Creek Freaks Speak Next Week

October 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Water panel at Antioch University next Thursday

I am speaking at a Water (and Power) panel at Antioch University in Culver City.  Fellow panelists include Leonardo Vilchis, of Union de Vecinos (LACF readers will remember Leonardo from this video) and Conner Everts of Southern California Watershed Alliance (LACF readers will remember Connor from this L.A. River kayak trip.)  « Read the rest of this entry »

Not Enough to Waste – New Water Solutions Booklet from Green L.A.

August 4, 2010 § 4 Comments

Cover and sample pages from Not Enough to Waste booklet - image from Designed by Colleen website

I had the pleasure of reading a handsome new booklet that gives a great overview of Los Angeles water issues. It’s called Not Enough Water to Waste: Solutions to Securing L.A.’s Water Future and it’s published by Green L.A. Coalition‘s water team – many of the same folks in the coalition that’s actively pushing to get Los Angeles’ Low Impact Development (LID) ordinance passed.

« Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 24 March 2010

March 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Image of planned new Riverside Drive Bridge and Roundabout - From L.A. City Flier

EVENTS

>TOMORROW! The city of Los Angeles hosts a community meeting on its plans for the Riverside Drive Bridge. The meeting is at 6pm on Thursday, March 25th 2010 at the Atrium Room of the L.A. River Center at 570 West Avenue 26 in Cypress Park. City flier here.
The city plans to replace the L-shaped Riverside-Figueroa Bridge with a new wider straighter faster deadlier bridge, with construction planned to begin later this year. The L.A. River bike path is planned to extend along the upstream edge of the bridge across the river from Frogtown to Cypress Park. The project (image above) includes a roundabout (traffic circle) at the intersection of Riverside Drive, San Fernando Road, and North Figueroa Streets, where the state is working on its planned Confluence Park. Confluence Park, partially under construction (next to the Home Depot parking lot) but stalled due to state budget issues, will celebrate the historic confluence of the L.A. River and the Arroyo Seco.  Learn more about the project, by attending tomorrow night’s meeting!

>TOMORROW!  The Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History presents their Sustainable Salon: Sustaining Our Water at 7pm on  Thursday, March 25th 2010. It’s free and talkes place at the museum’s North American Mammal Hall. Featuring:  Miguel Luna (Urban Semillas), Renée Maas (Food and Water Watch), and Conner Everts (Southern California Watershed Alliance.) For information and to rsvp contact Kim Kessler at 213-763-3463 or kkessler {at} nhm {dot} org. 

>The Theodore Payne Foundation – California Native flora-philes:

  • California Wildflower Hotline  until May 31st 2010 – Find spectacular California wildflower sites – updated Thursdays. Use link or call (818)768-3533.
  • THIS SATURDAY! Spring discount plant sale & Open House Saturday, March 27th 2010, 8:30am-4:30pm at TPF Nursery in Sun Valley.
  • Annual Native Plant Garden Tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 10th and 11th 2010, from 10am-4pm – including a free lecture:  In California, the Natives Are Friendly with Isabelle Greene on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at 6:30pm at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood.

>The Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, Friends of the L.A. River, and the Urban Land Institute host On Track: Rivers and Rails Symposium. It’s on Thursday, April 1st 2010 from 3pm-6pm at Metro in downtown L.A. More information here.

>The Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University hosts three free workshops on three Saturdays: March 27th, April 3rd and April 17th. See earlier post for details.

>Save L.A. River Open Space is holding a special meeting on Thursday, April 15th 2010 at 7pm at the Beverly Garland’s Holliday Inn at 4222 Vineland Ave in Studio City.  Featured will be State Senator Fran Pavley and Esther Feldman of Community Conservancy International presenting a vision for a 16-acre Los Angeles River Natural Park  at the former golf and tennis site.

>The L.A. River boating expedition documentary Rock the Boat will screen at Los Angeles Eco-Village on Saturday May 8th 2010. Basic info here, more details coming soon.

NEWS

Orcutt's Yellow Pincushion - from Ken Bowles Wildflower and Bird Photos - click on image to link to biggified version

>A rare wildflower – Orcutt’s Yellow Pincushion – was discovered at a restoration site in the Ballona Wetlands. The Argonaut tells all!

>Long Beach is labeling its bikeways, and the L.A. River path there is now officially Long Beach Bikeway Route 7.

>Los Angeles’ elected officials and agency leaders have been in Washington D.C. pushing for funding for Los Angeles River revitalization. Los Angeles State Historic Park has the pics to prove it!

>Fishing in the very lush Los Angeles River off Tujunga Boulevard [perhaps Avenue] in 1945? The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has the pics to prove it!

Marching for Water

March 23, 2009 § 3 Comments

Youth Doing the Heavy Lifting at the March for Water

Youth Doing the Heavy Lifting at the 2009 March for Water

I had a good time at yesterday’s March for Water. The event was inspired by marches held in various parts of the world in support of the human right to water (including marches shown in the documentary film Flow.) Here’s an event recap and photo essay (apologies again for the blurry cell phone photos!)

My eco-village neighbor and friend Bobby Gadda and I bicycled over to Los Angeles State Historic Park (aka the Cornfields) in a light rain. The rain is great for my garden, and for our creeks and streams, but I was a little worried that it might mean a small turnout at the march.

Gathering at the Cornfields

Gathering at the Cornfields

We arrived at the park and lots of other folks had also braved the rains to participate. Umbrellas and makeshift trash-bag ponchos were the order of the day.

