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How much is Mono Lake going to rise or fall this year?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

It’s that time of year again, when all eyes are on the Sierra snowpack, the level of Mono Lake, and spreadsheets.

How much will Mono Lake rise or fall this year? Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Just imagining this winter’s snowpack flowing down Mono Basin streams this spring brings a gleeful sigh of relief. But … spreadsheets? Yep, because spreadsheets, forecast models, experts, and in-depth Mono Basin hydrologic knowledge, when carefully woven together, are how we figure out the big question for Mono Lake: how much is the lake going to rise or fall this year?

You can see the full (more…)

February 2019 was Lee Vining’s snowiest February on record

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Wow! With 53.3″ of snowfall, February 2019 was Lee Vining’s snowiest February on record. The Lee Vining record begins in 1989, with the previous record 49.0″ of total snowfall in February 1998.

February 2019 was Lee Vining’s snowiest February on record, and included days when it was possible to ski along the shore of Mono Lake. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Total snowfall for January and February 2019 was the third-largest on record with 78.5″, lagging behind the same time-frame in 2008 with 91.4″ of snow and 1993 with 81.2″ of snow. Snowfall this past February was 313% of average, and the January–February total was 209% of average. The (more…)

A storm to remember

Sunday, February 10th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Last Friday, February 1st, a few snowflakes began to fall as we were leaving work for the day. Anticipating the forecasted storm, Mono Lake Committee staff hurried home to make sure woodpiles were covered and houses were ready for “the big storm.” And what a storm it was!

Day one at the Information Center & Bookstore. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

It started out slow, with only 4 inches of wet heavy snow falling overnight, but by Sunday, the temperatures had dropped and 9 more inches of dry fluffy snow had (more…)

Take a guided trip to experience the majesty of winter at Mono Lake

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

With the winter solstice behind us, winter has officially begun and the days are getting longer! Join us here at Mono Lake for the Winter Ecology field seminar on February 9, 2019 for a guided trip into the mysteries of the winter season.

We’ve had a few winter storms already and we are hoping for lots more! Winter is a unique time to visit the Mono Basin—it’s a time for quiet solitude and reflection, for exploring curiosities on a smaller scale than during the bustle of summer.

Snow blankets Lee Vining canyon. Photo by Nora Livingston.

One question I hear people ask a lot is “what do animals and birds do to survive in the winter when snow covers the ground or it is so cold that we humans need to add several extra layers to stay warm enough?” (more…)

Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass closing this week

Monday, November 19th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

With the first winter storm in the forecast this week, the National Park Service has announced that Tioga Pass (Highway 120 west) will close at 6:00pm tomorrow, Tuesday, November 20.

Tioga Pass will close tomorrow evening at 6:00pm due to incoming winter weather. Photo by Bartshe Miller from February 15, 2018.

In addition, Caltrans has announced that Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4) will close at 3:00pm tomorrow and Sonora Pass (Highway 108) will close at noon on Wednesday, November 21. Both agencies have noted that these closures are not necessarily the long-term seasonal closures yet. There are no expected re-opening times for the roads; that is weather-dependent.

Guided trips to the best fall color spots at Mono Lake

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

We had our first few fall color trips of the year this past week, and it is beyond gorgeous out there! The higher elevations (8,500′–10,000′) have some beautiful patches of red, yellow, and orange groves, and we just got dusted with the first snow of the season on tall peaks along the crest. Now the color is moving down the slopes—the canyons and creeks in the Mono Basin will be glowing in the next two weeks.

Join Nora Livingston to visit the best fall color locations in the Mono Basin right now. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Want to learn more about the science behind fall colors and the natural history of these amazing trees that paint our mountains gold and crimson in the fall? Come join me on our Fall Color Foray field seminars and experience them for yourself—October 11 and 15, 8:00am to 12:00noon. I am also available for custom fall color tours to take you to the best spots for viewing and photography. (more…)

Learn about the hot topic of wildfire in the Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar

Monday, August 27th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the role of fire in California, our upcoming field seminar, Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra, is the place to jump in. After a summer when wildfires have made news all over California and the western US, spend September 15–16, 2018 in the field with fire expert Malcolm North to learn about this powerful force. Sign up here.

The Marina Fire burns on the west side of Mono Lake in June 2016. The site of the Marina Fire will be one of the stops in this seminar. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

It has been a hot summer for wildfires in California, and while fires are vital to maintaining healthy forests in much of the western US, many modern fires burn differently than the fires forests evolved with. What is the current wildfire situation (more…)

Celebrate clean air with a discount on Mono Lake canoe tours

Friday, August 17th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

The Ferguson Fire, which started burning on July 13, 2018 near the western edge of Yosemite National Park, is finally nearing full containment after over a month of hard work by firefighters and response crews. Yosemite Valley was closed for almost two weeks due to road closures and hazardous air quality, but the valley has officially reopened to the public. While the Ferguson Fire is still burning, it is 87% contained as of August 17 and air quality within the park as well as in the surrounding gateway communities has improved drastically.

Anna, Mono Lake Intern, prepares to lead a smoky canoe tour on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Here at the Mono Lake Committee we were lucky to have clean enough air in the mornings to run all of our scheduled canoe tours despite the generally poor air quality, but visibility was low and views of the surrounding mountains were scarce. (more…)

Mudslides close the June Lake Loop (Highway 158)

Saturday, August 4th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

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…)

Mud and rock slides in Lundy Canyon

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

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…)

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