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Results are in for the 38th Annual Tioga Pass Run

Saturday, September 15th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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Last Sunday, September 9, athletes from near and far joined us in the Eastern Sierra for the 38th Annual Tioga Pass Run.

Runners make their way up the Tioga Road just past the midpoint of the race. Photo by Dick Erb.

Starting outside the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining, the grueling but beautiful 12.4-mile course follows the Tioga Road up Lee Vining Canyon to the eastern gate of Yosemite National Park, topping out at 9,943 feet above sea level. A total of 148 runners and walkers completed the race this year, a new record!

This year’s overall winner, finishing in a time of 1:40:16, was (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems with Connie Millar

Sunday, September 9th, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, September 12 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Connie Millar, US Forest Service Senior Research Ecologist, will be here to discuss the effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems. If you can join us, register here for this free program!

A pika near Virginia Lakes. Connie will be discussing her research on pikas, which are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures. Photo courtesy of Ken Hickman.

Connie will provide an overview of her research into the responses of mountain ecosystems—in particular, pines and pikas—to changing climates. With information on how species responded to (more…)

Lee Vining Creek Trail repair work begins this month

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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Ever since record high streamflows washed out a section of the Lee Vining Creek Trail in June 2017, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with several agencies and organizations to create a plan to fix the trail. We’re excited to announce that the trail repair work will begin this month!

Mammoth Lakes Trails Coordinator Joel Rathje and his crew check out the hillside where the rerouted portion of the Lee Vining Creek Trail will go. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The trail will not be closed as the repair work takes place, but hikers may see trail crews and signs about the work happening. The trail damage was in a section of (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Insects & conservation with Kristie Nelson

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, September 5 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Kristie Nelson, Lead Scientist for Point Blue Conservation Science, will be here to discuss insects and their ability to conserve the planet.

A wasp and a Sierra Blue butterfly pollinating. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Insects comprise over 80% of Earth’s organisms, yet relatively few people pay attention to them, and declining populations or localized extinctions risk not being noticed. For example (more…)

The story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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“Once upon a time, in a little mountain town on the edge of a big blue lake, a small group of people wanted to do something. They noticed that winter snows were less deep, and summer days were drier and hotter with forest fire smoke in the air. The group wanted to protect their beautiful lake, which depended on the snow to stay healthy.

“So the group decided to build a beautiful pavilion with a roof of solar panels, based on an idea from a town across the sea, to showcase how it is possible to have clean energy. It was a wonderful plan, but there was no money or knowledge to build something so grand.”

This is the beginning of the story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion that was dedicated on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Hess Park in Lee Vining.

Lee Vining’s Pioneer Solar Pavilion is a community-built gathering space that provides shade, electricity, wi-fi, shelter from wind, and information about local pioneer families. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The rest of the story is this: (more…)

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Joy Costello

Sunday, August 26th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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Originally from San Antonio, Texas, volunteer Joy Costello has found home in the Mono Basin. She moved to Bridgeport in 2013 and discovered Mono Lake soon after: “Mono Lake was one of the coolest things. I knew I wanted to be around it more and learn more about it.”

Joy helping remove invasive white sweet clover in the Mono Basin at a restoration event. Photo by Nigel Bates.

One of her favorite early memories of the lake is when she saw a nest of Great Horned Owls on a canoe tour. She enjoys watching all the animals at the lake, especially the California Gulls eating the alkali flies. As a lover of animals and the environment, becoming a Mono Lake Volunteer was a natural next step for Joy. (more…)

“The Longest Straw” documentary showing at the Mono Lake Committee

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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The Mono Lake Committee will be hosting another screening of the documentary The Longest Straw, this Friday, August 24 at 7:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

The Longest Straw follows director Samantha Bode as she backpacks the 338-mile-long stretch of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. During her journey she speaks with community leaders, advocates, and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. She finishes her 65-day hike at the source of Los Angeles’ water supply in the Mono Basin. Samantha’s experience provides insights into the effects of importing water on the surrounding communities and ecology.

Join us this Friday for the free screening. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Please contact me by email or at (760) 647-6595 with any questions.

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: April Sall

Monday, August 20th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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Although new to the Mono Lake Volunteer program, April Sall is no stranger to environmental advocacy. Originally from the California desert, she worked as a biologist for the National Park Service in Joshua Tree National Park before moving to the Eastern Sierra two years ago.

April enjoys spending time outside with her dog. Photo courtesy of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership.

She is currently the director of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership; a non-profit that works to preserve and protect the Bodie Hills. Her main objective right now is to secure permanent protection for the area that is currently undesignated BLM land and Wilderness Study Areas. April manages and (more…)

Refreshing’ Ologists: Mono Basin glaciers with Jace Shuler

Saturday, August 18th, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, August 22 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Jace Shuler will be presenting his findings from his undergraduate research project on glaciers in the Mono Basin.

Changes in the Kuna glacier (left) and the Koip glacier (right) between 1985 (top) and 2014 (bottom). Photos courtesy of Jace Shuler.

Jace will discuss the status of the four glaciers in the Mono Basin—Conness, Dana, Kuna, and Koip glaciers. He has been using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and aerial photos to examine how the surface area of the glaciers has changed since 1951, as well as working on how we can use the same tools to forecast the glaciers’ future. It’s important to educate both the public and policymakers about the effects of climate change on the Mono Basin, and Jace’s work contributes to that effort.

Saline sisters: A look at Mono Lake’s sister lakes

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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Mono Lake has many things that make it unique (like Artemia monica, a species of brine shrimp that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world), but there are many other saline lakes around the world that are unique in their own way. These lakes provide important bird habitat and support similar ecosystems—some of them even have tufa towers!

The dry white lakebed shows how much Lake Aibi in China has shrunk. Photo courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory; image by Robert Simmon and Adam Voiland using USGS Landsat data.

What sets Mono Lake apart, however, is an unrivaled level of protection and science-based advocacy. Many of Mono Lake’s sister lakes are imperiled due to agriculture, mineral extraction, climate change, and (more…)

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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.