Tuesday April 16, 2024

Popular Mechanics

Don’t call the 2023 resurgence of Lake Tulare a flood event. That lake has a history that long predates modern Californian farming—even if current water and farming practices have turned it into a “ghost lake.”

As ghosts tend to do, this one has disappeared once again.

Tulare Lake in the San Joaquin Valley, known as Pa’ashi by the indigenous Tachi Yokut tribe, was considered the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River in the early 1800s. That all changed when land privatization helped drain the lake to make way for farming. The lake has tried to reemerge multiple times since, giving it the nickname of a “ghost lake.” Its latest attempt came in the spring of 2023, when rainstorms coupled with the runoff from the Sierras helped fill the lake.

Some called it flooding, but others say it was simply a lake returning.

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