|Eastern Mojave Vegetation||Klondike Lake, Inyo County, California.|
Klondike Lake is located in an alkali sink north of Big Pine. Before 1986, the alkali sink was intermittently filled with water from the Owens River via the Big Pine Canal and the Lyman Ditch. Under the Klondike Lake Enhancement/Mitigation Project in 1986, the lake level has been maintained via water releases from the Big Pine Canal to the lake via the Lyman Ditch. The lake level is maintained via a water supply from the Big Pine Canal that varies between summer and winter. Water is released from an existing headgate on the south shoreline to a native habitat area to provide nesting and feeding areas for waterfowl. The roadway into the lake was improved. In addition a plot of native pasture adjacent to the ditch which brings the water from the Big Pine Canal to the lake is being sub-irrigated. A firm supply of water to the lake enhanced the attractiveness of the facility for recreation as well as improve waterfowl nesting and feeding habitat.
Water not used by the project is drained to the Owens River via a ditch commonly referred to as the “Klondike drain.”
The Mono Lake Committee lists Klondike Lake as one of the best water bird areas in the Eastern Sierra. Both dabbling and diving ducks utilize the lake, often in large numbers. Clark’s Grebe is a regular breeder. The lake has hosted Brant and Long-tailed Duck. Peregrine Falcon and White-tailed Kite are casual visitors seen perching in the dead trees on the west side of the lake.
Other recreational pursuits at Klondike Lake include swimming, water-skiing, sailing and windsurfing. The lake is heavily used for recreation on summer weekends. Klondike Lake is a shallow lake, mostly used for wind sports in the summer time.
The lake can be seen from US Highway 395, about two miles north of California Highway 168 in Big Pine. Turn east onto an unmarked dirt road. A cattle guard and information board mark the turnoff. Look for a turn lane if coming from the north. Visual access is primarily along the south and east sides but with care, if the road is dry, one can drive all the way around the lake with caution.
The managing agency is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
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Date and time this article was prepared:11:48:43 AM, 4/16/2021.