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Tioga Inn project goes before Planning Commission for decision on April 16, 2020

Saturday, April 11th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the Mono County Planning Commission is moving forward with a public hearing and vote on the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment & Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR).

A view of the site where the proposed Tioga Inn housing project would go, overlooking Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Lynn Boulton.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 9:00am. (more…)

This year’s Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner is canceled

Thursday, April 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

It is with heavy hearts that we must confirm that this year’s Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner has been canceled due to COVID-19.

While we had thought this cancellation might happen as the crisis evolved quickly in California, Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order and the closure of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area confirmed it.

We will miss celebrating Andrea’s legacy with everyone in May, but we will absolutely reschedule the event when it is safe to do so. We had lined up a truly deserving award recipient and were planning a delightful menu for you, and we will pick those plans back up for the future.

Wherever you are, we hope you stay home, stay healthy, and continue to feel inspired by Andrea’s strong community spirit during this challenging time. Our thoughts are with you from Mono Lake.

Mono Lake Moments: Bringing Mono Lake to you

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Join the Mono Lake Committee digitally as we share arriving birds, springtime flowers, and scenic views of the Mono Basin with you from wherever you may be. Over the next few weeks, you can bring Mono Lake into your living room and enjoy some moments of peace and tranquility from the Mono Basin during these uncertain times.

(more…)

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…)

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.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles is canceled

Monday, March 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We are sorry to announce that we must cancel the upcoming Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles out of an abundance of caution regarding the rapidly-evolving coronavirus situation in California.

With the common-sense recommendations from the CDC and other public health departments to keep a safe distance from other people and to avoid gatherings, we feel it would be too risky for everyone to be gathering at multiple, close-quarters events in theaters. We are heartbroken to share this news, and we continue to work through the difficulties that come with this decision.

We have worked hard on the Film Festival and we intend to reschedule it later this year. As we explore options for rescheduling we will be issuing full refunds to everyone who purchased tickets. If you bought tickets, please check your email (including your spam/junk folder) for more information.

Thank you for your support of this event—if you bought a ticket, made a donation, told a friend, or helped spread the word. We hope we’ll be able to see our Southern California members soon!

If you have any questions, please contact Digital Engagement Coordinator Andrew Youssef by email or call (760) 647-6595.

Winter & Spring 2020 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Saturday, March 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Basin can feel completely quiet and isolated in winter. Mountain passes close for the season and visitors dwindle to a trickle. Birds have flown to warmer places and it’s as if the whole basin is far away from everything else in the world.

But during the prescribed burn on Twain Islet this month I was reminded of how many people see Mono Lake, even in the depths of winter.

Eastern Sierra neighbors hiking north of the lake took photos of the plumes of smoke rising near Negit Island. Locals came into the bookstore to inquire about the activity out on the lake. Someone called to ask if the volcanoes were erupting! Members keeping an eye on the Mono Lake webcams called in, curious about (more…)

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…)

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…)

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