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|1/4/2003||LORP DEIR/EIS issue for comment: noxious weed control|
|As the Lower Owens River Project Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement public comment deadline draws closer, we're adding copy-and-paste-ready paragraphs on pertinent issues to our website "News" area; modify and add them to your own comment letter as you prefer and as they become available, or use them in combination with our sample comment letter (which also appears in "News"). For more information, see our LORP DEIR/EIS flyer or click on website "Issues" and then click on "Comment on LORP DEIR/EIS."
The issue: NOXIOUS WEED CONTROL
Explanation and overview:
The LORP will create new habitats through rewatering that will be susceptible to invasive noxious weeds, such as saltcedar. Saltcedar outcompetes native plants, alters natural ecosystems, increases fire frequency and causes a significant decline in biodiversity of plants, insects and animals. However, the DEIR/EIS states that if outside funding sources for saltcedar control dry up, then "... control of this exotic species in the Owens Valley will be discontinued and the impact of new saltcedar growth resulting from the LORP would be significant." How can the habitat goals of the LORP be achieved without a fully funded noxious weed control program designed for the LORP areas? The effective control of invasive noxious weeds is crucial if the LORP is ever to be considered a success.
It is stated that "with the implementation of the LORP, this (Inyo County saltcedar control) program will be directed not only to saltcedar stands presently in existence but also to new growth resulting from the LORP." Impacts of the LORP need to be addressed in the LORP DEIR, and not deferred to a separate pre-existing program with unsecured funding.
All of the LORP areas and habitat goals are at risk if saltcedar and other noxious weeds are not controlled. The spread of saltcedar presents a serious problem in the Owens Valley and the LORP must realistically address this problem. It is in LADWP's best interest to control this water-demanding weed as soon as possible. The environmental degradation associated with further weed infestations will only become more extreme and more expensive to control the longer they are ignored. If the LORP is truly to be "one of the most environmentally significant river habitat restorations ever undertaken in the United States," as Mark Hill, LADWP consultant, states it is, then it must include provisions for guaranteed funding for control of saltcedar and other noxious weeds.
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