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‘Seasonal Update’ Category

Birds galore in the Mono Basin

Thursday, May 9th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On Saturday, May 4, I participated in the eBird Global Big Day, which encourages birders around the world to contribute to citizen science efforts by birding and entering checklists into eBird on a single day.

Green-tailed Towhee singing from a pinyon pine. Photo by Nora Livingston.

I decided to use this Big Day as a chance to scout my local hotspots and catch up with migration. In the past two weeks, neotropical migrants have been moving north to their breeding grounds, so there have been new species arriving daily. As the (more…)

Register today for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Sunday, April 21st, 2019 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Registration for the eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua (June 14–16, 2019) is now open, and there are more than 75 programs with space available, including field trips, presentations, and workshops.

Lazuli Buntings are one of the birds you could spot at this year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This year we’ve added several new trips that still have space, including Birding the Lee Vining Creek Trail, Fire by friction, Wing beats around the basin, and Birding Bohler Canyon after the fire. We’re also offering a “big sit” on Saturday and Sunday morning during which the group will sit in one spot with a variety of habitats and identify all the birds that come through. (more…)

Mono Basin roads and services begin to open for the season

Friday, April 19th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

After a winter with above-average snowfall, warm spring temperatures have finally arrived! With Easter this weekend and fishing season opening next weekend (Saturday, April 27), roads and services are beginning to open up for the summer season.

Snow removal happening on Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass) on April 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Tuolumne Winter Rangers.

Visitor centers

The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center opened for the season yesterday. Open Thursday through Monday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, with limited services. The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore is open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm. (more…)

April reading of Mono Lake’s level with DWP

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As is tradition in early April, this morning staff from the Mono Lake Committee and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) met at Mono Lake’s shore to read the lake level gauge at the start of this new runoff year.

Mono Lake Committee and DWP staff determine Mono Lake’s level together each year in early April. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lake’s surface was a bit unsettled due to a spring rainstorm passing through, but Maureen (Committee) and Jason (DWP) watched the fluctuations carefully and settled on an official lake level reading of 6382.07 feet above sea level. (more…)

Reserve your seat on a Mono Lake canoe tour

Monday, March 25th, 2019 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Are you planning a getaway to Mono Lake this summer? Now is your chance to reserve your seat on a Mono Lake canoe tour—a must-do summer activity.

Calm mornings water allow for stunning reflections on Mono Lake’s surface. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

See the lake in a completely new way as you float over bubbling springs forming new tufa towers, examine some of the trillions of tiny brine shrimp that inhabit the lake, and experience the peace and tranquility of this wild place. (more…)

How much is Mono Lake going to rise or fall this year?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

It’s that time of year again, when all eyes are on the Sierra snowpack, the level of Mono Lake, and spreadsheets.

How much will Mono Lake rise or fall this year? Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Just imagining this winter’s snowpack flowing down Mono Basin streams this spring brings a gleeful sigh of relief. But … spreadsheets? Yep, because spreadsheets, forecast models, experts, and in-depth Mono Basin hydrologic knowledge, when carefully woven together, are how we figure out the big question for Mono Lake: how much is the lake going to rise or fall this year?

You can see the full (more…)

Winter & Spring 2019 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Thursday, March 14th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

When my husband and I were planning our courthouse wedding five years ago, we asked Judge Stan Eller to officiate. Judge Eller retired last year from a long, storied career that included preventing DWP from shutting off Rush Creek after a big flood returned water to it in the mid-1980s for the first time in decades (see page 11). I wanted to feel connected to Mono Lake on that very important day for us, and as Judge Eller pronounced us married, I did.

So many people feel connected to Mono Lake, and never more than during exciting periods of weather. This February has brought more days with snow than without, and we hear from (more…)

Monitoring Mono Lake’s level by ski

Friday, March 8th, 2019 by Maureen, Membership Assistant

In a winter full of snow, getting down to the lake has been a bit more challenging and a lot more fun.

A calm lake surface in not only incredibly scenic but ideal for lake level readings. With the onslaught of storms we’ve experienced this winter, a glassy lake has been a rare sight. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The Mono Lake Committee monitors Mono Lake’s level throughout the year, at least once a month and usually more frequently. You can find monthly lake levels going back to 1971 here. The most important lake level reading of the year happens on (more…)

February 2019 was Lee Vining’s snowiest February on record

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Wow! With 53.3″ of snowfall, February 2019 was Lee Vining’s snowiest February on record. The Lee Vining record begins in 1989, with the previous record 49.0″ of total snowfall in February 1998.

February 2019 was Lee Vining’s snowiest February on record, and included days when it was possible to ski along the shore of Mono Lake. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Total snowfall for January and February 2019 was the third-largest on record with 78.5″, lagging behind the same time-frame in 2008 with 91.4″ of snow and 1993 with 81.2″ of snow. Snowfall this past February was 313% of average, and the January–February total was 209% of average. The (more…)

A storm to remember

Sunday, February 10th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Last Friday, February 1st, a few snowflakes began to fall as we were leaving work for the day. Anticipating the forecasted storm, Mono Lake Committee staff hurried home to make sure woodpiles were covered and houses were ready for “the big storm.” And what a storm it was!

Day one at the Information Center & Bookstore. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

It started out slow, with only 4 inches of wet heavy snow falling overnight, but by Sunday, the temperatures had dropped and 9 more inches of dry fluffy snow had (more…)

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