Water rushing over dark wet rocks in a creek with vibrant green vegetation surrounding the streambank and large tree stumps and pine needles along the sides.


Dramatic scenic view of the shoreline of Mono Lake with a tufa tower and tufa rocks submerged in a green lake and large high clouds racing across the sky above an island of tufa towers perfectly reflected in Mono Lake.

Healing the damage of excessive water diversions

The Mono Lake Committee works to restore the ecological functions of Mono Lake, its tributary streams and waterfowl habitat, and the watershed as a whole. Our restoration programs work to heal the damage caused by 50 years of excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP).

As a result of historic litigation, DWP is required to fulfill its restoration obligations in the Mono Basin as ordered by the State Water Resources Control Board. The Committee plays a critical role as a watchdog, monitor, and science support to transform the restoration requirements into measurable restoration progress.

Restoring Mono Lake

The foremost measure of Mono Lake restoration progress is raising the lake level to 6392 feet above sea level. 6392 was determined by the State Water Board to sufficiently lower salinity for healthy ecosystem function, maintain California Gulls island nesting habitat, lower dangerous dust emissions, rejuvenate wetland habitat, and more. The Mono Lake Committee supports the State Water Board-mandated lake level rise by measuring the lake level, tracking year-round water delivery and diversions, reviewing limnology data, and modeling the complex water systems that forecast this critical lake recovery metric.

More about restoring Mono Lake  >

Sunset colors of pink and blue on a glassy Mono Lake with tufa mounds in the foreground, the lake covered in dots of Eared Grebes in the background, and the black volcanic island of Negit in the distance.

Fall along a rushing creek with water cascading softly over rocks and deciduous trees in bright yellow and framed by two evergreen tree trunks.

Restoring streams

Excessive water diversions from Mono Lake’s five tributary streams nearly decimated miles of lush streamside forests and Blue Ribbon trout fisheries. Mandated by the State Water Board, and guided by State Water Board-appointed Stream Scientists, stream restoration in the Mono Basin works to reestablish natural ecological processes and habitat conditions in order to support healthy trout, bird, and wildlife populations. The Mono Lake Committee works with the Stream Scientists and DWP to monitor streamflows and water temperatures, track groundwater levels, and support on-the-ground restoration activities, including planting trees and pulling invasive weeds.

More about Mono Basin streams >

Restoring waterfowl habitat

With the steep and rapid decline in the lake level, lake-fringing wetlands, freshwater deltas, and brackish lagoons—habitat for birds and waterfowl—was lost. The most important action to restore waterfowl habitat is to raise the level of Mono Lake.

Additional waterfowl habitat restoration actions include rewatering side channels in Rush Creek to revive ponded water habitat, developing and maintaining the DeChambeau and County ponds, and monitoring waterfowl population numbers and habitat.

Sunrise at a pond surrounded by fall vegetation with ducks on the pond and steam rising from it, with bright orange and gold clouds inthe blue clearing sky.

What We Do: Restoration

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Live webcam views of Mono Lake, Lee Vining, and Mill Creek.

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Top photo courtesy of David Gubernick. | Shoreline and Pirate Tufa, Margrit Schwarz | Pink Negit Sunset, Robb Hirsch | Lee Vining Creek Fall, Richard Erb | DeChambeau Ponds, Ed Callaert