As stewards of 470 square miles of land in the Eastern Sierra, we use best management practices to protect water quality, habitat, biodiversity and endangered and threatened species throughout the Owens Valley, Long Valley and Mono Basin watersheds. To support these efforts, we leave approximately half of the water that historically was exported to Los Angeles in the Eastern Sierra. We currently have over 100 environmental initiatives in Inyo and Mono Counties related to protecting and sustaining the environment. This includes restoring sixty-three miles of the Lower Owens River through our rewatering efforts and improving 78,000 acres of land along the Lower Owens River. We also enhanced almost 2,000 acres of wetlands to support the local ecology of the Lower Owens River. Further, our Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program has transformed portions of the dry lake bed into a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife at Owens Lake.
Laws Re-vegetation Mitigation Project
This project has planted over 160,000 native shrubs covering 255 acres of land. We also created a native seed farm and now operate two greenhouses to help supply plants for all of our re-vegetation projects in the Owens Valley.
Pictured: LADWP Watershed Resource Specialist, Collette Gaal spends a morning planting native shrubs such as burrowbush and rubber rabbitbrush.
Mono Basin Restoration
To help restore local streams and maintain their health and sustainability, we perform fish monitoring to determine population, age class, and density of the trout fishery in the Mono Basin. We also conduct habitat assessments to ensure that the Mono Basin streams are suitable for maintaining fish in healthy condition.
Pictured: LADWP Watershed Specialists during a full day fish monitoring on Lower Rush Creek.
Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation
We put extraordinary effort into protecting habitat used for nesting and breeding by the Western Bi-State Sage Grouse. We worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to develop the Conservation Strategy. We also participate as part of the executive oversight committee, technical advisory committee and work with the local area working group for the
Bi-State Sage Grouse.
Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program
Our Commitment to Long Valley
To protect the local environment, while also ensuring a reliable water supply for the City of LA, we continuously monitor City-owned land in the Long Valley Watershed and adjust our operations to protect habitat and species, including the Bi-State Greater Sage Grouse. This includes evaluating and adjusting the amount of water available for land-leases for use by local cattle ranchers as well.
Specifically our goals are to:
• Monitor and adjust our operations based on the effects of climate change.
• Protect water quality in the watershed and ensure all compliance with all environmental protection laws and regulations.
• Balance community desires and historical land uses with City’s needs, while protecting the health of the watershed.
Conservation Efforts in
Long Valley & Mono Basin
We have been working hand-in-hand with the state of California, environmental advocates and local voices to improve the environment. For over forty years, we have been dedicated to the environmental preservation, investing in a variety of restoration projects that continue to improve the ecological vibrancy of the region. To date, we have 66 ongoing, in progress or complete restoration projects in the Mono Basin alone.
Through environmental restoration work, investments in infrastructure and significant decreases in water exports and usage, we are adapting to our new climate reality and continue to be dedicated environmental stewards.
Bi-State Greater Sage Grouse
We continue to protect and support the Bi-State Greater Sage Grouse by maintaining and improving their habitat in Long Valley. This includes providing water in Long Valley to: support and maintain breeding habitat; maintain fish flows in the creeks; provide for various proactive land management actions; and for use by our ranch lessees. The amount of water we divert each year increases and decreases based on how much it rains or snows and other environmental factors, but we are committed to maintaining the health and vitality of the Long Valley Watershed.
Since 1985, we have reallocated approximately 80% of the City of LA’s historical water supplies in order to increase water levels in Mono Lake. This increase in elevation has resulted in significant enhancements in the habitat available for water birds such as ducks and geese.
Mono Basin Stream Restoration
Mono Lake and its tributaries offer abundant resources for the unique water birds nesting on shore, and a healthy environment for the plants and fish to thrive. The improved stream flows to Mono Lake tributaries have restored delta habitats important to the aquatic birds that reside there and created a healthy ecosystem. Rush Creek is the largest stream in Mono Basin carrying 41% of the total runoff into Mono Lake. In 2019, Upper Rush Creek supported ~2,647 newborn Brown Trout compared to ~1,572 in 2018.
Click to view video on LADWP's Restoration Work in Mono Basin