|Mono Lake, South Tufa, October 2011|
Place: Mono Lake, South Tufa, Lee Vining, California
Coordinates: 37.938774, -119.027170
Length: about 1 mile
Mono Lake is one of those places that are so unique that they look and feel almost outlandish. Located on the eastern end of Yosemite's Tioga Pass and right on Route 395 that parallels the Sierra Nevada range from the east, Mono Lake is a popular stop for sight-seers and has become a regular stop for us too. Whenever we travel in that direction we make the time to visit this strange and beautiful place.
|Mono Lake, January 2015|
Our hike at Mono Lake as captured by Papa Quail's GPS last January. (We didn't go in the water. It's just a GPS extrapolation between points.)
|California Gull, October 2011|
|Brine Flies, October 2011|
|Cowbirds feasting on brine flies, May 2015|
|Osprey, May 2015|
|Tufa formation, January 2015|
|Mountain Bluebird, male, May 2015|
|Ground Squirrel, May 2015|
|The "Eye", January 2015|
|"The Sunken Titanic", January 2015|
|A sign marking the water level in 1963, 22 years after beginning water diversion from the Mono Lake tributaries to the Los Angeles Aqueduct. January 2015|
|'Mother and Child', January 2015|
|Eastern Sierra snow is a major source of water due for Mono Lake. January 2015|
Mono Lake and its ecosystem were on a fast track to death.
And the battle rages on.
Human history is full of accounts of wealthy, powerful societies taking control of remote water sources and diverting them to the demise of local communities and ecosystems who depended on that water. The story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct is no different: with financial backing from city bonds and the use of dirty politics and immoral exploitation of early California water rights laws, the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas now depend almost entirely on water channeled from hundreds of miles away.
The Los Angeles metropolis is the one of the Nation's largest, second only to New York. Wikipedia cites Mediterranean climate as a primary reason, but the city's growth would have never come about on local water sources. The Los Angeles Cost of Living is much more than housing, education, and and city services. It is also the horrific price paid by the communities and ecosystems who lost their aquatic lines of life in the process, without concent or any real say on the issue.
It is also a dangerous state for Los Angeles to be at - the complete dependence on remote water sources. With the continuing drought and no foreseeable decline in the demand for water there may soon come a time when water restrictions will make Los Angeles a much more difficult place to live.
Past mistakes cannot be undone, but erroneous water policies can be amended. The use of modern technologies can make water recycling and reuse a major source for much of The City's water needs. Also, Los Angeles does have a large source of local water - the Pacific Ocean. With the combination of ocean desalination and water recycling, Los Angeles can become water independent. The City of Angels can give life back to the places its been draining all these years.
It will take public education and will. It will take visionary and moral policy makers. I truly hope it will happen before the catastrophe, inevitable if things would be allowed to continued unchanged, strikes.
|Evidence for past volcanic activity south of Mono Lake: a cinder cones and hills of volcanic ash . January 2011|
|Sagebrush Sparrow, May 2015|
|Western Fence Lizard, May 2015|
|Pygmycedar, May 2015|
|A bit of snow. January, 2015|
|California Gull, breeding adult, May 2015|
|Mono Lake, January 2015|
|Rocky Mountain Isis (Iris missouriensis), east of Sonora Pass, May 2015|
|Yellow-headed Blackbird, east of Sonora Pass, May 2015|
|Alpine Gooseberry (Ribes lasianthum), east of Sonora Pass, May 2015|
If making your way east on CA 120 to see the high Yosemite, make the extra effort and drive all the way out of the park and down to Mono Lake. It will extend your day but a little. It will extend your spirit a lot.