Fall 2017 Mono Lake Newsletter now onlineOctober 14th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
Sometimes I think of the Mono Basin as ready-made pancake mix—all you have to do is add water.
The Mono Lake Committee’s 16,000 members have been working on perfecting the mix since 1978. We envisioned a future with a healthy Mono Lake and streams, we fought for that future all the way to the California Supreme Court, worked with the State Water Board to set in place the rules that will make a healthy future a reality, and made sure the protections didn’t exist only on paper. Flour, baking soda, salt, sugar… And then, this year, we got to add the water!
So much water that Mono Lake’s rise was visible from one day to the next. So much water that stream channels were covered in a single huge sheet of floodwater. So much water that DWP hasn’t been able to fit its allotment into the Los Angeles Aqueduct yet. It was all we could talk about this summer—all we wanted to talk about. It brought such elation to the Mono Basin’s human inhabitants and such relief to its habitats and wildlife.
Each foot the lake rose is a direct result of all our collective diligence on behalf of this place. I don’t mean that we made it snow, despite all our snow dances during the drought. But when it did snow, finally, Mono Lake was ready to receive the record runoff, because we have been working to make sure the perfect batter mix was ready. You’ll see more ingredients in the pages of this Newsletter: Water flowing to Mill Creek through the return ditch for the first time in more than a decade (butter). Sage grouse relocated to Parker Meadow to bolster that spectacular species’ sub-population (powdered sugar). Constant vigilance in case HR 23 passes the Senate or the Grant Outlet project hits more snags (blueberries).
In California’s extreme climate, we keep the mix ready so that Mono Lake can take advantage of the wet years that will arrive—like this one did, and more will again—and weather the dry years that happen—as they did in the drought, as they will again.
Mono Lake’s level is not and cannot be the sole indicator of the progress the Committee has made for the Mono Basin, but it sure feels good to see the lake rising so much and so fast. Let’s gather round and enjoy our pancakes. Pass the syrup?