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The Mono-logue » Eastern Sierra Policy

‘Eastern Sierra Policy’ Category

April 1 Mono Lake level: 6378.3 feet above sea level and rising

Monday, April 10th, 2017 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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April 1, the beginning of the runoff year, is a particularly important day for Mono Lake. Each April 1 Mono Lake Committee and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) staff walk down to Mono Lake and read the lake level, together. It is particularly important because it is the April 1 lake level that determines how much water is allowed to be diverted from Mono Basin streams to the City of Los Angeles for the year.

Brian Norris from DWP and Robbie Di Paolo from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together on April 1, 2017. Photo by Bartshé Miller.

The first time I participated in one of these April 1 lake level readings was in 2015 when the lake had dropped to a level that triggered a 70% reduction of water exports. The second time, the lake narrowly cleared the level that would have halted water exports altogether. Years of drought lowered the lake and heightened concern over available exports, but this year was different. This year Mono Lake is on the rise. (more…)

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep disease risk eliminated

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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Yesterday the Mono County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 with one recusal not to renew a grazing lease for domestic sheep on Conway and Mattly ranch properties owned by Mono County. The current domestic sheep grazing lease expires in November 2017 so after this grazing season domestic sheep will no longer be grazed in the north Mono Basin.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife and US Fish & Wildlife Service presented extensive scientific evidence that laid out the case for terminating domestic sheep grazing within one mile of endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep habitat because domestic sheep are known to transmit a deadly pneumonia to bighorn sheep. With Sierra bighorn residing in and around Lundy Canyon close to Conway Ranch, the scientists determined the risk of wild sheep contracting pneumonia from domestic sheep was simply too high.

As US Fish & Wildlife Service representative Lee Ann Carranza said, “We have been trying for nearly 20 years (more…)

Mono Lake Committee launches #LongLivetheGulls campaign

Monday, February 20th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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This spring, when tens of thousands of California Gulls return to their island nesting ground at Mono Lake, they will be in danger of having their once-safe colony raided by coyotes. During the drought, Mono Lake dropped 7 vertical feet—exposing a landbridge to the gulls’ nesting islands. It’s hard to believe that all of this snow and rain we’re getting won’t fix the problem naturally. The lake is rising, but the snow we’ve gotten this winter won’t melt and raise the lake in time to protect them when they lay their eggs in April. Help us put up a fence to save the gulls before it’s too late!

 

 

We’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to raise (more…)

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep agenda item postponed until the March 7 Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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Please note that Mono County has postponed the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep discussion until the March 7 Board of Supervisors meeting because of predicted bad weather. The new meeting will now occur in Bridgeport, not Mammoth.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

While a live feed will be available in Mammoth, people are strongly encouraged to travel to Bridgeport to see the wildlife agencies’ bighorn sheep presentation live and give remarks to the Board of Supervisors in person. Also, if you have not yet sent your letter in support of the bighorn to the Supervisors, you have more time to get it in—please do write a letter. The Supervisors have been receiving letters and appreciate hearing from the public.

Visit the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation for more information including a summary of the issue, details on the meeting location and time, and addresses where you can submit letters. If you have any questions please contact me by email or call (760) 647-6595, extension 142.

Important opportunity to protect Mono Basin bighorn sheep

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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If you’ve ever seen an endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep in the wild, you know how amazing they are. Now is your chance to support these animals with a letter or a call to the Mono County Board of Supervisors.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

Next Tuesday, February 21*, Mono County Supervisors will consider whether or not to renew expiring domestic sheep grazing leases for Conway Ranch, a property that is located close to bighorn sheep territory in Lundy Canyon. Domestic sheep and goats can transmit bacteria to the bighorn that causes pneumonia and eventually death (up to 90% of animals in a bighorn herd can die). The only reliable way to prevent disease transmission is by geographically separating the species. Currently, state and federal wildlife agencies have determined that the domestic sheep are too close to the Lundy bighorn herd. (more…)

Open house: Gulls, landbridge, and all of this water for Mono Lake

Friday, February 10th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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Even with all of this snow and rain, we still need to build a temporary fence to protect the gulls. Have questions? Stop by the open house on Wednesday—we’ve got answers, ways you can help, and cookies too.

  • When: Wednesday, February 15, 5-7pm
  • Where: Mono Lake Committee Bookstore
  • What: Open house, presentation at 6pm
  • Why: Because you love California Gulls (and Epic Cafe cookies)

#longlivethegulls

2016 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report

Saturday, January 7th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Mono Lake Committee’s 2016 Annual Report is now available online.

2016 Annual Report cover

Cover photo courtesy of Thomas Piekunka.

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…)

Resource damage below Tioga Lodge: Observations and photographs

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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In early November I ventured down to the shoreline of Mono Lake below the Tioga Lodge to use my former-biologist eyes to assess the damage done to State Park land and Post Office Creek.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

It was interesting to contrast the damage caused by the Marina Fire with the damage caused by heavy machinery; I’m sure the combination of the two events is even more detrimental. While I made observations and took photographs, I was especially concerned by two things—the bird habitat adjacent to the excavation and the wide swath of flood water rushing down from what used to be a creek channel that now spreads the water across the landscape haphazardly on it’s way to Mono Lake. (more…)

Tioga Inn project at the Mobil Station moves forward after 23 years

Monday, November 14th, 2016 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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A significant development project at the junction of Highways 120 and 395 is moving forward—the Tioga Inn project.

tioga-inn-site-map

After a 23-year hiatus, Mobil Station owners Dennis & Jane Domaille have recently begun to work with Mono County to secure the necessary approvals to add components to an already-existing specific plan, which was approved in 1993. The specific plan already allows a two-story 120-room hotel and a 100-seat restaurant. The Domailles are proposing to change the plan to allow a three-story 120-room hotel, two large restaurants, and other details. The existing Whoa Nellie Deli would remain in operation. (more…)

DWP completes this year’s export of 4,500 acre-feet of water from the Mono Basin

Saturday, November 5th, 2016 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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When Mono Lake is between 6377 and 6380 feet above sea level, and the final May lake level forecast (and any subsequent projections) shows that it will stay above 6377 feet, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) is permitted to export 4,500 acre-feet of water that year. Any time Mono Lake falls below, or is projected to fall below 6377 feet, exports must stop.

Photo by Bartshe Miller.

A blustery day in mid-October kicked up clouds of alkali dust over Mono Lake’s eastern shore. Mono Lake may drop below 6377 feet above sea level next year, which means no water may be exported to Los Angeles. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Operations plan guidelines state that the water should be exported late in the summer, and this year, DWP exported this water September through early November, allowing more water to remain in Grant Lake Reservoir during the summer—a good thing that kept the reservoir higher during recreation season and likely kept water temperatures cooler for fish in Rush Creek. (more…)

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