June 10th, 2018 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (313) Contact Elin
Starting on Thursday, June 14, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open from 8:00am to 9:00pm every day. Photo by Erv Nichols.
Stop by to pick up a Mono Lake T-shirt, buy maps for your next hike, find gifts for friends and family, watch The Mono Lake Story half-hour film, select some postcards to help remember your trip, or get information about canoeing, hiking, camping, lodging, restaurants, and more. We look forward to seeing you soon!
June 7th, 2018 by Greg, Information & Restoration SpecialistcloseAuthor: Greg, Information & Restoration SpecialistName: Greg Reis Title: Information & Restoration Specialist About: Since his internship with the Mono Lake Committee in 1995, Greg has been deeply involved with Mono Basin restoration and research. He studied Forestry & Natural Resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and has followed
the thalweg of hydrology, resource management, watershed management, and habitat restoration ever since. Greg lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two kids, where he also works for The Bay Institute's Rivers and Delta Program.See All Posts by Greg (184) Contact Greg
Peak snowmelt runoff on Mono Lake’s tributary streams is occurring!
Restoration Field Technician Robbie Di Paolo retrieves a temperature logging device in high flows on Rush Creek. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
Lundy Lake Reservoir is spilling, and the Rush Creek peak flow of 380 cubic feet per second (cfs) below Grant Lake Reservoir is being released over the next five days. So far, snowmelt runoff above the aqueduct has peaked at 272 cfs on Rush Creek, 238 cfs on Lee Vining Creek, 46 cfs on Parker Creek, and 23 cfs on Walker Creek. The flows should begin to subside soon given the rapid melting and limited snowpack. … more »
June 2nd, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby's love of nature began with spending summers exploring Yosemite with family and on monthly camping trips with her Dad. After years of dreaming of a life in the mountains, three years ago she packed her things and left Southern California for Mono Lake. Gabby is excited to spend one more summer educating people about the Mono Basin before leaving for the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, dancing at the Mobil, or exploring with her dog Jessie.See All Posts by Gabrielle (38) Contact Gabrielle
Since 2008, the Mono Lake Committee has supported local students by awarding two $1,000 scholarships to Mono County seniors. Each year we ask applicants to visit Mono Lake and write an essay answering the question, “Why are places like Mono Lake important?” We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients, Rosalie Burch and Isabel Calderon from Lee Vining High School. Both wrote thoughtful and inspiring essays.
Gabrielle and Rosalie at the 2018 LVHS graduation. Photo by Ellen King.
In her essay Rosalie wrote, “Everything on our planet is connected and we all rely on each other in order to thrive.” Rosalie will be attending the National University of Ireland this fall to study international business affairs.
Gabrielle and Isabel at the 2018 LVHS graduation. Photo by Ellen King.
Isabel plans to begin her studies locally at Cerro Coso Community College in Mammoth Lakes and aspires to become a medical social worker. In her essay she wrote, “One reason why places like Mono Lake matter is because they simply provide a place to escape the world of mankind and be able to connect with nature.”
All Mono County seniors with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply for the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship. If you have any questions about the scholarship program or would like to donate to the fund please contact Arya Harp at (760) 647-6595 x111.
May 31st, 2018 by Sally, Board of DirectorscloseAuthor: Sally, Board of DirectorsName: Sally Gaines Title: Chair, Board of Directors About: Sally was a co-founder of the Mono Lake Committee in 1978, and now serves as Chair of our Board of Directors. She wanted to save Mono Lake for the animals—from the diatoms to the birds on the shore, in the water, on the wing. An avid swimmer, Sally often visits the Committee after taking a dip in Mono Lake. She now lives south of Mono Lake with her husband Rick and is an accomplished amateur triathlete.See All Posts by Sally (2) Contact Sally
Editor’s note: To celebrate the Mono Lake Committee’s 40th anniversary in the Newsletter, Sally Gaines, co-founder and Board Chair, is writing a series of reflections on the past, present, and future of the organization.
