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.

Stream monitoring: Mill Creek & the Wilson diversion system

This post was written by Emma Oschrin, 2013 Mono Lake Intern.

Over the course of this summer, I, along with a fellow intern, Edie, have had the opportunity to continue the Mono Lake Committee’s stream monitoring of Mill Creek and the Wilson diversion system.

Intern Edie Harris taking stream flow measurements of Mill Creek. Photo by Emma Oschrin.

Every week Edie and I visit the streams and use a flow meter to determine the depth and velocity of the water in several locations, which allows us to measure the flow of water in cubic feet per second rushing through the streams. We collect data on the streamflows because these data provide a weekly idea of what is happening with the water management in the north Mono Basin. This way, we can be aware of any problems or unusual situations that occur. The Committee is able to keep a close eye on which ditches are running, if a creek is drying up, or if a ditch is running that shouldn’t be.

These data are also used to document how much water Southern California Edison releases into Mill Creek and the Wilson diversion system, and to check the gains and losses in the waterways to make sure they are consistent with the Committee’s hydrological expectations. Additionally, collecting these data allows us to have a record of water flows for both historic and modeling purposes.

What this means for Edie and I is that every week, we get to spend a beautiful day outside in the Mono Basin. We are both excited to be helping collect data that can be used to monitor water levels and water use, all the while getting to explore new regions of the area in which we’re spending the summer.


  1. Nice picture- good exposure and good crop! Picture tells a story.

  2. Richard Harrison
    Richard Harrison

    You guys rock! The MLC is quite fortunate to have you among its supporters and fans. Keep at it.

  3. Very cool!

    I am very interested in the status of Mill Creek. What is the Status of SCE upgrading the return ditch to allow more flow down Mill Creek?

  4. Nice gig!!

  5. […] Honorable blog mentions:  The Water Wired blog says, What? No US National Groundwater Monitoring Network?, the Pacific Institute Insights blog explains Why Water Managers Should Embrace Social Media and the Mono-Logue blog will make you envious of their job in the post, Stream monitoring: Mill Creek & the Wilson diversion system […]

  6. It was a scenic pleasure and educational experience taking the canoe tour on saturday August 10 with Emma, Edie, Julia and Matt. They helped many people understand Mono lake better. Its cool to see Edie and Emma doing the research that keeps awareness up on what the Mono lake needs and what it’s receiving.

  7. How cold is that water?

    I am learning more and more about Mono Lake. Thank you for the canoe tour and hiking.