April 1st, 2016 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 assuring 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 (139) Contact Geoffrey
This morning Mono Lake Committee staff met with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) personnel to conduct the official annual April 1 reading of the lake level together. The consensus: Mono Lake stands at 6378.11 feet above sea level.
Mono Lake is now just 13 inches above the ecologically precipitous 6377-foot elevation at which the nesting islands become landbridged, lake salinity hits new highs, air quality problems worsen, and stream delta habitat conditions degrade.
DWP’s Steve Rich and Robbie Di Paolo from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
With those concerns in mind, the State Water Board rules are more nuanced this year for determining whether or not DWP can export water to Los Angeles. Not only does the lake have to be above 6377 feet for today’s measurement, it also has to be forecast to stay above 6377 every day of the coming year. … more »
March 30th, 2016 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagercloseAuthor: Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagerName: Lily Pastel Title: Information Center & Bookstore Manager About: Lily stocks the store with educational, handmade, local, and ecologically friendly merchandise and keeps operations functioning efficiently. She graduated from Humboldt State University in May 2014, where she majored in Environmental Science. Contact Lily with questions or feedback about the items we carry, if you would like to place an order for Mono Lake Committee merchandise, if you have questions about an existing order, if you have questions about or need assistance with our online store, or if you are a vendor or artisan who would like us to carry your work.See All Posts by Lily (45) Contact Lily
“Tufa” by Ann Piersall.
We are thrilled to announce that paintings by local artist and scientist, Ann Piersall, will be featured in the Mono Lake Committee’s gallery from now through mid-August.
Ann hails from the mountains of western Montana, and now resides in Bishop, California, on the eastside of the beautiful Sierra Nevada. She worked seasonally as a ranger, ski patroller, cartographer, mountain guide, and science technician in Montana, Alaska, Colorado, and Kyrgyzstan before transitioning to working full-time in air pollution control and meteorology. Ann’s art is inspired by the colors, geometry and adventures of the places that she loves.
Ann’s style is bold, geometric, and beautiful—and this show highlighting the Eastern Sierra and Mono Lake is not to be missed!
Join us for an evening artist’s reception to open the new show, titled “Luminous Landscapes,” on Sunday, April 3 from 5:00 to 7:00pm. Come enjoy wine and cheese, meet Ann, and delight in her beautiful work in the Mono Lake Theater & Gallery.
March 28th, 2016 by Andrew, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Andrew, Project SpecialistName: Andrew Youssef Title: Project Specialist About: Originally from outside Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew attended Vanderbilt University to study psychology. After graduating, he taught middle-school science in Glendale, Arizona where he enjoyed working with youth and sharing his passion for the sciences. While living out West, Andrew also developed a love for the wilderness and the outdoors after visiting and exploring many iconic National Parks. During summer 2014, Andrew volunteered in the Interpretation Division of Yosemite National Park, working at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, and also gave many different naturalist programs for visitors of all ages. He was a Mono Lake Intern during the summer of 2015 and ran the canoe program during the summer of 2016, and is now staying on for a second winter as Project Specialist. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, and birding.See All Posts by Andrew (28) Contact Andrew
Experience Mono Lake in a new way by joining a guided canoe tour this summer. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.
Canoeing on Mono Lake is an unforgettable experience. See the lake in a completely new way as you float over bubbling springs forming new tufa towers, examine some of the trillions of tiny brine shrimp that inhabit the lake, and experience the peace and tranquility of this wild place. Prepare to take in breathtaking views of the Mono Basin and the dramatic Sierra crest, which … more »
March 26th, 2016 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 (392) Contact Mono Lake Committee
This Winter & Spring 2016 Mono Lake Newsletter article was written by Kristie Nelson, Point Blue Conservation Science.
Monitoring of the Mono Lake California Gull colony by Point Blue Conservation Science researchers and volunteers to help understand how wildlife populations respond to ecological change over time continued in 2015.
A banded California Gull (Larus californicus) with its chick at Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of West Vane.
It was a very successful year for the gulls: both population size and chick production were above-average. Chicks were numerous and heavy, which indicates that they were … more »
March 24th, 2016 by Robbie, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Robbie, Project SpecialistName: Robert Di Paolo Title: Project Specialist About: A 2012 graduate from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Science, Robbie loves hiking, camping, and bike touring, all of which are great Eastern Sierra activities. He also likes to play music, primarily guitar and singing, but also flute and alto saxophone. If you're interested in volunteering with the Committee's restoration program or are interested in our social media efforts, contact Robbie.See All Posts by Robert (38) Contact Robert
Mono Lake is a critical migratory staging ground for Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis). Surveys have confirmed that 30–50% of the entire continent’s population of Eared Grebes utilize Mono Lake, with over one million birds visiting on their fall migration route to feed on brine shrimp. Since 2008 the Mono Lake Committee has collaborated with Canadian research biologist Sean Boyd from the Pacific Wildlife Research Centre in British Colombia to carry out annual aerial Eared Grebe surveys.
