Saturday, April 15th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby’s love for the Sierra Nevada started when she began visiting Yosemite National Park every year as a child. During her summer as a Mono Lake Intern she shared her passion for nature, Mono Lake, and the Sierra with visitors, and she's now staying through the winter as a Project Specialist. When she’s not working you can find her drinking yerba, hiking, fishing, or rolling around in the grass. Gabby hopes to become an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service so she can continue to share the great outdoors with others!See All Posts by Gabrielle (18) Contact Gabrielle
Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education and displaying a connection to Mono Lake with two $1,000 scholarships. High school seniors living in Mono County with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply.
Students are asked to visit Mono Lake and answer the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?
Applications can be found here, and the deadline to apply is Friday May 12, 2017 at 5:00pm.
You can find essays written by past recipients here. If you have questions regarding the application or would like to donate to the scholarship fund please contact Gabrielle Renteria by email or by calling (760) 647-6595 x 103.
2016 scholarship recipient Julie Harris with Membership Coordinator Ellen and Executive Director Geoff. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.
Friday, April 14th, 2017 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (277) Contact Elin
According to the latest press release from Caltrans, Highway 158, the June Lake Loop, and Highway 120 East toward Benton are scheduled to open for the season today at noon and 2:00pm, respectively.
It will probably be months yet before Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass) is open, but snow removal equipment is now in place and starting to work on lower sections of the highway a few miles west of the junction with Highway 395. The snowpack is estimated to be between 8 to 15 feet on the highway, with up to 50-foot snowdrifts in some locations. There is no estimated opening date.
A Caltrans snowblower clearing snow below an avalanche chute on Tioga Pass (Highway 120 West) on April 4, 2017. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
The road to Bodie State Historic Park, Highway 270, remains closed at the request of State Park personnel. The park itself remains closed to visitors after a swarm of earthquakes last December damaged some of Bodie’s buildings and its water system.
North of the Mono Basin, there is no estimated opening date for Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) or Highway 89 (Monitor Pass), though snow removal from the east has begun on both roads. The snowpack on the Sonora Pass road is estimated to be 5 to 12, and 5 feet on the Monitor Pass road.
Monday, April 10th, 2017 by Robbie, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Robbie, Project SpecialistName: Robert Di Paolo Title: Project Specialist About: A 2012 graduate from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Science, Robbie loves hiking, camping, and bike touring, all of which are great Eastern Sierra activities. He also likes to play music, primarily guitar and singing, but also flute and alto saxophone. If you're interested in volunteering with the Committee's restoration program or are interested in our social media efforts, contact Robbie.See All Posts by Robert (38) Contact Robert
April 1, the beginning of the runoff year, is a particularly important day for Mono Lake. Each April 1 Mono Lake Committee and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) staff walk down to Mono Lake and read the lake level, together. It is particularly important because it is the April 1 lake level that determines how much water is allowed to be diverted from Mono Basin streams to the City of Los Angeles for the year.
Brian Norris from DWP and Robbie Di Paolo from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together on April 1, 2017. Photo by Bartshé Miller.
The first time I participated in one of these April 1 lake level readings was in 2015 when the lake had dropped to a level that triggered a 70% reduction of water exports. The second time, the lake narrowly cleared the level that would have halted water exports altogether. Years of drought lowered the lake and heightened concern over available exports, but this year was different. This year Mono Lake is on the rise. (more…)
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 by Terry, Membership AssistantcloseAuthor: Terry, Membership AssistantName: Terry McLaughlin Title: Membership Assistant About: Terry worked as one of the Committee's Outdoor Education Instructors during the summer of 2012, fulfilling her passion for being outdoors and connecting others to the natural world. She has taught outside (and taught others how to teach outside) for nearly 30 years near Lake Superior, in Washington state, and on both sides of the Sierra Nevada. Terry is an indispensable part of the Mono Lake Committee, serving as interim Office Manager, interim Bookstore Manager, and now Membership Assistant.See All Posts by Terry (10) Contact Terry
Last Wednesday my husband and I struck out across the landbridge heading towards Negit Island. Our destination: check out the one-mile-long temporary fence being installed to protect the nesting California Gulls.
Gull researcher Kristie Nelson installs wildlife cameras on the temporary electrified fence that stretches across Mono Lake’s landbridge, protecting nesting California Gulls from coyote predation. Photo by Terry McLaughlin.
Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: Ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and assuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992 and was an intern and volunteer before that. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.See All Posts by Geoffrey (139) Contact Geoffrey
The big water question of this year for Mono Lake—I expected—was going to be the same as 2016: Would Los Angeles be halted from exporting water due to Mono Lake’s low level, or would the already-reduced export allotment continue?
Mono Lake won’t drop below 6377 feet above sea level this year, which means that Los Angeles is allowed to export a total of 4,500 acre-feet of water. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
The rule is well established: When the lake drops below, or is forecasted to drop below, 6377 feet above sea level, water exports must halt. So our action plan was for detailed lake level forecasting and analysis (last year the lake remained a mere two inches above that critical level) and a fair amount of discussion with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP), to be sure any export cutback happened smoothly. In fact, I visited with the head of DWP’s aqueduct system and water operations in December to talk about this very topic.
