Birding site earns spot in L.A. Times
From Sunday's Los Angeles Times:
Reporting from Lone Pine, Calif. -- Teams of biologists fanned out across the vast playa of Owens Lake on Saturday to take a full accounting of one of environmentalism's unintended successes: tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds roosting on a dust-control project.
The 100-square-mile lake just east of Sequoia National Park was transformed into dusty salt flats after 1913, when its cargo of snowmelt and spring water was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Since 2001, however, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has flooded portions of the lake bed to control choking dust pollution.
Nature quickly responded to the ankle-deep sheet of water delivered by the $500-million dust-control project's plumbing system. First to appear on the sheen of water tinged bright green by algae were brine flies. Then came migrating birds that feed on them and peregrine falcons that feed on the birds.
This year, Audubon California designated Owens Lake one of the 17 most important bird areas in the state and a globally important wetlands in the making.