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An extreme runoff year from the top down

Friday, May 26th, 2017 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Tioga Pass is closed, but there is a lot activity in the Mono Basin as the peak runoff season is soon to arrive. Streamflows will soon reach levels not seen in decades as 206% of average runoff—the May 1 forecast—comes rushing down in the Mono Basin.

The May 1, 2017 runoff forecast is 206% of normal for the Mono Basin.

(Click to enlarge.) A 180-degree view from Mono Lake to Lundy Canyon and points south from a local peak on May 24, 2017. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

This much water is an inspiration to witness, especially after five years of brutal drought conditions. Water is moving down some drainages and steep canyons that rarely, if ever, transport water during the runoff season. Creeks are already flowing at dangerously high levels and attempting to cross Mono Basin streams along fallen logs or other unusual crossing sites during peak flows could be a life or death decision—use extreme caution.

This is a benchmark year, and there is a lot of work for Mono Lake Committee staff documenting stream flows, coordinating critical information with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Southern California Edison, stream scientists, and other authorities to make sure that everyone can anticipate the challenges and changes ahead for Mono Lake and its tributary streams. Stay tuned—we plan on sharing as much information and as many images as possible here on the Mono-logue, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We have not forgotten the drought years, but forgive us if we temporarily revel in amnesia.

Tioga Pass: Memorial Day weekend update

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass will not be open for this holiday weekend, and there is still no estimated opening date. But plowing crews have rounded the corner near Ellery Lake, making good progress toward the Yosemite National Park entrance gate.

A photo from Sunday, May 21, 2017 taken at Ellery Lake looking back east at Ellery Bowl with bikers for scale. Photo courtesy of Nathan Taylor.

Warm weather is aiding the crews as they work, but avalanches remain a hazard. As work progresses, pedestrians, bicyclists, skiers, etc. are advised to stay out of these areas (the photos in this post were taken on a Sunday, when crews do not work). (more…)

Mono Lake is for the birds … and free bird walks

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Water is everywhere, cottonwoods are throwing cotton, flowers are blooming, and birds are singing. With warming temperatures and longer days birds are becoming more active at Mono Lake, and you can see and hear the birds with a guide, twice weekly at Mono Lake County Park beginning now through the summer.

Brilliant blue Lazuli Buntings are one of the species you could spot during a Friday or Sunday morning bird walk at Mono Lake County Park. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

County Park offers a diverse habitat for a variety of birds from lakeshore to wetland to towering cottonwoods. Bird walks are free and begin at 8:00am every Friday and Sunday morning through September 3, 2017. Meet at the parking lot and bring sunscreen, water, hat, and binoculars (if you have them). Whether you have a passing interest in birds, or you are a beginning birder, or an advanced birder, there are feathers, songs, and festive color for all.

Memorial Day weekend hours at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore

Monday, May 22nd, 2017 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Spring and California Gulls are in the air, and the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open longer for Memorial Day weekend.

Stop by during Memorial Day weekend! Photo by Jessica Horn.

From Friday, May 26 to Monday, May 29 we will be open from 8:00am to 6:00pm to accommodate holiday travelers. We will return to our normal hours (9:00am–5:00pm) on Tuesday, May 30. We hope to see you here soon!

2017 Andrea Lawrence Award presented to Genny Smith

Friday, May 19th, 2017 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Community members, friends, and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Parallax Restaurant on May 5 to present Genny Smith, a longtime local naturalist, conservationist, and environmental champion, with this year’s Andrea Lawrence Award.

Geoff McQuilkin, Genny Smith, and Quentin Lawrence at the 2017 dinner. Photo by Antonia Chihuahua.

As a guidebook writer, editor, and publisher, Genny has inspired generations of people to explore and tread lightly in the Sierra Nevada. Her early leadership on the Mono Lake Committee Board of Directors helped grow the fledgling membership program that has now sustained (more…)

Mono Lake canoe tour season is right around the corner

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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The weather is warming up in the Mono Basin, which means the Mono Lake Committee’s canoe tour season is right around the corner!

Canoe tours offer a chance to experience Mono Lake from a unique vantage point. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Canoeing on Mono Lake is truly a magical experience, offering a new perspective of this otherworldly high desert lake. Your one-hour tour will take you from Navy Beach to the tufa-filled waters (more…)

Volunteers help to keep the Mono Basin beautiful

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Yesterday Mono Lake Committee staff joined forces with three volunteers to help maintain the beauty of the Mono Basin on our Adopt-A-Highway cleanup.

Project Specialists Robbie and Gabby with safety gear and trash grabbers! Photo courtesy of John Warneke.

We met early and headed to our mile-long adopted section of Highway 395. It was a beautiful blustery day. Lucky for us (more…)

Don’t forget: Applications for the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship are due this Friday

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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The deadline to submit applications for the 2017 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship is this Friday, May 12 at 5:00pm.

2016 scholarship recipient Berlin Del Aguila poses with Membership Coordinator Ellen King. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

Each year the Committee awards two $1,000 scholarships to seniors who display a connection to Mono Lake and the Mono Lake story. All Mono County seniors with plans to attend a two- or four-year college or university within a year of graduation are encouraged to apply. Simply head down to the lake and answer the question: Why are places like Mono Lake important?

Click here to find the scholarship application as well as essays written by previous recipients. Have questions? Reach out to me, Gabrielle Renteria, at (760) 647-6595 x103 or by email.

Tioga Pass from the air

Monday, May 8th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans just sent out a video of a flyover of Tioga Pass, filmed last Monday, May 1. The video shows the road from low in Lee Vining Canyon to the eastern gate to Yosemite National Park; there is no sound in the video.

There is no estimated opening date for Tioga Pass, and this video helps to show why. We knew there was a lot of snow up there—it’s exciting to see just how much!

Current conditions in the Inyo National Forest for fishing season opener

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Spring has arrived in the Mono Basin, but at the higher elevations roads and lakes are still covered in snow and ice. We know it can be frustrating trying to figure out what is open and what is not at this time of year, so here is a list of current conditions throughout the Inyo National Forest:

Opening day for the fishing season in Mono and Inyo counties is this Saturday, April 29, 2017.

● All lakes below 7,500 feet in elevation and free of ice will be open.
● Lundy Lake is extremely low and there will be no access for boat launching.
● All anglers 16 years or older must have a 2017 California Fishing License which may be purchased online, by clicking here, or by visiting most local tackle shops.

A member of the the Caltrans District 9 Team stands in front of a massive snowbank on Tioga Pass. Photo courtesy of Caltrans District 9.

Visitor centers, roads, and campgrounds: (more…)

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