Loss of Wetland Habitat Has MLR Concerned
|Mammoth Lakes, CA (August 2, 2018) – Mammoth Lakes Recreation is going to battle. Their opponent; the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
This past March, the agency notified leaseholders in Long and Little Round Valleys, that it would be eliminating their irrigation allotments. Historically leaseholders have been allotted up to 5 acre feet per acre annually for irrigation. The leaseholders, who rely on the water to irrigate pastureland, also play a key role in maintaining wetland habitat, which in turn supports a vibrant ecosystem, including brooding grounds for the bi-state sage grouse – a California species of special concern.
Long Valley also supports a variety of outdoor recreation – most notably, two world-class fisheries: Hot Creek and the Upper Owens River. Local fishing guides and tackle shop owners have expressed concern over how the loss of wetland habitat will affect the fishing resources in the area.
“There simply hasn’t been enough studies conducted as to how dewatering the wetlands will impact the landscape,” says Matt McClain, Executive Director for Mammoth Lakes Recreation. “At the very least, an Environmental Impact Report should be completed before LADWP are allowed to take such a drastic step.”
McClain cites the environmental disaster at Owens Lake as evidence of LADWP’s inability to effectively manage water resources in the Eastern Sierra.
“In addition to the direct impacts on recreational activities such as fishing, hunting and camping, dewatering the landscape in Long and Little Round Valleys will also impact winter sports as well,” says McClain. “Wetlands are one of the most efficient mechanisms for CO2 exchange. In destroying these wetlands, LADWP is opening the door for invasive plant species like cheatgrass to move in, which changes that landscape, perpetuating climatological changes that already impacting glacial fields in the Sierras.”
Mammoth Lakes Recreation has written letters to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board Chair Mel Levine, outlining its concerns and asking for the immediate reinstatement of the historical water allotments to lessees until a full environmental study on the land can be completed.
For more information on Mammoth Lakes Recreation’s “Keep Long Valley Green” campaign, go to their website: www.mammothlakesrecreation.org.
About Mammoth Lakes Recreation
Formed in 2014, Mammoth Lakes Recreation’s mission is to deliver cutting edge sustainable recreation, mobility, and arts & culture opportunities and infrastructure for the benefit of the community and natural environment of Mammoth Lakes. We work to fulfill our mission by focusing our efforts in three areas: capital projects, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. For more information, go to www.mammothlakesrecreation.org.