Turning science into solutions: Adaptive management and stream restoration progress at Mono Lake
Mono Lake is well known for its scenic tufa towers, a legendary water battle with Los Angeles, and a notable set of protections achieved over the past 30 years. Mono Lake and its tributary streams are now healing after decades of excessive water diversions, providing real world proof of our ability to balance human water needs with ecological protection.
Continued protection and restoration progress require constant vigilance. Science and advocacy continue to play critical, complimentary roles in advancing stream and lake ecosystem restoration through adaptive management, long term research, and restoration project implementation. Last fall, the Mono Lake Committee, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and California Trout reached a historic agreement to fully implement comprehensive prescriptions for stream restoration prepared by independent scientists after 12 years of detailed studies.
The agreement includes significant infrastructure modernization to meet restoration goals, bringing the Los Angeles Aqueduct capabilities out of the 1930s and into the 21st century. The agreement also creates a framework for ongoing scientific monitoring, adaptive management, and joint participation by public, utility and agency stakeholders in administration and planning. The successes at Mono Lake offer hope for other threatened saline lake systems and suggest strategies to achieve their long term sustainable management.