OWENS RIVER AND OWENS VALLEY

Believe it or not, the City of Los Angeles is the largest landowner in the Owens Valley. However, the overall Owens Valley ecosystem, dysfunctional for many decades because of water diversion by the City of Los Angeles, is gradually being restored to a functional ecosystem as river reaches in the Owens Gorge and the Lower Owens River are re-watered. Management of natural resources within a watershed context also prevents or minimizes conflicts with state and federal agencies and environmental groups over city water supplies because management is seen as holistic and balanced. The City promotes natural resource management and employs best management practices (BMPs) for land and water uses that maintain water supplies to the City while protecting water quality, habitat, biodiversity, and threatened and endangered species throughout the Owens Valley watershed. Because the City owns most of the bottomland, BMPs must also incorporate recreational uses as well as sustainable agriculture. For all of these reasons, the City recently started to release regulated flows into the Owens River.

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