It felt like a grim spring here at Mono Lake.
It was too dry. No snow to speak of in January, February, or March. Meager storms in April that barely dampened ground that had been drying out for months.
It was too warm. Plants hurriedly leafed out during unseasonable warm spells and swarming, biting gnats made springtime evenings unbearable.
It was so windy. It was hard to sleep, worrying about an upwind spark becoming a disaster. It was hard to focus, watching sheets of white dust lift off of Mono Lake’s eastern shore.
In these grim times we need some hope. Lucky for us, Mono Lake always provides hope.
In this issue of the Mono Lake Newsletter, turn to page 9 to see that hope in the form of a graph with a tinge of green (notice that we’ve printed it in color, to emphasize this important point). That green shade says that despite the drought, despite climate change, despite water agencies’ inertia, Mono Lake can reach the healthy management level set so many years ago by the State Water Board.
Water can submerge the dust-emitting dry lakebed, it can deepen the moat that keeps California Gull chicks safe, it can reduce the salinity the brine shrimp struggle against. It is possible.
If you get to visit Mono Lake this summer, bring this Newsletter and imagine what that green-tinged graph means for this landscape. Find a tufa tower at the shore and imagine the water 12 feet higher up the tower. Take a canoe tour and imagine bobbing along 12 feet higher than you are. Look through binoculars at the dusty white rim along the eastern shore and imagine it much narrower. We have a long way—and 12 vertical feet—to go, but it is possible. What a hopeful thought.
Top photo by Elin Ljung and cover photo courtesy of Robb Hirsch.