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Refreshing ‘Ologists: Water law plus geology with Craig Jones

Sunday, October 8th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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This Wednesday, October 11 at 4:00pm is our last Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation of the year. Join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to hear from Craig Jones, a geologist at the University of Colorado, about the relationship between water law and geology at Mono Lake and how both have had significant effects on how the lake has evolved over time.

Geologist Craig Jones will talk about how the Sierra Nevada west of Mono Lake affect the climate in the Mono Basin. Photo by Ava Stavros.

Years ago, to acquire water exports from the Mono Basin, Los Angeles used California water laws that first emerged in the goldfields of the western Sierra. These laws allowed for (more…)

Early-bird Mono Lake Free Drawing winner, plus more chances to win

Thursday, October 5th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Last week we drew the winner of the early-bird Free Drawing prize—congratulations to Orlene Kelting of Hawthorne, California, who won tickets to the Taste of Yosemite event!

I drew the winning name for this year’s early bird prize: a Taste of Yosemite Package for two! Photo by Maureen McGlinchy.

It’s not too late too late to get your tickets in for a chance to win as well—we’ll be drawing all the other winners in mid-December. This year you can win one of over two dozen incredible prizes including vacation packages, a Cali4nia ski pass, Patagonia gear, and much more. (more…)

Mono Lake Committee book signing: Author & artist Obi Kaufmann

Monday, September 25th, 2017 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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We hope you’ll take a break from your fall color viewing and join us for a book signing with California author, artist, and naturalist Obi Kaufmann on Sunday, October 1 at the Mono Lake Committee.

Obi will be presenting and signing his new book, The California Field Atlas, which is a striking volume full of watercolor maps and illustrations of California’s spectacular geography and wildlife, with fascinating information about this amazing and diverse state. Come in and pick up a signed copy of the book for yourself or a friend, chat with the author, and enjoy refreshments from 3:00–5:00pm. We hope to see you there!

Map of the ecological regions of California from The California Field Atlas by Obi Kaufman.

Mono Basin fall colors are just around the corner

Sunday, September 17th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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I saw my first yellow leaves the other day, just a few golden specks fluttering amidst a sea of vibrant green along the June Lake Loop, and it got me very excited for fall.

Leaves are just starting to change from green to yellow and red. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Fall is perhaps my favorite time of year in the Mono Basin. It’s like the whole ecosystem relaxes, it takes a deep breath after the constant rush of summer and lets it all go. The air is crisp and clear, the sagebrush sea becomes silent after its birds have flown south, the aspen leaves flutter gold, and the clouds put on spectacular broody shows most evenings.

Each week in fall is unique because of the changing leaves in each individual canyon and hilltop—one week they are still lime green, the next they may be neon yellow, the next buttercream with ruddy streaks like flames licking up a log. When the leaves (more…)

Results are in for the 37th annual Tioga Pass Run

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake Intern
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Last Sunday, September 10, 132 runners and walkers challenged themselves to ascend the 12.4 miles of the Tioga Pass during this year’s annual Tioga Pass Run. This was another successful year for the epic event, where the participants start in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finish at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, gaining 3,165 feet of elevation along the way to the top.

Runners make their way up Highway 120 west with the horizon dominated by the Dana Plateau. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Kenny Palmer of Mammoth Lakes won the overall race this year with a time of 1:37:31. Jessica Francois, a Lee Vining local and (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: How trout affect bird species at high-elevation lakes with Mary Clapp

Sunday, September 10th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, September 13 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. UC Davis researcher Mary Clapp will be here to discuss her ongoing research on the impacts of introduced trout on the native bird community in the high-elevation lake basins of the Sierra Nevada. Her work focuses on the connection between water and land by using acoustic recorders to remotely capture lakeside activity by birds and bats.

Researcher Mary Clapp is studying high-elevation lakes like this one to see if trout introduction is affecting the bird communities. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Introduced trout prey on native aquatic insects like mayflies and stoneflies, thus depleting the abundance and diversity of those insects in fish-containing lakes. These insects have a winged adult life-stage, at which point they become available to terrestrial predators (birds and bats) as a valuable food source.

Mary is testing the hypothesis that trout are therefore in competition with birds for this insect food, and that as a result, bird activity is greater at fishless lakes where aquatic insect emergences remain abundant. She will discuss a few different approaches to analyzing acoustic data, the benefits and limits of the technology, and how it compares with traditional survey methods. Her talk is entitled “Investigating the Impacts of Introduced Trout on the Native Bird at High-Elevation Lakes.”

If you’re interested, join us in the gallery at 4:00pm on Wednesday for this free presentation and free snacks!

Lee Vining gets Trail Chic for a great cause

Friday, September 8th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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This year’s Trail Chic fashion show was a huge success!

The fashion show is a ton of fun and raises funds for the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center Access Fund that helps us bring underserved youth to the Mono Basin for five-day trips full of life-changing outdoor activities while they learn about the source of their water.

Some of the runway models pose before show time. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Thank you to everyone who attended, all of our runway models, Patagonia for donating silent suction items, and the Mono Market for donating trail snacks. A special thanks to Randy Arnold and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly for donating the wine that helps make this event so successful! (more…)

Canoe on Mono Lake this Labor Day weekend

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe Coordinator
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Even if you have been on a Mono Lake Committee canoe tour or a guided walking tour before, being on Mono Lake this year is unlike any other year prior.

Experience Mono Lake by canoe this holiday weekend—tours are offered at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am on Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Mono Lake has risen over three feet so far this year—come and experience the clarity and beauty of the waters off of South Tufa with visibility up to six feet deep. As you canoe on one of the oldest lakes on the continent you’ll be surrounded by views of the youngest mountain range in North America (the Mono Craters), the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, and majestic islands created by volcanic activity. We also share the importance of how (more…)

Seminar spotlight: Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake Intern
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Fire has been shaping Eastern Sierra landscapes for centuries. Human interactions with fire in the Western United States have greatly influenced wildfire type, severity, and its effect on forest ecosystems, creating management challenges across the region. If you are interested in learning more about wildfire and its role in shaping forest ecosystems, you’re in luck! There are still spots available in Malcolm North’s Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar, coming up September 9–10.

Smoke was visible at South Tufa in August 2016 as the Clark Fire burned south of the Mono Basin. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra • September 9–10 • $155 per person/$140 for members • sign up here • view full itinerary here (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Tuolumne River ecology below Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with Jeff Holmquist

Saturday, August 26th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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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?

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Photo by Noel Morata.

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…)

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