Because the Tulare Lake Basin’s irrigation water does not have an outlet, agricultural drainage is stored in a series of evaporation ponds in and near the lakebed, which has been converted to farm fields. The lake's disappearance has had far-reaching consequences. Boswell drained the last remnants of lake from the basin, and Tulare was reduced to a dusty bowl of bad air and murky canals. Tulare Lake was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi before it was strangled by dams. The Tulare Lake Basin covers about 10 percent of California, 16,400 square miles. However, in 1969 and 1983, the Great Tulare Lake was, once again, in its prime, and Mother Nature reminded us that she is not to be trifled with. For additional information, visit the Tulare Historical Museum, 444 West Tulare Avenue, Tulare California 93274 or call (559) 686-2074. Today, along Interstate 5, the bustling highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, are countless miles of cotton fields. Tule fog is also the leading cause of weather-related accidents in California. The infectious disease Tularemia caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis is named after Tulare County. Tulare Lake Basin, Kettleman Hills, Kings River, Kaweah River, Kern River, Tule River, Tulare Lake, Kern Lake, Buena Vista Lake. Today, along Interstate 5, the bustling highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, are countless miles of cotton fields. At Exeter, I saw the large 2.4 Million Acre Feet New Melones dam at … About 4% of the basin area is urban. By the 1980s the water drained into 28 ponds totaling 7,300 acres. By 1900, Tulare Lake had virtually disappeared; the rivers that once rushed from the Sierras and flowed into Tulare Lake had been diverted by farmers. It is from this lake that the county derives its name. The root of the name Tulare is found in the Mexican word tullin, designating cattail or similar reeds. Crop production improved in part due to improved drainage. Climate. Land Use. The Watershed includes six groundwater basins: Kern County, Tulare Lake, Tule, The Tulare Valley was renamed the San Joaquin Valley. By 1900, Tulare Lake had virtually disappeared; the rivers that once rushed from the Sierras and flowed into Tulare Lake had been diverted by farmers. The Tulare Lake Watershed is essentially a closed basin since surface water drains north into the San Joaquin River only in years of extreme rainfall. The Tulare Lake Watershed comprises the drainage area of the San Joaquin Valley south of the San Joaquin River. East of the San Luis Obispo County line and Interstate 5, the lake varied wildly in size depending on rainfall and snowpack. The Tulare Lake Basin has been virtually drained, leaving only remnant wetland areas and a dry lakebed, and Buena Vista and Kern Lakes rarely contain water . Currently (1994), manipulation of water levels in wetlands rather than the complete removal of water as in the past, is a trend that affects wetlands. 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