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Marina Fire and road closure update, 1:00pm

June 24th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Marina Fire continues to burn just north of Lee Vining in the steep slopes above Hwy 395 along Mono Lake. Fire crews, including air tankers and helicopters are fighting the fire and appear to be making good progress, though flames can still be seen on the southern edge of the burn. Residents of Lee Vining and Mono City received a reverse-911 call with a message that is it not necessary evacuate at this time, but to be prepared. Highway 395 is still officially closed, but Caltrans is escorting cars through the area when feasible. Businesses in Lee Vining are open.

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The Marina Fire as seen from Third Street in Lee Vining.

… more »

Marina Fire north of Lee Vining closes Highway 395

June 24th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Marina Fire is burning on the slopes above Old Marina on Hwy 395 about one mile north of the town of Lee Vining.

The Marina Fire - June 24, 2016

The Marina Fire seen from north of Lee Vining at Conway Summit. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

At this time the highway is closed from the north junction of State Route 120 (the Tioga Road) to the junction of State Route 167 (the turnoff to Hawthorne NV and Lundy Canyon). Periodic closing of Highway 395 in both directions should be expected. … more »

Recipients of the 2016 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship

June 23rd, 2016 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator
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This month at graduation, the 2016 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship was awarded to Lee Vining High School seniors Berlin Del Aguila and Julie Harris. They demonstrated a clear connection to the Mono Basin in their essays, and we wish them all the best as they spread their wings and head for college.

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

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

From Berlin’s essay: “The longer I sit near the lake, appreciating the aromas, the songs of the birds, and the wildlife that surround it, I’m able to reflect on life and realize the things that are … more »

Mono Lake Committee’s ecological monitoring program at 38 years

June 22nd, 2016 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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Type the word “monitoring” into the Mono Lake Committee’s website search bar and 673 results appear. To say that scientific monitoring and environmental advocacy work go hand in hand for the Committee is an understatement.

The Committee collects streamf ow and water diversion data for Mono Basin streams monthly all year, and weekly in summer. Photo by Erv Nichols.

The Committee collects streamflow and water diversion data for Mono Basin streams monthly all year, and weekly in summer. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Ever since the Committee’s founders conducted the fundamental and pivotal ecological study of Mono Lake in 1976, scientific research and monitoring have been the basis for all of the work that has followed. In crafting policy positions, all aspects of an issue must be analyzed and understood, since arriving at a balanced … more »

Upcoming guided trips: June 25–July 1

June 21st, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Are you on your way to the Mono Basin for a quick escape from the daily grind? We have spaces available on a few guided trips next week that will be the perfect addition to your vacation! Combine multiple trips for an extended guided getaway. The Mono Lake Guided Trip program offers naturalist trips to enhance your knowledge and connection to this beautiful area and its fascinating natural history.

Sierra wave sunset over Mono Lake. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Sierra wave sunset over Mono Lake. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Twilight Birding & Owling on Saturday, June 25, is a wonderful way to spend the evening at Mono Lake. We will spend a few hours birding as daylight turns to twilight, when vivid colors wrap … more »

Mono Lake in another drought year

June 19th, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director
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When the California State Water Resources Control Board protected Mono Lake in 1994 by revising Los Angeles’ water rights in a landmark decision, it linked lake level and water exports together. The closer the lake is to its mandated ecologically sound level, the more water Los Angeles is authorized to export.

This approach, advocated by the Mono Lake Committee to protect Mono Lake and meet real water needs in the city, also works in reverse: the lower the lake, the less water can be exported.

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Last year, with the level of Mono Lake falling due to drought, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) reduced exports by 70%, as required by the State Water Board rules. This year, … more »

Idle Hands String Band playing at Mono Lake County Park on Sunday

June 16th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Come celebrate the summer solstice and Father’s Day at Mono Lake County Park this Sunday, June 19 at noon to picnic on the lawn and enjoy a free concert with the Idle Hands String Band!

Idle Hands String Band will be playing a free concert at Mono Lake County Park on Sunday, June 19. Photo courtesy of Idle Hands String Band.

