Victim of Windstorm – Lifelong Advocate of Mono Lake

As we had reported, a Chino, CA man lost his life over the Labor Day holiday when severely high winds hit Mono Lake where he was in the midst of a kayak trip. Geoff McQuilkin, Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee wrote the following article for the Mono Lake Newsletter and shared it with us:



Mono Lake lost a lifelong friend and advocate on August 31, 2008 when
William J. Mendoza, a teacher and devoted husband and father of three,
perished when extreme weather conditions overtook his kayak trip on the
lake. Bill joined the Mono Lake Committee in our first year of existence and
participated in every Los Angeles to Mono Lake Bike-A-Thon from 1981 to the
final Victory Ride in 1995. Since then he had been returning each Labor Day
to the lake to paddle to the islands and renew his connection to the earth.

Bill had obtained a permit for the trip from the Tufa State Reserve and was
well prepared for the expedition with food, water, strong equipment and a
deep knowledge of the area. Nonetheless, he was overcome as severe winds
peaked at over 70 miles per hour, turning the lake to a crashing sea of
whitecaps and foam.

In 1993 Bill testified in Los Angeles before the State Water Resources
Control Board, sharing his love for Mono Lake and calling for the lake's

"I have seen Mono Lake at night under a full moon, and also on starry
moonless nights. I have seen Mono Lake in its winter glory. I have snorkeled
among its submerged tufa towers and have swum through clouds of sparkling
brine shrimp. I have listened to the gulls at sunrise on the shore near
Black Point and have watched the alkali flies stir as the sun begins to warm
their tiny bodies. Mono Lake has become a very special friend and part of

Bill will be missed by his family, his Bike-A-Thon compatriots, all of us
here at the Committee, and all those who knew his kind and gentle
determination to see the right thing done for people and our planet. His
spirit will live on in the rising waters of Mono Lake.

– Geoff McQuilkin, Mono Lake Executive Director

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