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Shop for Mono Lake this holiday season

November 7th, 2015 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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holidaybanner2015

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to start making your lists—and checking them twice. There are many great gifts to choose from in the Mono Lake Committee’s online bookstore, and as with all purchases made from the Committee, 100% of profits go towards protection, restoration, and education programs here at Mono Lake!

holiday-shopping-NL-spread

We invite you to peruse our online store and 2015 Fall Catalog to help you start checking gifts off your list. Purchases can be made directly online, or if you would like to call with your order you can phone (760) 647-6595 Monday through Friday 9:00am–5:00pm to be assisted by one of our staff “elves.” … more »

Investigating Eared Grebe mortality at Mono Lake

November 6th, 2015 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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Nearly half of all the Eared Grebes in North America visit Mono Lake every autumn by the hundreds of thousands to feed on trillions of brine shrimp (Artemia monica). The bountiful food supply makes it possible for grebes to double their weight and fly to overwintering habitats at the Gulf of California and Salton Sea. But in the last two months, there has been a startling scene of hundreds of dead Eared Grebes on the shores of Mono Lake. These dead birds, according to one ornithologist, are juveniles that starved.

2015-10-12 Benchmark scouting castle tufa and dead grebes AD_2157

An Eared Grebe swimming in green Mono Lake in October 2015. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

This is not a new occurrence at Mono Lake—hundreds of dead grebes were also found on the shore in 2011 and 2014. While some dead grebes will be found along Mono Lake’s shore every year during the fall migration, in some years there is much higher mortality than in others. Why does this happen every few years? While grebe mortality is poorly understood, we suspect that it is linked to changes in Mono Lake’s ecosystem. In 2014, Mono Lake Committee staff noticed … more »

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore: November hours update

November 5th, 2015 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Although there are fewer people traveling through Lee Vining during this time of year, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center and Bookstore will remain open 9:00am–5:00pm seven days a week. However, we will have several temporary closures during the month of November.

Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

We hope to see you here at Mono Lake this month! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

On Friday, November 6 the Information Center & Bookstore will be closed in the morning as we upgrade our retail software and hardware. We will be open from 12:00noon to 5:00pm.

Next Tuesday, November 10 the Information Center & Bookstore will close at 12:00noon and will be closed all day on Wednesday, November 11 for the Mono Lake Committee’s annual staff working retreat. We will resume normal hours (open 9:00am–5:00pm) on Thursday, November 12.

The Information Center & Bookstore will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and we hope to see you during your visit to the Mono Basin!

2015 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report

November 4th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Mono Lake Committee’s 2015 Annual Report is now available online.

The 2015 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report is now available online. Cover photo courtesy of Phil Lindsay.

The 2015 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report is now available online. Cover photo courtesy of Phil Lindsay.

It is chock-full of photos of the Mono Lake Committee in action in our focus areas of protection, restoration, education, and … more »

Godzilla vs. Mono Lake

November 3rd, 2015 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Newsletter-FA-Godzilla_silThe 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 »

Imagining California water use in 2040

November 2nd, 2015 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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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.

California's four-year-long drought makes water conservation efforts even more critical today. Photo by Elin Ljung.

California’s four-year-long drought makes water conservation efforts even more critical today. Photo by Elin Ljung.

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 »

Mono Lake’s green mystery continues

October 31st, 2015 by Bartshé, Education Director
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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.

Green Mono Lake, as seen from the September 18, 2015 Eared Grebe survey flight. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Green Mono Lake, as seen from the September 18, 2015 Eared Grebe survey flight. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

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 »

Tioga Pass closing Sunday, November 1 at 4:00pm, possibly for the season

October 30th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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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.

The Sierra crest got its first dusting of snow this season last weekend. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The Sierra crest got its first dusting of snow this season last weekend. We hope it’s the first of much more to come. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

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.

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