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2015 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Mono Lake Committee’s 2015 Annual Report is now available online.

The 2015 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report is now available online. Cover photo courtesy of Phil Lindsay.

The 2015 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report is now available online. Cover photo courtesy of Phil Lindsay.

It is chock-full of photos of the Mono Lake Committee in action in our focus areas of protection, restoration, education, and (more…)

Lee Vining High School students monitor Mill Creek’s health

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 by Santiago, Outdoor Experiences Manager
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Usually the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Center hosts groups of kids and young adults from Los Angeles in the Mono Basin for five days and takes them to explore the wonders of the Eastern Sierra while learning about water conservation. This past week the OEC team had the privilege to work with a group of teenagers from just next door: Lee Vining High School biology students.

Lee Vining high school biology students inspect Mill Creek's macroinvertebrates during their field day along Mill Creek. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Lee Vining high school biology students inspect macroinvertebrates during their field day along Mill Creek. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

For several years the OEC program and biology students from the high school have been monitoring Mill Creek, Mono Lake’s northernmost tributary stream that enters Mono Lake just west of Black Point, to gauge (more…)

Volunteer opp: remove invasive plants on Mill Creek

Thursday, July 9th, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Matt Rice, 2015 & 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

An important piece of the Mono Lake Committee’s mission is to restore Mono Lake’s tributary streams and their riparian (streamside) habitats. These environments provide a lush area for many of the native plants of the Mono Basin to grow and flourish. Since the streams were damaged by years of excessive water diversions, they are in the process of recovering, and non-native invasive plants can sometimes encroach, outcompete the native vegetation, and slow the restoration process.

invasives - native cow clower - RDi IMG_0569

Native cow clover recolonizing riparian habitat along Mill Creek. Photo by Robert Di Paolo.

This summer the Mono Lake Committee is continues to focus on removing invasive plants along Mill Creek, the third largest tributary to Mono Lake located in the north Mono Basin. White sweet clover is the main target as this fast-growing weed  quickly dominates sections of Mill Creek and poses the greatest threat to native plants. Already this summer we have removed over 300 pounds of invasive white sweet clover and the native flowers and plants are noticeably establishing in the previously invaded habitat, which is both encouraging and beautiful to witness.

invasives 2014-08-04 high country plants seminar RD_1639

Botanist Ann Howald will join the restoration crew on July 21st to talk about rare plants and conservation issues. Photo by Robert Di Paolo.

Come join us this July on Tuesday the 14th and Tuesday the 21st to see for yourself and to help keep this important habitat healthy, beautiful, and diverse. On the 21st we will be accompanied by guest naturalist Ann Howald, a botanist who specializes in rare plants and conservation issues and who has lead the High Country Plant Field Seminar for the Mono Lake Committee for over a decade. She has an amazing wealth of knowledge of the Sierra Nevada and this will be a rare chance to pick her brain.

To join us: meet at 8:30 am at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore,  located on the corner of Highway 395 and Third Street in Lee Vining. If you are interested in volunteering for either of the restoration events this July or if you have any questions about July or August events, please contact Robbie Di Paolo at (760) 647-6386 x122.

invasives 2015-07-01 OEC invasive activity MB_1666

Outdoor Education Center participants, Pacoima Beautiful, after a day of invasive plant removal. Photo by Melissa Boyd.

Special thanks to the California State Parks Foundation for their support of the Mono Lake Volunteer program this year. Special thanks to outdoor clothing company Patagonia Inc. for their support of the Mono Lake Committee’s restoration stewardship program.

How low can they go? Mono Basin streams in the drought

Thursday, June 11th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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This fourth dry year in a row will stress all Mono Basin streams, especially Rush Creek. Photo by Greg Reis.

This fourth dry year in a row will stress all Mono Basin streams, especially Rush Creek. Photo by Greg Reis.

The expansive views from almost any vantage point in the Mono Basin tell a stark and undeniable story of four consecutive years of drought, above-average temperatures, and the combined effects on Mono Lake. For residents and regular visitors, the expanded exposed lakebed, growing landbridge, and dramatically changing topography of key visitation sites are hard to miss. While less immediately visible, the effects of the drought on the streams of the Mono Basin are no less severe.

Another grim year for Rush Creek

The Rush Creek watershed encompasses a complex water management system that is exacerbating the effects of the already-challenging drought. Water originating from the Sierra snowpack travels (more…)

Conway Ranch easement finalized: Another era for the north Mono Basin begins

Monday, March 16th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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After two years of public meetings with diverse stakeholders, numerous field visits, and countless rounds of legal review and revision, the Conway Ranch Conservation Easement was signed and recorded by the Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) and Mono County on December 1, 2014.

