‘Mine’ Is Such a Selfish-Sounding Word: But Your Generous Giving
Can Help Fight Multiple Threats of Harmful Mine Development
In Our ‘Land of Flowing Water’ - Payahuunadu
Three beautiful Eastern Sierra landscapes, Conglomerate Mesa, Long Valley and the Bodie Hills, are under threat from foreign mining companies whose proposed projects would generate profits for them at the expense of destroying economically and ecologically important landscapes in Inyo and Mono counties. These projects threaten the scenic beauty of our landscapes with toxic contamination of soil and water, damage to the habitat of struggling species, dust, noise and light pollution, all conditions that are detrimental to our area’s recreational tourism and ranching economy. These proposals to destroy lands for profit also show great disrespect to the Eastern Sierra’s native communities.
This land we live on was named “the land of flowing water,” Payahuunadu in Paiute, and water has always been crucial for maintaining the beauty and viability of the region. One of the many reasons the projects in question are not ecologically viable in our region is because they require large amounts of water. The Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power continues to remove much of our region’s water every year; climate change is reducing the amount of snowfall in the Sierra Nevada and simultaneously causing faster evaporation. Against this backdrop, we cannot tolerate any additional taking of our precious water from Eastern Sierra ecosystems, especially for non-life-bearing activities such as exploratory drilling and mining.
Here’s What’s at Stake
Conglomerate Mesa, located in southern Inyo County, borders Death Valley National Park and is surrounded by desert wilderness. A pristine roadless desert gem, the mesa offers one-of-a-kind recreational opportunities. It is an oasis for a number of sensitive and rare desert plants, including the iconic Joshua Tree, and is sacred to the Paiute and Shoshone tribes of the Payahuunadu, who still harvest piñon nuts there. A Canadian mining company, K2 Gold, threatens to pave the way for a cyanide heap leach mine that will destroy the Mesa. Watch K2’s CEO, Steve Swatton, talk about this mining project in this YouTube video. Learn more at: protectconglomeratemesa.com
Long Valley, in southern Mono County, is the gateway to Mammoth Lakes and surrounding alpine wilderness areas. It is a picturesque meadow that greets visitors from all over the world who come seeking recreational opportunities. It is also an important habitat for the Bi State Sage Grouse, a struggling species, and holds significance for local tribes. Developing an open pit mine within 10 miles of Mammoth Lakes and at the headwaters of Hot Creek would degrade habitat for the grouse and other species, destroy the area’s rural character, devastate tourism, and jeopardize the water quality that the entire valley and City of Los Angeles rely upon. Learn more at: friendsoftheinyo.org/long-valley-mining
Just east of Bridgeport in northern Mono County are the Bodie Hills, a small mountain range that is home to many diverse plant and animal species, including threatened Bi State Sage Grouse, and rare pronghorn antelope. The local native community has used and occupied the area for over 10,000 years, and as a result, it has one of the highest concentrations of archaeological sites in the United States. The Bodies strongly support the local tourism economy by providing many recreational opportunities. The Bodie Hills have come under repeated threat of destructive industrial mining development over the last decade; indeed, Oceana Gold has begun an exploration at its Spring Peak site. Learn more at: bodiehills.org
To make sure foreign mining companies do not devastate these lands with roads and drill pads and cyanide heap leach processing, we need to demonstrate to the Bureau of Land Management that these public lands deserve protection. We estimate a need for $75,000 to effectively fight these threats in 2021. Please make a donation today to support our fight and help our local natural treasures remain...priceless.
Executive Director, Friends of the Inyo