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Celebrate September 28th at Mono Lake with us!

Thursday, September 24th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

This Monday, September 28th we will celebrate with a live stream reading of the lake level gauge at Mono Lake. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

  • What: Celebrate September 28th virtually with us at Mono Lake!
  • When: 9:00am, Monday, September 28, 2020*
  • Where: Facebook
  • Why: On September 28, 1994 the State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to approve Decision 1631, the mandate we often refer to as the decision to “Save Mono Lake.”

At that time, decades of excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power had caused the lake to decline precipitously, imperiling millions of migratory and nesting birds, causing toxic dust storms harmful to human health, and drying up miles of tributary stream habitat.

Court rulings regarding the lake and stream supported taking action, which is exactly what the State Water Board did. Storm Over Mono author John Hart writes, “At Mono Lake in 1994, for the first time ever in California, water was removed from the grasp of an anointed appropriative user and assigned, not to some rival diverter, but to an environmental purpose: the restoration of the lake and its feeder streams.” (more…)

2022 Mono Lake Calendar call for photo submissions

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee invites you to submit photographs for the 2022 Mono Lake Calendar—we are seeking photographs of the highest caliber that capture the spirit and reflect the unique qualities of Mono Lake, its tributary streams, the high country, and wildlife of the Mono Basin.

Find the submission guidelines and forms here. The deadline for submissions, as always, is October 31.

We are looking for images of scenes within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake, and possible subjects include, but are not limited 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…)

Tioga Inn indecision

Friday, August 14th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The largest project of its kind ever proposed in unincorporated Mono County, the Tioga Inn project final decision continues on, yet again, to an uncertain date. The Mono County Board of Supervisors adjourned the latest hearing last week without making a decision on the project.

Last fall, the developer, Mono County staff, Mono County Planning Commission, and members of the public visited the Mobil Mart to walk the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The developer advocated for the most recent “Alternative #7 – Hybrid Plan,” along with other last-minute project changes, and the public expressed overwhelming opposition and insightful and relevant comments regarding project impacts, hydrology questions, and CEQA concerns. Including the Planning Commission meeting last April, the August 6 hearing was the third time that the local community and the public had expressed consistent and near-universal opposition to the project.

There was no (more…)

Tioga Inn project decision kicked down the road

Thursday, August 6th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

Following eight hours of presentation, public comment, and deliberation on the Tioga Inn project, today the Mono County Board of Supervisors decided to continue gathering information on the project details and outstanding questions, and postponed a decision until a later, unspecified, date.

Belt of Venus, Mono Lake by Jeff Sullivan

The view from South Tufa towards Tioga Pass, and the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

This action comes as yet another twist in what has been an extremely lengthy process. We will report with further information and analysis of this new situation, here, shortly.

Click here for more background information on the Tioga Inn project.

Tioga Inn project: Changes get disappointing grades before final hearing on August 6

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

This Thursday, August 6, at 10:00am the Mono County Board of Supervisors will conduct a final hearing on the Tioga Inn project. After a lengthy hearing in June the Board gave the developer and staff direction to bring back significant design improvements to address visual impacts, fire concerns, and to add a safe pedestrian route between Lee Vining and the project site.

Community members speaking during the Tioga Inn hearing before the Board of Supervisors in June. Photo by Rose Nelson.

The revised project before the Board shows some progress on addressing visual impacts but falls woefully short on safety and fire protection. For example, the final proposal does not include a safe pedestrian route, isolating future residents from Lee Vining and providing no way for students to walk to school. The original five significant adverse impacts remain with the project, and Board must vote to accept these impacts without mitigation if they vote to approve the project this Thursday.

The developer’s new “Alternative #7-Hybrid Plan” is identified as the “Preferred Alternative.” How is it different from what the Board considered in late June? (more…)

Another public hearing on the Tioga Inn project: August 6, 2020

Friday, July 31st, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The Mono County planning staff have released the agenda and Board Packet for the Board of Supervisors special meeting on the Tioga Inn project on Thursday, August 6 at 10:00am.

Belt of Venus, Mono Lake by Jeff Sullivan

The view from South Tufa towards Tioga Pass, and the site of the Tioga Inn project. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

The Board has the final authority to approve, modify, or deny the Tioga Inn project, which, at this time includes a new “hybrid” alternative that takes into consideration the board’s request for additional information on several aspects of the project that were the result of the last hearing in June.

This is yet another public hearing on this project. Despite board direction to modify the project, the project proponent is making a final attempt to (more…)

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…)

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