Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Atmospheric river brings approximately six inches of water to Mono Lake so far

Mono Lake Committee hydrologists estimate that the series of atmospheric river storms we’ve been experiencing over the last week has brought enough water to the Mono Basin to raise Mono Lake by six inches.

Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin at the shore of a rising Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, this lake level rise is very good news for the Mono Lake ecosystem, and it also means that some water will flow south to Los Angeles in 2017. Before these storms, the lake was low enough that it was looking likely that no water exports would be allowed.

As Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin says in today’s LA Times video, “This event is going to keep the lake protected and it’s going to keep that water flowing to the city.” Thanks, atmospheric river—that’s a win-win!


  1. Awesome! I’m hoping that it continues. It’s still showering here in Rancho Palos Verde’s. My native plant garden looks the best it has in years.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I have been wondering how ‘life’ is in Lee Vining with all of this weather – and after seeing the cover of the LA Times showing the CHP officer throwing up his arms at his vehicle being suck in the snow.

    That is SO much water for Mono Lake. Hooray for the good news. Can’t wait to see it and you all as soon as possible.

  3. Dear Mono:

    Thanks to the many storms from both south and north mono is finally getting the much needed water that has been absent for almost 10 years! Yea! Finally some wonderful water for the beautiful lake!
    Kind regards,

    James 57 years in California!

  4. So nice to see the lake level rise with all these past storms so far this winter. Hope it keeps up. Mono Lake is truly a beautiful place.
    Long live Mono Lake!! :-)

  5. Fantastic news. Over here on the west slope it’s pretty darn wet and we’re loving it. I can’t wait to get our canoe back in the newly-refreshed Mono Lake! Thanks so much for posting this.

  6. I am thrilled that we areilely to have a 6″ rise in the lake surface! For about the last ten years I have been coming every summer to check the height of the lake and to gaze on the exposed tufa, and just breathe the air and soak in the glorious light! I will be the about August again as usual. So glad LA might get a bit of water too!

  7. Even though I can’t afford to be a member anymore, my heart is still on the wonderful, vast eastern side of the Sierra Nevada and it truly makes makes me happy to know that the gorgeous Mono Lake that has been able to survive with the hard efforts of so many who care so much, has received this gift from nature! Yay! Hope I can make a trip over the mountains sometime this summer.

    Meanwhile, we are singing in the rain here in the Bay Area. The hills are green, green, green!

  8. Wonderful news. Even though I live out here in North Carolina–I keep up with all the “happenings” in the Bishop/Lee Vining area. I was born and raised in Escondido, Ca. and visited Lee Vining and Mono Lake every summer on our way up to Tuolumne Meadows for 2 weeks of camping. I am so so glad that the water level has improved. Wow–what a drought it has been out your way. Anyway, keep up the good work that you all do to preserve beautiful Mono lake and surrounding areas of the eastern sierra’s.

  9. So happy to hear this news! I can hardly wait to visit this summer to see the rise in Mono Lake! YIPPEE

  10. Here in Northern Nevada the snow, and even the heavy rain and flooding before it, have been wonderful! We, also, were gripped by terrible drought and now the river is full, the mountains and hills are covered, and the skies are glorious.
    John and I fell in love with the lake back in the early 1970s (when we lived in the Bay Area) and have been Friends or Committee members ever since. From here we can visit the lake with much less hassle in the winter. It is one of God’s most magical and precious places. Boy, have we seen ups and downs during our “period of devotion” but we’ve taught our sons to revere the lake also so the love will continue. And we’re on the right path now!

  11. Hooray, Hooray! Six inches elevation for our beautiful lake. And some water for LA. That’s just marvelous! And thank you folks for all you do.