Daily Report – Yosemite National Park Friday February 3rd, 2017

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Daily Report – Yosemite National Park

50 yi – badger pass – yosemite-2.1.17
50 yi - badger pass - yosemite-2.1.17
Friday February 3rd, 2017
 
Winter Storm Warning until February 3, 10:00 PM PST
 
Today: Snow showers. Showers. Very windy. Snow accumulation up to 11 inches. Snow level 7500 feet. 
 
Tonight: Snow showers likely, showers likely in the evening, then chance of showers after midnight,  Snow level 7000 feet.
 
Saturday: Mostly sunny. Slight chance of showers…slight chance of snow showers near the crest. 
 
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
 
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NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY
 
Interested in YOSE social media? You’re invited!
You’re invited to help support the YOSE social media efforts next Wednesday, 11:00 am  to 12:30 pm, in the Admin Lobby meeting room. The existing social media team is looking to help expand its work and get feedback from other divisions. 
If you want to swing by and help us do some strategic planning, great! If you want to be a team member and contribute content on a regular basis, even better. If you just want to send in cool ideas or photos from your fieldwork, that’s fine too. 
If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Michael_Liang@nps.gov(M.Liang)
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Interesting Info
January was overall warmer than average with much above average precipitation. Fresno had its third wettest January on record, while Bakersfield had its fifth wettest. Every reporting station in NWS Hanford’s warning and forecast area received at least 200 percent of average precipitation (or more than double) for this month. Some locations, especially in the Sierra Nevada, reached above 400 percent of average in terms of accumulated precipitation. Many Sierra Nevada stations received anywhere from 20 to 36 inches of precipitation for the entire month. Total snowfall for the month exceeded well above 100 inches along the Sierra Nevada crest, or over 180 percent of average, despite some warm systems that produced heavy rainfall at elevations above the 8,000 foot level (and in some cases above 10,000 feet).(J.Meyer)
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February Snow Survey
Park Staff have completed the February 1 snow surveys.  The water content of the snowpack in the Tuolumne drainage is 193% of average; in the Merced drainage it is 184% of average.(M.Fincher)
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Tuolumne Meadows Snow Report
New snow: 1 inch
Total settled snow depth: 95 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 52°F (January 29)
Low temperature: -16°F (January 25)
 
Ski Conditions and Weather: We just completed our first set of snow surveys for the month of January 2017 (aka the February 1 snow surveys). All five of our courses from Snow Flat, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, Rafferty Creek and Dana Meadows yielded snow depths (HS) and water content (SWE) within the top three to five ever recorded for the month. But nobody knows what the rest of winter or spring will bring, not even good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil. However, if you’re ever curious about real-time snow or water data for the state of California, you can check it out yourself. It was obviously created to provide information for water allocation, but it can be a great tool for planning ski trips and early season backpacking.
 
The warm temperatures this week caused the snow surface, on all aspects except north, below 9,500 feet, to go through a melt-freeze cycle. In the alpine zone, the snow is wind affected. As always, conditions are ever changing and the new snow in the forecast should soften up the ski conditions again.
 
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
 
This week our travels brought us through some avalanche prone zones. Although relatively stable when we went through, significant debris piles were seen along the Tioga Road. Those notable slide paths were the usual suspects: Olmsted Point, Stately Pleasure and Polly Domes east of Tenaya Lake, and Tenaya Peak. A visitor also stated that avalanche debris has also hit the road in numerous places east of Tioga Pass. As a result, the area below or east of Ellery Lake Dam along the road has become quite steep where, depending on conditions, one may want an ice axe and or crampons.
 
As of this writing, more snow is forecast and the avalanche hazard will likely be increasing.
 
Wildlife: Not only are the Juniper berries attracting bird life this season, but the predators are enjoying the abundance of food among the branches as well. As evidence by their scat and hundreds of tracks, coyotes are feasting on the berries which are now easily reached from the top of the deep snow. Also, birds of prey and pine marten are doubling down on the birds which are now stuffed with these berries as evidenced by a couple of feather explosions of cedar waxwings.  
 
