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Mudslides close the June Lake Loop (Highway 158)

Saturday, August 4th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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On July 31 Caltrans closed Highway 158, the June Lake Loop, due to mudslides that occurred earlier that day. The closure remains in place and there is no estimated opening date.

On July 31, a short, powerful rainstorm brought mudslides and debris down on Highway 158, closing the June Lake Loop. Photo courtesy of Caltrans District 9.

The road is closed between Silver Lake and Grant Lake Reservoir, from roughly the Frontier Pack Station to the Aerie Crag parking area. Through passage around the loop is not available, but (more…)

Tioga Road (Highway 120) is closed; Yosemite is accessible from the east

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans closed Highway 120 at Crane Flat at 2:47am due to the Ferguson Fire.

The east side of the Tioga Road is open, from Highway 395 to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park and beyond that to Tuolumne Meadows. But through passage along Highway 120 is not possible—travelers must use alternate routes to get from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other.

Always check road conditions before you travel, and in this season of major fires across California and the west, check the air quality for your destinations as well.

August 7 Mono County meeting to examine new DWP water extraction efforts

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you live, work, or play in the Eastern Sierra, put next week’s Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting in your schedule and please plan to attend:

• Tuesday, August 7 at 10:00am •
Mono County Courthouse, Bridgeport (in-person)
Town-County Conference Room, Minaret Mall,
CAO Conference Room, Sierra Center Mall,
Mammoth Lakes
(by video conference)

This past spring, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) provided ranchers in the Long Valley and Little Round Valley area next to Crowley Lake new proposed leases with no irrigation water—a proposal, in effect, to dry up approximately 6,400 acres of agricultural lands in Mono County.

These areas have been irrigated for more than 70 years, so removing the water would be a major change in land use and a surprising attempt to extract additional water from Mono County. Local concerns are numerous and include increased risk of wildfire, desiccation of wetlands, damage to important habitat for sensitive species such as the Bi-State Sage Grouse, and undermining the local agricultural and tourism-based economy.

Mono County has been corresponding with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti about the leases and lack of water—see those letters, maps, and a summary of the issue here. The Board of Supervisors meeting is your chance to make your thoughts, concerns, and opinions known, and Mono Lake Committee staff will also be attending—we have been advising Mono County about this issue given our long history with DWP. For more information call (760) 647-6595 or email Lisa Cutting, Eastern Sierra Policy Director.

Mud and rock slides in Lundy Canyon

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Last Friday, July 20, torrential rain in Lundy Canyon caused several mud and rock slides, which closed the road west of Lundy Lake Resort. There is currently no vehicle access to the trailhead, and no estimated opening date for the road.

Looking west up Lundy Canyon from the top of the largest rock slide that occurred on July 20, 2018. Photo courtesy of Mary Ljung.

(more…)

Information Center & Bookstore summer hours begin Thursday

Sunday, June 10th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Starting on Thursday, June 14, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open from 8:00am to 9:00pm every day.

Starting on Thursday, June 14, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open from 8:00am to 9:00pm every day. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Stop by to pick up a Mono Lake T-shirt, buy maps for your next hike, find gifts for friends and family, watch The Mono Lake Story half-hour film, select some postcards to help remember your trip, or get information about canoeing, hiking, camping, lodging, restaurants, and more. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Summer 2018 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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It’s the human condition to operate with one foot in the future and one in the past, right? Here at the Mono Lake Committee we are certainly human—building on the past, with eyes trained on the future.

This year—our 40th anniversary—invites a nod to the past. It’s a chance to look back at the organization’s strong foundation laid by good humans like Sally Gaines, the late Genny Smith, and so many others who set us on the course that led to landmark successes that continue to protect the Mono Basin today.

This Newsletter is a snapshot of what we’re doing right now for Mono Lake. We’re squeezing a record number of groups into this year’s Outdoor Education Center season. We’re determining the kind of restoration flows the streams should receive based on snowpack and runoff data. (more…)

2018 lake level forecast: Will Mono Lake rise or drop this year?

Friday, April 20th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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In April, once a new runoff year (April 1 to March 31) has begun, the Mono Lake Committee forecasts what Mono Lake’s level is likely to do over the next year. And the answer? According to our forecast, Mono Lake is likely to drop a little less than a foot.

This graph shows the range of possible Mono Lake elevations for the time period of April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The “highest likely” and “lowest likely” projections are produced by Committee modeling using historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can reasonably be expected given current conditions. Mono Lake Committee graph (click to enlarge).

To forecast Mono Lake’s level for a whole runoff year, we read the lake level gauge on April 1 to get the starting point, and then factor the runoff forecast into the equation to predict what Mono Lake might do going forward. When we read the lake level gauge on April 1 together with staff from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power the lake was 6381.9 feet above sea level. As of April 16 the runoff forecast is 85% of average. Using those two data points, plus historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can be reasonably expected given current conditions, our modeling indicates that the most probable lake level for March 31, 2019 is 6381.1 feet above sea level.

Fishing season opener, Mono Basin campgrounds opening

Thursday, April 12th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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As we gear up for fishing season opener on Saturday, April 28, most campgrounds along the June Lake Loop are set to open the week before, dependent on the weather.

Fishing season opens on Saturday, April 28 this year. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Lower Lee Vining Creek
Lower Lee Vining, Aspen, and Big Bend campgrounds do not have estimated opening dates yet, but the Inyo National Forest hopes to get them open before fishing opener. There is no estimated opening date for the Lundy Canyon campground yet. (more…)

Buy your ticket now for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Buy your ticket now so you can join us in early May halfway up Mammoth Mountain … for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner!

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

This year we’ll present the Andrea Lawrence Award to Phil Pister, retired California Department of Fish & Wildlife fishery biologist for the Eastern Sierra. Phil is a visionary desert pupfish and golden trout conservationist, has been an agent of positive ecological change, and is an advocate for and teacher of environmental ethics—he embodies the spirit of the award, which celebrates passionate engagement in community and the land.

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as we celebrate Phil. Reserve your tickets with a $75 donation online here, or by calling (760) 647-6595 by Monday, April 16. We hope to see you there!

Winter & Spring 2018 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Monday, March 12th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The theme of this issue of the Mono Lake Newsletter is vigilance. Really, it has run through every Newsletter, starting 40 years ago with a group of sharp-eyed, shaggy biologists who took note of what was happening to Mono Lake. Ever since those early days, we’ve kept watch.

You’ll see our continued vigilance in the pages that follow—we noticed a leaking stream, an unusual development proposal, a new threat to the California Gulls, and a flow violation at Rush Creek. We watched the Mill Creek return ditch flow test carefully. We visit the streams regularly, we keep an eye on daily streamflow reports, and we scrutinize the lake level.

We look around, and we look ahead. As this winter seems (more…)

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