12/18/2002 Peruse OVC talking points January 2, 2003
The Owens Valley Committee will distribute a flyer with detailed talking points on the Lower Owens River Project Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement January 2, 2003. Talking points will also be posted on our website under "News" on or after January 2.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) must implement the Lower Owens River Project (LORP) as mitigation for groundwater pumping impacts that have occurred since 1970. The LORP will rewater 62 miles of the Lower Owens River between the LA Aqueduct intake and the river delta, a stretch of the river that dried and disappeared after opening of the LA aqueduct in 1913. The LORP will also create hundreds of acres of wetland habitats at the delta and the Blackrock waterfowl habitat area. This habitat restoration could be enormously beneficial to wildlife and create many new recreational opportunities such as canoeing, kayaking, birding and fishing. It has the potential to be of tremendous benefit to our region, both environmentally and economically.

The LORP DEIR/S, which was released November 1, 2002, describes the LORP, its anticipated environmental impacts, and alternatives. Public comments on the DEIR/S are due January 14, 2003; address them to Clarence Martin, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, 300 Mandich Street, Bishop, CA 93514 (or fax to: 760-873-0266).

LADWP’s chief purpose in the Eastern Sierra is the export of water to Los Angeles. The Draft EIR/EIS makes it clear that LADWP is not fully committed to making the LORP live up to its enormous potential. Problems with the document are numerous and include:
* A dispute over the size of a pump station that will return most of the river water to the aqueduct just before the river flows into the Owens Lake river delta. LADWP’s proposed larger pump station would restrict flows to the delta that are necessary to meet habitat goals.
* Uncertainty about funding: The document states multiple times that funding limitations may prevent the full implementation of the Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan. Monitoring and adaptive management are key to successful implemention. Additionally, the plan is incomplete.
* No funding and little interest in controlling beavers, tules and salt cedar; all of which could severely compromise the success of the project if left unrestrained.
* No recreation plan to manage potential impacts from the anticipated large increase in recreational use once the project is established.

More information on the LORP DEIR/S and a full list of LORP/DEIR/S locations can be found on our website under "Issues" (go to issues and click on "Comment on the LORP DEIR/S" ). Copies can be obtained at the LADWP office in Bishop (760-872-1104), the EPA in San Francisco (415-972-3467), or on the web at Click on previous website news headlines for more information on what we’re doing (for example, see 11/26/02 for an issues list).

To help with our work on this issue, including printing and distributing the flyer, please send tax-deductible contributions to the OVC Foundation, P.O. Drawer D, Lone Pine, CA 93545 (click on "Contact Us" on our website for more information).

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