Lee Vining Creek

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Coordinates: 37°58′40″N 119°06′07″W / 37.97778°N 119.10194°W / 37.97778; -119.10194
Lee Vining Creek
Lee Vining aerial.jpeg
Lee Vining Creek delta from the air
Country United States
State California
 - left Warren Fork
 - right Mine Creek
Source Conness Lakes
 - location Sierra Nevada
 - elevation 10,617 ft (3,236 m)
 - coordinates 37°58′36″N 119°18′23″W / 37.97667°N 119.30639°W / 37.97667; -119.30639
Mouth Mono Lake
 - location 1 mi (1.6 km) north of Lee Vining
 - elevation 6,378 ft (1,944 m)
 - coordinates 37°58′40″N 119°06′07″W / 37.97778°N 119.10194°W / 37.97778; -119.10194
Length 16 mi (26 km), west-east
Basin 36 sq mi (93 km2)
Discharge for Lee Vining, CA
 - average 65.4 cu ft/s (2 m3/s) [1]
 - max 590 cu ft/s (17 m3/s)
 - min 8.67 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)

Lee Vining Creek is a 16.2-mile-long (26.1 km)[2] stream in Mono County, California, flowing into the endorheic basin of Mono Lake. It is the second largest stream flowing into the lake, after Rush Creek.

The stream rises near Tioga Pass in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level. It flows generally east, and is briefly impounded at Ellery Lake before dropping into a huge canyon known as Lee Vining Canyon. From there, it flows eastwards out of the mountains past the small town of Lee Vining. The creek terminates at a small sandy delta on the western shore of Mono Lake.

A portion of the creek is diverted into the Second Los Angeles Aqueduct near Lee Vining to provide water to metropolitan Southern California. The diversion of Lee Vining Creek and other streams such as Rush Creek and Mill Creek has led to a severe reduction in streamflow and a drop in lake level, damaging the fragile ecosystem of the lake.

See also[edit]