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

Friday, August 3rd, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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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…)

Tioga Road (Highway 120) is closed; Yosemite is accessible from the east

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans closed Highway 120 at Crane Flat at 2:47am due to the Ferguson Fire.

The east side of the Tioga Road is open, from Highway 395 to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park and beyond that to Tuolumne Meadows. But through passage along Highway 120 is not possible—travelers must use alternate routes to get from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other.

Always check road conditions before you travel, and in this season of major fires across California and the west, check the air quality for your destinations as well.

August 7 Mono County meeting to examine new DWP water extraction efforts

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you live, work, or play in the Eastern Sierra, put next week’s Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting in your schedule and please plan to attend:

• Tuesday, August 7 at 10:00am •
Mono County Courthouse, Bridgeport (in-person)
Town-County Conference Room, Minaret Mall,
CAO Conference Room, Sierra Center Mall,
Mammoth Lakes
(by video conference)

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.

Update: Tioga Road through Yosemite open; Yosemite Valley, Wawona, more closed until at least August 5

Monday, July 30th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Late last week officials with the National Park Service announced that they would be extending temporary closures of Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Wawona Road, and Big Oak Flat Road from Yosemite Valley to Crane Flat through Friday, August 3 Sunday, August 5. Park officials made the decision to close parts of the park last week due to public health concerns related to extreme smoke from the Ferguson Fire. Highway 120 through the park, also known as the Tioga Road, remains open.

Firefighters are working day and night to contain the Ferguson Fire. Photo courtesy of Kari Greer.

Conditions permitting, the affected areas are scheduled to re-open and 4:00pm on Friday, August 3. The park will continue to assess conditions and reevaluate all closures on Sunday, August 5. Be sure to check current conditions before heading into the park.

In addition to these closures (more…)

New gallery show: “Great Basin Sky & Shadows,” watercolors by Valerie P. Cohen

Friday, July 27th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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We are excited to announce that paintings by watercolorist Valerie P. Cohen will be featured in the Mono Lake Committee gallery from July 28, 2018 through mid-February of 2019.

“Windy Day on Carson Peak.” Art courtesy of Valerie P. Cohen.

Valerie has had many careers in addition to artist—she has been a backcountry cook, a ski patroller, and she was Yosemite National Park’s first (more…)

Parts of Yosemite National Park closed due to wildfire

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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On Tuesday, July 24, National Park Service officials announced that Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and the Mariposa Grove would close temporarily due to the Ferguson Fire burning just west of the park boundary.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite Valley. Photo courtesy of Inciweb.

In addition, both the park’s South Entrance (Highway 41) and the Arch Rock Entrance (Highway 140) are closed. The closure took effect Wednesday at noon and is expected to last until at least Sunday, July 29. Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road (Highway 120), and Hetch Hetchy remain open. (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…)

Early bird special for Mono Lake canoe tours

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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Each weekend the Mono Lake Interns wake with the sun and meet at 6:30am, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for a day of paddling on Mono Lake. When they arrive at Navy Beach, they are almost always greeted by a calm, glassy lake and an empty parking lot.

Early morning is one of the best times to enjoy Mono Lake, especially from a canoe. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Mono Lake in the early morning is a magical place: the Sierra Crest is lit up by first light and its image is reflected on the lake’s still surface (more…)

How the Mono Lake Committee changed my life

Saturday, July 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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I was 11 years old when I first set eyes on Mono Lake. My family had just finished our annual camping trip to Yosemite and decided to take the “long” way home and spend a night in the Eastern Sierra.

Seasonal staff training in 2015. Photo by Erv Nichols.

I can vividly remember the surprise I felt as our car made its way to the bottom of Tioga Pass. How had I never seen or heard of this ginormous lake before?! We didn’t make it to the lake’s salty shore that year or even into a visitor center to learn more about it—but it was a day that would shape my future, although I didn’t know it at the time. (more…)

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