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‘Summer’ Category

Successful invasive sweet clover removal at Mono Lake

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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This summer, Mono Lake Committee staff, volunteers, and guest naturalists made substantial progress toward removing invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus albus) from the Old Marina area. This annual project is a crucial piece of the Committee’s mission to restore native habitats throughout the Mono Basin.

Volunteers Joy and Maddog add to the growing pile of pulled sweet clover. Photo by Nigel Bates.

Sweet clover can quickly overtake an ecosystem if it is not held in check, so our yearly invasive removal events are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. Over the course of two mornings, we removed 199.75 pounds of sweet clover! This marked one of our most efficient summers ever, with each participant pulling an average of 17 pounds. Thanks to all of our volunteers for their hard work and good spirits.

As we pulled sweet clover, we were treated to informal lectures by our guest naturalists (more…)

Inyo National Forest fire restrictions in effect starting August 4

Saturday, August 4th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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Starting today, fire restrictions are in effect for the Inyo National Forest. These restrictions are similar to those already in place on BLM land and will be in effect until further notice. Fire restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and public lands from wildfire.

Looking toward the Sierra crest from the South Tufa parking area in July, when a thick layer of smoke obscured the normally picturesque view. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

Restrictions include: (more…)

Parts of Yosemite National Park closed due to wildfire

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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On Tuesday, July 24, National Park Service officials announced that Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and the Mariposa Grove would close temporarily due to the Ferguson Fire burning just west of the park boundary.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite Valley. Photo courtesy of Inciweb.

In addition, both the park’s South Entrance (Highway 41) and the Arch Rock Entrance (Highway 140) are closed. The closure took effect Wednesday at noon and is expected to last until at least Sunday, July 29. Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road (Highway 120), and Hetch Hetchy remain open. (more…)

Help remove invasive plants at Mono Lake

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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One of the important goals of the Mono Lake Committee is restoration, and one thing we do to restore the area is removing invasive plants. And you can help too!

This could be you! Happy volunteers remove invasive plants with Ann Howald in 2016. Photo by Sandra Noll.

We’re hosting several mornings of invasive plant removals this summer. To start them off, we are lucky to be joined by two guest naturalists: Joe Woods and Ann Howald.

Saturday, July 28, 8:00–11:00am
with invasive plant removal specialist Joe Woods

Wednesday, August 8, 8:00–11:00am
with botanist Ann Howald

Joe has a background in invasive plant removal, and has helped with many removal events in the past. Ann is (more…)

Early bird special for Mono Lake canoe tours

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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Each weekend the Mono Lake Interns wake with the sun and meet at 6:30am, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for a day of paddling on Mono Lake. When they arrive at Navy Beach, they are almost always greeted by a calm, glassy lake and an empty parking lot.

Early morning is one of the best times to enjoy Mono Lake, especially from a canoe. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Mono Lake in the early morning is a magical place: the Sierra Crest is lit up by first light and its image is reflected on the lake’s still surface (more…)

Wildfires affect air quality in the Mono Basin and Yosemite National Park

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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The sky remains hazy in the Eastern Sierra as smoke from two wildfires continues to affect air quality.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Mono Basin. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

The Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13 and is currently burning over 21,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest just west of Yosemite National Park near the small community of El Portal. Highway 140 is closed, cutting off access to Yosemite via the Arch Rock Entrance. Air quality monitoring in Yosemite Valley rated the air quality as unhealthy or even (more…)

Join us on a free bird walk!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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Looking for something fun to do on a weekend morning in the Mono Basin? The Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks offer free bird walks at 8:00am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer. Join a naturalist for a leisurely 2-hour excursion through some of the most productive bird habitats in the area. The Friday and Sunday morning walks are at Mono Lake County Park, and the Saturday morning walk explores Lundy Canyon. All experience levels are welcome! We’ll provide loaner binoculars if you don’t have a pair.

The lush riparian habitat at County Park is a great place to spot Western Tanagers. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Fridays and Sundays: Meet at Mono Lake County Park (5–10 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 5 miles, then turn right on Cemetery Road (signs for County Park/Mono Lake Access). Follow Cemetery Road for a 1/2-mile to the parking lot on the right.

Saturdays: Meet at the Lundy Lake Resort (15 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 7 miles, then turn left on Lundy Lake Road. Follow the Lundy Lake Road for 5 miles to the Lundy Lake Resort, where you can park on the shoulder just before the main cluster of buildings.

For more information, contact the Mono Lake Committee at (760) 647-6595, stop by the Information Center and Bookstore in Lee Vining, or email Birding Intern Nigel. We hope to see you out in the field!

Scanning for birds along Cemetery Road at County Park. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Fire restrictions to take effect July 2 on BLM land

Sunday, July 1st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Beginning Monday, July 2, the Bureau of Land Management will implement fire restrictions throughout Mono and Inyo counties. These restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and our public lands from wildfire.

In 2016 the Marina Fire burned just north of Lee Vining. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Restrictions include: (more…)

The logistics of canoeing on Mono Lake’s unique water

Saturday, June 30th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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As the new Canoe Coordinator, I arrived in mid-May to begin preparing for a summer packed with canoe tours on Mono Lake. My early season responsibilities included familiarizing myself with the area, reading all about the canoe program and how it functions, learning how to back up the canoe trailer, and taking inventory of all of the equipment before the first weekend of tours in late June.

A family enjoys a leisurely paddle on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

To my surprise, the task that took up the most time out of all of these was the equipment inventory. I had read in the canoe program manual that some of the equipment had to be replaced every year due to damage, but I didn’t really understand the extent of that damage until I saw heavy-duty ropes and straps falling to pieces in front of my eyes.

Mono Lake canoe tours aren’t wildly adventurous or extreme; we paddle close to shore at a relaxed pace, observing the birds and wildlife while discussing the lake’s natural and political history. How, then, does the canoe equipment take such a beating each season? The answer lies in Mono Lake’s unique chemistry. (more…)

Summer interpretive activities begin at Mono Lake this weekend

Thursday, June 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Days are longer, evenings are warmer, and the Mono Basin is buzzing with activity. Summer is in full swing and when you visit there are many things to do: South Tufa tours, bird walks, Panum Crater walks, Stars Over Mono programs, and canoe tours!

Guests observe alkali flies on a free South Tufa Tour. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Join us daily for free South Tufa tours to learn about the political and natural history of Mono Lake. Tours last approximately one hour and your guide will lead you through towering groves of tufa, help you observe Mono Lake’s endemic shrimp, and if you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of nesting Osprey. Meet at the South Tufa kiosk, daily at 10:00am & 6:00pm. (Tours are free, however there is a $3 fee to visit South Tufa.)

The Mono Basin is a birder’s paradise. Free bird walks (more…)

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