Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Anna, Mono Lake InternName: Anna Boyes Title: Mono Lake Intern About: After a childhood filled with whitewater rafting, backpacking, camping, and hiking in the Utah desert, Anna left Salt Lake City to pursue her undergraduate degree at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Before attending Whitman, she spent a year as an au pair in Italy, worked at an outdoor education camp in Michigan, and worked on permaculture farms in South America. She enjoys good bread, alpine lakes, cross-country
skiing, and the smell of trees.See All Posts by Anna (2) Contact Anna
One of the important goals of the Mono Lake Committee is restoration, and one thing we do to restore the area is removing invasive plants. And you can help too!
This could be you! Happy volunteers remove invasive plants with Ann Howald in 2016. Photo by Sandra Noll.
We’re hosting several mornings of invasive plant removals this summer. To start them off, we are lucky to be joined by two guest naturalists: Joe Woods and Ann Howald.
Saturday, July 28, 8:00–11:00am
with invasive plant removal specialist Joe Woods
Wednesday, August 8, 8:00–11:00am
with botanist Ann Howald
Joe has a background in invasive plant removal, and has helped with many removal events in the past. Ann is (more…)
Saturday, July 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby's love of nature began with spending summers exploring Yosemite with family and on monthly camping trips with her Dad. After years of dreaming of a life in the mountains, three years ago she packed her things and left Southern California for Mono Lake. Gabby is excited to spend one more summer educating people about the Mono Basin before leaving for the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, dancing at the Mobil, or exploring with her dog Jessie.See All Posts by Gabrielle (38) Contact Gabrielle
I was 11 years old when I first set eyes on Mono Lake. My family had just finished our annual camping trip to Yosemite and decided to take the “long” way home and spend a night in the Eastern Sierra.
Seasonal staff training in 2015. Photo by Erv Nichols.
I can vividly remember the surprise I felt as our car made its way to the bottom of Tioga Pass. How had I never seen or heard of this ginormous lake before?! We didn’t make it to the lake’s salty shore that year or even into a visitor center to learn more about it—but it was a day that would shape my future, although I didn’t know it at the time. (more…)
Thursday, July 19th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby's love of nature began with spending summers exploring Yosemite with family and on monthly camping trips with her Dad. After years of dreaming of a life in the mountains, three years ago she packed her things and left Southern California for Mono Lake. Gabby is excited to spend one more summer educating people about the Mono Basin before leaving for the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, dancing at the Mobil, or exploring with her dog Jessie.See All Posts by Gabrielle (38) Contact Gabrielle
On Wednesday, August 8 at 6:00pm the Bay Institute will be hosting a screening at the Aquarium of the Bay! Film director and star Samantha Bode will be there, along with the Mono Lake Committee’s Information & Restoration Specialist Greg Reis, for a Q&A and discussion after the film. Tickets cost $15 and include access to the Aquarium, a reception with light refreshments, and the screening. For more information or to purchase tickets click here.
Sunday, July 15th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Nigel, Birding InternName: Nigel Bates Title: Birding Intern About: Nigel loves birds, mountains, and environmental challenges, so he is thrilled to be spending the summer learning all about the Mono Basin and leading weekly bird walks. Nigel graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he researched old-growth forest carbon cycles and led nature programs for local elementary schools. After graduating, he postponed the leap to full adulthood for a few months by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Having thoroughly explored the east, he is excited to work and play in the shadow of mountains twice as tall.See All Posts by Nigel (4) Contact Nigel
Last week, I traveled to the Negit and Paoha islets in the middle of Mono Lake to help with the ongoing California Gull research project. (Please note that the islands are closed to the public until August 1 to protect the nesting gulls.)
Counting gull chicks in a fenced-off plot on the Paoha Islets. Photo by Nigel Bates.
This project, conducted by Point Blue Conservation Science and supported by the Mono Lake Committee, has monitored long-term trends in the breeding gull population for the past 35 years. Mono Lake supports one of the largest California Gull colonies in the world, so the success of this population is critical to the survival of the species. I joined Point Blue lead researcher Kristie Nelson and Institute for Bird Populations intern Sarah Hecocks for three days of data collection at the gull colony. (more…)
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Nigel, Birding InternName: Nigel Bates Title: Birding Intern About: Nigel loves birds, mountains, and environmental challenges, so he is thrilled to be spending the summer learning all about the Mono Basin and leading weekly bird walks. Nigel graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he researched old-growth forest carbon cycles and led nature programs for local elementary schools. After graduating, he postponed the leap to full adulthood for a few months by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Having thoroughly explored the east, he is excited to work and play in the shadow of mountains twice as tall.See All Posts by Nigel (4) Contact Nigel
Looking for something fun to do on a weekend morning in the Mono Basin? The Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks offer free bird walks at 8:00am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer. Join a naturalist for a leisurely 2-hour excursion through some of the most productive bird habitats in the area. The Friday and Sunday morning walks are at Mono Lake County Park, and the Saturday morning walk explores Lundy Canyon. All experience levels are welcome! We’ll provide loaner binoculars if you don’t have a pair.
The lush riparian habitat at County Park is a great place to spot Western Tanagers. Photo by Sandra Noll.
Fridays and Sundays: Meet at Mono Lake County Park (5–10 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 5 miles, then turn right on Cemetery Road (signs for County Park/Mono Lake Access). Follow Cemetery Road for a 1/2-mile to the parking lot on the right.
Saturdays: Meet at the Lundy Lake Resort (15 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 7 miles, then turn left on Lundy Lake Road. Follow the Lundy Lake Road for 5 miles to the Lundy Lake Resort, where you can park on the shoulder just before the main cluster of buildings.
