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Chautauqua registration postponed to May 15

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

In response to the developing COVID-19 crisis, the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua planning team has decided to postpone the opening of registration for the nineteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua to May 15th at 6:30am PDT. We are also tentatively planning to release the full 2020 program schedule and grid schedule on May 1—two weeks before registration opens.

Bird Chautauqua registration will begin at 6:30am PDT on May 15, 2020.Photo by Sandra Noll.

Depending on how the news unfolds and state and federal guidelines change in the weeks ahead, it is possible that we may have to cancel this year’s festival, and if that’s the case, we will make that announcement before registration begins. We care deeply about our staff, presenters, participants, and our community, so we will be basing our decisions about the festival on safety first. Stay well and happy birding.

March Planning Commission meeting regarding the Tioga Inn is canceled

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The March 23 Mono County Special Planning Commission meeting regarding the Tioga Inn is canceled.

The meeting has been rescheduled for April 16 at 9:00am. According to the Mono County Community Development Department, the meeting will be accessible remotely in a Zoom meeting online here and by telephone at 669-900-6833 (meeting ID# 760-924-1815), where members of the public shall have the right to observe and offer public comment.

As of the date of this post, the Mono County website has not yet been updated with the latest meeting information; the meeting will be re-noticed prior to April 16 along with a meeting agenda.

The Mono Lake Committee is concerned, given the background COVID-19 disruption affecting everyone’s lives, that (more…)

Please do not visit Mono Lake right now

Friday, March 20th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We’re asking anyone who is not a primary resident of Eastern Sierra communities NOT to visit this region for the time being.⁠

We are joining with Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, and Inyo County in this effort to temporarily discourage visitation, and the reason is simple.⁠

Our local healthcare facilities are small and will be severely strained handling the widespread outbreak of COVID-19. They will be overwhelmed providing the level of care that residents alone will need. The wide open spaces of the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra might seem like the perfect places to practice social distancing, but traveling here right now risks lives.⁠

We know how many of you treasure the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra, and so we ask you to respect our communities and this request to stay home for now. We will be working to bring you glimpses of and stories from Mono Lake that you can enjoy from your home until it’s possible for all of us to recreate safely in the Eastern Sierra again.⁠

Click here for Mono County COVID-19 updates.

Thank you,⁠

Mono Lake Committee staff⁠

Limited phone answering at the Mono Lake Committee office

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Like most of the world has done, we have changed our operations in response to COVID-19.

In happier, healthier times, Joslyn and Nora counted postcards on our inventory day in early February. Photo by Elin Ljung.

In addition to closing the bookstore and canceling public programs, most of our staff are now working from home. That means that we are not answering the phones in the office, but we do want to hear from you!

You can call our main line at (760) 647-6595 and leave a general message. I am checking that voicemail box daily, so (more…)

Mono Lake Committee public programs canceled through March 31

Monday, March 16th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

In response to the COVID-19 crisis the Mono Lake Committee has canceled all public programs until at least March 31.

This includes weekend South Tufa tours, visiting school group programs, presentations, field trips, special tours, next weekend’s Winter Wander field seminar, and programs with the local schools. Prior to this decision, we canceled the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles that was due to take place March 11–13.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore temporarily closed through March 31

Sunday, March 15th, 2020 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore is temporarily closed through at least March 31 as a precaution to protect our staff and visitors from exposure to COVID-19.

You can reach us by email and at (760) 647-6595 about your questions regarding visiting Mono Lake and the surrounding areas, your Mono Lake Committee membership, and services available in town.

Our organization is closely monitoring the developing COVID-19 situation and we will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Our apologies for the inconvenience, we hope to see you next time. Safe travels.

COVID-19 update from the Mono Lake Committee

Saturday, March 14th, 2020 by Geoff, Executive Director

In response to the developing COVID-19 crisis the Mono Lake Committee is temporarily changing our operations in accordance with public health recommendations to limit exposure and spread of the virus to staff, community members, and visitors.

Bookstore

The Information Center & Bookstore will be closed until at least March 31. Visitors arriving at the bookstore can still access free wi-fi and can call us at (760) 647-6595 for answers to their questions. A sign and map on the bookstore doors directs visitors to the nearest public restrooms at the Shell Station and Hess Park. Visitors can access a self-guided South Tufa tour on their phones at monolakemobile.org.

Public programs

All our public programs are canceled until at least March 31. This includes weekend South Tufa tours, visiting school group programs, presentations, field trips, special tours, next weekend’s Winter Wander field seminar, and programs with the local schools. Prior to this decision, we canceled the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles that was due to take place March 11–13.

Office

Update as of 3/17/20: The Committee office is no longer open, and staff are working from home.

The Committee office remains open, and our goal is to keep it open throughout the coming weeks. We have implemented more rigorous cleaning procedures and social distancing practices so it can remain a productive place for us to work. We have made it possible for every staff member to work from home at any time, particularly if they feel sick, if they have come into contact with someone who has the COVID-19 virus, or if they want to reduce exposure of their family members to the virus. Work-related travel has been suspended. Whenever possible, group meetings are taking place via phone or video conference.

For now there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Mono or Inyo counties, but we know that is likely to change. We have operated as a strong team for 42 years, and as a team we will help and support each other in the coming weeks.

Tioga Inn public workshop introduces final plan

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Lake Committee is delving into the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the Tioga Inn project (released just last Friday night) to understand the changes made from the draft document that was released last summer. While some changes have been made to the project thanks to public comments, five original significant unavoidable impacts remain, including adverse impacts to the scenic resources of the Mono Basin.

Last night about 45 community members attended the Mono County Planning Department’s public workshop about the project, which provided an opportunity for people to hear more about the project as described in the FSEIR and ask clarifying questions. The project proponent (more…)

As decision on Tioga Inn project nears, public input is still key

Thursday, February 27th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

This spring, Mono County will decide whether to approve an unprecedented, large-scale development project that threatens to permanently alter the visual resources of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and erase the small-town, rural character of Lee Vining (see Fall 2019 Mono Lake Newsletter article here). A Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment is scheduled for release in late February or early March 2020. The Mono County Planning Department will lead a public workshop on March 3.

The Mono County Planning Commission (more…)

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in LA—more reasons to join us!

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

The Mono Lake Committee’s ninth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles is only three weeks away! This year we are hosting three screenings of the festival: March 11 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre, March 12 at the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, and March 13 at the Downtown Independent in downtown Los Angeles. (more…)

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