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Seasonal Update | The Mono-logue

‘Seasonal Update’ Category

Two Mono Basin wildfires in one week

Friday, September 19th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

With two wildfires in one week, the Mono Basin is getting hit hard during this tinder-dry early autumn. After investigation, both of this week’s local fires were determined to be caused by accidents.

The June Fire late in the day on September 16. Photo courtesy of the Mono County Sheriff's Department.

The Conway Fire, which ignited on September 12, was caused by a tire blow-out on a vehicle headed south on Highway 395 at the base of Conway Summit. During that windy afternoon the fire quickly grew (more…)

Fall colors are emerging in the Mono Basin

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Erica, Mono Lake Intern

Quaking Aspens between Grant Lake Reservior and Silver Lake along the June Lake Loop are rapidly changing their leaves from a dark green to yellow color. These trees regularly grow in dense, unbroken stands, creating a stunning golden vista when their leaves fully change color in the fall. If you are headed to the Eastern Sierra, make sure to do this driving loop to see these beautiful seasonal changes.

Aspens along Highway 158 are starting to change to lime-green and yellow. Photo by Erica Stephens.

Willow leaves on the shore of Silver Lake look yellow due to a combination of fall color and a rust fungus. Photo by Erica Stephens.


Seasonal changes in the Mono Basin

Sunday, September 14th, 2014 by Erica, Mono Lake Intern

As the evening wind whips through the Mono Basin it is becoming noticeably colder now. The summer season is coming to a close and this change brings beautiful new fall colors, migratory birds, and plants.

Animals are preparing for the winter ahead and can be seen gathering nesting materials and food supplies.

Pikas do not hibernate and gather grasses to get them through the winter. Photo by Erica Stephens.

A marmot sunbathing on a rock. Photo by Erica Stephens.

The birds of the Mono Basin are feeling and responding to seasonal changes as well. Spring and summer birds have raised their chicks and parents and fledglings alike have left for (more…)

34th annual Tioga Pass Run: The results are in!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 by Lily, Project Specialist

Last Sunday, September 7, 113 runners and walkers made their way up 12.4 miles of the grueling and scenic Tioga Pass, during the 34th annual Tioga Pass Run. They started in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finished at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, gaining 3,165 feet in elevation along the way.

The Tioga Pass Run begins in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and climbs 3,165 feet over 12.4 miles, ending at the east entrance to Yosemite National Park. Photo by Rose Catron.

Reaching the finish line first was Dan Yarborough with the time of 1:39:34. Not far behind was the first-place woman, Jessica Francois (former Mono Lake Committee staff member!), with a time of 1:55:01. There were also ten participants who (more…)

Tioga Lake being drained for maintenance work

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by Robbie, Project Specialist

Tioga Lake, located along Highway 120 west near the east entrance to Yosemite, will be drained one month earlier this year for necessary maintenance.

In compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Inyo National Forest conditions, Southern California Edison (SCE) began draining the lake on Tuesday in order to install a geomembrane liner on the main and auxiliary Tioga Lake dams.

It is expected to take two to three weeks to drain the lake and while there will still be some water in the lake, recreation will be limited.

The Mono Basin’s top 10 August birds

Monday, September 1st, 2014 by Sandra, Birding Intern

This flock of American Avocets flew through my photograph of two Osprey chicks just as I clicked the shutter. The fledged Osprey chicks had returned to their nest hoping for one more parent-provided fish dinner as they work to perfect their own flying and hunting skills. Photo by Erv Nichols.

It’s hard to believe that our three months as Mono Lake Committee Birding Interns are drawing to a close. In an interesting bracket to the season, our bird walks at County Park began in May with a sighting of a Great Horned Owl and our last walk in August also began with a Great Horned Owl. They were different birds—perhaps the most recent being an offspring of the pair that nested here and fledged two chicks in June. Each month has offered a lovely variety of birds, from spring migrants through nesting pairs and now into fall migrants, along with interesting and reliable residential species.

As the days shorten and schedules permit we have been out more at dusk in the South tufa area enjoying not only the lovely sunsets but also Common Nighthawks  and groups of (more…)

There’s still time to register for the Tioga Pass Run….

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Lily, Project Specialist

Calling all runners and walkers! It’s not too late to register for the 34th annual Tioga Pass Run, taking place on Sunday, September 7.

Runners make their way up the hill during the 2013 Tioga Pass Run. Photo courtesy of Dick Erb.

Come join our outdoor-loving community of runners and walkers by participating in this year’s run. The Tioga Pass Run is the longest continuously-occurring race in the Eastern Sierra—every year since 1980—and is hosted by the Mono Lake Committee. Participants will gain 3,200 feet of elevation over a 12.4-mile-long (more…)

Lessons the Mono Basin taught me

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 by Adam, Mono Lake Intern

With the fall collegiate semester fast approaching, the time is coming for me to bid an all-too-soon farewell to the astounding Mono Basin and State of California and head back to the rolling plains of Iowa.

"Go east, young man!" Adam, right, along with Melissa, Sandra, Erica, Barb, and Robbie, gets oriented to the Mono Basin on an aqueduct tour with Greg (pointing). Photo by Erv Nichols.

After completing my first Mono-logue post, which narrated the unlikely path I took to the Eastern Sierra, I intended to write a follow-up, which would tell of my adventures in California. However, I have been using the time I have had in the Golden State to the fullest (more…)

Summer thunderstorms give Mono Lake and its tributaries a drink—and a break

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

We were expecting the worst for streamflows this summer. Runoff at 48% of average this year—as forecasted in April, and even lower than the last two dry years—would make 2014 the driest year of the last three, adding up to the three driest consecutive years on record for runoff in the Mono Basin.

Late July and early August thunderstorms have brought important water to Mono Lake during this drought. Photo by Sandra Noll.

But then the summer thunderstorms came, dropping an inch and a half of rain. The late July and early August rains extended the late July streamflows into mid-August, buying about 3–4 weeks of extra time at or above the late July flows. For most creeks, this means that the late July and early August flows this year ended up actually higher than last year. Click on the graphs below to enlarge. (more…)

My year in the Mono Basin

Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Emma, Project Specialist

When I began working for the Mono Lake Committee in June 2013, I was only intending to stay for the summer season. As a recent college graduate with no other concrete plans, I had hoped that I could turn my internship into a longer-term gig—but I had no idea if that would be possible.

Mono Lake Committee staff enjoy a break during the annual staff retreat. The staff retreat is a time for us to make plans for the upcoming year. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Then, in August, I was offered the position of Project Specialist and I made plans to stay on for the winter. The winter in Lee Vining held many new and different experiences from summer life. The town quiets down significantly but the Committee is still buzzing with long-term planning, fundraising, and hundreds of mail orders for the holiday season. Then slowly, as the days began growing longer again and the staff began gearing up for the upcoming flurry of activity, all I could think about was summer. (more…)

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