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Elden Vestal Deposition in Mono Lake Cases (November 3, 1993) Part I

New! Elden Vestal Deposition Part II

In these videos Elden Vestal discusses historic conditions in Rush Creek.

These interviews were conducted in 1991 and 1992 for use in the Mono Basin EIR and the Water Board Hearings. The Mono Lake Committee attempted to contact the interviewees at the end of 1999 to obtain permission to use their interviews on this Website and to allow them the opportunity to make corrections and changes and to submit photographs. Everyone that responded confirmed that we had their permission and we thank them very much for their help and cooperation.

Keep in mind that the views expressed are the opinions and recollections of the individuals interviewed, and not necessarily fact. In some cases the views expressed conflict with other testimony and studies.

The "Data Summary Index" for each interview, if present, provides a subject index with hyperlinks to the relevant part of the interview.


  • Andrews/Hess Interview | Data Summary Index
    Interview with Jerry Andrews and Augie Hess. This interview discusses the wildlife, primarily waterfowl, found near Mono Lake from approximately 1930 to 1970, and the spring activity once prevalent in the Mono Basin. Both Mr. Hess and Mr. Andrews remember waterfowl habitat at lower Rush Creek, Simon Spring, and Warm Spring, supporting flocks of canvasbacks and mallards. They also recall conditions such as ponds of watercress at these locations, and seasonal flooding on Rush Creek. Notes of cultural and recreational significance are also discussed in the interview. Paiute basketweavers used to collect their willow reeds along Rush Creek, and Paiute hunters used to herd jackrabbits along Mono Lake. When Mono Lake was higher, and the salinity was lower, swimming was very popular, and both Jerry and Augie remember opening their eyes underwater without discomfort.

  • Banta Interview | Data Summary Index (checked by interviewee 1999)
    Interview with Don Banta. In this interview, Mr. Don Banta discusses bird populations, both past and present. For example, Don remembers many more northern shovelers around Mono Lake in the 1940s, but he believes that there are more California gulls now than previously. This interview also contains comments on recreational activities which were popular between the 1940s and the 1970s, including, hunting, fishing, and water skiing. There is also considerable discussion of hydrological conditions around Mono Lake and along Lee Vining Creek.

  • Carrington Interview | Data Summary Index
    Interview with Russ Carrington. Hard to follow and wade through in places, but if you search for keywords and use the data summary index, you will find some fascinating gems! For example, in the 1920s it was rare to see a deer, there were large cutthroat trout in Rush Creek, and there were lots of mallards.
  • Dondero Interview
    Interview with John Dondero. Contains information about ducks, fishing, creeks, and irrigation in the Mono Basin.

  • Durant Interview (checked by interviewee 2000)
    Interview with Jessie Durant. This interview contains photos and focuses on traditional Paiute life along Rush Creek.

  • Hansen/Sitze Interview (checked by interviewee 2000)
    Interview with Mr. Walter Hansen, Mrs. Verna Hansen, Mr. Tim Hansen, and Estel Sitze. The topic is sheep grazing and irrigation north of Mono Lake.

  • Partridge Interview | Data Summary Index
    Interview with Wilfred Partridge. It contains details of irrigation in the Cain Ranch area, and cattle and sheep grazing.

  • McPherson Interview | Data Summary Index
    Very lengthy, authoritative interview with Wallis McPherson (Mono Basin resident, 1914-1977). Touches on almost every aspect of Mono Basin history.

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