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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…)

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…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Conserving giant sequoia and coast redwood in a time of global change

Saturday, July 27th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on July 31 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Kristen Shive, Science Director of Save the Redwoods League, will be here to discuss how sequoias and redwoods respond to a changing climate. If you can join us for this free event, please sign up here.

A prescribed burn in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. Photo courtesy of Kristen Shive.

(more…)

It’s the season for interpretive activities at Mono Lake

Sunday, June 30th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

Summer is a busy time in the Mono Basin, and the birds aren’t the only ones making the most of the warmer temperatures and longer days! Whether it is your first or fiftieth visit to the area, there are a variety of exciting interpretive programs for the whole family available at and near Mono Lake this summer.

Join a 10:00am or 6:00pm free South Tufa tour to learn about Mono Lake from a naturalist guide. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Gain an understanding of the ecology and history of the lake by stopping by charismatic South Tufa for one of the free, hour-long tours at 10:00am and 6:00pm every day, where you’ll have the hands-on opportunity to get to know the fascinating ecosystem and political history of the lake with the guidance of a naturalist. While the tours are free, South Tufa is (more…)

The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua still has space open–sign up now!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is right around the corner, coming up June 14–16, 2019.

Bullock’s Oriole. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This year’s program has a whopping 106 events—field trips, presentations, workshops, and more. And there’s still space in 62 of those events! More than 275 people have already signed up, and we expect many more (more…)

Mono Lake Field Seminars open to non-members starting tomorrow

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Registration for the 2019 Field Seminars opens tomorrow at 9:00am to non-members. Of the 38 seminars we’re offering this year, seven have sold out already, so take a look at the list and sign up today to be sure you grab a spot!

Sign up for the En Plein Air oil painting seminar to get started painting outdoors in the Mono Basin’s inspiring landscape. Photo courtesy of Penny Otwell.

If you’re after birds this year, you can join Dave Shuford (waterfowl, shorebirds), Nora Livingston (all birds), Steve Shunk (woodpeckers), and David Wimpfheimer (all birds) in the field in search of species to add to your life list.

If you’re interested in enhancing your photography (more…)

Make your plans now for 2019 Mono Lake Field Seminars

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2019 Field Seminars is now available online hereRegistration opens at 9:00am on Friday, February 1.

The Mono Lake Committee’s Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston will be leading 16 seminars this year, with topics ranging from birding to botany, history to geology. Photo courtesy of Bob Yates.

This year there are 38 Field Seminars to choose from, including one-day, half-day, and multi-day options. As always, the list spans many natural history, cultural history, art, and photography topics.

New seminars this year include Watercolors in the Wild in (more…)

Learn about the hot topic of wildfire in the Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar

Monday, August 27th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the role of fire in California, our upcoming field seminar, Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra, is the place to jump in. After a summer when wildfires have made news all over California and the western US, spend September 15–16, 2018 in the field with fire expert Malcolm North to learn about this powerful force. Sign up here.

The Marina Fire burns on the west side of Mono Lake in June 2016. The site of the Marina Fire will be one of the stops in this seminar. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

It has been a hot summer for wildfires in California, and while fires are vital to maintaining healthy forests in much of the western US, many modern fires burn differently than the fires forests evolved with. What is the current wildfire situation (more…)

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