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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…)

Fall 2014 Mono Lake Newsletter now available online

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

(more…)

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