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The Mono-logue

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Drought impacts on streamflow on the Upper Owens River and Big Springs

July 21st, 2014 by Julie, Mono Lake Intern

There is no denying that California is facing a serious water problem due to three consecutive years of drought. Curious about a hydrologist’s thoughts on the matter? Join us at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore this Wednesday, July 23 at 4:00pm for an hour with Sue Burak, local resident and recent graduate of the Hydrologic Science department at the University of Nevada, Reno, to find out.

Satellite view of snow cover over Sierra Nevada mountain range, January 2013 vs. January 2014. Photos courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sue is currently working on drought issues with the Desert Research Institute and come winter she gathers snow and avalanche information from snowpits and studies avalanche formation all while closely tracking the weather. During her presentation Sue will explain the impacts of the drought, primarily on the streamflow of the Upper Owens River and Big Springs. She will also talk about how to define drought in order to get the root of common drought misconceptions. Light snacks and beverages will be provided. Meet in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in the Theater & Gallery at 4:00pm to join in on the fun. I look forward to seeing you there!

The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada: A necessity for life in the Sierra

July 21st, 2014 by Barbara, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

For those times when I’m exploring the Sierra Nevada without my favorite Yosemite park ranger (or, come to think of it, even when I’m with her since she swears by this book), a necessity almost as crucial as sunblock is John Muir Laws’ The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada.

A modest-sized paperback, small enough to fit in your backpack on top of rain gear or snacks, this is the source to answer all of your “what is this?!?” quandaries. And since I recently moved here from the East Coast, I have a lot of those quandaries. For example, on some recent hikes, I encountered the following:

Pussypaws. Photo by Barbara Ball.

From The Laws Field Guide, I find that this is pussypaws—very common—a cushion plant: Calyptridium monospermum if you enjoy learning the scientific names.

Or: … more »

Mono Lake Interns then and now: From fly pupae to moringa

July 17th, 2014 by Julie, Mono Lake Intern

Over the years the Mono Lake Committee has attracted hundreds of young, passionate environmentalists looking for involvement in Mono Lake’s story. Whether in college, fresh out of school or like this year’s two Birding Interns, retired folks looking to help out, the seasonal staff plays a huge role in keeping the Mono Lake Committee a well-oiled machine during the summer months. I am not alone in feeling that what I have given the Committee cannot compare to what the people, experiences, and natural world in the Eastern Sierra has given me. The incredible Mono Lake story is infectious and continues to inspire me as I head further into the field of environmental studies.

The departures of seasonal staff occurs in two waves each year—in the end of August and the beginning of November. Once departed, it largely becomes a mystery where these individuals full of fun Mono Lake facts end up. Luckily, many keep in touch. One retired intern in particular is pretty much forced into keeping in touch with me. My sister Lisa Curtis was a Mono Lake Intern seven years ago … more »

Turf wars: Los Angeles doubles down on water conservation

July 14th, 2014 by Bartshé, Education Director

If you’re a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) residential customer and you have a lawn, now is your chance to cash in and conserve water. Currently, DWP is offering $3 per square foot of lawn if you replace your thirsty grass with California friendly plants.

DWP’s “Cash In Your Lawn” incentive is the largest for any major US city, and is twice the amount that Las Vegas offers its customers. There is no competition here—both cities are serious about water conservation and recycling and have a track record of moving in the right direction when it comes to urban water efficiency. However, three dollars a square foot (up from two dollars) demonstrates a new level of commitment that DWP is willing to go to further for conservation after three very dry years. … more »

Seminar spotlight: Introduction to High Country Plants & Habitats

July 13th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Join us for this year’s Introduction to High Country Plants & Habitats field seminar, held annually in the Mono Basin’s high-elevation meadows at the peak of their summer bloom! Plants, animals, insects, geology, and weather all interact quickly during the short growing season, and this seminar is a guide to it all.

