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The Mono-logue

Two Mono Basin wildfires in one week

September 19th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

With two wildfires in one week, the Mono Basin is getting hit hard during this tinder-dry early autumn. After investigation, both of this week’s local fires were determined to be caused by accidents.

The June Fire late in the day on September 16. Photo courtesy of the Mono County Sheriff's Department.

The Conway Fire, which ignited on September 12, was caused by a tire blow-out on a vehicle headed south on Highway 395 at the base of Conway Summit. During that windy afternoon the fire quickly grew … more »

Creating the Illuminated Field Journal seminar was fascinating, even life changing….

September 17th, 2014 by Barbara, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

Hannah Hinchman’s field seminar this past weekend, Creating the Illuminated Field Journal, was a lush banquet of ideas, beautiful places, art techniques, and creativity.

Participants along upper Lee Vining Creek near Saddlebag Lake. Photo by Barbara Ball.

Activities ranged from sketching antlers, bird skulls, or vertebrae with a stick and cup of ink to creating an event map—exploring … more »

Fall colors are emerging in the Mono Basin

September 16th, 2014 by Erica, Mono Lake Intern

Quaking Aspens between Grant Lake Reservior and Silver Lake along the June Lake Loop are rapidly changing their leaves from a dark green to yellow color. These trees regularly grow in dense, unbroken stands, creating a stunning golden vista when their leaves fully change color in the fall. If you are headed to the Eastern Sierra, make sure to do this driving loop to see these beautiful seasonal changes.

Aspens along Highway 158 are starting to change to lime-green and yellow. Photo by Erica Stephens.

Willow leaves on the shore of Silver Lake look yellow due to a combination of fall color and a rust fungus. Photo by Erica Stephens.

… more »

Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin

September 14th, 2014 by Erica, Mono Lake Intern

As the evening wind whips through the Mono Basin it is becoming noticeably colder now. The summer season is coming to a close and this change brings beautiful new fall colors, migratory birds, and plants.

Animals are preparing for the winter ahead and can be seen gathering nesting materials and food supplies.

Pikas do not hibernate and gather grasses to get them through the winter. Photo by Erica Stephens.

A marmot sunbathing on a rock. Photo by Erica Stephens.

The birds of the Mono Basin are feeling and responding to seasonal changes as well. Spring and summer birds have raised their chicks and parents and fledglings alike have left for … more »

Highway 395 now open; Conway Fire 25% contained

September 13th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

According to a press release from the Inyo National Forest this morning, the Conway Fire is now 50 acres and is burning in sagebrush with some scattered pinyon pine and juniper trees. The fire is 25% contained and is projected to be fully contained by Monday, September 15. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Highway 395 is now open. Please be careful when driving past the fire so that firefighters and motorists remain safe. Enjoy these photos from our Instagram feed of the fire’s spread yesterday:

The Conway Fire ignited shortly after 1:00pm yesterday, crossed from the east side of Highway 395 to the west, and quickly began burning up the hill, fanned by afternoon winds. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

A large air tanker drops a load of red fire retardant at the Conway Fire yesterday afternoon. Quick response by local fire departments, engines from the US Forest Service, BLM, and Cal Fire, plus air support, has brought the fire to 25% containment this morning. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

Highway 395 closed temporarily at Conway Summit due to wildfire

September 12th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

At approximately 1:15pm today a wildfire ignited at the base of Conway Summit here in the Mono Basin, spreading quickly from the east side of the highway to the west side. As a result, Highway 395 is closed from the junction of Highway 167 north to the junction of Highway 270. Fire crews and air support are currently fighting the fire, but there is no estimated opening time right now.

To get around the closure, northbound traffic will have to take Highway 167 east to Hawthorne, Nevada. Southbound traffic will have to take Highway 182 east to Yerington, Nevada. Keep an eye on our road closures page and the Caltrans website for more updates.

Update, 2:55pm from the Inyo National Forest: The Conway Fire, detected earlier this afternoon, has grown to 40 acres. The fire is displaying rapid rates of spread. The fire is located at the base of Conway Summit on the west side of Highway 395. There are no structures threatened at this time; however, there are power lines are nearby. Highway 395 (northbound and southbound lanes) is closed for the fire response. There is no estimate at this time for when the road will re-open. There are numerous fire resources on scene including: 5 Engines, 1 Water Tender, Air Attack, Air Tanker, 2 Helicopters, 2 Cal Fire hand crews. Additional assistance is being provided by California Highway Patrol, Mono County Sherriff, and Cal Fire. More resources are being ordered.

Mono Lake Committee Adopt-a-Highway cleanup day

September 11th, 2014 by Lily, Project Specialist

Calling all volunteers and good citizens in the Lee Vining area! Monday, September 22 is the date of the Mono Lake Committee’s Adopt-a-Highway cleanup event. Participants will meet at the Mono Lake Committee at 9:00am and work together to clean up a one-mile stretch of Highway 395 until noon.

Adopt-a-Highway volunteers are needed on Monday, September 22 for this year's cleanup! Photo by Rose Catron.

Fashionable neon vests, snacks, and water will be provided for volunteers; but the biggest reward is preventing trash and recycling from cluttering the road and polluting our waterways. Long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy shoes are a must; and a hat, sunscreen, and water bottle are highly recommended. If you want to help clean up a portion of Highway 395, or if you would like more information feel free to contact Lily at the Mono Lake Committee at (760)647-6595.

34th annual Tioga Pass Run: The results are in!

September 9th, 2014 by Lily, Project Specialist

Last Sunday, September 7, 113 runners and walkers made their way up 12.4 miles of the grueling and scenic Tioga Pass, during the 34th annual Tioga Pass Run. They started in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finished at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, gaining 3,165 feet in elevation along the way.

The Tioga Pass Run begins in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and climbs 3,165 feet over 12.4 miles, ending at the east entrance to Yosemite National Park. Photo by Rose Catron.

Reaching the finish line first was Dan Yarborough with the time of 1:39:34. Not far behind was the first-place woman, Jessica Francois (former Mono Lake Committee staff member!), with a time of 1:55:01. There were also ten participants who … more »

Tioga Lake being drained for maintenance work

September 4th, 2014 by Robbie, Project Specialist

Tioga Lake, located along Highway 120 west near the east entrance to Yosemite, will be drained one month earlier this year for necessary maintenance.

In compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Inyo National Forest conditions, Southern California Edison (SCE) began draining the lake on Tuesday in order to install a geomembrane liner on the main and auxiliary Tioga Lake dams.

It is expected to take two to three weeks to drain the lake and while there will still be some water in the lake, recreation will be limited.

32 years of California Gull research at Mono Lake

September 3rd, 2014 by Sandra, Birding Intern

The nesting population of California Gulls at Mono Lake represents a significant percentage of the state’s total population of these birds. This year marks the 32nd year of research at Mono Lake under the aegis of Point Blue Conservation Science, providing a reflection of Mono Lake’s overall health in a rare long-term study of inestimable value.

California Gull at Mono Lake. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Each year the population size and reproductive success of California Gulls at Mono Lake are measured. These population parameters are obtained in three basic assessments: 1) a count of all nests in May; 2) chick count, physical assessment, and banding … more »

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