But then came January and February, and the weather patterns of the Pacific gave us a rather wonderfully different reality (more…)
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 by Greg, Information & Restoration SpecialistcloseAuthor: Greg, Information & Restoration SpecialistName: Greg Reis Title: Information & Restoration Specialist About: Since his Committee internship in 1995, Greg has been involved with Mono Basin stream restoration and with maintaining the Committee's computers, websites, and research library, and researching and compiling information for our programs. His BS degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Forestry & Natural Resources with a concentration in Environmental Management and a senior project in Hydrology reflect his interests in natural resources management, watershed management, and habitat restoration. He is a member of the California Society for Ecological Restoration and he also works for the Rivers & Delta Program of The Bay Institute.See All Posts by Greg (181) Contact Greg
Last week the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) released its preliminary runoff forecast based on record-breaking March 1st snow surveys: 195% of average runoff for the April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018 runoff year. This volume of runoff is very similar to 1983, the wettest runoff year on record. Due to the warm storms in January and February, the lower-elevation snowpack below about 9,000 feet above sea level is much lower than in 1983, so we are assuming that record runoff is a high-end scenario. That forecast also assumes median precipitation over the next year.
Based on 1983 as a high end, 1995 as a probable scenario, and 2006 as a lowest possible scenario, we modeled the likely rise in Mono Lake based on those past year inflows and probable reservoir operations this year. The result? A 3.8-foot rise in Mono Lake is likely over the next year. Expected Grant Lake Reservoir operations add about half a foot to our forecast.
A 3.8 foot rise in Mono Lake is likely over the next year. (Click on the graph to enlarge it.) Graph by Greg Reis.
All three scenarios have little or no rise before May and a similar rise in May and June, since snow can only melt so fast, (more…)
Sunday, March 19th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby’s love for the Sierra Nevada started when she began visiting Yosemite National Park every year as a child. During her summer as a Mono Lake Intern she shared her passion for nature, Mono Lake, and the Sierra with visitors, and she's now staying through the winter as a Project Specialist. When she’s not working you can find her drinking yerba, hiking, fishing, or rolling around in the grass. Gabby hopes to become an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service so she can continue to share the great outdoors with others!See All Posts by Gabrielle (18) Contact Gabrielle
After what feels like an endless winter, signs of spring are starting to pop up all over the Mono Basin. Daytime highs in the mid to high 60’s mean that most of the snow around Mono Lake and in town has melted away. Morning commutes are feeling more and more like the crisp summer mornings I came to love while leading canoe tours and Nora, our Lead Naturalist Guide, has led the way, declaring it officially sandal weather.
We’re not the only ones enjoying the warmer weather; the songs of Red-winged Blackbirds, Cassin’s Finches, and Spotted Towhees can be heard through town. And a quick trip to the lake reveals that California Gulls have already begun to arrive for their summer nesting season.
Red-winged Blackbird. Photo by Nora Livingston.
Although we look forward to the warm and busy summer months ahead, we are excited to see that Mother Nature still has snow to share with Mono Lake. The forecastcalls for a storm starting Tuesday and our hopes are high for a few more like it!
As of March 15 the lake is at 6378.2 feet above sea level and with all the snow we got this winter it will only continue to rise. It will be a great season and we cannot wait to share it with you.
Thursday, March 9th, 2017 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (277) Contact Elin
Nimble. That’s the word of the year so far for the Mono Lake Committee. We were braced to face a sixth year of drought, with plans and contingencies in place to protect Mono Lake to the best of our ability. And then the calendar ticked over into 2017 and the weather faucets turned on! Suddenly, thankfully, our plans needed some new math.
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me—since 1978 we’ve worked to find solutions to human-created problems, which sometimes requires changing horses mid-stream. (more…)
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by Andrew, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Andrew, Project SpecialistName: Andrew Youssef Title: Project Specialist About: Originally from outside Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew attended Vanderbilt University to study psychology. After graduating, he taught middle-school science in Glendale, Arizona where he enjoyed working with youth and sharing his passion for the sciences. While living out West, Andrew also developed a love for the wilderness and the outdoors after visiting and exploring many iconic National Parks. During summer 2014, Andrew volunteered in the Interpretation Division of Yosemite National Park, working at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, and also gave many different naturalist programs for visitors of all ages. He was a Mono Lake Intern during the summer of 2015 and ran the canoe program during the summer of 2016, and is now staying on for a second winter as Project Specialist. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, and birding.See All Posts by Andrew (28) Contact Andrew
Learn all about the region’s fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2017 Field Seminars is now available online here. Registration opens at 9:00am on Wednesday, February 1.
This year’s slate of 28 Field Seminars spans many topics: basketry, oil painting, woodpeckers, moonlight photography, geology, mining history, fire ecology, butterflies, and more. (more…)
Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagercloseAuthor: Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagerName: Lily Pastel Title: Information Center & Bookstore Manager About: Lily stocks the store with educational, handmade, local, and ecologically friendly merchandise and keeps operations functioning efficiently. She graduated from Humboldt State University in May 2014, where she majored in Environmental Science. Contact Lily with questions or feedback about the items we carry, if you would like to place an order for Mono Lake Committee merchandise, if you have questions about an existing order, if you have questions about or need assistance with our online store, or if you are a vendor or artisan who would like us to carry your work.See All Posts by Lily (45) Contact Lily
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.
We will return to our normal hours (9:00am–5:00pm) on Tuesday, May 31. We hope to see you here soon!