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Genny Smith memorial naturalist hikes

Saturday, June 29th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Join us on July 13 and August 24 for hikes in memory of naturalist Genny Smith. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

Genny Smith was the Naturalist Queen of the Eastern Sierra. She wandered many Eastern Sierra trails in search of flowers, birds, mammals, and quiet serenity, and in turn learned about the important interactions between all of the life in these habitats and the ancient geology that sets the stage. These experiences inspired her (more…)

Major changes to fishing regulations possible

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

Just a month before this year’s fishing season opener, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) threw out a lunker of a proposal—a potential change to existing fishing regulations to allow year-round inland trout fishing throughout the state of California, including the Eastern Sierra. According to DFW, the motivation for the change is to simplify fishing regulations statewide.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife has proposed that year-round inland trout fishing be permitted throughout the state, including on Mono Basin streams. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Since the announcement, DFW has hosted a series of meetings around the state. Locally, the topic has sparked much interest—not only among anglers and fishing guides, but also business owners, seasonal resort owners, and public officials, all of whom (more…)

Summer 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

Friday, May 31st, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

The 2018 Mono Lake Committee staff; 2019 staff arrive today! Photo by Elin Ljung.

Incoming seasonal staff are like spring flows in the creeks, bringing excitement, growth, and renewal to the whole Mono Basin. Without them, our extensive education programs at the lake and in the Information Center & Bookstore would be nearly impossible, and their zest for all things Mono Lake reminds us why we are all here.

We have two staff returning this year. Ava Stavros is back for her third year as an Outdoor Education Instructor after a winter working at The Lift café, a new woman-owned business in June Lake. Alison Kaplan will once again be leading weekend tours as the Canoe Coordinator after working for the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County over the winter.

Information Center & Bookstore Assistant Kevin Brown has a wealth of retail experience in addition to experience as (more…)

Mono Lake: Surviving the Anthropocene

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Saline lakes are in steady decline around the world. Treasures on a planet of primarily freshwater lakes, saline lakes are unique, wild, and fascinating in their own right, as well as critical niche ecosystems in which birds and people live.

Mono Lake is likely the only salt lake ecosystem on earth with meaningful protection on a watershed scale. It is also a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds like phalaropes, seen here. Photo courtesy of Marie Read.

Because they are located in arid and semi-arid regions where evaporation loss is significant, water diversions have an increased impact on these lakes. Diversions have, in some cases, led to ecological collapse and loss of fisheries and/or critical bird habitat along with catastrophic air quality problems. Climate change is frequently blamed, but saline lakes began shrinking and disappearing decades ago as water diversions increased well ahead of global temperature rise. (more…)

Summer 2019 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Friday, May 24th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Photo by David Gubernick.If you have arrived at Mono Lake and picked up this Newsletter, wondering “what is this place and who are these people,” you’re in good hands.

On page 16 you can find the Mono Lake story in a nutshell, and the essay on page 22 gives a brief history of this organization. There’s a map and things to do on pages 14–17. You can learn, like the students who come to the Outdoor Education Center, about the physical tie between Mono Lake and Los Angeles that is the Los Angeles Aqueduct. You can see the intricacies required to keep Mono Lake protected at an everyday, practical level—the comments we submitted on proposed fishing regulations (more…)

This year’s deep snowpack will raise Mono Lake

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

Today it is once again possible to see the sky out of the windows at the Mono Lake Committee office—instead of a wall of snow—but the wet and snowy 2018–19 winter will continue to affect Mono Lake and its tributary streams throughout the summer and well into fall.

With 157% of average snowpack by April 1, it was an impressively wet winter in the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Storms rolled into the Sierra this past winter and temperatures stayed cold, allowing for a large snow accumulation in Lee Vining and along the shore of Mono Lake. In February one noteworthy storm sequence dropped nearly four feet of snow in town and turned the entire Mono Basin into a snowfield. Another (more…)

Court memorial honors Judge Finney

Friday, May 17th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

On the wall at Mono Lake Committee headquarters, quietly perched above the fray, it reads, “People protecting Mono Lake for future generations.” There are many protectors—birders, scientists, students, lawyers … a bright star in that constellation, Terrence Finney passed away in November 2018, but his legacy will forever shine at Mono Lake.

Honored to have been part of hearings in his courtroom: restoration consultant Scott English, hydrogeographer Peter Vorster, and attorney Richard Roos-Collins with a photo (from Storm Over Mono) of Judge Terrence Finney, at the court memorial in January. Photo courtesy of Richard Roos-Collins.

According to the El Dorado County Superior Court, in Judge Finney’s 20 years of service, the Mono Lake case was “the biggest case of his career.” It certainly was vital to the protection of Mono Lake and restoration of the tributary streams.

In 1989 Judge Finney’s courtroom became the epicenter of (more…)

Record attendance at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

The Mono Lake Committee hosted our eighth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Pasadena and Santa Monica this past March.

The Committee’s eighth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in LA was a great success. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Each year Committee staff migrate to Los Angeles to bring a selection of inspiring films to our friends and members on the southern end of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. This year marked (more…)

Vorster Center tackles critical hydrology questions

Monday, May 6th, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

For over 40 years, the Mono Lake Committee has pursued the best scientific understanding of Mono Basin hydrology. Last year we created the Vorster Center for Mono Basin Hydrology (see Fall 2018 Mono Lake Newsletter) to address new questions in an era of climate change and to serve as a hub for data collection, modeling, analysis, forecasting, and real world hydrology applications. The Vorster Center is not a physical space, rather (more…)

Policy notes from the Mono Lake Newsletter

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

Caltrans Lee Vining US 395 Rehab Project

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is developing plans for a new highway project along five miles of Highway 395.

Plans for the Caltrans Rehab Project include significant amenities for the town of Lee Vining, such as upgrading sidewalks and drainage, replacing pavement, and improving safety. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The project area is between Highway 120 west and Cemetery Road past The Mono Inn (see Fall 2018 Mono Lake Newsletter). The Lee Vining US 395 Rehab Project will replace pavement throughout the project area, improve sidewalks and curbs in Lee Vining, upgrade drainage systems, and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

While the in-town section allows for significant (more…)

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