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2017 Great Sierra River Cleanup a success

August 14th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Charlotte Johnston-Carter, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

Each year millions of people visit the Mono Basin, and most leave only footprints, but some leave a bit more…. Litter is common throughout the basin, but Lee Vining Creek often gets the brunt of it since it’s one of Mono Lake’s most popular tributary streams for fishing and camping.

Volunteer Janet Barth picking up litter at the Lee Vining Creek diversion pond during the Great Sierra River Cleanup. Photo by Charlotte Johnston-Carter.

Every year the Mono Lake Committee helps clean up Lee Vining Creek as part of the Great Sierra River Cleanup, a Sierra-wide event organized by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy … more »

Explore Lundy Canyon with a guide during Saturday morning bird walks

August 11th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Jenny Rieke, 2017 Birding Intern.

We hope you can join us for one of the new Lundy Canyon bird walks this year—on Saturdays at 7:30am. There is so much to see in Lundy Canyon, it really is one of the gems of the Eastern Sierra. I’ve put together this collection of photos from the 2017 season so far, and hope it inspires you to join us!

Lundy Canyon is home to some of the Eastern Sierra’s best birds, wildflowers, and waterfalls along Mill Creek, which flows down the canyon and into Mono Lake.

White rein orchid (Plantanthera leucostachys) blooming along Mill Creek in Lundy Canyon. Photo by Jennifer Rieke.

Nestled in the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada, Lundy Canyon is a high-elevation canyon rising from Lundy Lake at 7,858 feet above sea level to the 11,770-foot Black Mountain. … more »

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Songbirds of Yosemite with Michelle Desrosiers

August 10th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

If you have ever wondered about how songbirds are studied and why, you should come to the Mono Lake Committee this Wednesday, August 16 at 4:00pm to hear from this week’s Refreshing ‘Ologist, Michelle Desrosiers.

This week’s Refreshing ‘Ologist Michelle Desrosiers studies songbirds in Yosemite. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

Scientists in the park have been monitoring the status of songbirds as well as collecting information about their natural history to better inform conservation and management decisions. Songbirds serve as indicators of functioning ecosystem processes due to their position in the food chain, their diverse habitat requirements as a taxonomic group, and their accessibility to study.

In Yosemite scientists use songbirds to … more »

Mono Lake Volunteer spotlight: Jo Bacon

August 9th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Aviva North, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

“Volunteering has always been a part of my life, ever since I joined Girl Scouts,” says Mono Lake Volunteer Jo Bacon. Part of the original class of volunteers in 2004 and named Volunteer of the Year in 2011, Jo is a stalwart volunteer with a passion for engaging the public and protecting the Mono Basin.

Mono Lake Volunteer Jo Bacon, left, with Volunteer Coordinator Janet Carle. Photo by Rose Catron.

She originally discovered the wonders of the Eastern Sierra in the 1970s on a trip to cross country ski and eventually moved to Mammoth Lakes full-time in 2002 after more than 25 years in Riverside, California. Since her move, Jo has certainly made her mark on the Eastern Sierra community. She served on the Mammoth Lakes Town Council for eight years, including two as mayor, then another two on the planning commission, along with doing interpretive work for the Mammoth Ranger District and some naturalist work in the area.

She was drawn to the Mono Basin originally by … more »

Saddlebag Lake Reservoir spills

August 8th, 2017 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Water courses down the Saddlebag Lake Reservoir spillway, possibly for the first time ever. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

For the first time since at least as far back as 1983, Saddlebag Lake Reservoir on Lee Vining Creek is spilling. This is a rare event—and possibly a first—for the highest lake you can drive to in California.

Saddlebag Dam, at 10,090′ elevation, was built in 1921 to enlarge an existing alpine lake for hydropower generation purposes. The dam was raised and a spillway was added in 1925. The reservoir is oversized compared to the volume of water produced in its watershed, and given the agreement between Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP), which requires it to be very low every spring. It is unclear if it has ever spilled before now. Last week it was inches away from its spillway, at the end of the day on Monday it was very full at 9,400 acre-feet of water, and on Tuesday it spilled! … more »

Learn more on a Mono Lake Committee field seminar

August 7th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the birds that migrate through the Mono Basin, experience Mono Lake by moonlight, learn about the ecosystem impacts of recent fires, or find the best places to see the aspen leaves turn gold in the fall? Mono Lake Committee field seminars offer something for everyone—whether you’re just here for a short time and want to spend a half day with an expert instructor or if you’ll be here longer for one of our three-day seminars. There are still over 20 field seminars you can register for through October. Read more about all the seminars that still have space below.


