Arcadia Woodlands Update

January 5, 2011 § 22 Comments

The heart of the Arcadia Woodlands

 

ALERT!!! CHAINSAWS TO BITE NEXT WEDNESDAY MORNING (1/12/11)

According to trustworthy sources, the Department of Public Works plans on continuing with the project as is and states that it completed all procedural work correctly, despite an otherworldly lack of communication! Work will resume (and chainsaws will bite) next Wednesday, January 12th unless extraordinary action is taken by the Board of Supervisors. It’s time to flood the lines of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich! Please call (213) 974-5555 to request that this item be added to the Board of Supervisors Agenda for this Tuesday (1/11/11). Today is the last day supplemental items can be added!

Click HERE for what might be the last film footage of the Arcadia Woodlands.

SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE ARCADIA WOODLANDS!

The 30-day moratorium on construction proposed by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (5th District) and approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on December 7th expires at midnight on January 7th (this Friday). In theory, if no further action is taken by the Board of Supervisors to halt construction, there is nothing stopping the L.A. County Department of Public Works from authorizing the demolition (which could technically begin this Friday!) of a significant portion of the Arcadia Woodlands to make way for 250,000 cubic yards of sediment from nearby Santa Anita Reservoir. It seems to be an appropriate time to provide a somewhat detailed summary of the continued plight to save the Woodlands in what may prove to be the final days of this shining example of our natural heritage.

After a request by L.A. County officials, Arizona-based Quest Civil Contractors (the project contractor) hired the private security company All Security Services, Inc. to provide 24-hour surveilance of the Arcadia Woodlands (photo by Cam Stone)

TIME LINE:

  • As a primer, check out Barbara Eisenstein’s concise summary of events leading up to the December 16th community meeting on Weeding Wild Suburbia
  • December 16, 2010: A community meeting organized by the L.A. County Department of Public Works hosted a crowd of approximately 120 Woodland supporters (read more in the Monrovia Patch). Many voices were heard (nearly two hours worth of public comments), mainly expressing disdain for the destruction of the Woodlands and discontent with the lack of communication and outreach surrounding the project. The meeting provided a clarified insight into the details of the project (see EIR synopsis below). Of note during the meeting, Monrovia Planning Commissioner Glen Owens, a leader in the plight to save the Woodlands, presented a report prepared by engineer Bart Stryker (independently commissioned by Owens) stating that the existing sediment placement sites contained enough capacity to hold all 500,000 cubic yards of sediment contrary to claims by the County that the sites did not have the capacity.
  • December 27, 2010: L.A. County officials prompt Arizona-based Quest Civil Contractors (the project contractor) to hire the private security company All Security Services, Inc. to provide 24-hour surveilance of the Arcadia Woodlands. A total of three (3) security cars patrol the site (I have witnessed the patrols myself while hiking on a nearby ridge line). The County contends that “The contractor is about to take delivery of several million dollars worth of equipment that’s on its way to the site. … We believe it’s a prudent move on our part.” (quoted from the Sierra Madre Patch). However, through a second-hand account, it has been said that one security guard explained to a local Arcadia resident that he was hired “to keep the tree-huggers out.”
  • January 4, 2011: Both the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the Arcadia City Council held regularly scheduled meetings this past Tuesday. Neither group had the Woodlands on the agenda. Cam Stone spoke during the public comment period at the Arcadia City Council meeting and received a cold reception to his concerns about the destruction of the Woodlands. He correctly pointed out to the Council that the Woodlands site, if demolished, would not only receive sediment from Santa Anita Dam, but from a number of other debris basins in the area, resulting in literally thousands of truck trips through the neighborhood. With the exception of Council Member Gary A. Kovacic, the city expressed no interest in pursuing action on the matter. The irony of the Arcadia City Council’s lack of initiative or interest in the Woodlands is that for over two hours during the same meeting, the Council focused its attention on the removal of one (yes one!) Engelmann oak. While the loss of an Engelmann is undoubtedly a shame, what about the trees in the Arcadia Woodlands (179 oaks and 70 sycamores)?
  • January 6, 2011: The County Department of Public Works provided its report on alternative solutions/community input to the Board of Supervisors. This document is scheduled to be made available to the public… still no word. According to trustworthy sources, the Department of Public Works plans on continuing with the project as is and states that it completed all procedural work correctly, despite an otherworldly lack of communication! Work will resume (and chainsaws will bite) next Wednesday, January 12th unless extraordinary action is taken by the Board of Supervisors. It’s time to flood the lines of Michael D. Antonovich!
  • January 7, 2011, 12:00AM: The 30-day moratorium on construction ends, the fate of the Arcadia Woodlands may be sealed…

The proposed "Middle Sediment Placement Site" aka the Arcadia Woodlands as outlined in the EIR; note the cross-section of the proposed sediment fill.

