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Mono Lake

Mono Lake is an alkaline and hypersaline[?] lake in California, United States that is critical nesting habitat for several bird species and is one of the most productive ecosystems in North America.

In order to provide water for growing Los Angeles, water was diverted from the Owens river[?] and then from the tributaries that fed Mono Lake. The level of the water went down so far that Negit island (dark colored island in picture - to be inserted later) became a peninsula which exposed the nests of gulls to coyotes. University of California, Davis graduate student David Gains in 1976 earned his masters degree studying the Mono lake ecosystem and was instrumental in alterting the public of the effects of the lower water level. Efforts have since been made to redivert water back into the lake. However, the lake is still lower than historic levels and exposed shorelines are a source of significant alkali dust during periods of high winds. Owens Lake[?], which sustained a similar ecosystem, completely dried up because of these water diversions.

Mono Craters to the right of the image are rhyolitic domes. The dark colored Negit island is of volcanic origin and is somewhat less than 2000 years old. Pahoa Island is the larger and lighter colored island in the lake and was formed 300 years ago from uplift caused by magma movement. In 1941 the lake level was at 6417 feet above sea level, it is currently at 6385 feet, and the goal is to have lake level rise to 6392 feet above sea level.

Important species that reside in the lake

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