Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) is embarking on an ambitious fundraising campaign in collaboration with Clean Up The Lake (CUTL) to restore and rejuvenate the pristine lakes that grace the Eastern Sierra. This initiative, set to span the next four years, comes with a promise: MLT will match every dollar raised, up to a grand total of $100,000.
In the past year, pilot research dives have delved into the depths of four lakes within the Mammoth Lakes Basin: Lake George, Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, and Lake Mamie. These dives have yielded invaluable insights into the environmental challenges facing these natural wonders and the steps necessary to ensure their continued well-being.
The action is set to begin this week as dedicated volunteers from CUTL launch a comprehensive cleanup and aquatic invasive species survey around Lake George’s expansive 2-mile circumference. Working in tandem with volunteer scuba divers, free divers, and kayakers, their mission is to rid the lake of fishing debris, plastic pollution, and other threats to its fragile ecosystem.
“There is a widespread litter problem that has been ignored for decades in freshwater lakes all across the Sierra,” said Colin West, Founder & Executive Director of CUTL. “Action is necessary to ensure the future protection of the region’s most valuable resource.”
Over the next four years, CUTL, in partnership with MLT, will actively engage with both visitors and the local community. Their aim is to raise awareness and encourage increased volunteer participation in the ongoing restoration efforts.
The core objectives of this collaborative effort include the removal of submerged litter, meticulous documentation of aquatic invasive species that pose a threat to the lakes, the protection of animal species residing both above and below the water’s surface, and the prevention of future pollution.
“Our investment in this program is a commitment to the natural resources that make this place so special,” said John Urdi, MLT Executive Director. “Not only will this work have an immediate impact on our pristine mountain lakes, but it will also highlight the importance of protecting the places we play, both for visitors and locals alike. There is a big impact on our environment that is happening just below the surface. Much of this litter is out of sight and therefore, out of mind.”