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Not your ordinary bird festival

February 4th, 2010 by Bartshé, Education Director
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The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua combines great birding field trips with an eclectic mix of workshops, presentations, art, and music. Mark your calendars for the last weekend of spring in Lee Vining, California. The Ninth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua returns June 18-20, 2010, and Web registration begins April 15th. Where else can you see a … more »

LA Times article on DWP’s solar park proposal

February 2nd, 2010 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mono Lake Committee policy staff Geoff and Lisa traveled south to Bishop recently to hear David Freeman (interim General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power) expand upon his proposal to use LA land in the Eastern Sierra to generate solar power. The LA Times published an article about that meeting today—LA takes a shine to another Owens Valley product: sun. Look for the Committee’s take on the solar park proposal in the upcoming issue of our Newsletter, which goes to press within the week!

Robb Hirsch photography show in the gallery

February 1st, 2010 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Rosanne Catron, 2010 Project Specialist.

"Lundy Canyon Fall" is one of the images on display in the Committee gallery. Photo courtesy of Robb Hirsch.

“Lundy Canyon Fall” is one of the images on display in the Committee gallery. Photo courtesy of Robb Hirsch.

Field biologist by trade, naturalist by heart, and photographer by passion, Robb Hirsch has traveled through Africa, Central America, and the Western United States. He enjoys spending extended periods of time in the backcountry to experience the natural history of the ecosystem at hand; his photography is an extension of this love for the natural world. Scouting locations incessantly, Robb attempts to combine alluring locations and complementary illumination. His images are known for their compelling subjects, careful compositions, and fine light.

Robb’s exhibit in the Committee gallery focuses on Mono Lake, the Eastern Sierra, and Yosemite. Stop by and take a look!

Golden-crowned Kinglets

January 30th, 2010 by tdomf_e48ef
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Date of sighting: 1/28/09

Skiing in the morning sun above the fog just above Lee Vining, I saw a small bird flitting around in a Pinyon Pine. I caught a glimpse of yellow on a chickadee-sized bird. There were two birds in the tree. After a couple of minutes, it came into full view with its golden crown, posed for several seconds, and flew away.

Mono Lake and the shadow biosphere

January 29th, 2010 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Could these Wilson's Phalaropes be a few feet from a shadow biosphere?

Could these Wilson's Phalaropes be a few feet from a shadow biosphere?

Last week the Royal Society in London hosted a discussion meeting about the detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society. During the symposium/discussion Dr. Paul Davies (University of Arizona) presented a webcast lecture The eerie silence: are we alone in the universe? In this webcast he discussed the progress of SETI and the continuing, albeit thus far, quiet search for intelligent life beyond earth. But what of any … more »

Tracks in the snow

January 27th, 2010 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Deer tracks on the Lee Vining Creek trail. Photo by Rose Wilson

Deer tracks on the Lee Vining Creek trail. Photo by Rose Wilson.

This post was written by Rosanne Catron, 2010 Project Specialist.

Over the last few days the Mono Basin has really shown us a full range of weather and light—deep poconip, light dustings of snow, and brilliant sunshine glinting off the lake. Each morning I wake to a new story told in the windblown snow, the story of the little, quiet animals that creep about the basin at night while most of us are sleeping. There are the rabbit tracks in the alley, scooting from their cozy snow caves in search of food. Outside my door a pair of raccoons wanders almost nightly, leaving teeny, human-like prints in the snow. Best are the bird tracks, big and small, marking where they sheltered from the wind or alighted before heading for the trees. I never see these creatures—by the time I creak open the door they are long gone, scurrying at the sound of my footsteps. But I love knowing they were there before me—the footprints of deer on the Lee Vining Creek trail or the minuscule trace of mice feet and a dragging tail on the fresh snow behind the visitor center. One thing I’ll really miss come spring is the story these wandering footprints tell.

Low pressure snow shovel muscles

January 22nd, 2010 by Bartshé, Education Director
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We are all getting bulked up on the white stuff. Yesterday I spent six hours shoveling between my roof and the berm left by the snow plow. It’s a pleasure to see this much snow, and it’s the first time in a while that this much has fallen around Mono Lake. We measured 33.2″ from Monday to Friday this week at our weather station here in Lee Vining. Thursday’s storm (1-21-2010)  set all-time low barometric pressure records for the San Joaquin Valley, to Reno, to Las Vegas. I don’t know if there’s an official barometer for Lee Vining, but the pressure dropped to just above 983 millibars/29.04 inches on one local weather station, the the lowest I’ve ever seen it.

A view to the north from the south-bound lanes of Highway 395, through the middle of Lee Vining.

A view to the north from the south-bound lanes of Highway 395, through the middle of Lee Vining.

SERCAL Conference – Mono Lake to figure prominently

January 21st, 2010 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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sercal image

Even though the snow continues and summer seems a long way off, Mono Lake Committee staff are busy planning for the California Society for Ecological Restoration Annual Conference, which will be held in Mammoth Lakes, May 19–22, 2010. Plenary speakers will include David Nahai, former General Manager of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and our Executive Director, Geoff McQuilkin. Don’t miss … more »

More snow – Highway 395 closed overnight

January 20th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Greg Reis stands knee-deep in fresh snow near the Mono Lake Committee's weather station. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Greg Reis stands knee-deep in fresh snow near the Mono Lake Committee's weather station. Photo by Elin Ljung.

After a one-day break in the storms—a day of just a few flurries and a night of wind-drifting snow—the snowfall has returned and it means business!

It started accumulating before 9:00 am this morning, and by 1:00 pm we had 3 inches of new snow and by 2:00 pm we had 4 more inches!!! These are amazing hourly rates and we need to keep a close eye on our weather instruments to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed. Our internet rain gauge is measuring water content up to 0.15 inches per hour. There is a delay because a heater has to melt the snow, and we have to break through any snow bridges that form over the heated gauge.

Highway 395 closed just after 1:30 pm between Mammoth and Bridgeport—the plows just weren’t able to keep up—and our staff got home to Mono City (7 miles north of our office in Lee Vining) just in time. We are expecting high winds this afternoon and evening to bring blizzard conditions.

The highway will probably be closed overnight according to the Mono County Office of Emergency Services.

NASA study showing Mono Lake warming – update

January 20th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Ever since Bartshe wrote about a NASA study that shows Mono Lake is warming rapidly, we have done additional analysis, discussed it with Mono Lake experts, and tried to figure out what it means.

Dr. David Herbst of the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory says that the NASA results “are consistent with elevated summer minimum air temperatures that have previously been documented.” He also found that Martis Creek, a creek north of Lake Tahoe with the best temperature record in the Sierra, has warmed 2 degrees C since the mid-1970s (in June, July, August). Nearby … more »

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