A new easement allows for both open space preservation and also limited economic activity at Conway Ranch. Photo by Emily Prud'homme.

A new easement allows for both open space preservation and also limited economic activity at Conway Ranch. Photo by Emily Prud’homme.

The two parties successfully worked out myriad easement details with the dual goals of protecting open space and wildlife habitat while allowing for limited economic activities, specifically fish rearing and sheep grazing. (more…)

Lend a hand at restoring the Mono Basin tomorrow

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Julie Curtis, 2014 Mono Lake Intern.

Looking for a hands-on way to help protect and restore Mono Lake? Come join us tomorrow, August 20 starting at 9:00am in front of the Mono Lake Committee for a restoration day with Mono Lake Committee Education Director, Bartshe Miller.

Invasive white sweet clover can be identified by its three leaves and white flowers. Photo by Emma Oschrin.

We will be working at Mill Creek removing white sweet clover, a legume originally from Europe and a noxious invasive in the Eastern Sierra. Sweet clover can grow up to seven or eight feet tall near the shoreline in areas with maximum sunlight. The biennial plant can produce up to 350,000 seeds per plant and with those seeds potentially viable up to 81 years, we want to be sure to target the large plants before they go to seed in the next few weeks.

If you have questions or want to RSVP, you can email me, but you can also just feel free to show up. Lunch will be provided at Mono Lake County Park after about two hours of invasive removal. It will be a great way to meet some new people and get a free lunch all while giving Mono Lake a helping hand. I hope to see you there!

Restoring Mill Creek by removing invasive plant species

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Emma Oschrin, 2014 Project Specialist.

As many of you know, one of the Mono Lake Committee’s central missions is restoration. This tenet of our work involves many components and projects, ranging from working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on the Mono Basin Stream Restoration Agreement to removing invasive plant species along Mono Lake’s tributary streams.

Returning Mono Lake Intern Julie Curtis pulling white sweet clover along the banks of Mill Creek. Photo by Emma Oschrin.

This summer, we have been focusing our restoration field days on Mill Creek. More specifically, we are removing invasive white sweet clover from the riparian habitat along the banks of the stream. (more…)

Spotlight: The Mono Lake Volunteers

Friday, August 1st, 2014 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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When I stand and look out from the shores of Mono Lake, there is an abundance of stories that flow through my mind.

Mono Lake Volunteers rove at South Tufa and County Park with spotting scopes and helpful information for visitors---keep an eye out for their blue shirts! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Mono Lake Volunteers rove at South Tufa and County Park with spotting scopes and helpful information for visitors—keep an eye out for their blue shirts! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

At times I reflect on the region’s water story and the decades of litigation and activism that was required to bring awareness and ecological security to Mono Lake. Other times I am captivated by the dazzling aerial displays of the Wilson’s Phalaropes, which stop to feed at Mono Lake before embarking on a continuous 48-hour flight to the Andean Plateau in South America. It’s these stories and many more that help me to understand and appreciate the lake for the amazing place that it is, which is why I believe that providing interpretive information to visitors can greatly benefit their overall experience of Mono Lake.

Perhaps that is why there are so many great interpretive programs offered in the Mono Basin. And yet not everyone who visits Mono Lake is always able to attend a South Tufa tour or a bird walk. It is therefore to everyone’s benefit that there exists a special task force designed to provide an “on the fly” interpretive experience: the Mono Lake Volunteers. (more…)

Join us for two Mono Lake restoration events this July

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Emma Oschrin, 2014 Project Specialist.

If you frequent the Mono-logue, you’re probably invested in helping Mono Lake and its tributary streams recover. As always, donations and member support are welcome and necessary aspects of protecting and restoring Mono Lake. But if you’re looking to help Mono Lake in a more hands-on way, consider joining us on Wednesday, July 16 or Wednesday, July 23 for a restoration field day!

The Mono Lake Committee seasonal staff after pulling invasive sweet clover on Mill Creek. Photo by Emma Oschrin.

For our restoration field days, volunteers help with various projects at Mono Lake and along the streams. This July, we’ll be having two restoration days along Mill Creek. Volunteers and Mono Lake Committee staff will be lending a helping hand to the streams by removing invasive plant species that are currently taking up space in streamside habitat. (more…)

Will you volunteer for Mono Lake this year?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Rosanne Catron, 2014 Office Director.

Are you looking for an opportunity to give back to your favorite place?

The 2013 Mono Lake Volunteers celebrate their graduation from volunteer training. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Each year, volunteers contribute hundreds of hours in the Mono Basin with the Mono Lake Volunteer Program. Whether conducting outreach to the public at South Tufa, pointing out birds with a scope at the State Reserve boardwalk, picking up trash, pulling invasive plants, or helping out at the Scenic Area Visitor Center, our volunteers (more…)

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