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Celebrate September 28th at Mono Lake with us!

September 24th, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

This Monday, September 28th we will celebrate with a live stream reading of the lake level gauge at Mono Lake. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

  • What: Celebrate September 28th virtually with us at Mono Lake!
  • When: 9:00am, Monday, September 28, 2020*
  • Where: Facebook
  • Why: On September 28, 1994 the State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to approve Decision 1631, the mandate we often refer to as the decision to “Save Mono Lake.”

At that time, decades of excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power had caused the lake to decline precipitously, imperiling millions of migratory and nesting birds, causing toxic dust storms harmful to human health, and drying up miles of tributary stream habitat.

Court rulings regarding the lake and stream supported taking action, which is exactly what the State Water Board did. Storm Over Mono author John Hart writes, “At Mono Lake in 1994, for the first time ever in California, water was removed from the grasp of an anointed appropriative user and assigned, not to some rival diverter, but to an environmental purpose: the restoration of the lake and its feeder streams.” … more »

2022 Mono Lake Calendar call for photo submissions

September 22nd, 2020 by Arya, Communications Director

The Mono Lake Committee invites you to submit photographs for the 2022 Mono Lake Calendar—we are seeking photographs of the highest caliber that capture the spirit and reflect the unique qualities of Mono Lake, its tributary streams, the high country, and wildlife of the Mono Basin.

Find the submission guidelines and forms here. The deadline for submissions, as always, is October 31.

We are looking for images of scenes within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake, and possible subjects include, but are not limited to: … more »

New legislation seeks federal recognition of Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe

September 20th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

“The Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe have existed for time immemorial in the Mono Basin,” wrote Representative Paul Cook in the opening statement of a new bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives, which seeks federal recognition of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe.

The bill reflects decades of work and centuries of resilience by members of the Tribe. Charlotte Lange, Chairperson of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe, said, “the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe has been enduring the process of recognition for decades. … more »

Yosemite National Park closing tonight at 5:00pm

September 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, Yosemite National Park will close to all visitors and vehicular access due to hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke. All park entrance stations and roads will be closed.

Yosemite National Park is closing at 5:00pm on Thursday, September 17, 2020 due to hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke. Photo courtesy of Yosemite National Park.

Anyone planning to drive through the park on Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) will need to take an alternate route through the mountains. The park will reopen when conditions improve and it is safe for people to return. See more details about the closure here.

Kings Canyon National Park will also close tonight. Sequoia National Park closed on September 15, and all of California’s National Forests are still closed at least until September 21.

Here at Mono Lake we also have hazardous air quality due to wildfire smoke. We’re hunkered down in our home offices, thinking of everyone around the West who is affected by fires and smoke this year.

A star from the Mono Basin Scenic Area’s past retires

September 10th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Deanna Dulen, Superintendent of Devils Postpile National Monument and former Director of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center, retired in May 2020 after a four-decade career working for federal land management agencies.

Deanna Dulen at Rainbow Falls in Devils Postpile National Monument. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Deanna was the first director of the Mono Basin Visitor Center in 1991, and her nine years of dedicated work at Mono Lake shaped a world-class visitor center and interpretive resource for the recently established Scenic Area. Deanna rigorously sought … more »

Inyo National Forest closes starting at 5:00pm tonight

September 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, the Inyo National Forest will close temporarily due to extreme fire danger and firefighting resources that are already stretched thin.

The closure includes all campgrounds, all day-use sites, all trails, all roads, all recreation, and all dispersed camping. It affects Mono Lake, which is within the Inyo National Forest, and is already partially closed at the South Tufa and Navy Beach areas.

The closure will be in place for at least one week, and then starting on September 14th will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change. Update: Since the closure was put in place on September 7th it has been extended week by week, at least through October 1st. See the Forest Service’s Region 5 website for the latest closure orders.

Seven other National Forests will close tonight: … more »

South Tufa & Navy Beach will remain closed through Labor Day weekend

September 3rd, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

South Tufa and Navy Beach will remain closed through the Labor Day holiday weekend in the wake of the Beach Fire, which burned nearly 3,800 acres in mid-August.

South Tufa and Navy Beach are closed after the Beach Fire burned nearly 4,000 acres along the southeast shore of Mono Lake in mid-August. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The fire is now completely out, but California State Parks staff is still assessing resource damage and preparing signs and barriers to keep visitors on established roads and pathways. They report that some tufa was scorched, but there’s been no serious damage to … more »

Celebrating California Biodiversity Day 2020 at Mono Lake

September 1st, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

California Biodiversity Day is celebrated across the state by scientists, naturalists, agencies, and others who participate in a citizen science data collection effort. The goal is for individuals to observe and record as many species as possible throughout a week’s time across California.

This year, September 5–13, the Mono Lake Committee, California State Parks, and the US Forest Service will be participating in the annual Mono Lake Bioblitz, which covers the greater Mono Lake area, including Lee Vining Canyon and Lundy Canyon.

Participating in the Mono Lake Bio Blitz is a way for … more »

Point Blue Conservation Science highlights a four-decade partnership with the Mono Lake Committee

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

This year marks the 37th year of California Gull research at Mono Lake, and Point Blue Conservation Science has captained the monitoring effort to track the reproductive success of the gulls, a keystone ecosystem species.

The gull research began in 1983 and has tracked the gulls’ reproductive success annually, providing data that ties the birds to the overall productivity of Mono Lake. This science contributed to the body of evidence the State Water Board used to choose a management level for Mono Lake in 1994, and it will continue to inform that agency in evaluating lake level and public trust resources at Mono Lake. While the tools used to study the gulls at Mono Lake have advanced over the decades, the spirit of collaboration between the Mono Lake Committee and Point Blue has remained unchanged.

Both the Mono Lake Committee and Point Blue are committed to continuing this valuable and successful science partnership. You can read more about it in the recent issue of Point Blue Quarterly.

Video: Osprey banding at Mono Lake

August 24th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

Take a peek at this year’s Osprey banding at Mono Lake in this short video by Sarinah Simons of California State Parks!

Osprey banding is an important component of the ongoing bird research in the Mono Basin. This year, Nora Livingston, Lead Naturalist Guide for the Mono Lake Committee, assisted Ashli Lewis, a wildlife biologist with California State Parks, and Peter Bloom, a raptor biologist, with their banding efforts.

In the video you’ll see people climbing tufa towers to reach the Osprey nests, which they have special permission to do. When you visit Mono Lake, please remember—do not climb on, stand on, or damage the tufa in any way.

Though there are no fish in Mono Lake for Osprey to eat … more »

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