today at mono lake

the mono-logue

mono lake live

live webcam images

calendar of events

username:

password:

click here for
"remember me"

register
login help


The Mono-logue


Major Categories   Search Blog:

Seasonal Update | The Mono-logue

‘Seasonal Update’ Category

Mono Lake: The essence of this unique place

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 by Sandra, Birding Intern
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone
The tranquil Mono Lake shoreline at sunrise. Photo by Sandra Noll.

The tranquil Mono Lake shoreline at sunrise. Photo by Sandra Noll.

With less than a month remaining in my summer internship with the Mono Lake Committee, I am drawn to revisit the essence of this unique place.

Mono Lake is a vast, hyper-saline, hyper-alkaline terminal lake. It indulges intense mood swings while comfortably nestled within the mostly-arid Mono Basin now resplendent with aromatic Great Basin sagebrush and yellow-flowered rabbitbrush. Striking mountains and rolling hills surround the basin. Riparian corridors of freshwater streams feeding the lake are green and lush thanks to restoration efforts and the unexpected bounty of spring and summer rains. One’s eye is refreshed at every turn. (more…)

Walker Fire continues, road conditions changeable

Monday, August 17th, 2015 by Bartshé, Education Director
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

The Walker Fire continues and Highway 120 west has been open and closed periodically with a Highway Patrol escort. Please check road conditions before you travel. Lee Vining remains under alert for possible evacuation, but we remain optimistic that an evacuation will not be necessary. Highway 395 remains clear and open without restrictions at this time.

Afternoon winds can change fire conditions dramatically as they have throughout the life of this fire, and road closures can change. Click here for up-to-date conditions reports.

Helicopter drops water from Walker Lake on spotfires near Williams Butte on August 17.

A helicopter drops water from Walker Lake on spotfires near Williams Butte on August 17.

Walker Fire boundary at the end of August  16, 2015.

The latest mapped fire boundary, now at 3,700 acres.

View of Waler Fire looking north on August 17 at appr. 11am.

Looking north across to the Walker Fire burn area at about 11:00am on August 17, conditions looked encouraging at this time. Photos by Bartshe Miller.

Walker Fire travel and road condition resources

Monday, August 17th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Conditions continue to evolve with the Walker Fire just south of Lee Vining. The two main highway arteries in the area, Highway 120 west into Yosemite and Highway 395, may need to be closed at times for fire fighting and safety. If you are traveling in the area, watch conditions carefully and plan ahead. We have gathered the resources we are using to get up-to-date information:

We will post major #walkerfire updates on:

Fire crews are based in Lee Vining and are working hard to get this fire under control, please help them be safe out there!

The good news is that you can still visit Mono Lake! Smoke conditions are variable around the Mono Basin, and continue to change as winds shift, so use your good judgement…. Places like South Tufa, the Old Marina, and County Park are easy access points to the lake, tufa towers, birds and wildlife, and interpretive activities, and these places are open to the public. For more information on where to go and what to do, you can always stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining and our helpful staff can help you get where you want to go.

The Mono Basin’s top ten July birds

Monday, August 10th, 2015 by Sandra, Birding Intern
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Another month has flown by and it’s time to unveil July’s top ten bird encounters; birds seen within a half-hour radius of the Mono Lake Committee headquarters. July’s birding continued to be enriched by the maturation and fledging of chicks and by initial sightings of migratory grebes and phalaropes along the shore of Mono Lake.

Violet-green Swallow atop tufa tower at South Tufa. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Violet-green Swallow atop tufa tower at South Tufa. Photo by Sandra Noll.

1.  California Gull fledglings—According to Kristie Nelson, Mono Lake California Gull Project Leader, this has been a “highly successful year for the gulls, better than we have seen in over ten years for both population size and chick production.”
2.  Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch—often seen in the high country (more…)

The REAL hidden gems of the Mono Basin and Sierra Nevada

Friday, August 7th, 2015 by Sarah, Mono Lake Intern
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

It’s the middle of summer, and most people have been busy exploring the great fishing spots here in the Eastern Sierra, or spending sun-filled days in the crystal-clear waters swimming all day, or enjoying the company of friends and family beside views of the mountains. While all these things are a must for a summer spent in the Sierra, oftentimes the best part is overlooked (quite literally): the flowers!

If you make it to the top of a Sierra peak, you may be able to see…. sky pilot! Photo by

If you make it to the top of a Sierra peak, you may be able to see…. sky pilot! Photo by Sarah Angulo.

Yes, the flowers may be small and low to the ground, but they deserve to be gawked at as much as the huge mountains on which they grow. In the world of the small, gazing deep into the colors and shapes and patterns of flowers, one can gain a greater connection and appreciation for the work of nature. How these little things have diversified (more…)

Uncovering 20 years of Mono Lake naturalist notes

Saturday, August 1st, 2015 by Andrew, Mono Lake Intern
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Last week, while looking around the office, I uncovered a binder hidden among the office supplies entitled “The Birds and the Bees, the Weather and the Trees of the Mono Basin.” Assuming it would be a collection of handouts on the natural history of the area, I was delighted to find that in fact it was a collection of handwritten naturalist notes from Mono Lake Committee staff members over the years.

