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Outdoor Photography of the Rocky Mountain West

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Lower Owens River Project

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The Lower Owens River project is the largest river restoration project ever undertaken in the U.S.  It rewatered nearly 62 miles of the Lower Owens River that had been dry since the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power started diverting water to Los Angeles through the Los Angeles Acquaduct in 1913.  The project was initiated in 1996 and also includes the 20,400-acre Blackrock Waterfowl Management Area, several Off-River Lakes and Ponds, and the Owens River Delta Habitat Area.  A 1997 Memorandum of Understanding between Inyo County, LADWP, the California Department of Fish and Game, the State Lands Commission, the Sierra Club, and the Owens Valley Committee expanded the LORP to include a permanent base flow of 40 cubic feet per second in the river channel and higher seasonal habitat flows. An Action Plan, which is an appendix to the MOU, describes the guidelines and approach for planning the LORP.  In December 2006, Los Angeles began allowing base flows of 40 cubic feet per second into the lower Owens River.

I have visted the site several times since the flows began in December 2006.  In January 2008, the stream flow was well established with waterfowl using many areas along the rewatered channel.  Part of the project includes dust mitigation to the formerly dry Owens Lake bed.  This lower part of the project has produced large ponds that are starting to attract waterfowl on their winter migrations.  This area was once one of the main staging areas for waterfowl in their winter migration along the Pacific Flyway.  I am surprised at the absence of Ducks Unlimited as a participant in this part of the project, since this area could produce some great duck hunting in the years to come.  My last visit was in early May of this year.  The stream flows were well established with lots of new riparian habitat maturing along the water course.  The Blackrock area held a lot of waterfowl.  I saw quite a lot of fishermen in different areas.  The future of the area looks bright!

See the links below for more details about this project.

 

Lower Ownes River Project Overview

 

Inyo County Water Dept - LORP info

 

Last Updated on Monday, 21 February 2011 23:49  

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