So far in 2017, Mono Lake has risen an astounding 4.5 vertical feet before leveling off in the past month. About 3 feet of that total lake rise occurred from mid-May to mid-August. Watch below for a quick 20-second timelapse showing the incredible lake rise this summer, or scroll down and see the full two-and-half-minute timelapse video.
When considering the ecological effects of the Hetchy Hetchy Reservoir, we tend to think of the initial flooding of Hetch Hetchy Valley. But are there also ongoing ecological consequences downstream of the dam?
This week’s Refreshing ‘Ologist, Dr. Jeff Holmquist, will compare conditions below the dam, above the reservoir, and in reference sections of the Merced River to help answer that question. Along with the ongoing effects of the reservoir, he will also discuss river-wetland linkages and the ways in which river flows have been manipulated in order to mitigate effects on wetlands. (more…)
June 2014—Mono Lake level: 6380.4 feet above sea level
Just three years ago, during the middle of California’s historic drought, I visited Mono Lake for the first time. The large, salty lake in the middle of the high desert amazed me and I vividly remember admiring the incredible tufa towers for the first time one summer evening. That was before I worked for the Mono Lake Committee, before I understood the significance of Mono Lake’s level, and the last time I would see the lake with that much water until this month (August 2017). (more…)
Our refreshing ‘ologist for this week is researching techniques in parks to be used for monitoring and managing aquatic wildlife. Join us this Wednesday, August 23 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to hear about how scientist Colleen Kamoroff uses eDNA in water samples to learn more about an area and the species that occupy it.
DNA obtained from filtered water samples is often referred to as aquatic environmental DNA or eDNA. eDNA is a promising tool for monitoring (more…)
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the birds that migrate through the Mono Basin, experience Mono Lake by moonlight, learn about the ecosystem impacts of recent fires, or find the best places to see the aspen leaves turn gold in the fall? Mono Lake Committee field seminars offer something for everyone—whether you’re just here for a short time and want to spend a half day with an expert instructor or if you’ll be here longer for one of our three-day seminars. There are still over 20 field seminars you can register for through October. Read more about all the seminars that still have space below.
Ever wonder about the carbon storing potential of Tuolumne Meadows? If you have, you’re not so different from our researcher for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Come listen to Lydia Baldwin present her research in Tuolumne Meadows on Wednesday August 9 at 4:00pm to learn more!
Wet meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada that were historically disturbed are currently losing both soil-water holding capacity and the ability to store carbon. These wetlands formerly functioned as sinks of carbon dioxide, but now they could act as significant contributors of CO2 into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the maintenance and addition of carbon to soil can also enhance its capacity to hold water. This refreshing ‘ologist is testing whether the reestablishment of a sedge-dominated community at Tuolumne Meadows, a high-elevation wet meadow in Yosemite National Park, will restore the meadow to a carbon-accumulating ecosystem.
Join us to hear Lydia explain how she monitors gross primary production and plant respiration to create a model of growing season carbon dynamics to determine if these treatments increase the meadow’s carbon storage. Be ready to learn and ready to eat because admission and snacks are both free!
In 2010 the Mono Lake Committee started the process of converting to solar power with nine solar panels installed on the roof of the “ice house” office building, and then added an additional 33 panels to the roof of the bookstore building in 2012. We also took a number of conservation measures, such as switching to LED bulbs in the bookstore, and have been monitoring our usage carefully. By 2016 we had completed our big conservation steps and reduced our annual grid power demand by over 80%.
Despite these reductions, we had a goal to generate all the power needed for the bookstore and offices right here on the property. In late June 2017, Sierra Solar installed 16 more panels, and now that the grid-intertie has been completed, we are expecting to achieve net zero power demand on the grid on an annual basis!
Most of the Committee’s solar panels are largely invisible to members and visitors since they’re atop the bookstore and ice house office roofs. We asked Jim at Sierra Solar to check (more…)
Join us for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation, next Wednesday, July 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery!
Come hear hydrologist Sue Burak give an inside look at the work of an avalanche forecaster, the science behind the forecasts, and the headaches of an avalanche forecaster during a winter when nature put the hammer down in a presentation entitled “Atmospheric Rivers Bring It On: Big Storms & Big Avalanches in a Record-Breaking Winter.” Admission is free and there will be free snacks! (more…)
Over the past winter, the Mono Basin received record levels of snowfall—estimated runoff was at 206% above average for Rush and Lee Vining creeks at the end of May. According to ASO Principal Investigator Dr. Tom Painter, over a three-week span during January the Sierra Nevada received more water than the entire Colorado River basin receives in an average year. In the first week of July Saddlebag Lake Resort reported 12 feet of snow still on the ground—that is a lot of snow for July.
With spring in our pocket and summer upon us, the time has come for warmer weather, and Mono Lake has been at times rising a twentieth of a foot per day. This added up to (more…)
We are excited to announce that we are offering free educational interpretive programs and activities on the front patio of the Mono Lake Committee, Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00am. We will explore topics such as how the Mono Basin formed, bird adaptation, Mono Lake’s changing habitats, following animal tracks, and we’ll also make recycled crafts.
Our forming the Mono Basin program will focus on the different types of rock in the Mono Basin. It will introduce visitors to the varied landscape of the Mono Basin and what makes it so unique. Join us for a chance to make your very own tufa! (more…)