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New twists as Mono Lake’s level falls: Spotlight on lake level forecasting in 2016

October 29th, 2015 by Geoff, Executive Director
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California’s four-year drought has lowered Mono Lake more than five feet. The decline has been disappointing to watch yet ecologically survivable thanks to the protections won by the Mono Lake Committee and Mono Lake advocates two decades ago. 2016, however, could change this story for the worse.

Photo by Erv Nichols.

Photo by Erv Nichols.

The winter of 2015–16 lies ahead, and a wet winter with ample Mono Basin precipitation is the hope of all Mono Lake friends. But as we have learned over the years at the Committee, our work is most effective when we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. In this case, another dry winter that pushes the state into a fifth drought year would push new and potentially contentious Mono Lake management issues to the forefront.

The landbridge to the gulls

The fall in lake level to date has caused the landbridge near the lake’s north shore to re-emerge and grow ever bigger, threatening to provide a pathway for coyotes to … more »

Adopt-a-Highway volunteers keep Highway 395 looking beautiful

October 25th, 2015 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Project Specialist Robbie and Mono Lake volunteers Rich and Cathy helped make this year's Adopt-A-Highway cleanup a huge success. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Project Specialist Robbie and Mono Lake Volunteers Rich and Cathy helped make this year’s Adopt-A-Highway cleanup a success. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Last week two Mono Lake Volunteers and two Mono Lake Committee staff members teamed up to pick up litter on the Committee’s adopted one-mile stretch of Highway 395 south of Lee Vining. It was a gorgeous morning to be working, with cool temperatures and snow-capped peaks rising above us. Wearing the requisite safety gear, including neon green safety vests and Adopt-A-Highway hard hats, the crew worked for about three hours and removed several bags of trash and recycling. Some unusual finds during the day included tire chains, playing cards, and a bag of kitty litter. Removing all of this debris helps protect wildlife that may mistake trash for food and ensures that this waste does not end up in Mono Lake’s tributary streams. Having a clean highway also enhances the visitor experience, allowing people to see the wild beauty of the Mono Basin unimpaired by trash.

Project Specialists Robbie and Andrew eager to start the highway cleanup. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Project Specialists Robbie and Andrew eager to start the highway cleanup. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Thank you so much to the wonderful volunteers who helped make this cleanup possible. If you are interested in volunteering at Mono Lake or participating in a future Adopt-A-Highway cleanup event, please contact Office Director Jessica Horn at (760) 647-6595.

Robbie picking up litter along Highway 395. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Robbie picking up litter along Highway 395. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Special thanks to the California State Parks Foundation for their support of the Mono Lake Volunteer program this year.

Fall 2015 Mono Lake Newsletter now available online

October 21st, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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Newsletter-2015-FallThis fall, more than others, it feels as if the Mono Basin is full-speed hurling itself toward home base, and the promise of winter. On the surface, it looks a lot like another spectacular fall—trees ablaze in vibrant color along waterways, deliciously crisp morning air, and countless Eared Grebes dotting the glassy surface of Mono Lake. But we’ve been keeping a close eye on the lake, streams, and reservoirs—they’re shrinking, and there just isn’t a whole lot of buffer left.

It’s really tempting to think that El Niño is going to kick in with a doozy of a winter and everything will be fine. … more »

2017 Mono Lake Calendar: Last call for submissions

October 20th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you’re planning to submit images to the 2017 Mono Lake Calendar, now is the time! The deadline of Sunday, November 1, 2015 is coming up fast. Find the submission guidelines and forms here.

calendarlastcall

We encourage you to submit high-quality photographs that you feel best capture the spirit of the Mono Basin’s geological and ecological wonders. To be selected for inclusion in the 2017 Mono Lake Calendar, images must depict subjects within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake. Possible subjects include … more »

Mono Basin fall colors photo album

October 16th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Photo courtesy of Alicia Vennos, Mono County Tourism.

Mono Lake’s solitary cottonwood trees light up every fall (October 14). Photo courtesy of Alicia Vennos, Mono County Tourism.

Fall in the Mono Basin is always a spectacular season, when crisp nights, warm Indian summer days, short daylight hours, a low sun angle, and cool autumn rains combine to bring out the colorful foliage. We pulled together some of our favorite photos from the season for you to enjoy. Don’t forget to check out the hashtag #sierrafallcolors on Instagram to immerse yourself in the rich colors of autumn from all along the Eastern Sierra.

