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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.

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.

Efforts to rid Mono Lake’s islets of Bassia continue

Thursday, March 12th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Since mid-February’s successful prescribed burn on Twain Islet to clear breeding habitat for California Gulls, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with the Inyo National Forest and Point Blue Conservation Science to schedule another burn before the gulls return to nest for the season.

Mono Lake Committee and State Parks staff returned to Twain Islet in late February to continue efforts to restore California Gull nesting habitat. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

However, a combination of windy and rainy weather, the complex logistics of getting all parties out to the islands, and Point Blue biologists’ observations of gulls already returning to Mono Lake means that the burn window has closed for this spring.

Even though (more…)

A burning solution to the Bassia problem

Friday, February 21st, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

In a monumental effort, the Inyo National Forest, in partnership with the Mono Lake Committee, conducted a series of prescribed fires with the specific goal of restoring California Gull breeding habitat on the islands in Mono Lake.

The Bassia caught fire better than expected in February’s warm, dry weather, so the Inyo fire crew burned as much as possible over two days. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Working between episodes of wintry weather, the Committee and Inyo fire personnel raced to mitigate the impact of a troublesome invasive plant, Bassia hyssopifolia, that has grown to cover over 70% of the Negit Islets and is preventing California Gulls from nesting successfully.

Despite an initial, discouraging assessment of how well the weeds might burn, in mid-February a long-planned prescribed fire moved forward and resulted in (more…)

Mono Basin Winter Wander field seminars in March

Thursday, February 20th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Have you ever visited the Mono Basin in the winter? It is silent, mysterious, and majestic. It is a whole different experience than the hustle and bustle of summertime. Winter invites us to experience the forgotten season and wander in a mountain meadow or along a frozen creek, curious and in awe.

Lee Vining Creek flows between snowy banks in 2017. Photo by Nora Livingston.

We are offering two dates in March for a unique field seminar that investigates the wonders of winter (more…)

Prescribed fire on Mono Lake’s islet in the LA Times

Saturday, February 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Louis Sahagun accompanied Mono Lake Committee staff and Inyo National Forest fire personnel to Twain Islet yesterday for the prescribed burn to restore California Gull habitat taken over by the invasive weed Bassia hyssopifolia. Check out Louis’ article here, and if you get the paper, watch for it in tomorrow’s Sunday edition!

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.”

Registration is open for 2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars

Saturday, February 1st, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Field Seminar registration opened this morning at 9:00am for Mono Lake Committee members, and sign-ups are going strong! Now is the time to make sure your membership is current and snag spots in the seminar(s) of your choice.

Don’t miss your chance to take a Mono Basin Field Seminar this year! Photo by AnnaLisa Mayer.

This year there are more than 30 seminars to choose from, covering topics such as woodpeckers, small mammals, arborglyphs, oil painting, watercolor painting, geology, and several (more…)

2020 Mono Lake Field Seminars posted online

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2020 Field Seminars is now available online here! Registration opens at 9:00am on Saturday, February 1 for members only.

Check out the whole list of 2020 Mono Lake Field Seminars here! Photo by Rose Nelson.

Take a look at the seminars now so you know what to sign up for in two weeks when registration opens on Friday, February 1 at 9:00am for Mono Lake Committee members only. If you are not a Committee member, but you wish to register in February, you may join the Committee and sign up for the class of your choice at the same time. If you have any questions, you can check the list of frequently asked questionsemail the Field Seminar team, or call (760) 647-6595.

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