Wetland and Riparian Restoration
Owens Lake Transmontane Alkali Meadow
Owens Lake Transmontane Alkali Meadow Creation, Inyo County, California – CH2M Hill and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
NewFields developed mitigation plans and a pilot project to create 40 acres of transmontane alkali meadow (TAM) wetlands on the margin of Owens Dry Lake. The pilot study was implemented prior to final design to test water delivery and methods of establishing the target vegetation. The focus was on the most efficient method of establishing wetland habitat. The pilot study tested direct seeding and container plans of target species. Direct seeding was successful for most of the 13 species specified for the wetland. Based on the results of the pilot study, direct seed was employed over the 40-acre mitigation site with great success and at a fraction of the cost for container or other planting methods. NewFields worked with S&S Seeds, Inc. in planning and acquiring appropriate local seed and plant propagules for successful and sustainable plant establishment.
Important aspects considered to in the design of the successful wetland mitigation site included:
- Site selection – Soils and subsurface hydrology were examined with CH2MHILL staff scientists.
- Water use requirements – NewFields worked closely with the soil scientists and hydrologist to develop plant water use requirements and design a water system that would most efficiently provide adequate water to establish the wetlands.
- Soil reclamation, monitoring and management – was an essential component of the wetland creation plan to adapt the site to the conditions needed to establish the wetland vegetation. Salinity and specifically boron had to be managed within the site.
NewFields staff monitored and managed reclamation and monitored the subsequent plant development over the first year of establishment.
The client, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was impressed with the efficiency of the design and implementation. The responsible regulatory agencies were impressed with the speed at which the project was designed and implemented, and with the success of the wetland.