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Wading into stream restoration: A conversation with the State Water Board-appointed Stream Scientists

Thursday, April 4th, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

The 2017 spring snowmelt runoff was over 200% of average. It was also the single largest peak flow event since the stream restoration ordered by the California State Water Resources Control Board began in 1998 (see Fall 2017 Mono Lake Newsletter).

During the peak of the 2017 record spring runoff, Mono Lake Committee staff and hydrology experts monitored the physical changes happening in Rush Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Now, almost two years later, conversations and field observations continue to reflect on what is technically called an “Extreme-Wet” year type, validating the principles adopted by the State Water Board and restoration parties over 20 years ago.

The State Water Board appointed two independent experts, the Stream Scientists, to study Mono Lake’s (more…)

April reading of Mono Lake’s level with DWP

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As is tradition in early April, this morning staff from the Mono Lake Committee and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) met at Mono Lake’s shore to read the lake level gauge at the start of this new runoff year.

Mono Lake Committee and DWP staff determine Mono Lake’s level together each year in early April. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lake’s surface was a bit unsettled due to a spring rainstorm passing through, but Maureen (Committee) and Jason (DWP) watched the fluctuations carefully and settled on an official lake level reading of 6382.07 feet above sea level. (more…)

Improving stream restoration and lake monitoring in 2019: Temporary measures sought while license revision slowly advances

Monday, April 1st, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

The effort to restore Mono Lake’s tributary streams is poised to reach new successes when the drawn-out process of authorizing new science-based streamflows and associated infrastructure improvements finally concludes.

In 2010 State Water Board-appointed Stream Scientists submitted a report recommending new, more effective flow regimes for Mono Basin streams. Photo courtesy of Robert Vestal.

While that date remains frustratingly uncertain, the Mono Lake Committee is advocating for immediate implementation of currently-feasible restoration measures to take place in 2019 while continuing to push for the rapid completion of the revision of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s (DWP) license to divert water from the Mono Basin.

Why wait?

Twenty years ago the California State Water Resources Control Board charted a scientific study process led by (more…)

How much is Mono Lake going to rise or fall this year?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

It’s that time of year again, when all eyes are on the Sierra snowpack, the level of Mono Lake, and spreadsheets.

How much will Mono Lake rise or fall this year? Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Just imagining this winter’s snowpack flowing down Mono Basin streams this spring brings a gleeful sigh of relief. But … spreadsheets? Yep, because spreadsheets, forecast models, experts, and in-depth Mono Basin hydrologic knowledge, when carefully woven together, are how we figure out the big question for Mono Lake: how much is the lake going to rise or fall this year?

You can see the full (more…)

Monitoring Mono Lake’s level by ski

Friday, March 8th, 2019 by Maureen, Membership Assistant

In a winter full of snow, getting down to the lake has been a bit more challenging and a lot more fun.

A calm lake surface in not only incredibly scenic but ideal for lake level readings. With the onslaught of storms we’ve experienced this winter, a glassy lake has been a rare sight. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The Mono Lake Committee monitors Mono Lake’s level throughout the year, at least once a month and usually more frequently. You can find monthly lake levels going back to 1971 here. The most important lake level reading of the year happens on (more…)

Ringing in 2019: Long live Mono Lake!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

This essay, written by Frances Spivy-Weber, appears in the 2019 Mono Lake Calendar.

“Tufa and grasses, Mono Lake.” Photo by David J. Gubernick.

When I became Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee in January 1997, its Board of Directors had decided to reinvent the Committee and to renew the original mission to protect the lake at the same time—not an easy transition for its members or the staff. The Committee was founded to save Mono Lake, which, at first, meant fighting the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) creatively but tenaciously in order to secure more water for Mono Lake and its tributary streams.

Without breaking stride, the Committee needed to learn to (more…)

Calling all Mono Lake lovers: Apply to work here in the summer!

Friday, December 21st, 2018 by Jessica, Office Director

As the Office Director for the Mono Lake Committee, I spend my summer days scheduling canoe and South Tufa tours, Information Center & Bookstore shifts, special school group visits, Outdoor Education Center programs, invasive species removal events, stream and lake monitoring, and bird walks at County Park.

Apply now to join our dedicated staff working in one of the most beautiful places in the West. Photo by Arya Harp.

However, none of these things can actually happen without the dedicated seasonal staff that arrives in (more…)

The Mono Lake Committee’s 2018 Annual Report

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee’s 2018 Annual Report is now available!

2018 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report cover

The 2018 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report is now available! Cover photo courtesy of Richard Erb.

The report is full of photos of the Mono Lake Committee in action in our focus areas of protection, restoration, education, and scientific research. It also has the Committee’s (more…)

Learn more about the Bodie Hills, just north of Mono Lake

Monday, December 3rd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Bodie Hills form the northern boundary of the Mono Lake watershed—they’re full of wildlife like pronghorn and Greater Sage-Grouse, old mining sites including the ghost town of Bodie, and wide open spaces. The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership is working to get this incredible place protected—take five minutes to enjoy aerial views and learn more in this video:

DWP takes unilateral land management action, causing litigation: Is dewatering of Long Valley meadows the first step in a new phase of water extraction?

Thursday, November 15th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive Director

The Mono Lake Committee celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. That means the Committee has been advocating for Mono Lake and its tributary streams for more than half the years that the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) has been in the business of exporting water from the Mono Basin.

The Mono Lake Committee and our expert consultants, network of partners, and 16,000 members are always alert to threats to Mono Lake, its tributary streams, and surrounding lands. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

DWP has changed in many ways over those 40 years, some internally generated and many, like the protection of Mono Lake, resulting from intense advocacy efforts and new rules imposed by outside authorities. Institutional change has often been due to the citizens of Los Angeles requiring greater environmental responsibility from DWP, both directly and through elected city council members and mayors who have worked together with groups like the Committee to reach that goal. As a result Los Angeles is a leader in building a more sustainable and reliable water supply through conservation, reclamation, groundwater cleanup, and local supply.

The famously contentious relationship between DWP and the Eastern Sierra has changed as well. (more…)

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