LADWP: Advances Environmental Review

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LADWP Advances Environmental Review of
Proposed Ranch Leases in Mono County
Hosts Public Meeting to Seek Input on Scope of Environmental Review

Los Angeles, CA (September 27,2018) – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) yesterday held a public scoping meeting to solicit input on the breadth and content of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Mono County Ranch Lease Renewal Project (Project). The EIR will assess the environmental impacts of a proposal to enter into new, 20-year leases, with 10 current lessees of approximately 28,000 acres of City of Los Angeles-owned lands in the Long Valley area of Mono County.  Past leases of these lands to the same operators have expired, and they are currently operating on holdover status.

Historically, 6,100 acres of these lands were flood irrigated as required to address an LADWP operational need to manage surplus water flowing to the Los Angeles Aqueduct. However, in the period that would be covered by the new leases, LADWP anticipates that little to no surplus water will be available due to the impacts of climate change, including the resulting shift in water supply availability, and LADWP’s environmental enhancement and mitigation obligations unrelated to the leases. Therefore, LADWP is proposing to issue new leases with the provision that water may only be diverted to the leased lands to address LADWP’s operational and environmental-protection purposes. The proposed new leases would not affect LADWP’s long-term commitment to the natural environment in Long Valley – including the creeks, streams, fisheries, Sage-Grouse and riparian habitats.

“We appreciate the input from every individual, agency and organization who participated in this stage of the environmental review process,” said Richard Harasick, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System. “We look forward to continuing this collaborative and science-driven review of our proposal to renew the ranching leases in Mono County.”

Members of the public who still wish to provide comment on the scope of the environmental review can do so in writing until October 16, 2018. Find more information here.

Taking into consideration comments from the public, LADWP will define the scope of the review and begin to produce a Draft EIR. Following the completion of the Draft EIR, LADWP will initiate another public comment period, providing all interested stakeholders with an opportunity to review the draft findings and provide input. LADWP will continue to keep stakeholders and community members informed throughout this public and transparent process.