Monday December 19, 2022

Mono Lake Committee

On December 16, 2022 the Mono Lake Committee submitted a request to the California State Water Resources Control Board for an emergency action to protect Mono Lake by addressing the developing ecological crisis due to the lake surface elevation having fallen below 6380 feet above sea level, which threatens the nesting California Gull population and dangerously increases lake salinity.

The Committee requested that the Board issue an emergency regulation, or take other action, suspending the export of water diverted from Rush and Lee Vining creeks and requiring delivery of that water into Mono Lake until Mono Lake has risen to 6384 feet above sea level.

Mono Lake is dangerously low due to the legacy of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) water diversions, worsened by recent drought. This means that predators can cross exposed lakebed to access critical nesting islands, and that high salinity in violation of federal standards is impairing the lake ecosystem. It makes sense to deliver all the water possible into the lake to raise its level and deliver the protections already mandated by the State Water Board.

The Committee did not submit this petition lightly. The current situation is well established as an emergency, in substantial part by the State Water Board’s own analysis for its landmark protection action Decision 1631 (D1631). After 28 years, the Board and all parties expected the level of Mono Lake to be much higher, eliminating the challenge of predators using the landbridge.

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