Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 by Robbie, Restoration Field TechniciancloseAuthor: Robbie, Restoration Field TechnicianName: Robert Di Paolo Title: Restoration Field Technician About: Robbie grew up in San Francisco and received his BS in Environmental Science from Humboldt State University. He first heard about Mono Lake in an environmental policy class, became a Mono Lake Intern in the summer of 2014, and hasn't left since! He is now responsible for monitoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, measuring the level of Mono Lake, coordinating annual aerial Eared Grebe surveys, leading the invasive plant removal program, and assisting with any additional restoration programs in the Mono Basin. In his free time you might find him fishing, hiking, skiing, or playing board games.See All Posts by Robert (40) Contact Robert
Ever since record high streamflows washed out a section of the Lee Vining Creek Trail in June 2017, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with several agencies and organizations to create a plan to fix the trail. We’re excited to announce that the trail repair work will begin this month!
Mammoth Lakes Trails Coordinator Joel Rathje and his crew check out the hillside where the rerouted portion of the Lee Vining Creek Trail will go. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.
The trail will not be closed as the repair work takes place, but hikers may see trail crews and signs about the work happening. The trail damage was in a section of (more…)
Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 by Nigel, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Nigel, Birding InternName: Nigel Bates Title: Birding Intern About: Nigel loves birds, mountains, and environmental challenges, so he is thrilled to be spending the summer learning all about the Mono Basin and leading weekly bird walks. Nigel graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he researched old-growth forest carbon cycles and led nature programs for local elementary schools. After graduating, he postponed the leap to full adulthood for a few months by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Having thoroughly explored the east, he is excited to work and play in the shadow of mountains twice as tall.See All Posts by Nigel (6) Contact Nigel
This summer, Mono Lake Committee staff, volunteers, and guest naturalists made substantial progress toward removing invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus albus) from the Old Marina area. This annual project is a crucial piece of the Committee’s mission to restore native habitats throughout the Mono Basin.
Volunteers Joy and Maddog add to the growing pile of pulled sweet clover. Photo by Nigel Bates.
Sweet clover can quickly overtake an ecosystem if it is not held in check, so our yearly invasive removal events are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. Over the course of two mornings, we removed 199.75 pounds of sweet clover! This marked one of our most efficient summers ever, with each participant pulling an average of 17 pounds. Thanks to all of our volunteers for their hard work and good spirits.
As we pulled sweet clover, we were treated to informal lectures by our guest naturalists (more…)
Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 by Alexis, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Alexis, Mono Lake InternName: Alexis Helgeson Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Alexis grew up hiking all around the Sierra Nevada and is currently studying environmental studies and mathematics at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. After spending the past two winters in the Northeast, she is excited to return to California for a summer of working to help preserve the Mono Basin. Alexis likes all manner of outdoor sports including rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking, and she is looking forward to adding canoeing to the list this summer.See All Posts by Alexis (3) Contact Alexis
Join us this Saturday, August 11 from 8:30am to 12:30pm for the annual Great Sierra River Cleanup! We will spend the morning picking up trash along Lee Vining Creek.
If you are free this Saturday, 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. We’ll provide work gloves as well as a light snack.
Friday, August 3rd, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Joslyn, Mono Lake InternName: 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. In her free time, she can be found rock climbing, birding, or getting inspired by low impact lifestyles.See All Posts by Joslyn (8) Contact Joslyn
Join us for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation, next Wednesday, August 8 at 4:00pm at the Mono Lake Committee. Come hear longtime local conservationist Mike Prather speak about the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl that are once again returning to Owens Lake each spring and fall.
Wetlands and islands dotting Owens Lake, which is now a designated site of international importance for the hundreds of thousands of birds that arrive during spring and fall migration. Photo courtesy of Ray Ramirez.
Owens Lake dried up after being tapped by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in 1913, and has suffered from severe dust issues ever since. DWP released (more…)
Wednesday, July 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 (64) Contact Bartshé
If you have driven by Mono Lake in the last week, you might have seen trucks and heavy equipment working just east of Highway 395 below the Tioga Lodge.
