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Two Mono Lake anniversaries today, 20 and 30 years ago

September 28th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

September 28 is a day that figures large in the Mono Lake story. On this day in 1994 the California State Water Resources Control Board issued Decision 1631, often known as the decision to save Mono Lake. And on this day in 1984 the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area was created, at the time the only designation of its kind in the country.

The California State Water Resources Control Board on September 28, 1994, the day the Board voted unanimously to protect Mono Lake through Decision 1631. Mono Lake Committee archive photo.

In 1994, after 43 days of testimony about Mono Lake, the five-member State Water Board unanimously adopted Decision 1631, which set permanent streamflows for Mono Basin streams and a lake level of 6,392 feet to protect Mono Lake’s public trust values … more »

A reading and book signing with Gary Snyder, Tom Killion, Kim Stanley Robinson, & Laurie Glover

September 24th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

"Evolution Valley from McClures Meadow," by Tom Killion.

Four greats of California and Western word and art will be here in Lee Vining this weekend—join us for a reading and book signing with Gary Snyder, Tom Killion, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Laurie Glover!

"Mt. Whitney from Little Claire Lake," by Tom Killion.

Sunday, September 28
Lee Vining Community Center

Gary Snyder is perhaps best known as a poet, but he is also an essayist, lecturer, environmental activist, and winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Book Award.

Tom Killion‘s Japanese-style wood block and lino-cut prints depict the rugged Sierra Nevada and California coastal landscape.

Kim Stanley Robinson is a literary science fiction writer, best known for his Mars trilogy, who writes about themes of ecological sustainability, economic and social justice, and … more »

The 2014 Mono Lake Eared Grebe census is underway

September 24th, 2014 by Lily, Project Specialist

Each fall Mono Lake abounds with Eared Grebes; aquatic birds that utilize the lake as a staging area during their southward migration. While staging on the lake the Eared Grebes undergo a molt of their flight feathers and double their weight by feasting on brine shrimp.

One of many Eared Grebes on Mono Lake during the census. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

For over a decade Canadian biologist Sean Boyd from the Pacific Wildlife Research Center has been conducting research on the Eared Grebe population of Mono Lake during the bird’s autumn staging period. The Eared Grebe lends itself to this type of research because at the end of their summer breeding season … more »

Last week of fall hours at the Mono Lake Committee

September 23rd, 2014 by Barbara, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

As we watch it get dark earlier and earlier each evening, we also see the last days of our being open until 7:00pm passing by.

Starting September 26, the Mono Lake Committee will be open 9:00am--5:00pm every day. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open 9:00am–7:00pm this week, but starting on Friday, September 26, we will shift into our fall hours: open 9:00am–5:00pm every day. We hope to see you soon here at our Lee Vining store or online. Happy autumn and watch for the changing aspens!

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 … 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 Reservoir 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.

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