California Court Approves Owens River Gorge Water Flow Agreement

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After decades of court proceedings, the Owens River Gorge has begun to receive additional water to help restore historic fish populations and increase fishing opportunities.

The Mono County Superior Court recently approved an agreement between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mono County, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The agreement will govern Owens River flows in the 19-mile reach between Crowley Lake and Pleasant Valley Reservoir. The new flows have already begun and will be fully phased in over a three-year period.

The Owens River Gorge was once known as one of the best brown trout fisheries in California. The fishery was eliminated by a system of hydroelectric power plants which did not provide bypass fish flows.

Under the court order, higher flows and seasonal flow variations will be implemented in the lower 10 miles of the gorge. In the upper gorge below Crowley Dam, flows will remain unchanged in the foreseeable future to protect Owens tui chubs, a native endangered fish.

source: California Department of Fish and Wildlife