Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 13, 2017

El Portal Road (Hwy. 140) To Yosemite National Park Closed

 Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service) reports

El Portal Road in Yosemite National Park Remains Closed

Date: June 13, 2017

Highway 140 closed at Parkline at least through the weekend

The El Portal Road and Arch Rock Entrance into Yosemite National Park remain closed due to a rockslide that occurred yesterday around Noon. Yosemite National Park staff are assessing the area and the road will remain closed at least through the weekend of June 17-18, 2017. After the assessment is complete, crews will begin to remove rock debris and repair the road to make it safe for visitors to travel on. There is no estimate for when the road will reopen.

Around Noon yesterday, a large rockslide occurred from the “Parkline Slab” cliff, about 1 mile east of the park boundary on Highway 140.The rockslide originated from a point mid-way up the cliff, approximately 400 feet above the base of the cliff and 600 feet above the El Portal Road.

Roughly 4,000 tons of rock detached from the cliff along a cliff-parallel exfoliation joint; the approximate dimensions of the slab are 50 x 80 x 15 feet. This massive slab of rock slid down the cliff, hit a ledge, and broke into many pieces; these pieces fragmented further on hitting the base of the cliff, fanning out over an area more than 1,000 feet wide. The bulk of the debris slid and rolled down the slope at the base of the cliff, piling up on the El Portal Road, and continuing down to (and into) the Merced River.

Of the total volume of material that fell, roughly 1/3 of that landed on the El Portal Road, covering an area of road about 150 feet long under up to 15-20 feet of rock debris. The largest boulder on the road is about 130 tons, and there are several other boulders that are only somewhat smaller. Boulders and smaller “flyrock” fragments covered a section of road nearly 1,000 feet long. The road sustained damage, both to the paved surface and the retaining wall.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) buses will run on a modified schedule. To see the schedule, please visit

A news release will be issued with updates as repairs progress on the El Portal Road.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 13, 2017

Sonora Pass Opened Today

Sonora Pass is officially OPEN! See what the top of the pass looked liked moments after Caltrans opened the gate at Mono County Tourism – California’s Eastern Sierra – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 13, 2017

Save The Ducks

The New York Times reports

Ducks: A Point of Unity in a Capital of Ruffled Feathers –

In an otherwise divided capital, there’s one thing most people can agree on: The city’s ducks must be protected at all costs. This means using federal money to build ramps to help ducks step into the Capitol Reflecting Pool, calling for police aid to remove ducklings from the Library of Congress roof, and, as of this coming Tuesday, draining the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to remove parasites that live in snails and have killed dozens of ducks.

Read full story at Ducks: A Point of Unity in a Capital of Ruffled Feathers

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 12, 2017

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 6/11/17

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for June 11, 2017 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

Environ News reports on how climate destabilization is causing thousands of species plants, animals, insects, and birds to change migration patterns

A spate of new research studies has confirmed a disturbing pattern: climate disruption is confusing migratory birds, causing trees to relocate and allowing tropical diseases to spread northward. “Human society has yet to appreciate the implications of unprecedented species redistribution for life on Earth, including for human lives,” states a study, “Divergence of Species Responses to Climate Change,” published May 17, 2017, in Science Advances.

Read story at Climate Destabilization Causing Thousands of New Species Migrations: Plant, Animal, Insect, Bird – EnviroNews | The Environmental News Specialists

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2017

Sierra Wildflowers 6/11/17

A couple of quick posts from Facebook

Yosemite National Park: In October 2015, the Taft Toe Fire (a prescribed burn) was set in Yosemite Valley, just west of the Four Mile trailhead. Today, we’re seeing benefits of the burn as Gray’s lupines, lupinus grayi, carpet the forest floor. See photos at

McGee Creek: McGee Creek was unbelievable today! GO NOW! See photos at 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2017

UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden Photos 6/11/17

The UC-Berkeley Botanical garden has many things in bloom right now. Areas that I especially liked today were the South American, South African and Desert/Cactus sections. There are also many Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies in flight. It was a bright, sunny and midday and I hadn’t planned on doing photography so today’s photos are taken with an iPhone.

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NPR  has a story about President Trump’s and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s review of 27 National  Monuments focusing on Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Below are a few brief excerpts. Read full story at What Utah’s Canyon Country Can Tell Us About Donald Trump’s National Monuments Review : NPR

A looming decision about whether to abolish or shrink the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah should provide an early signal of how the Trump administration will deal with a long list of public lands issues.

