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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370397

Research Project: Optimizing Water Use Efficiency for Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems in Semi-Arid Regions

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Report of the national academies of science, engineering, and medicine owens lake scientific advisory panel

Author
item ALLEN, DAVID - University Of Texas At Austin
item AJAMI, NEWSHA - Stanford University
item BAHREINI, ROYA - University Of California (UCLA)
item BISWAS, PRATIM - Washington University
item EVINER, VALERIE - University Of California Agriculture And Natural Resources (UCANR)
item JOHNSON, STEPHANIE - Us National Academies Of Sciences
item OKIN, GREG - University Of California (UCLA)
item RUSSELL, ARMISTED - Georgia Tech
item TYLER, SCOTT - University Of Nevada
item Van Pelt, Robert - Scott
item VENKANTRUM, AKULA - University Of California
item WASSELL, RAYMOND - Us National Academies Of Sciences

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2020
Publication Date: 2/26/2020
Citation: Allen, D., Ajami, N., Bahreini, R., Biswas, P., Eviner, V., Johnson, S., Okin, G., Russell, A., Tyler, S., Van Pelt, R.S., Venkantrum, A., Wassell, R. 2020. Report of the national academies of science, engineering, and medicine owens lake scientific advisory panel. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://doi.org/10.17226/25658.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/25658

Interpretive Summary: At the beginning of the twentieth century, the city of Los Angeles, California diverted the Owens River to provide water to the Los Angeles basin and the terminal saline lake (Owens Lake) bed dried and became the most prominent source of fugitive dust in North America. Beginning in 2000, The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD or the district) directed the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to construct dust control measures (DCMs) to mitigate the dust emissions. As of May 2019, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) were still being exceeded. As part of the ongoing litigation between the district and LADWP, a 2014 Stipulated Judgment agreed to by both parties included language that contracted the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to form a panel of subject matter experts that would evaluate the current and potential future DCMs and provide guidance to both parties that will hopefully result in the attainment of NAAQS in the Owens Valley. The panel consisted of University professors, a USDA-ARS research scientist, and NASEM staff who met with the parties and other stakeholders in May 2019, visited the Owens Valley and inspected the DCMs in July 2019, and met twice at the Beckman Center on the Univ. of California at Irvine campus in September and October 2019 to discuss findings and formulate conclusions and recommendations. The resulting document reports the panel’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Technical Abstract: In the twentieth century, the city of Los Angeles diverted surface water flowing into Owens Lake for water supply, transforming the large, closed-basin, saline lake into a small brine pool surrounded by dry playa. Under high winds, the exposed lake bed produced large amounts of airborne dust, resulting in the highest concentrations of airborne particulate matter in the United States. Since 2000, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), at the direction of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (District), has been constructing and implementing dust control measures (DCMs) on the dry lakebed, with the objective of meeting the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM10. Beginning in 2005, LADWP and the District became involved in litigation concerning the extent and type of DCMs required on the lake. In 2014, a Stipulated Judgment agreed to by the District and LADWP ended the litigation and acknowledged the need “for additional effective DCMs that do not rely on water that can be substituted in areas currently under control or applied in areas ordered to be controlled.” As part of the 2014 Stipulated Judgment, LADWP and the District agreed to contract with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to establish the Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel for providing ongoing advice on the reduction of PM10 in the Owens Valley. This document reports the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the panel.