The word is that Godzilla has returned, and he might be coming to Mono Lake. A powerful El Niño has developed in the Pacific and at least one climatologist and a host of media sources are touting this event as a “Godzilla” El Niño.
Godzilla’s storyline works. This was a monster that originally emerged from the ocean, and kept coming back. Through Godzilla’s various incarnations and movie sequels he took on a complex, mysterious, and powerful aura. He was not necessarily evil, nor was he good, but there was no stopping him. He trampled cities, battled other monsters, and was indifferent to everything in his path. He was the waltzing, overgrown sea-lizard of mayhem. … more »
After four years of drought, this year Mono Lake dropped below 6380 feet of elevation for the first time since July 1996, two years after the landmark State Water Board Decision in 1994. Because Mono Lake passed this critical threshold, water diversions to Los Angeles were reduced by nearly 70%, from 16,000 acre-feet to 4,500 acre-feet. Many visitors this summer have wisely asked how Los Angeles is able to compensate for such a reduction in water from the Mono Basin.
As an environmental non-profit, part of our mission is to promote cooperative water solutions without transferring the problem to other regions. The Mono Lake Committee has worked extensively with the city of Los Angeles over the years to ensure that … more »
For the second summer in a row, Mono Lake remained impenetrably green through the summer season. The lake typically transforms into a blue, Lake Tahoe-like clarity as abundant Artemia monica (brine shrimp) graze microscopic algae from the upper water column. Satellite images from this summer continued to show a shrinking, and unyieldingly-green Mono Lake.
Artemia were present, but their numbers seemed to decline as the summer progressed. During the summer of 2014, the mean Artemia abundance was the fourth-lowest ever recorded since 1979, and the greatest decline in abundance (79%) took place from July to August—much earlier than typically seen in Mono Lake. It’s likely that a similar trend occurred in 2015; however … more »
As we enjoy the last rays of warm autumn sun ahead of a forecast winter storm, we got word from our friends at Yosemite National Park that Tioga Pass will be closing at 4:00pm on Sunday, November 1.
The pass has closed and opened a few times already this month as the weather has turned cooler and we’ve gotten some rain, but this time it’s likely that once the pass closes on Sunday it may remain closed for the rest of the winter season. Be sure to check road conditions before traveling to the Eastern Sierra, as other mountain passes may also begin to close.
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.
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 »
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.
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.
Special thanks to the California State Parks Foundation for their support of the Mono Lake Volunteer program this year.
This 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 »
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 »
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.