Naturalists flock to the Mono Basin for its incredible beauty and diversity of life from Osprey to brine shrimp. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Naturalists flock to the Mono Basin for its incredible beauty and diversity of life from Osprey to brine shrimp. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The notebook contains observations as early as 1994 (by some of our staff members who are still here, more than 20 years later) with a focus on birds, flowers, and other sightings in the region. I’ve spent quite a bit of time drooling over all the rare birds and other creatures documented in the binder, but for this post I decided to narrow my focus to this week in history. (more…)

Guided canoe tours: The best way to experience Mono Lake

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 by Sara, Mono Lake Intern
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

If you’re a Mono Lake Intern, mornings start early on the weekends. Six-thirty finds three sleepy interns and the Canoe Coordinator all making their way, eyes half-closed, through the crisp morning air in Lee Vining to meet at the back door of the Mono Lake Committee. Despite the early hour and memories of warm and cozy beds, spirits are high. It’s canoe tour day!

Caption caption. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Canoe tour days involve a sunrise wake-up call for Mono Lake Interns. Luckily, sunrise is one of Mono Lake’s best times of day. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Every Saturday and Sunday the ritual repeats. Canoe days are hard work. It takes a lot of energy to load and unload the fleet of shiny silver canoes from the canoe truck, to spend the entire day paddling Mono Lake’s (hopefully!) glassy waters, and all the while maintain the excitement of sharing the wonders of the Mono Basin with a fresh group of visitors—three times in a row. Yet there isn’t one among us who would even think about trading a canoe tour shift. On days like this, we all feel like we have the best job in the world. (more…)

The Mono Basin’s wettest July since 1965

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

At the Cain Ranch weather station, five miles south of Lee Vining, as of July 13, 1.57 inches of rain had fallen in July. That makes this month already the second-wettest July on record after the 1.98 inches of rain in July 1965. Records at this location began in 1931. Rain fell on all but two days between July 1 and 10, and while it has been dry there since July 10, it still has been raining in other parts of the Mono Basin almost every day.

The wet July continues the wet May-June centered on Mono County. This map from the Western Regional Climate Center shows April-June precipitation in percent of average.

This wet July continues the wet May–June centered on Mono County. This map from the Western Regional Climate Center shows April–June precipitation in percent of average.

Lee Vining Creek above the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) diversion dam experienced its peak flow of about 124 cubic feet per second on July 11, from rain and melting fresh snow. Below the dam, the minimum flow is being released, and the floodwaters are being diverted to Grant Lake Reservoir, which has been slowly rising since May.

Aside from brief floods due to thunderstorms, the Mono Basin’s creeks are dropping to the very low levels that were otherwise expected this summer. If the thunderstorms stop, we will start seeing new low flow records later this month, especially in watersheds without glaciers, such as Walker Creek. The April–September snowmelt runoff forecast issued by DWP in May predicted 19% of average runoff, with a lower bound of 7% and an upper bound of 32%. Nineteen percent is less than half of the runoff measured in 1977, the driest year on record; 32% is still much drier than the driest year on record. Thanks to the recent wet weather, Mono Basin runoff is on track to reach 32%.

July, the new January?

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 by Bartshé, Education Director
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

After four years of drought in California snow has become a rare sight in the Sierra Nevada, but in July?! Last week an upper-level low-pressure system moved westward across California and generated thunderstorms, rain, hail, and a local dose of real snow to the Tioga Pass region, especially in the Lee Vining Creek headwaters. The area around Saddlebag Lake, in particular, received a solid coating of snow, estimated between 6-10″ in the early morning hours of July 9. The morning was reminiscent of January, except for highlights of bright green vegetation struggling through an unfamiliar white blanket. With a strong El Nino building in the Pacific, might this be a harbinger of the winter ahead? California, the Sierra Nevada, and Mono Lake are greatly in need of anything close to a normal snowpack, but as this past week illustrates, there is no normal with precipitation in California, just variability.

Mt. Dana, above Tioga Pass on July 9, 2015.

Mt. Dana, above Tioga Pass on July 9, 2015.

New snow above Saddlebag Lake

Mt. Excelsior and ridge in fresh snow behind Saddlebag Lake, July 9, 2015.

Saddlebag Lake and the Tioga Ridge

Saddlebag Lake, Shepherd Crest (upper-left) and the Tioga Ridge on July 9, 2015. Note heavy snow near the ridge and Dore Pass (from upper-middle to upper- right). Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Penstemon newberryi

Mountain Pride, Penstemon newberryi, in fresh snow, July 9, 2015. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Volunteer opp: remove invasive plants on Mill Creek

Thursday, July 9th, 2015 by Matt, Mono Lake Intern
Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

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.

The Mono-logue is powered by Wordpress
Subscribe to entries with RSS or by Email. Subscribe to comments (RSS).

Find us on Facebook

 

Follow us on Twitter

 

Print this page
print

search | contact us | site map 
 

MLC Logo

© 2015 mono lake committee
The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.


]]>