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Seventh Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner honors Ted Schade, features Marcie Edwards

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 by Lily, Project Specialist
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On April 24th community members, friends, and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain’s Parallax Restaurant to commemorate Andrea’s life and those who embody her spirit of community and conservationism through the presentation of the Andrea Lawrence Award.

Quentin Lawrence, Ted Schade, and Geoff McQuilkin with Ted's Andrea Lawrence Award. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Quentin Lawrence, Ted Schade, and Geoff McQuilkin with Ted’s Andrea Lawrence Award. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Andrea was a visionary environmental leader, two-time Olympic gold medalist, mother of five, 16-year Mono County Supervisor, and Mono Lake Committee board member. Since her passing in 2009, the Mono Lake Committee has hosted the Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner to celebrate her influential life and those who continue to improve and protect the Eastern Sierra through their passionate engagement with community and the land. (more…)

Love Mono Lake? Volunteer this summer!

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 by Jessica, Office Manager
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The Mono Lake Committee, US Forest Service, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, California State Parks, and the Bodie Foundation are teaming up to sponsor the twelfth season of our Mono Lake Volunteer Program this summer. Volunteers will have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and share their knowledge of the Eastern Sierra. It’s a great way to learn about Mono Lake while getting to know fellow volunteers and giving back to the area.

The Mono Lake Volunteer program partners celebrate last year's new volunteer graduates. Photo by Rose Catron.

The Mono Lake Volunteer program partners celebrate last year’s new volunteer graduates. Photo by Rose Catron.

Mono Lake volunteers are an essential part of the interpretation and overall guest experience at Mono Lake. Every year, volunteers connect with (more…)

April 1 lake level means reduced water exports to LA, more protection for Mono Lake

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 by Geoff, Executive Director
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This morning Mono Lake Committee staff met with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) personnel to conduct the official annual April 1 reading of the lake level together. The consensus: Mono Lake stands at 6379.01 feet above sea level.

DWP's Brian Norris and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Elin Ljung.

DWP’s Brian Norris and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lake has declined to a level at which water exports to Los Angeles are, by the terms of the State Water Board’s rules, automatically reduced by 70%. DWP will be limited to 4,500 acre-feet of water export, a lake-protecting restriction that no one, until recently, thought would ever be activated again. It was a solemn, though not unexpected outcome, given that California’s drought is entering its fourth year and the Mono Lake watershed is officially classified as being under “exceptional” drought. (more…)

Conway Ranch easement finalized: Another era for the north Mono Basin begins

Monday, March 16th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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After two years of public meetings with diverse stakeholders, numerous field visits, and countless rounds of legal review and revision, the Conway Ranch Conservation Easement was signed and recorded by the Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) and Mono County on December 1, 2014.

A new easement allows for both open space preservation and also limited economic activity at Conway Ranch. Photo by Emily Prud'homme.

A new easement allows for both open space preservation and also limited economic activity at Conway Ranch. Photo by Emily Prud’homme.

The two parties successfully worked out myriad easement details with the dual goals of protecting open space and wildlife habitat while allowing for limited economic activities, specifically fish rearing and sheep grazing. (more…)

Winter & Spring 2015 Mono Lake Newsletter now available online

Sunday, March 1st, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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Newsletter-2015-Winter-&-SpringWe were talking about the dropping level of Mono Lake. Geoff was at his desk, Lisa was perched in her regular spot on the blue steps, Bartshe was leaning on the door jamb, Jess and Elin were on folding chairs, and Greg and I were on the speaker phone delicately balanced on a small stool—all within the space of about ten square feet.

During the discussion I was struck by the fact that when we talk about the lake level we almost always use “we” instead of “it.” “If the lake drops one foot we’ll be at….” “If we get the wettest March on record, where would that put us on April 1?” The whole staff does it. Mono Lake Committee founder David Gaines famously wrote, “We are Mono Lake.” And I don’t want to be overly groovy about it, but here we are many years and many lake levels later saying the same thing without even realizing we’re doing it. But it’s so true—when the lake rises we are proud. When the lake drops we take it hard.

