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A burning solution to the Bassia problem

Friday, February 21st, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

In a monumental effort, the Inyo National Forest, in partnership with the Mono Lake Committee, conducted a series of prescribed fires with the specific goal of restoring California Gull breeding habitat on the islands in Mono Lake.

The Bassia caught fire better than expected in February’s warm, dry weather, so the Inyo fire crew burned as much as possible over two days. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Working between episodes of wintry weather, the Committee and Inyo fire personnel raced to mitigate the impact of a troublesome invasive plant, Bassia hyssopifolia, that has grown to cover over 70% of the Negit Islets and is preventing California Gulls from nesting successfully.

Despite an initial, discouraging assessment of how well the weeds might burn, in mid-February a long-planned prescribed fire moved forward and resulted in (more…)

Prescribed fire on Mono Lake’s islet in the LA Times

Saturday, February 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Louis Sahagun accompanied Mono Lake Committee staff and Inyo National Forest fire personnel to Twain Islet yesterday for the prescribed burn to restore California Gull habitat taken over by the invasive weed Bassia hyssopifolia. Check out Louis’ article here, and if you get the paper, watch for it in tomorrow’s Sunday edition!

Smoke signals good news for Mono Lake’s California Gulls

Friday, February 14th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

If you were lucky enough to be in the Mono Basin—or if you checked out the webcam—the past two crystal clear, glassy water, calm days, you likely would have noticed something unusual rising out over Mono Lake—smoke.

There is no cause for alarm, it’s actually a good sign—especially for California Gulls whose nesting grounds on the Negit Islets are being cleared of an invasive weed in time for the 2020 nesting season.

After much consideration, the Inyo National Forest, Mono Lake Committee, and Point Blue Conservation Science concluded the most efficient course of action was to pursue a prescribed burn to eradicate the invasive weed taking over the gull nesting grounds. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

In a partnership born out of a mutual interest in this critical wildlife habitat protection effort in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, the Inyo National Forest, the Mono Lake Committee, and Point Blue Conservation Science have been planning and working towards a solution to the recent invasion of Bassia hyssopifolia for three years. The smoke rising from the islets is from a prescribed burn being done to protect gull nesting habitat.

The Mono Lake Committee advocated for a prescribed burn (more…)

Dave McCoy, Eastern Sierra ski industry innovator

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

Dave McCoy’s recent passing at age 104 has many in the Mammoth Lakes area and beyond reminiscing about how his legacy and spirit shaped the recreational and cultural landscape of the Eastern Sierra.

Dave McCoy, 1915–2020. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Like we do here at the Mono Lake Committee, Dave paid a lot of attention to the Sierra snowpack, starting as a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in the late 1930s. It was during that career that he first envisioned a ski area on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain.

Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin said, “We will miss him—he was an icon of the Eastern Sierra spirit of fun, adventure, and self-reliance.”

Road to Bodie State Historic Park to re-open on February 7

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Highway 270, the Bodie Road, will re-open from its winter closure on Friday, February 7 at 10:00am.

Photo of a snowy Bodie taken about 1911–1912. Photo courtesy of California State Parks.

This will allow motorists to reach Bodie State Historic Park, but if significant winter weather resumes, the road may be closed once again. In winter, Bodie is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm every day.

2019 in review: The 5-Mile Radius challenge at Mono Lake

Monday, January 6th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

A coyote trots along the wintry shore of Mono Lake on January 1, 2019. Photo by Nora Livingston.

In 2019, I set out to dig deeper into the natural history of the Mono Basin so I can better share it with visitors and locals alike. I took on a quest called the 5-Mile Radius (5MR) challenge that focuses on getting to know the flora and fauna within five miles of my home. It is more than keeping lists of birds seen and plants found—it is a way to pay careful attention to my community. It is a way to fall in love every time I set foot outside my door. In my particular case, it is also (more…)

Happy holidays from the Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season.

Photos courtesy of Rick Kattelmann, Robb Hirsch, David Carle, and Nora Livingston.

Time lapse video: Watch Mono Lake rise a foot before your eyes

Friday, December 20th, 2019 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

In 2019, Mono Lake an entire vertical foot. Watch below for a quick time lapse video showing the this past summer’s lake rise and see the shoreline change by the day.

It has been an exciting year for Mono Lake and its tributary streams with the lake rising a foot and the best possible streamflows secured on Rush, Lee Vining, Parker, and Walker creeks.

We hope you’ll consider sending a year-end gift today to help the Committee prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2020. The protection and restoration of Mono Lake is ongoing; we’re grateful that your support is, too. Thank you.

Calling Mono Lake photographers!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Submitting images for consideration for the Mono Lake Calendar has never been easier, so if you have a beautiful shot, we’d love to see it! Now is the time—the deadline is next Thursday, October 31, 2019, and you can find submission information here.

2020 Mono Lake Calendar

We are looking for images of scenes within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake, and possible subjects include, but are not limited to: plants, geologic features, streams, (more…)

Fall 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

Friday, October 18th, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

The 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

In a blink, summer 2019 came to a close and another excellent group of seasonal staff headed out into the world, in one way or another changed by their time spent in the Mono Basin.

When not answering questions on the front counter, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant Kevin Brown also presented his talk, “Save the Pupfish! History, Water, and the Surprising Persistence of the Devils Hole Pupfish,” at our Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists lecture series.

Merryn Venugopal is sticking around the Eastern Sierra for the winter after a great summer as Information Center & Bookstore Assistant. We were fortunate to have her professionalism and experience with retail systems at the front counter all season. (more…)

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