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Efforts to rid Mono Lake’s islets of Bassia continue

March 12th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Since mid-February’s successful prescribed burn on Twain Islet to clear breeding habitat for California Gulls, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with the Inyo National Forest and Point Blue Conservation Science to schedule another burn before the gulls return to nest for the season.

Mono Lake Committee and State Parks staff returned to Twain Islet in late February to continue efforts to restore California Gull nesting habitat. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

However, a combination of windy and rainy weather, the complex logistics of getting all parties out to the islands, and Point Blue biologists’ observations of gulls already returning to Mono Lake means that the burn window has closed for this spring.

Even though … more »

Revised water license for DWP on the horizon: State Water Board expects finalization in 2020

March 11th, 2020 by Geoff, Executive Director

Over the past year, the California State Water Resources Control Board has been effectively advancing the long-running project of revising the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s (DWP) water license to include a set of next-generation stream restoration requirements agreed to in the Mono Basin Stream Restoration Agreement with the Mono Lake Committee.

Mono Lake’s tributaries will get streamflows that better mimic natural runoff patterns when DWP’s water license is amended to reflect the 2013 Mono Basin Stream Restoration Agreement. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Signed in fall 2013, following 15 years of stream studies and three years of intensive legal negotiations, the Agreement was a significant milestone for Mono Lake. It marked the completion of a major area of study required by the State Water Board and the launch of a new period of restoration at Mono Lake in which the Los Angeles Aqueduct serves the new additional purpose of healing streams. In this new era, the important ecological, wildlife, scenic, and economic values of Mono Lake and its tributary streams will be recognized equally alongside the water needs of Los Angeles.

Persistence pays off

In the years since signing the Agreement, the Committee has maintained constant pressure on … more »

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles is canceled

March 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We are sorry to announce that we must cancel the upcoming Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles out of an abundance of caution regarding the rapidly-evolving coronavirus situation in California.

With the common-sense recommendations from the CDC and other public health departments to keep a safe distance from other people and to avoid gatherings, we feel it would be too risky for everyone to be gathering at multiple, close-quarters events in theaters. We are heartbroken to share this news, and we continue to work through the difficulties that come with this decision.

We have worked hard on the Film Festival and we intend to reschedule it later this year. As we explore options for rescheduling we will be issuing full refunds to everyone who purchased tickets. If you bought tickets, please check your email (including your spam/junk folder) for more information.

Thank you for your support of this event—if you bought a ticket, made a donation, told a friend, or helped spread the word. We hope we’ll be able to see our Southern California members soon!

If you have any questions, please contact Digital Engagement Coordinator Andrew Youssef by email or call (760) 647-6595.

Winter & Spring 2020 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

March 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Basin can feel completely quiet and isolated in winter. Mountain passes close for the season and visitors dwindle to a trickle. Birds have flown to warmer places and it’s as if the whole basin is far away from everything else in the world.

But during the prescribed burn on Twain Islet this month I was reminded of how many people see Mono Lake, even in the depths of winter.

Eastern Sierra neighbors hiking north of the lake took photos of the plumes of smoke rising near Negit Island. Locals came into the bookstore to inquire about the activity out on the lake. Someone called to ask if the volcanoes were erupting! Members keeping an eye on the Mono Lake webcams called in, curious about … more »

Tioga Inn public workshop introduces final plan

March 4th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Lake Committee is delving into the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the Tioga Inn project (released just last Friday night) to understand the changes made from the draft document that was released last summer. While some changes have been made to the project thanks to public comments, five original significant unavoidable impacts remain, including adverse impacts to the scenic resources of the Mono Basin.

Last night about 45 community members attended the Mono County Planning Department’s public workshop about the project, which provided an opportunity for people to hear more about the project as described in the FSEIR and ask clarifying questions. The project proponent … more »

Tioga Inn Final SEIR released

February 29th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

The Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report the Tioga Inn project has been released. It is available on the Mono County website and at the Lee Vining Library.

To learn more about this project, and to have the opportunity to ask questions, please come to the Mono County Planning Department’s public workshop on the project on Tuesday, March 3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Lee Vining Community Center (296 Mattly Avenue).

The Tioga Inn Final SEIR was released on February 28, 2020.

What’s next?

The Mono County Planning Commission meeting on the Tioga Inn development project is tentatively planned for March 23. The Planning Commission meeting … more »

As decision on Tioga Inn project nears, public input is still key

February 27th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

This spring, Mono County will decide whether to approve an unprecedented, large-scale development project that threatens to permanently alter the visual resources of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and erase the small-town, rural character of Lee Vining (see Fall 2019 Mono Lake Newsletter article here). A Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment is scheduled for release in late February or early March 2020. The Mono County Planning Department will lead a public workshop on March 3.

The Mono County Planning Commission … more »

A burning solution to the Bassia problem

February 21st, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

In a monumental effort, the Inyo National Forest, in partnership with the Mono Lake Committee, conducted a series of prescribed fires with the specific goal of restoring California Gull breeding habitat on the islands in Mono Lake.

The Bassia caught fire better than expected in February’s warm, dry weather, so the Inyo fire crew burned as much as possible over two days. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Working between episodes of wintry weather, the Committee and Inyo fire personnel raced to mitigate the impact of a troublesome invasive plant, Bassia hyssopifolia, that has grown to cover over 70% of the Negit Islets and is preventing California Gulls from nesting successfully.

Despite an initial, discouraging assessment of how well the weeds might burn, in mid-February a long-planned prescribed fire moved forward and resulted in … more »

Mono Basin Winter Wander field seminars in March

February 20th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Have you ever visited the Mono Basin in the winter? It is silent, mysterious, and majestic. It is a whole different experience than the hustle and bustle of summertime. Winter invites us to experience the forgotten season and wander in a mountain meadow or along a frozen creek, curious and in awe.

Lee Vining Creek flows between snowy banks in 2017. Photo by Nora Livingston.

We are offering two dates in March for a unique field seminar that investigates the wonders of winter … more »

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in LA—more reasons to join us!

February 19th, 2020 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

The Mono Lake Committee’s ninth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles is only three weeks away! This year we are hosting three screenings of the festival: March 11 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre, March 12 at the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, and March 13 at the Downtown Independent in downtown Los Angeles. … more »

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