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Spring | The Mono-logue - Part 2

‘Spring’ Category

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…)

Tioga Pass “lower gate” scheduled to open Friday at noon

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Update: The lower gate is NOT opening on Friday at noon.

The lower gate on Highway 120 west, Tioga Pass, is scheduled to be opened on Friday, April 29. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The lower gate on Highway 120 west, Tioga Pass, is scheduled to be opened on Friday, April 29. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Via press release from Caltrans:

“The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been working on clearing snow, removing rocks, and repairing the road to open State Route 120 West to the east Yosemite Park entrance gate. It is anticipated that the road will reopen from winter closure on Friday, April 29th, 2016 at noon, weather and safety permitting. Caltrans’ number one priority is safety for the traveling public and highway maintenance crews. State Route 120 west will remain closed at the Yosemite Park entrance.

“This partial opening is dependent upon favorable weather and verification that the highway is safe for users. If the area is impacted by inclement weather Caltrans may not be able to open the highway as anticipated. Please check local highway conditions before planning to use SR 120 west.”

Mono Lake Committee Scholarship deadline extended

Monday, April 25th, 2016 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator
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The deadline for submitting applications for the Mono Lake Committee scholarship has been extended to Friday, May 13 at 5:00pm. Completed applications can be mailed to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541 or hand delivered to our Information Center & Bookstore, open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Each year the Committee awards two $1,000 scholarships to local students who display a personal connection with Mono Lake and the Mono Lake story. Mono County resident high school seniors who have firm plans to attend a two- or four-year college within a year of graduation qualify.

Last year the scholarship selection team of Robbie, Ellen, Arya, and Elin fueled their deliberations with Mono Cone. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Each year the scholarship selection team gets out of the office to talk through the essays with a fresh change of scenery. Last year that also included fresh Mono Cone! Photo by Elin Ljung.

The Mono Lake shrimp are back!

Sunday, April 17th, 2016 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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Brine shrimp (Artemia monica) have emerged from the bottom of Mono Lake and they’re already growing fast! Come check them out along the shores of Mono Lake or in our aquarium at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore (open seven days a week). Enjoy the algae while you can little guys, humans aren’t the only migratory species that’s excited about your arrival….

Artemia monica swirling around bubbling tufa in the MLC's aquarium. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Artemia monica swirling around bubbling tufa in the Mono Lake Committee’s aquarium. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

April 1 Mono Lake level close to critically low threshold

Friday, April 1st, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director
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This morning Mono Lake Committee staff met with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) personnel to conduct the official annual April 1 reading of the lake level together. The consensus: Mono Lake stands at 6378.11 feet above sea level.

Mono Lake is now just 13 inches above the ecologically precipitous 6377-foot elevation at which the nesting islands become landbridged, lake salinity hits new highs, air quality problems worsen, and stream delta habitat conditions degrade.

Measuring Mono Lake's April 1 elevation

DWP’s Steve Rich and Robbie Di Paolo from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

With those concerns in mind, the State Water Board rules are more nuanced this year for determining whether or not DWP can export water to Los Angeles. Not only does the lake have to be above 6377 feet for today’s measurement, it also has to be forecast to stay above 6377 every day of the coming year. (more…)

2016 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship now open for applicants

Monday, March 21st, 2016 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education who display a personal connection with Mono Lake and the Mono Lake story with two $1,000 scholarships. Mono County resident high school seniors who have firm plans to attend a two- or four-year college within a year of graduation qualify.

Carson Bold won one of the 2015 Mono Lake Committee Scholarships; Communications Director Arya Degenhardt presented it to him at graduation. Photo courtesy of Susan Morning.

Carson Bold was a recipient of one of the 2015 Mono Lake Committee Scholarships; Communications Director Arya Degenhardt presented it to him at graduation. Photo courtesy of Susan Morning.

If you are interested in applying, you can find the application here. The application deadline is: Friday, April 29, 2016 at 5:00pm. (more…)

El Niño delivers more drought to the Eastern Sierra

Saturday, March 19th, 2016 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Despite a strong El Niño and recent rain and snow in California, drought conditions continue to plague the Eastern Sierra and Mono Lake. As of March 16 extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist in Mono and Inyo counties, a drought that is now in its fifth year. Recent winter storms brought very little precipitation east of the Sierra crest and the outlook for the rest of March looks generally dry.

CA_droughtconditions_March15_2016

Extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist up and down the Eastern Sierra and throughout a large portion of California.

This means that many precipitation measuring stations east and west of Highway 395 will end up between 40% and 75% of normal for April 1. The one exception (more…)

Planning update from the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua team

Monday, March 14th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Photo by Santiago Escruceria 2015

An American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, perches regally on a snag. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Planning a birding festival takes a significant amount of work and time. We, along with our organizing partners at California State Parks, now have 14 years of experience under our belts, so our Fifteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua planning is progressing smoothly. We’ve assembled a complete schedule in grid form and it is now available to view on the website for all you pre-planners out there. Our program information with trip descriptions and leader biographies will be up on the website in the next two weeks. This will give attendees plenty of time to plan for registration on Friday, April 15. Remember, the Fifteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is June 17–19 this year. (more…)

Will Mono Lake rise in 2016?

Saturday, March 12th, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director
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The question for 2016: Will the winter be big enough to make Mono Lake rise? The short answer is: stay tuned to see what happens in the second half of winter. Snowpack conditions are the key to lake level forecasting, and they are currently far better than the last four drought years. But the snowpack is not yet above average for the Mono Basin.

Mono Lake Committee staff walked to the narrow moat of water that still separates Negit Island from the mainland last November. Photo by Elin LJung.

Mono Lake Committee staff walked to the narrow moat of water that still separates Negit Island from the mainland last November. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Will water exports be allowed?

The lake level is currently 6378 feet above sea level. The rules controlling water exports to Los Angeles recognize the ecological jeopardy the lake is in when it approaches 6377 feet, and they add a twist. As usual, the lake level gets measured on April 1—if it is below 6377, no exports are allowed for the following 12 months. That part is straightforward and easy.

The twist comes in when the hydrologic modeling (more…)

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