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April 1 Mono Lake level close to critically low threshold

Friday, April 1st, 2016 by Geoff, Executive Director

This morning Mono Lake Committee staff met with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) personnel to conduct the official annual April 1 reading of the lake level together. The consensus: Mono Lake stands at 6378.11 feet above sea level.

Mono Lake is now just 13 inches above the ecologically precipitous 6377-foot elevation at which the nesting islands become landbridged, lake salinity hits new highs, air quality problems worsen, and stream delta habitat conditions degrade.

Measuring Mono Lake's April 1 elevation

DWP’s Steve Rich and Robbie Di Paolo from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

With those concerns in mind, the State Water Board rules are more nuanced this year for determining whether or not DWP can export water to Los Angeles. Not only does the lake have to be above 6377 feet for today’s measurement, it also has to be forecast to stay above 6377 every day of the coming year. (more…)

April 1 lake level means reduced water exports to LA, more protection for Mono Lake

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 by Geoff, Executive Director

This morning Mono Lake Committee staff met with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) personnel to conduct the official annual April 1 reading of the lake level together. The consensus: Mono Lake stands at 6379.01 feet above sea level.

DWP's Brian Norris and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Elin Ljung.

DWP’s Brian Norris and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee read the lake level gauge together this morning. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lake has declined to a level at which water exports to Los Angeles are, by the terms of the State Water Board’s rules, automatically reduced by 70%. DWP will be limited to 4,500 acre-feet of water export, a lake-protecting restriction that no one, until recently, thought would ever be activated again. It was a solemn, though not unexpected outcome, given that California’s drought is entering its fourth year and the Mono Lake watershed is officially classified as being under “exceptional” drought. (more…)

Hydrology update: Dry July despite thunderstorms

Friday, August 7th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
Work in progress on the MGORD. Photo by Greg Reis.

Work progresses on the Grant Lake Reservoir outlet gate to Rush Creek. Photo by Greg Reis.

Mono Lake dropped a 1/4 foot in July, and stood at 6382.3 feet above sea level on August 1st. This is very similar to the forecasted July drop in lake level of 0.2 feet.

Lee Vining precipitation in July was below average, despite a month full of thunderstorms. Average rainfall is about 1/2 an inch—only 0.12 inches fell, total. This followed a wet May and June, so April-through-July precipitation is slightly above the 2-inch average.

At the end of June, total Rush Creek runoff was almost exactly as forecasted—about 101% of average—but the monthly pattern wasn’t. April and May had higher runoff than forecasted and June was lower than forecasted, mainly as a result (more…)

Hydrology Update: Rainy June; Mono Lake to drop 1/2 foot this summer

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

This week we received LADWP’s forecast for Mono Lake levels for the 2009 Runoff Year (April 1, 2009-March 31, 2010). The lake is expected to be at its peak right now (the current elevation of Mono Lake is 6382.53 feet above sea level ), and fall about 1/2 foot by early September, and fall a total of about (more…)

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