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Lake level forecast report: net lake rise of 1.5 feet this water year

May 2nd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

April 1 is the start of the 2019–2020 runoff year, celebrated by the official reading of the lake level. From there both the Mono Lake Committee and DWP take snowpack numbers, similar year types, and a bunch of other statistical data, crunch it all together, and come up with the Mono Lake Level Forecast report for the runoff year.

This year’s forecast is for a 1.5 foot net rise, which means that on April 1, 2020 we expect Mono Lake to be 1.5 feet higher than … more »

California Gulls at Mono Lake featured on Science Friday

May 1st, 2019 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

It wasn’t long ago when Mono Lake’s unique alkali flies made a splash in the news, and today another iconic Mono Basin animal is making headlines on Science Friday: the California Gull. Beloved by some and unpopular with others, the California Gull is a bird that is sure to generate a reaction—whether it’s of awe of their seasonal migration to inland salt lakes, like Mono, or of irritation because a clever gull once stole your ice cream cone.

Regardless of how you feel about California Gulls, Mono Lake provides a critical nesting habitat for these birds as well as an abundant natural food supply of brine shrimp and alkali flies. In the video posted today on Science Friday’s website, Kristie Nelson, Mono Lake Gull Project manager for Point Blue Conservation Science, discusses her research on this important population of birds at Mono Lake, numbering in the tens of thousands—one of the largest colonies of California Gulls in the world. I hope this video gives you a newfound appreciation for the gulls and Mono Lake.

Policy notes from the Mono Lake Newsletter

April 30th, 2019 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

Caltrans Lee Vining US 395 Rehab Project

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is developing plans for a new highway project along five miles of Highway 395.

Plans for the Caltrans Rehab Project include significant amenities for the town of Lee Vining, such as upgrading sidewalks and drainage, replacing pavement, and improving safety. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The project area is between Highway 120 west and Cemetery Road past The Mono Inn (see Fall 2018 Mono Lake Newsletter). The Lee Vining US 395 Rehab Project will replace pavement throughout the project area, improve sidewalks and curbs in Lee Vining, upgrade drainage systems, and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

While the in-town section allows for significant … more »

A growing problem for California Gulls: Invasive weed rapidly encroaches on nesting habitat

April 24th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Last century’s water diversions from the Mono Basin greatly changed the ecosystem of Mono Lake, and that legacy continues to test successive generations of California Gulls. A falling lake level, the first emergence of the landbridge in 1979, coyotes crossing to Negit Island, and gulls abandoning their once-secure breeding colony—these were tragic events. California Gulls (Larus californicus) became one of the rallying points for saving Mono Lake, and while the colony suffered, the birds adapted and shifted nesting to the newly-emerged islets adjacent to Negit that provided refuge from coyotes because they were still surrounded by water.

By 2018, Bassia hyssopifolia had spread rapidly on the Negit Islets, significantly reducing California Gull nesting habitat. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Challenges stack up

Because of lake level fluctuations the coyote problem never completely went away, and even … more »

Lundy Canyon inholding heading toward permanent protection

April 22nd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee, The Wilderness Land Trust, and Eastern Sierra Land Trust are partnering to permanently protect a 49.3-acre inholding in Lundy Canyon.

The property frames the upper entrance of this iconic Eastern Sierra canyon, is entirely within the Inyo National Forest, and includes a portion within the Hoover Wilderness and a portion adjacent to the Wilderness boundary within sight of the Lundy Canyon trailhead. This dramatic and scenic location is … more »

Register today for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

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

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 »

Mono Lake Committee local scholarship applications due May 22

April 19th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Rosalie, right, was presented with one of the 2018 Mono Lake Committee Scholarships at the Lee Vining High School graduation. Photo by Ellen King.

Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education and displaying a connection to Mono Lake with two $1,000 scholarships. High school seniors living in Mono County with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply.

Students are asked to visit Mono Lake and answer the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?

The application can be found here, and the deadline to apply is Wednesday May 22, 2019 by 5:00pm.

You can find essays written by past recipients here. If you have questions regarding the application or would like to donate to the scholarship fund please contact Arya Harp by email or by calling (760) 647-6595 x111.

Spring 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

April 17th, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

While many Mono Lake Committee staff migrate with the seasons, sightings of senior staff in migration are rare. This year, we have two of these noteworthy migrations afoot.

After 17 years as Eastern Sierra Policy Director, Lisa Cutting is moving into a part-time role as Associate Policy Director. Lisa started with the Committee as an intern in 1999 and quickly developed a deep commitment to the protection of Mono Lake and restoration of the tributary streams. She then … more »

Winners in the 2018 Free Drawing for Mono Lake

April 14th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

Thank you to everyone who entered the 2018 Free Drawing—your donations help us protect and restore Mono Lake! Congratulations to the winners, and a huge thank you to the generous businesses and organizations who donated prizes.

Maureen pulls a winning ticket in the 2018 Free Drawing for Mono Lake in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The iPad Mini 4 went to Marta Beryt of Fresno. Mono Basin retreat: Ross & Evelyn Kay Oswald of Glendora. Mammoth & June Mountain ski pass: … more »

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