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Diverse watchdog duties keep the Mono Lake Committee busy

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive Director
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The Mono Lake Committee is serious about protecting and restoring Mono Lake, its tributary streams, and surrounding lands. That means being on constant alert as a watchdog, and recent months have provided some interesting examples of what that requires.

The Committee keeps a close eye on daily Mono Basin streamflows at multiple locations, such as the recovering Rush Creek bottomlands. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Sometimes the Committee chases issues that have lengthy histories and require continuous pressure to move toward resolution—the 2013 Stream Restoration Agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) is one example. Years of work (more…)

Official April 1 Mono Lake level: 6381.86 feet

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director
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Technically, we did it on March 31, but for all intents and purposes, it’s the April 1 official joint reading of Mono Lake’s level with Mono Lake Committee and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) staff together. This reading on this day is particularly important because the number recorded translates into how much water DWP is allowed to divert from Mono Basin streams over the course of the coming year.

Mono Lake Committee and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power staff walking down to the lake shore for the annual joint lake level reading. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

(more…)

35th year for California Gull study: Research documents changes in gull population and nesting habitat

Thursday, March 8th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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In 2017 Point Blue Conservation Science continued its Mono Lake California Gull monitoring study with the goal of better understanding how the gulls respond to changes in lake conditions over time. Indeed, 2017 was a year of change for both the gulls and this critical long-term study, which is supported by the Mono Lake Committee (read the full report online here).

Approximately 27,000 California Gulls nested on Mono Lake’s islets in 2017, well below the 35-year average of 46,000 nesting adults. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Following two years of testing, the nesting gull counts were done using aerial photography instead of the previous method of ground counts. Results indicate that counting nesting gulls from the aerial photographs matched ground count tallies by 96%, and the new survey method is less disruptive to the gulls.

Lowest-ever number of nesting gulls

The population of nesting California Gulls (Larus californicus) in 2017 was the lowest ever recorded at (more…)

We’re hiring: Mono Lake Committee seasonal jobs available

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you’ve always wanted to spend a summer at Mono Lake, now is your chance—we still have open seasonal staff positions for summer 2018, including Mono Lake Intern, Canoe Program Coordinator, Outdoor Education Instructor, and Information Center & Bookstore Assistant.

Seasonal staff positions are still available—apply to spend a summer canoeing on Mono Lake with us. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Summer at Mono Lake is the busiest and most activity-filled season, and seasonal staff jobs include leading interpretive tours, helping visitors in the bookstore, and canoeing on Mono Lake, among many other varied tasks. We accept applications from people of all ages, whether you’re looking for an internship between college semesters, or you’re interested in a post-retirement summer of work.

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to Office Director Jessica Horn, either by email or by mail to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541.

Mono Lake Committee seasonal job openings posted

Friday, December 22nd, 2017 by Jessica, Office Director
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The permanent staff here at the Mono Lake Committee are accustomed to several statements from members and visitors alike: “You live in the most beautiful place—you’re so lucky!” and “I’ve always wanted to be an intern here!”

Now is your chance: You can work at the Mono Lake Committee as one of our 11 seasonal staff members and live in the Mono Basin during the busiest and most activity-filled season. See all the job openings here.

Last year’s seasonal staff at the Grant Lake Reservoir spillway during the aqueduct tour training day. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

We accept applications from people of all ages, so whether you are looking for an internship between college semesters, or if it’s been a lifelong dream to lead South Tufa tours and canoe on Mono Lake every weekend, we would love to speak to you.

Hiring begins January 1, 2018, and positions fill quickly. To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to me, Office Director Jessica Horn, either by email or by mail to P.O. Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541.

#GivingTuesday at Mono Lake: #GivefortheGrebes

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Today for #GivingTuesday, we are fundraising for Eared Grebe surveys at Mono Lake! We had a blast broadcasting live and talking about the Eared Grebe research down at the lake this afternoon. In case you missed it live (skip to 9:00 for the start of the interviews):

All donations made online today will go toward keeping the Eared Grebe research going, so, it’s not too late!

Thank you for supporting Mono Lake this Giving Tuesday! #GivefortheGrebes

The Mono Lake Committee 2017 Annual Report

Saturday, November 25th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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Each year printed copies of the Mono Lake Committee Annual Report are sent out to Defense Trust level members and Guardians of the Lake monthly-giving club members, but it is has information that is important to members at all giving levels, friends, anyone who is curious, and the general public. So without further ado, click here to see the Mono Lake Committee 2017 Annual Report.

Did you get a yearbook in high school? The Annual Report feels a little bit like the grown-up version of getting the yearbook … (more…)

#GivefortheGrebes this #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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This year for #GivingTuesday (November 28) we are fundraising for Eared Grebe surveys at Mono Lake!

First: There is a donation match! All donations made on Giving Tuesday through Facebook will be matched, thanks to Facebook’s charitable giving program. (And they’re not charging fees either.) Click here on Tuesday to #GivefortheGrebes via Facebook!

Then: Mark your calendar to catch our Facebook Live event at 12:30pm On Tuesday, November 28 down at the lake with Geoff, Robbie, and Maureen talking about Eared Grebe research and answering your questions. Tune in (more…)

New Mono Lake alkali fly research

Monday, November 20th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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Last summer Floris van Breugel, who studies alkali flies at Mono Lake, stayed at the Mono Basin Field Station and gave a fascinating talk about his research at the Mono Lake Committee.

This mesmerizing video, posted by National Geographic upon the paper’s release, is a must-see:

Using a combination of high speed videography, force measurements, scanning electron microscopy, and manipulations of water chemistry he is working toward understanding what makes these flies so unique—research which, on top of being really neat, has implications in the world of multi-factorial data sets and their application to machine learning. And today, the research paper, “Superhydrophobic diving flies (Ephydra hians) and the hypersaline water of Mono Lake,” by Floris van Breugel and Michael H. Dickinson came out! You can find the paper abstract here. (more…)

The million-grebe question

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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More than 90% of all Eared Grebes in North America stop at either Mono Lake or Great Salt Lake to feed on brine shrimp before continuing their migration to wintering grounds in the southern United States and Mexico. Each year more than a million Eared Grebes depend on Mono Lake’s abundant supply of brine shrimp in order to successfully complete their southbound migration.

Aerial surveys are conducted each fall to estimate the peak population of Eared Grebes stopping at Mono Lake during their migration. Photo by Jess Horn.

Efforts to quantify the number of Eared Grebes at Mono Lake started in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1996 that a reliable methodology was developed. By flying over the lake in mid-October (when grebes were assumed to be at peak abundance) and using aerial photography, researchers were able to more accurately estimate numbers. Dr. Sean Boyd, a Research Scientist with Environment & Climate Change Canada, has coordinated grebe surveys at Mono Lake since 1996, which have provided invaluable data for understanding the Eared Grebe fall migration through Mono Lake as well as the overall health of the species in North America. Recognizing the value of this research, and our ability to help by being the local, on-the-ground coordinator of flights and volunteer photographers, the Mono Lake Committee began assisting Dr. Boyd with the Eared Grebe surveys in 2008. (more…)

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