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2018 lake level forecast: Will Mono Lake rise or drop this year?

Friday, April 20th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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In April, once a new runoff year (April 1 to March 31) has begun, the Mono Lake Committee forecasts what Mono Lake’s level is likely to do over the next year. And the answer? According to our forecast, Mono Lake is likely to drop a little less than a foot.

This graph shows the range of possible Mono Lake elevations for the time period of April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The “highest likely” and “lowest likely” projections are produced by Committee modeling using historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can reasonably be expected given current conditions. Mono Lake Committee graph (click to enlarge).

To forecast Mono Lake’s level for a whole runoff year, we read the lake level gauge on April 1 to get the starting point, and then factor the runoff forecast into the equation to predict what Mono Lake might do going forward. When we read the lake level gauge on April 1 together with staff from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power the lake was 6381.9 feet above sea level. As of April 16 the runoff forecast is 85% of average. Using those two data points, plus historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can be reasonably expected given current conditions, our modeling indicates that the most probable lake level for March 31, 2019 is 6381.1 feet above sea level.

Buy your ticket now for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Buy your ticket now so you can join us in early May halfway up Mammoth Mountain … for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner!

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

This year we’ll present the Andrea Lawrence Award to Phil Pister, retired California Department of Fish & Wildlife fishery biologist for the Eastern Sierra. Phil is a visionary desert pupfish and golden trout conservationist, has been an agent of positive ecological change, and is an advocate for and teacher of environmental ethics—he embodies the spirit of the award, which celebrates passionate engagement in community and the land.

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as we celebrate Phil. Reserve your tickets with a $75 donation online here, or by calling (760) 647-6595 by Monday, April 16. We hope to see you there!

Farewell to Mono Lake advocate Genny Smith, 1922-2018

Saturday, March 17th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive Director
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Genny Smith, 1922–2018. Photo courtesy of Genny Smith.

On Sunday, March 4, the Eastern Sierra lost a lifelong champion with the passing of writer and conservationist Genny Smith at age 96.

Genny played a key role in protecting Mono Lake, getting involved in 1982 as a Board member of the young Mono Lake Committee at a time when court battles with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power were heating up. She was a strong advocate for protecting the special wild places that make California so wonderful, and she had the determination and strategic thinking to turn such lofty goals into real accomplishments. She helped hone the strategy of recruiting members to the cause, making sure that the Committee was building a coalition of people who cared about Mono Lake for the long haul. In later years as a Board Member Emeritus she was always available to give advice—and inspiration—on the continuing efforts to protect this place. (more…)

This year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles—a wild success

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Every March, Mono Lake Committee staff make their annual migration to the southern end of the aqueduct to host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles. The event serves as a way to connect with members and friends in Los Angeles as well as a fundraiser for the Committee’s Outdoor Education Center programs.

Committee staff with a student volunteer who will be participating in the OEC program this May. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

This year, in an effort to reach more potential members, we switched to two new venues—the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and the Sierra Madre Playhouse. The showings at both venues were a huge success! (more…)

Save the date: Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner is May 4, 2018

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Save the date! Plan to join the Mono Lake Committee in commemorating Andrea Lawrence and her continuing legacy in the Eastern Sierra with the presentation of the Andrea Lawrence Award celebrating passionate engagement in community and the land.

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as well as a celebration of the Andrea Lawrence Award recipient.

Volunteer at Mono Lake this coming summer

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Each summer, over 70 volunteers each commit to eight hours a month, June through August, speaking with visitors at Mono Lake. These volunteers are the eyes and ears at Mono Lake during the busiest season, and the visitor experience wouldn’t be the same without each volunteer.

Volunteers celebrate their graduation from training last June. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

We are now recruiting volunteers for this coming summer. In addition to roving at the lake, volunteers also assist the Mono Lake Committee with membership mailings, give talks at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center patio, pull invasive plant species, and much more.

One of the benefits of volunteering for Mono Lake is the (more…)

All 2018 Mono Lake Field Seminars posted online

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2018 Field Seminars is now available online hereRegistration opens at 9:00am on Thursday, February 1.

