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April 1 lake level means reduced water exports to LA, more protection for Mono Lake

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 by Geoff, Executive Director
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This morning Mono Lake Committee staff met with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) personnel to conduct the official annual April 1 reading of the lake level together. The consensus: Mono Lake stands at 6379.01 feet above sea level.

DWP's Brian Norris and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Elin Ljung.

DWP’s Brian Norris and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lake has declined to a level at which water exports to Los Angeles are, by the terms of the State Water Board’s rules, automatically reduced by 70%. DWP will be limited to 4,500 acre-feet of water export, a lake-protecting restriction that no one, until recently, thought would ever be activated again. It was a solemn, though not unexpected outcome, given that California’s drought is entering its fourth year and the Mono Lake watershed is officially classified as being under “exceptional” drought. (more…)

Lee Vining community member Don Banta has passed

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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This morning we received the sad news that Don Banta has passed away. Because he knew so many people we felt compelled to post this short note and to offer our condolences to the three generations of the Banta family in our community. Don Banta was a beloved fixture in Lee Vining—a dedicated family and community member, avid birder and photographer, wild storyteller, the unofficial Mayor, town historian, and a friend to anyone who knew him for more than 10 seconds.

There is so much to say and know about Don and his life here at Mono Lake that we will be compiling a more complete tribute to him in the near future. In the meantime, we wanted to leave you with this transcript of an oral history interview with Don, and this fun little video too.

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Don Banta seen here leading a field trip at the 2007 Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Los Angeles tickets on sale!

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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The Mono Lake Committee is once again bringing the Wild & Scenic Film Festival to Los Angeles in March and tickets are on sale now.

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This year’s festival will feature engaging environmental and adventure films with a focus on water issues. Seating is limited, so be sure to buy your tickets soon.

Be sure to check out our event website and follow Wild & Scenic LA on Facebook and Twitter for more information on the festival and the unique films we will be offering this year. We look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles on March 5!

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The Old Town Music Hall is a cultural and historical landmark in El Segundo, CA not far from the Los Angeles Airport. The theater usually features vintage silent accompanied by live performances of the Mighty Wurlitzer, a massive, wind-powered, pipe organ built in 1925. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Los Angeles will open with a special live performance and vintage film show. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Mono Lake lessons from a muddy pond

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Erik Lyon, 2013 Project Specialist.

Turn off Highway 395 a few miles north of Mono Lake, and drive a few minutes down a dusty dirt road. You’ll pass a small pond on your left, opaque with mud. You probably wouldn’t notice it. That is, unless you are a geologist.

The unobtrusive mud pond, where deer have crept to the water’s edge to drink. Photo by Erik Lyon.

“Everything going on at Mono Lake is going on in this pond,” says Guleed Ali, a geology graduate student from Columbia University. He shows a handful of coworkers and me winding channels where sediment was eroded, and the sprawling delta where it was deposited. At Mono Lake, the Rush and Lee Vining creek deltas have been forming and changing for millennia, and (more…)

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