THE INFAMOUS EIR

  • Since the community meeting, many have had the opportunity to browse through the numerous pages of the EIR for the “Santa Anita Dam Sediment Removal Project
  • Gabi McLean (California Native Plant Society) and Barbara Eisenstein (Weeding Wild Suburbia) have prepared excellent, well-thought out letters that outline the major flaws of the EIR
  • From page #17 of the CEQA Initial Study Checklist: “The proposed project would not have an adverse effect on scenic vista or a scenic resource.” (Really?)
  • From page #66 of the Final EIR Appendices: A lone letter from Mike San Miguel expresses a coherent disapproval of the project
  • From page 3.3-18 of the Final EIR: “The City [of Arcadia] stated that an Oak Tree Removal permit was unnecessary for projects requiring oak tree removal for public purposes under Section 9701 of the Arcadia Municipal Code” (this needs to change!)
  • The County’s “preferred” alternative: A conveyor belt system stretching from the Santa Anita Dam, through Wilderness Park, all the way to the Lower Sediment Placement Site would transfer 500,000 cubic yards of sediment. 250,000 would go to the Middle SPS (aka Arcadia Woodlands) and 250,000 would go to the Lower SPS (already demolished and functioning as a placement site)
  • Alternative #2 (rejected): Convey to Wilderness Park, truck to Middle SPS (aka Arcadia Woodlands) and Lower SPS
  • Alternative #3 (rejected): Convey to clearing of Upper SPS, truck all to Manning Pit SPS in Irwindale (opposed by residents because of high number of truck trips through neighborhood via Elkins Ave.)
  • Alternative #4 (rejected): Convey to Wilderness Park, truck to Manning Pit SPS via Elkins Ave. (same opposition due to truck trips)
  • Cam Stone’s alternative #5: A welcome and coherent counterpoint to the County’s “preferred” plan. Stone’s alternative would convey 250,000 cubic yards to the Lower SPS as planned, convey 125,000 cubic yards to the Upper SPS (which engineer Bart Stryker found to have adequate capacity), and truck the remaining 125,000 cubic yards to Manning Pit (or other pit in Irwindale) via Sycamore Avenue gate (shorter trip to freeway, far less neighborhood disturbance). This plan is feasible and addresses many of the community concerns while still achieving the DPW’s main goal of removing 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from Santa Anita Reservoir.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  1. SIGN THE PETITION!
  2. Send an Email to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at fifthdistrict@lacbos.org
  3. Write a letter to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at 500 West Temple Street, Room 869, Los Angeles, CA  90012
  4. Call Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at (213) 974-5555

Both Gabi McLean (California Native Plant Society) and Barbara Eisenstein (Weeding Wild Suburbia) have prepared excellent, well-thought out letters which can serve as guides for your own letters!

RESOURCES:

Project Documents: CEQA Initial Study (5/11/07), Final EIR (5/09), EIR Technical Appendices (5/09), EIR Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations (5/09), EIR Notice of Determination (06/10/09)

Blog Posts: L.A. Creek Freak (12/4/10), Weeding Wild Suburbia (12/6/10), Weeding Wild Suburbia (12/12/10), L.A. Creek Freak (12/14/10), Weeding Wild Suburbia (12/19/10) LA Vitamin Report (1/5/11), Chance of Rain (1/6/11)

Media Coverage: San Gabriel Valley Tribune (11/21/10), Pasadena Star News (11/21/10), Los Angeles Times (12/4/10), Beverly Hills Courier (12/4/10), Arcadia Patch (12/29/10), Monrovia Patch (12/29/10), Sierra Madre Patch (12/30/10), San Gabriel Valley Tribune (1/3/11), Pasadena Star News (1/3/11),  Pasadena Star News (1/4/11), Pasadena Star News (1/4/11), Arcadia Weekly (1/5/11)

Photos: Joshua Link (12/13/10), Carole Scurlock (12/13/10), Cam Stone (12/13/10), Cam Stone (12/19/10), Cam Stone (1/4/11), Matt Burch/Arcadia Patch (1/4/11, really great shots Matt!)

Other Pertinent Links: Cam Stone’s Alternative #5 (video from the Arcadia Patch, 1/4/11), Sierra Club Notes (2 posts)

A view of the San Gabriel Mountains from the Arcadia Woodland. It is difficult to imagine that this is only a brief five-minute walk from civilization.

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§ 22 Responses to Arcadia Woodlands Update

  • petrie wilson says:

    what a beautifully presented resume ! Thank you sooo much for taking the time to assemble the history, day to day events and important facts
    that are needed to help educate and enlist more supporters for “Saving
    the Woodlands”……AND to format it all, along with photo and graph, is another educational bonus…….

    The Pasadena Garden Club really wants to help, so please keep
    us in the loop

  • Thanks for putting this together. Minor correction on my name – Eisenstein. It doesn’t sound good, does it? Are there plans for legal action?

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Thanks for reminding me about this disaster. Will sign the petition. Barbara, thanks for your work, as usual!

