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Negotiating Water Use and Bird Habitat at Owens Lake

Partnerships can help solve problems!
© Michael Prather View Large

Water in the arid West is scarce and getting scarcer. Negotiations about maintaining wetland habitat for birds (including these Long-billed Curlews) at Owens Lake in California, a source of water for the City of Los Angeles, could provide a model for decision-making about water conservation and water use everywhere. It’s the kind of discussion that’s going to have to happen in many other places as the availability of water gets to be more problematic. Pete Pumphrey of Eastern Sierra Audubon tells the story of how the project - including California Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, the City of Los Angeles, and others - is finding the way forward.  

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Negotiating Water Use and Bird Habitat at Owens Lake
Featuring Pete Pumphrey, President Eastern Sierra Audubon

Interview by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.   
[Sound of water throughout, and Long-billed Curlew]
Water in the arid West is scarce and getting scarcer. Negotiations about maintaining wetland habitat for birds at Owens Lake, in eastern California, a source of water for the City of Los Angeles, could provide a model for decision-making about water conservation and water use everywhere. Pete Pumphrey, President of Eastern Sierra Audubon explains:
“I think that what we’re trying to do at Owens Lake is the kind of discussion that’s going to have to happen in many other places as the question of availability of water gets to be more and more and problematic…”

Eastern Sierra Audubon and California Audubon, with help from The Nature Conservancy, invited several groups, including the City of Los Angeles, to sit down and talk about the future of the Lake.
“The real issue is that any use of water anywhere for any purpose, really has to be closely examined…whether it’s urban use or industrial or agricultural or sustaining some kind of ecological or environmental condition. How do you balance these interests?”

Negotiating water and bird conservation for Owens Lake is complicated, but Pete sees progress being made. [bring in Wilson's Phalarope]
“Some people are better at it than others, but if you keep pluggin’ away, things can happen. To me, if you ignore each other, and everybody goes their own direction, not much good is gonna come from it.”

To learn more about the Owens Lake process, begin at our website, birdnote.org.

                          ###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Call of Long-billed Curlew [105700] (and ambient from it) recorded by G.A. Keller; call of Wilson's Phalarope [105882] by R.C. Faucett.
Water recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com, Nature SFX Essentials #17.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org   August 2013      Narrator: Michael Stein    Marantz V Tracks 224, 211, 225
ID# owenslake-02-2013-08-14          owenslake-02 

http://esaudubon.org/        http://esaudubon.org/owens_lake/index.php

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