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis. There is NO power or phone service in Tuolumne Meadows this winter. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared, and please make good decisions while traveling in the wilderness this winter. Happy Groundhog Day!  Follow our blog: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/tmconditions.htm – Laura and Rob Pilewski – Tuolumne Winter Rangers (R. Pilewski)
 

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RECENT NEWS
 
Trail Closure Updates
The 4 Mile Trail has reopened. It is open from the Valley Floor up to the gate near Union Point. The 4 Mile Trail remains closed from the gate at Union Point up to Glacier Point.
 
The Lower Yosemite Fall Trail remains closed until further notice due to frazil ice which has flowed over the Lower Fall footbridge and trail system.
 (J. Hoeflich)
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Yosemite Winter Club Snowball Friday February 10
The fabulous Yosemite Winter Club Snowball is coming in as fast as these winter storms!! Join in next Friday, February 10th at 6 pm at the Majestic. Buy advance tickets online at Yosemitewinterclub.com ASAP.  The Yosemite Winter Club is excited to see you all dressed up and ready to dance to the Trespassers. Also enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and delicious beverages!  (C. Ronay)
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PIV Credentialing Station Closed Feb 6-10
Due to HR staff training held Feb 6-10, the PIV credentialing station will be closed. If you have an urgent issue with your PIV card please call Lorene Schafer. She will help troubleshoot your issue. If you need to come in, please contact Kat Anderson. Otherwise, please set up an appointment for the following week. (C. Lindstrom)
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Ongoing Tree Removal on Hwy 140
Caltrans contractors are performing hazard tree removal on Hwy 140 from Jan 29 to Feb 3 between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. from Martin Road, west of Mariposa, to the park boundary. Motorists are subject to temporary lane closures and should expect 10 minute delays. The work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues. Please drive carefully, watch for stopped traffic and workers, and leave 10 minutes early if you have a need to be somewhere at a specific time.  (J. Donovan)
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Lower Falls Closure Trail Block Staffing
Due to the hazardous condition created by Frazil Ice accumulation in the Lower Falls area, the protection division is currently managing trail blocks to keep people out of the area. There is a dedicated account and coordinators are actively looking for current employees who would be interested in assisting with these trail blocks either during their regular scheduled days or as overtime shifts on their days off. This would entail staffing a trail closure during daytime hours to keep people out of the area and providing education about the dangers and formation of Frazil Ice. Coordinators are ideally looking for individuals that can commit to a full day of staffing but will also accept 2 to 4 hour shifts as well. If you are interested please get supervisory approval and email your availability to all of the following individuals: Jason Montoya, Kristen Loyd, Brendan Bonner, and Claudine Ronay.  (J. Montoya)
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Croaking Toad Presentation Wednesday February 8
Join Resources Management on Wednesday, February 8th from 8 am to 9 am in the Large Breakroom at the El Portal Maintenance Complex for a presentation given by Joe Meyer, Peggy Moore and Les Chow on “Managing Sister Parks in Mongolia.”
 
Mongolia is known for its vast grasslands, desert south, and severely cold climate. However, its northern tier has extensive forests of larch and pine, alpine tundra, and some of the highest species diversity in the country. Mongolia has set aside approximately 18% of the country as protected areas, including three areas in the mountainous north. The Ulaan Taiga Specially Protected Areas support populations of snow leopard, gray wolf, brown bear, Siberian ibex, argali, red deer, and Siberian marmot. These three areas are part of an active sister-park relationship with Yosemite that has enriched both sides. 
 
As part of Yosemite’s ongoing support of the protected areas, staff members were hosted by the Mongol Ecology Center in July 2016 to review the natural resources of the three areas and advise protected-area staff on starting a natural resource inventory and monitoring program. They will present an introduction to the protected areas, summaries of the resources under protection, current threats, and our recommendations.  (M. Thornley)
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Congratulations to David Miyako

Congratulations to David Miyako who will be assuming the role of Concessions Management Branch Chief effective February 1st. David has served with Yosemite National Park for the last 8 years in a variety of areas including Protection, Facilities, and Concessions, making friends and gaining the respect of colleagues along the way. Most recently, David returns from Golden Gate National Recreation Area where he served on a temporary detail as division chief of the Business Management Division. While David is a past winner of Yosemite’s prestigious Outstanding Service Award, others may remember him in his equally outstanding role as bass guitarist for the local heavy metal band E11even. Please join the Concessions Management Branch in welcoming its new Branch Chief David Miyako.  (W. Bryan)

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NPS Employee Housing Bid Announcement In El Portal
Downstairs Apt #746-B, 9731 Barium Mine Road, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 940 sq. ft. $637 monthly, utilities not included in rent. 

