Harper Lake

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Harper Lake
Harper Dry Lake Marsh.jpg
Harper Dry Lake Marsh, diminished by years of agricultural diversion
Location Mojave Desert
San Bernardino County, California
Coordinates 35°01′50″N 117°17′24″W / 35.0305°N 117.2900°W / 35.0305; -117.2900Coordinates: 35°01′50″N 117°17′24″W / 35.0305°N 117.2900°W / 35.0305; -117.2900
Lake type Endorheic basin
Basin countries United States
Max. length 16 km (9.9 mi)
Max. width 7 km (4.3 mi)
Shore length1 45 km (28 mi)
Surface elevation 617 m (2,024 ft)
Settlements Lockhart, California
References U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Harper Lake
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Harper Lake is a dry lake located in the Mojave Desert near the small community of Lockhart in northwestern San Bernardino County of Southern California. The lake is accessible from Harper Lake Road, which runs north off of State Route 58 midway between Boron and Barstow.

History[edit]

Harper Lake contained water and a natural marsh into the early 20th century, until agricultural development depleted the groundwater that sustained its level. The lake and marsh wetlands attracted large numbers of migrating birds and supported a variety of resident desert wildlife in the oasis habitat. With adjacent agriculture only the southwest corner of the reduced lake was marshland, sustained by a small amount of surface runoff from nearby farms. Into the early 1990s the wildlife was still supported by the remnant habitat.

Decline[edit]

The lake became dry and the marsh died in the latter 1990s, following the alfalfa farm next to the lake shutting down, and the migrating and resident wildlife dropped. When a new solar power plant was built just to the west of the lake 35°01′54″N 117°20′53″W / 35.0316°N 117.348°W / 35.0316; -117.348 (SEGS VIII and IX), it was required to pump groundwater to the lake. However, this never occurred as the company that owned the 160 megawatt plant went bankrupt. After the bankruptcy was resolved, the concerns of Edwards Air Force Base regarding bird strikes and bureaucratic issues halted restoration progress.

Restoration[edit]

Meanwhile, Luz Solar Partners and NextEra Energy Resources, the new owners of the Solar Energy Generating Systems power plant, delivered water to the lake as requested by the Bureau of Land Management-BLM through an informal agreement. In 2005, a new petition was filed by Friends of Harper Lake with the BLM and California Energy Commission, which approved the amendments to the project. Up to 75 acre feet (93,000 m3) of water per year will be managed by the BLM and transferred to the lake as part of the mitigation agreement for solar field expansion.

Other events[edit]

On March 25, 2009, an F-22 Raptor crashed on the lakebed, resulting in the death of a test pilot for the constructor, Lockheed.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edmund Jenks (25 March 2009). "F-22 Raptor Jet Crashes In Mohave Desert - Pilot Dies". NowPublic. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 

External links[edit]

  • Bureau of Land Management (02-01-2008). "Harper Lake". California Wildlife Viewing Guide. U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  • Bureau of Land Management (2007-04-27). "Harper Dry Lake Marsh, Recreation Area". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  • California Energy Commission (3 November 2005). Business Meeting Minutes (.PDF). California Department of Energy. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  • Donovan, Kelly (2 January 2003). "Dry Lake to be Wet Again". Desert Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-09-12.