Friday, August 3rd, 2018 by Joslyn, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Joslyn, Project SpecialistName: Joslyn Rogers Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Originally from San Diego, Joslyn first discovered Mono Lake while working in Yosemite Valley. Her love for the Mono Basin was further solidified after studying Mono Lake on a UC Santa Cruz field program. Joslyn finished her degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and spent summer 2018 as a Mono Lake Intern; she is also staying through the winter at the Mono Lake Committee as a Project Specialist. In her free time, she can be found rock climbing, birding, or getting inspired by low impact lifestyles.See All Posts by Joslyn (11) Contact Joslyn
Join us for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation, next Wednesday, August 8 at 4:00pm at the Mono Lake Committee. Come hear longtime local conservationist Mike Prather speak about the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl that are once again returning to Owens Lake each spring and fall.
Wetlands and islands dotting Owens Lake, which is now a designated site of international importance for the hundreds of thousands of birds that arrive during spring and fall migration. Photo courtesy of Ray Ramirez.
Owens Lake dried up after being tapped by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in 1913, and has suffered from severe dust issues ever since. DWP released (more…)
Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (315) Contact Elin
This past spring, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) provided ranchers in the Long Valley and Little Round Valley area next to Crowley Lake new proposed leases with no irrigation water—a proposal, in effect, to dry up approximately 6,400 acres of agricultural lands in Mono County.
These areas have been irrigated for more than 70 years, so removing the water would be a major change in land use and a surprising attempt to extract additional water from Mono County. Local concerns are numerous and include increased risk of wildfire, desiccation of wetlands, damage to important habitat for sensitive species such as the Bi-State Sage Grouse, and undermining the local agricultural and tourism-based economy.
Mono County has been corresponding with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti about the leases and lack of water—see those letters, maps, and a summary of the issue here. The Board of Supervisors meeting is your chance to make your thoughts, concerns, and opinions known, and Mono Lake Committee staff will also be attending—we have been advising Mono County about this issue given our long history with DWP. For more information call (760) 647-6595 or email Lisa Cutting, Eastern Sierra Policy Director.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Bartshé, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Education DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé directs the Mono Lake Committee's Outdoor Education Center programs, 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 (64) Contact Bartshé
If you have driven by Mono Lake in the last week, you might have seen trucks and heavy equipment working just east of Highway 395 below the Tioga Lodge.
Restoration work has begun just east of Highway 395 below the Tioga Lodge, on a site that was damaged by illegal work in October 2016. Photo by Elin Ljung.
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 (6) 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…)
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 (505) 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…)
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…)
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…)
Saturday, June 23rd, 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
What will happen to the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack as climate change impacts accumulate through the 21st century? This question is vital to both the ecological health of the Range of Light and to water delivery systems throughout California. And, it matters a great deal to Mono Lake and its many miles of tributary streams, which depend on Sierra runoff for their vitality.
A view of the Eastern Sierra from Virginia Canyon to Mt. Conness, including Mono Lake. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.
Forecasts of the future rely on complex climate modeling, and I talked with Dr. Alex Hall, Professor of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, about the work he and his team have been conducting to produce actionable climate science. Dr. Hall heads the Center for Climate Science, where they have developed cutting-edge downscaling techniques to create geographically detailed climate projections for the Los Angeles area and the Sierra Nevada.
Tuesday, June 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
“The Longest Straw” plays June 22, July 6, & July 20 at the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining. Photo courtesy of Samantha Bode.
In 2015 we had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Bode. She had just finished hiking the length of the Los Angeles Aqueduct—338 miles from Los Angeles to Mono Lake—for a documentary she was making.
In Sam’s documentary, The Longest Straw, she talks to community leaders, residents, and advocates in Los Angeles as well as the communities most affected by the exportation of water south. The film premiered at the New Urbanism Film Festival last October and we are excited to be hosting three showings here in the Mono Basin this summer.
Free screenings will be held on June 22, July 6, and July 20 at 7:00pm at the (more…)