Alkaline Meadows in the Owens Valley

As we arrived in the Owens Valley, just outside Independence, we pulled off the highway to head west towards the looming Sierra Nevada above. As we grew closer to De La Cour Ranch we noticed a change in the landscape, hugely lush swaths of grasses and trees were suddenly appearing at what I soon learned was the southern-most edge of the Alabama Hills. There at the foot of the granite boulders was an area with a high water table and as such these alkaline meadows emerged as a vibrant green amidst the tawny dusty landscape. A short walk through these meadows was quite rewarding as we were able to see the high levels of moisture in the ground and observe the many plants thriving there including some wild rose which was just beginning to flower. Today, due to groundwater pumping for use in Los Angeles, many of these alkaline meadows have been reduced to dry brush, sadly removing some of the last remaining acres of this unique landscape left today in California.



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