Mono Lake, located in the Eastern Sierra region of the state of California, is a bit uncommon when it comes to lakes. First off, it is very very old – it’s been around for almost 1 million years. Secondly, it is secluded; in that there are no outlets for runoff into the ocean. Due to this, the lake has a very high saline content and is approximately 2.5 times saltier than the oceans. Finally, since there is freshwater springs that run down the mountains and mixes with the alkaline water of Mono Lake unique outcroppings have formed from calcium carbonate. These are referred to as “tufas”. The eco-system of Mono Lake allows it to be teeming with brine shrimp, algae and alkali flies. Several species of birds call this lake home for a good part of each year. The water levels also fluctuate depending on how much freshwater run off there is each year. At times the water levels are low and others quite high.
Each year many visit the lake and the Natural State Reserve. It is very popular with photographers for its vivid mountain and water vistas. Bird watching, hiking, boating and nature tours are widely available. The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve aims to help educate and help protect the beautiful tufas. The Mono Lake Committee has helped protect the freshwater runoffs from being diverted from the lake towards Los Angeles since 1978.