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Refreshing ‘Ologists: Restoring carbon in Tuolumne Meadows with Lydia Baldwin

Saturday, August 5th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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Ever wonder about the carbon storing potential of Tuolumne Meadows? If you have, you’re not so different from our researcher for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Come listen to Lydia Baldwin present her research in Tuolumne Meadows on Wednesday August 9 at 4:00pm to learn more!

Tuolumne Meadows in spring 2015. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Wet meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada that were historically disturbed are currently losing both soil-water holding capacity and the ability to store carbon. These wetlands formerly functioned as sinks of carbon dioxide, but now they could act as significant contributors of CO2 into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the maintenance and addition of carbon to soil can also enhance its capacity to hold water. This refreshing ‘ologist is testing whether the reestablishment of a sedge-dominated community at Tuolumne Meadows, a high-elevation wet meadow in Yosemite National Park, will restore the meadow to a carbon-accumulating ecosystem.

Join us to hear Lydia explain how she monitors gross primary production and plant respiration to create a model of growing season carbon dynamics to determine if these treatments increase the meadow’s carbon storage. Be ready to learn and ready to eat because admission and snacks are both free!

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Cathy Foye

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 by Aviva, Mono Lake Intern
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Cathy & Rich Foye, left and center, with fellow Mono Lake Volunteer Rosemarie Willimann. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

If you have taken a Saturday canoe tour this summer you will probably recognize our awesome volunteer Cathy Foye, who, every weekend, is prepped with a scope set on an Osprey nest perfectly perched on a tufa tower in Mono Lake.

Born and raised in Southern California, Cathy had actually never explored the Eastern Sierra until her now husband, and fellow volunteer, Rich Foye, took her on vacation. Their favorite parts of visiting were the guided canoe tours and weekly star talks offered during the summer. During their 25 years together in Fullerton they became frequent visitors to the Eastern Sierra, initially attracted to Mammoth Lakes, where they permanently moved to in 2009. (more…)

Help remove invasive plants in the Mono Basin

Sunday, July 30th, 2017 by Ava, Mono Lake Intern
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As July winds down and August approaches, we find ourselves faced with increasing quantities of a prolific invasive plant species in the Mono Basin. Dense patches of sweet white clover can be seen along streambeds, roadsides, edges of parking lots, and areas where soil has recently been disrupted, which softens the ground for the opportunistic and tenacious seeds. Unseen below the ground, its roots begin the process of nitrogen fixation, changing the chemical properties of the soil. Removing invasive plant species has been part of an ongoing restoration process to clear the ground so that native species may flourish.

Volunteers helping remove white sweet clover and other invasive plants along Mill Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The Mono Lake Committee has been involved in removal projects for several years to reduce the amount of sweet white clover (Melilotus albus) growing in the Mono Basin. These efforts often entail taking groups of interns, volunteers, visiting students from the Outdoor Education Center, and interested community members into the field for some hands-on learning.

For those who are in town and willing to help (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Carnivore management & research with Jonathan Fusaro

Saturday, July 29th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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If you’re interested in how carnivores are being managed in the Eastern Sierra, join us this coming Wednesday, August 2 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

Coyotes, like this one scampering through Mono Lake’s shallows, are one of the many carnivores in the Eastern Sierra. Photo courtesy of Justin Hite.

California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) environmental scientist Jonathan Fusaro will explain carnivore research and management, as well as what DFW’s Bishop field office is doing for research and management of carnivores locally. Jonathan studied black bear populations for his master’s degree in wildland resources from the University of Utah. Now Jonathan works closely with researchers to manage black bears and is heavily involved with the Eastern Sierra Black Bear Project.

If you want to find out more about the management and research of carnivores, come to the Committee gallery this Wednesday afternoon. Admission and snacks are free. Hope to see you there!

New Mono Lake Committee gallery show: TERRASCOPE by Patricia Hewett

Thursday, July 27th, 2017 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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We are excited to announce that abstract landscapes by San Francisco artist Patricia Hewett will be featured in the Mono Lake Committee’s gallery from July 29 through January.

“Tufa Spires” art courtesy of Patricia Hewett.

