Snow surveys conducted around every April 1st coincide with the average date of peak snowpack. This year, the surveys were completed at the end of March and revealed a large increase in snowpack over the previous month—from 50% of average to 76% of average!
Just north of the Mono Basin lies a wide golden valley with a glittering half-frozen reservoir edged up against a pinyon pine forest. Winter is a fantastic time to look for birds in Bridgeport, and this winter in particular has drawn in some rare birds. The reservoir is packed with ducks like Redheads, Northern Shovelers, and Common Goldeneyes.
In December, the reservoir was just beginning to freeze over and the ice edge provided a perch for gulls to stand, or nap, without bobbing up in down in the cold water. A rare Black-legged Kittiwake spent almost two weeks (more…)
As I look back on 2017, I see many reasons to celebrate Mono Lake’s recovery and the programs of the Mono Lake Committee, which you make possible. It was a truly remarkable year—complete with a record winter and Mono Lake rising over four feet!
From protecting the California Gull colony by putting up a temporary fence on the landbridge, to monitoring the streams during the biggest water year on record, to supporting aerial Eared Grebe surveys, to introducing thousands of students and visitors to Mono Lake and the inspiring lessons it offers, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Even as we celebrate progress made, new management challenges and protection issues are constantly arising. The Committee works year-round to protect and restore Mono Lake, its tributary streams, and your favorite places in the Mono Basin, and we need your support to keep going strong in the year ahead. We hope you will consider making a year-end donation to help these ongoing efforts.
Making a donation is quick and easy—click the button below or give us a call at (760) 647-6595. Thank you!
As the Northern Hemisphere starts to tilt back toward the sun, we welcome more light, longer days, and a new season. Everything is beginning to slow down—streams that were raging with record flows this year are beginning to freeze, the aspens have lost their leaves and gone dormant, the thousands of birds that used the Mono Basin to breed or stage their migration have mostly left for warmer climes, and visitation to the Information Center & Bookstore has slowed with the closing of Tioga Pass last month.
Although things have slowed, the Mono Basin never ceases to amaze. We’ve already awoken to several days of poconip ice fog (more…)
The holidays are here, and we hope you’ll stop in to explore our shop and ask us all of your Mono Lake questions as you travel along Highway 395. Please keep in mind that the Information Center & Bookstore will be closed on Christmas Day: Monday, December 25 and New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1 so that our staff can enjoy the holidays with their families and friends.
We hope to see you during your winter journeys to the Mono Basin. Happy holidays!
Have you ever wondered where all the tiny chipmunks that skitter up the lodgepole pines all summer go when the landscape is covered with several feet of snow? Or how they could possibly survive the cold temperatures and lack of food for months on end? What about how plants bounce back after being buried in snow? This winter we are excited to offer a new Field Seminar focusing on these questions and more!
The Season Seldom Seen: Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin will investigate the connections plants and animals have with their winter environments in addition to what factors cause winter in the first place. Winter ecology reveals a new side of animal and plant life that is invisible until (more…)
This coming winter we are pleased to offer three field seminars to take advantage of this very special season—one winter ecology and two winter photography seminars!
• Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin •
January 13–14, 2018 • Nora Livingston
• Mono Basin Winter Photography •
January 26–28, 2018 • Joe Decker
• Mono Lake by Moonlight •
March 2–4, 2018 • Joe Decker
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…)
After the wettest February since 1986 at some survey sites, Mono Basin snowpack is more than double the March 1st average!
Snow water equivalent (SWE) ranges between 205% and 244% of average at the five snow survey sites in the Mono Basin (called snow courses). Gem Pass, Ellery Lake, and Saddlebag Lake have the highest March SWE on record. At the lowest-elevation snow survey site—Gem Lake at 9,150 feet above sea level—SWE was about 10 inches shy of the 1969 record, but it had reached the 1983 amount. The Tioga Pass snow course was 5 inches shy of the 1983 record. In the map below showing the snow courses, portions of the Lee Vining Creek (top) and Rush Creek (bottom) watersheds are outlined.