Sierra Stewards Hard at Work

This post was written by ESLT’s Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps Member, Catherine Tao. For more about Catherine, Click Here.

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Bob Waldron and Randy Keller working to mesh Bitterbrush at our Swall Wildlife Preserve.

As spring trickles into summer, wildlife habitats all along the Eastern Sierra are coming to life – and we’ve been hard at work to make sure our protected lands provide safe and healthy homes for our wild friends.

With your support and the assistance of an outstanding team of volunteers, Eastern Sierra Land Trust has already accomplished impressive amounts of restoration work this season. We’ve pulled weeds, removed trash and debris, protected native plant seedlings, and so much more.

And our work together has only just begun.

With tools in hand, stomachs filled with generously-donated Great Basin Bakery goodies, and eyes barely wiped of the previous night’s sleep, our tireless volunteers have joined us time and time again on the land you’ve helped protect forever. These men and women are Sierra Stewards: dedicated to being good guardians of our conserved lands and all the animals and insects, birds and reptiles that call them home.

I cannot express enough how impressed and inspired I am by the time, energy, and heart that our volunteers have dedicated to these beautiful lands we all love. To Board Members Bill Dunlap, Randy Keller, and Tim Bartley, and volunteers Matt Buonagoiri, Theresa Carson, Kathy Duvall, Charlie Massieon, Laura Mogg, Emilee Norcross and her 3 kids (Ryan, Tyler, and Sydney), Debbie Parkes, Paula Sayer, Linda and Mike St. Marie, Kevin Tidwell, Carol and Mark Tokar, Marie Valadez, Bob and Kyra Waldron, Lee and Sue Whitmer, and Rachel Williams: Thank you. The impact you have already made this year has been tremendous.

Here’s a taste of the work we’ve accomplished across the Eastern Sierra so far this summer:

Bitterbrush meshing 2016 RK credit

In Swall Meadows, we have meshed and protected the bitterbrush seedlings that are fighting to reestablish themselves in the aftermath of the Round Fire. We’ve also removed invasive weeds – like tumbleweed, mustard, and knapweed – to prevent them from choking out native plants as they regrow.

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At the Mono Basin’s Conway and Mattly Ranches, we’ve picked up trash, removed Woolley Mullein, and filled piping to create safer bird habitat.

Black Lake Stewardship Collage

Out in the Adobe Valley, our Black Lake Preserve’s barbed wire fencing  has been flagged with reflective materials in order to reduce the potential of sage-grouse and other bird mortality. Volunteers of all ages joined us on the land for this one!

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And on the far side of Mono Lake at our remote Yednock Conservation Project, we have removed heaps of trash that had been left there by previous owners for decades, even centuries. Seldom-visited by humans, this property is now a better home for the residents who frequent it more commonly: mule deer, mountain lion, American badger, coyote, black-tail jack rabbit, and so many others.

As summer heats up, we have two more Stewardship Volunteer Days scheduled – and we hope you’ll consider joining our Sierra Stewards on the land:

  • Benton Hot Springs Ranch Bulrush Transplant: Thursday, July 21 — Help us transplant bulrush to increase open water habitat and prepare the Benton Ponds for the re-introduction of a rare native desert fish, the Owens Speckled Dace.
  • Green Creek Sign Installation and Cleanup: Thursday, August 4 — Join us as we clean up the Green Creek Powerhouse Preserve and install signs to mark the boundary of this protected property.

If you’re interested in learning more about this critical restoration work – or if you’d like to join our team for one or both of these upcoming volunteer days – please contact me, Catherine Tao, at catherine@eslt.org or (760) 873-4554. Looking forward to seeing you out there!

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Volunteers finishing up the day at the remote and secluded Yednock Conservation Easement near Mono Lake.

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