Mill Creek (Mono Lake)

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Coordinates: 38°00′58″N 119°07′42″W / 38.01611°N 119.12833°W / 38.01611; -119.12833
Mill Creek
Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam.jpg
Beaver Dam on Mill Creek in Lundy Canyon Photo Courtesy Ted Guzzi
Country United States
State California
Region Mono and Tuolumne County
 - right South Fork Mill Creek [1], Deer Creek
City Mono City
Source Cascade Lake
 - location Sierra Nevada
 - elevation 10,400 ft (3,170 m)
 - coordinates 37°59′52″N 119°19′40″W / 37.99778°N 119.32778°W / 37.99778; -119.32778 [2]
Mouth Mono Lake
 - location Mono City, California
 - elevation 6,378 ft (1,944 m)
 - coordinates 38°00′58″N 119°07′42″W / 38.01611°N 119.12833°W / 38.01611; -119.12833 [2]
Length 14.5 mi (23 km)
Basin 24.7 sq mi (64 km2)
Discharge for Below Lundy Lake
 - average 25.6 cu ft/s (1 m3/s) [3]

Mill Creek is a 14.5-mile-long (23.3 km)[4] perennial stream that flows east from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range into Mono Lake, in Mono County, California. It courses through Lundy Canyon[5] and Lundy Lake, before passing through Mono City, California on its way to Mono Lake.


Approximately 81 percent of the annual runoff of Mill Creek in the Mono Basin has been attributed to snowmelt, occurring from April through September, and the remaining 19 percent of the annual streamflow occurs as base flow from October through March.[6]


William O. Lundy obtained a timber patent here in 1880. The settlement near the May lundy Mine was first known as Mill Creek.[7] diverted to generate hydroelectric power in the early years of the 20th century. In 1911, the Lundy Project was completed and the dam raised the natural outlet of Lundy Lake 37 feet to an elevation of 7,803 feet so that hydroelectric power could be generated by the Southern Sierra Power Company.[6]


It is controversial whether North American beaver (Castor canadensis) were native to Mill Creek and the Mono Basin. Beaver were introduced, or re-introduced, along Mill Creek in the Mono Basin by the California Department of Fish and Game in the 1950s. The population thrives above Lundy Reservoir for nearly the entire length of upper Lundy Canyon and in recent years has been spreading to nearby creeks, including Wilson Creek, DeChambeau Creek, and Lee Vining Creek.[6] That beaver were once native to the eastern slope of the Sierra is supported by the fact that the Washo have a word for beaver, c'imhélhel[8][9] and the northern Paiute of Walker Lake, Honey Lake and Pyramid Lake have a word for beaver su-i'-tu-ti-kut'-teh.[10] When Stephen Powers visited the northern Paiute to collect Indian materials for the Smithsonian Institution in preparation for the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, he reported that the northern Paiute wrapped their hair in strips of beaver fur, made medicine from parts of beaver and that their creation legend included beaver.[10] The presence of beaver dams has also been shown to either increase the number of fish, their size, or both, in a study of brook, rainbow and brown trout in Sagehen Creek, which flows into the Little Truckee River at an altitude of 5,800 feet (1,800 m) and is a stream typical of the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.[11]


The Lundy Canyon trail leads past several cascading waterfalls to Lake Helen, then becomes more moderate in the "20 Lakes Basin". Trails circle toward Saddlebag lake and to he foot of North Peak and Mount Conness on the Yosemite National Park boundary.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: South Fork Mill Creek
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mill Creek
  3. ^ "USGS Gage #10287070 on Mill Creek below Lundy Lake near Mono Lake (Actual): Monthly Streamflow". National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1969–1990. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 17, 2011
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lundy Canyon
  6. ^ a b c Mark Drew, Holly Alpert, Rick Kattelmann, and Austin McInerny (2011-01-06). Draft Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (Report). Inyo-Mono Regional Water Management Group. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  7. ^ Erwin G. Gudde, William Bright (2004). California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names. University of California Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-520-24217-3. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  8. ^ A. L. Kroeber (1919). "30". Handbook of Indians of California. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  9. ^ "The Washo Project". University of Chicago. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  10. ^ a b Don D. Fowler, Catherine S. Fowler, Stephen Powers (Summer–Autumn 1970). "Stephen Powers' "The Life and Culture of the Washo and Paiutes"". Ethnohistory, Vol. 17, No. 3/4: 117–149. JSTOR 481206. 
  11. ^ Gard R (1961). "Effects of beaver on trout in Sagehen Creek, California". Journal of Wildlife Management: 221–242. JSTOR 3797848. 
  12. ^ "Lundy Canyon Trail". USDA Forest Service. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 

External links[edit]