  • Drew says:

    Cameron’s plan sounds like a good one to me.

    http://arcadia.patch.com/articles/video-camron-stone-has-a-plan-to-save-the-oak-trees#video-4288407

    I grew up in that canyon too. I’ve been out of commission with grant proposal deadlines as of recent but will be jumping on the phone tomorrow. Hope its not to late to help. Thanks for all you’re doing all!

  • Drew says:

    Always reminded of this great illustration of oak woodlands.

    We will be losing so much more than trees if the County has there way.

  • Bob Ginn says:

    Excellent synopsis of this flawed and very possibly desolating DPW strategy. A true “tree city USA” would not let this happen.

  • [...] about transport. For a December LA Times piece, click here and LA Creek Freak on it, here and here. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden research fellow Barbara Eisenstein has a first class chronology of [...]

  • [...] the Arcadia Woodlands, there are some good suggestions at the end of this informative post from LA Creek Freak. It’s late, but worth a [...]

  • [...] Wild Suburbia, Altadena Hiker, Bipedality, Pasadena Daily Photo, The Sky is Big in Pasadena, and LA Creek Freak. Category: ConservationTags: Arcadia woodland > chance of rain > Emily Green > Santa Anita [...]

  • [...] L.A. Creek Freak . Weeding Wild Suburbia . Pasadena Daily Photo . Chance of Rain . The Sky is Big in Pasadena . Altadena Hiker [...]

  • DVG says:

    So is there any movement under way to show up at tomorrow’s LA County Board of Supervisors meeting?

  • Jerry says:

    There will be some of us at the Board of Supervisors meeting. Please show up early and fill out a speaker card. They cannot act on any item not on the agenda, but we might move Antonovich to make a call after the meeting.

  • Kristen Bornhorst says:

    We must protect our natural resources. The trees belong where they are so, please leave do not destroy them. Cutting down trees of this magnititude is a crime against the earth. They can’t be replaced. Our earth can not be replaced. Please respect them in they way they deserve!

  • Dayel says:

    Please let there be someone following the MONEY!!!!! Since the destruction would be perpetrated by a Arizona-based Quest Civil Contractors, there is the possibility that a lot of ‘political contributions’ or other monetary incentives were given to the ‘authorities’ to make sure that this company got the job, whether or not it is the best possible solution to the supposed problem. It is odd that such a project would not have been under local control and advisory bodies because of the devastating effect the removal of the trees and habitat would have on the immediate and surrounding areas. The California Live Oaks and Sycamores are special and protected for a reason. Has there been any studies of the actual run off or possible better absorption rate by this living habitat of the supposedly dangerous ‘flood waters’ which would be captured by the proposed empty space devoid of vegetation or other life? There is an obvious need for a new EIR….get it done first…. stop the destruction…..

    • Jessica Hall says:

      Just to clarify, flood waters will be captured at a flood control dam, which is short on capacity due to sedimentation. Not dredging leaves the County at risk of great liability. And no one wants to inadvertently create a flood scenario.

      The oak woodland would be levelled so that dredged material can be stored there, not to store flood waters.

      The project is under local control: the County of Los Angeles. The County has a public bidding process, I’ve not doubt this one was awarded in the usual way.

  • shinetiger says:

    What happens AFTER the silt deposit? Will the silt be covered with natural vegetation or will developers move in? Why would the City of Arcadia be so interested, themselves, in having the woodlands taken down? (Maybe that’s where the financial connection for Antonovich is.)

  • Bobby Dias says:

    1. I planted the seeds of the oak and sycamores in Arcadia Woodland in the 1950s, NOT 100 YEARS AGO! Get somebody out of diapers that lived near there and ask them! 2. I did so without charge at the request of the County of Los Angeles, with the expressed condition that I keep ownership of the oaks and trees, for the purpose of keeping selfish idiots like you from keeping that piece of land out of use by the vast majority of the County of Los Angeles.

  • Laura Z says:

    You did a great job organizing all this info. Thanks for your post. I have a question and a possible solution for the next grove of trees.

    As a gardener, here’s my question: Why are we treating this nutrient-rich natural resource like garbage? It sounds like there are no chemicals in this silt meaning it’s pure gold for gardeners and landscapers. At the very least I can’t believe the County doesn’t have projects going where they could reuse the silt from the full areas making room for the fresh silt without chopping down trees.

    The state of Illinois and the Army Corps of Engineers have been experimenting with recycling silt for a few years now with a program called Mud to Parks:

    http://www.istc.illinois.edu/special_projects/il_river/

    They have been able to reclaim lands and restore riverbeds with excellent results while cleaning up the Illinois River. They have just started Phase II because it is so successful!

    This isn’t the only place where we have a ‘silt problem’. Even if we don’t save these oaks there will be other areas for them to chop down. Why can’t we solve this for the long term?

    I posted a note on the LA Army Corps Facebook page asking them to help us with a program at all our reservoirs. We need to get Antonovich or someone in LA to work with them. Any thoughts?

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