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Mono Basin Winter Wander field seminars in March

February 20th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Have you ever visited the Mono Basin in the winter? It is silent, mysterious, and majestic. It is a whole different experience than the hustle and bustle of summertime. Winter invites us to experience the forgotten season and wander in a mountain meadow or along a frozen creek, curious and in awe.

Lee Vining Creek flows between snowy banks in 2017. Photo by Nora Livingston.

We are offering two dates in March for a unique field seminar that investigates the wonders of winter … more »

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in LA—more reasons to join us!

February 19th, 2020 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

The Mono Lake Committee’s ninth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles is only three weeks away! This year we are hosting three screenings of the festival: March 11 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre, March 12 at the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, and March 13 at the Downtown Independent in downtown Los Angeles. … more »

Prescribed fire on Mono Lake’s islet in the LA Times

February 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Louis Sahagun accompanied Mono Lake Committee staff and Inyo National Forest fire personnel to Twain Islet yesterday for the prescribed burn to restore California Gull habitat taken over by the invasive weed Bassia hyssopifolia. Check out Louis’ article here, and if you get the paper, watch for it in tomorrow’s Sunday edition!

Smoke signals good news for Mono Lake’s California Gulls

February 14th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

If you were lucky enough to be in the Mono Basin—or if you checked out the webcam—the past two crystal clear, glassy water, calm days, you likely would have noticed something unusual rising out over Mono Lake—smoke.

There is no cause for alarm, it’s actually a good sign—especially for California Gulls whose nesting grounds on the Negit Islets are being cleared of an invasive weed in time for the 2020 nesting season.

After much consideration, the Inyo National Forest, Mono Lake Committee, and Point Blue Conservation Science concluded the most efficient course of action was to pursue a prescribed burn to eradicate the invasive weed taking over the gull nesting grounds. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

In a partnership born out of a mutual interest in this critical wildlife habitat protection effort in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, the Inyo National Forest, the Mono Lake Committee, and Point Blue Conservation Science have been planning and working towards a solution to the recent invasion of Bassia hyssopifolia for three years. The smoke rising from the islets is from a prescribed burn being done to protect gull nesting habitat.

The Mono Lake Committee advocated for a prescribed burn … more »

Rush Creek’s January 2020 flow among the lowest on record

February 13th, 2020 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Rush Creek flows above Grant Lake Reservior have been in the single-digits since mid-December. When adjusted for changes in Southern California Edison reservoir storage upstream, unimpaired near-natural runoff can be calculated. These unimpaired flows averaged 5.7 cubic feet per second (cfs) in January 2020—the lowest that I can remember seeing for a monthly average.

A portion of the USGS Mono Craters Quadrangle geologic map, with the Parker Creek stream gage circled in red at top and the Rush Creek gage circled in red in the middle. The Parker Creek watershed for its size has proportionally more surface sediment deposits above the gage, and the gage is lower in elevation than the Rush Creek gage. Both gages reported similar unimpaired flows in January.

A portion of the USGS Mono Craters Quadrangle geologic map, with the Parker Creek stream gauge circled in red at top and the Rush Creek gauge circled in red in the middle. The Parker Creek watershed for its size has proportionally more surface sediment deposits above the gauge, and the gauge is lower in elevation than the Rush Creek gauge. Both gauges reported similar unimpaired flows in January after five months of very low precipitation.

For comparison, flows in Parker Creek—a much smaller creek than Rush Creek—averaged 5 cfs in January. Interestingly, Parker Creek has two glaciers in its watershed and Rush Creek has none, a difference that would tend to affect summer flows more than January flows. … more »

Dave McCoy, Eastern Sierra ski industry innovator

February 11th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

Dave McCoy’s recent passing at age 104 has many in the Mammoth Lakes area and beyond reminiscing about how his legacy and spirit shaped the recreational and cultural landscape of the Eastern Sierra.

Dave McCoy, 1915–2020. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Like we do here at the Mono Lake Committee, Dave paid a lot of attention to the Sierra snowpack, starting as a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in the late 1930s. It was during that career that he first envisioned a ski area on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain.

Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin said, “We will miss him—he was an icon of the Eastern Sierra spirit of fun, adventure, and self-reliance.”

Tioga Inn public workshop scheduled for Tuesday, March 3

February 10th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono County Planning Department has scheduled a public workshop on the Tioga Inn project—the meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Lee Vining Community Center (296 Mattly Avenue).

The workshop will be a chance to discuss the final draft of the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment. The Final EIR will be released in late February in advance of the public workshop; it will be available on the Mono County website and at the Lee Vining Library.

Last year Mono County received over 1,000 comment letters about the controversial Tioga Inn project, which proposes a major expansion at the existing Tioga Gas Mart. As currently proposed, the project will be highly visible from many classic viewpoints, including South Tufa, Panum Crater, and Highway 395 south of Lee Vining, and will have significant impacts on the prized dark night skies throughout the Mono Basin, deer migration, the Lee Vining community and more.

Road to Bodie State Historic Park to re-open on February 7

February 5th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Highway 270, the Bodie Road, will re-open from its winter closure on Friday, February 7 at 10:00am.

Photo of a snowy Bodie taken about 1911–1912. Photo courtesy of California State Parks.

This will allow motorists to reach Bodie State Historic Park, but if significant winter weather resumes, the road may be closed once again. In winter, Bodie is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm every day.

Registration is open for 2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars

February 1st, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Field Seminar registration opened this morning at 9:00am for Mono Lake Committee members, and sign-ups are going strong! Now is the time to make sure your membership is current and snag spots in the seminar(s) of your choice.

Don’t miss your chance to take a Mono Basin Field Seminar this year! Photo by AnnaLisa Mayer.

This year there are more than 30 seminars to choose from, covering topics such as woodpeckers, small mammals, arborglyphs, oil painting, watercolor painting, geology, and several … more »

Information Center & Bookstore closed on Wednesday, February 5

January 24th, 2020 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be closed on Wednesday, February 5 for our annual inventory count.

We will resume normal winter hours on Thursday, February 6—open 9:00am to 5:00pm every day. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope to see you all after the inventory count is complete!

Nora and Ellen count merchandise during inventory. Photo by Elin Ljung.

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