today at mono lake

the mono-logue

mono lake live

live webcam images

calendar of events

username:

password:

click here for
"remember me"

register
login help


The Mono-logue


Major Categories   Search Blog:

Agencies respond quickly to illegal work along Mono Lake’s shore | The Mono-logue

Agencies respond quickly to illegal work along Mono Lake’s shore

November 3rd, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
Share...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Reddit0Share on Tumblr0Email this to someone

Two weeks ago, we reported on illegal work happening near Mono Lake’s west shore across from the Tioga Lodge, and the agency response has moved quickly since then.

Equipment operators illegally clearing willows in the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, the boundary of which is delineated by the stakes in the foreground. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Equipment operators illegally clearing willows in the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, the boundary of which is delineated by the stakes in the foreground. Mono Lake Committee photo.

The illegal work being done included heavy equipment clearing three acres of willows and near-shore habitat on highly protected State Park land, even after State Park staff repeatedly advised the equipment operators of the park boundary, which was well marked. Quick action by Mono Lake Committee staff and multiple agencies halted the activity before more willows and wetland were disturbed, but the damage is alarming. Last week State Parks staff from the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and Sacramento began a detailed assessment of the resource damage and will be pursuing appropriate penalties.

In addition, equipment operators diverted a small creek into a newly excavated pond—drying, and then partially burying, the riparian corridor. The creek now exits the pond in a new ditch and then spreads across State Park land before it reaches Mono Lake. Diverting the creek and burying its channel triggered responses from two state agencies—the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The newly excavated pond, created by diverting water from Post Office Creek illegally. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

The newly excavated pond, filled with illegally diverted Post Office Creek water. Mono Lake Committee photo.

Lahontan issued a cleanup and abatement order to the owner of the Tioga Lodge with deadlines for returning the creek to its original channel and repairing the damage done to the riparian corridor. One of those deadlines—last Friday, October 28—has passed without any restoration work being done. If the second deadline of this Friday, November 4 is not met, fines of up to $3,000 or more a day may start to accrue.

The Department of Fish & Wildlife notified the owner of the Tioga Lodge that the activities at the creek violate a section of the Fish & Game Code, which may result in civil or criminal prosecution.

Water diverted from Post Office Creek flows haphazardly over State Park land, eroding the soil on its way to Mono Lake. Mono Lake Committee photo.

Water diverted from Post Office Creek flows haphazardly over State Park land, eroding the soil on its way to Mono Lake. Mono Lake Committee photo.

There were no permits for any of the activity, which ballooned out from work the Tioga Lodge undertook earlier in the summer to manage trees burned in the Marina Fire. As we reported two weeks ago, Mono County quickly issued a cease and desist order to stop unpermitted grading activity happening on Tioga Lodge property.

The issue was covered by local press last week, and we will keep Mono Lake Committee members and the public updated here on the Mono-logue.

A view of the shoreline area from mid-September, left, in contrast to the same area on October 19 after the illegal work had been done (click to enlarge). Mono Lake Committee photos.

A view of the shoreline area from mid-September, left, in contrast to the same area on October 19 after the illegal work had been done (click to enlarge). Mono Lake Committee photos.


7 Responses to “Agencies respond quickly to illegal work along Mono Lake’s shore”

  1. avatar Allison H Says:

    Awful to hear that this damage was done, but encouraging to know that MLC and other Mono fans are keeping a close eye it and making sure that all necessary agencies are involved. Long live Mono Lake! Thank you Mono Lake Committee!

  2. avatar Bob Flick Says:

    I’m just curious as to why? What was the intent here? I’m imagining that someone must know the owner and what is his/her disposition is for such a blatant act and knowing that there are people out there that will protect the sanctuaries of nature? I’m at odds of these actions! Ive been coming up to the area camping for over 50 years now. One of the most beautiful highways I’ve ever been on

  3. avatar Tom Schweich Says:

    Thank you for keeping us updated.

  4. avatar Dan Zimmermann Says:

    It now appears that this was not an innocent mistake. Once again…a BIG thank you to the Committee for jumping on this quickly. If the facts, as presented above, continue to pan out as true, the solution is clear. Civil and criminal actions should be pursued against everyone involved in this selfish, blatant act. Also, since the Wheels of Justice move slowly, anyone who took part in this illegal operation should suffer the economic consequences. In other words…don’t patronize any entity involved…and spread the word. The ONLY way these people understand is when it hits them in the wallet. Long live the committee and LONG LIVE MONO LAKE!!!!!!!

  5. avatar A. Pols Says:

    Looking at the photos and having seen the burned area in August, this strikes me as a very trivial matter whose real importance seems to be the symbolism involved. This diversion from the real to the abstract is extremism of the sort often seen in history.
    Seems the Tioga Lodge folks were just trying to clean up the mess left by the fire and stabilize their little fiefdom.
    So, the question this leads to is this:
    Given that an establishment like Tioga Lodge whose economic viability as a seasonal resort hangs by a thread, is the pursuit of “justice” really worth putting Tioga Lodge out of business? Because, if “penalties” deemed appropriate are actually applied, Tioga Lodge will be no more. Is that what the committee and its minions really want to do? Or is it better to be happy with a stop work order,restore the creek flow with a few passes of a loader, issue a rebuke to the owners and move on?
    The “damage” in the greater scheme of things is minuscule and pales by comparison with that done by the antecedent fire.

  6. avatar Dan Zimmermann Says:

    I, like most rational people, don’t want to see any local business go under. However the facts appear clear. The work was done without any permits and the work was continued after the workmen were advised they were on State land. Having visited Mono Lake often since 1985, I know that everyone is well aware of the precarious situation that exists with the Lake and the entire surrounding area. Why have laws in place if they are not going to be followed? If we just respond to every infraction with what is offered above what do we do when something major happens? Little things add up.

    Is there another group on the member sheet I have missed? Does it cost extra to become a committee “minion”? I must not be donating enough…I was never offered that option.

  7. avatar Richard Beebe Says:

    Knowing where the “line in the sand” is and choosing to willingly cross it with bulldozers and back hoes, even after being well-notified of the presence of that line, and what consequences might become them, is the action they chose for themselves. Hanging on by a financial thread is no excuse. Perched there, with a wonderful overlook of the lake and the basin, they KNEW what this place means and represents to the area. Both “big picture” and smaller-scale intimate views of the lake’s meaning, would have been in their minds. Had they wanted to be “good neighbor” they would have know the appropriate steps to take.

    If they carry so little a concern for the landscape they overlook, maybe dealing with the financial and criminal consequences should be dealt with, and the Tioga Lodge sold to a party that actually does appreciate the nature of the place.

    Had the current owners ever possessed an appreciation, they have obviously lost it.

Please login to post comments

The Mono-logue is powered by Wordpress
Subscribe to entries with RSS or by Email. Subscribe to comments (RSS).

Find us on Facebook

 

Follow us on Twitter

 

Print this page
print

search | contact us | site map 
 

MLC Logo

© 2017 mono lake committee
The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.


]]>