A forgotten lake


I read with interest the article titled “Tenuous revival of Mono Lake” in the Nov. 23 issue. I was involved in the politics of that rescue, being friends with Rick Lehman, our congressman, and with other politicos who drove the legislation. Now that the lake is stabilized, I have tried to interest them in Walker Lake, Nevada, just a short jaunt east from Lee Vining. One of the few terminal desert lakes in the world, it supported prehistoric trout, and multitudes of migrating birds for several thousand years. The inlet end, Walker River, was essentially freshwater, and the terminal end was closer to Mono Lake in its chemistry. Irrigation rights in the Yerington area have deprived this larger and more remote version of Mono Lake of its inlet water, and the level has dropped several hundred feet since the 1900s. The total dissolved solids and ­alkalinity have grown to the point where it will soon support only brine shrimp.

Walker Lake is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management territory, with a small patch of private lands on the west shore. I find it repulsive and hypocritical that no environmental group has taken on the lake’s rescue, or seems to have any interest at all in its imminent death.

Richard Raucina
Midpines, California

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