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Tioga Pass will open Monday, May 21 at 9:00am

May 18th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

News from Yosemite National Park: Tioga Pass (Highway 120) will open all the way through the park on Monday, May 21 at 9:00am.

Tioga Pass will open Monday, May 21, 2018 at 9:00am for the season. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

It’s official! Tioga Pass will open Monday, May 21, 2018 at 9:00am.

Additional information about the road opening:

  • Tioga Road is a seasonal road through Yosemite National Park, typically open from late spring to early fall. All motorists should drive with caution and be aware of possible hazards in the roadway, including rocks, debris, and water. Tioga Road may be impacted by incoming storm activity, including snow and icy driving conditions, over the next week. Tioga Road may temporarily close due to weather and unsafe driving conditions at any time.
  • To check current road conditions for Tioga Pass call (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1). 
  • There will be limited services available along Tioga Road.
  • All campgrounds along Tioga Road remain closed.
  • There is no anticipated opening date for the Tuolumne Meadows store and the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. The Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center will open on Monday, and will also serve as a temporary visitor center. There is no gasoline available along Tioga Road.
  • The closest gas station to the west is located at Crane Flat.

If you plan to travel over Tioga Pass, we highly recommend calling the road conditions line (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1) before you leave. Other helpful links:

2018 Andrea Lawrence Award presented to Phil Pister

May 8th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

Community members, friends, and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain’s Parallax Restaurant last Friday to present longtime golden trout and desert fish conservationist Phil Pister with the Andrea Lawrence Award.

Geoff McQuilkin and Quentin Lawrence with Phil Pister, recipient of the 2018 Andrea Lawrence Award. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Phil spent his career with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (at the time called Fish & Game) protecting the biodiversity of fish populations in the Eastern Sierra and beyond. Phil is perhaps best known for saving the Owens pupfish from near extinction by scooping the last-surviving, inch-long fish from their shrinking pond and carrying them to safety in two buckets. On this topic, in the magazine Natural History, Phil wrote, “I literally held within my hands the existence of an entire vertebrate species. If I had tripped over a piece of barbed wire or stepped into a rodent burrow, the Owens pupfish would now be extinct! But good fortune smiled upon us, and the recovery continues today.”

While saving a species from extinction is worthy of an award in and of itself, Phil has … more »

Additional Mono Basin campgrounds open for the season

April 28th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Several Mono Basin campgrounds have opened this weekend for fishing season opener. Most campgrounds along the June Lake Loop are now open, in addition to a few campgrounds in Lee Vining and Lundy canyons.

Lundy Canyon campground is now open for the season. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

… more »

Sign up for a Mono Lake canoe tour today

April 27th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Celebrate the Mono Lake Committee’s fortieth anniversary this summer by taking a guided canoe tour!

Experience Mono Lake in a new way by joining a guided canoe tour this summer. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Canoeing on Mono Lake is an unforgettable experience. See the lake in a completely new way as you float over bubbling springs forming new tufa towers, examine some of the trillions of tiny brine shrimp that inhabit the lake, and experience the peace and tranquility of this wild place. Prepare to take in breathtaking views of the Mono Basin and the dramatic Sierra Nevada crest, which rises 6,000 feet above the lake. … more »

Adopt-A-Highway cleanup for Earth Day

April 23rd, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

This past Saturday, to celebrate Earth Day, Mono Lake Committee staff Andrew, Robbie, and myself, plus board member Sherryl Taylor picked up litter along our adopted one-mile stretch of Highway 395, just south of Lee Vining. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the opportunity to spend time in the warm spring sun.

Sherryl, Gabby, and Robbie tackle the west side of our adopted stretch of Highway 395. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

After two hours we had collected five bags of trash and two of recyclables, and the highway was looking much better. Thank you to Sherryl and all of the volunteers who continue to make this project possible. If you are interested in helping out at our next Adopt-A-Highway cleanup, please call Jessica at (760) 647-6595.

Robbie carries a bag of litter collected from the highway. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

2018 lake level forecast: Will Mono Lake rise or drop this year?

April 20th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

In April, once a new runoff year (April 1 to March 31) has begun, the Mono Lake Committee forecasts what Mono Lake’s level is likely to do over the next year. And the answer? According to our forecast, Mono Lake is likely to drop a little less than a foot.

This graph shows the range of possible Mono Lake elevations for the time period of April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The “highest likely” and “lowest likely” projections are produced by Committee modeling using historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can reasonably be expected given current conditions. Mono Lake Committee graph (click to enlarge).

To forecast Mono Lake’s level for a whole runoff year, we read the lake level gauge on April 1 to get the starting point, and then factor the runoff forecast into the equation to predict what Mono Lake might do going forward. When we read the lake level gauge on April 1 together with staff from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power the lake was 6381.9 feet above sea level. As of April 16 the runoff forecast is 85% of average. Using those two data points, plus historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can be reasonably expected given current conditions, our modeling indicates that the most probable lake level for March 31, 2019 is 6381.1 feet above sea level.

Returning a rescued Eared Grebe to Mono Lake

April 19th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On Monday, in the midst of a fiercely cold and windy snow storm, a traveling couple found an Eared Grebe in a snowbank on the side of Highway 395 near Deadman Summit. These compassionate souls scooped the small bird up into a towel and emptied their lunch out of their cooler and placed the bird inside. They drove on and brought the little guy into the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore to ask for our advice.

This male Eared Grebe in breeding plumage had flown into a snowbank, but was uninjured. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Luckily, this is not our first rodeo. We know that Eared Grebes often try to land on wet asphalt because it reflects light and resembles a body of water. Perhaps it was too windy for this poor flyer to stay in the sky on his way north to his breeding grounds. … more »

Local Mono Lake Committee Scholarship application now online

April 18th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director

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 Friday May 11, 2018 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 Gabrielle Renteria by email or by calling (760) 647-6595 x103.

Project Specialist Gabrielle and Executive Director Geoff with Mono Lake Committee scholarship recipient Charles at the 2017 Lee Vining High School graduation. Photo courtesy of David Carle.

Mono Lake Committee supports Prop 68

April 16th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee is encouraging California voters to support Proposition 68, the California Clean Water & Safe Parks Act, in the upcoming June election. The measure was created with bipartisan support in the legislature and provides $4 billion to address important park, water, and natural resource needs. Among the many statewide benefits, including important clean water and parks access provisions for underserved communities, Prop 68 contains components that are important for Mono Lake.

Members of the Los Angeles community group East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice vising the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Funding for existing State Parks could improve infrastructure at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and funding dedicated to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy will benefit resource management in the Mono Basin. There is funding for climate change planning, habitat resiliency, and watershed restoration project, which will support priorities that the Committee sees as critical to protecting Mono Lake’s long-term health. … more »

Fishing season opener, Mono Basin campgrounds opening

April 12th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As we gear up for fishing season opener on Saturday, April 28, most campgrounds along the June Lake Loop are set to open the week before, dependent on the weather.

Fishing season opens on Saturday, April 28 this year. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Lower Lee Vining Creek
Lower Lee Vining, Aspen, and Big Bend campgrounds do not have estimated opening dates yet, but the Inyo National Forest hopes to get them open before fishing opener. There is no estimated opening date for the Lundy Canyon campground yet. … more »

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