KEEP LONG VALLEY GREEN

What’s Happening

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) intends to dewater 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 effects required by law.

In the 1940’s as part of its construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system, LADWP built the Long Valley Dam, flooding behind it to create Crowley Lake, thus destroying pre-existing wetlands meadows. Following the meadows’ destruction, 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 like those 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 webpage.

Why It Matters

The meadows provide significant environmental and community benefits. Today, the wetland meadows around Crowley Lake support a rich biodiversity of invertebrate, amphibian, and avian life, including the native Bi-state Sage Grouse, a species of special concern. The wet meadows also decrease the risk of wildfire,suppress dust for local communities, and sequester carbon to mitigate climate change impacts.

These meadows also support the local economy as the basis for both 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. 

Read more about the local economy and wildlife of the Long Valley at the official Keep Long Valley Green Coalition website.

What We’re Doing About It

Friends of the Inyo supports the continued irrigation of Long Valley agricultural leases and holds a leadership role in the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition, a diverse community group of ranchers, environmentalists, recreationalists, local residents, and tribal governments who oppose dewatering and believe that the drying of Long Valley’s meadows will adversely impact the natural environment and local economies. 

Mono County and the Sierra Club filed litigation in August 2018 to stop the dewatering of Long Valley and Little Round Valley, challenging LADWP’s failure to perform an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In a major victory in March 2021, the Alameda Superior Court ruled that LADWP could not carry out such a drastic change from historical practice without first conducting a CEQA environmental review. Unfortunately, LADWP appealed this decision and it was ruled in late June 2022 that if LADWP was not dewatering the area, as it represented in court, it would not have to perform an environmental review. 

Long Valley remains at the mercy of LADWP every spring, when the utility announces its irrigation plans. The Keep Long Valley Green Coalition continues to monitor LADWP’s actions in this area and to demand that LADWP provide a binding yearly water supply (adjusted for precipitation) for Long Valley and Little Round Valley. 

You can help us keep Long Valley green: get involved in our grassroots movement to protect this Eastern Sierra ecosystem

Take Action

SUBSCRIBE:  Sign up for Every Last Drop, Keep Long Valley Green’s monthly newsletter by clicking here. 

DONATE: Donate to support the Coalition’s fight to defend Long Valley by visiting our Donate Today page.

GET INVOLVED: Sign up to be a volunteer for Keep Long Valley Green. Write to Allison@friendsoftheinyo.org.

Updates

#NoHotCreekMine Victory!

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court issued its opinion reversing the decision of a lower court that would have allowed exploratory drilling at Hot Creek. In their 2021 lawsuit, conservation groups, including Friends of the Inyo, said the Forest Service’s use of two categorical exclusions, rather than more detailed environmental review, effectively ignored the mining project’s effects on Bi-state sage grouse in the area, as well as the potential harm to nearby Hot Creek where endangered Owens tui chub live. This is a big victory! Read all about it in our media release.

A Combined October/November Issue of Friends of the Inyo’s Juniper E-Newsletter is hot off the press!

A quinceañera, a mild case of COVID, Friends of the Inyo’s partnerships and more! We have lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Read all about it in the combined October/November Issue of The Juniper.