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Tioga Inn project decision kicked down the road

Thursday, August 6th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

Following eight hours of presentation, public comment, and deliberation on the Tioga Inn project, today the Mono County Board of Supervisors decided to continue gathering information on the project details and outstanding questions, and postponed a decision until a later, unspecified, date.

Belt of Venus, Mono Lake by Jeff Sullivan

The view from South Tufa towards Tioga Pass, and the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

This action comes as yet another twist in what has been an extremely lengthy process. We will report with further information and analysis of this new situation, here, shortly.

Click here for more background information on the Tioga Inn project.

2020 Lake level forecast report: Mono Lake to drop over a foot this runoff year

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

We wouldn’t blame you if you missed the April 1 start of the 2020–2021 runoff year this year. Since it’s such an important date for Mono Lake, we made sure to read the lake level gauge with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power staff (physically-distanced, of course), and the lake measured 6382.6 feet above sea level.

On April 1, 2020 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and Mono Lake Committee staff safely read the lake level gauge. The result: 6382.6 feet above sea level. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

With this number in hand, both the Mono Lake Committee and DWP look at snowpack numbers, similar past years, and a veritable river of other hydrological statistical data, and each come up with a lake level forecast for the runoff year.

While DWP’s forecast is for only a 0.6-foot drop in lake level, there is evidence that its runoff forecast based on the April snowpack is too high, making the lake level projection too optimistic. Unfortunately, the Committee’s forecast is for a 1.2-foot net fall in lake level, which means that on April 1, 2021 we expect Mono Lake to be 1.2 feet lower than (more…)

Tioga Inn project hearing continues into day two

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

After nine hours of presentations and public comment yesterday, the Mono County Board of Supervisors decided to hold deliberations and their vote to approve, modify, or deny the Tioga Inn project on the planned second day of this special meeting.

Highlights and surprising moments from the meeting thus far include 51 in-person and by-Zoom two-minute-limited public comments, with 3 in support and 48 againstthe introduction of wholly new potential elements to the project from the developer, and wide-ranging questions from the Board.

In an effort to assess the effects of reflective surfaces at the proposed Tioga Inn project site, Mono Lake Committee staff brought a 2×3-foot mirror to the site and photographed the reflection from South Tufa. This photograph was presented to the Board. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Mono Lake Committee staff comments focused on the unmitigated significant negative impacts in the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report—scenic impacts to South Tufa, the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, and throughout the viewshed, impacts to the dark night sky, and issues in direct conflict with the Mono Basin Community Plan, including pedestrian safety, impacts to schools, feasibility of a trail to town, fire safety, and more.

By far, the most impressive part of the day was the wide array of thoughtful and heartfelt comments from the public.

You can follow the proceedings starting today, Tuesday, June 30th at 9:00am online by Zoom, telephone, or live stream (click here for instructions for each).

See you there.

Looking west towards Tioga Pass from South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

Tioga Inn Final SEIR released

Saturday, February 29th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

The Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report the Tioga Inn project has been released. It is available on the Mono County website and at the Lee Vining Library.

To learn more about this project, and to have the opportunity to ask questions, please come to the Mono County Planning Department’s public workshop on the project on Tuesday, March 3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Lee Vining Community Center (296 Mattly Avenue).

The Tioga Inn Final SEIR was released on February 28, 2020.

What’s next?

The Mono County Planning Commission meeting on the Tioga Inn development project is tentatively planned for March 23. The Planning Commission meeting (more…)

Smoke signals good news for Mono Lake’s California Gulls

Friday, February 14th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

If you were lucky enough to be in the Mono Basin—or if you checked out the webcam—the past two crystal clear, glassy water, calm days, you likely would have noticed something unusual rising out over Mono Lake—smoke.

There is no cause for alarm, it’s actually a good sign—especially for California Gulls whose nesting grounds on the Negit Islets are being cleared of an invasive weed in time for the 2020 nesting season.

After much consideration, the Inyo National Forest, Mono Lake Committee, and Point Blue Conservation Science concluded the most efficient course of action was to pursue a prescribed burn to eradicate the invasive weed taking over the gull nesting grounds. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

In a partnership born out of a mutual interest in this critical wildlife habitat protection effort in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, the Inyo National Forest, the Mono Lake Committee, and Point Blue Conservation Science have been planning and working towards a solution to the recent invasion of Bassia hyssopifolia for three years. The smoke rising from the islets is from a prescribed burn being done to protect gull nesting habitat.

The Mono Lake Committee advocated for a prescribed burn (more…)

Dave McCoy, Eastern Sierra ski industry innovator

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

Dave McCoy’s recent passing at age 104 has many in the Mammoth Lakes area and beyond reminiscing about how his legacy and spirit shaped the recreational and cultural landscape of the Eastern Sierra.

Dave McCoy, 1915–2020. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Like we do here at the Mono Lake Committee, Dave paid a lot of attention to the Sierra snowpack, starting as a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in the late 1930s. It was during that career that he first envisioned a ski area on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain.

Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin said, “We will miss him—he was an icon of the Eastern Sierra spirit of fun, adventure, and self-reliance.”

Happy holidays from the Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season.

Photos courtesy of Rick Kattelmann, Robb Hirsch, David Carle, and Nora Livingston.

Mono Lake’s California Gulls make headlines once again

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

In an article released today, “Non-native weeds are engulfing the ancient breeding grounds of Mono Lake’s California gulls,” the Los Angeles Times revisits the colorful history and challenging current situation on the gulls’ nesting islands.

It’s another chapter in the fascinating, colorful, and ongoing story of Mono Lake’s California Gulls.

In 1978 the National Guard made the first of two attempts to blast a moat across the landbridge to Negit Island. Archive photo from Storm Over Mono by John Hart.

(more…)

2019 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report

Saturday, December 7th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee’s 2019 Annual Report is now available online and in print!

The 2019 Mono Lake Committee Annual Report is now available online. Photo courtesy of Thomas Piekunka.

The report is full of photos of the Mono Lake Committee in action in our focus areas of protection, restoration, education, and scientific research. It also has the Committee’s (more…)

Join us for a snowy sunrise at Mono Lake for Giving Tuesday

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Join us for a snowy sunrise at Mono Lake for Giving Tuesday

It is snowing once again here at Mono Lake! When the snow comes we breathe a sigh of relief since every drop helps us reach a higher lake level and a healthier lake.

We are continuing our Giving Tuesday tradition of bringing you a Mono Lake sunrise, live from the shoreline. We hope you’ll join us at 6:30am tomorrow for the show.

It has been an exciting year at Mono Lake (more…)

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