 

​Deadline for bid submission is Wednesday, February 8​, 4:30 pmFor bid forms, eligibility, and/or additional information please either call the Housing Management Office at 209 379-1879 or 1839 or 

visit 

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El Portal Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation – Phase 1, Jan 30th-Feb 3rd
For the week of Jan 30th to Feb 3rd, Edstrom Construction (contractor) will be delivering materials and installing the temporary bypass pumping system. Some road excavation and minor traffic control will occur at El Portal Road. Construction activities hours are 900-530 M-F however quiet activities and preparation of work inside the designated staging areas may occur outside these times (at parking lot west of Nature Bridge and north of Motor Inn Cabins).
 
Additional information is available at the Construction Update Boards (Post Office, Project Office Trailer, and El Portal Market). The project office trailer is located at the parking lot west of Nature Bridge. Please contact Garrett Chun at garrett_chun@nps.gov should you have any inquiries or concerns. (Y. Lugo)
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Titles Added to Yosemite’s Research Library
Thanks to the hard work of Heather Kiger, Library Intern extraordinaire, over 300 titles were added the the Yosemite Research Library’s collection this year. Here are a few titles:
 
“Wawona’s lost garden”: Buffalo Soldier Arboretum restoration feasibility study
A dictionary of geology and earth sciences 
A guide to the grand and sublime scenery of the Sierra Nevada 
A History of the Chinese in California; a syllabus
A little book of camp fire songs 
To browse for more, use the NPS Libris online catalog and drop Research Librarian Virginia Sanchez a line to borrow: http://n94044.eos-intl.net/N94044/OPAC/Search/AdvancedSearch.aspx (V. Sanchez)
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Yosemite Rockfall Year in Review:  2016
Rockfall activity in 2016 was slightly lower than in previous years, with 58 documented events (rockfalls and rockslides) and a cumulative volume of about 5,000 cubic meters (roughly 15,000 tons).  Nevertheless, many of these rockfalls were consequential, impacting park infrastructure and affecting park visitors, employees, and residents.
 
The year got off to a quick start with a rockfall on January 9 from “Little Windy Point” near Dog Rock.  Roughly 90 cubic meters (270 tons) of rock slid onto the El Portal Road, blocking both lanes.  The road was closed for several days as the cliff was assessed and the road cleared. (Note: this same location was active again almost exactly one year later.)
 
Later in the year, another larger rockfall in the Merced River Gorge impacted the El Portal Road on the rainy afternoon of October 31 (Halloween).  A huge boulder (approximately 1,000 cubic meters, or nearly 3,000 tons) perched on the canyon rim above and west of Kat Pinnacle slid out along saturated soil and tumbled down the slope toward the river.  Fortunately the boulder stopped against a bedrock outcrop midway down the slope, but another 80 cubic meters of associated rock debris landed on the road.  The road was closed for a day as the rocks were blasted and cleared.
 
The most interesting rockfalls of 2016 happened at Middle Brother.  Reminiscent of the 2009-2010 rockfalls from the Rhombus Wall, a series of rockfalls occurred from the lower part of the Middle Brother cliff over several months.  The first occurred sometime in early February, as a roughly 1,000 cubic meter (3,000 ton) slab of rock exfoliated from the cliff, decimating the live oak forest at the base of the cliff and sending large boulders to the edge of the talus slope near Wahhoga.  Smaller slabs fell sporadically throughout the spring and summer.  On the afternoon August 3, hundreds of park visitors witnessed two large rockfalls in quick succession that produced large dust clouds.  Another rockfall occurred on August 4, and four more occurred on August 5.  In all, some 2,000 cubic meters (nearly 6,000 tons) of rock were shed from the cliff in 2016.  This “progressive” rockfall behavior is occasionally displayed in exfoliating landscapes and is an area of vigorous scientific research.
 
