KEEP LONG VALLEY GREEN
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) intends to de-water Long Valley. In 2018, LADWP notified agricultural ranch leaseholders in Long and Little Round Valleys in Southern Mono County that it intends to remove all irrigation water from future leases. The agency has not performed any study or analysis on this proposal’s impact on Long Valley’s environment, agricultural and recreational economies, the health and safety of local communities, or any other potential effect required by law.
In the 1940’s as part of its construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system, LADWP constructed Crowley Lake Dam destroying the pre-existing wetlands meadows. Following the destruction of the wetland meadows, LADWP allowed ranchers to irrigate areas around Crowley Lake. Since the early 1940s, ranchers have been allotted sufficient amounts of water to support their agricultural operations. This water also created and maintained wetland meadow habitats – habitats that were lost when LADWP created Crowley Lake. The water spread by ranchers mitigated – to some extent – the destruction of wetland meadows and environmental effects caused by LADWP’s creation of Crowley Lake. Learn more about what’s happening at the official Keep Long Valley Green coalition page…
The meadows provide significant environmental and community benefits. Today, the wetland meadows around Crowley Lake and Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain streams support a biodiversity that includes a variety of invertebrate, amphibian, and avian life, including the native Bi-state Sage Grouse, a species of special concern. The meadows also decrease the risk of wildfire and suppress dust for local communities, and sequester carbon to mitigate climate change impacts.
Meadows also support the local economy. Long Valley meadows are the basis for Southern Mono County’s ranching and recreation economies. Ranchers have stewarded these lands for generations, creating and maintaining habitat by spreading water for their operations. The meadows also support recreational tourism and activities such as world class fishing at Hot Creek and the beautiful viewscapes enjoyed by significant numbers of campers, hikers, bikers, and OHV’ers from around the world, including Los Angeles. Read more about the local economy and wildlife of the Long Valley at the official Keep Long Valley Green Coalition site…
Friends of the Inyo supports the litigation to stop LADWP’s de-watering, and plays a leadership role in the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition. Mono County, and the Sierra Club initiated litigation to stop LADWP’s dewatering of Long Valley. The litigation challenges LADWP’s failure to perform an environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The coalition consists of ranchers, environmentalists, recreationalists, local residents, and tribal governments, who oppose the dewatering proposal and believe that the drying of valley meadows will adversely impact to the natural environment and local economies. To mitigate these impacts the Coalition is advocating that LADWP reinstate irrigation flows and prepare an adequate CEQA review. Recently the Alameda Superior Court ruled against LADWP. Read more about the coalition’s victory in court and upcoming actions at KeepLongValleyGreen.org
In this issue, read about the history of the L.A./Eastern Sierra Water Wars, and how the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition is working to achieve equitable water sharing in the Eastern Sierra, in a column submitted by Friends of the Inyo Executive Director Wendy Schneider, and originally published earlier this month in the Walking Water (walking-water.org) e-newsletter and blog.
Walking Water (walking-water.org) convenes and catalyzes regional and global partners to highlight, bring awareness to and be part of contributing to possible “solutions” for both the local and global situation of one of our planet’s most important resources: water. Friends of the Inyo is grateful for the invitation extended to Executive Director Wendy Schneider to help raise awareness about our collaborative efforts around water justice in the Eastern Sierra through FOI’s involvement in the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition. Her piece in Walking Water’s latest newsletter, provides a great historical perspective and offers opportunities to get involved.
In this issue of Every Last Drop, read our analysis of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s comments to The Inyo Register during his July 16, 2021, visit to Payahuunadu, the Eastern Sierra.