Los Angeles and the Future of Mono Lake

A Web Quest exploring the biodiversity, natural history, and preservation of Mono Lake

Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion Teachers


Los Angeles is out of water! For years the population increased while the freshwater supply steadily decreased. The city is now dry and citizens of Los Angeles are desperate for help. Many people remember a time in history when water was diverted from the Mono Basin to supply the city's needs, although it harmed the lake. They are demanding that the action be repeated! In response, the mayor requests YOU to serve on an advisory panel of experts. He gives you his full trust and support, and will stand by any decision you make. The future of Mono Lake is in your hands...

Your advisory panel will consist of three experts. Together, you have been chosen to represent the biology and natural history of the Mono Basin. Your goal is to analyze the impact water diversion would have on Mono Lake and to represent the issues relating to our custodial responsibilities for our environment. Is Los Angeles justified in taking water from the Mono Basin?

Your advice to the mayor should include the following background information:

  1. Natural history of the Mono Basin
  2. Biological diversity of Mono Lake
  3. Importance of Mono Lake in the search for extraterrestrial life
  4. Results of previous water diversion
You should conclude the report with your recommendation and projections of what this might mean for the future of Mono Lake and/or Los Angeles.

You will present your decision in a mixed forum of Los Angeles citizens and environmentalists. Your ability to persuasively communicate your position is essential to the future of both the Mono Basin and the City of Los Angeles.