How Decades of Restoration Reversed Collapse of California’s Mono Lake

"Stream rehabilitation and limits on water diversions saved a crucial feeding stop for migratory birds. The lake is now an inspiration for efforts to heal degraded and warming ecosystems around the world."

"LEE VINING, Calif.—When Rose Nelson camped along lower Rush Creek in the summer of 2017, the water was flowing as high and fast as anyone could remember. The rumble and roar of the creek, she said, was the joyful sound of nature healing.

“It was the first high runoff after a long drought,” said Nelson, now the education director for the Mono Lake Committee, a nonprofit based in Lee Vining, California. “I wanted to feel what that was like. One of my secret camp spots is right next to Rush Creek, and when I slept there, just to hear the cobbles moving down, it was like a thunderstorm the whole night. And it made me so happy.”

High flows are a big part of restoring a landscape marred by decades of water diversions from the creek to Los Angeles, she said. The surge of runoff pushed big boulders downstream and created new channels. It rearranged logs and branches to create pools for fish and trap sediments that build new shorelines. Seeds spread by the torrent sprouted later along the revived riverbanks, bringing Rush Creek back to life."

Bob Berwyn reports for Inside Climate News October 30, 2022.

Source: Inside Climate News, 10/31/2022