Wild and Scenic Alert in the Sierra Nevada
Do you know of an extraordinary stream in the Southern Sierra Nevada? Now is the best time in a decade to recommend that your stream is individually protected. The Forest Service is deciding which rivers and streams are eligible for Wild and Scenic protection in the Sierra, Inyo and Sequoia National Forests. This is a fantastic opportunity for river protection, because rivers and streams that are deemed eligible for Wild and Scenic consideration will be managed as Wild and Scenic, until the time that they are either designated or removed from the list of eligible rivers.
Currently the Forest Service has identified 840 miles of eligible Wild and Scenic rivers in these three Forests. Check this map for stream segments that will be recommended and please express your support to the Forest Service. If you see a reach that appears missing, recommend it. Please send your comments to the Forest Service by February 1st. A draft email is below.
The Sequoia, Inyo and Sierra National Forests are three of the first eight National Forests to update their management plans under the 2012 Forest Planning Rule. These Forests have inventoried every stream reach and have recommended those with exceptional wild, scenic, or recreational values as eligible for Wild and Scenic consideration. The final inventory will be included in the Forest Plan Revisions for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests later in 2016.
The Forest Service deserves recognition for its expansive inventory of potential Wild & Scenic Rivers, particularly in the Sierra Forest. Some of this region’s most popular rivers and streams are included in the inventory, including Lee Vining and Lone Pine Creeks, the lower Kern River, and the currently unprotected segment of the Kings River. River segments identified as eligible in the Forest Plan Revision will be managed to protect the free flowing condition and outstanding natural and cultural values. The public should support this expansive inventory, as well as push for stream segments inexplicably eliminated or ignored, including:
- No streams in the eastern portion of the Inyo Forest are considered eligible, even though Dexter Canyon Creek north of the Glass Mountains and Black & Marble Canyons and Birch Creek in the White Mountains possesses high scenic and recreation values, and support diverse plant and wildlife values.
- Mulkey Creek in the Golden Trout Wilderness is excluded, despite exceptional scenic values in Mulkey and Overholster meadows and the boulder-filled canyon in between and despite the presence of endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs that were the first collected in the Inyo National Forest in 1891.
- Salmon Creek on the Sequoia Forest was not considered eligible, despite the fact that the Forest Service found the stream to possess distinctive scenery and to provide a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Only about half of Dinkey Creek on the Sierra Forest is considered eligible for Wild & Scenic protection. The lower half was left out, even though this segment offers world-renowned whitewater kayaking opportunities and flows through the scenic Sycamore Springs roadless area.
SAMPLE EMAIL (cut and paste and add personal comments)
Regional Forester Randy Moore
U.S. Forest Service Region 5
Dear Mr. Moore:
Thank you for seeking public feedback on the Forest Service’s Wild & Scenic Rivers Inventory for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra Forest Plan Revisions. I want to share my appreciation that the inventory has been expanded from previous efforts.
I support including in the preferred alternative all the eligible streams identified in the inventory, particularly such iconic streams as the Kings River, lower Kern River, Dinkey Creek, Lee Vining Creek, Laurel Creek, Hot Creek, Rock Creek, and Lone Pine Creek. I recommend that the Forest Service reassess Dexter Canyon, Mulkey Creek, Birch Creek, and Black & Marble Canyons on the Inyo; Salmon Creek, Trout Creek, and Fish Creek on the Sequoia; and lower Dinkey Creek on the Sierra. I believe these streams support outstandingly remarkable values that were not adequately considered in the inventory.
I’m looking forward to reviewing the updated inventory when they become available in the upcoming Forest Plan Revisions. Please notify me when the draft plans area available for public review and comment.