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Owens Lake Restoration Project

UCLA Environment 166: Final Presentation
by

Claire Hirashiki

on 18 December 2014

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Transcript of Owens Lake Restoration Project

Objectives
Coequal goals:
safeguard local communities from public health hazards and related economic despair
protect and restore the native ecosystem
provide a reliable water supply to local and distant users using a more climate change adaption approach.
Secondary aims:
tourism
recreation
restore local economy
O W E N S L A K E
R E S T O R A T I O N
P R O J E C T

Prepared by Heeldabæ Consulting
Environment 166
December 17, 2014

Background

Shaping Project
Project Summary

1. Owens Valley Stewardship Committee
2. The Alkali Meadows Beautification
Project
Project Area
Groundwater Source
3. Continuation of LADWP's dust
suppression responsibility
Address public health issue
4. Project Monitoring
Kristelle Batucal, Lesly Franco,
Claire Hirashiki, & Shalini Kannan
Owens Valley Stewardship Committee

Owens Valley Reform Act to mandate formation
Stakeholders of diverse backgrounds
LADWP, environmental nonprofits, business and agricultural representatives, government
Duties:
Compliance with the public trust doctrine
Evaluate LADWP’s achievement of benchmarks
Enforce the continuation of EPA-required air quality, surface water, and groundwater monitoring


Curb PM10 emissions on the lakebed by adjusting dust control measures
SIP’s “Best Available Control Measures.”
1) Vegetation canopy surface that secures soil in
place
2) Gravel cover that prevents salt crust formation
and reduce surface particle movement
Artificial dunes, engineered sand fences
Use localized sources for material to reduce environmental impact

Project Area
Boundaries of project area based on habitat suitability models
Variables include: water extent, water depth, salinity, seasonal water availability, islands, dry extent, relief, vegetation extent, vegetation structure, vegetation surface, vegetation cover, and vegetation richness (Pumphrey, 2013).
Location: focus along the north-south corridor of wind to minimize the particulate matter dispersed by winter frontal passage winds
Groundwater Source
Draw water from wells for restoration, e.g. Dirty Socks
Note: Project requires minimal use of drinking water to maintain longevity of irrigation pipes & for any needed established flow for restoration

Project Monitoring

Remote sensing technology for vegetation’s health and growth, and other environmental factors
Monitor restoration water wells in the Dirty Socks regions to ensure no overdraft or subsidence
Monitor salt and ion concentration levels to sustain the growth of vegetation
Funded by Los Angeles ratepayers; related costs will be largely front-loaded while costs for pumping, conveyance, and energy supply infrastructure will be fixed
Incentive for LA: Reduced land responsibility over time
Powered by Solar Panels; harness the high sunshine levels of the local area


Review
Cons
High costs to build new water infrastructure and the installation of solar panels
Construction may pose a potential harm to local wildlife; solar panels detract from the aesthetic benefits of the habitat restoration
Pros
Dust control - improved air quality
Migratory birds and native flora and fauna
aesthetic value - recreation & tourism
Use of non-potable water for restoration - avoids the waste of freshwater!!!
Sustainable solution for LADWP to reduce its financial and water supply debt to Owens Valley
Long-term focus on more integrated water management strategies
To view the full proposal, visit
http://www.heeldabaeconsulting.com

"Dirty Socks for Clean Air!"
In 1924, Owens Lake evolved into a semi-dry lakebed, unsuitable for the native flora and fauna
Historically important to Los Angeles
Water diversion via LA Aqueduct created large dust bowl


Improve air quality
Revive alkali meadow vegetation
Natural restoration of sectors of the lake through precipitation
Reduction in LA's import quantities from LA Aqueduct
Via water recycling, groundwater cleanup and recharge, stormwater capture, and other strategies
Long Term Goals
Project Details
The Alkali Meadows
Beautification Project

Revive alkali meadows to restore valuable biodiversity
Substitute LADWP’s current potable water use with lower quality water, e.g. draw from Dirty Socks Well
Recreational Space
Costs
The Alkali Meadows Beautification Project:
The Alkali Meadows Beautification Project:
Dust Mitigation Strategies
Brine
Meandering ridges
Tillage
Gravel Cover
Relies on changing water supply priorities of LADWP
Uncertainties due to climate change
Diverse stakeholder involvement
LADWP
Residents of Inyo County
Focus on air quality & public health
Focus on sustainable solutions
Address climate change issues
Avoid inefficient shallow flooding
Reliable water system
Habitat Restoration
focus on specific areas
use of non-potable water


Ramifications: Air quality hazards (unsafe concentrations of PM10), economic despair, political disputes, faltering ecosystem, lost native vegetation
Full transcript