LADWP responds to Friends of the Inyo on Mono ranch water practices

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released letter to Friends of the Inyo Executive Director Wendy Schneider.

View the letter by clicking this link:

[pdf-embedder url=”http://sierrawave.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Friends-of-Inyo.pdf” title=”Friends of Inyo”]

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Following is a story published July 9th after the Friends of the Inyo letter to LADWP

By Deb Murphy

Friends of the Inyo is the latest entity to come out in support of ranchers with grazing leases in Long Valley, leases receiving a fraction of previous irrigation water allocations this year and possibly no water following an environmental analysis by land owner, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Initially, LADWP leases indicated no water for this year. In early May, Mayor Eric Garcetti indicated by letter ranchers would receive “an amount of water…. similar to 2016, which was also based on snowpack conditions.” Snowpack this year came in at 82-percent of normal, compared to 71-percent in 2016. The total water for Mono County leases this year amounts to 18-percent of historical allocations.

Bishop-based Friends of the Inyo’s June 29 letter to Garcetti notes the 2012 Bi-State Action Plan that kept the sage grouse off the Endangered Species list. “The Plan clearly states that irrigated meadows are crucial for successful brood rearing habitat.”

A new wrinkle introduced by the correspondence: “Prior to the development of Crowley Lake Reservoir, the lower part of Long Valley contained several thousand acres of wetland habitat.” In essence, the 6,200 acres of irrigated leases helped maintain those wetlands. LADWP had indicated its no-water policy would improve the ecosystem by returning the land to pre-irrigation conditions. However, it’s doubtful the department intends to fill in Lake Crowley.

In conclusion, the Friends ask for the development of a management plan addressing timing and allocation of water resources to the leases, a plan developed through collaboration of local stakeholders.

The Audubon California and Eastern Sierra Audubon Society’s May 31 letter to Garcetti strongly supported both the sage grouse and ranching lessees. While “the sage grouse adults “subsist on sagebrush leaves during the winter, the baby birds need the insects found amongst the forbs and grasses in wet meadows and irrigated pastures …in the spring and summer…on Los Angeles lands,” the letter states.

The Sierra Club Range of Light group, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow and California Senator Tom Berryhill have also weighed in on the issue.

Perhaps the letter with the most clout came from the California Natural Resources Agency, the umbrella agency for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Agency Secretary John Laird asked for an “immediate commitment to provide a water allocation this year for these ranchlands commensurate with current snowpack and water conditions.”

In response to Mono County’s request to maintain irrigation, Garcetti had noted successes on Owens Lake, a settlement reached through litigation. Laird noted that achievement but reminded the department it had missed the January 2018 deadline to complete facility upgrades in the Owens River Gorge, also a settlement agreement.

Laird asked the department to “immediately commit to an appropriate water allocation this year” and to begin discussions with Mono County and the Department of Fish and Wildlife for continued irrigation for both the benefit of the ranchers and the protection of wetlands, species and their habitat.

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Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
3 years ago

more @ Pedro It is always good to be called out . Looking for more info to educate myself, had a try at hydrology in the Long Valley Caldera on Google . There is a lot of studies and information regarding hydro thermal issues like this one https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0377027391900452?via%3Dihub Maybe some… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
3 years ago

DWP says that the cost of replacing 30,000 AF is $18million. There is a 10-15% loss to transpiration and evaporation. The rest goes back into the Aquifer eventually underlying Crowley Lake . If that groundwater does not underly Crowley because it was not spread, then Crowley will lose water into… Read more »

Pedro
Pedro
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

P.A.

Got some sources for that 10-15% ?

If only 15% of the irrigation supports the crop, maybe we shouldn’t be growing that crop and leave the water where it is.

Bet you a doughnut that water can grow more food in Mono or Crowley. Just guessing though.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
3 years ago
Reply to  Pedro

@ Pedro

There is a loss, transpiration of water from plants and evaporation from the water itself when water is spread . 85-90 % of the water spread makes it way into the ground . Not aware of Ranchers cultivating in Mono County .

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
3 years ago

Wondering if the Long Valley Basin SGMA prioritization could be upgraded to at least a Medium Priority as DWP does transfer more than 9600 AF from the Basin to Los Angeles. Maybe this is a stretch but this upgrade would require that Mono create a GSA and a GSP that… Read more »

Stacy Corless
Stacy Corless
3 years ago

Does any reasonable person really believe that the water needed for the environment is truly “separate” and “unrelated” from irrigation water when it comes to these wetlands? What’s next, will this agency suggest that sage grouse need to pay their fair share? That deer that drink at the springs at… Read more »

Michael Prather
Michael Prather
3 years ago

Here is a letter from LADWP Water and Power Board Chair Mel Levine regarding the cutting off of irrigation water around Crowley Lake. It is a cold treatment of ranchers, local communities and wildlife. It contains truths, partial truths and careless assumptions. But it is clear that if you are… Read more »

David Dennison
David Dennison
3 years ago

…Tom sounds like a true trump worshiper, speaking and talking about “free stuff ” and “entitlements”,with little regard for the plants,animals and wildlife…..so worried about who and what people are getting “for free”,or trying to spin-it to where they’re paying for others “welfare” and “food stamps”,their only thinking,if not for… Read more »

Tom Tuttle
Tom Tuttle
3 years ago

So basically the for-profit Ranchers are complaining that the FREE water they are receiving is not enough and the want even more at no cost. They sound like a bunch of unemployed welfare and food stamp recipients who feel they are entitled to everything for free. Sorry Ranchers, but it… Read more »

Bishop local
Bishop local
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Tuttle

I don’t think buying the water is actually an option that’s available – that’s sort’ve the problem with LADWP. Just FYI Tom, LADWP also owns a lot of other stuff they don’t need and won’t sell in the area that business are paying for currently and would happily buy. But… Read more »

Informed local
Informed local
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Tuttle

Tom, you are falling for the DWP’s simple-minded trap. They are pitting the ranchers against the environment. Do ranchers make a living while maintaining the environment, yes. Do they care for the environment based on generations of stewardahip, yes. Is the water they spread free like the DWP leads readers… Read more »