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DWP, volunteers continue assault on Buckley tules

December 27, 2011

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power drained and burned Buckley Ponds earlier this month and now volunteers are being sought to help complete the project by digging out and burning the remaining growth. Photo by Mike Gervais

In an effort to rehabilitate the Buckley Ponds area east of Bishop, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is teaming up with a group of local volunteers to clear away huge growths of tules.
According to Bishop resident Dick Noles, who is heading up the volunteer effort, the LADWP has already drained and burned Buckley Ponds 2, 3 and 4 and will be heading out again today to see what kinds of equipment will work to clear away the remaining tules.
Noles said the first burn of the dry ponds got rid of a lot of the tules, but there is still about five feet worth of dense undergrowth that would not burn.
“This stuff is like peat moss, it’s gotta be rolled with air in it so we can burn it because it’s so dense,” Noles said. “It’s an accumulation from forever.”
Noles said the last time the ponds were drained and cleared was about 20 years ago, but at that time, the first pond could not be included because it is too deep.
This time, the LADWP constructed dams and diversions to enable volunteer crews to get into the pond.
“The DWP has drained the pond as well as I’ve ever seen it,” Noles said. “They’ve really taken the initiative, and what I’m doing is trying to organize the volunteer effort.”
Noles is asking anyone who owns or is experienced with heavy equipment operation and would like to get involved in a community project to offer their time and know-how to the project Jan. 13-15.
“Right now, we’re looking for folks with excavators and loaders,” Noles said, adding that the LADWP will be at the ponds today to see if back hoes will be effective in bundling the tules.
Noles said that when the work is done, the LADWP will be able to refill the ponds, and with the water, he said he expects to see the return of wildlife.
“This will allow us to refill the ponds and stock them with blue gills, bass and cat fish, and the water fowl will come back,” Noles said. “Right now, the ponds are tough even for ducks” because the tule growth is so thick. “This will open up all kinds of water fowl and fishing opportunities.”

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