Photo by Elin Ljung.

The paths along Silver Lake in the June Lake Loop have canopies of color (October 15). Photo by Elin Ljung.

… more »

Lee Vining High School students monitor Mill Creek’s health

October 14th, 2015 by Santiago, Outdoor Experiences Manager
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Usually the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Center hosts groups of kids and young adults from Los Angeles in the Mono Basin for five days and takes them to explore the wonders of the Eastern Sierra while learning about water conservation. This past week the OEC team had the privilege to work with a group of teenagers from just next door: Lee Vining High School biology students.

Lee Vining high school biology students inspect Mill Creek's macroinvertebrates during their field day along Mill Creek. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Lee Vining high school biology students inspect macroinvertebrates during their field day along Mill Creek. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

For several years the OEC program and biology students from the high school have been monitoring Mill Creek, Mono Lake’s northernmost tributary stream that enters Mono Lake just west of Black Point, to gauge … more »

Presentation & book signing with Scott Stine, October 17 at the Mono Inn

October 10th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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a way acrossThe Mono Lake Committee is delighted to host Dr. Scott Stine discussing his newly released book: A Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker’s 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite’s Discovery.

• Saturday, October 17, 4:30–6:30pm
• At the Mono Inn, 5 miles north of the town of Lee Vining on Highway 395
• Presentation begins at 4:30pm

If you are a Yosemite-phile like me, you have doubtless heard the legend of the first non-native person to see Yosemite Valley. We’ve all heard the legend of Joseph R. Walker who led a brigade of 58 fur trappers from the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming to the Pacific coast of central California in 1833. Toward the end of their journey the Walker brigade crossed the Sierra Nevada. … more »

Fall colors are emerging in the Mono Basin

October 7th, 2015 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Fall is an exciting time to be in the Mono Basin—the days are getting cooler, the high peaks have their first dusting of snow, the animals are busily preparing for winter, and, of course, the leaves are beginning to change.

This picturesque waterfall nestled among the glowing aspens can be found less than a mile from the Lundy Canyon trailhead. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

This picturesque waterfall nestled among the glowing aspens can be found less than a mile from the Lundy Canyon trailhead. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Last week I hiked into Lundy Canyon, a favorite destination for fall colors, and it did not disappoint. The aspens are beginning to peak in brilliant yellows, contrasting beautifully with the surrounding landscape. Today, I continued my search … more »

A Way Across the Mountain by Scott Stine now available

October 3rd, 2015 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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A Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker's 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite's Discovery.

A Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker’s 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite’s Discovery by Scott Stine is now available at the Mono Lake Committee Bookstore and online store.

Paleoclimatologist Scott Stine has just released his first book, A Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker’s 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite’s Discovery and it is now available at the Mono Lake Committee Bookstore and our online store.

Stine reconstructs Joseph Walker’s famous 1833 route over the Sierra drawing on years of in-depth scientific research and knowledge of the geomorphology, hydrography, biogeography, and climate of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin, and the detailed travel narrative of the Walker expedition’s field clerk, Zenas Leonard. Stine documents the inception, growth, and persistence of the myth of Yosemite’s discovery, and explores the extent to which that lore has overshadowed Walker’s greatest discovery—that the huge swath of continent between the Wasatch Front and the Sierran crest is hydrographically closed, draining not to an ocean, but to salty lakes and desert sands.

Stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore, or visit our online store to get your copy of A Way Across the Mountain, and … more »

Successful Solar Walk in Lee Vining

October 2nd, 2015 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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Local kids made the Solar Walk banner with Maureen McGlinchy. It is on display at the Lee Vining Community Center. Photo by Janet Carle.

Local kids made the Solar Walk banner with Maureen McGlinchy. It is on display at the Lee Vining Community Center. Photo by Janet Carle.

The Mono Basin Solar Walk was held last Sunday, September 27 in Lee Vining. A good crowd enjoyed interesting discussion about all aspects of solar installation, and a great reaction from our “Solar Pioneers” as their steps taken toward renewable energy were honored. The beautiful banner that Maureen McGlinchy and local children made is now on display at the Lee Vining Community Center.

Mono County Supervisors Fred Stump and Tim Alpers attended and shared the Board’s goals of … more »

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