A tour of Grand Staircase-Escalante. That is, a tour of the national monument’s economic impact, the political cloud surrounding it — and what we can expect once Zinke’s decision comes down.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 10, 2017

Backyard Flower Photos

A collection of flowers blooming in my backyard

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 10, 2017

Mount Rainier Wildflowers 6/8/17

Mount Rainier National Park   has a new report

Currently BloomingJune 8, 2017
Visitors often ask when is the peak wildflower bloom. However, some flower species bloom early in the season, while some bloom late. Coltsfoot, one of the first flowers of spring, is already done blooming and entering the seedhead stage! At the same time, many flowers are still buried under snow in the subalpine meadows. So “peak wildflower bloom” is roughly the time period when the largest number of wildflowers are blooming at the same time (which is usually in early August).

Wildflower Reports

  • Longmire (6/8) – roundleaf violet, stream violet, alaska violet, calypso orchid (late), twayblade, Cascade Oregon-grape, wild strawberry, kinnikinnick, serviceberry, siberian miner’s lettuce, bunchberry, smooth alumroot (early), big-leaved sandwort, star solomon’s seal (early), lupine
  • Nisqually Entrance to Longmire Road (6/1) – vanilla leaf, cow parsnip (early), columbine, foam flower, lupine (near Kautz)
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 10, 2017

100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change

The New York Times reports on a new book with many practical suggestions on how to reverse climate change

At a time when the science of global warming is under attack and many people complain of climate change fatigue, some cheering news occurred last month: A book about climate change became a New York Times bestseller in its first week of publication.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by environmentalist Paul Hawken, is the first environmental book to make such a splashy debut since Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe in 2006.

Kolbert’s book warned of cataclysm; Hawken’s tries to prevent it. Bringing together geologists, engineers, agronomists, climatologists, biologists, botanists, economists, financial analysts, architects, NGOs, activists, and other experts, Drawdown offers 100 solutions to reverse global warming.

via 100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 9, 2017

North Coast Redwood Update 6/7/17

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups (Calphoto) has a report on the North Coast Redwood Rhododendrons

I spent several days in the Redwoods (all of them 6/3-6/7).  The Rhodies where really not present.  Last fall I believe they failed to set buds for this spring due to the stresses of the drought.  What I did see was phenomenal new growth with a promise of a good future show.  But I also saw some new concerns.

The forest is dry.  Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Damnation Trail/creek and other places where dry.  I experienced sunshine and slight overcast in each of the four days.  I was hoping to find fog but saw none. Research indicates that one of the effects of climate change is less fog.  This north coast is reliant on summer fog.  The redwoods are designed specifically to glean moisture from the fog and drop it to the ground to nourish flora and fauna alike but with less fog, there is no assurance of rhoadies or anything else.  The entire north coast ecosystem is clearly at risk, and this current republican president and his minions have no plan to protect it!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 9, 2017

Columbia Hills/Dalles Mountain Ranch Wildflowers 6/7/17

Oregon Wildflowers has three new reports

Area/City State Visited
Big Summit Prairie, Ochoco NF OR 06/07/2017
Lookout Mountain, Ochoco NF OR 06/07/2017
Saddle Mountain Oregon Coast – Northern OR 06/07/2017
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 9, 2017

Wildlife Crossing Cut Animal-Vehicle Nearly 80%

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release

Path to Safety: Man-made wildlife crossings cut animal-vehicle collisions nearly 80 percent

Each year, thousands of animals are killed by motorists on interstate highways and roads that intersect critical wildlife habitats, greatly increasing the risk to human safety.

Looking to address this issue, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), with grant funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and in collaboration with the Nevada Department of Transportation (DOT) have recently built and monitored the effectiveness of the first-ever wildlife overpass project in Nevada along Highway 93, in Elko County.

The project started in 2008 with research on where multiple wildlife safety crossing structures would be placed with a goal of improving public safety and reducing the number of animals killed by 90 percent. This involved researching where wildlife typically crossed using GPS collars on mule deer and where collisions took place.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 8, 2017

If Climate Mayors Ruled The World 

Anthropocene Magazine reports on “If climate mayors ruled the world”

After President Donald Trump announced last Thursday that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda denounced the decision and reaffirmed its member cities’ commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change.

The group, informally known as the “climate mayors,” surged in membership to include 223 US mayors representing a population of more than 57 million by Sunday night. It’s easy to imagine that their stance is mostly symbolic, but that’s not necessarily the case, suggests a study published in Nature Climate Change three days before Trump’s announcement. It shows that cities are especially vulnerable to climate change, and that city-level policies are key to counteracting its effects.

