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Birding Mono Lake: A Big Day in May

May 28th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On May 9, to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and eBird’s Global Big Day, my partner Kevin and I set out to see as many bird species as possible within a 5 miles radius (5MR) of the Mono Lake Committee office while contributing to the eBird Global Big Day citizen science project. Last year, I saw 76 species in my 5MR and my goal was to break 80 this year. Though the species count is a motivator, the birds are the prize! We had an amazing day. I have linked the eBird Checklists to each location I mention, so you can see what we were seeing and hearing.

A map of the 5MR. It includes many prime birding spots! Photo from Google Maps.

We started at 5:00am, hearing the pre-dawn crooning of American Robins and House Wrens. Then we drove up Lee Vining Canyon for the dawn chorus. I had been keeping track of the returning migrants diligently, but this week was bursting with new … more »

Tioga Inn project heads to Mono County Board of Supervisors for a late-June hearing date

May 26th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider the Tioga Inn project at the end of June. While the exact date is yet to be confirmed, the two possible dates are June 25–26 or June 29–30. The Board is considering possible two-day hearing dates to better accommodate expected public comment and to fully deliberate the project before making a final decision.

A view of the current Tioga Gas Mart, which is the site of the future proposed Tioga Inn development. Photo by Elin Ljung.

With to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in California and the Expanded Stage 2 phase of Mono County’s reopening plan, the Supervisors are hoping that a hybrid meeting format of a live, in-person meeting combined with … more »

2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars are canceled

May 25th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last week we made the difficult decision to cancel all Mono Basin Field Seminars through the end of the year. After much consideration, we couldn’t envision offering them with the uncertainties that lie ahead, in a way that minimizes risk well enough, and yet doesn’t compromise the experience that participants expect.

The 2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars have been canceled due to the uncertainties and risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo from 2018.

We are deeply disappointed about this—the Field Seminars have been a tradition at Mono Lake for more than 25 years, and we will miss seeing all the great instructors and enthusiastic participants in the Mono Basin this year. But as hard as the decision was to make, it was also clear—we don’t want to risk anyone’s health during a year when gathering together will be tricky at best.

While this program has been canceled, there are … more »

Roads opening in the Mono Lake region

May 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As of today, several roads in the Mono Lake region have opened for the season:

The lower gate on the Tioga Road opened today; the gate at the Yosemite National Park boundary remains closed. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

  • Highway 120 West is open from the junction with Highway 395 to the gate at the Yosemite National Park boundary
  • Highway 270 is open to Bodie State Historic Park
  • Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) is open

Despite these roads opening, Yosemite National Park remains closed, Bodie State Historic Park remains closed, and non-essential travel is still prohibited under California’s “stay at home” order.

30% of all book purchases benefit Mono Lake

May 7th, 2020 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

If you’re like me, you are probably catching up on your reading list (or dreaming of being able to) while sheltering in place. Even though our Information Center & Bookstore is currently closed, you can still support our efforts to protect Mono Lake with your purchase of books, puzzles, and art supplies made through our affiliate link at Bookshop.

When you follow this link—bookshop.org/shop/mono_lake—you can shop our curated book lists and browse for titles and products not featured on our page too. As long as you follow that specific link, any purchase you make will contribute 30% of your order total to the Mono Lake Committee.

I’ve put together some lists of … more »

Support Mono Lake on #GivingTuesdayNow

May 5th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020. Lately we’ve been announcing a lot of cancellations, from the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua to the summer canoe program; however, giving back is not cancelled, and Mono Lake needs you now more than ever.

We’re still doing all we can to keep restoration and protection programs moving forward, and DWP on track with their obligations. Staff are even launching new web-based opportunities for you to experience Mono Lake, sharing the arriving birds, springtime flowers, and scenic views on naturalist walks near the lake.

You can still support protection, restoration, education, and science at Mono Lake with your gift of any amount. Thank you!

Donate

Tioga Inn likely to go before Mono County Board of Supervisors in June

May 1st, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

No date has yet been set for the Mono County Board of Supervisors to take up the Tioga Inn project, but it is likely to happen in June.

The Mono County Board of Supervisors is likely to address the Tioga Inn project in June. In September last year, the Planning Commissioners and members of the public visited the project site. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Following the disappointing Mono County Planning Commission meeting of April 16, at which the commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the project despite hundreds of public comments in opposition, the Supervisors discussed options for a Tioga Inn meeting at their April 21 regularly scheduled meeting. They expressed interest in … more »

Mono Lake canoe tour program canceled this year

April 30th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

The Mono Lake Committee’s canoe tours have been a tradition in the Eastern Sierra for more than 35 years. Canoe tours offer a unique, immersive experience where one can weave through the tufa towers, glide among flocks of Wilson’s Phalaropes, and learn the Mono Lake story from trained interpretive guides.

Public canoe tours on Mono Lake will not take place this summer, due to COVID-19 and staffing decisions made because of it. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and our decision to not bring any seasonal staff to Lee Vining this summer, we must cancel the 2020 canoe tour program.

We will continue to … more »

No Mono Lake Committee seasonal staff for 2020; summer programs evaluated week by week

April 29th, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

The Mono Lake Committee has made the difficult decision to not bring any of the summer seasonal staff we had hired to Lee Vining for 2020. Our whole team is disappointed to not be able to share the summer with what promised to be an incredible group of interns, but we all agree that it is the right decision for everyone involved.

The 2019 seasonal staff learning about Mono Lake’s ecology on the south shore last summer. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Cancellation of the summer hiring does not mean that all summer programs are cancelled, but the uncertainty about when we might be able to offer tours and reopen the bookstore was a major reason for the decision.

Normally our intern training takes two full weeks at the beginning of June, and some of the summer staff arrive much earlier … more »

This year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is canceled

April 28th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

We are sorry to announce that we must cancel this year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua due to COVID-19.

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The Chautauqua partners are committed to the health and safety of our participants, presenters, staff, and the broader community; therefore, we feel it would be irresponsible to hold an event of this size at this time. Moreover, with Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order and plans to reopen the state in stages—with large gatherings last on the list—as well as Mono County discouraging visitation to the Eastern Sierra, it’s clear that … more »

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