Deciding Hahamongna’s fate. Again.

July 7, 2010 § 12 Comments

"The original bridge over the site of the Devil's Gate Dam. As of 1987, there is no longer a reservoir. The site may be seen from Highway 210, north of the Arroyo Seco and south of Jet Propulsion Laboratory." 1920. Source: LAPL, Photo: 00017346

We’ve touched on this before, but today is a day of blogger solidarity to protect Hahamongna in its current state. The Pasadena City Council will meet on Monday, July 12, to vote on whether or not to place soccer fields within this natural park that contains a now rare thing in the greater LA area: oak woodlands and riparian and wetland habitat.

Details for the meeting:

Monday, July 12, 6:30-8:30pm; at 100 North Garfield Avenue, Pasadena, CA

Soccer is a great activity for kids, and we’re discovering that Angelenos have really been bit by the World Cup bug, so I can appreciate the need for active recreational space. But Pasadena, how about setting aside land in the neighborhoods where you have population density? Make your many developers contribute to a dedicated park zone or landbank it into existence. How about fields that are walkable to youngsters? I don’t know about the alternative sites, but have been assured that some exist, and if not, make a plan to carve it out of some of the land when everything around it is densifying.

"Photo shows how the Arroyo Seco looked before the San Gabriel Land and Water Co. near Devil's Gate, gave a man by the name of Richardson, permission to cut all the wood to sell." No date. Source: LAPL, Photo:00035892.

Hahamongna isn’t a pristine place, but it is holds important habitats, gives us a thread of wildness on the edge of our developed lowlands. It is also part of the Arroyo Seco system – Hahamongna as we know it exists because of the sedimentation behind Devil’s Gate dam. The habitats that have established there would probably look different without the dam. The dam isn’t the issue however, it’s the riparian and wetland functions and associated habitats. So let’s consider this issue in light of Hahamongna not as a park, but as a stream or wetland system.

Would it be appropriate if…

They (a generic “they”) put a soccer field in the Ballona wetlands? Oh, wait…there are ballfields there.

“They” culverted a stream to put a soccer field over it? Well, that nearly happened, until the stream got earmarked for restoration to settle a lawsuit. Close call, that one.

Arroyo Seco, 1891. Source: LAPL, Photo:00035436

What if “they” bulldozed a floodplain for fields, homes, trailer parks, minimalls, parking lots, electrical substations?

Or rammed freeways down stream corridors?

The point is, we’ve done so many things to streams, it may be hard to recognize the problem. I hope Pasadena can.

In addition to Pasadena Daily Photo (linked above),  here’s a list of other bloggers writing about Hahamongna today:

Altadena Above It All
Altadena Hiker
Arroyo Lover
A Thinking Stomach
Avenue to the Sky
East of Allen
Finnegan Begin Again
Go Deep…Find Truth
Greensward Civitas
LA Creek Freak
Mendolonium
Mister Earl’s Musings
My Life With Tommy
Pasadena 91105 and Beyond
Pasadena Adjacent
Pasadena Latina
SaveHahamongna.org
Selvage
The Sky Is Big In Pasadena
Webster’s Fine Stationers Web Log
West Coast Grrlie Blather

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§ 12 Responses to Deciding Hahamongna’s fate. Again.

  • chad says:

    this is awful! I know many shopping center parking lots that can fit 10 soccer fields.

  • Petrea says:

    We DO have vacant lots and playing fields in the neighborhoods. Pasadena talks about being a walkable city. “Pasadena In Focus,” our city newsletter, encourages us to take public transportation–but there’s no public transportation to Hahamongna.

    But the real point is Hahamongna is a last bit of semi-wilderness, and to demolish it for soccer fields–which would be used only part of the year–is to pander to a small segment of the population and not to the majority. It’s doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons, a lose/lose situation.

    Thank you for your post.

  • Bellis says:

    You make a very strong case for preserving one of the few areas where the Arroyo Seco still runs naturally. The river can do dramatic things, as we saw this rainy season after the Station fire., when much of the mulefat and willow scrub was washed away or buried under about 6 feet of mud, and the river basin rose in height and would have flooded the sports fields.. With two athletic fields, a car park, three new sedimentation basins on the west side, and a resited disc golf course, the total loss of habitat will be 18 to 20 acres. That’s a lot of habitat to lose!

    I’m delighted to see photos of the Arroyo that I’ve never seen before.

  • I was hoping the freaks would weigh in. You folks never disappoint. Pasadena speaks with forked tongue

  • Christina says:

    Thank you for your insightful input and these wonderful pictures.

  • “They” seem so intent on ramming this through against what really appears to be majority wishes, I’m just trying to figure out why. I’ve come up with a couple of possible scenarios, neither of which is very savory.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Petrea says:

    In the absence of facts (as to why “they” want to do this against what appears to be majority wishes),we tend to think of sinister motivations. To the politically uninitiated or the relatively new in town (like myself), the process seems to have been cloaked in mystery. The library can’t find its copy of the Hahamongna Master Plan, for example. Little things. It’s frustrating.

    • Jessica Hall says:

      When it comes to development in our waterways, I tend to think of it in terms of thoughtlessness (and in the case of our development patterns, profit-motives). I can’t speculate on Pasadena’s motives, and don’t want to. I wrote of a generic “they” but it is really more a collective one, for we as a culture (and really, a species) have altered waterways for centuries, for our short-term benefits, and the detriment of other species. Time to embrace the long view.

  • Gina says:

    I do think that you are spot on: that many people simply don’t realize how important our natural waters are…or that they even exist. I was guilty of this at one time as well. I moved to Pasadena 14 years ago from the midwest and I honestly did not realize that the Arroyo Seco along the 110 freeway was an actual river (as opposed to a big ditch) for over a year. It simply looked so different (and often dry) as compared to the rivers of my youth.

  • I’m late to reading the Hahamongna posts. Really nice perspective. Thanks for writing it.

  • [...] Avenue to the Sky East of Allen Finnegan Begin Again Go Deep…Find Truth Greensward Civitas LA Creek Freak Mendolonium Mister Earl’s Musings My Life With Tommy Pasadena 91105 and Beyond Pasadena [...]

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