Late Friday, the Mono Lake Committee revealed an agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The Committee has called the agreement “a significant leap forward in restoring the health of fisheries, stream side forests, birds, and wildlife on 19 miles of Mono Basin streams without reducing water exports to Los Angeles.”
According to the Mono Lake Committee website, a key element of the agreement reached jointly with CalTrout and California Fish and Wildlife is DWP’s commitment to modernize the “antiquated aqueduct infrastructure at Grant Lake Reservoir Dam.” The Committee website says these structural improvements will “give DWP the capacity to meet State Water Board requirements for flows to Rush Creek and Mono Lake.”
The website says that the modification to Grant Dam will allow reliable stream flows to Rush Creek. The site also says DWP will complete construction and begin operation within four years of State Water Board approval. To offset the cost of all this, DWP will be allowed to export an additional 12,000 acre feet of water from the Mono Basin if they are moving ahead as expected. The Mono Lake Committee claims that this “one-time allowance will defray approximately half of the cost of the outlet without delaying Mono Lake’s long-term rise to the management level of 6,392 feet above sea level.”
Other points of the agreement include monitoring, adaptive management, and delay of the State Water Board hearing on DWP’s water licenses from 2014 to 2020. The agreement would create a new oversight team with representatives of all parties involved.
DWP observers in the Owens Valley wished the Mono Lake Committee well with hopes for a better agreement than the problematic one crafted in Inyo County.
In their first televised meeting in the Owens Valley, the LA Water and Power Commissioners will consider this agreement. It is item number 28 on the agenda that starts at 1:30pm. The televised version can be seen at DWP headquarters in Bishop. (See story posted from Mono Lake Committee website below)