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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…)

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…)

Fall colors are just starting in the Mono Basin

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 by Krista, Birding Intern

Autumn in the Eastern Sierra is a captivating time of year. After a busy summer of growth and renewal, vibrant pockets of yellow, gold, and red spills down steep canyon walls and across hilltops. Most of the birds have flown south for the winter, and the autumn leaves quiver and shine throughout a silent landscape. Though the fall colors have just started to pop up in isolated pockets throughout the Eastern Sierra, the crisp clean air announces more fall splendor to come soon!

Lundy Canyon fall color on 9/26/19. Photo by Krista Fanucchi.

Some small groups of aspen are just starting to change color along the June Lake Loop (7,654′), in Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′), and (more…)

2021 Mono Lake Calendar submission deadline is approaching

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

We hope you are planning to submit your Mono Lake and Mono Basin photos for the 2021 Mono Lake Calendar jury selection this year. The deadline is Wednesday, October 31, 2019, and you can find submission information here.

Photos courtesy of John Dittli, Jessica Tallman, Dennis Flaherty.

We encourage you to submit high-quality photographs that you feel best capture the spirit of the Mono Basin’s geological and ecological wonders. To be selected for inclusion (more…)

Trail Chic: Lee Vining’s fashion icons emerge to support outdoor education

Monday, July 29th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Mono Lake Committee staff and other Lee Vining residents hit the astroturf runway on July 20 for the Eastern Sierra’s most anticipated event of the year—the Trail Chic Fashion Show Fundraiser.

This year’s group of runway walkers at the Trail Chic Fashion Show Fundraiser. Photo by Elin Ljung.

A fundraiser for the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Center (OEC) Access Fund, the Trail Chic Fashion Show raised enough money this year to bring nine future OEC groups to the Mono Basin for five days of life-changing outdoor activities while learning about the source of their water. (more…)

Tioga Pass watch: Current conditions

Monday, May 20th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Dana Meadows, at the top of Tioga Pass, looking northeast towards Tioga Peak. Photo by Nora Livingston.

On Saturday, May 18, I tagged along with a researcher studying sparrows up Tioga Pass. We drove all the way to the Yosemite National Park entrance station to check out the current conditions and set up a weather station for her study plot. It is still a winter wonderland up there! (more…)

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