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Mono Lake Committee initiates study of Mono Basin glaciers

Friday, September 7th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Jace Shuler, a junior math major at Boston College, started a study of Mono Basin glaciers when he worked at the Mono Lake Committee this summer. This post was written by Jace.

When I tell people that I spent the summer studying and mapping the glaciers in the Mono Basin, the question I always seem to get is, “There are glaciers around Mono Lake?” The short answer is, yes, there are, and they are of great interest to the Mono Lake Committee.

The first step of my project with the Committee was to identify what exists in the area, both in terms of glaciers and data about those glaciers. From there (more…)

Save the tufa!

Friday, July 6th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Tufa is otherworldly, oddly enchanting, and one of Mono Lake’s most iconic and popular features. Tufa towers are important nesting sites for birds—from Osprey to owls—while underwater tufa is habitat for alkali flies. For years, photographs of tufa have played an important role in spreading the message that Mono Lake, and the tufa itself, needs protecting.

Fragile rock

Growing only underwater, tufa is a precipitate formed when calcium-rich spring water mixes with carbonate-rich Mono Lake water—slowly building up around seeps and springs. Though tufa towers are rock formations, they are fragile—they crumble, topple, and erode from wave action, high desert weather, and, unfortunately, from people being careless around them. (more…)

Voices of the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Rose Nelson, 2017 Outdoor Education Instructor.

After a year of preparation, student anticipation has been building. Questions, excitement, and a little anxiety about traveling far from home whirl in young minds.

OEC students from Sherman Oaks investigate Mono Lake’s salty, slippery water at the shoreline. Photo by Antonia Chihuahua.

These students make the decision to get in a van and drive over 300 miles; a drive into a journey of where their water comes from. This journey is one of emotional, physical, a mental challenges: the touch of snow, breathing clean air, feeling the elevation of the Mono Basin, seeing wildlife for the first time, submerging themselves in salty alkaline water, strolling the rim of a volcano, and building bonds with their communities, the natural world, and themselves.

It is a journey we will take you on with their voices; the voices of the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center. What follows is an accumulation of thoughts and feelings—a poetic language—of the various students of the OEC. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Water law plus geology with Craig Jones

Sunday, October 8th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

This Wednesday, October 11 at 4:00pm is our last Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation of the year. Join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to hear from Craig Jones, a geologist at the University of Colorado, about the relationship between water law and geology at Mono Lake and how both have had significant effects on how the lake has evolved over time.

Geologist Craig Jones will talk about how the Sierra Nevada west of Mono Lake affect the climate in the Mono Basin. Photo by Ava Stavros.

Years ago, to acquire water exports from the Mono Basin, Los Angeles used California water laws that first emerged in the goldfields of the western Sierra. These laws allowed for (more…)

Results are in for the 37th annual Tioga Pass Run

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Michael Morris, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

Last Sunday, September 10, 132 runners and walkers challenged themselves to ascend the 12.4 miles of the Tioga Pass during this year’s annual Tioga Pass Run. This was another successful year for the epic event, where the participants start in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finish at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, gaining 3,165 feet of elevation along the way to the top.

Runners make their way up Highway 120 west with the horizon dominated by the Dana Plateau. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Kenny Palmer of Mammoth Lakes won the overall race this year with a time of 1:37:31. Jessica Francois, a Lee Vining local and (more…)

A summer for the birds at Mono Lake

Friday, September 15th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Jenny Rieke, 2017 Birding Intern.

As the summer season comes to a close, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my time at Mono Lake, and the incredible birds I’ve seen along the way.

California Gull perched on tufa. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

My summer internship began with the sixteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, an event that brings birders together to enhance appreciation and understanding of the Mono Basin’s incredible bird life. The event includes a variety of field trips, workshops, and presentations with renowned bird guides, naturalists, and artists. This year we had (more…)

The sun sets on an intern’s time at Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

I had been in the computer lab at Colorado State University all day working on my final GIS project when I received the call that I was being offered a position as an intern with the Mono Lake Committee for the summer. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear that I would be spending my summer with the Mono Lake Committee. I got an A on that project, graduated with my BS in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, and moved to Lee Vining in a flash.

During this beautiful day of training early in the summer, all the new seasonal staff were learning about Mono Lake’s ecology from Education Director Bartshe Miller. Photo by Ava Stavros.

I had never been to Mono Lake before so I really didn’t know what I was in for, but my expectations for the summer were exceeded ten-fold. I will never forget the first time I saw Mono Lake: I was driving in from Highway 120 East and when the lake came into my view I couldn’t believe how huge it was. I knew it was going to be big, but it is truly vast. My first thought was (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: How trout affect bird species at high-elevation lakes with Mary Clapp

Sunday, September 10th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

Join us on Wednesday, September 13 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. UC Davis researcher Mary Clapp will be here to discuss her ongoing research on the impacts of introduced trout on the native bird community in the high-elevation lake basins of the Sierra Nevada. Her work focuses on the connection between water and land by using acoustic recorders to remotely capture lakeside activity by birds and bats.

Researcher Mary Clapp is studying high-elevation lakes like this one to see if trout introduction is affecting the bird communities. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Introduced trout prey on native aquatic insects like mayflies and stoneflies, thus depleting the abundance and diversity of those insects in fish-containing lakes. These insects have a winged adult life-stage, at which point they become available to terrestrial predators (birds and bats) as a valuable food source.

Mary is testing the hypothesis that trout are therefore in competition with birds for this insect food, and that as a result, bird activity is greater at fishless lakes where aquatic insect emergences remain abundant. She will discuss a few different approaches to analyzing acoustic data, the benefits and limits of the technology, and how it compares with traditional survey methods. Her talk is entitled “Investigating the Impacts of Introduced Trout on the Native Bird at High-Elevation Lakes.”

If you’re interested, join us in the gallery at 4:00pm on Wednesday for this free presentation and free snacks!

Today’s Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite with Mike McDonald

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

Today at 4:00pm, join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to hear National Park Service researcher Mike McDonald speak about the Sierra Nevada red fox.

The Sierra Nevada red fox, a species that was thought to be gone from Yosemite, was re-discovered in the park in 2014. Researcher Mike McDonald is trying to find out why. Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service.

Mike will be presenting about Yosemite National Park’s effort this past winter to investigate the Sierra Nevada red fox, which was re-discovered in the park in 2014. If you are interested in these charismatic critters, come by the Mono Lake Committee today at 4:00pm for free snacks and this free lecture.

The Refreshing ‘Ologist talks aren’t over yet! We have one more talk scheduled for next Wednesday, September 13 with Mary Clapp, whose presentation is called “Learning by Ear: Investigating the Impacts of Introduced Trout on the Native Bird Community at High-Elevation Lakes.”

An intern’s goodbye to Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Charlotte Johnston-Carter, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

With college starting soon, I have to say goodbye to Mono Lake a little earlier than my other seasonal coworkers. This summer has been one of the best of my life, so it will be a bittersweet goodbye. As a final goodbye to this amazing corner of the world, here are some of my favorite photos and memories from this summer.

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte standing by the bronze bear in Lee Vining. Photo by Aviva North.

(more…)

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