Today the Mono Lake Committee is widely respected as a model environmental group. I attribute this to an incredible staff, now numbering 15, as well as 11 seasonal staff, plus a cohesive Board of Directors. The policy issues grow ever more complex, and drag on for years, if not decades. The longevity of our staff means we are forever reeducating new bureaucratic staff we work with.
Several bequests have stabilized our financial picture, enabling us to improve the front of our headquarters, still and forever in Lee Vining. We continue to have excellent information for visitors, a fitting selection of books, clothing, and gifts, as well as staff offices in back. We are never changing our name either. Photo by Arya Harp.
Scientific research continues; some is old: California Gulls, Eared Grebes, lake level, salinity, stream restoration. Newer topics … more »
May 30th, 2018 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (313) Contact Elin
This year—our 40th anniversary—invites a nod to the past. It’s a chance to look back at the organization’s strong foundation laid by good humans like Sally Gaines, the late Genny Smith, and so many others who set us on the course that led to landmark successes that continue to protect the Mono Basin today.
This Newsletter is a snapshot of what we’re doing right now for Mono Lake. We’re squeezing a record number of groups into this year’s Outdoor Education Center season. We’re determining the kind of restoration flows the streams should receive based on snowpack and runoff data. … more »
May 28th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Nigel, Birding InternName: Nigel Bates Title: Birding Intern About: Nigel loves birds, mountains, and environmental challenges, so he is thrilled to be spending the summer learning all about the Mono Basin and leading weekly bird walks. Nigel graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he researched old-growth forest carbon cycles and led nature programs for local elementary schools. After graduating, he postponed the leap to full adulthood for a few months by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Having thoroughly explored the east, he is excited to work and play in the shadow of mountains twice as tall.See All Posts by Nigel (4) Contact Nigel
Led by the National Audubon Society, a coalition of conservation organizations is suing the US Department of the Interior over the new, and significantly weaker, interpretation of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The lawsuit, filed on May 24, 2018, challenges a new Department of the Interior memorandum that removes protections related to “incidental take” of migratory birds.
Mono Lake hosts tens of thousands of Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes each summer, as an important stop on the Pacific flyway. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
Under the new interpretation, the only actions that can be regulated using the MBTA are intentional ones—such as hunting. Actions that cause unintentional yet predictable bird deaths no longer fall within the parameters of the MBTA. This latter category encompasses a broad swath of industrial threats, such as oil spills and collisions with power lines, and while they are not designed to kill birds, they are known to lead to significant migratory bird deaths nonetheless.
Mono Lake is an important piece of the migratory flyway … more »
May 27th, 2018 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Harp Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter and the Mono Lake Calendar. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (180) Contact Arya
In celebration of their new book, Naming Mt. Thoreau, editor Laurie Glover, and contributors including Gary Snyder, Tom Killion, Kim Stanley Robinson, and more will be doing a reading and book signing this fall in Lee Vining.
Naming Mt. Thoreau is a beautiful and thoughtfully-crafted collection of essays, poems, and reflections. In the fall of 2014 this notable group of friends gathered to summit USGS Sierra Nevada peak 12,691 with the idea of renaming it “Mt. Thoreau” in honor of naturalist, philosopher, transcendentalist, and author Henry David Thoreau. Actually going through the process to formally name a peak is a daunting task, and this group felt that the act of getting together with a common purpose, climbing the peak, and then writing about it was a better—and more apt—path to the same goal. … more »
May 25th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagercloseAuthor: Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagerName: Lily Pastel Title: Information Center & Bookstore Manager About: Lily was drawn to the Mono Basin by the beauty of the area as well as the Mono Lake Committee’s worthy cause, and now she can’t leave! She began as a Mono Lake Intern in 2014, fresh out of college. Since then she has held a handful of positions and has settled into her role as Information Center & Bookstore Manager. Lily loves reading, hiking, unicorns, and lipstick. Her summers are full of exploring the Eastern Sierra, ordering new and exciting books, and making sure that visitors leave the Information Center & Bookstore with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Mono Lake.See All Posts by Lily (63) Contact Lily
This engaging examination of the threats facing the wild bears of Italy presents themes that are relevant to the protection of all endangered species and focuses on the ever-changing dynamics between humans and other species. Stop in at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore from 3:00–5:00pm on Saturday, May 26 to enjoy light refreshments, meet Roger, learn about his work, and pick up a copy of this brand-new book. We hope to see you there!
