Dewatering California’s Long Valley
Issues: Urban Planning, Watersheds, Wild Lands, Wildlife
Partners: Friends of the Inyo, Keep Long Valley Green, Mono Lake Tribe
Airport Origin : Mammoth, CA
Conduct an overflight of Long Valley with Tribal members, conservationists, and the press to provide the aerial perspective, along with images and video of the landscape.
The Keep Long Valley Green campaign works to protect the water supply to the Long Valley. The water in the region is controlled by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
In 2018, The LADWP notified leaseholders they were eliminating their irrigation allotments. The decision to de-water the Long and Little Round Valleys was made without analyzing the impact to environment, agriculture, recreation, economy, or health of local communities. This disregard was not only alarming, but also illegal. The Sierra Club and Mono County filed litigation and won based on LAWDP's failure to conduct a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
While this legal win was a huge feat, the Long Valley's water supply is still in danger. The LADWP refuses to sign any measures committing to provide water for the rest of 2021 and beyond. The court mandated that a plan be created to provide water to Long Valley, but the LADWP has failed to do so. In a time of water insecurity, providing for this region is a fairly easy task; urban water conservation could easily make up for the water needed to maintain the beauty, agriculture, economy, and recreational opportunities in the Long Valley.
Drying out the Long Valley would destroy the ecosystem and wildlife habitat. The wetlands and meadows around Crowley Lake and the Eastern Sierra streams support fish, invertebrates, amphibians, and avian life. The region provides critical habitat for the native Bi-State sage-grouse, a species listed under special concern. The water supply also mitigates wildfire risks, suppresses dust for local communities, and sequesters carbon.
These valleys are the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary homeland of the Nüümü, Paiute-Shoshone, who know the area by the name of Payahuunadü, "the place of flowing water".
The Keep Long Valley Green campaign works to educate and spread awareness to the Los Angeles area and Eastern Sierra, as well as the decision makers of LADWP and the city.The LADWP must commit to provide water, every year, to the landscape of Long Valley.