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Owens Lake Dust Mitigation

Owens Valley, California

Owner: Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power

Prime Consultant: CDM Smith

Photo Credit: Calvin Abe, AHBE Landscape Architects


Owens Lake is a dry lake located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in Inyo County, about 5 miles south of Lone Pine, California. As part of its dust mitigation program in Owens Valley, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), working through CDM Smith, commissioned AHBE to bring an aesthetic perspective in solving the design problem for two large parcels of land spanning more than one-square-mile. AHBE designed a unique landscape using a combination of three dust mitigation methods (gravel, vegetation, and water) approved by LADWP. We also worked with a biologist to determine the best solutions for creating an ecologically sound habitat. 


Steel sculptural elements set in the landscape serve as "bird blinds" for the vegetative habitat we created. The bird blinds, made of eight-feet-diameter pipes, symbolize the City of Los Angeles Aqueduct constructed by William Mulholland at the turn of the century. Inside the steel structure, visitors can view and experience the vastness of the dry lake. The entire site is irrigated to ensure that the plants will grow and thrive.