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Mono Basin snowpack consistent with statewide results

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Mono Basin March 1st snow surveys aren’t all in yet, but so far surveys in the Lee Vining Creek drainage have been completed. In percent of the April 1st average snow water content, Tioga Pass was 105%, Saddlebag Lake was 110%, and Ellery Lake was 128%. This averages 114% for April 1st and 134% for March 1st.  Statewide, so far the totals are 109% for April 1st and 124% for March 1st, and ranging from 66% for the Scott River to 225% for the Tule River (March 1). The basins adjacent to Mono (more…)

A dry January during a wet year; 111% runoff forecast

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

The Mono Basin’s wet weather suddenly ended January 3rd, and aside from 0.16 inches of precipitation on January 30th, there was no measurable precipitation until February 16th! That is 27 dry days in a row, then one day of precipitation, followed by another 16 dry days! Total January precipitation in Lee Vining added up to (more…)

Long-term research produces new insights into California Gull ecology

Monday, January 24th, 2011 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

After 28 years of annual gull research on Mono Lake’s islands, you might wonder if there are any unanswered questions still out there. After reading PRBO’s 2010 report on the gull research (you can download the report here), the answer is clearly “yes”—and some of those questions were answered this year.

First, the results from the counts done every year. The 2010 California Gull population at Mono Lake was (more…)

Precipitation has reached the seasonal average

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Late afternoon sunshine lights up Mono Lake's islands. Photo by Elin Ljung.

It was a remarkable December for precipitation, as well as snowfall at the higher elevations. Following a rainy October and a snowy November, December 2010 brought most areas of the Mono Basin and Owens Valley very close to seasonal average precipitation and snowfall—with the majority of the wet season left to go! (more…)

Video: Ron Oremland discusses arsenic

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

GFAJ-1 bacteria.

Ron Oremland with the US Geological Survey has been studying elements and microbes in Mono Lake for a long time. Staff with the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and the Mono Lake Committee have been in contact with him in order to help the interpretive partnership at Mono Lake (National Forest Scenic Area, State Natural Reserve, and Mono Lake Committee) develop interpretive materials to explain NASA’s arsenic bacteria discovery to the public.  You can read 24 scientific papers on arsenic and Mono Lake (more…)

Snowiest November since 1994

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Hot … er, cold … on the heels of the rainiest October on record, at our Lee Vining weather station, the Mono Lake Committee measured 21.3 inches of snow—the most snowfall in November since 1994! Almost all the snow fell between the Saturday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This resulted in lots of traffic accidents due to the slippery roads combined with holiday traffic.

The total precipitation for October and November was (more…)

Last day in the field before the snow

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Thursday was my last day in the field before a well-advertised storm was to drop 1–3 feet of snow in the Mono Basin. As I drove down to Rush Creek, the winds were picking up, snow was blowing off Sierra peaks, and lenticular clouds graced the late-afternoon skies.

Rush Creek bottomlands, a day before the storm hit.

Rush Creek bottomlands, a day before the storm hit.

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) had just lowered the flows in Rush Creek and Lee Vining Creek, and I was checking to see if certain side channels were still flowing, as well as checking on a few other things before the expected deep snow made travel to the streams difficult. (more…)

Mono Basin Research Updates

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Several new items have been added to the Mono Basin Clearinghouse Website, www.monobasinresearch.org. (more…)

Mono Basin air quality update

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

In September, the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District released its Reasonable Further Progress Report for the Mono Basin PM-10 State Implementation Plan. You can download the 17-page PDF file from the Mono Basin Clearinghouse Website. The report summarizes progress since the last update in 2007 (the previous reports can be downloaded as well).

During the first six months of 2010, dust storms emanating from the exposed lakebed of Mono Lake exceeded federal air quality standards sixteen times (17 in one year would be a new record). The highest concentrations of PM-10 dust were measured in 2009, at almost 100 times the federal standard the highest concentration ever measured. (more…)

Record rainfall in October

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

October 2010, the Mono Basin’s warmest October since 2005, set a new record for precipitation in Lee Vining: 3.74 inches! With data going back to 1988, last month beat the old record of 2.41 inches set in 1992 by 1.33 inches! It also beat the 1950-1988 October precipitation record from the Mono Inn, the previous home of our weather instruments (5 miles north). Median October precipitation in Lee Vining is 0.23 inches, usually our third driest month after June and July.

At Cain Ranch, just five miles south but slightly drier, 3.11 inches of rain set a new record going all the way back to 1931! (more…)

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