Thursday, December 7, 2006

"Let my river flow..."

Following up on yesterday's post, here is an article and video on the opening of the gates to restore the Lower Owens River. Los Angeles' Mayor Villaraigosa makes a humorous, or perhaps ironic, freudian slip in his address to the assembled throng. Made 'em laugh. Maybe a little nervously. Go see.


The largest river habitat restoration effort ever attempted in the West was jump-started at 12:15 p.m., when Villaraigosa turned a control knob to open a new clamshell-shaped steel gate at a diversion dam that has been directing the waters that have flowed into the Los Angeles Aqueduct since 1913.

The event marked a brief detente in historic water wars that have boiled in the Owens Valley since the early 1900s, when Los Angeles city agents posed as ranchers and farmers to buy land and water rights in the valley. Their goal was to build an aqueduct that would help transform Los Angeles into a metropolis.

The stealth and deception became grist for books and movies that portrayed the dark underbelly of Los Angeles' formative years.

The most notable movie is Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson.

This is a good thing, but besides the obvious benefits of riparian restoration, I hope at some point they let some water flow into Owens Lake. Just enough to cover it to hold down the clouds of alkali dust ("Keeler fog") stirred up when the wind blows, which is pretty often.

One thing at a time.

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