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A bountiful year at Mono Lake

Monday, September 30th, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

If you wanted to summarize this past summer at Mono Lake in one word it would be this: phalaropes.

Phalaropes flocked in spectacular formations at South Tufa this summer. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The dainty Mono-loving migrators put on spectacular displays at South Tufa for many days, dipping and weaving in tight flocks of thousands. Visitors stopped in their tracks and canoes floated in place to watch the aerial acrobatics. Mono Lake Committee staff captured one dramatic episode on video and it quickly became our most-watched video ever; you can see it for yourself here.

The phalaropes have now headed to points south for the winter, but like many things at Mono Lake, their summer displays were possible thanks to protection work behind the scenes (more…)

Bay Area members: “Dreamt Land” author Mark Arax at the Bay Model October 17

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 by Anna, Philanthropy Director

Mark Arax’s new book The Dreamt Land is making literary, political, and social waves, and our friends at Bay.org are hosting a lecture and Q&A with the author! A group of Mono Lake Committee friends and members will be there, and we’d love to see you for this evening of lively conversation. Mono Lakers at the event include Greg Reis, Information & Restoration Specialist; Anna Christensen, Philanthropy Director; Martha Davis, Mono Lake Committee Board Member; and Peter Vorster, expert hydrologist and hydrogeographer.

Event details: (more…)

This Saturday: 11th annual Great Sierra River Cleanup

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 by Meghan, Mono Lake Intern

Looking for a fun and easy way to give back to this place we all know and love so much? Come join us this Saturday, August 17 from 8:30am to 12:30pm for the 11th annual Great Sierra River Cleanup! We will spend our morning picking up any and all trash that has accumulated around Lee Vining Creek.

If you are free this Saturday, get your family and friends together and meet us outside the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining. From there we will carpool to the DWP diversion site on Lee Vining Creek. Make sure to bring sturdy footwear, a water bottle, and sun protection. Our goal this year is to use as little single-use plastic as possible for the cleanup, so if you have your own gloves and buckets for trash, bring them along! We’ll provide work gloves where necessary as well as (more…)

Retired Mono County Superior Court Judge Edward Denton passes

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

Judge Edward Denton, April 24, 1926–July 12, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Reno Record-Courier.

Judge Edward Denton, who played an influential role in re-watering Lee Vining Creek, died on July 12, 2019 at age 93.

During a heat wave in May of 1986 the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) was forced to release water down the previously-dry Lee Vining Creek—water that brought trout with it. The Mono Lake Committee quickly went to court to keep water flowing in the creek for the trout, and it was Mono County Superior Court Judge Denton who granted the temporary restraining order that forced DWP to release enough water to keep the fish alive until the case could be tried. While it was just ten cubic feet per second of water, it was a significant decision to the Mono Lake Committee.

In a recent issue of the local paper, The Sheet, retired Judge Stan Eller recounted his memory of (more…)

Rush Creek advocate Dick Dahlgren passes

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

Dick Dahlgren, a successful advocate for stopping the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) total diversion of Rush Creek, died on July 9 in Boise, Idaho near his home.

Dick Dahlgren fishing on Crowley Lake Reservoir. Photo courtesy of Jim Matthews.

In 1984, Dick, an avid fly-fisherman, found a population of healthy brown trout in lower Rush Creek—a finding that was more surprising than it may initially seem. Historically a blue ribbon fishery, Rush Creek ran dry after the LA Aqueduct was built in 1941 and (more…)

Obi Kaufmann book signing and print sale at the Mono Lake Committee this Saturday

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 by Caroline Bottega

Join us for a book signing, print sale, and discussion with poet, painter, and naturalist Obi Kaufmann on Saturday, August 3 at 5:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore, as he promotes his latest book, The State of Water, Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource.

Through a unique blend of science and art, Kaufmann unravels the complexities and controversy surrounding California’s most precious resource and brings to life the multifaceted relationship between humans and water. (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…)

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…)

Lake level forecast report: net lake rise of 1.5 feet this water year

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

April 1 is the start of the 2019–2020 runoff year, celebrated by the official reading of the lake level. From there both the Mono Lake Committee and DWP take snowpack numbers, similar year types, and a bunch of other statistical data, crunch it all together, and come up with the Mono Lake Level Forecast report for the runoff year.

This year’s forecast is for a 1.5 foot net rise, which means that on April 1, 2020 we expect Mono Lake to be 1.5 feet higher than (more…)

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