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Don’t forget: Applications for the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship are due this Friday

May 9th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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The deadline to submit applications for the 2017 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship is this Friday, May 12 at 5:00pm.

2016 scholarship recipient Berlin Del Aguila poses with Membership Coordinator Ellen King. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

Each year the Committee awards two $1,000 scholarships to seniors who display a connection to Mono Lake and the Mono Lake story. All Mono County seniors with plans to attend a two- or four-year college or university within a year of graduation are encouraged to apply. Simply head down to the lake and answer the question: Why are places like Mono Lake important?

Click here to find the scholarship application as well as essays written by previous recipients. Have questions? Reach out to me, Gabrielle Renteria, at (760) 647-6595 x103 or by email.

Tioga Pass from the air

May 8th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans just sent out a video of a flyover of Tioga Pass, filmed last Monday, May 1. The video shows the road from low in Lee Vining Canyon to the eastern gate to Yosemite National Park; there is no sound in the video.

There is no estimated opening date for Tioga Pass, and this video helps to show why. We knew there was a lot of snow up there—it’s exciting to see just how much!

Current conditions in the Inyo National Forest for fishing season opener

April 27th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Spring has arrived in the Mono Basin, but at the higher elevations roads and lakes are still covered in snow and ice. We know it can be frustrating trying to figure out what is open and what is not at this time of year, so here is a list of current conditions throughout the Inyo National Forest:

Opening day for the fishing season in Mono and Inyo counties is this Saturday, April 29, 2017.

● All lakes below 7,500 feet in elevation and free of ice will be open.
● Lundy Lake is extremely low and there will be no access for boat launching.
● All anglers 16 years or older must have a 2017 California Fishing License which may be purchased online, by clicking here, or by visiting most local tackle shops.

A member of the the Caltrans District 9 Team stands in front of a massive snowbank on Tioga Pass. Photo courtesy of Caltrans District 9.

Visitor centers, roads, and campgrounds: … more »

Find Mono Lake on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

April 26th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you’re not already plugged into the Mono Lake Committee’s social media, click over to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

On Facebook, join discussions about our work, see upcoming events, check in when you get here, and leave us a review at the end of your stay. Stay up-to-date on our work via Twitter, and enjoy stunning photos of Mono Lake on Instagram. Tag your photos with #monolake to join a great stream of Mono Lake photos, and for a chance to be featured on our account.

Fence post: An update from Mono Lake’s landbridge

April 21st, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The temporary electrified fence protecting Mono Lake’s nesting California Gulls has been up and running for about three weeks now. After a long and snowy winter the gulls’ calls signal spring’s arrival, and it’s gratifying to know that as they build nests and lay eggs out on the islands, they are protected from coyote predation.

Gull researcher Kristie Nelson works on one of the fence sections that extends into Mono Lake. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

The fence stretches for about one mile across the landbridge, and is made up of five sections that overlap—an electrified long middle section, two shorter electrified sections at the ends near the water’s edge, and two passive sections at … more »

Removing snow and rumors along the Tioga Pass Road

April 18th, 2017 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Tioga Pass Road at 8,000' on April 4, 2017.

Snow is minimal below 8,000 feet on the east side of  Highway 120, but snow depth increases exponentially above 8,500 feet. Photo by Bartshé Miller.

As everyone in California knows, it’s been a remarkable year for precipitation. At the highest elevations above Mono Lake in the vicinity of Tioga Pass, we may be facing a snowpack over 200% of average. April 1 snow surveys revealed nearby sites at all-time record snow depth and water content, while other sites, including Tioga Pass itself, fell just short of past record levels. Snow depth in the region likely moved upward with recent April storms, cold temperatures, and generally unsettled spring weather. … more »

The 2017 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship application is available now!

April 15th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education and displaying a connection to Mono Lake with two $1,000 scholarships. High school seniors living in Mono County with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply.

Students are asked to visit Mono Lake and answer the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?

Applications can be found here, and the deadline to apply is Friday May 12, 2017 at 5:00pm.

You can find essays written by past recipients here. If you have questions regarding the application or would like to donate to the scholarship fund please contact Gabrielle Renteria by email or by calling (760) 647-6595 x 103.

2016 scholarship recipient Julie Harris with Membership Coordinator Ellen and Executive Director Geoff. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Road conditions update: Highway 158 and Highway 120 East opening today

April 14th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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According to the latest press release from Caltrans, Highway 158, the June Lake Loop, and Highway 120 East toward Benton are scheduled to open for the season today at noon and 2:00pm, respectively.

It will probably be months yet before Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass) is open, but snow removal equipment is now in place and starting to work on lower sections of the highway a few miles west of the junction with Highway 395. The snowpack is estimated to be between 8 to 15 feet on the highway, with up to 50-foot snowdrifts in some locations. There is no estimated opening date.

A Caltrans snowblower clearing snow below an avalanche chute on Tioga Pass (Highway 120 West) on April 4, 2017. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The road to Bodie State Historic Park, Highway 270, remains closed at the request of State Park personnel. The park itself remains closed to visitors after a swarm of earthquakes last December damaged some of Bodie’s buildings and its water system.

North of the Mono Basin, there is no estimated opening date for Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) or Highway 89 (Monitor Pass), though snow removal from the east has begun on both roads. The snowpack on the Sonora Pass road is estimated to be 5 to 12, and 5 feet on the Monitor Pass road.

Charting weather extremes and understanding climate change impacts

April 12th, 2017 by Bartshé, Education Director
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A wet winter has brought needed relief to a drought-stricken Mono Lake. However, a glimpse at Lee Vining weather data reveals that predictions about climate change in California and the Sierra Nevada are becoming real.

January 2017 set a record for wettest month in Lee Vining’s weather data history: 11.23 inches of precipitation. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Warming temperatures, along with more extreme and less-frequent precipitation, are reflected in our local weather. The record-setting drought of the last five years still casts a shadow across the Mono Basin. Multi-year impacts to the watershed and ecosystem have accumulated due to record high temperatures, remarkably low runoff, and wildfires. As climate forces further change, monitoring, assessment, and adaptation will be critical to the future restoration and protection of Mono Lake. … more »

April 1 Mono Lake level: 6378.3 feet above sea level and rising

April 10th, 2017 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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April 1, the beginning of the runoff year, is a particularly important day for Mono Lake. Each April 1 Mono Lake Committee and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) staff walk down to Mono Lake and read the lake level, together. It is particularly important because it is the April 1 lake level that determines how much water is allowed to be diverted from Mono Basin streams to the City of Los Angeles for the year.

Brian Norris from DWP and Robbie Di Paolo from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together on April 1, 2017. Photo by Bartshé Miller.

The first time I participated in one of these April 1 lake level readings was in 2015 when the lake had dropped to a level that triggered a 70% reduction of water exports. The second time, the lake narrowly cleared the level that would have halted water exports altogether. Years of drought lowered the lake and heightened concern over available exports, but this year was different. This year Mono Lake is on the rise. … more »

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