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Virtual tours of Mono Lake are available for classes

April 20th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

This time of year I am usually at the shore of Mono Lake sharing the ecological wonders of the Mono Basin with students from near and far. These days the shore is empty as classes have transitioned to distancing learning and we are not encouraging people to visit Mono County. That doesn’t mean, however, students cannot virtually visit Mono Lake for a field trip.

Through virtual tours, Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston can bring Mono Lake to viewers who want to connect to Mono Lake from the safety of their homes. Photo by Rose Nelson.

While classes may not be able to smell the briny lake nor feel the wind, they can … more »

Mono County Planning Commission disappoints; Board of Supervisors to vote soon on Tioga Inn project

April 18th, 2020 by Geoff, Executive Director

Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, on Thursday the Mono County Planning Commission voted 4-0 to approve the Tioga Inn project with few modifications to the final plan and design.

Over 200 written and spoken comments were voiced to the Planning Commission regarding the Tioga Inn project and over 150 people attended the seven-hour-long meeting via Zoom video conference. Virtually every comment was in opposition to the permanent, damaging impacts of the project. Speakers ranged from local business owners and residents to the fire department and longtime visitors. After the large number of strong, clear, and respectful comments in opposition to the project—among the most the commission has ever seen—the commission deliberation and vote was a disappointment.

The Tioga Inn project now goes to the Mono County Board of Supervisors, which will make the final determination of whether the numerous adverse impacts of the project justify turning it down. The date of that meeting is yet to be confirmed, but is tentatively scheduled for May 19. Stay tuned here on the Mono-logue and in your email for more information regarding how to participate in this final round of public comment.

If you wrote in or spoke to express your concerns about the project—thank you! The outpouring of thoughtful, sincere comments was incredible to witness. A better result is still possible and public engagement will be critical to the final outcome.

Tioga Inn project goes before Planning Commission for decision on April 16, 2020

April 11th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the Mono County Planning Commission is moving forward with a public hearing and vote on the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment & Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR).

A view of the site where the proposed Tioga Inn housing project would go, overlooking Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Lynn Boulton.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 9:00am. … more »

This year’s Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner is canceled

April 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

It is with heavy hearts that we must confirm that this year’s Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner has been canceled due to COVID-19.

While we had thought this cancellation might happen as the crisis evolved quickly in California, Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order and the closure of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area confirmed it.

We will miss celebrating Andrea’s legacy with everyone in May, but we will absolutely reschedule the event when it is safe to do so. We had lined up a truly deserving award recipient and were planning a delightful menu for you, and we will pick those plans back up for the future.

Wherever you are, we hope you stay home, stay healthy, and continue to feel inspired by Andrea’s strong community spirit during this challenging time. Our thoughts are with you from Mono Lake.

Spring visitors at Mono Lake: Migrant birds

April 8th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

With our lives seemingly on hold, it can be hard to remember that the internal clock of all the nature around us keeps on ticking and spring is slowly but surely making its way to the Mono Basin.

A gorgeous Black-bellied Plover at Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Ramona Robbins Clark.

The Red-winged Blackbirds arrived first and are singing their trademark “b-LEE-dle” song from the trees in town. Then the swallows, Tree first, then Violet-green, came swooping in. Hearing the grinding chirps of Violet-green Swallows on the wires in town is the official sound of spring to me. Yesterday evening at sunset near South Tufa, I heard Osprey calling and Sage Thrashers singing. … more »

LA Times reports on Mono County’s plea for visitors to stay home

March 30th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Los Angeles Times has reported on Mono County’s request that people not visit this area right now due to COVID-19, including tourists and second-homeowners.

The small, rural town of Lee Vining sits near the shore of Mono Lake. With a volunteer fire department and no medical facilities in town, patients are taken to Mammoth Hospital, 30 miles south with just 17 beds. This region cannot handle visitors right now; please stay home. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The article quotes Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun saying “don’t come here,” due to the stress more people put on rural emergency services and Mammoth Hospital’s limited capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients. Since the article ran last weekend, Mono County now has 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Mono Lake, the Sierra Nevada, the high desert, and all your favorite Eastern Sierra spots will be here when this crisis has passed. We need to make sure that as many of us will be here too, able to come back and enjoy it again. Please do your part—stay home.

Click here for Mono County COVID-19 updates.

Chautauqua registration postponed to May 15

March 25th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

In response to the developing COVID-19 crisis, the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua planning team has decided to postpone the opening of registration for the nineteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua to May 15th at 6:30am PDT. We are also tentatively planning to release the full 2020 program schedule and grid schedule on May 1—two weeks before registration opens.

Bird Chautauqua registration will begin at 6:30am PDT on May 15, 2020.Photo by Sandra Noll.

Depending on how the news unfolds and state and federal guidelines change in the weeks ahead, it is possible that we may have to cancel this year’s festival, and if that’s the case, we will make that announcement before registration begins. We care deeply about our staff, presenters, participants, and our community, so we will be basing our decisions about the festival on safety first. Stay well and happy birding.

Mono Lake Moments: Bringing Mono Lake to you

March 24th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Join the Mono Lake Committee digitally as we share arriving birds, springtime flowers, and scenic views of the Mono Basin with you from wherever you may be. Over the next few weeks, you can bring Mono Lake into your living room and enjoy some moments of peace and tranquility from the Mono Basin during these uncertain times.

… more »

March Planning Commission meeting regarding the Tioga Inn is canceled

March 22nd, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The March 23 Mono County Special Planning Commission meeting regarding the Tioga Inn is canceled.

The meeting has been rescheduled for April 16 at 9:00am. According to the Mono County Community Development Department, the meeting will be accessible remotely in a Zoom meeting online here and by telephone at 669-900-6833 (meeting ID# 760-924-1815), where members of the public shall have the right to observe and offer public comment.

As of the date of this post, the Mono County website has not yet been updated with the latest meeting information; the meeting will be re-noticed prior to April 16 along with a meeting agenda.

The Mono Lake Committee is concerned, given the background COVID-19 disruption affecting everyone’s lives, that … more »

Please do not visit Mono Lake right now

March 20th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We’re asking anyone who is not a primary resident of Eastern Sierra communities NOT to visit this region for the time being.⁠

We are joining with Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, and Inyo County in this effort to temporarily discourage visitation, and the reason is simple.⁠

Our local healthcare facilities are small and will be severely strained handling the widespread outbreak of COVID-19. They will be overwhelmed providing the level of care that residents alone will need. The wide open spaces of the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra might seem like the perfect places to practice social distancing, but traveling here right now risks lives.⁠

We know how many of you treasure the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra, and so we ask you to respect our communities and this request to stay home for now. We will be working to bring you glimpses of and stories from Mono Lake that you can enjoy from your home until it’s possible for all of us to recreate safely in the Eastern Sierra again.⁠

Click here for Mono County COVID-19 updates.

Thank you,⁠

Mono Lake Committee staff⁠

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