After years of signing one year leases with DWP, local ranchers in the Eastern Sierra now have a little more breathing room after the LADWP Commissioners approved 60 ranch leases in the Eastern Sierra at five years in length.
Chris Plakos with DWP explained that on Tuesday, the board approved five year ranch leases for the first time since the 1970s when Department ranch leases were reduced to one year leases while the Inyo LA Water Agreement was worked out. The Water Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding ended up taking about two decades to complete. Plakos says that a provision in the MOU called for the development of land management plans which are now being put into practice. This in turn allowed the Department to offer the longer leases, he explained.
In a press statement Interim DWP Manager David Freeman says, Approving these longer leases will strengthen the ability of the ranchers to make plans and improve their operations. He added that the ranchers in turn help the department by protecting the land and watershed.
Tom Noland, the President of the Inyo Mono Cattlemans Association was also pleased by the board decision, saying that, This will give us more stability and help plan better for the future.