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Lee Vining Creek Trail closes after record runoff

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Over the past couple of years, I’ve walked the Lee Vining Creek trail more times than I can count. In the fall, I enjoy the golden aspens along the calm stream. In winter, I’ve trekked across the trail in deep snow on skis and on foot, marveling at the beauty and silence of that quiet season. Spring means the emergence of wildflowers and the beginning of the runoff season, while in summer all the plants burst back to life, lizards dart across the trail again, birds fly above, and the creek is raging as the runoff reaches its peak.

Lee Vining Creek’s braided channels are full and rushing with water during this peak runoff season. Unfortunately, the Lee Vining Creek Trail has been washed out and is closed temporarily. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Walking the trail yesterday, this trail I have followed numerous times before, I felt transported to an entirely new place. (more…)

Birders flock to Mono Lake for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Last weekend, more than 300 people and many more birds flocked to the Mono Basin for the sixteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. The Chautauqua brings birders together to enhance appreciation and understanding of the Mono Basin’s diverse and abundant bird life and to educate the public about this area’s value to birds and people. This year’s event featured over 100 programs to choose from, including field trips, lectures, workshops, and more.

Locating Hermit Thrushes near 10,000 feet above sea level at Virginia Lakes. Photo by Elin Ljung.

This year, Chautauqua participants saw an impressive 151 species of birds. Some exciting finds this weekend included Indigo Buntings near Lundy Canyon, a pair of Sandhill Cranes and a Long-tailed Jaeger in Bridgeport, and the rare Chestnut-sided Warbler near June Lake.

In addition to birds, the Chautauqua celebrates many other (more…)

There’s still time to register for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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The sixteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua kicks off next week with over 300 participants, over 50 presenters, and more than 100 programs! Many programs are still open, including some free programs open to all, so take a look and sign up for them before they fill. You can find full trip descriptions for all of the open trips on the Chautauqua website.

Bullock’s Orioles are one of the species you could spot at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

OPEN PROGRAMS: (more…)

Your donation to protect Mono Lake’s gulls will be matched

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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If you haven’t yet donated to the Long Live the Gulls campaign, now is the moment—we have only five days left to reach our goal of $15,000. Plus, a generous anonymous donor called yesterday and will be matching all gifts, dollar for dollar, starting today through the end of the fundraiser on March 28, so your contribution will go twice as far!

Thousands of California Gulls flock to Mono Lake each year to nest on the islands, which coyotes can now access by swimming across a narrow channel of water, after five years of drought dropped Mono Lake about seven feet. Please donate to the Long Live the Gulls campaign today to protect the gulls. Photo by Sara Matthews.

Thank you to the 158 donors who have already joined this collective effort to help protect the gulls until Mono Lake rises above the threshold of concern this summer. Thanks to your donations the materials for the temporary electrified fence are now more than 75% funded.

Please donate today to double your impact and protect Mono Lake’s gull colony—one of the largest California Gull colonies in the world—from coyote predation before nesting begins in April. Thank you for your support and long live the gulls!

Donate now to protect Mono Lake’s gull colony

Friday, March 17th, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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It’s really starting to feel like spring in the Mono Basin—the days are getting longer, afternoon temperatures are nearing 70°, and we’ve started seeing the first California Gulls return to Mono Lake to nest. Right now, there is only a small, watery barrier separating the California Gull nesting grounds from the mainland, making it just a short swim for coyotes to get to the islands and wreak havoc on the gull colony.

The good news is that plans are advancing for the construction of a temporary fence across the landbridge on Mono Lake’s north shore to block coyote access to the islands until enough snow melts to raise the lake above the threshold of concern later this summer. Thanks to the generosity of 76 donors, we have already funded a significant amount for the fence, but we still need your help. We’ve made the short video above for you to enjoy and share with your friends to encourage them to join this collective effort. You can also watch the full campaign video below or visit the Long Live the Gulls campaign page to donate and learn more. Thank you for your support—we, and the gulls, appreciate it! (more…)

Sign up for 2017 Field Seminars on February 1

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Learn all about the region's fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Learn all about the region’s fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2017 Field Seminars is now available online here. Registration opens at 9:00am on Wednesday, February 1.

This year’s slate of 28 Field Seminars spans many topics: basketry, oil painting, woodpeckers, moonlight photography, geology, mining history, fire ecology, butterflies, and more. (more…)

Holiday shopping: New and exciting books

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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holidaybanner2016

It’s always fun to browse the book selection here at the Mono Lake Committee’s Information Center & Bookstore whether you’re looking for a new field guide or a book of poetry, our diverse selection has something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite reads published in 2016 that are featured in the 2016 Fall Catalog.

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Celebrate the National Park Service centennial with two great books about our National Parks. First, Committee member and wilderness advocate Terry Tempest Williams takes you through America’s greatest treasures in The Hour of Land. She beautifully reflects on her time at 12 different (more…)

Overnight snow blankets the Mono Basin

Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Seven inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, blanketing everything in the Mono Basin with snow, including the islands. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Seven inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, blanketing everything in the Mono Basin with snow, including the islands. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

For days we have all been constantly checking the weather forecast, refreshing radar maps, and hoping that the predictions of an inch or two of snow would deliver. This morning, I pulled open my blinds and my jaw dropped. There was about half a foot of snow on the ground and I was thrilled. Having grown up in Georgia, any amount of snow is exciting for me, but this amount of snow—especially during this five-year drought—made me giddy. In my excitement, I actually took out my cross-country skis and skied along the road to the office before it was plowed! Along the Highway 395 corridor, between seven and 12 inches of snow fell overnight. (more…)

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … it’s open again

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Highway 120, Tioga Pass, is the only road that enters Yosemite National Park from the east. It closes each winter due to snow. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Highway 120, Tioga Pass, is the only road that enters Yosemite National Park from the east. It closes each winter due to snow. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has reopened after it was closed last week due to snow and ice. Use caution and be sure to check current road conditions and weather before your trip. Overnight parking is currently not permitted anywhere between Tioga Pass and Crane Flat in Yosemite. Last year, Tioga Pass closed for the season on November 1 and the road can close at any time. A reminder that all campgrounds along the Tioga Road are currently closed as are all commercial and visitor services in Tuolumne Meadows.

If you’re coming over Tioga Pass, be sure to stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining to say hello and learn more about what’s happening at Mono Lake and start your holiday shopping—we have a great selection of gifts for everyone on your list. We hope to see you soon!

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … now it’s closed

Saturday, October 29th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has closed due to inclement weather. There is currently no estimated opening date.

Another storm is also moving through the area on Sunday and a winter weather advisory has been issued for Mono County from 11am to 11pm Sunday. Light rain and snow are expected Sunday morning, followed by more intense rain and snow in the afternoon and evening. Chain controls are possible above 7,000 feet in the Eastern Sierra, including on Highway 395 and SR 203 (in Mammoth Lakes).  Use caution when driving and be sure to allow for plenty of extra time and check current road conditions and weather before your trip.

In this photo from May 2016, it’s easy to see why the Tioga Road closes each winter. In 2015, Tioga Road closed on November 1. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

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