Raul Addressing Families Assembled

Raul Addressing Families Assembled

I checked in and caught up with friends, until Raul Macias drew together the families he organizes through the Anahuak Youth Sports Association. He thanked them for braving the elements and attending

Estamos Listos!

Estamos Listos!

The youth were excited and ready to start marching.

The Crowd Circles as the Dance Begins

The Crowd Circles as the Dance Begins

A large circle formed around the Aztec dancers and drummers. They gave an invocation to the four directions and commenced to dance, which they would continue as they lead the march. The intermittent light rain ceased.

Marching Commences

Marching Commences

The circle parted and the march headed northward along the edge of the cornfields. In the lead are photographers walking backwards, then dancers, then the mass of the march. The clouds part and the sun begins to shine.

Marchers proceeding north, lupines in the foreground, Chiparaki Cultural Center in the background

Marchers proceeding north, lupines in the foreground, Chiparaki Cultural Center in the background

The mass continues along the vivid purples and yellows of the cornfield’s wildflowers in bloom.

Dancers following the Police Escort (The historic Womens' Building in the background)

Dancers following the Police Escort (The historic Womens' Building in the background)

As the procession leaves the park and enters the street, Aztec dancers follow the police escort.

Young Dancer

Dancers Leading the March

Dancing for water.

Marching over the Bridge into Lincoln Heights

Marching into Lincoln Heights

The march made a left onto Spring Street, then crossed the Los Angeles River on the beautiful historic (but threatened) 1927 North Spring Street Bridge, proceeding into Lincoln Heights. Organizers did a good job of keeping the front moving relatively slowly, so that the stragglers in the back could keep up.

Marchers Showing the Water in Their Buckets

Marchers Showing the Water in Their Buckets

Many marchers carried buckets of water. This showed symbolic solidarity with folk in many parts of the world who have to travel by foot each day to get water for their families.

Boyle Heights Chivas in the House!

Boyle Heights Chivas in the House!

The march continued as Spring turns into Broadway and through 5-Points onto Avenue 26. These youth were carrying the banner for Boyle Heights Chivas, whose goalkeeper and I became friends. (I used to be a goalie a long time ago, when I played water polo.)

Melissa and the March

Melissa and Several Hundred of Her Friends

I was happy to run into some of the youth that Jessica and I accompanied on our state water tour last summer. In the foreground of this photo (in the dark blue sweatshirt, looking over her shoulder) is one of these youth: Melissa Castro. She goes to High School in Palmdale, and is a bright and fun person, and an excellent soccer player too. She mentioned that her feet were a little tired from marching, but that it wasn’t too bad.

Drinking Water Filling Station at a Fire Hydrant on Avenue 26

Drinking Water Filling Station at a Fire Hydrant on Avenue 26

The entire event was free from bottled water. Yaaaayyyy! This is no small feat… and really good for the environment. Organizers provided re-usable metal bottles. Along the 3-mile route there were several tap-water filling stations provided by the LA Department of Water and Power. Thanks, LADWP!

Capture Rainwater Not Wildlife

Capture Rainwater Not Wildlife

Participants carried handmade signs. I especially liked this slogan “Capture Rainwater Not Wildlife” as I capture rainwater in my garden.

Front of the March

Front of the March

Here’s another shot of the front of the march, with banners and signs. I was able to bike out ahead of the march as do a count as it headed up Figueroa and turned left onto Cypress Avenue. It was a quick count, probably not all that accurate, but I counted about 750 marchers.

March ending into Taylor Yard

March ending into Taylor Yard

The march ultimately turned left and made its way into the new Rio De Los Angeles State Park at Taylor Yard, the first 40-acres of a planned 100+acre Los Angeles River park there.

California Sunflower at Rio De Los Angeles State Park

California Sunflower at Rio De Los Angeles State Park

While things were getting set up (and blown down) I got a chance to ride around the park. The bright colors of the wildflowers at Rio De Los Angeles Park…

Corner Kick at Rio De Los Angeles State Park

Corner Kick at Rio De Los Angeles State Park

…matched the bright colors of the jerseys of the folks there playing soccer.

Councilmember Reyes Speaking

Councilmember Reyes Speaking

The many excellent speakers at the end included Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes, State Senator Fran Pavley, Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai, City Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels and representatives from the Winnemem Wintu, who came down from Northern California to join us (which makes plenty of sense, because that’s where we import a lot of our water from.) Organizations presenting included Urban Semillas, Anahuak Youth Sports Organization, the Southern California Watershed Alliance, Food and Water Watch, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Green LA Coalition, Friends of the Los Angeles River, and the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. Speakers tied together various topics including water conservation, global warming, reconnecting our communities with our rivers, and organizing and involving our youth. Winnemum Wintu elder Calleen Sisk-Franco invoked our relationship with our wild salmon, stating “without them, there won’t be us.”

Ollin takes the Stage

Ollin Takes the Stage

The weather became windier and cloudier as the Irish-Mexican music of Ollin rounded out the program.

Bobby and I rode home with Alex Kenefick and Ramona Marks on the access road along Taylor Yard, enjoying the windy sunny weather and the herons, cormorants and coots in the L.A. River.

Kudos to all of the folks who played big roles in making this event a great success. Here are a few that I actually got decent photos of:

Raul

Raul

Raul Macias,

Renee (left) with Claire of Amigos de los Rios

Renee (left) with Claire of Amigos de los Rios

Renee Maas,

Miguel

Miguel

and the inimitable Miguel Luna!

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