July 6th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee StaffcloseAuthor: Mono Lake Committee StaffName: Mono Lake Committee Staff Title: Mono Lake Committee Staff About: The Mono Lake Committee is a 16,000 member non-profit citizens' group dedicated to protecting and restoring the Mono Basin ecosystem, educating the public about Mono Lake and the impacts on the environment of excessive water use, and promoting cooperative solutions that protect Mono Lake and meet real water needs without transferring environmental problems to other areas.See All Posts by Mono Lake Committee (505) Contact Mono Lake Committee
Tufa is otherworldly, oddly enchanting, and one of Mono Lake’s most iconic and popular features. Tufa towers are important nesting sites for birds—from Osprey to owls—while underwater tufa is habitat for alkali flies. For years, photographs of tufa have played an important role in spreading the message that Mono Lake, and the tufa itself, needs protecting.
Growing only underwater, tufa is a precipitate formed when calcium-rich spring water mixes with carbonate-rich Mono Lake water—slowly building up around seeps and springs. Though tufa towers are rock formations, they are fragile—they crumble, topple, and erode from wave action, high desert weather, and, unfortunately, from people being careless around them. … more »
July 5th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Max, Mono Lake InternName: Max Price Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Max first visited Mono Lake in 2015 for a geology field class through Indiana University, and it was love at first sight. Inspired by the beauty of Mono Lake and the entire basin, he continued his geology education at Indiana University and graduated with a BS in Geological Sciences. He has been working with the Indiana Geologic and Water Survey on a statewide lead sampling program. In his free time, Max enjoys adding bird species to his "life list," climbing tall things, and just being outside.See All Posts by Max (4) Contact Max
Exciting times are shining on Lee Vining early this summer with the groundbreaking of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion at Hess Park. The pavilion will provide protection from the harsh Eastern Sierra sun and wind, while providing solar power and free wi-fi, as well as a space for outdoor events. Visitors to the pavilion will find a unique blend of past and future, with panels detailing historically significant Mono Basin pioneer families juxtaposed against modern solar panels generating power for Mono County, which will own and maintain the pavilion.
A volunteer posing with the fresh dirt of the pavilion’s groundbreaking. Photo courtesy of Janet Carle.
As well as providing shelter, educating visitors will be a main function of the pavilion. Interpretive panels on a variety of topics such as renewable energy, the Mono Basin pioneer families, Mono Lake, and upcoming events near Lee Vining will be a part of the structure. Additionally, a monitor will show real-time data of the energy being generated by the rooftop panels and the reduction of carbon emissions achieved. … more »
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July 4th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: A graduate of Vanderbilt University and a native of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew came to the Sierra to volunteer in Tuolumne Meadows in 2014. He fell in love with the area and began working at the Committee as a Mono
Lake Intern. Today he combines his passions for education and the environment by working in all of the Committee's program areas on everything from organizing the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua and Field Seminar programs to creating social media and video content to editing the
Mono Lake Newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at Lee Vining Creek, paddling on Mono Lake, hiking in the High Sierra, and skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (59) Contact Andrew
Have you ever been down at Mono Lake wondering: How many brine shrimp live in Mono Lake? Why do the tufa towers at Old Marina look different than the ones at South Tufa? What else can I do during my visit?
When you visit Mono Lake, pull up monolakemobile.org on your phone for a self-guided tour of South Tufa, directions, and more. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
You can find the answers to all of these questions and more by visiting monolakemobile.org on your phone. Designed to be mobile-friendly and used while visiting the lake, Mono Lake Mobile is the best way to learn about the lake on your own schedule and at your own pace. You can take a self-guided tour of South Tufa (complete with audio narration) and learn about other great sites to visit around Mono Lake including Old Marina and County Park.
July 2nd, 2018 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorName: Lisa Cutting Title: Eastern Sierra Policy Director About: Lisa concentrates on the Mono Basin's policy issues such as protecting the integrity of the Scenic Area, coordinating with regional agency staff, and working with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and scientists on the ongoing restoration of Mono Lake and its tributary streams. Lisa uses sleuthing-out good fly fishing spots as another excuse for hiking, and it's always a treat when her dog Tucker comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (31) Contact Lisa
Almost a year after the epic 2017 winter and resulting record Mono Basin runoff, positive effects from the high flows can still be seen on all of Mono Lake’s tributary streams—including, notably, the beleaguered floodplain of the Mill Creek bottomlands.
During last year’s record runoff, long-dry side channels in the Mill Creek bottomlands carried water; some of the rewatered channels were still flowing this spring. Photo by Elin Ljung.
