South Tufa Area, Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, Lee Vining, California, USA.
A sign indicating the 1959 lake level of Mono Lake is visibly far from the current lake edge, photographed in July 2015, at South Tufa Area, Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, Lee Vining, California, USA. Since 1941, diversion of lake water tributary streams by the city of Los Angeles lowered the level of Mono Lake, which imperiled migratory birds and an important ecosystem. In response, the Mono Lake Committee won a legal battle that forced Los Angeles to partially restore the lake level. The Reserve protects wetlands that support millions of birds, and preserves Mono Lake's distinctive tufa towers -- calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. Mono Lake has no outlet and is one of the oldest lakes in North America. Over the past million years, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams and evaporation has made the water 2.5 times saltier than the ocean. This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp and blackflies.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download