So … we are at 6379′. If we are still below 6380′ on April 1 water exports from the Mono Basin will be reduced from 16,000 to 4,500 acre-feet. That’s a lot of water, and the fact that this reduction in water supply to Los Angeles is happening after three consecutive years of drought is anything but a lucky coincidence. Many people over many years have worked tirelessly, and with enough foresight to plan ahead for this lake level. And many people have conserved water with hopes of avoiding the lake getting this low again. This keeps us going, and inspires us no matter what lake level we’re at.

And the Wild & Scenic Los Angeles film lineup is….

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Oscars are behind us, which means that it’s time to slip on your comfy jeans and beloved fleece for the Mono Lake Committee’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival in El Segundo on March 5th.

And the official film lineup for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Los Angeles is….

  • The Ridge — Ride to the top of Inaccessible Pinnacle in the Isle of Skye with street cyclist Danny MacAskill. The feat itself is breathtaking, the scenery, spectacular, the cycling, stunning. (8 minutes)
  • Yosemite Nature Notes: Birdsongs — “It would be a pretty boring Yosemite without birdsong” ruminates ornithologist and ranger Sarah Stock. Take a quick trip to Mono Lake’s backyard with Yosemite National Park rangers—see the species as the rangers identify them by their songs. It’s amazing! (6 minutes)
  • American Lawn — This film is unique in how it looks at the relationships Americans have with their lawns. There isn’t an ounce of didactic in the film, making it a refreshingly thought-provoking experience. (11 minutes)
  • Delta Dawn — Did you know that on March 23, 2014 hydrologists released a gigantic pulse of water from the last dam on the Colorado River, and for a short period of time, the Colorado reached the sea? The film is a joyous celebration, and adventure, and a reminder that we can work to undo the mistakes of the past. (16 minutes)
  • The Longest Straw (teaser) — This spring, a crew of young filmmakers will be backpacking all 338 miles of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, meeting with community members along the way. You’ll recognize the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Program leader Santiago Escruceria in this teaser for the feature-length film. Their passion is contagious, and their dedication is inspiring, and you’ll get to meet them in person at the festival. (5 minutes)
  • Project Wild Thing — “This film will change your life” writes The Guardian. A marketing professional takes on the challenge of marketing the outdoors in an effort to get kids (and all of us, really) outside. It’ll get under your skin the way dirt should get under your fingernails. (58 minutes)

Will you join us? We hope so. There will also be a special live Mighty Wurlitzer performance; the signature attraction of the Old Town Music Hall. All we can say is that you don’t want to miss it!

Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Los Angeles
Thursday, March 5th at 7:00pm
Old Town Music Hall, El Segundo
Free and easy parking next door; great restaurants nearby.

Tickets are on sale here: $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $10 for students.
The festival is a benefit for Mono Lake and the Los Angeles watershed.

The Mighty Wurlitzer inside of the Old Town Music Hall.

The Mighty Wurlitzer inside of the Old Town Music Hall. Photo courtesy of the Old Town Music Hall.

Special thanks to event sponsors: Chevron, Environment Now, Old Town Music Hall, Klean Kanteen, Clif Bar, Patagonia, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Earthjustice, and Orion Magazine.

Amazon for Mono Lake exceeds last year’s goal

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Last year, Mono Lake Committee members and friends raised $2,700 for Mono Lake just by clicking on a link. You used that link to access Amazon to do your shopping, and 5% of those sales came back to the Committee. The amount raised last year was the most since we started the Amazon program, and exceeded our goal of $2,500 by 10%!

The Amazon program has been earning us steadily increasing amounts—$2,700 in 2014, $1,380 in 2013, $890 in 2012, $450 in 2011—and we’re hoping to raise even more this year. How much do you think we can raise for Mono Lake in 2015?

We’re grateful for every penny from this effective program, and we’re putting the proceeds to hard work for Mono Lake. Please bookmark the link and spread the word to your friends and family—with 5% of the purchases of just a fraction of our 16,000 Mono Lake Committee members, imagine what we could do.

We miss you, Rick Knepp

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

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