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Inyo National Forest closes starting at 5:00pm tonight

Monday, September 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, the Inyo National Forest will close temporarily due to extreme fire danger and firefighting resources that are already stretched thin.

The closure includes all campgrounds, all day-use sites, all trails, all roads, all recreation, and all dispersed camping. It affects Mono Lake, which is within the Inyo National Forest, and is already partially closed at the South Tufa and Navy Beach areas.

The closure will be in place for at least one week, and then starting on September 14th will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change. Update: Since the closure was put in place on September 7th it has been extended week by week, at least through October 1st. See the Forest Service’s Region 5 website for the latest closure orders.

Seven other National Forests will close tonight: (more…)

South Tufa & Navy Beach will remain closed through Labor Day weekend

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

South Tufa and Navy Beach will remain closed through the Labor Day holiday weekend in the wake of the Beach Fire, which burned nearly 3,800 acres in mid-August.

South Tufa and Navy Beach are closed after the Beach Fire burned nearly 4,000 acres along the southeast shore of Mono Lake in mid-August. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The fire is now completely out, but California State Parks staff is still assessing resource damage and preparing signs and barriers to keep visitors on established roads and pathways. They report that some tufa was scorched, but there’s been no serious damage to (more…)

Celebrating California Biodiversity Day 2020 at Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

California Biodiversity Day is celebrated across the state by scientists, naturalists, agencies, and others who participate in a citizen science data collection effort. The goal is for individuals to observe and record as many species as possible throughout a week’s time across California.

This year, September 5–13, the Mono Lake Committee, California State Parks, and the US Forest Service will be participating in the annual Mono Lake Bioblitz, which covers the greater Mono Lake area, including Lee Vining Canyon and Lundy Canyon.

Participating in the Mono Lake Bio Blitz is a way for (more…)

Point Blue Conservation Science highlights a four-decade partnership with the Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

This year marks the 37th year of California Gull research at Mono Lake, and Point Blue Conservation Science has captained the monitoring effort to track the reproductive success of the gulls, a keystone ecosystem species.

The gull research began in 1983 and has tracked the gulls’ reproductive success annually, providing data that ties the birds to the overall productivity of Mono Lake. This science contributed to the body of evidence the State Water Board used to choose a management level for Mono Lake in 1994, and it will continue to inform that agency in evaluating lake level and public trust resources at Mono Lake. While the tools used to study the gulls at Mono Lake have advanced over the decades, the spirit of collaboration between the Mono Lake Committee and Point Blue has remained unchanged.

Both the Mono Lake Committee and Point Blue are committed to continuing this valuable and successful science partnership. You can read more about it in the recent issue of Point Blue Quarterly.

Video: Osprey banding at Mono Lake

Monday, August 24th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

Take a peek at this year’s Osprey banding at Mono Lake in this short video by Sarinah Simons of California State Parks!

Osprey banding is an important component of the ongoing bird research in the Mono Basin. This year, Nora Livingston, Lead Naturalist Guide for the Mono Lake Committee, assisted Ashli Lewis, a wildlife biologist with California State Parks, and Peter Bloom, a raptor biologist, with their banding efforts.

In the video you’ll see people climbing tufa towers to reach the Osprey nests, which they have special permission to do. When you visit Mono Lake, please remember—do not climb on, stand on, or damage the tufa in any way.

Though there are no fish in Mono Lake for Osprey to eat (more…)

Firefighters close to containing Mono Lake’s Beach Fire

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

While lightning-sparked fires spread across Northern California, at Mono Lake, the Beach Fire is nearly contained.

The Beach Fire burned between South Tufa and Navy Beach, scorching some tufa towers. The main tufa groves are undamaged. Photo by Rose Nelson.

Lightning ignited the sagebrush and rabbitbrush uplands of the south shore of Mono Lake on the evening of August 16 and as of August 19, a total of 3,780 acres had burned. The fire has burned between South Tufa and Navy Beach (more…)

Beach Fire ignited by lightning near Mono Lake’s southeast shore

Monday, August 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last night at about 6:30pm lightning ignited the Beach Fire southeast of Mono Lake, which is estimated to be 1,650 acres in size and 20% contained as of this morning, according to the Inyo National Forest. It is being “aggressively suppressed.”

A view of the Beach Fire from Highway 120 East yesterday evening as it flared up, driven by gusty winds from the east. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Mono Lake Committee staff who volunteer on the Lee Vining Fire Department were among the first responders to the fire, and staff who live north of Mono Lake got a good view of the plume of smoke with storm clouds to the east of it. (more…)

Video: Birds & Blossoms in the Bodie Hills

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Committee’s Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston and Friends of the Inyo’s Policy Director Jora Fogg headed to the Bodie Hills this summer to film this short glimpse of plants and animals found in the mountains just north of Mono Lake.

Enjoy this virtual version of their popular Bird Chautauqua trip, Birds & Blossoms in the Bodie Hills!

2020 Phalarope surveys begin at Mono Lake

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

As the Wilson’s and Red-Necked Phalaropes return to Mono Lake this summer, so do the folks who are studying these captivating birds.

This summer’s Mono Lake phalarope surveys started last week, conducted by staff from Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, California State Parks, and the Mono Lake Committee. Photo courtesy of Ryan Carle.

Last week the first of this summer’s surveys was conducted by boat and from shore to monitor the birds’ population status here at Mono Lake. That data will be utilized to gain a deeper understanding of the health of the two species across North and South America.

The study is spearheaded by Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge’s Ryan Carle, and continues (more…)

California Gulls return to nest on Mono Lake islet after prescribed burn

Sunday, July 19th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Thanks to a series of memorable weed eradication efforts last winter and spring, California Gulls have returned to nest in healthy numbers on Twain Islet in Mono Lake.

Photo courtesy of Point Blue Conservation Science.

This summer’s California Gull research, conducted by Point Blue Conservation Science, revealed healthy numbers of California Gulls occupying nesting habitat formerly covered by the invasive plant Bassia hyssopifolia.

Through a combination of prescribed burning and (more…)

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