September 15, 2012 § 13 Comments
There are some changes afoot at L.A. Creek Freak.
Two of us, Jessica Hall and Joe Linton, started this forum in mid-2008. We knew we had a lot to say about creeks and streams and how they figure into Los Angeles’ past, present, and future. We wanted to reach new audiences, bring new folks down to the LA River and other rivers and streams. Challenge you to think bigger about the flood control system and storm water management. Create a place where people could discuss local waters.
We wrote a lot, we learned a lot from folks who found us via the blog. As time progressed, two more contributors, Jane Tsong and Joshua Link, came on board to write additional posts.
Creek Freak is a labor of love. We’re all volunteers. Sometimes we’ve scooped the local media on big river stories, and sometimes we’ve gotten busy with other work and neglected our readership. Overall, we’re up to 561 posts, more than 500 subscribers, nearly 2500 comments, and nearly 500,000 visits.
We have a couple of announcements that mean Creek Freak’s future may meander a bit. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
It is likely that many folks living in Los Angeles County are either entirely unfamiliar with hydraulic fracturing (fracking for short) or are under the impression it occurs only in distant places such as the Appalachian Basin (Marcellus Shale). This resource extraction process utilizes the high-pressure injection of thousands (and in some cases, millions) of gallons of water, sand and a proprietary blend of up to 600 chemicals (potentially including known carcinogens such as lead, uranium, mercury, ethylene glycol, radium, methanol, hydrochloric acid and/or formaldehyde) into deep wells to open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well. While the practice is primarily associated with the natural gas industry, fracking is also a method used by the petroleum industry as a means of squeezing more production out of what were previously thought to be exhausted wells.
For the vast majority of Angelenos, it might come as a surprise to find out that there are two local petroleum wells, VIC-1-330 (Baldwin Hills, Plains Exploration & Production Company) and DOM-1 (Dominguez Hills, Occidental Oil and Gas), that have been fracked as recently as January of this year (SOURCE: FracFocus) and according to a recent report by Christine Shearer of Truthout, fracking has occurred in the L.A. basin for some time: « Read the rest of this entry »
May 15, 2012 § 6 Comments
On the heels of a critical piece of writing by Emily Green on the state of sediment management in Los Angeles (published in the May 14th edition of High Country News), the L.A. County Department of Public Works has completed (as of April) its draft 20-year Sediment Management Strategic Plan for 2012-2032 and is currently soliciting public comments until Wednesday, May 30th. The enormous document (524 pages) is available for download at www.LASedimentManagement.com (the downloadable document entitled “Community Meeting Boards” is a conveniently concise summary of the larger plan). « Read the rest of this entry »
February 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
Cadiz, Inc today announced that it has optioned use of a derelict gas line to ship northern Californian water to the Mojave Desert for long-term storage by….
January 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
I recently spotted a couple of projects that L.A. Creek Freak has reported on that are now making on-the-ground progress. In Lincoln Heights (photo above) the Albion Dairy site industrial buildings and parking lot are well on their way to being completely demolished. Information on that planned L.A. River park here. In Santa Monica (photo below) the Ocean Park Boulevard green street project is under construction. Information on that complete street project (including its green bike lanes) here.
January 27, 2012 § 4 Comments
A unfortunate story about how our local creeks don’t look all that different from our freeways: Yesterday a woman drove her car down an access ramp and into the concrete Verdugo Wash. The Verdugo Wash (or Arroyo Verdugo) runs through the city of Glendale and enters the L.A. River across from Griffith Park. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 31, 2011 § 5 Comments
It’s Jessica here, summarizing the thoughts of the bloggers Joe, Jane, Josh and myself about our biggest stories of 2011.
But first, I want to take a moment to note that on a personal level, 2011 marked my decade as a Creek Freak. In 2000 I’d begun mapping LA’s waterways, but it wasn’t until I, with a team of three other landscape architecture graduate students, had completed Seeking Streams that I realized I’d been hooked by the desire to bring buried waterways back to the surface of LA. It’s been a decade of ideas & argument, at times petty politics, and for me, standing on the outside of bureaucracies with the power to restore our landscapes, feeling like I was staring up from the base of Hoover Dam. But on the other side of that wall are gradual changes in watershed management, still rooted in a philosophy of nature control, but testing how controlled habitats can be better managed alongside more traditional engineered structures and approaches. I’m still waiting for that leap to working with natural processes – treating the flood channels like the streams they were. It will happen someday. But the fight has been good for me too, it forced me to hone my understanding of how streams function, to understand the genesis of undesirable flooding and erosion, to better relate the role of waterways within an ecosystem. Our ecosystem.
I believe restoration and protection of waterways happens in places like Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Austin because the waterways supply their water (or are the early-warning system of their aquifer) and because enough people understand ecology and have some experience and appreciation of natural processes in their lives to demand restoration and protection. A version of the Boulder story I read once stated that they ran the Army Corps out of town when the Corps came offering channelization. A citizen-led initiative led to building restrictions over Austin’s aquifer recharge zones, and citizens informed the planning processes in Seattle and Portland that wrapped endangered species recovery in a package with Clean Water Act water quality commitments. In LA, we mostly defer to experts. We eschew big ideas unless someone from higher up the political hierarchy proposes it. We sigh at the tangle of bureaucracy that makes it phenomenally difficult (and expensive) to get even a small plot of land planted, a bit of roadway striped for bicycles – something that definitely succeeds in keeping us focused on the short-term. And we fight. We fight opportunism of a few powerful people er, corporations, who profit by threatening our community dreams, something that also keeps us focused on the short-term, on triage. (As members of our community, these “people,” er corporations, should share our vision. Which vision, you ask? Good point.) And we fight each other. If we have a common vision, and I’m not sure that we do, it lacks ecosystem function.
Let’s celebrate our steps towards sustainability, but with a solid vision that includes the regeneration of our degraded riparian ecosystems. May our steps be clearly towards support of our incredible natural heritage, the biodiversity that supports us.
And with that… our top 10 stories of 2011. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 20, 2011 § Leave a Comment
A quick post to alert creek freaks to two historic bridges in the blogosphere this week:
> Yesterday, Blogdowntown highlighted the double-decker 7th Street Viaduct. The post celebrates the 84th anniversary of the bridge opening on September 19th, 1927, and includes interesting facts about who paid for what back then. See also Creek Freak’s earlier journey into the interstices of that great bridge.
> Last Saturday, Youtube user Corvobell posted this video of the set of an upcoming Batman movie – filming under the 6th Street Bridge. Though that 1932 bridge has a long movie pedigree (appearing in Grease, SWAT, and even The Simpsons Movie) it is under threat of demolition if city proposals move forward.
June 9, 2011 § 12 Comments
Somewhat random post here… but do any of our eagle-eyed readers know what’s up with this Los Angeles River billboard?
I spotted it yesterday… not sure if it’s a series or a one-off. It’s facing north on the east side of Figueroa Street at 39th Street – across from “Christmas Tree Lane” in Exposition Park. « Read the rest of this entry »