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Seasonal Update | The Mono-logue

‘Seasonal Update’ Category

Summer 2016 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director
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Newsletter-Su-coverA full moon canoe tour on Mono Lake should be on your bucket list. There’s nothing like it. With the cool salty air off the water, the moonglade, the tufa towers even more otherworldly, birds and bats skirting through the quiet open sky—it’s like floating in the middle of a giant unbelievable black and white photograph.

While you’ve got your bucket list out, I recommend turning to page 14 of this Newsletter. The full moon canoe tour is just the beginning—the Mono Lake Committee is offering a whole slew of new guided trips and tours in addition to our regular offerings. We’ve pulled together some of the most knowledgeable, experienced, and fun people around to guide folks who are curious and want to see, learn, and do more in the Mono Basin. (more…)

Memorial Day weekend hours at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Spring and California Gulls are in the air, and the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be extending its hours for Memorial Day weekend. From Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30 we will be open from 8:00am to 6:00pm to accommodate holiday travelers.

Stop by during Memorial Day weekend! Photo by Jessica Horn.

Stop by during Memorial Day weekend! Photo by Jessica Horn.

We will return to our normal hours (9:00am–5:00pm) on Tuesday, May 31. We hope to see you here soon!

Native plant conditions at Mill Creek improve

Monday, May 23rd, 2016 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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On May 18, 2015 I wanted to assess the types and quantities of invasive plants that were present at Mill Creek. Melilotus albus (sweet clover) was quickly identified as the most prolific and abundant invasive plant species present along Mill Creek, which I documented with GPS points and photos. With the help of volunteers and school groups, we were able to remove over 730 pounds of sweet clover from Mill Creek in 2015 from mid-June to mid-August by manually pulling and clipping the invasive plants. Now in 2016 the difference is noticeable.

Image on the left shows an island in Mill Creek totally dominated by invasive Sweet Clover on May 18th, 2015. The image on the right shows the same island on May 13th, 2016 with only a small patch of Sweet Clover in the center of the island; the rest of the vegetation consists of native clovers, moss, and willow saplings.

Image on the left shows an island in Mill Creek totally dominated by invasive sweet clover on May 18, 2015. The image on the right shows the same island on May 13, 2016 with only a small patch of sweet clover in the center of the island; the rest of the vegetation consists of native clovers, moss, grass, and willow saplings. Photos by Robbie Di Paolo.

Areas of Mill Creek where we focused sweet clover removal efforts in 2015 are now showing native plants retaking the prized riparian habitat in 2016 (as demonstrated by the photo above), which is exactly what we want to be seeing.

Unfortunately, we can’t take all the credit. Seasonal variation has a big impact on what plants dominate a landscape year to year and compared to the last three years, we had much more snow this year. That snow probably helped a lot with inhibiting sweet clover growth and development. But I believe with continued efforts, we are giving the native plants a chance to secure their place along Mill Creek for years to come.

Free bird walks at Mono Lake County Park begin this weekend

Thursday, May 19th, 2016 by Sandra, Birding Intern
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Several events mark the beginning of the Mono Lake Committee’s summer season. One of them is the start of weekend bird-walks at Mono Lake County Park, a joint program with California State Parks.

A Western Tanager in its brilliant breeding plumage.  Photo by Sandra Noll.

A Western Tanager in its brilliant breeding plumage. Photo by Sandra Noll.

You are invited to join experienced guides every Friday and Sunday at 8:00am (meet at the County Park parking lot) for a two-hour guided walk through a variety of habitats including an aging woodland with dead snags, sagebrush scrub, grassland, riparian oasis, and the shore of Mono Lake. As you can imagine, this variety of habitats supports a wide variety of birds.

These following photos of a few of the species seen on a preview walk earlier this week are (more…)

Tioga Pass opening today at noon

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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News from Yosemite National Park: Tioga Pass (Highway 120) will open all the way through the park today at noon.

Mono Lake seen from the Yosemite high country. Photo courtesy of karlcbl via Instagram.

Mono Lake seen from the Yosemite high country. Photo courtesy of karlcbl via Instagram.

This is good news for us Eastsiders who are eager to visit the Yosemite high country, and for folks on the west side who have been waiting to visit Mono Lake all winter. The spring weather is perfect these days—come on over!

See more information about hiking conditions, campgrounds, and services from the National Park Service press release below: (more…)

Lower gate on Highway 120 opens; Tioga Pass remains closed

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Near Tioga Pass, the snow is over six feet deep from the plowing operations. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Near Tioga Pass, the snow is over six feet deep along the road. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

This morning, Caltrans opened the lower gate on Highway 120 up to Tioga Pass. Highway 120 is still closed, however, beyond Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park.

I excitedly made the trip up the road during my lunch break today for the first time since November and found considerable snow still on the ground above 9,000 feet (more…)

Supporting local Lee Vining businesses

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Mono Cone swirl cone. Happy me! Selfie by Nora Livingston.

Mono Cone swirl cone. Happy me! Selfie by Nora Livingston.

Lee Vining is getting busier as spring brings more visitors with the arrival of fishing season. In preparation for the fishing season opener (April 30), a few more businesses in town opened their doors after a winter of hibernation. I made it my goal today to support as many local businesses as possible, because we all work together as a town to both provide for locals and bring visitors here to boost the town economy and garner love for this community and its surrounding beauty (like Mono Lake!). If people didn’t visit Lee Vining and support the businesses, it would be a lot harder to protect the lake because a whole lot fewer people would know it existed.

The best part of the day was (more…)

Blooming desert peach: Spring is on its way

Saturday, April 30th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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It definitely feels like springtime here in the Mono Basin—the days are warming up and the cloudless sky is electric blue; the birds are returning, preparing to croon their overtures, practicing for their unabridged performances; the trees are bursting with minute glittering gems of new leaves that dance ecstatically in the breeze; and the blooming desert peach is glazing the hillsides pink.

A six-petaled Desert Peach flower (usually they are five-petaled). Photo by Nora Livingston.

A six-petaled desert peach flower (usually they are five-petaled). Photo by Nora Livingston.

When I breathe in, I feel the spring absorbing into my lungs; my skin, my nerves, my blood is rich with it. It is nice to be reminded each spring that regeneration is cyclical, so that we always have something to look forward to even (more…)

Update: Tioga Pass “lower gate” not opening Friday at noon

Thursday, April 28th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Earlier this week, Caltrans had reported that it planned to open the lower gate on Tioga Pass Road tomorrow for fishing season opener, allowing easier access to the high country and freshwater lakes near Yosemite National Park’s eastern entrance. However, due to inclement weather predicted for the area, Caltrans will not be opening the lower gate tomorrow.

According to the press release, “Caltrans will reassess the weather and road conditions next week to determine if the highway is safe for the traveling public.” Keep checking back here on the Mono-logue for updates—we will report all Tioga Pass news that we get.

Join us for weekly Mono Lake bird walks starting on Friday, May 20

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Migratory and nesting birds are returning to the Mono Basin in droves as the weather warms. Join us for free guided bird walks at Mono Lake County park starting on Friday, May 20 to see owls, woodpeckers, sparrows, gulls, raptors, shorebirds, warblers, wrens, and more up close!

A something something sandpiper?? forages for food along Mono Lake's shore. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Least Sandpiper. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The guided walks take place at 8:00am every Friday and Sunday morning throughout the summer, and are offered (more…)

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