conservation efforts at mono lake

Sacramento Home Buyers Can Learn a Lesson From Mono Lake

Just as we returned from a hard day of running amuck at Mammoth Mountain yesterday, a buyer’s agent called. She was breathless because she believed her buyer was writing an offer on one of my very few listings that are still available in this hot, hot, Sacramento seller’s market. There is such a huge demand for property right now, it’s almost a little daunting to put a home on the market.

It’s kind of like throwing raw meat into a pond of alligators. You don’t want to get too close to the action, if you know what I mean. Home buyers can bite off your fingers, they are so hungry to buy a home. However, just as I was pondering whether it was too late in the day to call my seller, the buyer’s agent emailed to say her buyer had a change of heart. She no longer wanted to make a purchase offer. It’s better she make her mistake upfront than to get into escrow before she discovered she had cold feet. It makes everybody miserable when a buyer cancels a purchase contract.

You don’t have to undo a mistake if you are committed when you make an offer to buy a home. If you cancel a purchase contract, you may or may not be within your contingency period. If a buyer has released all of her contingencies, she might place her deposit at risk. There are consequences to actions.

Take a look at the consequences of stupid actions at Mono Lake. This is an alkaline lake that contains its own unusual ecosystem. The water is slippery because it contains chloride (salt) and baking soda (bicarbonates), which form these unusual underwater structures called tufa. It’s very salty, almost 3 times the salt content of the ocean. Many streams and tributaries feed the lake. In 1941, Mono Lake covered more than 4 million acres. Today, it’s less than half that size. Why? Because the LA Department of Power and Water diverted the streams that flowed into Mono Lake. They drained half the water out of Mono Lake!

Mono Lake is home to the second largest gull population in North America. There are thrashers, towhees, warblers and shorebirds such as grebes and phalaropes, more than 118 species of birds breed at Mono Lake. The lake provides a home to brine shrimp and alkali flies, which in turn provides food for the birds. It also supports an abundance of natural habitation and vegetation. When you take away the water, all of this dies. The system collapses.

After years of long legal battles, the LADPW was ordered to restore the lake. But it will take many years to build the water level back to anywhere close to its 1941 levels. There are consequences for bad decisions. Rather than restore, it’s better to not mess it up in the first place.

Photo: Mono Lake, by Elizabeth Weintraub


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