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Farewell Benett Kessler, Eastern Sierra journalist

January 5th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Benett Kessler, 1949-2015. Photo courtesy of Sierra Wave Media.

Benett Kessler, 1949-2015. Photo courtesy of Sierra Wave Media.

Benett Kessler, founder and owner of Sierra Wave Media and a trusted and respected Eastern Sierra journalist, passed away on January 2 after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 65.

Benett began reporting in the Owens Valley in 1976, a drought year, and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) became one of her primary reporting subjects throughout her career. Never one to shy away from tough stories or intimidating subjects, she consistently delivered daily news reports and opinion pieces on some of the most controversial issues in the Eastern Sierra.

Benett’s coverage of DWP news and issues included the effort to save Mono Lake. When we were making The Mono Lake Story film several years ago, Benett provided us with historic footage of … more »

Waiting for a hole in the dam

January 1st, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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This essay, written by Gary Nelson, appears in the 2015 Mono Lake Calendar.

Wilson's Phalaropes flock at South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Marie Read.

I have always looked forward to strolling along the lake at Navy Beach before the start of canoe tour season. The greening of this arid shore, the return of our iconic avian migrants, and the anticipation of sharing this wondrous place with visitors from around the world give me a feeling of joy.

My most recent inspection of the launch site has left me with an entirely different feeling: I get a pain in my lower back just looking at it! You see, before our visitors can float above bubbling springs with attendant plumes of brine shrimp, and canoe guides can poetically interpret their surroundings, we have to get the people into the boat and get it afloat.

We used to load the canoes from a sandy beach where passengers would board with dry feet, and guides could shove off and shortly be afloat. Unfortunately after three years of—dare I say it— … more »

Happy holidays from the Mono Lake Committee

December 25th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Best wishes for a joyous and peaceful holiday season….

….and a happy New Year from the Mono Lake Committee.

Photos courtesy of Richard Knepp, Shawn Biessel, Joe Decker, and Matt Ludin.

Dry December so far

December 24th, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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In the Mono Basin, the drought continues to press on, as severe as ever. Storms that drench the coast keep splitting apart as they hit the Sierra Nevada.

Storms dropped more December rain on San Francisco and San Jose than those cities have seen in decades. Two and a half feet of water fell on Mt. Tamalpais in the last three weeks and filled all of Marin County’s reservoirs. But in the Mono Basin, these same storms only dropped about half of the average December precipitation at Cain Ranch and a quarter of the average in Lee Vining. Aside from October 2011 and December 2012, Lee Vining hasn’t had a winter season month (October–March) with above-average precipitation since March 2011. That was almost four years ago. … more »

Happy birthday to the sun!

December 22nd, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Barbara Ball, 2014 Information Center & Bookstore Manager.

Happy winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and a day that’s been celebrated for millennia with fire, candles, and other traditions.

The word solstice comes from two Latin words: sol, meaning sun, and sistere, to stand still. This is a day when the sun stands still in the sky. In ancient Rome, winter solstice was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis: Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. Happy birthday, Sun! From yesterday, its lowest point and shortest day, the light is again reborn. (Thank goodness….)

The winter solstice sunrise at Old Marina. Photo by Barbara Ball.

In Celebrate the Solstice: Honoring the Earth’s Seasonal Rhythms through Festival and Ceremony, Richard Heinberg … more »

New Year’s resolution: read more poetry

December 18th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Barbara Ball, 2014 Information Center & Bookstore Manager.

Mary Oliver has done it again with her latest book of poems, Blue Horses. Poems as beautiful, haunting and accessible as a view of Eastern Sierra mountains after new snow. Poems that light up your soul like a spectacular sunset at Mono Lake.

From What I Can Do, describing the bewilderment of technology, to The Wasp, which details a surprise encounter with one in her bed, Oliver’s poems are moving, accessible, thought-provoking, and at times hilarious. As I read, I would smile and find myself sometimes nodding with new understanding.

If you aren’t already a Mary Oliver fan, you can read one of her poems, August, on the Poetry Foundation’s … more »

Mono Lake Committee summer jobs posted

December 17th, 2014 by Jessica, Office Director
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Are you interested in tufa towers and brine shrimp? Do you want to explore the beautiful mountains and high desert of the Eastern Sierra? Does working for a successful non-profit for the summer sound like fun? Well, we have the perfect job opportunity for you!

The Mono Lake Committee’s summer 2015 seasonal jobs are now open for applications.

Hiring begins January 1, 2015 and positions are open until filled. If you are interested, make sure to apply early. If you have any questions regarding the positions, please read the job description for the appropriate person’s contact information.

New reports and studies on the Mono Basin

December 16th, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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In recent months, additional resources have been added to the Mono Basin Clearinghouse. They include:

We are still working to add the 1993 Mono Basin EIR auxiliary reports we mentioned in an earlier update. We hope you enjoy these resources!

Last call for purchasing Mono Lake Committee holiday gifts!

December 12th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Barbara Ball, 2014 Information Center & Bookstore Manager.

In 1860–61, the Pony Express was the fastest way to get mail to and from Lee Vining, California. It only took ten days for mail to travel from coast to coast at a gallop!

Over 150 years later, mail travels much faster, but mail leaving Lee Vining still isn’t as speedy as mail from, say, Los Angeles or the Bay Area. Therefore, we are now sending out our last call…. Place your orders by Monday, December 15 to ensure that they reach you by Christmas using standard shipping. Place your orders by Thursday, December 18 and select expedited shipping if you’re placing a last-minute order (added charges will apply). And once again, thank you so much for your support.

Mono Lake at 20 symposium footage now online

December 11th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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You can now watch the sessions from the Mono Lake @ 20 symposium online. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

If you weren’t able to attend the Mono Lake @ 20: Past, Present, Future symposium in Sacramento last month, you can now watch all the sessions online from the comfort of your own laptop. You can stream the video footage from the State Water Resources Control Board website.

The symposium was a thoughtful and inspiring day that showed how the public trust doctrine first applied at Mono Lake is influencing California water issues today and into the future. Watch for the Mono Lake Committee’s Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin and Board member Martha Davis in particular!

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