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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…)

Still time to help with restoration at Mono Lake

Thursday, August 24th, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake Intern
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The Mono Lake Committee’s invasive removal project has been running all summer long, and there is one more opportunity to get involved!

Committee Restoration Field Technician, Robbie, demonstrates how to identify white sweet clover during an invasive plant removal workday near Old Marina. Photo by Michael Morris.

Ava and I have been leading invasive plant removal workdays at Old Marina—focusing on removing invasive white sweet clover. Join us on Wednesday, August 30 from 9:00am to 12:00pm for the last restoration day of the season! We will meet at the Mono Lake Committee, then carpool to the location we’ll be weeding. Please bring close-toed shoes, sun protection, plenty of water, and a snack. And of course, be sure to stick around afterwards for a picnic lunch. (more…)

The Trail Chic fashion show is this Saturday!

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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You’re just going to have to trust us when we say, “you do not want to miss this fashion show!”

 

When: Saturday, August 26 at 7:30pm
Where: Lee Vining Community Center
What: An AstroTurf runway, the latest in trail fashion, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly (for a donation), trail snacks, and a silent auction.
Admission: FREE! (but bring your wallet to support the cause)

The funds raised support the (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Aquatic restoration & management with Colleen Kamoroff

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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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.

A frog in the aquatic habitat Colleen is working to study and manage. Photo courtesy of Colleen Kamoroff.

DNA obtained from filtered water samples is often referred to as aquatic environmental DNA or eDNA. eDNA is a promising tool for monitoring (more…)

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