Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 by Caroline BottegacloseAuthor: Caroline BottegaName: Caroline Bottega Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Coming all the way from New Jersey, Caroline is fulfilling her dream of living where her love for the outdoors and Sierra Nevada began. She received her BS in Environmental Science/Restoration Ecology and Geology minor from Lafayette College. Upon graduating in May 2019, she left the next day to drive across the country to begin her position at Mono Lake. Caroline enjoys research and teaching others about the wonders of the natural world. She can often be found hiking or writing, and is looking forward to taking in everything the Sierra has to offer!See All Posts by Caroline (1) Contact Caroline
On a bright Sunday morning, perched atop an ancient glacial moraine in lower Lundy Canyon, I had the opportunity to see the Mono Lake landscape through a geologist’s eyes.
Guleed Ali points out glacial features in lower Lundy Canyon. Photo by Caroline Bottega.
Armed with topographic maps, Guleed Ali, Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore and friendly face around the field station, began to build the story of Mono Lake and its relationship to the glacier that once sculpted the canyon.(more…)
Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantcloseAuthor: Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantName: Kevin Brown Title: Information Center & Bookstore Assistant About: Kevin lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Qatar before finding his way to California. He spent the last several years working on a book about how an endangered desert fish managed to survive a tumultuous twentieth century in Death Valley National Park. He is excited to spend the summer in the Eastern Sierra!See All Posts by Kevin (2) Contact Kevin
April 16, 1988 will never share a place of honor alongside key moments in the Mono Lake Committee’s history—such as the date of the California Supreme Court’s public trust ruling (February 17, 1983) or State Water Board Decision 1631 (September 28, 1994). Yet this early spring day 31 years ago represents an important, if little known moment: on that Saturday the Committee started keeping track of the weather.
The first monthly data sheet collected by the Mono Lake Committee in April 1988. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
Recording a maximum temperature of 48°F, a minimum of 36°F, and no precipitation, this information formed the first set of observations submitted from the Lee Vining Station to the Cooperative Observer Program at the National Weather Service. (more…)
Sunday, July 7th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Ellie, Mono Lake InternName: Ellie Neifeld Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Ellie grew up in Oakland, but spent most of her summers exploring the Sierra Nevada and falling in love with the Mono Basin at a young age. Her first rock climbing trip to Yosemite in 2011 kindled her passion for climbing, which has kept her returning to the Sierra year after year. She recently completed a degree in Earth and Oceanographic Science at Bowdoin College and is excited to immerse herself in the natural history of Mono Lake. When not geologizing or climbing, Ellie can be found lying on granite slabs, painting, and dancing.See All Posts by Ellie (2) Contact Ellie
Join us on Wednesday,July 10 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Brian Hatfield, California Department of Fish & Wildlife researcher, will be here to discuss recent detection of the Sierra Nevada red fox in California. Please register here if you can attend this free event!
A Sierra Nevada red fox detected by remote camera in Mono Creek. Photo courtesy of Brian Hatfield.
The Sierra Nevada red fox (SNRF) is a subspecies of red fox native to the high-elevation regions of California and Oregon. Until recently (more…)
Monday, May 6th, 2019 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 (152) Contact Geoffrey
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…)
Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 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 (63) Contact Andrew
Regardless of how you feel about California Gulls, Mono Lake provides a critical nesting habitat for these birds as well as an abundant natural food supply of brine shrimp and alkali flies. In the video posted today on Science Friday’s website, Kristie Nelson, Mono Lake Gull Project manager for Point Blue Conservation Science, discusses her research on this important population of birds at Mono Lake, numbering in the tens of thousands—one of the largest colonies of California Gulls in the world. I hope this video gives you a newfound appreciation for the gulls and Mono Lake.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé works on Mono Basin policy issues such as protecting the integrity of the Mono Basin National Forest 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. He has been an Eastern Sierra resident since 1993.See All Posts by Bartshé (68) Contact Bartshé
Last century’s water diversions from the Mono Basin greatly changed the ecosystem of Mono Lake, and that legacy continues to test successive generations of California Gulls. A falling lake level, the first emergence of the landbridge in 1979, coyotes crossing to Negit Island, and gulls abandoning their once-secure breeding colony—these were tragic events. California Gulls (Larus californicus) became one of the rallying points for saving Mono Lake, and while the colony suffered, the birds adapted and shifted nesting to the newly-emerged islets adjacent to Negit that provided refuge from coyotes because they were still surrounded by water.
By 2018, Bassia hyssopifolia had spread rapidly on the Negit Islets, significantly reducing California Gull nesting habitat. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.
Challenges stack up
Because of lake level fluctuations the coyote problem never completely went away, and even (more…)
Thursday, April 4th, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Lisa, Associate Policy DirectorName: Lisa Cutting Title: Eastern Sierra Policy Director About: Lisa supports the policy team with her two decades of experience in Mono Basin policy issues. She concentrates on the north Mono Basin, Caltrans projects, restoration progress, and other focused policy issues. 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 (35) Contact Lisa
The 2017 spring snowmelt runoff was over 200% of average. It was also the single largest peak flow event since the stream restoration ordered by the California State Water Resources Control Board began in 1998 (see Fall 2017 Mono Lake Newsletter).
During the peak of the 2017 record spring runoff, Mono Lake Committee staff and hydrology experts monitored the physical changes happening in Rush Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.
Now, almost two years later, conversations and field observations continue to reflect on what is technically called an “Extreme-Wet” year type, validating the principles adopted by the State Water Board and restoration parties over 20 years ago.
The State Water Board appointed two independent experts, the Stream Scientists, to study Mono Lake’s (more…)
Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Harp Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter and the Mono Lake Calendar. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (192) Contact Arya
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 (152) 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…)
Sunday, October 21st, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet.See All Posts by Nora (38) Contact Nora
Last week, diners at Epic Cafe at the south end of town observed a red fox running through the cafe’s lawn at night, sniffing for scraps dropped by messy eaters.
Here’s the red fox seen at Epic Cafe. Notice its black ears, black feet, and white tip of the tail. It is larger than a gray fox, with longer legs and a bushier tail.
Not only is this stunning creature beautiful for visitors to observe, it is also quite rare in the area and the sighting sparked the interest of local agencies, including Yosemite National Park and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. It has the potential to be an extremely rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator), a subspecies of the more widespread red fox (Vulpes vulpes). It could also be a non-native subspecies with Great Basin or fur farm ancestry. The only way to tell for sure is to gather genetic data—either fur or scat. (more…)