JCI Partners with Mono Lake Committee
JCI is very excited to announce our partnership with the Mono Lake Committee (MLC) to help save one of California’s most important natural resources, Mono Lake.
Mono Lake is a beautiful, salt-water lake with an unmatched ecosystem and a critical habitat for 2 million migratory birds who feed on the lake’s flourishing brine shrimp population. Mono Lake also possesses a unique geographic feature, the Tufa Towers. These natural limestone columns rise above the surface of the lake, making Mono Lake a remarkable California landmark.
In 1941, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) began using Mono Lake as a water source to deal with the city’s increasing water demands, diverting the lake’s streams and sending the water 350 miles south. This solution to LA’s water problem was not without devastating ecological effects. About 40 years later, Mono Lake lost half of its water volume and doubled in salinity, causing disruptions in the California Gull population, toxic dust storms, and decreased air quality.
In 1978, David Gaines and Sally Judy, two ecological researchers, formed the Mono Lake Committee to protect and restore Mono Lake and its natural beauty after seeing the damage and repercussions on the ecosystem. Since then, the MLC has worked tirelessly to save the lake through legal, legislative, and educational outreach and conservation efforts.
The most famous success story of the Mono Lake Committee, though, was the campaign that led to Decision 1631 in 1991. Decision 1631 mandated that Mono Lake be allowed to rise to 6392 feet above sea level. This compromise didn’t bring Mono Lake back up to its pre-diversion level of 6417 but it gave 20 feet back from its lowest level, allowing for restoration of damage to habitats and streams. This decision was critical for the future of Mono Lake and its unique environment.
Despite past successes, the battle to save Mono Lake is far from over. California is facing extreme drought and has been for a long time. Because of this, the lake is again at unacceptably dire levels. As of July 2022, Mono Lake is 12.5 feet below the management level critical for the lake’s ecological health and is not rising on schedule. Additionally, LADWP has decided that keeping Mono Lake’s water level at the acceptable height “set an impossible standard”, and the appellate court reversed the decision to protect Mono Lake’s water in favor of the LADWP.
Mono Lake Committee and JCI will now be working together to stand up for Mono Lake and advocate for its health and the health of California's environment.
“As a team and public affairs firm, JCI is committed to sustainability, environmental activism, and working with groups like the Mono Lake Committee to protect our state’s natural resources. We are proud to be working with MLC’s Executive Director, Geoff McQuilkin, and his team to draw awareness to the issues that are harming the lake,” said Seth Jacobson, principal and founder of JCI Worldwide.
We look forward to working with Los Angeles elected officials to do what is both best for the city, Mono Lake, and the state of California.