Introduction to High Country Plants & Habitats • August 1–3 • $165 per person/$150 for members • sign up here

Instructor Ann Howald has a clear and enthusiastic teaching style that brings participants back year after year. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Instructor Ann Howald is a retired consulting botanist who specializes in rare plant and conservation issues. Her engaging way of … more »

Seminar spotlight: Mono Basin Mammals

July 12th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Small mammals like squirrels, chipmunks, kangaroo rats, and mice scurry around us humans all day and night here in the Mono Basin, but how often do you actually get to really see them? If you’re interested in seeing the Mono Basin’s mammals up close (you might even get to hold one!), you’re in luck—there are a few spaces left in the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar coming up in a couple of weeks.

Mono Basin Mammals • July 25–27 • $155 per person/$140 for members • sign up here

The field seminar instructor is biologist John Harris, who has studied the Mono Basin's mammals since the 1970s. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Instructor John Harris has studied the Mono Basin’s mammals for decades, and has led many popular field seminars for the Mono Lake Committee and at the annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. John catches the mammals in live traps, thereby … more »

Mono views: From peaks to paintings

July 11th, 2014 by Erica, Mono Lake Intern

This is a unique place where animals like the tiny pika and lazy marmot dwell in rocky habitats. It is a place where visitors enjoy gazing at the tufa towers as they hike along Mono Lake’s shore. Glaciers and volcanic activity have been powerful forces shaping the landscape over time. Recreational activities in the Mono Basin include everything from hiking and mountaineering to fishing and birding.

A stunning view of Mono Lake from Mt. Dana. Photo by Erica Stephens.

Thanks to dedicated people of the past like David Gaines, who took initial action to protect Mono Lake and helped found the Mono Lake Committee, we all have the opportunity to enjoy this amazing area. As Gaines said, “The birds and the animals, trees, grasses and rocks; water and wind are our allies. They awaken our senses, arouse our passions, renew our spirits, and fill us with vision, courage and joy. We are Mono Lake.”

Here are a variety of perspectives from friends, coworkers and people I met along trails who are inspired and … more »

Join us for two Mono Lake restoration events this July

July 10th, 2014 by Emma, Project Specialist

If you frequent the Mono-logue, you’re probably invested in helping Mono Lake and its tributary streams recover. As always, donations and member support are welcome and necessary aspects of protecting and restoring Mono Lake. But if you’re looking to help Mono Lake in a more hands-on way, consider joining us on Wednesday, July 16 or Wednesday, July 23 for a restoration field day!

The Mono Lake Committee seasonal staff after pulling invasive sweet clover on Mill Creek. Photo by Emma Oschrin.

For our restoration field days, volunteers help with various projects at Mono Lake and along the streams. This July, we’ll be having two restoration days along Mill Creek. Volunteers and Mono Lake Committee staff will be lending a helping hand to the streams by removing invasive plant species that are currently taking up space in streamside habitat. … more »

Elden Vestal’s full 1993 deposition discussing historical stream conditions now online

July 9th, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

In September 2012, we posted here that part 1 of Elden Vestal’s deposition had been found, and posted online by California Trout. We noted that a search for part 2 was underway. Well, the search is over!

Watch part 1 and part 2 of Elden Vestal's 1993 deposition, where he discusses the remarkable historical habitat conditions and wildlife in the Mono Basin.

Watch part 1 and part 2 of Elden Vestal's 1993 deposition, in which he discusses the remarkable historical habitat conditions and wildlife in the Mono Basin.

Former State Water Board staff member Jim Canaday had a copy of the missing video, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife digitized it, and the Committee has posted it online. Both YouTube videos (part 1 and part 2) can be found on our Historical Interviews page on the Mono Basin Clearinghouse. … more »

Come watch “The Mono Lake Story” film

July 9th, 2014 by Julie, Mono Lake Intern

Looking for something to do indoors when the afternoon thunderstorms hit the Eastern Sierra? Look no further than the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore for a dry, entertaining, and enlightening experience!

Arrowleaf balsmroot blooms high above Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Bristlecone Media.

The 27-minute film, The Mono Lake Story, plays in our theater and gallery all day long—it’s a wonderful way to learn about Mono Lake’s natural and political history, and it inspires many visitors to join in our efforts to protect and restore Mono Lake. The brilliant cinematography will leave you speechless and the commentary from those who have dedicated their lives to Mono Lake will leave you motivated to make a difference. Come join us during our open hours, 8:00am to 9:00pm, to experience an unforgettable film.

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