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Defending the public trust at Mono Lake

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive Director
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2018 Defender of the Trust Peter Vorster. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The California Supreme Court begins its landmark 1983 Mono Lake decision with these powerful words: “The public trust is an affirmation of the duty of the state to protect the people’s common heritage of streams, lakes, marshlands and tidelands…”

Every other year, to celebrate the history of the public trust at Mono Lake, we organize a special three-day Defense Trust Weekend for the Mono Lake Committee’s high donors. The weekend is full of field trips, good food, and time spent with fellow Mono Lake enthusiasts and Committee Board and staff.

This year we had an open house in the Committee office, a Rush Creek tour with experts including (more…)

Mono Lake Committee objects to Inyo National Forest Plan elements

Thursday, October 25th, 2018 by Bartshé, Education Director
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On August 3 the Inyo National Forest released its revised land management plan and draft record of decision.

According to the Committee’s analysis, Mono Lake’s tributary streams are eligible for Wild & Scenic River designation. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Also known as the Inyo National Forest Land Management Plan, this new plan, when final, will replace the 1988 plan that the Inyo has been following. Once the new plan is approved it will provide management guidance for the Inyo’s two million acres over the next two decades.

Since 2014 the Mono Lake Committee has been involved in the public plan revision process, attending meetings, analyzing information, and commenting on the plan revision. Specifically, the Committee has evaluated (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Mono Basin fisheries project with Ross Taylor

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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Join us on Wednesday, September 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation.

Scientists electrofishing in the Mono Gate One Return Ditch. Photo courtesy of Ross Taylor.

Ross Taylor, State Water Board-appointed Lead Fisheries Scientist, will be here to discuss fisheries monitoring and development of flow recommendations for Mono Basin streams. If you can join us, register here for this free program! (more…)

Lee Vining Creek Trail repair work begins this month

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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Ever since record high streamflows washed out a section of the Lee Vining Creek Trail in June 2017, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with several agencies and organizations to create a plan to fix the trail. We’re excited to announce that the trail repair work will begin this month!

Mammoth Lakes Trails Coordinator Joel Rathje and his crew check out the hillside where the rerouted portion of the Lee Vining Creek Trail will go. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The trail will not be closed as the repair work takes place, but hikers may see trail crews and signs about the work happening. The trail damage was in a section of (more…)

Successful invasive sweet clover removal at Mono Lake

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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This summer, Mono Lake Committee staff, volunteers, and guest naturalists made substantial progress toward removing invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus albus) from the Old Marina area. This annual project is a crucial piece of the Committee’s mission to restore native habitats throughout the Mono Basin.

Volunteers Joy and Maddog add to the growing pile of pulled sweet clover. Photo by Nigel Bates.

Sweet clover can quickly overtake an ecosystem if it is not held in check, so our yearly invasive removal events are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. Over the course of two mornings, we removed 199.75 pounds of sweet clover! This marked one of our most efficient summers ever, with each participant pulling an average of 17 pounds. Thanks to all of our volunteers for their hard work and good spirits.

As we pulled sweet clover, we were treated to informal lectures by our guest naturalists (more…)

Great Sierra River Cleanup this Saturday

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 by Alexis, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us this Saturday, August 11 from 8:30am to 12:30pm for the annual Great Sierra River Cleanup! We will spend the morning picking up trash along Lee Vining Creek.

If you are free this Saturday, meet us outside the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining. From there we will carpool to the DWP diversion site on Lee Vining Creek. Make sure to bring sturdy footwear, a water bottle, and sun protection. We’ll provide work gloves as well as a light snack.

This event is coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy with the help of California Coastal Cleanup. For the past ten years, volunteers across the Sierra Nevada have banded together to help clean up rivers and (more…)

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentations return: Mike Prather to speak on August 8

Friday, August 3rd, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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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…)

Restoration work begins next to Mono Lake and Tioga Lodge

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Bartshé, Education Director
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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.

Restoration work has started to rehabilitate the site from damage caused by illegal grading and rerouting a stream from its original channel in October 2016. (more…)

Help remove invasive plants at Mono Lake

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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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…)

Evidence of high flows persists on Mill Creek: Restoration potential reaffirmed

Monday, July 2nd, 2018 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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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…)

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