Aerial Eared Grebe survey data suggests that a shift toward an earlier peak in grebe population numbers at Mono Lake may be occurring.
It had previously been observed that Eared Grebes were most prolific at Mono Lake in mid-October (as recently as 2013), but … more »
March 23rd, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet. Contact Nora if you would like to set up a custom guided field trip, or if you have questions about the Chautauqua.See All Posts by Nora (19) Contact Nora
Mallard mama with ducklings. Photo by Nora Livingston.
If you are planning to come to theFifteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, now is the time to gather your ducklings and make sure you’re prepared for registration—you don’t want to miss out on a trip because you haven’t decided which trips to register for!Registration opens on Friday, April 15, at 6:30am sharp. Many field trips fill within minutes, so rise before the sun, sip your coffee with your list of events in hand, and be ready to go at 6:30am. Thescheduleis up on the website now, and the full program with trip descriptions and leader biographies will be up very soon, so make sure you have your field trip and program choices prioritized for registration day. Check out our Facebook pagefor real-time updates. We look forward to seeing you in June!
March 22nd, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet. Contact Nora if you would like to set up a custom guided field trip, or if you have questions about the Chautauqua.See All Posts by Nora (19) Contact Nora
We are excited to share our new Guided Trips program—a new way to visit the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra with an experienced guide to get the most out of this incredible place and fall in love with the region like we have, while also supporting Mono Lake.
Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston (third from left) leads a group of birders at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.
Our new program has over 45 day-trips scheduled from May to October, ranging in focus from birds to volcanoes and everything in between. Walk with us and learn to identify wildflowers, butterflies, birds, and mammals. Transport your mind into the past while we visit historical Paiute, mining, and logging sites. Slip into the lake in a canoe as the full moon rises—serenity is waiting.
March 21st, 2016 by Robbie, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Robbie, Project SpecialistName: Robert Di Paolo Title: Project Specialist About: A 2012 graduate from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Science, Robbie loves hiking, camping, and bike touring, all of which are great Eastern Sierra activities. He also likes to play music, primarily guitar and singing, but also flute and alto saxophone. If you're interested in volunteering with the Committee's restoration program or are interested in our social media efforts, contact Robbie.See All Posts by Robert (38) Contact Robert
Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education who display a personal connection with Mono Lake and the Mono Lake story with two $1,000 scholarships. Mono County resident high school seniors who have firm plans to attend a two- or four-year college within a year of graduation qualify.
Carson Bold was a recipient of one of the 2015 Mono Lake Committee Scholarships; Communications Director Arya Degenhardt presented it to him at graduation. Photo courtesy of Susan Morning.
March 19th, 2016 by Bartshé, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Education DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé directs the Mono Lake Committee's Outdoor Education Center programs, canoe program, and interpretive programs, and manages the Mono Basin Field Station. He has been an Eastern Sierra resident since 1993.See All Posts by Bartshé (62) Contact Bartshé
Despite a strong El Niño and recent rain and snow in California, drought conditions continue to plague the Eastern Sierra and Mono Lake. As of March 16 extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist in Mono and Inyo counties, a drought that is now in its fifth year. Recent winter storms brought very little precipitation east of the Sierra crest and the outlook for the rest of March looks generally dry.
Extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist up and down the Eastern Sierra and throughout a large portion of California.
This means that many precipitation measuring stations east and west of Highway 395 will end up between 40% and 75% of normal for April 1. The one exception … more »
March 16th, 2016 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 and 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 puppy Tucker comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (29) Contact Lisa
Despite some snow on the peaks and forecasters still calling for an El Niño weather pattern, Grant Lake Reservoir remains at a precariously low level. With three Southern California Edison (SCE) reservoirs upstream, and four years of drought to catch up from, Grant will be the last reservoir to benefit from this year’s runoff. Since lower Rush Creek is dependent on Grant Lake Reservoir for its water, and because special water management rules are triggered when Grant drops to a certain level, the Mono Lake Committee was busy in December ensuring that the best possible situation was secured for Rush Creek for the remainder of the winter.
A snow-covered Grant Lake Reservoir at the lowest it has been since 2009, showing the current low volume of water (approximately 11,000 acre-feet) and exposed banks. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.
Grant can only go so low
In 1994, the California State Water Resources Control Board, by way of Decision 1631, had the foresight to protect flows in Rush Creek from scenarios in which Grant Lake Reservoir gets abnormally low. … more »