Tag Archives: Habitat destruction

Go well with seeks to dam gondola linking Lake Tahoe ski resorts


A wilderness safety group has filed a lawsuit to attempt to block development of a 2.2-mile lengthy (3.5-kilometer-long) gondola that may go by way of a nationwide forest to attach the ski resort that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics with a neighboring Lake Tahoe ski resort.

The conservationists desire a California choose to put aside Placer County’s approval of the undertaking they are saying would destroy crucial habitat for a uncommon, federally protected frog and result in irreversible lack of pure panorama on the sting of a excessive Sierra wilderness space.

“This may desecrate a wilderness sanctuary,” mentioned Huey Johnson, chairman and founding father of the Useful resource Renewal Institute, a nonprofit group that oversees the Granite Chief Wilderness Safety League.

The lawsuit mentioned the county’s approval in July was based mostly on an environmental overview that hid the cumulative impacts anticipated along side an related housing growth within the works.

“The undertaking represents step one in remodeling this pristine space into one that’s developed with roads, housing and appreciable human infrastructure,” mentioned the lawsuit filed Aug. 22 in Placer County Superior Court docket.

The gondola with eight-passenger automobiles and 33 towers — some as excessive as 50-feet tall (15 meters) — would transport as much as 1,400 individuals an hour on a 16-minute journey between the bases of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows northwest of Tahoe Metropolis, California. Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

About 20% of the undertaking, together with 5 of the towers, could be situated within the Tahoe Nationwide Forest. The county rejected earlier alternate options that probably may have handed by way of the close by Granite Chief Wilderness Space designated by Congress in 1983.

Ron Cohen, president of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, which owns each resorts, mentioned the gondola route chosen from 4 choices is essentially the most environmentally pleasant as a result of it’s the farthest away from the wilderness boundary.

“An amazing quantity of analysis and research knowledgeable the approval of this undertaking,” he mentioned, pointing to almost 2,400 pages of research and evaluation within the environmental overview.

“Public overview and approval features a mixed 20-1 vote by two municipal advisory committees, the Planning Fee, and the Board of Supervisors, on high of the clear findings and approval of the Tahoe Nationwide Forest. Fairly merely, this undertaking has a broad and convincing mandate,” he mentioned in a press release emailed to The Related Press on Tuesday.

Cohen mentioned the gondola will permit skiers to benefit from the two resorts’ mixed 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) of terrain with out having to drive between the 2. Backers estimate it may cut back site visitors by 100 automobiles a day alongside State Freeway 89.

The lawsuit mentioned the builders failed to contemplate a non-gondola different, together with enhancing the present shuttle system. It mentioned the undertaking will result in appreciable growth inside crucial habitat designated for the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and assumes that solely occupied habitat must be protected, failing to reveal impacts to adjoining dispersal habitat.

The environmental overview additionally “wrongly asserts” that the undertaking is impartial from the proposed White Wolf growth, consisting of 38 residential items, a clubhouse, tennis courts and equestrian services.

“The undertaking has been deliberate particularly in order that property house owners and visitors of the event could be permitted unique personal entry” to the gondola at a tower on the mid-section, the lawsuit mentioned.

The undertaking received preliminary approval from the Forest Service earlier this 12 months and is awaiting closing approval.

Tahoe Nationwide Forest spokesman Joe Flannery mentioned the wilderness league was amongst 12 organizations and people that objected to their draft report of choice. He advised the Sierra Solar they intend to complete clarifying these objections within the subsequent two weeks and launch a closing report of choice in November.


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Uncommon California trout species returns to native habitat


For the primary time in practically a century, a uncommon California trout species will swim in a mountain creek that’s its native habitat, marking a significant milestone that conservationists hope will result in a thriving inhabitants and elimination of its threatened standing.

About 30 Paiute cutthroat trout will probably be plucked Wednesday from Coyote Valley Creek within the japanese Sierra Nevada wilderness and hauled in cans strapped to pack mules about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) west into Lengthy Valley. State and federal researchers will probably be readily available because the fish are dumped right into a stretch of Silver King Creek at round 8,000 ft (2,438 meters) elevation, the place the shimmering species glided by way of the chilly water for hundreds of years beneath a waterfall earlier than they began disappearing within the 1920s.

Paiute are eye-catching for his or her “purplish iridescent hue” and a scarcity of physique spots that mark lots of the 14 subspecies of cutthroat trout, mentioned Invoice Somer, senior environmental scientist with the California Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“The colour is sort of onerous to explain and actually onerous to {photograph},” he mentioned. “You possibly can solely see how distinctive they’re when you catch them and maintain them in your hand.”

The homecoming in Alpine County is the end result of many years of restoration and conservation work that obtained a lift in 1967, when the Paiute cutthroat obtained federal safety as one of many first animals listed below the Endangered Species Act, mentioned Somer. It was upgraded to threatened standing in 1975.

Threats to the Paiute cutthroat trout included overfishing, illness, interbreeding and competitors with non-native trout.

The species was inadvertently saved within the early 1900s when sheepherders within the space transported a few of the fish right into a beforehand fishless portion of Silver King Creek above Llewellyn Falls. The falls prevented non-native fish from reaching that stretch of water and stored the Paiute remoted and the genetic pool pure.

Simply as restoration efforts have been ramping up beneath the falls, California was hit with a drought in 2011 that lasted for six years.

“The drought was a setback. With out snow cowl within the winter at elevation, the stream actually freezes stable from the underside up,” Somer mentioned. “It is a main drawback for trout all through the West.”

From 2013 to 2015, 11 miles (18 kilometers) of Silver King Creek and three tributaries have been handled with a fish toxicant, rotenone, to take away all non-native species. That was step one of the five-part restoration plan that might get the Paiute off the threatened species record throughout the subsequent decade or so, Somer mentioned.

Step two is Wednesday’s restoration of the species to its historic habitat.

“The most important hurdles are one and two,” he mentioned. “That is why that is undoubtedly an occasion.”

There will probably be one other transport by mule from Coyote Valley subsequent yr to make sure the Silver King inhabitants hits about 2,500 and is self-sustaining, Somer mentioned.

About 100 miles (161 kilometers) north in neighboring Nevada, officers are making fish-friendly modifications to a dam that for greater than a century blocked off spawning grounds for Lahontan cutthroat trout, a threatened relative of the Paiute cutthroat. Groundbreaking occurred this month for a $23.5 million fish-passage undertaking to assist Lahontan cutthroat navigate the Truckee River’s Derby Dam east of Reno.

The Endangered Species Act is credited with serving to save the bald eagle, California condor and scores of different animals and vegetation from extinction since President Richard Nixon signed it into legislation in 1973. The act presently protects greater than 1,600 species in america and its territories.


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