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It takes a village to raise a pond: Working to revitalize the DeChambeau Ponds once again

October 1st, 2020 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician

(Click to enlarge.The current DeChambeau Ponds water distribution system: Arrows show the direction water moves through the system when the hot pipe is fully functioning and the ponds are full. Less than 1 cfs of Mill Creek water flows from the Wilson system into pond #2 through the DeChambeau pipe. A rupture in the hot water pipe leaks water into pond #4 at the expense of ponds #1, #2, and #3. Water from pond #4 is piped to the County Ponds. satellite image from Google Earth, Mono Lake Committee mapping.

The DeChambeau Ponds are four managed ponds, each between one and two acres in size; combined, they make up about six acres of open water that attract a wide variety of waterfowl and other birds. This year, however, the ponds reached a critical threshold of disrepair that threatens this vital habitat.

A history of collaboration

The DeChambeau Ponds, located near the north shore of Mono Lake, are managed by the Inyo National Forest, which acquired them in 1991 in a leaky state of disrepair. The Mono Lake Committee secured funding in collaboration with the Inyo National Forest, Ducks Unlimited, the California Transportation Commission, and local residents to rehabilitate the ponds, and because of that successful effort they have served as waterfowl habitat for nearly two decades.

Given the tremendous loss of … more »

Reopening: Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore

September 30th, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be reopening for in-store shopping and in-person travel advice beginning Friday, October 2. We are so excited to finally welcome members, friends, and travelers back into the store.

Our plans are evolving in real time—as they have been all year!—and initially we will be open for weekends only: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Any updates or changes will be posted here on the Mono-logue as well as social media and other websites that display our hours, like Google and Yelp.

Please stop in if you’re in the Eastern Sierra! We have lots of … more »

Happy September 28th! (Mono Lake holiday)

September 28th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

The wildfire smoke was merciful down at the lakeshore this morning as we marked this important Mono Lake anniversary with a live stream. Staff members Maureen and Robbie read the lake level, and Mono Lake Committee Board Member Tom Soto and Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin talked about what exactly September 28, 2020 has meant and will continue to mean for Mono Lake’s future. If you missed it live, you can see it here.

The lake measured in at 6381.47 feet above sea level, which is effectively 10.5 feet below the mandated healthy lake level goal of 6392. We’ve got a ways to go, but the fundamentals behind the State Water Board’s historic decision remain solid.

While it’s hard to muster celebratory cheer right now, a little time down at Mono Lake is always good for the soul.

Celebrate September 28th at Mono Lake with us

September 24th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

This Monday, September 28th we will celebrate with a live stream reading of the lake level gauge at Mono Lake. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

  • What: Celebrate September 28th virtually with us at Mono Lake!
  • When: 9:00am, Monday, September 28, 2020*
  • Where: Facebook
  • Why: On September 28, 1994 the State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to approve Decision 1631, the mandate we often refer to as the decision to “Save Mono Lake.”

At that time, decades of excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power had caused the lake to decline precipitously, imperiling millions of migratory and nesting birds, causing toxic dust storms harmful to human health, and drying up miles of tributary stream habitat.

Court rulings regarding the lake and stream supported taking action, which is exactly what the State Water Board did. Storm Over Mono author John Hart writes, “At Mono Lake in 1994, for the first time ever in California, water was removed from the grasp of an anointed appropriative user and assigned, not to some rival diverter, but to an environmental purpose: the restoration of the lake and its feeder streams.” … more »

2022 Mono Lake Calendar call for photo submissions

September 22nd, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee invites you to submit photographs for the 2022 Mono Lake Calendar—we are seeking photographs of the highest caliber that capture the spirit and reflect the unique qualities of Mono Lake, its tributary streams, the high country, and wildlife of the Mono Basin.

Find the submission guidelines and forms here. The deadline for submissions, as always, is October 31.

We are looking for images of scenes within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake, and possible subjects include, but are not limited to: … more »

New legislation seeks federal recognition of Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe

September 20th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

“The Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe have existed for time immemorial in the Mono Basin,” wrote Representative Paul Cook in the opening statement of a new bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives, which seeks federal recognition of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe.

The bill reflects decades of work and centuries of resilience by members of the Tribe. Charlotte Lange, Chairperson of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe, said, “the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe has been enduring the process of recognition for decades. … more »

Yosemite National Park closing tonight at 5:00pm

September 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, Yosemite National Park will close to all visitors and vehicular access due to hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke. All park entrance stations and roads will be closed.

Yosemite National Park is closing at 5:00pm on Thursday, September 17, 2020 due to hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke. Photo courtesy of Yosemite National Park.

Anyone planning to drive through the park on Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) will need to take an alternate route through the mountains. The park will reopen when conditions improve and it is safe for people to return. See more details about the closure here.

Kings Canyon National Park will also close tonight. Sequoia National Park closed on September 15, and all of California’s National Forests are still closed at least until September 21.

Here at Mono Lake we also have hazardous air quality due to wildfire smoke. We’re hunkered down in our home offices, thinking of everyone around the West who is affected by fires and smoke this year.

A star from the Mono Basin Scenic Area’s past retires

September 10th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Deanna Dulen, Superintendent of Devils Postpile National Monument and former Director of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center, retired in May 2020 after a four-decade career working for federal land management agencies.

Deanna Dulen at Rainbow Falls in Devils Postpile National Monument. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Deanna was the first director of the Mono Basin Visitor Center in 1991, and her nine years of dedicated work at Mono Lake shaped a world-class visitor center and interpretive resource for the recently established Scenic Area. Deanna rigorously sought … more »

Inyo National Forest closes starting at 5:00pm tonight

September 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, the Inyo National Forest will close temporarily due to extreme fire danger and firefighting resources that are already stretched thin.

The closure includes all campgrounds, all day-use sites, all trails, all roads, all recreation, and all dispersed camping. It affects Mono Lake, which is within the Inyo National Forest, and is already partially closed at the South Tufa and Navy Beach areas.

The closure will be in place for at least one week, and then starting on September 14th will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change. Update: Since the closure was put in place on September 7th it has been extended week by week, at least through October 8th. See the Forest Service’s Region 5 website for the latest closure orders.

Seven other National Forests will close tonight: … more »

South Tufa & Navy Beach will remain closed through Labor Day weekend

September 3rd, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

South Tufa and Navy Beach will remain closed through the Labor Day holiday weekend in the wake of the Beach Fire, which burned nearly 3,800 acres in mid-August.

South Tufa and Navy Beach are closed after the Beach Fire burned nearly 4,000 acres along the southeast shore of Mono Lake in mid-August. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The fire is now completely out, but California State Parks staff is still assessing resource damage and preparing signs and barriers to keep visitors on established roads and pathways. They report that some tufa was scorched, but there’s been no serious damage to … more »

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