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We miss you, Rick Knepp

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

Last week Mono Lake lost a dedicated admirer and tireless advocate with the passing of photographer Richard Knepp.

Mono Lake advocate and admirer Richard Knepp passed away this week. Photo courtesy of Barbara Hartford.

Rick fell in love with Mono Lake and began working for the Mono Lake Committee in 1992, helped the Committee through the renovation of the Information Center & Bookstore in 1993, worked to elevate the Mono Lake Calendar, and was the voice in the popular Mono Lake Story slideshow, but he is probably best known as a photography field seminar instructor. Rick’s photography students would follow him anywhere—from the icy shores of Mono Lake for sub-zero-degree sunrises, to the rocky waterfall embankments along Mono’s tributary streams, into the abandoned buildings at Bodie State Historical Park, and up to the Jeffrey pine forest shrouded in poconip fog. (more…)

Shop Mono Lake this holiday season

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 by Barbara, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

With Thanksgiving next week comes the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. The 2014 Fall Mono Lake Newsletter (and with it our holiday catalog) went out to 17,000 people earlier this month. We’ve stocked up—way up!—on shipping supplies. The Committee shopping elves are poised to answer the phone for your orders!

As you think about holiday giving, think about the ability to give twice. If you purchase a gift from the Mono Lake Committee, you’re not only giving that gift to your friend or relative. You’re also giving it back to Mono Lake by helping to support our work. (more…)

Mono Lake @ 20: Articles and resources

Friday, November 14th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

On Monday, November 17th, the Mono Lake @ 20 Symposium in Sacramento will be a highlight in a year’s worth of celebrations of the 20th anniversary of State Water Board Decision 1631, more commonly known as the decision to save Mono Lake.

Photo by Sandra Noll.

We’ve given some thought to the importance and significance of the decision both at Mono Lake and beyond, and in the past as well as looking to the future. For those of you who are attending the Mono Lake @ 20 Symposium, or if you are generally interested in learning more, we’ve gathered some resources here: (more…)

Fall 2014 Mono Lake Newsletter now available online

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

On behalf of the entire Mono Lake Committee staff I’m excited to announce that the Fall 2014 edition of the Mono Lake Newsletter is now available online! Every time we ready the Newsletter to go to press I write a short letter from the editor that appears on page 2—it’s a welcome message, and an introduction to the issue. Here’s how it goes this time:


Recently my friend John Anderson came by for a visit and said a surprising thing: “The lake is so high!” It was the only time I heard that this year. As a member of the 1979 California Gull research crew when the lake level was 6373.4 feet above sea level, his comment makes more sense, and was a good reminder to keep things in perspective here at 6379.3. (more…)

Mono Lake at 20 symposium in Sacramento

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

Water nerds unite! You’re not going to want to miss this opportunity: the Mono Lake at 20: Past, Present, and Future symposium on November 17, 2014 in Sacramento, California.

What: 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the California State Water Resources Control Board’s landmark Decision 1631 to amend the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s water rights in order to protect Mono Lake and its tributary streams. So we have joined with UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Institute for Water Law & Policy and stakeholders in the Mono Lake cases to convene this symposium to discuss where things stand after 20 years, including: (more…)

Harrison “Hap” Dunning honored with 2014 Defender of the Trust Award

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee has a celebrated tradition of honoring individuals who champion Mono Lake and advocate for the public trust with the Defender of the Trust Award. The California Supreme Court’s definition of the public trust doctrine in its landmark 1983 Mono Lake decision goes: “The public trust is an affirmation of the duty of the state to protect the people’s common heritage of streams, lakes, marshlands and tidelands….”

2014 Defender of the Trust awardee Hap Dunning, right, with Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin. Photo by Elin Ljung.

On September 27, 2014 the Committee honored Harrison “Hap” Dunning with the 2014 Defender of the Trust Award here in the Mono Basin. Hap accepted the award during a dinner in his honor. IStorm Over Mono, author John Hart wrote, “The notion that [the public trust doctrine] might be applied to curtail water rights was truly novel. There appears to have been just one other person in California in the mid-1970s who was aware of this possibility: Harrison C. Dunning, a law professor at the University of California at Davis….”

Since the 1970s, Hap has been a leading voice for California water law reform. (more…)

Call for photo submissions: 2016 Mono Lake Calendar

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

Since 1986, the magnificent geological and ecological wonders of Mono Lake have been celebrated in the Mono Lake Calendar, published by the Mono Lake Committee. Sales of the calendar help to fund the efforts of our non-profit organization to protect and restore Mono Lake and its tributary streams.

The call for submissions for the 2016 Mono Lake Calendar is open until Friday, November 21, 2014.

We’ve simplified and streamlined the submission requirementscheck them out and send us your photos today!


Two Mono Lake anniversaries today, 20 and 30 years ago

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

September 28 is a day that figures large in the Mono Lake story. On this day in 1994 the California State Water Resources Control Board issued Decision 1631, often known as the decision to save Mono Lake. And on this day in 1984 the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area was created, at the time the only designation of its kind in the country.

The California State Water Resources Control Board on September 28, 1994, the day the Board voted unanimously to protect Mono Lake through Decision 1631. Mono Lake Committee archive photo.

In 1994, after 43 days of testimony about Mono Lake, the five-member State Water Board unanimously adopted Decision 1631, which set permanent streamflows for Mono Basin streams and a lake level of 6,392 feet to protect Mono Lake’s public trust values (more…)

Mono Lake Committee Adopt-a-Highway cleanup day

Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Lily, Project Specialist

Calling all volunteers and good citizens in the Lee Vining area! Monday, September 22 is the date of the Mono Lake Committee’s Adopt-a-Highway cleanup event. Participants will meet at the Mono Lake Committee at 9:00am and work together to clean up a one-mile stretch of Highway 395 until noon.

Adopt-a-Highway volunteers are needed on Monday, September 22 for this year's cleanup! Photo by Rose Catron.

Fashionable neon vests, snacks, and water will be provided for volunteers; but the biggest reward is preventing trash and recycling from cluttering the road and polluting our waterways. Long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy shoes are a must; and a hat, sunscreen, and water bottle are highly recommended. If you want to help clean up a portion of Highway 395, or if you would like more information feel free to contact Lily at the Mono Lake Committee at (760)647-6595.

Summer 2014 Mono Lake Newsletter available online

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director

Well, the forecasts, measurements, and calculations are in, and it looks like Mono Lake is going to drop somewhere in the ballpark of a foot and a half this summer. Ouch.

Here at the Mono Lake Committee we are collectors of lake level stories. They help us paint a picture of this place informed by more than just our own experiences. They’re benchmarks, data points of a different variety. Of course, we can crunch numbers and come up with an accurate answer to the question of what a drop of a foot and a half will look like, but in some ways, an exact measurement is not exactly what we’re looking for. (more…)

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