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Video: Osprey banding at Mono Lake

Monday, August 24th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

Take a peek at this year’s Osprey banding at Mono Lake in this short video by Sarinah Simons of California State Parks!

Osprey banding is an important component of the ongoing bird research in the Mono Basin. This year, Nora Livingston, Lead Naturalist Guide for the Mono Lake Committee, assisted Ashli Lewis, a wildlife biologist with California State Parks, and Peter Bloom, a raptor biologist, with their banding efforts.

In the video you’ll see people climbing tufa towers to reach the Osprey nests, which they have special permission to do. When you visit Mono Lake, please remember—do not climb on, stand on, or damage the tufa in any way.

Though there are no fish in Mono Lake for Osprey to eat (more…)

Firefighters close to containing Mono Lake’s Beach Fire

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

While lightning-sparked fires spread across Northern California, at Mono Lake, the Beach Fire is nearly contained.

The Beach Fire burned between South Tufa and Navy Beach, scorching some tufa towers. The main tufa groves are undamaged. Photo by Rose Nelson.

Lightning ignited the sagebrush and rabbitbrush uplands of the south shore of Mono Lake on the evening of August 16 and as of August 19, a total of 3,780 acres had burned. The fire has burned between South Tufa and Navy Beach (more…)

Beach Fire ignited by lightning near Mono Lake’s southeast shore

Monday, August 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last night at about 6:30pm lightning ignited the Beach Fire southeast of Mono Lake, which is estimated to be 1,650 acres in size and 20% contained as of this morning, according to the Inyo National Forest. It is being “aggressively suppressed.”

A view of the Beach Fire from Highway 120 East yesterday evening as it flared up, driven by gusty winds from the east. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Mono Lake Committee staff who volunteer on the Lee Vining Fire Department were among the first responders to the fire, and staff who live north of Mono Lake got a good view of the plume of smoke with storm clouds to the east of it. (more…)

Tioga Inn indecision

Friday, August 14th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The largest project of its kind ever proposed in unincorporated Mono County, the Tioga Inn project final decision continues on, yet again, to an uncertain date. The Mono County Board of Supervisors adjourned the latest hearing last week without making a decision on the project.

Last fall, the developer, Mono County staff, Mono County Planning Commission, and members of the public visited the Mobil Mart to walk the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The developer advocated for the most recent “Alternative #7 – Hybrid Plan,” along with other last-minute project changes, and the public expressed overwhelming opposition and insightful and relevant comments regarding project impacts, hydrology questions, and CEQA concerns. Including the Planning Commission meeting last April, the August 6 hearing was the third time that the local community and the public had expressed consistent and near-universal opposition to the project.

There was no (more…)

Tioga Inn project decision kicked down the road

Thursday, August 6th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

Following eight hours of presentation, public comment, and deliberation on the Tioga Inn project, today the Mono County Board of Supervisors decided to continue gathering information on the project details and outstanding questions, and postponed a decision until a later, unspecified, date.

Belt of Venus, Mono Lake by Jeff Sullivan

The view from South Tufa towards Tioga Pass, and the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

This action comes as yet another twist in what has been an extremely lengthy process. We will report with further information and analysis of this new situation, here, shortly.

Click here for more background information on the Tioga Inn project.

Tioga Inn project: Changes get disappointing grades before final hearing on August 6

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

This Thursday, August 6, at 10:00am the Mono County Board of Supervisors will conduct a final hearing on the Tioga Inn project. After a lengthy hearing in June the Board gave the developer and staff direction to bring back significant design improvements to address visual impacts, fire concerns, and to add a safe pedestrian route between Lee Vining and the project site.

Community members speaking during the Tioga Inn hearing before the Board of Supervisors in June. Photo by Rose Nelson.

The revised project before the Board shows some progress on addressing visual impacts but falls woefully short on safety and fire protection. For example, the final proposal does not include a safe pedestrian route, isolating future residents from Lee Vining and providing no way for students to walk to school. The original five significant adverse impacts remain with the project, and Board must vote to accept these impacts without mitigation if they vote to approve the project this Thursday.

The developer’s new “Alternative #7-Hybrid Plan” is identified as the “Preferred Alternative.” How is it different from what the Board considered in late June? (more…)

Another public hearing on the Tioga Inn project: August 6, 2020

Friday, July 31st, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The Mono County planning staff have released the agenda and Board Packet for the Board of Supervisors special meeting on the Tioga Inn project on Thursday, August 6 at 10:00am.

Belt of Venus, Mono Lake by Jeff Sullivan

The view from South Tufa towards Tioga Pass, and the site of the Tioga Inn project. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

The Board has the final authority to approve, modify, or deny the Tioga Inn project, which, at this time includes a new “hybrid” alternative that takes into consideration the board’s request for additional information on several aspects of the project that were the result of the last hearing in June.

This is yet another public hearing on this project. Despite board direction to modify the project, the project proponent is making a final attempt to (more…)

2020 Phalarope surveys begin at Mono Lake

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

As the Wilson’s and Red-Necked Phalaropes return to Mono Lake this summer, so do the folks who are studying these captivating birds.

This summer’s Mono Lake phalarope surveys started last week, conducted by staff from Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, California State Parks, and the Mono Lake Committee. Photo courtesy of Ryan Carle.

Last week the first of this summer’s surveys was conducted by boat and from shore to monitor the birds’ population status here at Mono Lake. That data will be utilized to gain a deeper understanding of the health of the two species across North and South America.

The study is spearheaded by Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge’s Ryan Carle, and continues (more…)

Mono Lake Committee online store reopens for mail delivery and pickup

Monday, July 20th, 2020 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

While our Information Center & Bookstore remains closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still support the Mono Lake Committee with the purchase of books and Mono Lake products online in our newly remodeled online store.

Use promo code SHOPONLINE to save 15% on orders over $50 through the end of July on the Mono Lake Committee’s new online store.

If you happen to be stopping in Lee Vining, you can even pick up your order right from our door on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30am to 3:00pm (be sure to select the pickup option on the checkout page).

Our online store is stocked with (more…)

California Gulls return to nest on Mono Lake islet after prescribed burn

Sunday, July 19th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Thanks to a series of memorable weed eradication efforts last winter and spring, California Gulls have returned to nest in healthy numbers on Twain Islet in Mono Lake.

Photo courtesy of Point Blue Conservation Science.

This summer’s California Gull research, conducted by Point Blue Conservation Science, revealed healthy numbers of California Gulls occupying nesting habitat formerly covered by the invasive plant Bassia hyssopifolia.

Through a combination of prescribed burning and (more…)

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