Climate Change and the Eastern Sierra Forum, June 15

Staff Writer

Climate Change Seminar, Lee Vining, June 15

The High Sierra Responds to a Changing Climate

Times Staff Report

Wondering what's up with extended drought to epic winter and what to expect in the future? An afternoon series of talks with local experts will focus on how the high country of the Sierra Nevada is responding to a changing climate.
Meet at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center Theatre just a quarter mile north of Lee Vining off of U.S. Highway 395 from 1-5 p.m. June 15 (see details below).
Student scientists Caelen and Ellery McQuilkin will discuss the Dana Glacier and cold air pooling at Mono Lake.
Mono Lake Committee present and past Executive Directors Geoff McQuilkin and Martha Davis will describe how Mono Lake is responding to warmer, drier winters, and how effective advocacy and persistence can effect change against all odds.
Forest Service Scientist Connie Millar will provide an eco-system wide overview.
U.C. Davis scientist Steve Sadro will speak on what alpine lakes tell us about climate change.
SNARL's Dave Herbst will discuss how droughts and floods affect aquatic life in mountain streams.

These excellent speakers will help us understand the future of the Sierra and what we all can do to encourage progress toward a sustainable climate on our planet.

This event is sponsored by 350 MONO, a local climate action group, in conjunction with the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua., on June 15, from 1-5 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Here’s the schedule:

1 - 1:10 p.m.: Intro, welcome
1:10 - 1:25 p.m.: Dana Glacier: A case study in melting ice, Caelen McQuilkin, Student, Lee Vining High School

1:25 - 1:40 p.m.: Unusual Cooling: Low Temperatures make Mono Lake a Climate Refuge. Lee Vining Elementary student Ellery McQuilkin studied cold air pools effect on local climate.

1:40 - 2:05 p.m.: Lessons Learned at Mono Lake:
Martha Davis will share her experiences as Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee during the critical years leading up to the 1994 State Water Board decision, and as Executive Manager for Policy Development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency. She will discuss lessons learned from the Mono Lake story, and how persistence and advocacy can effect change against all odds.

2:05 - 2:30 pm.: Mono Lake in the Era of Climate Change
Geoff McQuilkin, Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee, will discuss critical questions that climate change raises for Mono Lake and its tributary streams.

2:30 - 2:45 p.m.: Break

2:45 - 3:15 p.m.: Climate Refugia for Warming Temperatures: Case Studies
Dr. Connie Millar, US Forest Service Research Ecologist, will discuss climate refugia, safe havens for species stressed by a changing climate, illustrated with examples from her work on pikas and conifers in the Great Basin mountains.

3:20 - 3:50 p.m.: How do more intense and frequent droughts and floods due to climate warming affect aquatic life in High Sierra streams?
Dr. Dave Herbst , a research biologist from the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab, will discuss his research on invertebrates in mountain streams and how climate variability is affecting them

3:50 - 4:05 p.m.: Break

4:05 - 4:45 p.m.: Climate Trends in the Sierra Nevada: Implications for alpine lakes
Dr. Steve Sadro, a limnologist and ecosystem ecologist from U.C. Davis, will explore the sensitivity of Sierran lakes to climate warming and the impacts of continuing change on their ecosystem function.

4:45- 5 p.m.: Panel discussion with the speakers: “What can we do to spur climate action?”