This issue of the Mono Lake Newsletter contains a hard question: Will I see Mono Lake rise to the healthy, mandated level in my lifetime?
We’ve been hearing that question, and others, from members. As Geoff writes in his article on page 4, we hope so. We have seen how fast the lake can rise in wet years. We know that if stream diversions can be paused, the gains in lake level from wet years will stop being eroded away.
At the same time, maybe not. We know how intractable DWP can be, deploying delay tactics for years. And we’ve seen, during dry years like this one, Mono Lake recede steadily before our eyes, the dusty shore growing wider week to week.
Will we see Mono Lake rise to its healthy level in our lifetime? We hope so, but maybe not.
You can read the official Mono Lake Committee mission here. Our overarching goal is on the wall in the Information Center & Bookstore here in Lee Vining: protecting Mono Lake for future generations.
Those future generations—some of them are already here. The youngest students at the OEC this year were born during the “recent” drought. We got to greet members’ children and grandchildren in the bookstore and on South Tufa tours all summer. Phalarope chicks that were counted at Mono Lake this summer are now growing stronger at their wintering grounds in Argentina. As this issue goes to press we heard happy news of the arrival of a former Mono Lake intern’s baby, a new little shrimp for Mono.
So maybe the question should be: Will they see Mono Lake rise in their lifetime?
There’s so much work happening to protect the lake. There’s so much determination to see it rise. There’s so much support from people to make it happen. Because of all that—which you’ll see in the pages that follow—I think the answer is yes.
Cover photo courtesy of Robb Hirsch. Top photo by Elin Ljung: Quaking aspens in peak, brilliant fall color at high elevation in the Mono Basin.