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Comment-writing workshop on Wednesday for the Inyo National Forest draft forest management plan

July 22nd, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Since 2013 the Inyo National Forest has been working on a draft forest plan, as part of a process to update the 28-year-old forest plan that has been in effect since 1988. The updated, draft Forest Management Plan was released in late May, initiating a public comment period, which closes August 25, 2016.

Make your voice heard for Mono Lake and the Inyo National Forest. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Make your voice heard for Mono Lake and the Inyo National Forest. Photo by Nora Livingston.

We invite you to join us for a comment-letter-writing evening, this coming Wednesday, July 27 at 6:00pm, location TBD (in the Lee Vining/Mono City area) at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. We will provide you with all the information and tools you need to write a comment letter to the Forest Service that will help improve the future of the Inyo National Forest. We’ll also provide food and refreshments!

Throughout this process the Mono Lake Committee has been … more »

Healing Mono Lake’s tributary streams: Come help us remove invasive plants

July 21st, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sara Matthews, 2015 & 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

If you’re in the area on Monday, July 25, consider joining Mono Lake Committee staff and naturalist Ann Howald to help pull invasive plant species!

Join us on Monday to help pull invasive plant species from along Mono Lake's tributary streams. Photo by Julie Curtis.

Join us on Monday to help pull invasive plant species from along Mono Lake’s tributary streams. Photo by Julie Curtis.

We’ll be spending the morning out in the field working to restore Mill Creek, one of Mono Lake’s important tributary streams. As a special treat, guest naturalist Ann Howald will be joining us. Ann is a retired consulting botanist who has taught popular Committee field seminars for over ten years, so she is certain to enrich the experience for all.

We are meeting at the Mono Lake Committee at 8:00am on Monday, July 25. The day’s adventure will include traversing through mixed sagebrush communities, willow lined riparian areas, and perhaps even in a cold stream! Please be sure to bring shoes that can get wet, sun protection, and plenty of water.

A picnic lunch will be provided so if you think you may be able to make it, please RSVP to me by email so we can plan accordingly. However, last minute drop-ins are also welcome! Contact me by email or at (760) 647-6595 with any questions.

Upcoming guided trips July 21–31

July 18th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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It’s amazing how many different plants, animals, and insects you can see when you are paying attention to your surroundings. Just focusing your gaze beyond one aspect of nature can bring you almost endless new things to see.

2016-07-16 Rattlesnake gulch lizards, chipmunks, butterflies, birds NL (56)

Juvenile Green-tailed Towhee snagging a meal. Photo by Nora Livingston.

For instance, you see a bird perched on a branch and identify it as a Green-tailed Towhee. A lot of times, it is easy to stop there, saying “I identified the bird! Yay me!” But what if you asked, “what kind of tree is it perched on?” … more »

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep

July 17th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

Join us for the second of our Refreshing ‘Ologist presentations on Wednesday, July 20 at 5:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee Gallery.

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep spotted at high elevation in the Mono Basin. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep spotted at high elevation in the Mono Basin. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

This ‘Ologist presentation will cover the current status of the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s current projects to monitor the endangered, charismatic animal. We will hear from Lacey Greene, an environmental scientist who works for the agency on the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program. Hope to see you there!

Caltrans quickly shifts gears from Rockfall Project to addressing Marina Fire impacts

July 14th, 2016 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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Caltrans-rockfall-update-graphic

Phase 2 of the Lee Vining Rockfall Project was originally scheduled to begin this past Monday but now Caltrans must stabilize the areas affected by the Marina Fire before the Rockfall Project can begin. Emergency funds, work plan, and a contractor have been secured and work is scheduled to begin within days as soon as materials arrive.

Caltrans crews are working to make motorists on Highway 395 safe from falling rocks and debris after the Marina Fire. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Caltrans crews are working to make motorists on Highway 395 safe from falling rocks and debris after the Marina Fire. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Key components of the emergency plan include: … more »

Mono Basin high country in bloom

July 13th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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A Hermit Thrush is perched low and well hidden in a Western Hemlock, singing his ethereal sonata that is simultaneously uplifting and sad. His song echoes through the pines, drifts out over Tioga Lake, and wafts up towards Mt. Dana.

