View Full Version : LA DWP ignored Fish & Game on Haiwee

08-19-2005, 12:01 PM
LA DWP ignored Fish & Game on Haiwee
Spokesman says access issue is a 'dead horse'
News Review Staff Writer
A document recently acquired by the News Review shows that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power closed the Haiwee Reservoirs over the objections of the California Department of Fish and Game.
The department made its objections in a letter from its local regional manager to LADWP dated January 18, 2005, before the end of the public comment period on the proposed closure and six months before the Board of Water and Power Commissioners voted to enact the closure.
“It would appear that controlling access to the reservoirs is what is at issue, and not the act of fishing,” wrote Curt Taucher, regional manager of Fish and Game’s Eastern Sierra-Inland Deserts Region. “As such, the department requests that LADWP include evaluation of an approach which would provide LADWP the ability to improve upon supervised fishing access, rather than to completely close off all access to fishing.”
LADWP’s negative declaration announcing Water and Power’s intention to close the reservoir cited a California Supreme Court case, State of California v. San Louis Obispo Sportsman Association, as the foundation for LADWP’s argument that the right established in the state constitution to fish all state-owned waters was not absolute. Based on that decision, LADWP asserted its right to close the reservoirs because of security concerns.
In his letter, Taucher gave a different interpretation of the legal significance of the court’s ruling. “It is important that in this example the court found fishing to be compatible with operations at Whale Rock Reservoir (a domestic water supply reservoir) and that public access for fishing would continue at the reservoir, but that access would be controlled to protect facilities and operations of the public water facility.”
Taucher requested that LADWP create an alternative for consideration that would provide for increased security at Haiwee without ending public access to the reservoir.
According to Chris Plakos, communications manager for LADWP in Bishop, his agency considered all possible options, including increasing security, and determined that closing the reservoirs was necessary. The options were not formally drafted and the staff’s deliberation about options was not made public because California law does not require those measures in a negative declaration.
“You’re beating a dead horse with respect to Haiwee,” he said of the News Review’s inquiry.
“Our issue is not fishing. Our issue is access,” Plakos said. “We had an opinion written by our LADWP attorneys saying that we have the right to control access to our facilities, and that would include Haiwee.
“We own the property, we own the reservoir, and we have the right to control access,” he said. “It would be like closing your house. Our property is private property.”

08-19-2005, 12:05 PM
This is also posted on the Strictly Fishing Issues forum where it belongs.