There are still over 20 field seminars you can register for through October, including Geology of the Mono Basin with Greg Stock. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

… more »

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Restoring carbon in Tuolumne Meadows with Lydia Baldwin

August 5th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

Ever wonder about the carbon storing potential of Tuolumne Meadows? If you have, you’re not so different from our researcher for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Come listen to Lydia Baldwin present her research in Tuolumne Meadows on Wednesday August 9 at 4:00pm to learn more!

Tuolumne Meadows in spring 2015. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Wet meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada that were historically disturbed are currently losing both soil-water holding capacity and the ability to store carbon. These wetlands formerly functioned as sinks of carbon dioxide, but now they could act as significant contributors of CO2 into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the maintenance and addition of carbon to soil can also enhance its capacity to hold water. This refreshing ‘ologist is testing whether the reestablishment of a sedge-dominated community at Tuolumne Meadows, a high-elevation wet meadow in Yosemite National Park, will restore the meadow to a carbon-accumulating ecosystem.

Join us to hear Lydia explain how she monitors gross primary production and plant respiration to create a model of growing season carbon dynamics to determine if these treatments increase the meadow’s carbon storage. Be ready to learn and ready to eat because admission and snacks are both free!

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Cathy Foye

August 2nd, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

Cathy & Rich Foye, left and center, with fellow Mono Lake Volunteer Rosemarie Willimann. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

This post was written by Aviva North, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

If you have taken a Saturday canoe tour this summer you will probably recognize our awesome volunteer Cathy Foye, who, every weekend, is prepped with a scope set on an Osprey nest perfectly perched on a tufa tower in Mono Lake.

Born and raised in Southern California, Cathy had actually never explored the Eastern Sierra until her now husband, and fellow volunteer, Rich Foye, took her on vacation. Their favorite parts of visiting were the guided canoe tours and weekly star talks offered during the summer. During their 25 years together in Fullerton they became frequent visitors to the Eastern Sierra, initially attracted to Mammoth Lakes, where they permanently moved to in 2009. … more »

Help remove invasive plants in the Mono Basin

July 30th, 2017 by Ava, Outdoor Education Instructor

As July winds down and August approaches, we find ourselves faced with increasing quantities of a prolific invasive plant species in the Mono Basin. Dense patches of sweet white clover can be seen along streambeds, roadsides, edges of parking lots, and areas where soil has recently been disrupted, which softens the ground for the opportunistic and tenacious seeds. Unseen below the ground, its roots begin the process of nitrogen fixation, changing the chemical properties of the soil. Removing invasive plant species has been part of an ongoing restoration process to clear the ground so that native species may flourish.

Volunteers helping remove white sweet clover and other invasive plants along Mill Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The Mono Lake Committee has been involved in removal projects for several years to reduce the amount of sweet white clover (Melilotus albus) growing in the Mono Basin. These efforts often entail taking groups of interns, volunteers, visiting students from the Outdoor Education Center, and interested community members into the field for some hands-on learning.

For those who are in town and willing to help … more »

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Carnivore management & research with Jonathan Fusaro

July 29th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

If you’re interested in how carnivores are being managed in the Eastern Sierra, join us this coming Wednesday, August 2 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

Coyotes, like this one scampering through Mono Lake’s shallows, are one of the many carnivores in the Eastern Sierra. Photo courtesy of Justin Hite.

California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) environmental scientist Jonathan Fusaro will explain carnivore research and management, as well as what DFW’s Bishop field office is doing for research and management of carnivores locally. Jonathan studied black bear populations for his master’s degree in wildland resources from the University of Utah. Now Jonathan works closely with researchers to manage black bears and is heavily involved with the Eastern Sierra Black Bear Project.

If you want to find out more about the management and research of carnivores, come to the Committee gallery this Wednesday afternoon. Admission and snacks are free. Hope to see you there!

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