Sunday, June 14th, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (139) Contact Arya
We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship. Olivia Nelson of Lee Vining High School and Carson Bold of Mammoth High School wrote essays that won them $1,000 each to help with their education expenses.
Arya Degenhardt presented Carson Bold with a Mono Lake Committee Scholarship at the Mammoth High School scholarship breakfast. Photo courtesy of Susan Morning.
Students were asked to go to the shore of Mono Lake and spend at least 15 minutes sitting quietly, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells while reflecting on the question, “Why does Mono Lake matter?” Olivia and Carson wrote essays that best demonstrated a connection with the lake and the question we asked. (more…)
Sunday, June 7th, 2015 by Bartshé, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Education DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé directs the Committee's Outdoor Experiences Program, Canoe Program, and Interpretive Programs, and manages the Mono Basin Field Station. He has been an Eastern Sierra resident since 1993.See All Posts by Bartshé (46) Contact Bartshé
Over half of all urban water use goes toward outdoor use. In Southern California, residential lawns provide a frontier of opportunity to conserve water. The worst drought in the state’s history and some strategic financial incentives have sparked a water-saving landscape revolution.
How big is 172 million square feet? It’s the equivalent of all of Los Angeles International Airport and a chunk of El Segundo. Imagine every square foot of this circle yielding 42 gallons of water each year.
Throughout Southern California public utilities are offering financial incentive to replace water-intensive lawns with more water efficient landscapes. Turf replacement in the Southland is so successful that (more…)
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 by Robbie, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Robbie, Project SpecialistName: Robert Di Paolo Title: About: A 2012 graduate from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Science, Robbie loves hiking, camping, and bike touring, all of which are great Eastern Sierra activities. He also likes to play music, primarily guitar and singing, but also flute and alto saxophone. If you're interested in volunteering with the Committee's restoration program, have questions about your membership, or are interested in our social media efforts, contact Robbie.See All Posts by Robert (17) Contact Robert
This is a follow-up post to the “One drop, a dozen options” article in the Summer 2015 Mono Lake Newsletter. The article mentions longtime Mono Lake Committee member Regina Hirsch and her business Sierra Watershed Progressive with respect to the greywater system she helped us create in 2012. But there are a ton of awesome projects that Regina and Sierra Watershed Progressive have tackled and I wanted to highlight two of them here: (more…)
Monday, June 1st, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (139) Contact Arya
This is the first time in 37 years that we have featured the Milky Way on the cover of the Mono Lake Newsletter. Tufa and Milky Way, by photographer and Mono Lake Committee member Thomas Piekunka, is not only a stunning view of the night sky over Mono Lake, it was shot without artificial light. Knowing that the photograph was taken with sensitivity for the subject—without disrupting wildlife (people included) with bright lights at night—makes it that much more beautiful.
That idea, that knowing more about something can make it more beautiful, is actually a pretty good theme for this issue of the Mono Lake Newsletter. Let’s face it, drought doesn’t look good on Mono Lake. Dusty exposed lakebed and weak trickles of water in cobbled creek channels are hard to see. With the final snowpack numbers in we’ve had to face up to some stark realities about what the coming summer is going to mean for the Mono Basin—a potential two-foot vertical drop in lake level not being the least of it.
Today the lake is at 6,379 feet above sea level. Without the Mono Lake Committee, the lake would be at 6350′. That’s not only 29 vertical feet of water, it’s the difference between a landscape with a recovering ecosystem, and one without. So, when I look out at Mono Lake knowing it could be that much worse, I can still see a landscape that has undoubtedly stalled out, but is, in the bigger scheme of things, on the road to recovery. Mono Lake has protections in place and a dedicated group of people who really, really care about it, work for it every single day, and are determined to figure out the best things for it no matter what the circumstances. I’m pretty sure there is extra beauty in that.
Maybe you should come see for yourself—walk the shoreline, check out the night sky, or scout out some water and follow the lead of the dipper below.
American Dippers are North America’s only truly aquatic songbird, and catch their food underwater by swimming and walking on the bottom of streams. A family of dippers takes up residence along Lee Vining Creek each summer—if you listen closely you can hear them singing and see them diving for food and feeding chicks. Photo courtesy of Marie Read.
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 by Lily, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Lily, Canoe CoordinatorName: Lily Pastel Title: About: Lily graduated from Humboldt State University in May 2014, where she majored in Environmental Science. She was drawn to the Mono Basin by the beauty of the area as well as the Mono Lake Committee's worthy cause. After working through the winter on projects like the Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner and the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, Lily is paddling the waters of Mono Lake for the summer. Contact Lily if you are interested in taking a canoe tour on Mono Lake.See All Posts by Lily (15) Contact Lily
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.
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…)
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 by Jessica, Office ManagercloseAuthor: Jessica, Office ManagerName: Jessica Horn Title: Office Manager About: Jess began working at the Mono Lake Committee in 2010, oversaw the bookstore for several years, and returned to the Mono Lake Committee in late 2014 as Office Manager after working at a local resort and starting her own business. Jess creates the complicated office and bookstore schedule, oversees the intern and volunteer programs, and keeps the office functioning smoothly. If you have questions about job opportunities at the Mono Lake Committee, would like to volunteer at Mono Lake, or need any general information about the Mono Lake Committee, contact Jess.See All Posts by Jessica (34) Contact Jessica
Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: assuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and assuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992 and was an intern and volunteer before that. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen and Ellery.See All Posts by Geoffrey (122) Contact Geoffrey
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.
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…)
Monday, March 16th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorName: Lisa Cutting Title: Eastern Sierra Policy Director About: Lisa concentrates on the Mono Basin's policy issues such as protecting the integrity of the Scenic Area, coordinating with regional agency staff, and working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and scientists on the ongoing restoration of Mono Lake and its tributary streams. Lisa uses sleuthing-out good fly fishing spots as another excuse for hiking, and it's always a treat when her happy golden retriever Abbey comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (11) Contact Lisa
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.
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…)
Sunday, March 1st, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (139) Contact Arya
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.
Monday, February 23rd, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (139) Contact Arya
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)
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!
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.