Harper Lake

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Harper Lake
Harper Dry Lake Marsh.jpg
Harper Dry Lake Marsh, diminished by years of agricultural diversion
LocationMojave Desert
San Bernardino County, California
Coordinates35°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 typeEndorheic basin
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length16 km (9.9 mi)
Max. width7 km (4.3 mi)
Shore length145 km (28 mi)
Surface elevation617 m (2,024 ft)
SettlementsLockhart, California
ReferencesU.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.


Harper Lake contained water and a natural marsh into the early 20th century when agricultural development began to deplete 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. Sustained by a small amount of surface runoff from nearby farms, only the southwest corner of the reduced lake remained marshland. Into the early 1990s, the wildlife was still supported by the remnant habitat.


The lake became dry and the marsh died in the late 1990s after the alfalfa farm next to the lake shut 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 needed to pump groundwater to the lake. However, this never occurred because the company that owned the plant went bankrupt. After the bankruptcy was resolved, the concerns of Edwards Air Force Base regarding bird strikes and other bureaucratic issues halted restoration progress.


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 Lockheed Martin test pilot.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "F-22 Crashes Near Edwards Air Force Base, Killing Pilot". Associated Press. 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2014-11-29.

External links[edit]