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Register today for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

April 21st, 2019 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Registration for the eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua (June 14–16, 2019) is now open, and there are more than 75 programs with space available, including field trips, presentations, and workshops.

Lazuli Buntings are one of the birds you could spot at this year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This year we’ve added several new trips that still have space, including Birding the Lee Vining Creek Trail, Fire by friction, Wing beats around the basin, and Birding Bohler Canyon after the fire. We’re also offering a “big sit” on Saturday and Sunday morning during which the group will sit in one spot with a variety of habitats and identify all the birds that come through. … more »

Mono Basin roads and services begin to open for the season

April 19th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

After a winter with above-average snowfall, warm spring temperatures have finally arrived! With Easter this weekend and fishing season opening next weekend (Saturday, April 27), roads and services are beginning to open up for the summer season.

Snow removal happening on Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass) on April 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Tuolumne Winter Rangers.

Visitor centers

The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center opened for the season yesterday. Open Thursday through Monday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, with limited services. The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore is open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm. … more »

Mono Lake Committee local scholarship applications due May 10

April 19th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Rosalie, right, was presented with one of the 2018 Mono Lake Committee Scholarships at the Lee Vining High School graduation. Photo by Ellen King.

Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education and displaying a connection to Mono Lake with two $1,000 scholarships. High school seniors living in Mono County with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply.

Students are asked to visit Mono Lake and answer the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?

The application can be found here, and the deadline to apply is Friday May 10, 2019 by 5:00pm.

You can find essays written by past recipients here. If you have questions regarding the application or would like to donate to the scholarship fund please contact Arya Harp by email or by calling (760) 647-6595 x111.

Spring 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

April 17th, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

While many Mono Lake Committee staff migrate with the seasons, sightings of senior staff in migration are rare. This year, we have two of these noteworthy migrations afoot.

After 17 years as Eastern Sierra Policy Director, Lisa Cutting is moving into a part-time role as Associate Policy Director. Lisa started with the Committee as an intern in 1999 and quickly developed a deep commitment to the protection of Mono Lake and restoration of the tributary streams. She then … more »

Winners in the 2018 Free Drawing for Mono Lake

April 14th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

Thank you to everyone who entered the 2018 Free Drawing—your donations help us protect and restore Mono Lake! Congratulations to the winners, and a huge thank you to the generous businesses and organizations who donated prizes.

Maureen pulls a winning ticket in the 2018 Free Drawing for Mono Lake in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The iPad Mini 4 went to Marta Beryt of Fresno. Mono Basin retreat: Ross & Evelyn Kay Oswald of Glendora. Mammoth & June Mountain ski pass: … more »

Buy your ticket now for the eleventh Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner

April 11th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

Buy your ticket now so you can join us in early May halfway up Mammoth Mountain … for the eleventh Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner!

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30 pm on Friday, May 3, 2019
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

This year we’ll present the Andrea Lawrence Award to Los Angeles community leader Elsa Lopez, who engaged her organization, Mothers of East Los Angeles–Santa Isabel, in the successful implementation of … more »

Phalaropes in focus

April 8th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Migrating phalaropes are a summer phenomenon to behold at Mono Lake. When tens of thousands of them arrive they gather and flock—weaving like schools of aerial fish, erupting from and falling to the surface of the lake in giant tornadoes.

Phalaropes in flight over Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Rick Kattelmann.

Wilson’s and Red-necked phalaropes are shorebirds that rely on alkali fly larvae at Mono Lake in order to molt and double their weight in preparation for migration to South America. These graceful … more »

Wading into stream restoration: A conversation with the State Water Board-appointed Stream Scientists

April 4th, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

The 2017 spring snowmelt runoff was over 200% of average. It was also the single largest peak flow event since the stream restoration ordered by the California State Water Resources Control Board began in 1998 (see Fall 2017 Mono Lake Newsletter).

During the peak of the 2017 record spring runoff, Mono Lake Committee staff and hydrology experts monitored the physical changes happening in Rush Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Now, almost two years later, conversations and field observations continue to reflect on what is technically called an “Extreme-Wet” year type, validating the principles adopted by the State Water Board and restoration parties over 20 years ago.

The State Water Board appointed two independent experts, the Stream Scientists, to study Mono Lake’s … more »

April reading of Mono Lake’s level with DWP

April 2nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As is tradition in early April, this morning staff from the Mono Lake Committee and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) met at Mono Lake’s shore to read the lake level gauge at the start of this new runoff year.

Mono Lake Committee and DWP staff determine Mono Lake’s level together each year in early April. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lake’s surface was a bit unsettled due to a spring rainstorm passing through, but Maureen (Committee) and Jason (DWP) watched the fluctuations carefully and settled on an official lake level reading of 6382.07 feet above sea level. … more »

Improving stream restoration and lake monitoring in 2019: Temporary measures sought while license revision slowly advances

April 1st, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

The effort to restore Mono Lake’s tributary streams is poised to reach new successes when the drawn-out process of authorizing new science-based streamflows and associated infrastructure improvements finally concludes.

In 2010 State Water Board-appointed Stream Scientists submitted a report recommending new, more effective flow regimes for Mono Basin streams. Photo courtesy of Robert Vestal.

While that date remains frustratingly uncertain, the Mono Lake Committee is advocating for immediate implementation of currently-feasible restoration measures to take place in 2019 while continuing to push for the rapid completion of the revision of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s (DWP) license to divert water from the Mono Basin.

Why wait?

Twenty years ago the California State Water Resources Control Board charted a scientific study process led by … more »

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