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2016 Mono Lake Calendar: Last call for submissions!

November 14th, 2014 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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This is a final call for submissions for the 2016 Mono Lake Calendar…. The submission deadline, Friday, November 21, 2014 is fast approaching!

With the help of talented photographers, the Mono Lake Committee has created and published the Mono Lake Calendar each year since 1986. The calendar celebrates the awe-inspiring landscapes and ecological wonders of Mono Lake, and calendar sales help to fund our efforts to protect and restore the lake and its greater watershed.

The Mono Lake Calendar has been widely applauded for its artistic rigor, which is why 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 2016 Mono Lake Calendar, images must depict subjects … more »

Tioga Pass closed again

November 13th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) and Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) have closed again temporarily due to snow. Keep an eye on the road conditions and weather forecasts—the roads could reopen if warm and sunny weather returns. And as always in this drought, take a moment to celebrate more precipitation for Mono Lake….

The IPCC Synthesis Report, record California temperatures and drought, and Mono Lake

November 7th, 2014 by Bartshé, Education Director
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This last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest Synthesis Report (fifth report since 1990). It is a stark, sobering, and interesting read in context of the previous reports since scientific data and analysis support increasing certainty regarding climate warming, anthropogenic causes, strong and comprehensive impacts on natural systems, and “high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally” without urgent and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

California is currently experiencing it’s worst drought in history as the warmest year in history is about to be recorded. The long-term, increasing temperature trend for California, the ocean, and the rest of the world’s landmass is unequivocal.

October 2013 through September 2014 is the warmest 12-consecutive-month stretch in California history. January through December is 99% certain to be the warmest calendar year to date.

What does this mean for Mono Lake? The impacts this year are clear—the lake level dropped. Will this continue? Are the hydrologic models predicting future lake levels already out of date? Will climate change bring other, less obvious impacts? Are they underway now? Of the known changes, which ones can be mitigated? These are among the questions that the Mono Lake Committee is presently trying to answer.

What we do know is that there is no one else to take the lead. While US Forest Service and California State Parks may wish to be more responsive, their staffing and resources are strapped. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is only responsible for fixing the damage of past excessive water diversions. It will be up to all of us and the Mono Lake Committee to find solutions and to take action at Mono Lake as we cope with the impacts of climate change.

Greater Sage-Grouse forum in Lee Vining, November 13-14

November 1st, 2014 by Bartshé, Education Director
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A simulcast of the International Forum on Sage-Grouse in Salt Lake City, Utah will be streamed live at the Lee Vining Community Center on November 13–14 from 7:00am onward. Greater Sage-Grouse will not be attending, but they will not be far away. These birds have been the focus of unprecedented conservation and management efforts, and our regional population of Sage-Grouse has been proposed for Threatened listing by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The forum is free to everyone in Lee Vining, and will be particularly of note to those who are interested or have a stake in the conservation of these iconic birds. You can check out the forum schedule for more details (note that start times in Lee Vining will be one hour earlier due to Pacific Standard Time). Jeff Hunter and the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership are hosting the forum free for the public.

Tioga Pass closing for this weekend’s winter storm

October 31st, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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A winter storm is predicted to bring snow and rain to the Sierra Nevada and Eastern Sierra tonight and into tomorrow morning, resulting in the closure of several mountain passes today. Highway 89 (Monitor Pass) and Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) closed at noon today. Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) will close as 6:00pm tonight, and the National Park Service will evaluate the road for re-opening on Sunday, November 2.

As always when you travel, check road conditions, make sure you have tire chains if you need them, and drive safely. Also, don’t forget to celebrate some precipitation for Mono Lake during this drought!

