Water management of Lower Owens River under scrutiny

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The OVC was instrumental in the re-watering of the Lower Owens River.

Consultants hired by Inyo and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power say flows down the Lower Owens River need some changes to keep water quality good and fish alive.

The County and LADWP issued their annual report on the Lower Owens River, and with that report the consultants, ESI, Inc. have made recommendations for changes. They call it adaptive management actions. According to Larry Freilich, Inyo County Mitigation Manager for the LORP, the idea is to vary the water flows with the intent to clean out the river at specific times of the year.

Freilich said that if too much organic material accumulates in the river and the once a year flushing flows stir it all up, that can take the oxygen out of the water and kill fish. So, the consultants, headed by Mark Hill, recommended the release of more water from the Alabama Spill Gates or a greater release from the top of the river intake. Both plans would be designed to wash out some of the organic materials.

The question in front of the agencies – what flow regime will move the organic materials out of the river system? Once the annual flushing flow gets toward the south end of the river, the water volume has dropped, creating the danger of a fish kill.

Inyo County supports a different flow regime. Los Angeles, against use of more water, is still looking at the recommendations. The Lower Owens River Annual Report is currently open for public comment. They are due in by January 18th. Send comments to Inyo County Water Department, P.O. Box 337, Independence or LADWP, 300 Mandich St., Bishop. Check out this link to the LADWP website to read the report –

Consultants hired by Inyo and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power say flows down the Lower Owens River need some changes to keep water quality good and fish alive.

The County and LADWP issued their annual report on the Lower Owens River, and with that report the consultants, ESI, Inc. have made recommendations for changes. They call it adaptive management actions. According to Larry Freilich, Inyo County Mitigation Manager for the LORP, the idea is to vary the water flows with the intent to clean out the river at specific times of the year.

Freilich said that if too much organic material accumulates in the river and the once a year flushing flows stir it all up, that can take the oxygen out of the water and kill fish. So, the consultants, headed by Mark Hill, recommended the release of more water from the Alabama Spill Gates or a greater release from the top of the river intake. Both plans would be designed to wash out some of the organic materials.

The question in front of the agencies – what flow regime will move the organic materials out of the river system? Once the annual flushing flow gets toward the south end of the river, the water volume has dropped, creating the danger of a fish kill.

Inyo County supports a different flow regime. Los Angeles, against use of more water, is still looking at the recommendations. The Lower Owens River Annual Report is currently open for public comment. They are due in by January 18th. Send comments to Inyo County Water Department, P.O. Box 337, Independence or LADWP, 300 Mandich St., Bishop. Check out this link to the LADWP website to read the report – http://www.ladwp.com/LORP.

The Inyo-LA Technical Group will hold a meeting to vote on the plan in late January or February.

 

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Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
10 years ago

The Lower Owens River Project is alive and well . That’s my take from the presentation and discussion of the 2012 draft annual report meeting that was held this past week in Bishop at the DWP meeting room. It’s a nice warm room. Hope that the DWP can begin to… Read more »