The Fight for Long Valley’s Water
LADWP Intends to De-Water Long Valley. In mid-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 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.
LADWP Historic Operations Destroyed Long Valley’s Original Meadow. Prior to 1941, Lake Crowley did not exist in Long Valley, but instead a large wetland meadow complex existed at the southern end of the valley. As part of its construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system, LADWP constructed Crowley Lake Dam destroying these wetlands meadows.
Irrigation Created New Meadows In Long Valley. 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.
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.
The Coalition Supports the Litigation to Stop LADWP’s De-Watering. Mono County and the Sierra Club have 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 Keep Long Valley Green Coalition, which consists of ranchers, environmentalists, recreationalists, local residents, and tribal governments, opposes the dewatering proposal and believes that the drying of valley meadows will cause many adverse impacts to the natural environment and local economies. In addition, the Coalition is advocating that LADWP reinstate irrigation flows and prepare an adequate CEQA review.
Rancher Mark Lacey in a meadow near Crowley Lake that is soon to be dried up by the City of Los Angeles. These meadows…
4,456 people have signed our petition opposing Los Angeles cutting off irrigation water to ranchers in the Crowley Lake…
Here is a link to Mono County's webpage for you to see the issues and look at the letters from all parties. This is a valuable site to visit and learn. Please share.