Daily DrakeMono

MonoCalifornia’s alkaline, gull-infested moonscape known as Mono Lake, which lies just east of Yosemite, has been the subject of a heated environmental standoff for decades. Troubles began in the 1940s, when the lake’s Eastern Sierra tributaries were sucked dry and diverted to a World War II-era aqueduct for export to LA water users, about 350 miles to the south.

Prosperous trout fisheries that once thrived in Rush and Lee Vining creeks suffered the worst. And CalTrout—along with the Mono Lake Committee, the National Audubon Society, and others—has been at the forefront of efforts to restore flows and return riverine habitat to its former grandeur.

On Friday, that battle came to a close.

“Decades of strife over how much water could be diverted out of four key Mono Lake tributaries to the benefit of Los Angeles water users came to an end today when the Board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) voted to approve a historic settlement agreement among LADWP, non-profit fisheries and water resources conservation organization California Trout (CalTrout), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and the Mono Lake Committee,” says CalTrout.

The settlement, one in line with 1994 Restoration Orders, calls for construction of a $15-million adjustable gate in the 87-feet-tall Grant Dam that will release pulses of water along a seven-mile stretch of Rush Creek to mimic annual flood cycles that would promote healthy trout populations. Lee Vining is also slated to receive ramped up flows.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the settlement will not affect water levels at Mono Lake.

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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