Friday, July 6th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee StaffcloseAuthor: Mono Lake Committee StaffName: Mono Lake Committee Staff Title: Mono Lake Committee Staff About: The Mono Lake Committee is a 16,000 member non-profit citizens' group dedicated to protecting and restoring the Mono Basin ecosystem, educating the public about Mono Lake and the impacts on the environment of excessive water use, and promoting cooperative solutions that protect Mono Lake and meet real water needs without transferring environmental problems to other areas.See All Posts by Mono Lake Committee (504) Contact Mono Lake Committee
Tufa is otherworldly, oddly enchanting, and one of Mono Lake’s most iconic and popular features. Tufa towers are important nesting sites for birds—from Osprey to owls—while underwater tufa is habitat for alkali flies. For years, photographs of tufa have played an important role in spreading the message that Mono Lake, and the tufa itself, needs protecting.
Growing only underwater, tufa is a precipitate formed when calcium-rich spring water mixes with carbonate-rich Mono Lake water—slowly building up around seeps and springs. Though tufa towers are rock formations, they are fragile—they crumble, topple, and erode from wave action, high desert weather, and, unfortunately, from people being careless around them. (more…)
Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: A graduate of Vanderbilt University and a native of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew came to the Sierra to volunteer in Tuolumne Meadows in 2014. He fell in love with the area and began working at the Committee as a Mono
Lake Intern. Today he combines his passions for education and the environment by working in all of the Committee's program areas on everything from organizing the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua and Field Seminar programs to creating social media and video content to editing the
Mono Lake Newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at Lee Vining Creek, paddling on Mono Lake, hiking in the High Sierra, and skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (52) Contact Andrew
Have you ever been down at Mono Lake wondering: How many brine shrimp live in Mono Lake? Why do the tufa towers at Old Marina look different than the ones at South Tufa? What else can I do during my visit?
When you visit Mono Lake, pull up monolakemobile.org on your phone for a self-guided tour of South Tufa, directions, and more. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
You can find the answers to all of these questions and more by visiting monolakemobile.org on your phone. Designed to be mobile-friendly and used while visiting the lake, Mono Lake Mobile is the best way to learn about the lake on your own schedule and at your own pace. You can take a self-guided tour of South Tufa (complete with audio narration) and learn about other great sites to visit around Mono Lake including Old Marina and County Park.
Monday, July 2nd, 2018 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 & 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 dog Tucker comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (31) Contact Lisa
Almost a year after the epic 2017 winter and resulting record Mono Basin runoff, positive effects from the high flows can still be seen on all of Mono Lake’s tributary streams—including, notably, the beleaguered floodplain of the Mill Creek bottomlands.
During last year’s record runoff, long-dry side channels in the Mill Creek bottomlands carried water; some of the rewatered channels were still flowing this spring. Photo by Elin Ljung.
Last summer, long-dry side channels in the bottomlands carried water when Lundy Lake Reservoir spilled for almost the entire summer. Some of these rewatered channels are still flowing despite low-flow early springtime conditions, and evidence of lasting restoration benefits is abundant. Back eddies and ponded areas well away from flowing channels continue to hold water. Below the surface, recharged groundwater is once again available for vegetation, and fine sediment deposited across floodplain cobble is primed for new seedlings to grow. All of this is a glimpse into Mill Creek’s bright future. (more…)
Saturday, June 30th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Alison, Canoe CoordinatorName: Alison Kaplan Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Alison first moved to Yosemite in 2014, after which she almost quit college multiple times because she could hardly bear to leave the Sierra Nevada each fall. To her parents' relief she persevered and earned a degree in English from Whitman College, and promptly moved back to the Sierra. She prefers to work seasonal jobs and spends her winters living in her minivan and exploring various deserts around the west, freelancing as a copywriter to pay for gas. Alison is excited to spend her summer in the Mono Basin where she hopes to climb a lot and get better at identifying birds.See All Posts by Alison (3) Contact Alison
As the new Canoe Coordinator, I arrived in mid-May to begin preparing for a summer packed with canoe tours on Mono Lake. My early season responsibilities included familiarizing myself with the area, reading all about the canoe program and how it functions, learning how to back up the canoe trailer, and taking inventory of all of the equipment before the first weekend of tours in late June.
A family enjoys a leisurely paddle on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.
To my surprise, the task that took up the most time out of all of these was the equipment inventory. I had read in the canoe program manual that some of the equipment had to be replaced every year due to damage, but I didn’t really understand the extent of that damage until I saw heavy-duty ropes and straps falling to pieces in front of my eyes.
Mono Lake canoe tours aren’t wildly adventurous or extreme; we paddle close to shore at a relaxed pace, observing the birds and wildlife while discussing the lake’s natural and political history. How, then, does the canoe equipment take such a beating each season? The answer lies in Mono Lake’s unique chemistry. (more…)
Friday, June 29th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and ensuring 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, Ellery, and Cassia.See All Posts by Geoffrey (146) Contact Geoffrey
One thing the Mono Lake Committee and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) can agree on is that accurate measurement of water exported from the Mono Basin is important. One might assume that measuring water sent out of the Mono Basin through the Los Angeles Aqueduct would be fairly straightforward, but due to infrastructure complexities, DWP has historically used a calculation to derive the export amount.
Aqueduct improvements in 2009, shown here, added equipment to directly measure water exports, but the system was unreliable until recent repairs, thanks to the Committee’s persistence. Photo by Greg Reis.
Getting from calculation to measurement
To understand why DWP couldn’t simply measure its (more…)