The researchers analyzed climate data from the 1,692 largest cities worldwide, and found that since 1950, 27 percent of cities, home to 65 percent of the urban population, have been warming faster than the globe as a whole.

Read full story at: If climate mayors ruled the world | Anthropocene

NPR  reports

Gov. David Ige signed the senate bill on Tuesday, saying he was motivated by the evidence of climate change visible in Hawaii. It’s a commitment to reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Read story at  Hawaii Signs Legislation To Implement Goals Of Paris Climate Accord Anyway : The Two-Way : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 7, 2017

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 6/6/17

Homestead Valley Land Trust reports on June 6

– California spikenard, one of the largest herbaceous plants in North America, grows to 3-9′ each season. Its white firework-shaped flowers are blooming now along creeks in the forests.
– Silverleaf cotoneaster, native to China, a large shrub with white flowers that will become bright red berries is blooming at forest edges.
– Tansy ragwort, native to Eurasia, is blooming with its bright yellow flowers along Laverne. The plant contains alkaloids that catepillars absorb, making them distasteful to predators. As with other alkaloid containing plants like poison hemlock and euphorbia, it can be toxic to people.
– Wavyleaf soap plant, only blooms at dawn and evening. It grows from a bulb covered in thick fibers and the flowers are borne on a tall stalk.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 7, 2017

California and China Sign Climate Agreement

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on an climate deal between California and China

With President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, China and California signed an agreement Tuesday to work together on reducing emissions, as the state’s governor warned that “disaster still looms” without urgent action.

For now, he said, China, European countries and individual U.S. states will fill the gap left by the federal government’s move to abdicate leadership on the issue.

Read full story at California, China sign climate deal after Trump’s Paris exit – SFGate

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 6, 2017

Pacific Northwest Wildflowers 6/5/17 – updated

Oregon Wildflowers has just posted seven new wildflower reports for Oregon and Washington. Click on location to see report.

Location Area/City State Visited
Marys Peak Coast Range OR 06/05/2017
Sawtooth Rock Meadow / Mount June Western Cascades OR 06/05/2017
Lookout Mountain, Ochoco NF OR 06/04/2017
Cape Lookout Oregon Coast – Northern OR 06/03/2017
Dog Mountain Columbia Gorge (west – WA) WA 06/03/2017
Mount Pisgah Arboretum Willamette Valley OR 06/03/2017
Silver Star Mountain Gifford Pinchot National Forest WA 06/03/2017
Whychus Canyon Preserve OR 06/03/2017
Hamilton Mountain Columbia Gorge (west – WA) WA 06/02/2017
Ruckel Creek Trail Columbia Gorge (west – OR) OR 06/02/2017
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 6, 2017

Yosemite Wildflowers 6/6/2017

Yosemite National Park has posted photos of several wildflowers currently in bloom at  Yosemite National Park – Home. However no locations are mentioned.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 6, 2017

Hungry Valley Wildflowers 6/4/17

Hungry Valley OHV has a new wildflower  report for 6/4/17

There are still flowers blooming with a nice display of datura at the north entrance. The poppies are scattered, but there are several other plants in bloom along the roads in the grasslands heading toward Condor Mesa. Along the way, watch for the prickly poppies and California primrose in full bloom with their large white showy blossoms. The lupine and chia are still flowering, adding some purple to the landscape. The bush mallow is just starting to bloom with its pale pinkish-purple flowers.

The Mariposa lilies alone are worth the trip to Condor Mesa. There are several colors in bloom and quite a few congregated on the mesa. Please remember that the road to Condor Mesa is narrow and steep; 4WD is recommended. Be especially careful on the blind corners!

The yucca continues to bloom throughout the park and even has new buds sprouting, so the show should continue for a few more weeks. The paintbrush is adding a splash of red around the park and was seen on the hillsides with the speckled clarkia. The speckled clarkia is also known as farewell-to-spring, and, with the wildflower season winding down, this will be the last report for this year.

There are still plenty of flowers to be seen, the weather is beautiful and the crowds are light; it’s a great time to plan a trip to Hungry Valley! Have a safe summer and enjoy the park!

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Lawsuit Launched Against Trump Border Wall ‘Prototype’ Construction

SAN DIEGO— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection over impacts to endangered species and critical habitat from building up to 20 border-wall “prototype” designs in San Diego County.

“The Trump administration is allowing construction of these border-wall prototypes without even paying lip service to protecting the environment,” said Brian Segee of the Center. “The administration’s failure to consider the impacts of these border-wall prototypes shows a striking disregard for our nation’s irreplaceable natural heritage and doesn’t bode well for how the administration will approach construction of the wall itself, which would be a disaster for people and wildlife alike.”

