Thursday, November 15th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and ensuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992 and was an intern and volunteer before that. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.See All Posts by Geoffrey (148) Contact Geoffrey
The Mono Lake Committee celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. That means the Committee has been advocating for Mono Lake and its tributary streams for more than half the years that the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) has been in the business of exporting water from the Mono Basin.
The Mono Lake Committee and our expert consultants, network of partners, and 16,000 members are always alert to threats to Mono Lake, its tributary streams, and surrounding lands. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
DWP has changed in many ways over those 40 years, some internally generated and many, like the protection of Mono Lake, resulting from intense advocacy efforts and new rules imposed by outside authorities. Institutional change has often been due to the citizens of Los Angeles requiring greater environmental responsibility from DWP, both directly and through elected city council members and mayors who have worked together with groups like the Committee to reach that goal. As a result Los Angeles is a leader in building a more sustainable and reliable water supply through conservation, reclamation, groundwater cleanup, and local supply.
The famously contentious relationship between DWP and the Eastern Sierra has changed as well. (more…)
Monday, November 12th, 2018 by Sally, Board of DirectorscloseAuthor: Sally, Board of DirectorsName: Sally Gaines Title: Chair, Board of Directors About: Sally was a co-founder of the Mono Lake Committee in 1978, and now serves as Chair of our Board of Directors. She wanted to save Mono Lake for the animals—from the diatoms to the birds on the shore, in the water, on the wing. An avid swimmer, Sally often visits the Committee after taking a dip in Mono Lake. She now lives south of Mono Lake with her husband Rick and is an accomplished amateur triathlete.See All Posts by Sally (3) Contact Sally
Editor’s note: To celebrate the Mono Lake Committee’s 40th anniversary in the Newsletter, Sally Gaines, co-founder and Board Chair, is writing a series of reflections on the past, present, and future of the organization.
Even if I squint or put on my reading glasses, most aspects of the future are impossible to foresee, as if the crystal ball is clouded with brine shrimp like the aquarium in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore.
Everyday technology and style is already beyond my understanding. Genetic engineering on plants, animals, and humans is a big unknown as is artificial intelligence, for just a couple examples. What is clear to me is that everything the Mono Lake Committee does today is with the future in mind. (more…)
Friday, November 9th, 2018 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (317) Contact Elin
At the 40th anniversary storytelling roundtable held during the Defense Trust Weekend, listening to Sally Gaines, Martha Davis, Geoff McQuilkin, and Peter Vorster reminisce about the early days of the Mono Lake Committee, I had a sudden, clear thought:
The roundtable was held at the brand-new Pioneer Solar Pavilion in Hess Park, a project brought to life by the (extra) ordinary people of Lee Vining, who believe in a better future for Mono Lake and all who love it. They’re defending the public trust.
During the early days of the Committee’s efforts to save Mono Lake, even before the legal argument that the lake should be protected for the public good was articulated, Sally and David and the other founders were defending the public trust. (more…)
Thursday, November 8th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and ensuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992 and was an intern and volunteer before that. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.See All Posts by Geoffrey (148) Contact Geoffrey
2018 Defender of the Trust Peter Vorster. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
The California Supreme Court begins its landmark 1983 Mono Lake decision with these powerful words: “The public trust is an affirmation of the duty of the state to protect the people’s common heritage of streams, lakes, marshlands and tidelands…”
Every other year, to celebrate the history of the public trust at Mono Lake, we organize a special three-day Defense Trust Weekend for the Mono Lake Committee’s high donors. The weekend is full of field trips, good food, and time spent with fellow Mono Lake enthusiasts and Committee Board and staff.
This year we had an open house in the Committee office, a Rush Creek tour with experts including (more…)
Thursday, October 25th, 2018 by Bartshé, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Education DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé directs the Mono Lake Committee's Outdoor Education Center programs, canoe program, and interpretive programs, and manages the Mono Basin Field Station. He has been an Eastern Sierra resident since 1993.See All Posts by Bartshé (65) Contact Bartshé
On August 3 the Inyo National Forest released its revised land management plan and draft record of decision.
According to the Committee’s analysis, Mono Lake’s tributary streams are eligible for Wild & Scenic River designation. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.
Also known as the Inyo National Forest Land Management Plan, this new plan, when final, will replace the 1988 plan that the Inyo has been following. Once the new plan is approved it will provide management guidance for the Inyo’s two million acres over the next two decades.
Since 2014 the Mono Lake Committee has been involved in the public plan revision process, attending meetings, analyzing information, and commenting on the plan revision. Specifically, the Committee has evaluated (more…)
Friday, October 12th, 2018 by Joslyn, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Joslyn, Project SpecialistName: Joslyn Rogers Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Originally from San Diego, Joslyn first discovered Mono Lake while working in Yosemite Valley. Her love for the Mono Basin was further solidified after studying Mono Lake on a UC Santa Cruz field program. Joslyn finished her degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and spent summer 2018 as a Mono Lake Intern; she is also staying through the winter at the Mono Lake Committee as a Project Specialist. In her free time, she can be found rock climbing, birding, or getting inspired by low impact lifestyles.See All Posts by Joslyn (11) Contact Joslyn
Last week we drew the winner of the early bird prize for the 2018 Free Drawing—congratulations to Marta Beryt of Fresno, who won an iPad mini 4!
