Tag Archives: 2014 Season Records

Mammoth encouraging water conservation

The MCWD Anticipates Need for Increased Conservation Efforts Amid Persistent Drought

While MCWD Customers Exceeded  Conservation Goals in 2014, Efforts will need to Continue as California’s Historic Drought Stresses Surface and Ground Water Supplies.

Mammoth Lakes, CA –Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) today announced the need for increased conservation awareness in 2015 as California’s drought persists into its fourth year. MCWD depends on the region’s snowpack to feed the District’s surface water supply and replenish groundwater aquifers. Unfortunately, the current snowpack water content is only 18 percent of normal conditions and it is not likely that the remaining two months of the precipitation season will make up the shortage.  These drought conditions dictate that MCWD  increase conservation efforts throughout 2015 to stretch the District’s limited water supply.  The February 19th MCWD board meeting includes an agenda item to consider raising water restrictions from Level 1 to Level 2.
“Our customers did a tremendous job reducing water use and investing in conservation measures in 2014, but with the continuing drought, we’ll all need to step up our efforts in 2015,” said Patrick Hayes, MCWD’s General Manager. “Although we’re only halfway through the precipitation months, and we may have a fantastic February or miracle March, we’re forecasting continued shortages.  I ask that customers take extra care not to waste water.  We need to work together to safeguard and stretch our limited water supplies as the drought continues in 2015.”
MCWD customers have been under Level 1 water shortage restrictions since the state’s drought began in 2012.  Customers responded positively to MCWD’s request last year for a 10 percent water use reduction, exceeding the District’s conservation goals by reducing water use by 15 percent when compared to 2013. MCWD’s 74 customers with irrigation meters went one step further, achieving an impressive 33 percent reduction in water use. Last fall, Snowcreek VI, The Town of Mammoth Lakes and Juniper Springs Lodge were recognized as Local Water Heroes for their outstanding effort to increase their irrigation efficiency. Overall, 124 million gallons of water were saved, enough to serve 850 four-person households for a year.
However, as the drought enters its fourth consecutive year and snowpack water content remains at historic lows, MCWD has no alternative other than to increase conservation. The surface and ground water supplies servicing the District’s customers are entirely local. While MCWD strives to maintain a reliable water supply for its customers, the amount of surface water produced from the Mammoth Lakes Basin is dependent upon snowmelt. This water has to be closely managed to keep recreation, fish habitats and riparian vegetation sustainable. Therefore, supply can become severely limited during droughts.
The District also has nine local groundwater production wells that act as an essential supply source when surface water is limited. Unfortunately, several of these wells are showing stress due to the extended drought. MCWD has depended heavily on groundwater sources during the current drought, which provided 68 percent of the water used in 2014. Unfortunately, low levels of snowpack mean that MCWD’s groundwater wells will be under further pressure in 2015.
“Our groundwater wells have been a crucial safety net as surface water supplies ran short during the drought, allowing us to continue to meet the supply needs of our region. However, with further water supply shortages on the horizon, it’s more important than ever that we focus on conservation,” added Hayes.
MCWD would like to encourage all customers to check for leaking fixtures indoors and out, keep pools and spas covered when not in use, limit shower times and only run full loads of dishes and clothes. As part of the effort to ensure water-use efficiency, the District also completed a replacement of the old main water distribution pipelines and is now replacing lateral lines. MCWD is also incentivizing customers to save water by offering a rebate program for indoor and outdoor water fixtures, providing free efficient shower-heads and actively engaging with irrigation customers to increase landscape irrigation efficiency.

More information on water conservation is available from the MCWD website, www.mcwd.dst.ca.us.

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Inyo National Forest Recreation

Winter Recreation on the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts

The Inyo National Forest provides the following information to help visitors pursue winter recreation activities on their national forests safely and responsibly.

Maps: The Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Inyo National Forest have produced a new and free Eastern Sierra Winter Recreation Map.  Pick up your copy at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, obtain it online or download to your mobile device using the Avenza map app (www.pdf-maps.com).  A waterproof version of the map can be purchased at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.

Know Before You Go: Winter recreationists must plan their adventure considering the current conditions, the weather forecast, the terrain and geography that will be traveled, and the equipment needs of their party.  Even when visiting one of the maintained ski resorts, planning ahead and knowing what to expect will make your winter visit safer much more enjoyable.

Anyone who may be traveling in potential avalanche terrain is encouraged to seek education and training resources; travel with a shovel, beacon, and probe; and have the knowledge required to use these tools. Visit the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center website for the most recent information on snowpack and conditions www.esavalanche.org.

Play with Your Pet Responsibly:  Forest regulations require that all dogs travel on a leash in all developed recreation sites, including ALL groomed trails.  Within the Town of Mammoth Lakes, all dogs must be on a leash.  Dogs are prohibited on groomed trails in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and are required to be on leash if traveling through the Lakes Basin off groomed trails. Leaving pet waste behind on a groomed trail or in a developed recreation area is littering.  Please pick up after your dog and throw it away in the trash. By doing so, you’ll help improve water quality and make everyone else’s recreation experience more enjoyable. 

Nordic Opportunities: Visitors can pursue Nordic recreation in several locations. The Shady Rest Nordic Trails are open, but grooming will not resume until there is additional snowfall.  All Nordic users should access the trail system by parking at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and using the trail portal in the Welcome Center Plaza.  The Forest Service asks that Nordic users refrain from parking at Shady Rest Park; the park is a primary snowmobile staging area and parking is limited. 

At this time, the Obsidian Dome trails do not have enough snow to allow for grooming, but are open and in use by skiers and snowshoers. Grooming will begin after the next significant snowfall.

The Miracle Mile from Mammoth Inn to Minaret Vista is open and groomed. Parking at the Main Lodge is limited and visitors are encouraged to ride the bus from town.

Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center is open and offering rentals, lessons, and tours to its patrons.  All users of the groomed trail system at Tamarack must possess of a valid ski pass. To access the Mammoth Lakes Basin without a pass, users must travel on the un-groomed roads and trails on the forest. 

Snowmobiling: The Inyo National Forest is waiting for additional snow accumulations to begin grooming the California Department of Parks and Recreation funded snowmobile trail system. With a shallow, low density snowpack, snowmobilers should use caution and refrain from traveling in areas where snow depths are minimal or vegetation or soil may be damaged.  Snowmobile users are responsible for knowing all regulations and understanding closure area boundaries. The Eastern Sierra Recreation Map is a helpful tool and all snowmobilers are encouraged to obtain and read a copy in advance of their snowmobile outing.

Snowplay and other Winter Activities: The only designated snowplay area on the Inyo National Forest is Woolly’s Tube Park on Hwy 203 above the North Village en route to Main Lodge.  More information can be obtained at www.mammothmountain.com.  There are several areas on the national forest where visitors find it convenient and fun to play in the snow, although these sites are not maintained for these activities.  Additional information is available at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and at www.mammothtrails.org.

Snow bikes or “fat tire bicycles” and all vehicles with wheels are prohibited from using groomed trails.  Those wanting to ride bicycles on the snow may do so on any trail or road that is not maintained for Nordic skiing or snowmobiles and where bicycle riding is not otherwise prohibited.

The Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center is an excellent resource for winter recreation information, maps, and guidebooks.  The center is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and can be reached at 760-924-5500.  The Inyo National Forest and Mammoth Lakes Trail System websites are also excellent sources of information.  Visit www.fs.usda.gov/inyo and www.mammothtrails.org.

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Photo by Gary Young