Idle Hands String Band will be playing a free concert at Mono Lake County Park on Sunday, June 19. Photo courtesy of Idle Hands String Band.

The Idle Hands String Band specializes in traditional American string music from the mid 1800s to the present including Old Time, Bluegrass, Folk and progressive Folk, with guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle, dobro, and mountain dulcimer.

You can bring your own lunch, but a delicious lunch will be for sale for $10 per meal at the park: sirloin burgers, turkey burgers, and garden burgers with cheese and all the toppings, plus salad, watermelon, dessert, and a drink. All proceeds from lunch benefit Lee Vining High School.

We hope you’ll join us and enjoy the live music and great food with new and old friends this Sunday!

To get to County Park from Lee Vining, head north on Highway 395 approximately 5 miles and turn right on Cemetery Road. Go down the hill and look for parking directions. Carpooling from Lee Vining is highly recommended.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore summer hours

June 14th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Starting Thursday, June 16, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open from 8:00am to 9:00pm every day.

The bookstore is busy all summer long---stop by any day, 8:00am to 9:00pm Photo by Erv Nichols.

The bookstore is busy all summer long—stop by any day, 8:00am to 9:00pm Photo by Erv Nichols.

Stop by to get information about what to do in the area, find out where to stay or camp, learn about Mono Lake’s fascinating history, or pick up the newest field guide or a T-shirt. Watch the 30-minute Mono Lake Story film, enjoy paintings and prints in the gallery by local artist Ann Piersall, and enjoy the view of Mono Lake from the front patio.

Our helpful seasonal staff can tell you where to find the best spots for sunset photography, show you menus from local restaurants, and give you advice on where to see birds and wildlife, among many other bits of information. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Our helpful seasonal staff is here with lots of advice to make your trip as fun as possible—stop by! Photo by Erv Nichols.

We’re looking forward to seeing you this summer!

Mono Lake Committee seasonal staff are here and summer is in full swing

June 12th, 2016 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Summer is here! With the warm weather comes many changes; deer and birds are migrating, bears have woken from hibernation, and the Mono Lake Committee’s flock of seasonal staff has finally arrived. Training began June 1 and we’ve been busy from day one, excitedly preparing for the months ahead.

Andrew, Sara, and Grace paddle the route that Mono Lake Committee canoe tours take during the summer months. Photo by Gabby Renteria.

Our first day was filled with the usual: introductions, paperwork, and an awesome talk from Mike Hogan who is working hard to make sure the Caltrans Rockfall Project not only solves the issue of falling rocks but also leaves the hills on the west side of Mono Lake beautiful and habitable for the many animals here in the Mono Basin.

After that we wasted no time and jumped straight in with two days of canoe training. The first day was spent practicing … more »

Chautauqua event: The high country responds to a changing climate

June 9th, 2016 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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Wondering what has happened to our snow and what to expect in the future? An afternoon seminar on climate issues affecting the Sierra Nevada—and all of us—will be held on Thursday, June 16 from 1:00–5:00pm at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center theater in Lee Vining.

350 MONO group Steps for Snow event, raising awareness

The Mono Basin 350.org climate awareness group at last fall’s Steps for Snow event. Photo courtesy of Janet Carle.

This afternoon series of talks with local experts will focus on how the high country of the Sierra Nevada is responding to a changing climate. High school student Caelen McQuilkin will discuss the American pika; Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin will describe how Mono Lake is responding to warmer, drier winters; US Forest Service scientist Connie Millar will provide an ecosystem-wide overview; Yosemite geologist Greg Stock will speak on what glaciers tell us about climate change; and Yosemite wildlife biologist Sarah Stock will discuss how human intervention reversed the fate of two threatened animals in Yosemite National Park.

These excellent speakers will help us understand the future of the Sierra and what we all can do to encourage progress toward a sustainable climate on our planet.

This event, sponsored by 350 Mono, a local climate action group, is free and open to the public. We invite Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua attendees especially—stop by to hear about how a changing climate is affecting the Eastern Sierra and Mono Basin.

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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.