I got to pull Marta’s winning ticket for the early bird Free Drawing prize! Photo by Elin Ljung.
If you haven’t yet sent in your tickets for the Free Drawing, there is still time—we will be drawing all the winners in mid-December. Those who enter could win one of 26 fun-filled prizes that include ski passes, canoe trips, vacations and retreats in the Mono Basin, San Francisco, Mammoth Lakes, Hope Valley, Benton Hot Springs (more…)
Friday, July 6th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee StaffcloseAuthor: Mono Lake Committee StaffName: Mono Lake Committee Staff Title: Mono Lake Committee Staff About: The Mono Lake Committee is a 16,000 member non-profit citizens' group dedicated to protecting and restoring the Mono Basin ecosystem, educating the public about Mono Lake and the impacts on the environment of excessive water use, and promoting cooperative solutions that protect Mono Lake and meet real water needs without transferring environmental problems to other areas.See All Posts by Mono Lake Committee (505) Contact Mono Lake Committee
Tufa is otherworldly, oddly enchanting, and one of Mono Lake’s most iconic and popular features. Tufa towers are important nesting sites for birds—from Osprey to owls—while underwater tufa is habitat for alkali flies. For years, photographs of tufa have played an important role in spreading the message that Mono Lake, and the tufa itself, needs protecting.
Growing only underwater, tufa is a precipitate formed when calcium-rich spring water mixes with carbonate-rich Mono Lake water—slowly building up around seeps and springs. Though tufa towers are rock formations, they are fragile—they crumble, topple, and erode from wave action, high desert weather, and, unfortunately, from people being careless around them. (more…)
Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: A graduate of Vanderbilt University and a native of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew came to the Sierra to volunteer in Tuolumne Meadows in 2014. He fell in love with the area and began working at the Committee as a Mono
Lake Intern. Today he combines his passions for education and the environment by working in all of the Committee's program areas on everything from organizing the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua and Field Seminar programs to creating social media and video content to editing the
Mono Lake Newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at Lee Vining Creek, paddling on Mono Lake, hiking in the High Sierra, and skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (53) Contact Andrew
Have you ever been down at Mono Lake wondering: How many brine shrimp live in Mono Lake? Why do the tufa towers at Old Marina look different than the ones at South Tufa? What else can I do during my visit?
When you visit Mono Lake, pull up monolakemobile.org on your phone for a self-guided tour of South Tufa, directions, and more. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
You can find the answers to all of these questions and more by visiting monolakemobile.org on your phone. Designed to be mobile-friendly and used while visiting the lake, Mono Lake Mobile is the best way to learn about the lake on your own schedule and at your own pace. You can take a self-guided tour of South Tufa (complete with audio narration) and learn about other great sites to visit around Mono Lake including Old Marina and County Park.
Monday, July 2nd, 2018 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorName: Lisa Cutting Title: Eastern Sierra Policy Director About: Lisa concentrates on the Mono Basin's policy issues such as protecting the integrity of the Scenic Area, coordinating with regional agency staff, and working with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and scientists on the ongoing restoration of Mono Lake and its tributary streams. Lisa uses sleuthing-out good fly fishing spots as another excuse for hiking, and it's always a treat when her dog Tucker comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (31) Contact Lisa
Almost a year after the epic 2017 winter and resulting record Mono Basin runoff, positive effects from the high flows can still be seen on all of Mono Lake’s tributary streams—including, notably, the beleaguered floodplain of the Mill Creek bottomlands.
During last year’s record runoff, long-dry side channels in the Mill Creek bottomlands carried water; some of the rewatered channels were still flowing this spring. Photo by Elin Ljung.
Last summer, long-dry side channels in the bottomlands carried water when Lundy Lake Reservoir spilled for almost the entire summer. Some of these rewatered channels are still flowing despite low-flow early springtime conditions, and evidence of lasting restoration benefits is abundant. Back eddies and ponded areas well away from flowing channels continue to hold water. Below the surface, recharged groundwater is once again available for vegetation, and fine sediment deposited across floodplain cobble is primed for new seedlings to grow. All of this is a glimpse into Mill Creek’s bright future. (more…)
Friday, June 29th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and ensuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992 and was an intern and volunteer before that. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.See All Posts by Geoffrey (148) Contact Geoffrey
One thing the Mono Lake Committee and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) can agree on is that accurate measurement of water exported from the Mono Basin is important. One might assume that measuring water sent out of the Mono Basin through the Los Angeles Aqueduct would be fairly straightforward, but due to infrastructure complexities, DWP has historically used a calculation to derive the export amount.
Aqueduct improvements in 2009, shown here, added equipment to directly measure water exports, but the system was unreliable until recent repairs, thanks to the Committee’s persistence. Photo by Greg Reis.
Getting from calculation to measurement
To understand why DWP couldn’t simply measure its (more…)