In addition to being an artist, Patricia is also a SCUBA diver and avid explorer both above and below the water. Her new show, TERRASCOPE, will feature her most recent gouache and ink paintings of the Mono Basin and Eastern Sierra. Her hypnotizing work demonstrates her ability to create striking representations of her surroundings, and it beautifully captures the Mono Basin’s unique essence.

Join us for an evening artist’s reception to open the new show on Saturday, January 29, 5:00–7:00pm. Come enjoy wine and cheese, meet Patricia, and delight in her one-of-a-kind work in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

Mono Lake Committee goes net-zero with solar

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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In 2010 the Mono Lake Committee started the process of converting to solar power with nine solar panels installed on the roof of the “ice house” office building, and then added an additional 33 panels to the roof of the bookstore building in 2012. We also took a number of conservation measures, such as switching to LED bulbs in the bookstore, and have been monitoring our usage carefully. By 2016 we had completed our big conservation steps and reduced our annual grid power demand by over 80%.

Despite these reductions, we had a goal to generate all the power needed for the bookstore and offices right here on the property. In late June 2017, Sierra Solar installed 16 more panels, and now that the grid-intertie has been completed, we are expecting to achieve net zero power demand on the grid on an annual basis!

Four panels fit on the canopy over the main bookstore doors, generating power and providing visitors with a visual example of our commitment to sustainable energy. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Most of the Committee’s solar panels are largely invisible to members and visitors since they’re atop the bookstore and ice house office roofs. We asked Jim at Sierra Solar to check (more…)

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentations return with avalanche forecaster Sue Burak

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation, next Wednesday, July 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery!

While clearing the snow that fell on Tioga Pass Road this past winter (pictured), Caltrans was lucky to have hydrologist Sue Burak provide her expertise to help with avalanche training and assessments. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Come hear hydrologist Sue Burak give an inside look at the work of an avalanche forecaster, the science behind the forecasts, and the headaches of an avalanche forecaster during a winter when nature put the hammer down in a presentation entitled “Atmospheric Rivers Bring It On: Big Storms & Big Avalanches in a Record-Breaking Winter.” Admission is free and there will be free snacks! (more…)

Mono Lake rose a record amount in June 2017

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe Coordinator
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Over the past winter, the Mono Basin received record levels of snowfall—estimated runoff was at 206% above average for Rush and Lee Vining creeks at the end of May. According to ASO Principal Investigator Dr. Tom Painter, over a three-week span during January the Sierra Nevada received more water than the entire Colorado River basin receives in an average year. In the first week of July Saddlebag Lake Resort reported 12 feet of snow still on the ground—that is a lot of snow for July.

Mono Lake’s shoreline on June 3, just as high volumes of snowmelt were beginning to flow down the tributary streams to the lake. Mono Lake Committee wildlife camera photo. (Comparison photo after the jump!)

With spring in our pocket and summer upon us, the time has come for warmer weather, and Mono Lake has been at times rising a twentieth of a foot per day. This added up to (more…)

Free patio activities at the Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe Coordinator
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We are excited to announce that we are offering free educational interpretive programs and activities on the front patio of the Mono Lake Committee, Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00am. We will explore topics such as how the Mono Basin formed, bird adaptation, Mono Lake’s changing habitats, following animal tracks, and we’ll also make recycled crafts.

Join Mono Lake Intern Charlotte on the patio to learn about volcanoes and more local geology! Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Our forming the Mono Basin program will focus on the different types of rock in the Mono Basin. It will introduce visitors to the varied landscape of the Mono Basin and what makes it so unique. Join us for a chance to make your very own tufa! (more…)

Star gazing in the Mono Basin

Monday, July 17th, 2017 by Charlotte, Mono Lake Intern
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Being far from civilization, having few trees, and the framing of the mountains makes the Mono Basin an amazing place for star gazing. The stars have always created a sense of wonder in the human mind, leading us to explore them with our imagination far before space travel technology. Spending time in the basin has reinvigorated my sense of love and wonder for the night sky. If you’re like me, then I would recommend setting your sights on these stargazing spots.

Starry night skies and moonlit tufa at South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Bristlecone Media.

1) South Tufa
South Tufa can be pretty busy during the day, but once night falls it turns into a peaceful place to stargaze. With the tufa towers surrounding you and the sounds of the lapping water, you will be transported (more…)

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