California’s Top 10 Environmental Disasters: #10 – Mono Lake

Mono Lake Tufa - Photo by Flickr user Brian W. Tobin

Mono Lake Tufa – Photo by Flickr user Brian W. Tobin

 

We’re going to start off with a bad news–good news story. This way when you look at the rest of the list, you can always come back to this one and find some hope. Things can change. They can get better.

Humans have been destroying the ecological system of Mono Lake since the mid 1800s, when miners overwhelmed the seagulls in the area by eating their eggs. In any other place, the mention of eating the young of a species would be met with derision.

Since that time, Mono Lake has been one of the water sources that have been affected by Los Angeles and its all-consuming need for water. With the diversion of water from the rivers and streams that fed into Mono Lake, there was the threat that it would become like Owens Lake, which went dry in 13 years because of water diversions.

Animals, birds and fish faced massive die offs, and people filed lawsuits in the 1980s and 1990s to protect nature.

Mono Lake is a winner of sorts, even after all of the damage done by people overusing its resources.

With Decision 1631, there has been some improvement in the ecosystem. We don’t know yet if it was too little, too late, but at least a positive change has happened.

Go to Owens Lake ranked #9 on our list.
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