Restoration work has begun just east of Highway 395 below the Tioga Lodge, on a site that was damaged by illegal work in October 2016. Photo by Elin Ljung.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Anna, Mono Lake InternName: Anna Boyes Title: Mono Lake Intern About: After a childhood filled with whitewater rafting, backpacking, camping, and hiking in the Utah desert, Anna left Salt Lake City to pursue her undergraduate degree at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Before attending Whitman, she spent a year as an au pair in Italy, worked at an outdoor education camp in Michigan, and worked on permaculture farms in South America. She enjoys good bread, alpine lakes, cross-country
skiing, and the smell of trees.See All Posts by Anna (5) Contact Anna
One of the important goals of the Mono Lake Committee is restoration, and one thing we do to restore the area is removing invasive plants. And you can help too!
This could be you! Happy volunteers remove invasive plants with Ann Howald in 2016. Photo by Sandra Noll.
We’re hosting several mornings of invasive plant removals this summer. To start them off, we are lucky to be joined by two guest naturalists: Joe Woods and Ann Howald.
Saturday, July 28, 8:00–11:00am
with invasive plant removal specialist Joe Woods
Wednesday, August 8, 8:00–11:00am
with botanist Ann Howald
Joe has a background in invasive plant removal, and has helped with many removal events in the past. Ann is (more…)
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…)
Saturday, June 23rd, 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 (146) Contact Geoffrey
What will happen to the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack as climate change impacts accumulate through the 21st century? This question is vital to both the ecological health of the Range of Light and to water delivery systems throughout California. And, it matters a great deal to Mono Lake and its many miles of tributary streams, which depend on Sierra runoff for their vitality.
A view of the Eastern Sierra from Virginia Canyon to Mt. Conness, including Mono Lake. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.
Forecasts of the future rely on complex climate modeling, and I talked with Dr. Alex Hall, Professor of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, about the work he and his team have been conducting to produce actionable climate science. Dr. Hall heads the Center for Climate Science, where they have developed cutting-edge downscaling techniques to create geographically detailed climate projections for the Los Angeles area and the Sierra Nevada.
Thursday, June 7th, 2018 by Greg, Information & Restoration SpecialistcloseAuthor: Greg, Information & Restoration SpecialistName: Greg Reis Title: Information & Restoration Specialist About: Since his internship with the Mono Lake Committee in 1995, Greg has been deeply involved with Mono Basin restoration and research. He studied Forestry & Natural Resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and has followed
the thalweg of hydrology, resource management, watershed management, and habitat restoration ever since. Greg lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two kids, where he also works for The Bay Institute's Rivers and Delta Program.See All Posts by Greg (184) Contact Greg
Peak snowmelt runoff on Mono Lake’s tributary streams is occurring!
Restoration Field Technician Robbie Di Paolo retrieves a temperature logging device in high flows on Rush Creek. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
Lundy Lake Reservoir is spilling, and the Rush Creek peak flow of 380 cubic feet per second (cfs) below Grant Lake Reservoir is being released over the next five days. So far, snowmelt runoff above the aqueduct has peaked at 272 cfs on Rush Creek, 238 cfs on Lee Vining Creek, 46 cfs on Parker Creek, and 23 cfs on Walker Creek. The flows should begin to subside soon given the rapid melting and limited snowpack. (more…)
Thursday, April 5th, 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
In an effort to explore ways to return water to Mill Creek and therefore satisfy its legal obligations, Southern California Edison (SCE) released water from the Lundy hydroelectric plant into the Mill Creek return ditch last September, successfully returning water to the creek (see Fall 2017 Mono Lake Newsletter). The return ditch has been part of the hydropower system for a century. SCE was motivated to do this flow test because of the languishing problem of how to comply with Mill Creek water rights.
The Mill Creek return ditch carried flows of up to 16 cubic feet per second during a 61-day test last fall, returning water to the creek consistent with long-established water rights. Photo by Elin Ljung.
Prior to releasing water into the ditch, SCE evaluated the system and did routine maintenance to stabilize the earthen banks. SCE staff were on site during (more…)