As detailed in the Center’s notice, the Trump administration is proceeding with construction of the prototypes without any environmental review or attempt to avoid harm to endangered species, violating both the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 5, 2017

Washington Wildflowers: Westberg Peak 6/1/17

Desert USA reports

We found some beautiful patches of wildflowers on Westberg Peak in the forested areas around the Prater trail.  We visited 6/1/17. There are thousands of Bitterroot blooming in the flat areas west of the peak. Be aware that Bitterroot usually don’t open until late morning. The Westberg trail is just south of Ellensburg WA.

See photos at Desert Wildflower reports for Northern California by DesertUSA

The Guardian has a story on the “The five worst things Donald Trump has done on climate change – so far” and this was before he decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.  Americans supported the Paris Climate agreement by over five to one according to a Yale poll. The poll even showed a majority of Americans supported the climate agreement in all fifty states. Read story about other things Trump has done that are harmful to the climate at: The five worst things Donald Trump has done on climate change – so far | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 4, 2017

Rhododendrons in the Coastal Redwoods 6/4/17 -updated

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups (calphoto) reports on the Rhododendrons in the Coastal Redwoods

Damnation Creek is splendid right now, not quite at peak.  CA 101 is also nice near the Damnation TR, but massive road construction makes photography tough as most all turnouts are being used to store equipment.   Lots of signal lights and flaggers make for slow travel – heads up.
Upper Howlander Road near Stout Grove has some Rhodies.  Lady Bird Johnson also beginning to bloom.  Rhodadendrin trail is currently closed in key Rhodie section due to bridge collapse.

See more photos for the coastal redwoods at Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 4, 2017

Marin Wildflowers 6/3/17

The Marin CNPS Facebook page has new photos for Ring Mountain and Tennessee Valley Road at  Marin Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 4, 2017

Placer and Nevada County Wildflower Books

The Union reports on two wildflower books for Nevada and Placer County.  “Tahoe’s Spectacular Wildflower Trails.” by Julie Carville and “Wildflowers of Nevada and Placer Counties, California” by the Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plants Society. Read more about these books at  Wildflowers in abundance: Beauty and books for exploring naturalists |

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 3, 2017

Governors Brown, Cuomo and Inslee Form U.S. Climate Alliance

Office of the governor news release


Brown, Cuomo and Inslee Will Serve as Co-Chairs, Urge Other States to Join Alliance

SACRAMENTO – In response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee today announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.

“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown. “I don’t believe fighting reality is a good strategy – not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 2, 2017

Salt Point and Kruze Rhododendron Wildflowers 6/1/17

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups Calphoto has the following new report for Salt Point State Park and Kruze Rhododendron State Natural Area

The Salt Point trail between the visitor center and Stump Beach cove was particularly satisfying, with both number, variety and often density of flowers, along with a lovely backdrop of stone, coves, sea lions and beautiful shoreline. In full bloom now are sea thrift (just passing peak, but everywhere), lupines (including a lot of yellow bush lupines), poppies, beach aster, some sort of dwarf brodiaea, indian warrior, tidy tips, and others that I’m too tired to name. So many succulents (not sure if they’re a type of Dudleya) growing in so many nooks and crannies are in bud, should be starting to bloom in the next week or so. Lots of grasses too at times, some I don’t know, but quite a bit of rattlesnake grass, which is unfortunate, yet does lend some interesting texture.

Kruse was odd. About one in every 10 rhododendrons that we saw had one or two small groups of flowers, but rarely showed any old ones (indicating that it was past peak) or flowers in bud (indicating that it was pre-peak.) No idea what to make of that, but on the whole disappointing. There were other things blooming under the trees, including trail plant, violets, and here and there a gorgeous red lily.

There were, however, what I think are Rhododendron columbianum in full bloom, with a particularly nice stand of them near the Gerstle entrance, and a few around Kruse.


The New York Times report on how California is leading the world in fighting Climate Change and Trump’s anti-environmental policies

The environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco last month to sign a global pact — drafted largely by California — to lower planet-warming greenhouse pollution. Gov. Jerry Brown flies to China next month to meet with climate leaders there on a campaign to curb global warming. And a battery of state lawyers is preparing to battle any attempt by Washington to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.

As President Trump moves to reverse the Obama administration’s policies on climate change, California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment. The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.

In the process, California is not only fighting to protect its legacy of sweeping environmental protection, but also holding itself out as a model to other states — and to nations — on how to fight climate change.

Read full story at Fighting Trump on Climate, California Becomes a Global Force – The New York Times

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