EVENTS | STUDY FAQ

The Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel (OLSAP) was established to provide ongoing advice on scientific and technical issues related to reduction of airborne dust in the Owens Valley in California.  The creation of the Panel was specified in a 2014 stipulated judgment entered into by the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in California and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  OLSAP will hold periodic meetings and provide advice through consensus reports.

panorama of owens lake
Panorama of Owens Lake

Owens Lake is located in the southern end of California’s Owens Valley. Beginning in the early 1900s, water was diverted from the Owens River (the primary inflow to the lake) into the Los Angeles Aqueduct for the city of Los Angeles.  The diversion caused large portions of the Owens Lake bed to become dry saline soils and crusts that can produce large amounts of dust particles, which degrade air quality in areas downwind.



STUDY 1: UNDERWAY

OLSAP’s first task is to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative dust control methodologies for their degree of PM10 reduction at the Owens Lake bed and to reduce use of water in controlling dust emissions from the dried lake beds. (PM10 refers to airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller.) The evaluation should consider associated energy, environmental and economic impacts, and assess the durability and reliability of such control methods.

OLSAP Membership

A list of OLSAP members has been posted here.



EVENTS

Upcoming Events

November 2019 - Web-based Meeting
In November 2019, the panel will hold a web-based meeting to discuss its draft report in preparation for National Academies report review.

Past Events

October 22-23, 2019 - Irvine, CA
On October 22-23, 2019, the panel met at the National Academies Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. The entire meeting was held in closed session (only panel members and National Academies staff attended). During the meeting, the panel discussed and refined its draft report.
September 30, 2019 - Web-Based OLSAP Meeting
On September 30, 2019, OLSAP held a web-based meeting to discuss its draft report. The meeting was held entirely in closed session for panel members and National Academies staff.
September 4-5, 2019 - Irvine, CA
On September 4-5, 2019, the panel met at the National Academies Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. The entire meeting was held in closed session (only panel members and National Academies staff attended). During the meeting, the panel discussed the information that has been gathered and develop its draft report.
August 20, 2019 - Information Gathering Webinar
Agenda

Update on Air Quality Modeling and Monitoring in the Owens Valley Planning Area for the PM10 National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Ann Logan, GBUAPCD
Video PowerPoint

Questions from the Panel Video

Potential Dust Control Measures at Owens Lake: Brief Summaries Regarding Performance, Applicability, and Other Aspects

Grace Holder, GBUAPCD
1. Natural Solid Roughness Elements
Video PowerPoint

2. Engineered Solid Roughness Elements
Video PowerPoint

3. Natural and Engineered Porous Roughness Elements
Video PowerPoint

5. Biological Crust
Video PowerPoint

Mark Schaaf, Air Sciences Inc. (consultant to LADWP) | PowerPoint
6. Shrubs
Video

7. Moat and Row
Video

8. Sand Fences
Video

9. Solar Panels
Video

10. Soil Binders
Video

11. Soil Moisture
Video

12. Shallow Flood Wetness Cover Refinement
Video

Questions from the Panel Video

July 23, 2019 - Keeler, CA
Agenda

CDFW Role in the Owens Dry Lakebed Management
Patricia (Trisha) Moyer, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Video

Peter Pumphrey and Michael Prather
Eastern Sierra Audubon
Video

Ecology of Owens Lake
Jeffrey Nordin, LADWP
Video | PowerPoint

Potential Short-Term and Long-Term Impacts of Climate Change
Theresa Kim, Water Resources Division, LADWP
Video | PowerPoint

Public Comment
Earl Wilson
Video

July 17-18, 2019 - Information Gathering Webinars
Agenda

July 17, 2019

Air Quality Modeling for the 2016 SIP Attainment Demonstration
Ken Richmond, RamBoll Environ
Video | PowerPoint

Previous BACM Performance and Modelling Approaches Used for Predicting BACM Impact
Grace Holder, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint

BACM Testing and Assessment
Grace Holder, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint


July 18, 2019

Hydrology of Owens Valley and Owens Lake and Effects of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
Saeed Jorat, LADWP, Eastern Sierra Environmental Group
Video | PowerPoint

May 3, 2019 - Los Angeles, CA
Owens Lake History and Context

Regulatory and Dust Control Implementation History
Phillip L. Kiddoo, Air Pollution Control Officer, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint

Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project Phases
Jaime Valenzuela, Manager of Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Group, LADWP
Video | PowerPoint

Overview of Dust Control Measure Development History
Dr. Grace Holder, Senior Scientist, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint


Current Dust Control Status and Regulatory Requirements

Current Dust Control Status, BACM, and Regulatory Requirements
Ann Logan, Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint

LADWP Current Operations, Maintenance, Infrastructure and Constraints
Jennifer Wong, Manager of Owens Lake Engineering, LADWP
Video | PowerPoint


Key Constraints in Considering Alternative Dust Control Measures

District’s Constraints and Considerations
Phillip L. Kiddoo, Dr. Grace Holder, and Ann Logan, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint

LADWP Regulatory Constraints, Obligations, and Considerations
Arrash Agahi, Capital Development & Implementation, LADWP
Video | PowerPoint


Specific Measures for Panel Consideration

Shrubs
Evan Burgess, Air Sciences Inc.
Video | PowerPoint

Shallow Flooding Wetness Cover Refinement Test/Soil Moisture
John Bannister, Air Sciences Inc 
Video | PowerPoint

District Recommendations for the Panel
Grace Holder, Senior Scientist, GBUAPCD
Video | PowerPoint


Perspectives on OLSAP’s Task

Jennifer Maddox
Science Policy Advisor, California State Lands Commission
Video | PowerPoint

Kathy Bancroft
Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation
Video

Danelle Gutierrez
Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Big Pine Paiute Tribe of Owens Valley
Video

Public Comments
Video



STUDY FAQ
What is the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)?

