Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Operation Invasives: Day 3

This post was written by Julia Runcie, 2010 Mono Lake Intern.

Weeding is a remarkably therapeutic activity. It’s easy to fall into a rhythm, letting your mind drift along with the current as you tug at clover roots in a shady nook along Mill Creek’s bank. Every now and then you take a break, settling back with some fresh fruit and cookies (courtesy of the Mono Lake Committee) to admire the view of Gilcrest and Dunderberg flanking Lundy Canyon to the west. After a couple of hours your work is done, and you load the weeds into garbage bags and drive back to the Committee for the most exciting part of the morning: the weigh-in. We take turns balancing the ungainly bags on the Committee’s rickety little postal scale, calling out the totals to an intern standing by with a clipboard. The haul is always more impressive than anyone expected: last Wednesday, for example, Pulling Party #2 brought in 173 pounds of sweet clover, eradicating the weed from almost a third of a mile on both sides of Mill Creek!

The moment of truth! Weeds are weighed outside the Mono Lake Committee office. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.
The moment of truth! Weeds are weighed outside the Mono Lake Committee office. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Weeding’s fun, sure, but it’s also one of the most effective ways of giving native plant communities a chance to reestablish themselves along the fragile streams of the Mono Basin. If you’re interested in a pleasant morning of giving our riparian ecosystems a helping hand, come to our next pulling party! It will be held from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Wednesday, August 25 at the Mill Creek Culvert on Cemetery Road. Meet at 9:00am at the Mono Lake Committee if you’d like to carpool, or join us later on at the culvert if it’s more convenient for you. We’ll provide trowels, gloves, trash bags, and, of course, delicious snacks. Hope to see you on Wednesday!