So far January has been a wonderfully snowy month, bringing precipitation to the Mono Basin that we haven’t seen for six years, since the beginning of the recent drought. We thought some photos of the snow-covered basin might be in order…. (more…)
Mono Lake Committee hydrologists estimate that the series of atmospheric river storms we’ve been experiencing over the last week has brought enough water to the Mono Basin to raise Mono Lake by six inches.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, this lake level rise is very good news for the Mono Lake ecosystem, and it also means that some water will flow south to Los Angeles in 2017. Before these storms, the lake was low enough that it was looking likely that no water exports would be allowed.
As Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin says in today’s LA Times video, “This event is going to keep the lake protected and it’s going to keep that water flowing to the city.” Thanks, atmospheric river—that’s a win-win!
The atmospheric river keeps on giving! For nearly a week now, Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra have been receiving heavy snow and rain, which is great news for these drought-parched areas. But it does bring complications for people living and traveling here.
Start the year with a full moon photography seminar at the shore of Mono Lake!
• The Forgotten Season • January 13–15, 2017 •
The towering snow-covered Sierra, frosted tufa towers, eerie poconip fog, and bright moonlight will make for unique photographic opportunities.
Experienced workshop instructor Joe Decker will be teaching the seminar, which will feature a special gourmet dinner from chef Linda Dore at her new restaurant, Epic Cafe. The combination of stunning winter scenery, expert instruction, and tasty food is not one to be missed.
To sign up, register online or call (760) 647-6595.
Mono Lake’s California Gulls and coyotes appear in the winter issue of Audubon Magazine, in an article by Jane Braxton Little: Amidst California Drought, Coyotes Creep Closer to Mono Lake’s Gull Colonies.
Little spoke with Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin and local Point Blue Conservation Science researcher Kristie Nelson about plans to install a temporary electric fence across the emerging landbridge, intended to deter coyotes from reaching the gulls’ nesting islets. You can support the fence project here.
Little hit the nail on the head, writing, “Even if the fence thwarts the coyotes, the basic predicament at Mono Lake isn’t predators eating prey: It’s the loss of water.” So while we prepare to build the fence we’ll also be watching the weather closely for any sign of a break in this record-setting California drought.
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…)
Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has closed for a second time this fall due to inclement weather. There is currently no estimated opening date.
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!
At Cain Ranch, a precipitation station five miles south of Lee Vining that is representative of precipitation patterns on Mono Lake, October 2016 precipitation was 2.1 inches. This was the fifth-wettest October since 1931 and about 325% of average. Two of those other wet Octobers occurred in 2009 and 2010.
October 2016 was also the sixth-wettest month at Cain Ranch in the last decade, and curiously three of those months were the Octobers mentioned above. The other three months that were wetter than October 2016 were December 2010 and 2012 and May 2015. Aside from the wet Decembers, this pattern is unusual, since December and January and February are usually the wettest months of the year.
The rain in the last week raised all the creek flows and also raised Mono Lake from 6377.12 to 6377.19 feet above sea level, putting it back on track with the lake level forecast DWP made in the spring.