NASEM is a private, nonprofit institution chartered by Congress in 1863 to provide science, technology, and health policy advice to the government.  It is not part of the U.S. government.  NASEM enlists leading scientists, engineers, and other experts to answer scientific and technical issues facing the United States and the world.  Members of study committees and panels serve as volunteers and are not paid for their service.

Why is NASEM doing a study on Owens Lake?

Owens Lake is located in Inyo County in eastern California. Beginning in 1913, water was diverted from the Owens River (the primary inflow to the lake) into the Los Angeles Aqueduct for the city of Los Angeles. The water production activities resulted in exposed lakebed areas with dry soils and crusts that contribute to airborne dust and higher levels of PM10. (PM10 refers to airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller.) In 1987, the US EPA designated the southern Owens Valley, where Owens Lake is situated, as being in nonattainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM10 according to the Clean Air Act.

The Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel (OLSAP) is being established by NASEM in response to a request from the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD) in California and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to evaluate, assess, and provide ongoing advice on the reduction of airborne dust in the Owens Valley in California. The GBAUPCD has jurisdiction over the Owens Lake area regarding air quality.  One of the key measures for dust control at Owens Lake is the use of shallow flooding over large areas of the lakebed. The request to establish OLSAP is pursuant to a Stipulated Judgment that LADWP and GBUAPCD entered into in 2014, which acknowledges the need to control dust from the Owens Lake bed caused by Los Angeles water production activities and for the application of effective dust control measures that are less water intensive or completely waterless.

What will this study do?

As indicated in the 2014 Stipulated Judgment, OLSAP’s first task will be to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative dust control methodologies for their degree of PM10 reduction at the Owens Lake bed and reduce use of water in controlling dust emissions from the dried lakebeds. The evaluation will consider associated energy, environmental and economic impacts, and assess the durability and reliability of such control methods.

Has NASEM provided this type of guidance before?

No. This panel and study have been created as a result of the 2014 Stipulated Judgment.

How are panel members chosen?

NASEM issues calls for nominations for committee (or panel) members, seeking recognized experts from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. Each committee must include the specific expertise and experience needed to address the study’s statement of task. The overall composition of the committee is evaluated to make sure that points of view are reasonably balanced so that the committee can carry out its charge objectively and credibly. A provisional membership roster is posted for a 20-day comment period, and all committee members are screened for conflict of interest. Committee members serve without pay and deliberate free of outside influence. All members serve as individual experts, not as representatives of organizations or interest groups.

When does OLSAP meet?

OLSAP will meet throughout the study process. Meeting dates will be posted on the website and sent out in email notifications.

When will the study be completed?

The study will be completed in April 2020.

Can I attend OLSAP meetings?

OLSAP will include several information-gathering sessions which will be open to the public. Those sessions will be accessible via the web, recorded, and posted to the study’s website.

Can I provide comments or information to the panel?

Yes. At information-gathering meetings, members of the public can present comments to the panel. Members of the public may also submit written statements and relevant information to the panel via the study’s website throughout the course of the study. All written comments and submitted materials that are shared with panel members will be placed in the study’s public access file.

Can I see the comments and information submitted to the panel?

Written materials submitted to a study committee by external sources are listed in the project’s public access file and can be made available to the public upon request. For a copy of the list and to obtain copies of the materials (free to press and government employees) please send inquiries to:

Public Access Records Office (PARO)
The National Academies
Washington DC 20001
Tel: 202.334.3543
Email: paro@nas.edu

Normal business hours for PARO are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Are Academies study reports peer reviewed?

Yes. As a final check on the quality and objectivity of the study, all Academies reports must undergo a rigorous, independent external review by experts whose comments are provided anonymously to the committee members. The review process is structured to ensure that each report addresses its approved study charge and does not go beyond it, that the findings and recommendations are supported by the scientific evidence and arguments presented, that the exposition and organization are effective, and that the report is impartial and objective.

Will the results of the study be made available to the public?

Yes.  After all panel members and appropriate Academies officials have signed off on the final report, it is transmitted to the sponsors of the study and is released to the public. An electronic version of the final report will be available to download for free at www.nap.edu upon completion of the study.

How will the results of this study be used?

OLSAP will produce a consensus report with findings and recommendations that will be available to the public upon its release (expected in early 2020) after undergoing a rigorous external peer-review process.  The final report will provide advice to  inform decision-making of the study sponsors and potentially other organizations. Other derivative products will be designed to communicate the report’s findings and recommendations to a lay audience. The panel will have no direct involvement in designing or implementing dust mitigation plans.