Summer and fall are wonderful seasons for exploring the Mono Basin on a Field Seminar. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

This year’s slate of 40 Field Seminars includes one-day, half-day, and multi-day options, and spans many topics: astrophotography, botany, mining history, butterflies, oil painting, basketry, woodpeckers, geology, fire ecology, and more.

We have brought back several popular workshops: (more…)

New book: Naming Mt. Thoreau, and book reading in Berkeley

Saturday, January 13th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director
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We are excited to announce the release of a very special new book, Naming Mt. Thoreau, edited by Laurie Glover with contributions from Michael Blumlein, Dick Bryan, Darryl DeVinney, Hilary Gordon, Tom Killion, Paul Park, Kim Stanley Robinson, Carter Scholz, Gary Snyder, Christopher Woodcock, and David Robertson.

The cover of Artemisia Press’s newest release. Cover image: “Mt. Thoreau from Piute Pass” by Tom Killion (c) 2017.

In the fall of 2014 this notable group of friends gathered to summit USGS Sierra Nevada peak 12,691 with the idea of renaming it “Mt. Thoreau” in honor of naturalist, philosopher, transcendentalist, and author Henry David Thoreau. Actually going through the process to formally name a peak is a daunting task, and I’d be willing to guess that this thoughtful group felt that the act of getting together with a common purpose, climbing the peak, and then writing about it was a better—and more apt—path to the same goal.

Naming Mt. Thoreau is a beautiful and thoughtfully-crafted collection of essays, poems, and reflections. And it is also precisely not what you just imagined upon reading the previous sentence. I am willing to bet that readers will (1) think of this book the next time you climb a mountain in the Sierra, (2) discover something new and unexpected about Thoreau, and (3) feel less like you’re reading an account of someone else’s journey and more like you’re a member of the group.

When author Laurie Glover floated the idea of the Mono Lake Committee publishing Naming Mt. Thoreau we knew we had to figure out a way to make it happen. We are so glad we did—not only did the contributors donate their work in hopes that the sale of the book would raise funds for the Committee, but we are very happy to be able to offer this little gem of a book to the world.

There will be a book reading with the authors on Sunday, January 21 at 7:00pm at Moe’s Books in Berkeley with Committee board and staff members in addition to the authors and contributors. Please join us if you can.

2018 Mono Lake calendar essay: Turning the Tide

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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This essay, written by Vern Gersh, appears in the 2018 Mono Lake Calendar.

“Least and Western sandpipers in Flight.” Photo courtesy of Alice Atwood.

“Never give up for that is the time and place that the tide will turn.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe

Forty years ago, in the Eastern Sierra, the tide was running. Like all tides it ran in one direction. Its flow must have seemed inexorable as the waters of life were sucked away.

Shakespeare referred to living in “the tide of times.” The tide that has been running strongest in my life is the stream of change. When I was born in 1955 there were half as many humans on the planet. Nothing human-made orbited the earth. There were fewer than 600 pizza parlors in the entire United States. The majority of Americans shared their phone line with a neighbor. You would dial that phone and were tethered to it with a cord. There was one Mexican restaurant in the city of half a million Americans where I was born.

Forty years ago, when the Mono Lake Committee was born (more…)

Every drop counts—make a 2017 donation now!

Friday, December 29th, 2017 by Geoff, Executive Director
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Photo courtesy of Matt Ludin.

As I look back on 2017, I see many reasons to celebrate Mono Lake’s recovery and the programs of the Mono Lake Committee, which you make possible. It was a truly remarkable year—complete with a record winter and Mono Lake rising over four feet!

From protecting the California Gull colony by putting up a temporary fence on the landbridge, to monitoring the streams during the biggest water year on record, to supporting aerial Eared Grebe surveys, to introducing thousands of students and visitors to Mono Lake and the inspiring lessons it offers, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Even as we celebrate progress made, new management challenges and protection issues are constantly arising. The Committee works year-round to protect and restore Mono Lake, its tributary streams, and your favorite places in the Mono Basin, and we need your support to keep going strong in the year ahead. We hope you will consider making a year-end donation to help these ongoing efforts.

Making a donation is quick and easy—click the button below or give us a call at (760) 647-6595. Thank you!

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