Fall 2014 Mono Lake Newsletter now available online

October 29th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director
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On behalf of the entire Mono Lake Committee staff I’m excited to announce that the Fall 2014 edition of the Mono Lake Newsletter is now available online! Every time we ready the Newsletter to go to press I write a short letter from the editor that appears on page 2—it’s a welcome message, and an introduction to the issue. Here’s how it goes this time:

_______________________________

Recently my friend John Anderson came by for a visit and said a surprising thing: “The lake is so high!” It was the only time I heard that this year. As a member of the 1979 California Gull research crew when the lake level was 6373.4 feet above sea level, his comment makes more sense, and was a good reminder to keep things in perspective here at 6379.3. … more »

Mono Lake at 20 symposium in Sacramento

October 28th, 2014 by Arya, Communications Director
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Water nerds unite! You’re not going to want to miss this opportunity: the Mono Lake at 20: Past, Present, and Future symposium on November 17, 2014 in Sacramento, California.

What: 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the California State Water Resources Control Board’s landmark Decision 1631 to amend the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s water rights in order to protect Mono Lake and its tributary streams. So we have joined with UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Institute for Water Law & Policy and stakeholders in the Mono Lake cases to convene this symposium to discuss where things stand after 20 years, including: … more »

Winter Photography field seminar: Register starting on November 1st

October 25th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Winter at Mono Lake is a very special season, complete with snowy Sierra peaks, poconip fog that coats tufa towers in rime ice, and bright bluebird days. Spend a weekend based in Lee Vining for the Mono Lake Committee’s annual winter photography field seminar to take advantage of the many photographic opportunities that winter provides.

A Jeffrey pine tree coated in rime ice in the poconip fog. Photo courtesy of Rick Knepp.

The Forgotten Season: Winter Photography in the Mono Basin
January 16–18, 2015
$225 per person / $200 for Mono Lake Committee members

Check the detailed itinerary to get a complete picture of the weekend as you make your plans. Registration will open on Saturday, November 1 for both Mono Lake Committee members and non-members. To sign up, call (760) 647-6595 or register online.

Instructor Rick Knepp is a former Mono Lake Committee staff member, popular seminar leader, and veteran of Mono winters. His experience will allow participants to take advantage of many winter photographic opportunities. Come prepared for cold winter weather. This seminar will take place regardless of weather or road conditions. There will be no refunds due to weather. Cost is for tuition only; participants must arrange their own accommodations. This seminar is limited to 15 participants.

Students face their fears at the Outdoor Education Center

October 21st, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Melissa Boyd, 2014 & 2015 Outdoor Education Instructor.

From a very young age most of us are afraid of the dark. As we get older we usually don’t find the dark to be as scary as when we were little, but most of us would probably admit that it’s a fear that doesn’t completely go away. As a human, being afraid of the dark is totally understandable because we can’t see as well in the dark as we do when there’s light. Plus, it’s a fear that’s constantly instilled in us through horror movies, scary stories, and Halloween. At the Mono Lake Committee Outdoor Education Center (OEC) we try to get students to face their fears, including fear of the dark.

The 2014 Homeboy crew at the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center. Photo by Melissa Boyd.

Many students come to the OEC from large urban areas, such as Los Angeles, and most of them have never been in a wilderness setting. When they first get here they are a bit nervous and quiet, so, to get them out of their shells and comfortable with us and the surroundings, we take them on a “night walk.”

For the night walk we take the students to the beautiful Jeffrey pine forest near Mono Mills and walk with them along an old volcanic ash road in the early evening after the sun has set. We all walk silently along the road for about … more »

Book review: Relicts of a Beautiful Sea lends new understanding of the desert around us

October 21st, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Barbara Ball, 2014 Information Center & Bookstore Manager.

The Inyo Mountain slender salamander is found in just five locations (all in the Inyo Mountains) and has been classified as endangered since 1996. The Devil’s Hole pupfish only lives in Devil’s Hole in the Amargosa Valley—a body of water smaller than your bedroom and with water averaging 93 degrees Fahrenheit. These species have adapted and descended from ancestors living in the Great Basin when it was an enormous sea.

Conservation biologist Christopher Norment’s talk and book signing at the Mono Lake Committee on October 15 brought wonder, understanding, and a new appreciation for life in its many forms. Norment’s book, Relicts of a Beautiful Sea: Survival, Extinction and Conservation in a Desert World, looks at the Great Basin and the sea it once was. A review by T. DeLene Beeland, author of … more »

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