Geoff McQuilkin


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.

Geoffrey McQuilkin became a Mono Lake Committee member in fifth grade and his enthusiasm for Mono Lake has never waned. He has worked for the nonprofit Mono Lake Committee for over twenty years, including the past decade as Executive Director, giving him the chance to be involved with all aspects of the citizen group’s protection, restoration, education, and science programs. He can be found wherever Mono Lake advocacy is needed, from the lake’s salty shores to Los Angeles to Sacramento. A graduate of Harvard in the History of Science, Geoff lives at Mono Lake with his wife and two daughters.


Mono Lake by Marie Read

Mono Lake by Marie Read

Rush-Creek-restoration-looking-to-Grant-Reservoir  courtesy Mono Lake Committee

Rush-Creek-restoration-looking-to-Grant-Reservoir courtesy Mono Lake Committee