Los Angeles Aqueduct System and Owens Lake Flood Preparation & Emergency Response - March 2023


SCH Number
Public Agency
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Document Title
Los Angeles Aqueduct System and Owens Lake Flood Preparation & Emergency Response - March 2023
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The winter months of 2022/2023 have the potential to set the record for the largest snowpack in the eastern Sierra since the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) began record-keeping in 1926. As of March 8, 2023, snowfall in the Eastern Sierra is approximately 243% of normal. The atmospheric river systems that have inundated California established conditions that will result in severe flooding and will place the safety of the public, property, infrastructure, and the environment in extreme risk. LADWP must take emergency action to armor and repair target Los Angeles Aqueduct (LAA) facilities between the Long Valley Reservoir and Rose Valley from floodwater impacts; clean, repair and rebuild water conveyance and delivery facilities to be free of debris; increase water flows in certain controlled waterways throughout the LAA system; and construct flood control projects throughout the LAA system to mitigate potential harm. Additionally, LADWP will be seeking outside construction and professional services to supplement flood damage minimization efforts, as well as to offset the indirect impacts to resource availability (i.e. labor, equipment, and materials) resulting from the emergency response along the entire LAA, including Owens Lake. LADWP must take immediate steps, including constructing infrastructure and temporary flood controls (e.g. sand bags, securing irrigation lines) at and near Owens Lake (OL), to manage the flow of water onto the OL playa in a manner that avoids additional air quality problems at the shoreline of the lakebed and is most protective of existing dust mitigation infrastructure. Monitoring equipment (i.e. staff gauges, cameras, and water depth sensors) will be temporarily installed in and around the OL Brine Pool, with minimal ground disturbance (small holes for posts) to the playa. LADWP must also take subsequent steps to repair, replace and remediate damaged dust mitigation measures at the OL in an expedited manner that incorporates flooding resiliency components to address subsequent flooding. These immediate and prospective measures will be done to fulfill the City's dust mitigation commitments on OL.

Contact Information

Marshall Styers
Agency Name
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Job Title
Environmental Specialist
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency / Project Applicant / Parties Undertaking Project


Unincorporated Area
Inyo, Mono
State Highways
Owens Lake, Owens River, Crowley Lake, Tinemaha Reservoir, Haiwee Reservoirs
Other Location Info
See attached maps.

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Declared Emergency
Type, Section or Code
Sec. 21080(b)(4); 15269(a)
Reasons for Exemption
In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), it has been determined that the expedited purchasing resolution and the activities authorized thereunder are exempt pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21080(b)(4) and CEQA Guidelines Section 15269(c) as specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency. (See also CalBeach Advocates v. City of Solana Beach (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 529.) In addition, the proposed work is Statutorily Exempt from CEQA review pursuant to section 15269 Emergency Projects. Section 15269(a) states that Projects to maintain, repair, restore, demolish, or replace property or facilities damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster in a disaster-stricken area in which a state of emergency has been proclaimed by the Governor pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act, commencing with Section 8550 of the Government Code. This includes projects that will remove, destroy, or significantly alter an historical resource when that resource represents an imminent threat to the public of bodily harm or of damage to adjacent property or when the project has received a determination by the State Office of Historic Preservation pursuant to Section 5028(b) of Public Resources Code. A State of Emergency was declared on March 1st and 8th, 2023 in response to severe winter storms to thirty-four counties. The proposed work meets the requirements of this exemption; therefore, no further CEQA review is required.
County Clerks
Inyo, Mono


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