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Overnight snow blankets the Mono Basin

Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Seven inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, blanketing everything in the Mono Basin with snow, including the islands. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Seven inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, blanketing everything in the Mono Basin with snow, including the islands. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

For days we have all been constantly checking the weather forecast, refreshing radar maps, and hoping that the predictions of an inch or two of snow would deliver. This morning, I pulled open my blinds and my jaw dropped. There was about half a foot of snow on the ground and I was thrilled. Having grown up in Georgia, any amount of snow is exciting for me, but this amount of snow—especially during this five-year drought—made me giddy. In my excitement, I actually took out my cross-country skis and skied along the road to the office before it was plowed! Along the Highway 395 corridor, between seven and 12 inches of snow fell overnight. (more…)

Resource damage below Tioga Lodge: Observations and photographs

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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In early November I ventured down to the shoreline of Mono Lake below the Tioga Lodge to use my former-biologist eyes to assess the damage done to State Park land and Post Office Creek.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

It was interesting to contrast the damage caused by the Marina Fire with the damage caused by heavy machinery; I’m sure the combination of the two events is even more detrimental. While I made observations and took photographs, I was especially concerned by two things—the bird habitat adjacent to the excavation and the wide swath of flood water rushing down from what used to be a creek channel that now spreads the water across the landscape haphazardly on it’s way to Mono Lake. (more…)

Agencies respond quickly to illegal work along Mono Lake’s shore

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Two weeks ago, we reported on illegal work happening near Mono Lake’s west shore across from the Tioga Lodge, and the agency response has moved quickly since then.

Equipment operators illegally clearing willows in the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, the boundary of which is delineated by the stakes in the foreground. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Equipment operators illegally clearing willows in the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, the boundary of which is delineated by the stakes in the foreground. Mono Lake Committee photo.

The illegal work being done included heavy equipment clearing three acres of willows and near-shore habitat on highly protected State Park land, even after State Park staff repeatedly advised the equipment operators of the park boundary, which was well marked. Quick action by Mono Lake Committee staff and multiple agencies halted the activity before more willows and wetland were disturbed, but the damage is alarming. Last week State Parks staff from the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and Sacramento began a detailed assessment of the resource damage and will be pursuing appropriate penalties. (more…)

Illegal grading on Mono Lake’s shore

Thursday, October 20th, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director
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If you’ve driven by Mono Lake on Highway 395 in the past few days, you probably saw a large excavator working down by the lakeshore across from the Tioga Lodge and wondered what was going on. We did too, and knowing that it’s a sensitive, and protected, area, we checked into it. What we found was disturbing.

2016-10-19-tioga-lodge-state-land-violations

A newly constructed dirt road departs the Tioga Lodge property and goes well into the shoreline area, which is protected as part of the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. The excavator was at work clearing willows and vegetation from approximately three acres of protected land. Needless to say, this kind of blatant violation is unacceptable and Mono Lake Committee staff jumped on the issue immediately.  (more…)

Fall color along Mono Lake’s tributary streams

Sunday, October 9th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mono Lake’s tributary streams are wondrous in every season. Right now their bright foliage runs like ribbons of fire from the folds of the Sierra all the way to the shores of Mono Lake.

Aspens are lighting up along Mono Lake's tributary streams. Photo from October 7, 2016 by Nora Livingston.

Aspens are lighting up along Mono Lake’s tributary streams. Photo from October 7, 2016 by Nora Livingston.

Dry for decades due to excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Mono Basin streams were rewatered and brought back to life thanks to (more…)

Seminar spotlight: Mono Basin Fall Photography

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mono Lake and the surrounding basin is a magnet for nature photographers. Professionals and amateurs alike are drawn to the unique, otherworldly landscapes, striking canyons, and the dynamic light often present. The abundant opportunities provide the perfect outdoor classroom to learn the fine art of landscape photography.

Mono Basin Fall Photography • October 11–13 • $275 per person/$250 for members • sign up here

Lundy Canyon in autumn. Photo courtesy of Robb Hirsch.

Lundy Canyon in autumn. Photo courtesy of Robb Hirsch.

Join professional photographer Robb Hirsch as he teaches participants the process of creating the strongest possible images. Everybody has an individual perspective (more…)

Guided fall color trips at Mono Lake

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Our Guided Trip program offers a Fall Color Foray trip—a half-day guided trip that emphasizes ecology and conservation of aspen during visits to beautiful groves in the peak of their color dance.

The Sierra Nevada in the background with a dusting of snow!

Fall color glows east of the Sierra Nevada. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Click on the dates to sign up: October 13, 3:00–7:00pm  October 15, 8:00am–12:00noon  October 18, 8:00am–12:00noon  October 19, 3:00–7:00pm

Each trip is $75 per person or $65 for members. The price of your ticket benefits Mono Lake! (more…)

The 2016 Mono Lake guided bird walk season

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 by Sandra, Birding Intern
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Hard to fathom that season of guided bird walks has come to an end. Erv and I led our last County Park bird walk yesterday and State Park ranger Dave Marquart led his last on Sunday. It seems we just arrived to serve our third summer as Mono Lake Committee Birding Interns!

An adult Osprey perches watchfully atop a tufa tower near its nest . Photo by Sandra Noll.

An adult Osprey perches atop a tufa tower near its nest . Photo by Sandra Noll.

It has been a great season of birds from “locals” and early spring migrants through the nesting season to, most recently, early fall migrants. These include large numbers of Eared Grebes and phalaropes beginning to stage on Mono Lake where they molt and gain weight for the final legs of their migrations to wintering areas further south. Mono Lake’s status as an internationally important bird area is especially apparent this time of year.

It has been a delight and privilege to introduce visitors from the US and around the world to this beautiful, bountiful place and the work of the Mono Lake Committee to protect, restore, and educate. And it is my pleasure to leave you with a few highlights!

(more…)

Guiding you to the past at Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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The season is winding down, birds are heading south to their wintering grounds, and fall is just around the corner. Our next two months of guided trips will focus on catching up with those birds before they disappear and also turning our attention to the ghosts that never leave: the historic places and buildings that tell almost invisible tales of the Mono Basin that existed many years ago. Come explore the shores of Mono Lake with us and refocus your eyes towards the past to imagine what life here was like long before we were born.

The Bodie Jail, photo by Nora Livingston.

The Bodie jail. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Here’s a look at our guided trips in September: (more…)

Successful Lee Vining Creek cleanup

Friday, September 2nd, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Each year, all across the Sierra Nevada, environmental groups organize river cleanups as part of the Great Sierra River Cleanup. The goal is to remove as much trash as possible from the watersheds we love. This past week, Mono Lake Committee staff and volunteers picked up trash near Lee Vining Creek.

Mono Lake Committee staff and volunteers picked up over 60 pounds of trash around Lee Vining Creek! Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Mono Lake Committee staff and volunteers picked up over 60 pounds of trash around Lee Vining Creek! Photo by Andrew Youssef.

(more…)

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