Other substantial rockfalls in 2016 occurred from Sunnyside Bench, the East Ledges of El Capitan, Panorama Cliff, Little Yosemite Valley, the Merced River Gorge, and Hetch Hetchy. 
 
It is very likely that there were additional rockfalls and rockslides in 2016, but these events either were not witnessed or went unreported.  If you witness a rockfall of any size, encounter fresh rock debris, or hear cracking or popping sounds emanating from the cliffs, please contact park geologist Greg Stock at 209/379-1420 or by email at greg_stock@nps.gov, or contact Park Dispatch by dialing 911 within the park. Documented rockfalls are added to the park database (http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/746/), enabling long-term evaluation of rockfall activity to improve public safety. (G. Stock)
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YEA for February Sal’s Nights
Mark your calendars for Sal’s nights this month – 2/2 and 2/16. 
 
Remember, every last Sal’s Night of the month is a Garage Sal’s, and Thursday 2/16 is the next one! What does this mean? It’s a community swap meet – Bring gear/books/clothing/etc. to trade, barter or give away. Please remember to take any unclaimed items back home with you as YEA is not responsible for getting items to a thrift store. 
 
We look forward to eating, drinking, and finding new homes for old goods with you all this month. No outside drinks, please.   (M. Patton)
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Sublet Opportunity
Short-term sublet available in Old El Portal.  Room in a large, very nice 2 bedroom/2 bath house.  Available, roughly for the months of February and March.  $750/month.  Contact adam_dickenson@nps.gov (A. Dickenson)
 
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CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS
 
Survey Work on Northside Drive
There will be 10-15 minute closures in Yosemite Valley on Northside Drive (between Sentinel Drive and Pohono Bridge) and on the El Portal Road (from Pohono Bridge to the Big Oak Flat Intersection) for two weeks between Jan. 30 and Feb. 10. Contractors will be surveying and pot-holing in preparation for road rehabilitation later this summer. Work will take place between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  (L.Acree)
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Emergency Services Complex
Construction continues.  Insulation is nearly complete and wall and ceiling finishes are being applied; electrical and telecom cables are being pulled; mechanical control systems are being installed.  Siding and roofing is being installed as weather allows.  Completion is expected in the spring.  (K. White)
 
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ACTING DESIGNATIONS
 
Ryan Leahy will be acting Program Manager For Human-Wildlife Conflicts  until February 13. He can be reached at 372-0476.
 
Parker Davis will be acting Fee and Revenue Branch Chief until the end of February. He can be reached at 372-0406 or Parker_Davis@nps.gov
 
Rebecca Lund will be acting Deputy Fee Manager until the end of February. She can be reached at 372-0207.
 
Michael Liang will be acting Branch Chief for Creative Media (formerly Interpretive Services) until the end of February. He can be reached at 372-0643.
 
Heather Boothe will be acting Hetch Hetchy Program Manager and Yosemite Conservancy Liaison until April 15. She can be reached at 372-0238.
 
Sally Kintner will be acting Volunteer Program Manager until April 15. She can be reached at 379-1850.
 
Sheri Ogden will be acting Division Chief of BRM until further notice. She can be reached at 372-0316.
 
Ron Gaunt will be acting Division Chief of Project Management until further notice. He can be reached at 379-1027.
 
Sabrina Diaz will be acting Chief of Interpretation & Education until further notice. She can be reached at 372-0291 or 347-0113.
 
R. Brad Lewis will be acting Branch Chief of Design and Construction for Project Management until further notice. He can be reached at 379-1006.
 
Garrett Dickman will be acting Park Botanist until further notice. He can be reached at 379-3282.
 
John Barton will be acting Wawona Utilities Supervisor until further notice. He can be reached at 375-9510 or john_barton@nps.gov
 
Shawn Zumbrunnen will be acting Valley Utilities Supervisor until further notice. He