If you can recall the "Save Mono Lake" bumper stickers on VW camper vans, you are probably a baby boomer. I remember them.
Today, I had the pleasure of seeing the lake, getting the story and being thankful that this natural wonder didn't become another victim of the hubris of mankind. (Or should I say the Los Angeles Water and Power Department).
In 1941, LA began diverting water from the Mono Lake basin to quench the thirst and water the golf courses of the growing city.
The lake began to shrink by evaporation. Mono Lake is part of the Great Basin. There are no outlets, only a few humble inlets. The water is a briny 2.5 times saltier than the ocean. Yet, it's a haven for wildlife, especially migratory avian populations. It's also pretty to look at!
History has shown the right person steps up to the plate at the right time.
Think: Lincoln, FDR and Churchill. In the case of saving Mono Lake, it was David Gaines, a reluctant warrior. He co-founded the Mono Lake Committee who fought the good fight and won a compromise with the all powerful LAWPD. The City of Angels could have some of the water destined for Mono Lake, but they couldn't have it all.
This ancient lake did not become a dried up salt flat, like the former Owens Lake to the south. Here's an example of a flyweight taking on a heavyweight and muscling out a draw. I love stories with happy endings like this one.
It's not all happy though. David Gaines died at the all-too-young age of 40 in a car accident. He left behind a wife, two kids and a legacy of goodness.
If you want, you can donate to the Mono Lake Committee so they can keep on keeping on for the good of the planet (www.monolake.org) The new bumper stickers now read "Keep Saving Mono Lake." Barley the van is sporting one now.
BTW. I donated already.
RIP David Gaines and thanks for the save...