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Successful invasive sweet clover removal at Mono Lake

August 23rd, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern

This summer, Mono Lake Committee staff, volunteers, and guest naturalists made substantial progress toward removing invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus albus) from the Old Marina area. This annual project is a crucial piece of the Committee’s mission to restore native habitats throughout the Mono Basin.

Volunteers Joy and Maddog add to the growing pile of pulled sweet clover. Photo by Nigel Bates.

Sweet clover can quickly overtake an ecosystem if it is not held in check, so our yearly invasive removal events are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. Over the course of two mornings, we removed 199.75 pounds of sweet clover! This marked one of our most efficient summers ever, with each participant pulling an average of 17 pounds. Thanks to all of our volunteers for their hard work and good spirits.

As we pulled sweet clover, we were treated to informal lectures by our guest naturalists … more »

“The Longest Straw” documentary showing at the Mono Lake Committee

August 21st, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

The Mono Lake Committee will be hosting another screening of the documentary The Longest Straw, this Friday, August 24 at 7:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

The Longest Straw follows director Samantha Bode as she backpacks the 338-mile-long stretch of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. During her journey she speaks with community leaders, advocates, and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. She finishes her 65-day hike at the source of Los Angeles’ water supply in the Mono Basin. Samantha’s experience provides insights into the effects of importing water on the surrounding communities and ecology.

Join us this Friday for the free screening. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Please contact me by email or at (760) 647-6595 with any questions.

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: April Sall

August 20th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern

Although new to the Mono Lake Volunteer program, April Sall is no stranger to environmental advocacy. Originally from the California desert, she worked as a biologist for the National Park Service in Joshua Tree National Park before moving to the Eastern Sierra two years ago.

April enjoys spending time outside with her dog. Photo courtesy of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership.

She is currently the director of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership; a non-profit that works to preserve and protect the Bodie Hills. Her main objective right now is to secure permanent protection for the area that is currently undesignated BLM land and Wilderness Study Areas. April manages and … more »

Refreshing’ Ologists: Mono Basin glaciers with Jace Shuler

August 18th, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

Join us on Wednesday, August 22 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Jace Shuler will be presenting his findings from his undergraduate research project on glaciers in the Mono Basin.

Changes in the Kuna glacier (left) and the Koip glacier (right) between 1985 (top) and 2014 (bottom). Photos courtesy of Jace Shuler.

Jace will discuss the status of the four glaciers in the Mono Basin—Conness, Dana, Kuna, and Koip glaciers. He has been using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and aerial photos to examine how the surface area of the glaciers has changed since 1951, as well as working on how we can use the same tools to forecast the glaciers’ future. It’s important to educate both the public and policymakers about the effects of climate change on the Mono Basin, and Jace’s work contributes to that effort.

Celebrate clean air with a discount on Mono Lake canoe tours

August 17th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

The Ferguson Fire, which started burning on July 13, 2018 near the western edge of Yosemite National Park, is finally nearing full containment after over a month of hard work by firefighters and response crews. Yosemite Valley was closed for almost two weeks due to road closures and hazardous air quality, but the valley has officially reopened to the public. While the Ferguson Fire is still burning, it is 87% contained as of August 17 and air quality within the park as well as in the surrounding gateway communities has improved drastically.

Anna, Mono Lake Intern, prepares to lead a smoky canoe tour on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Here at the Mono Lake Committee we were lucky to have clean enough air in the mornings to run all of our scheduled canoe tours despite the generally poor air quality, but visibility was low and views of the surrounding mountains were scarce. … more »

Saline sisters: A look at Mono Lake’s sister lakes

August 15th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern

Mono Lake has many things that make it unique (like Artemia monica, a species of brine shrimp that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world), but there are many other saline lakes around the world that are unique in their own way. These lakes provide important bird habitat and support similar ecosystems—some of them even have tufa towers!

The dry white lakebed shows how much Lake Aibi in China has shrunk. Photo courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory; image by Robert Simmon and Adam Voiland using USGS Landsat data.

What sets Mono Lake apart, however, is an unrivaled level of protection and science-based advocacy. Many of Mono Lake’s sister lakes are imperiled due to agriculture, mineral extraction, climate change, and … more »

Yosemite Valley to reopen on Tuesday, August 14

August 12th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern

Yosemite Valley will be reopening to visitors on Tuesday, August 14 at 9:00am. The valley has been closed to visitors since July 25 due to the Ferguson Fire burning near the park.

Access to the valley will be available from the El Portal Road (Highway 140), the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), or the Tioga Road (Highway 120).

The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias will reopen on Monday, August 13 at 9:00am. Visitors will be able to access the Mariposa Grove via the South Entrance (Highway 41) and park in the newly constructed parking area.

The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias reopened to visitors on June 14 after a three-year restoration project in partnership with the Yosemite Conservancy. Photo courtesy of

Although the South Entrance will be open in order to provide access to the Mariposa Grove and Wawona, there will be no access to Yosemite Valley via Highway 41. … more »

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Maddog

August 12th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern

Maddog, spring. She says that making tasks fun is one of the best parts of volunteering. Photo courtesy of Maddog.

If you’ve ever walked down the boardwalk at Mono Lake County Park, or taken a sunset stroll at South Tufa, you have Maddog to thank for the clear trail. A dedicated volunteer since 2011, Maddog has spent many hours tearing out stinging nettle at County Park, repairing the stairs at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, and trimming back the overgrown brush along the trail at South Tufa. “It’s a good way to give back,” she says of her time spent volunteering.

Although born in New York, Maddog moved around a lot in her childhood—spending time in more than eight different states before moving to Hawthorne, Nevada in 2004. She first visited Mono Lake in 2010 and was inspired to become … more »

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Greater Sage-Grouse in Mono County with Mary Meyerpeter

August 11th, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

Join us on Wednesday, August 15 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation.

Mary Meyerpeter (right) taking measurements from a bi-state Greater Sage-Grouse in the Bodie Hills before its relocation to Parker Meadow. Photo courtesy of Dan Hottle, USFWS.

USGS biological science technician Mary Meyerpeter will be here to discuss her research on the bi-state Greater Sage-Grouse around Mono County. As part of a multi-agency project, Mary and other researchers are translocating the Sage-Grouse from the Bodie Hills to leks (breeding areas) in Parker Meadow.

The bi-state Greater Sage-Grouse are a genetically distinct … more »

Falling for the Migration seminars: Space available!

August 10th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

The summer is waning, the canyons are quieting down, birds have reared their chicks, and the young are independent as they prepare to head south to warmer climes for the winter. The Eastern Sierra is a great place to bird at this time, as the higher-elevation migrants move down to the lower basins and the birds from farther north pass through this corridor on their journey south.

A Least Sandpiper at Mono Lake. Photo by Santiago M. Escruceria.

There is space available in two amazing field seminars next week; now is your chance to watch the birds as they begin an incredible migration that will take many of them thousands of miles. Falling for the Migration: Bridgeport Valley & Mono Basin is August 16–17, and its partner seminar, Falling for the Migration: Crowley, Mammoth, Mono is August 18–19. You can sign up here or visit our field seminar page for more information.

Beginners as well as experts will enjoy these … more »

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