Last summer, long-dry side channels in the bottomlands carried water when Lundy Lake Reservoir spilled for almost the entire summer. Some of these rewatered channels are still flowing despite low-flow early springtime conditions, and evidence of lasting restoration benefits is abundant. Back eddies and ponded areas well away from flowing channels continue to hold water. Below the surface, recharged groundwater is once again available for vegetation, and fine sediment deposited across floodplain cobble is primed for new seedlings to grow. All of this is a glimpse into Mill Creek’s bright future. … more »
July 1st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby's love of nature began with spending summers exploring Yosemite with family and on monthly camping trips with her Dad. After years of dreaming of a life in the mountains, three years ago she packed her things and left Southern California for Mono Lake. Gabby is excited to spend one more summer educating people about the Mono Basin before leaving for the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, dancing at the Mobil, or exploring with her dog Jessie.See All Posts by Gabrielle (38) Contact Gabrielle
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.
June 30th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Alison, Canoe CoordinatorName: Alison Kaplan Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Alison first moved to Yosemite in 2014, after which she almost quit college multiple times because she could hardly bear to leave the Sierra Nevada each fall. To her parents' relief she persevered and earned a degree in English from Whitman College, and promptly moved back to the Sierra. She prefers to work seasonal jobs and spends her winters living in her minivan and exploring various deserts around the west, freelancing as a copywriter to pay for gas. Alison is excited to spend her summer in the Mono Basin where she hopes to climb a lot and get better at identifying birds.See All Posts by Alison (4) Contact Alison
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 »
June 29th, 2018 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 ensuring 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 (149) Contact Geoffrey
One thing the Mono Lake Committee and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) can agree on is that accurate measurement of water exported from the Mono Basin is important. One might assume that measuring water sent out of the Mono Basin through the Los Angeles Aqueduct would be fairly straightforward, but due to infrastructure complexities, DWP has historically used a calculation to derive the export amount.
Aqueduct improvements in 2009, shown here, added equipment to directly measure water exports, but the system was unreliable until recent repairs, thanks to the Committee’s persistence. Photo by Greg Reis.
Getting from calculation to measurement
To understand why DWP couldn’t simply measure its … more »
June 26th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Nigel, Birding InternName: Nigel Bates Title: Birding Intern About: Nigel loves birds, mountains, and environmental challenges, so he is thrilled to be spending the summer learning all about the Mono Basin and leading weekly bird walks. Nigel graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he researched old-growth forest carbon cycles and led nature programs for local elementary schools. After graduating, he postponed the leap to full adulthood for a few months by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Having thoroughly explored the east, he is excited to work and play in the shadow of mountains twice as tall.See All Posts by Nigel (6) Contact Nigel
A record-setting crowd of over 330 people convened in the Mono Basin for the seventeenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Over the course of the weekend, participants enjoyed over 100 field trips, workshops, and presentations that covered the area’s tremendous diversity of birds and other wildlife.
Birders enjoy a spectacular view of the Sierra crest on a field trip to the Rush Creek Delta. Photo courtesy of Sarah Angulo.
This year’s Chautauqua participants racked up an impressive list of 171 bird species. For many, the avian highlight was a Grace’s Warbler that entertained birders all weekend along Bald Mountain Road east of the June Lake Loop. Other notable sightings included Indigo Bunting in Lundy Canyon (for the second year in a row!), Sandhill Crane and Common Grackle at Bridgeport Reservoir, and Common Loon at Crowley Lake. … more »
June 23rd, 2018 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 ensuring 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 (149) Contact Geoffrey
What will happen to the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack as climate change impacts accumulate through the 21st century? This question is vital to both the ecological health of the Range of Light and to water delivery systems throughout California. And, it matters a great deal to Mono Lake and its many miles of tributary streams, which depend on Sierra runoff for their vitality.
A view of the Eastern Sierra from Virginia Canyon to Mt. Conness, including Mono Lake. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.
Forecasts of the future rely on complex climate modeling, and I talked with Dr. Alex Hall, Professor of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, about the work he and his team have been conducting to produce actionable climate science. Dr. Hall heads the Center for Climate Science, where they have developed cutting-edge downscaling techniques to create geographically detailed climate projections for the Los Angeles area and the Sierra Nevada.
June 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby's love of nature began with spending summers exploring Yosemite with family and on monthly camping trips with her Dad. After years of dreaming of a life in the mountains, three years ago she packed her things and left Southern California for Mono Lake. Gabby is excited to spend one more summer educating people about the Mono Basin before leaving for the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, dancing at the Mobil, or exploring with her dog Jessie.See All Posts by Gabrielle (38) Contact Gabrielle
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.)