Mono Lake-Loomis - Author: Loomis, John B Companies: Water...

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Author: Loomis, John B Companies: Water Resources Department-California, Supreme Court- California Document types: Commentary Publication title: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Public trust doctrine produces water for Mono Lake: The state of California's Water Resources Control Board decision #1631 Loomis, John B. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Ankeny: May 1995. Vol. 50, Iss. 3; pg. 270 Abstract (Summary) Loomis discusses the rationale for the California State Water Resources Control Board's 1994 decision implementing a 1983 state supreme court decision--that harm to public trust resources must be balanced when granting water rights. Full Text (1878 words) Copyright Soil and Water Conservation Society May 1995 On September 28, 1994, Mono Lake once again made history. On this day, the promise of the 1983 California Supreme Court's precedent-setting decision (National Audubon Society v. Superior Court of Alpine County), that harm to public trust resources must be balanced when granting water rights, was realized. Formalizing what had been a series of interim decisions and stay orders by various courts, an order reduced the City of Los Angeles' water right from 100,000 acre feet per year to 30,800 acre feet per year, after Mono Lake reaches its new target height of G,331 et above sea level. The magnitude of the revision of water right along with the significant increase in instream flow requirements on the four major streams feeding Mono Lake is testament to the power of the public trust doctrine as a tool for providing balanced water use. Even more impressive is that this water reallocation came from what is often regarded as the highest valued beneficial use of water, urban use. Given that much stream dewatering occurs because of lower valued agricultural uses, this decision should leave little doubt about the potential power of the public trust doctrine on behalf of the environment. Of course, great patience was required for the realization of this power. The time span from the California Supreme Court decision to the State Water Resources Control Board's (SWRCB) order was 11 years.
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The purpose of this commentary is two fold. First, to discuss the rationale for the SWRCB decision, highlighting the techniques, laws, and resources emphasized by SWRCB in determining its revision to Los Angeles' water right. Second, to sketch the details of SWRCB's new order. MONO LAKE, PAST AND PRESENT Mono Lake is a terminal lake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Before Los Angeles' diversion of its waters in the 1940s, Mono Lake was 6,417 feet above sea level and provided critical nesting for California gulls and many species of migratory birds, including snowy plovers, grebes, and phalaropes. As Los Angeles began to fully exercise its 100,000 acre-foot water right by diverting (and dewatering) the four major streams that feed Mono Lake, the lake level dropped 40 feet to an elevation of 6,377. The combined effect of dewatering the tributary streams and the large drop
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This note was uploaded on 12/16/2009 for the course AEM 2500 taught by Professor Poe,g. during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Mono Lake-Loomis - Author: Loomis, John B Companies: Water...

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