Planning for the future in California’s wet-then-dry, whiplash climate pattern is a very real challenge. The big winter we just came through has changed much about how Mono Basin residents are planning for the future. For example, my husband and I now own a generator. Some neighbors are rebuilding their roofs to a stronger structural standard. Others are getting more firewood than usual.
The big winter has also given us a chance to plan better for Mono Lake’s future. We now know how directly stream diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power erode gains in the lake level. We have modeled different scenarios using zero diversions and it’s evident how much better the lake could withstand drought if DWP was not diverting its water (see page 5). The drought that, in California’s climate, is inevitable.
So now we know—we need to stock up on wood and we need to stock up on water.
This remarkably wet year is the perfect time to stock up. We expect Mono Lake to rise 5½ feet by the fall (see page 4), which is a rare, amazing boost. The State Water Board can pause DWP’s diversions so the lake doesn’t lose any of those precious feet of water, the way we know it will if DWP continues to divert. Mono Lake, California Gulls, phalaropes, brine shrimp, alkali flies, even humans, will be better set up to weather whatever comes next.
Planning for the future must include community as well. The Mono Basin community leaned on each other—our neighbors and friends—to get through this past winter.
Mono Lake’s community is strong. Sixteen thousand members across the world—you, who are reading this Newsletter—are essential to shoring up the lake’s fate in hard times, advocating for its better protection, and planning for its future. Let’s make plans together.
Top photo by Mara Krista Plato, Newsletter cover photo courtesy of Richard Erb.