May 18th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: A graduate of Vanderbilt University and a native of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew came to the Sierra to volunteer in Tuolumne Meadows in 2014. He fell in love with the area and began working at the Committee as a Mono
Lake Intern. Today he combines his passions for education and the environment by working in all of the Committee's program areas on everything from organizing the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua and Field Seminar programs to creating social media and video content to editing the
Mono Lake Newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at Lee Vining Creek, paddling on Mono Lake, hiking in the High Sierra, and skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (52) Contact Andrew
News from Yosemite National Park: Tioga Pass (Highway 120) will open all the way through the park on Monday, May 21 at 9:00am.
Tioga Pass will open Monday, May 21, 2018 at 9:00am for the season. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
It’s official! Tioga Pass will open Monday, May 21, 2018 at 9:00am.
Additional information about the road opening:
Tioga Road is a seasonal road through Yosemite National Park, typically open from late spring to early fall. All motorists should drive with caution and be aware of possible hazards in the roadway, including rocks, debris, and water. Tioga Road may be impacted by incoming storm activity, including snow and icy driving conditions, over the next week. Tioga Road may temporarily close due to weather and unsafe driving conditions at any time.
To check current road conditions for Tioga Pass call (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1).
There will be limited services available along Tioga Road.
All campgrounds along Tioga Road remain closed.
There is no anticipated opening date for the Tuolumne Meadows store and the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. The Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center will open on Monday, and will also serve as a temporary visitor center. There is no gasoline available along Tioga Road.
The closest gas station to the west is located at Crane Flat.
If you plan to travel over Tioga Pass, we highly recommend calling the road conditions line (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1) before you leave. Other helpful links:
May 8th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagercloseAuthor: Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagerName: Lily Pastel Title: Information Center & Bookstore Manager About: Lily was drawn to the Mono Basin by the beauty of the area as well as the Mono Lake Committee’s worthy cause, and now she can’t leave! She began as a Mono Lake Intern in 2014, fresh out of college. Since then she has held a handful of positions and has settled into her role as Information Center & Bookstore Manager. Lily loves reading, hiking, unicorns, and lipstick. Her summers are full of exploring the Eastern Sierra, ordering new and exciting books, and making sure that visitors leave the Information Center & Bookstore with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Mono Lake.See All Posts by Lily (63) Contact Lily
Community members, friends, and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain’s Parallax Restaurant last Friday to present longtime golden trout and desert fish conservationist Phil Pister with the Andrea Lawrence Award.
Geoff McQuilkin and Quentin Lawrence with Phil Pister, recipient of the 2018 Andrea Lawrence Award. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
Phil spent his career with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (at the time called Fish & Game) protecting the biodiversity of fish populations in the Eastern Sierra and beyond. Phil is perhaps best known for saving the Owens pupfish from near extinction by scooping the last-surviving, inch-long fish from their shrinking pond and carrying them to safety in two buckets. On this topic, in the magazine Natural History, Phil wrote, “I literally held within my hands the existence of an entire vertebrate species. If I had tripped over a piece of barbed wire or stepped into a rodent burrow, the Owens pupfish would now be extinct! But good fortune smiled upon us, and the recovery continues today.”
While saving a species from extinction is worthy of an award in and of itself, Phil has … more »