Restoration Orders from the State Water Resources Control Board
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Restoration Orders
From the State Water Resources Control Board

In 1998, the California State Water Resources Control Board issued its orders on Mono Basin restoration. Through these orders, the Water Board identified specific actions the L.A. Department of Water and Power was required to take to fulfill its restoration obligations in the Mono Basin.

Order WR 98-05 reiterated and clarified key elements of restoration that had been initially ordered in the Water Board's 1994 order protecting Mono Lake (Decision 1631 text/background). It also approved specific restoration actions, based on plans developed by DWP and on input by numerous interested parties, including the Mono Lake Committee, California Trout, California Fish & Game, the U.S. Forest Service and others.

Order WR 98-07 refined elements of WR 98-05 relating to "termination criteria" on the streams, that is, what specific measurements would be used to assess how close to pre-diversion conditions LADWP had restored the streams.


Under the Water Board order, stream restoration relies primarily on maintaining flows that mimic the pattern of former natural flows. Most important are peak flows in the spring runoff period. Certain side channels are being opened in the stream's floodplain. A key feature of the restoration plan is its emphasis on annual monitoring by independent stream scientists. Monitoring results are used to track progress towards pre-diversion conditions (achievement of "termination criteria" ends the monitoring program) and to recommend additional measures, such as planting trees or placing large stumps in pools to create habitat complexity. Tying restoration actions to the results of monitoring is termed "adaptive management" and allows scientists to suggest new actions in response to real field conditions.


Waterfowl habitat restoration relies primarily on raising the level of Mono Lake. Other restoration measures include rewatering certain side channels in Rush Creek, improving existing artificial freshwater ponds, and implementing a burn program to maintain open water areas at springs around the shores of Mono Lake. While there is annual monitoring of habitat and waterfowl numbers, the waterfowl plan lacks specific restoration "endpoints"—criteria against which to measure restoration progress.



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