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DWP completes this year’s export of 4,500 acre-feet of water from the Mono Basin

November 5th, 2016 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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When Mono Lake is between 6377 and 6380 feet above sea level, and the final May lake level forecast (and any subsequent projections) shows that it will stay above 6377 feet, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) is permitted to export 4,500 acre-feet of water that year. Any time Mono Lake falls below, or is projected to fall below 6377 feet, exports must stop.

Photo by Bartshe Miller.

A blustery day in mid-October kicked up clouds of alkali dust over Mono Lake’s eastern shore. Mono Lake may drop below 6377 feet above sea level next year, which means no water may be exported to Los Angeles. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Operations plan guidelines state that the water should be exported late in the summer, and this year, DWP exported this water September through early November, allowing more water to remain in Grant Lake Reservoir during the summer—a good thing that kept the reservoir higher during recreation season and likely kept water temperatures cooler for fish in Rush Creek. … more »

Agencies respond quickly to illegal work along Mono Lake’s shore

November 3rd, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Two weeks ago, we reported on illegal work happening near Mono Lake’s west shore across from the Tioga Lodge, and the agency response has moved quickly since then.

Equipment operators illegally clearing willows in the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, the boundary of which is delineated by the stakes in the foreground. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Equipment operators illegally clearing willows in the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, the boundary of which is delineated by the stakes in the foreground. Mono Lake Committee photo.

The illegal work being done included heavy equipment clearing three acres of willows and near-shore habitat on highly protected State Park land, even after State Park staff repeatedly advised the equipment operators of the park boundary, which was well marked. Quick action by Mono Lake Committee staff and multiple agencies halted the activity before more willows and wetland were disturbed, but the damage is alarming. Last week State Parks staff from the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and Sacramento began a detailed assessment of the resource damage and will be pursuing appropriate penalties. … more »

Fifth wettest October on record in the Mono Basin

November 2nd, 2016 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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At Cain Ranch, a precipitation station five miles south of Lee Vining that is representative of precipitation patterns on Mono Lake, October 2016 precipitation was 2.1 inches. This was the fifth-wettest October since 1931 and about 325% of average. Two of those other wet Octobers occurred in 2009 and 2010.

rainy-october-2016-10-30-north-basin-rainbow-elj_9161

October 2016 was also the sixth-wettest month at Cain Ranch in the last decade, and curiously three of those months were the Octobers mentioned above. The other three months that were wetter than October 2016 were December 2010 and 2012 and May 2015. Aside from the wet Decembers, this pattern is unusual, since December and January and February are usually the wettest months of the year.

The rain in the last week raised all the creek flows and also raised Mono Lake from 6377.12 to 6377.19 feet above sea level, putting it back on track with the lake level forecast DWP made in the spring.

A student’s first snow, high above Mono Lake

November 1st, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Lisa Godenick, 2016 Outdoor Education Instructor.

The Roosevelt High Outsiders pause for a breath on their high-altitude snow hike. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The Roosevelt High Outsiders pause for a breath on their high-altitude snow hike. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Written from the perspective of students from Roosevelt High School.

I am from Guatemala. I have never seen snow.

I am from Mexico. I have never seen snow.

I am from El Salvador. I have never seen snow.

I LOVE SNOW! ME GUSTA LA NIEVE!

I go to Roosevelt High School. I should be a senior, but because I have to pass all four of the English Language Development courses, I am a sophomore. This is my first time in … more »

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … now it’s closed

October 29th, 2016 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has closed due to inclement weather. There is currently no estimated opening date.

Another storm is also moving through the area on Sunday and a winter weather advisory has been issued for Mono County from 11am to 11pm Sunday. Light rain and snow are expected Sunday morning, followed by more intense rain and snow in the afternoon and evening. Chain controls are possible above 7,000 feet in the Eastern Sierra, including on Highway 395 and SR 203 (in Mammoth Lakes).  Use caution when driving and be sure to allow for plenty of extra time and check current road conditions and weather before your trip.

