The effects of global Climate Change are felt everywhere, and all ecosystems are “ecosystems at risk,” but this series of irregularly-posted photo-essays focuses on ecosystems that are unusual, rare, or simply little-known.
In early June, a friend and I were traveling through California and we stopped to camp in the lava beds on the west shore of Eagle Lake, in Lassen County. Eagle Lake is one of many bodies of water in California that have been shrinking in size during the drought. Along the shore, docks stand on dry land with grass growing around their piers, the water hundreds of feet away or more. When a body of water sinks, so does the surrounding water table, which inevitably affects neighboring habitat.These photos were taken near our campsite, less than a mile from the original shoreline. Since this was my first visit, I don’t know if the diversity or density of flora and fauna is noticeably different than in the past. But I am providing a record, even if only in snapshots, that shows something of the area’s status this season.
The landscape is rugged, with black lava rock throughout. The clayey soil is red. Certainly, the ground is rich in minerals to uptake for those plants that can take root there. Flowers and shrubs grow out of cracks in the rock and grasses and ephemerals spread out across the clay. Pines and Junipers stand singly or in scattered groves of just a few trees. The beauty of the place is somewhat austere, but not stark.
Most spectacular, though, was not what we saw but what we heard.