Mountain heather, Phyllodoce breweri, and granite. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Mountain heather, Phyllodoce breweri, and granite. Photo by Nora Livingston.

… more »

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Native herptiles in Yosemite

July 10th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

Join us this Wednesday, July 13 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee Gallery for the first of our Refreshing ‘Ologist series: Recovery and Conservation of Native Herptiles in Yosemite.

Yellow-legged frog. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. Photo by Nora Livingston.

In this summer’s first lecture we will hear from Yosemite Wildlife Biologists Ninette Daniele and Molly Thompson. They will discuss the current conservation strategies being used to protect native herptiles, like the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, Yosemite toad, and other herptiles in Yosemite National Park. They will also discuss how well these strategies are working and what types of recoveries they are seeing. Join us to learn more!

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists at the Mono Lake Committee

July 8th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists is a summer lecture series with local scientists presenting their current work in the region.

Join local researchers on Wednesday afternoons for short talks about their scientific work. Plus, refreshments! Photo by Elin Ljung.

Join local researchers on Wednesday afternoons for short talks about their scientific work. Plus, refreshments! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Presentations will be hosted in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore gallery, and last about one hour. Light refreshments will be served. All presentations begin at 4:00pm. This summer’s schedule is:

● July 13: Amphibians in Yosemite with biologist Ninette Daniele
● July 20: Bighorn sheep migration with Lacey Greene of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife**
● July 27: Peregrine Falcons in Yosemite National Park with raptor monitor Crystal Barnes
● August 3: Climate change with Benjamin Hatchett, Department of Geography, University of Nevada Reno
● August 10: Land management with Kay Ogden of the Eastern Sierra Land Trust
● August 17: Mono Basin geology with Yosemite National Park geologist Greg Stock
● August 31: Bird and bat population dynamics with biologist Breeanne Jackson
● September 7: The California spotted owl with biologist Stephanie Eyes
● September 14: El Niño winters in the Sierra with avalanche forecaster Sue Burak

**This presentation starts at 5:00pm, NOT 4:00pm.

Check back for weekly posts with more details about each lecture. We hope to see you here on Wednesday afternoons for these talks!

California Gull protection likely needed in 2017

July 6th, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director
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California’s drought has lowered Mono Lake to the point at which the nation’s second largest California Gull rookery, home to 50,000 nesting birds, is in danger. The shrinking moat of water between Negit Island and the lake’s north shore could soon prove inadequate in deterring predators like coyotes.

Committee wildlife cameras have captured evidence that coyotes are currently active in the landbridge area along Mono Lake’s north shore. Mono Lake Committee wildlife camera photo.

Committee wildlife cameras have captured evidence that coyotes are currently active in the landbridge area along Mono Lake’s north shore. Mono Lake Committee photo.

While it appears that Mono Lake will stay just barely high enough to provide protection during the 2016 nesting season, the lake level forecast places it half a foot below that same threshold at the start of the 2017 nesting season.

As a result, management discussions have progressed from contingency planning to the actual logistics of how to efficiently construct a … more »

Upcoming guided trips: July 7–17

July 3rd, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Yesterday, my guided trip clients and I watched a pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers bringing food to their nest cavity in a burned fir snag for twenty minutes. The parents dutifully foraged for a few minutes and returned with a beakful of insects to feed their hungry chicks. The male and female took turns feeding every few minutes—they must have had quite the brood! It was amazing to be able to observe and photograph these beautiful birds as they went about their daily lives, almost oblivious of us. It was almost meditative.

A Williamson's Sapsucker brings food back to the nest cavity. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

A Williamson’s Sapsucker brings food back to the nest cavity. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

As the Lead Naturalist Guide for our new Mono Lake Guided Trips program, I love bringing our visitors and supporters into the woods and sharing these incredible nature experiences with them. We know the spots—let us take you there! Here are our upcoming trips for the next two weeks:

High Country Birding on Thursday, July 7, takes you to the … more »

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