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Trail Chic fashion show fundraiser this Saturday

Thursday, July 18th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

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…)

Uncovering the hidden geologic history of the Mono Basin

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 by Caroline Bottega

On a bright Sunday morning, perched atop an ancient glacial moraine in lower Lundy Canyon, I had the opportunity to see the Mono Lake landscape through a geologist’s eyes.

Guleed Ali points out glacial features in lower Lundy Canyon. Photo by Caroline Bottega.

Armed with topographic maps, Guleed Ali, Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore and friendly face around the field station, began to build the story of Mono Lake and its relationship to the glacier that once sculpted the canyon. (more…)

You don’t need to be a weatherman … but it helps

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant

April 16, 1988 will never share a place of honor alongside key moments in the Mono Lake Committee’s history—such as the date of the California Supreme Court’s public trust ruling (February 17, 1983) or State Water Board Decision 1631 (September 28, 1994). Yet this early spring day 31 years ago represents an important, if little known moment: on that Saturday the Committee started keeping track of the weather.

The first monthly data sheet collected by the Mono Lake Committee in April 1988. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Recording a maximum temperature of 48°F, a minimum of 36°F, and no precipitation, this information formed the first set of observations submitted from the Lee Vining Station to the Cooperative Observer Program at the National Weather Service. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: History, water, and the surprising persistence of the Devils Hole pupfish

Saturday, July 13th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Wednesday, July 17 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Kevin Brown, environmental historian and Mono Lake Committee staff, will discuss the Devils Hole pupfish and water law. Please register here if you can attend this free event!

Devils Hole pupfish. Photo courtesy of Olin Feuerbacher, US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Kevin Brown at Devils Hole, a disjunct segment of Death Valley National Park. Photo courtesy of Kevin Brown.

The Devils Hole pupfish is one of the rarest species in the world, confined to just a single natural habitat in southern Nevada’s Amargosa Desert. Amidst a biodiversity crisis that some are calling the “sixth extinction,” it is worth exploring how is it that the pupfish survived the twentieth century when some of its close neighbors have not. This talk explores the ways that water law has both threatened and protected the pupfish from the 1910s to the present.

Kevin C. Brown is a historian of the environment and the US West. He is completing a book manuscript tentatively titled, Persistence: The Devils Hole Pupfish and Surviving Modern America. He wrote an environmental history of the Devils Hole pupfish for the National Park Service and later worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He earned his doctorate in history at Carnegie Mellon University.

Devils Hole, as seen through the fencing at the viewing platform. Devils Hole is the smallest vertebrate habitat in the world. Photo by Kevin Brown.

Mono Lake in the news: ABC10

Friday, July 12th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

There’s a new video out featuring two Committee staff—Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston and Canoe Coordinator Alison Kaplan! ABC10’s John Bartell visited Mono Lake last month to bring its unique natural history and fascinating political history to viewers of his “Bartell’s Backroads” series:

Nora leads field seminars and custom guided trips on birds, wildflowers, history, geology, and more. Alison leads the Mono Lake canoe tours which are offered on weekend mornings all summer.

This video includes footage taken by a drone, which was obtained under permit. Anyone wishing to fly a drone at Mono Lake for any reason must obtain a permit ahead of time from the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve.

Mono Lake is rising

Monday, July 8th, 2019 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician

Last month we measured Mono Lake’s level as 6382.2 feet above sea level on June 3. This month we measured 6382.7 feet, an impressive half-foot rise. This falls right in line with our “likely range” forecast, with more lake rise to come in July.

A Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center group from Los Angeles touches the lake water at South Tufa. Mono Lake is expected to rise another foot this year. Photo by Miranda Norlin.

Be sure to check back with us in August—hopefully Mono Lake will rise past the 6383-foot threshold.

Refreshing ‘Ologists: A new detection of the threatened Sierra Nevada red fox

Sunday, July 7th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Wednesday, July 10 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Brian Hatfield, California Department of Fish & Wildlife researcher, will be here to discuss recent detection of the Sierra Nevada red fox in California. Please register here if you can attend this free event!

A Sierra Nevada red fox detected by remote camera in Mono Creek. Photo courtesy of Brian Hatfield.

The Sierra Nevada red fox (SNRF) is a subspecies of red fox native to the high-elevation regions of California and Oregon. Until recently (more…)

Following Mill Creek water rights

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

Mill Creek, Mono Lake’s third-largest tributary, is unique in the Mono Basin because it was never diverted to Los Angeles. Mill Creek is also the heart of one of the Eastern Sierra’s natural treasures, Lundy Canyon, where it flows from the Sierra crest through waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and beaver dams, into and out of Lundy Lake Reservoir, and through rare wooded wetlands before it reaches Mono Lake.

Mill Creek and the Wilson system flow through the north part of the Mono Basin. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Upper Mill Creek is healthy as evidenced by streamside forests and flows consistent with other Eastern Sierra streams. But downstream of Lundy Reservoir—especially in the (more…)

Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day with local students

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 by Rose, Education Director

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was established in 1993 to connect people who live in important migratory bird wetland habitats from across the globe. It is a celebration of these various ecosystems, the birds that inhabit them, and the people who are trying to help save these wetlands.

Lee Vining Elementary School students birding at the County Park boardwalk for World Migratory Bird Day. Photo by Rose Nelson.

This spring the Mono Lake Committee partnered with students from our local Lee Vining Elementary School to celebrate WMBD and discuss this year’s theme:  Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution. The goal of WMBD 2019 is to (more…)

The sound of the fury

Monday, July 1st, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant

There are a number of ways to picture from afar the torrent of water heading downhill from the Sierra Nevada toward Mono Lake right now. One is to review data on the rapidly dwindling snowpack at Tioga Pass, some of which is destined for the lake.  Another is to check in on DWP’s real time streamflow monitoring, which quantifies in cubic feet per second how much water the creeks are carrying. And depending on shadows and leaf, it is even possible to glimpse Mill Creek itself from an overhead webcam.

All of these tools provide critical information for the Mono Lake Committee, DWP, and stream scientists. But they also all seem sterile in comparison to actually standing next to a creek flowing at 50, 100, or even 350 cubic feet per second. The reason, I think, is that they have no sound. And to traipse along one of the swollen creeks pouring out of the Sierra and into the Mono Basin this summer is to be awash in sound.

The author recording Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Kevin Brown.

To capture this auditory landscape, I spent a recent morning along the Lee Vining Creek Trail—not a half-mile from the Committee office—with my microphone, headphones, and field recorder. (more…)

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