE share this post! It is set to ‘public’ so that anyone can view or share it.
The Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust is dedicated to the preservation and protection of salmon and wildlife habitat of the greater Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska, including the Wood/Tikchik State Park and the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. To learn more visit our website, http://www.bristolbaylandtrust.org/