In this photo from May 2016, it’s easy to see why the Tioga Road closes each winter. In 2015, Tioga Road closed on November 1. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Shop for Mono Lake on Amazon

October 25th, 2016 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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The holiday season is fast approaching, and many of us are beginning to think about choosing the perfect gifts for our friends and family. While the Mono Lake Committee online store and fall catalog (located in the fall Newsletter) offer many great gift options that support Mono Lake, it’s unlikely we’ll have something for everyone on your list. But don’t fret, you can still help Mono Lake while shopping on Amazon! It’s super easy to make sure your online shopping gives back to the Mono Lake Committee—all you have to do is follow this link when you shop.

14shopformonoamazon

For every purchase made on Amazon using this link 5% is donated to the Mono Lake Committee through the Amazon Associate program, and that 5% really ads up. (Yes, it’s really 5%, not 0.5%, like most non-profits get!) Last year we made a record breaking $4,100, and we’re hoping to make 2016 another chart-topping year.

So far this year we’ve raised $2,682 dollars through Amazon, and we have a goal of reaching $4,500 before 2016 concludes—so we’re going to need your help. Next time you take to the web to do some shopping over the holidays, or any time of year, be sure to follow  this link so that your purchases will benefit Mono Lake.

Thanks for all of your support, and happy shopping!

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … now it’s open

October 23rd, 2016 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has reopened after it was closed last week due to snow and rockfall. Use caution and be sure to check current road conditions and weather before your trip. Last year, Tioga Pass closed for the season on November 1.

Also be vigilant for migrating deer on the road this time of year. A reminder that all campgrounds along the Tioga Road are currently closed (except for Lower Lee Vining Campground) as are all commercial and visitor services in Tuolumne Meadows.

Check out this video, courtesy of Caltrans, showing how explosives were used to help clear the road last week.

Send in your 2016 Free Drawing tickets today!

October 22nd, 2016 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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If you haven’t yet sent in your tickets for the Mono Lake Committee’s 2016 Free Drawing fundraiser, there is still time. Enter today for the chance to win round-trip airfare for two on Southwest Airlines, a Cali4nia ski pass, a Mono Basin adventure vacation, and many more great prizes. Be sure to take a look at the complete prize list to see everything we are offering this year.

Photo by Elin Ljung.

Tickets must be received by December 10 to be eligible for the 2016 Free Drawing. Photo by Elin Ljung.

If you are already a member of the Mono Lake Committee, you should have already received your tickets. You will also receive ten tickets in the center of your fall Newsletter, arriving in … more »

Illegal grading on Mono Lake’s shore

October 20th, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director
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If you’ve driven by Mono Lake on Highway 395 in the past few days, you probably saw a large excavator working down by the lakeshore across from the Tioga Lodge and wondered what was going on. We did too, and knowing that it’s a sensitive, and protected, area, we checked into it. What we found was disturbing.

2016-10-19-tioga-lodge-state-land-violations

A newly constructed dirt road departs the Tioga Lodge property and goes well into the shoreline area, which is protected as part of the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. The excavator was at work clearing willows and vegetation from approximately three acres of protected land. Needless to say, this kind of blatant violation is unacceptable and Mono Lake Committee staff jumped on the issue immediately.  … more »

Tioga Pass is temporarily closed

October 19th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass closed last Saturday night in anticipation of the storm that hit this area over the weekend, and remains closed due to large boulders that fell onto the roadway during the storm.

Large boulders must be cleared from the roadway on Tioga Pass before the road can open again. Photo courtesy of our friends at the Tioga Pass entrance station.

Large boulders must be cleared from the roadway on Tioga Pass before the road can open again. Photo courtesy of our friends at the Tioga Pass entrance station.

Caltrans is working to remove the rocks and reopen the road as soon as possible, but for now it is closed at the lower gate, three miles west of Highway 395.

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