As stewards of 490 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.
Below are some of the current environmental efforts we are working on.
Black Rock Waterfowl Management Area
LADWP and Inyo County have developed a five-year Interim Management and Monitoring Plan for the Blackrock Waterfowl Management Area. This Interim Plan sets out to enhance habitat for Lower Owens River Project waterbird indicator species including shorebirds, waterfowl, and wading birds, and provide opportunities for local and migratory bird populations by incorporating a seasonal flooding regime.
Interim plan presentation click here.
Pictured: One of the four management area units within the project named 'Drew Unit' . Full map.
Mono Basin Restoration
In October 2020, LADWP announced it was advancing one of the largest environmental restoration projects in the Mono Basin. Currently in the design and permitting phases, the project includes construction of a new spillway gate structure that allows for increased control of flows from Grant Lake Reservoir, through Rush Creek and into Mono Lake.
Pictured: Grant Lake
Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation
We put extraordinary effort into protecting habitat used for nesting and breeding by the Bi-State Sage-Grouse. We worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to develop the Conservation Strategy and the recently completed Long Valley Adaptive Management Plan for Bi-State Sage-Grouse. We also participate as part of the executive oversight committee, technical advisory committee and work with the local area working group.
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 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.
Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Mono Basin Water Rights Licenses Project Review the full notice and details.
Mono Basin Factsheet - Download
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. We recently announced the completion of the Long Valley Adaptive Management Plan with USFWS for Bi-state sage-grouse, reaffirming our commitment to protecting nearly 40,000 acres of sage-grouse inhabited areas in Mono County.
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.
View Mono Lake Video
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.
View LADWP's Restoration Work in Mono Basin