June 18, 2012 § 1 Comment
OK, thanks to Rick Grubb, I’m getting this with time for you to put it on your calendars!!
The County of LA is having a joint meeting with the USFS on sediment removal of Big Tujunga Dam. Dirt’s all the rage here at LA Creek Freak, as you know. Rick’s also communicated that he wants to see Arroyo Toad back in his region, one of many species that have been impacted by our flood control system.
Here’s the details:
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6 to 8 p.m.
City of Los Angeles – City Council District 2
Sunland-Tujunga Field Office
7747 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, CA 91042 (map)
The United States Forest Service (USFS) and the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works (DPW) will jointly present the Big Tujunga Reservoir Sediment Removal Project. Information will be provided about the project, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The public will have the opportunity to ask questions of the USFS and DPW and comment on the project. Please plan to join us for this meeting.
For More Information:
June 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
Sometimes funny things come in small packages, like an innocent url to a report on the Arroyo Seco. The Urban Land Institute perhaps misspoke when they wrote what makes a stream function better:
The panel concurs with much of the recent work focused
on the naturalization of the stream to enhance ecological
systems and provide unique public amenities. A portion
of the stream on the southwestern side of the stadium
may better function covered, allowing for more efficient
use of the surface for playfield and/or parking, albeit in
an impervious format. (emphasis is mine)
No, it won’t help the stream function better, but it sure could provide for more parking.
The mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogard, welcomes feedback on the White Paper – take a look! It supports the idea of naturalizing the Arroyo (and hopefully by this we don’t mean a bypass diversion creek but the real deal). The mayor’s email address is email@example.com.
June 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
Done with our touring of the Colorado River (1, 2, 3) and speed-reading about its issues, my 2nd year graduate landscape architecture design studio dove into planning and design solutions for the river. In the analysis phase, over and over, it was observed that the river ecosystem needed to regain its flooding and sediment dynamics. And over and over, it was observed that the political, human dimension would almost certainly never allow that to happen -regardless of the ecological desert created at the river’s mouth, and regardless of the obvious and dire future of the watershed due to climate change, population growth, and accumulating pollutants (including radioactive spoils behind reservoirs ya’ll!)
Clearly designing for what humans want usually comes at an environmental cost. The ecosystem loses! Even when it’s billed as sustainable, it’s more likely the design is about incrementally less harm to the ecosystem. So in this studio, designers were challenged with having the Colorado River as their Client. How do you work to meet human needs within that mandate? It becomes a much different conversation. Since many students don’t wish to explore “visionary” projects (visionary of course being the polite synonym for politically impossible, er, unrealistic), the studio was structured so that students could also provide concepts that inch us toward’s the River’s restored state, accommodating more of contemporary human uses while weaning us from an unhealthy allocation system. This combination of visionary plotting (mwaahaha) and phased steps towards rehabilitation put together make for a nice master plan.
You can read more about the studio and download most of the studio’s presentations at When the River is Client: Design Explorations of the Lower Colorado River. I hope you will! There’s some great ideas the students came up with.
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 »
June 4, 2012 § 5 Comments
Snow White’s animal pals are going to be missing some of their woodland at the new Disney campus:
“The Project would require the removal of 158 County Ordinance-protected oak trees, including 16 heritage oak trees, and encroachment upon an additional 82 oak trees, including 3 heritage oaks…” (EIR, V.F-72)
“The Project would permanently impact approximately 0.08 acre (1,181 linear feet) of ACOE/RWQCB jurisidictional area…The Project would permanently impact 0.63 acre of CDFG jurisdictional streambed and associated habitat…” (EIR, V.F-81) “ACOE/RWQCB jurisdictional area” is jargon for Water of the US/Water of the State-admittedly, more jargon. In other words, blue line stream. You may observe here that status as a Water of the US/Water of the State doesn’t ensure protection, despite many characterizations to that effect, when environmentalists battled to preserve the designation on the LA River.
Also, while this is most likely the FEMA 100-year storm floodplain shown on this map, as creekfreaks already know, floodplains are an essential part of the stream system, reducing the space for it has negative consequences for stream health.
This, as the High Country News recently remembered the loss of the Arcadia Oak Woodlands, albeit for a different reason. I am grateful that we’re not arguing about Placerita Creek. But loss of tributaries and confining the main channel’s floodplain are worrisome. I don’t have time to read and interpret the entire EIR just now, so just letting you know that this on the docket. AND if you are in the Santa Clarita area, there’s a hearing tonight (June 4) about the project:
Hart Museum and Park
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
The public has until June 18 to communicate your thoughts on this. Include photos of an angry Snow White. Or maybe her evil stepmom (and not the glam one in the theaters right now), standing in the middle of her new ranch.
Comments go to
Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning
Special Projects Section, Room 1362
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mirror, Mirror on the wall…
Based on this piece in the Whittier Daily News, Snow White’s pals will also have to hop around oil rigs on open space purchased with allocations from the County of LA’s Proposition A, which is a funding source designated for recreation, parks, and open space.
Where’s Princess Mononoke when you need her?
May 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I had the pleasure of meeting up with the Big Parade today as they walked along the Los Angeles River. If you’re unfamiliar with this event, it’s a walk that meanders through Los Angeles stairways, neighborhoods, etc – see their website. Part of their two-day this weekend included a stretch of the Glendale Narrows, so my friend, who’s the walking-force behind the parade, Dan Koeppel invited me to talk with the group.
I gave a very brief intro after meeting up with the group at Confluence Plaza, then we walked over the soon-to-be-demolished-and-freewayified Riverside-Figueroa Bridge to their lunch stop at Steelhead Park. I spoke about the past, present and future of the L.A. River. « 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 »
May 9, 2012 § 7 Comments
I just returned from a very enjoyable vacation in San Luis Obispo, California. I stayed in downtown SLO and, a few times, bicycled out to the Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve, about ten miles away. As I was bicycling west on Los Osos Valley Road a cresting a ridgeline, in the midst of agricultural fields, I saw this sign along the highway:
It reads “MORRO BAY ESTUARY WATERSHED / KEEP IT CLEAN / ENTERING.” « Read the rest of this entry »
May 8, 2012 § 12 Comments
Upon crossing the border threshold on foot at Los Algodones, we were met by the smiling faces of Osvel, Juliana and Isobet, the dedicated staff of Pronatura Noroeste. Our guides would prove to be among the most generous, hospitable people we have encountered in our travels. While absorbing the unfolding story of a lost river waiting to be found once again, we were simultaneously pulled headfirst into the ramifications of what we heard. Revelatory moments are scarce in an age of excessive information and we took care in absorbing a dose of pure, unadulterated perspective. At the end of the day, every blade of turf, every kidney-shaped swimming pool, every rinsed-off sidewalk, every broken sprinkler head, every drop of discarded greywater would forever hold new significance… « Read the rest of this entry »
April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
We received – and are forwarding - an announcement by our friends at the Heal the Bay. The following piece is from Kirsten James, HTB’s Water Quality Director.
The federal Clean Water Act turns 40 this year. Water quality has come a long way since 1972 but we’ve still got a lot of work to do to ensure that our waters remain safe and healthy. Our nation’s rivers are no longer catching on fire (e.g. the Cuyahoga River, circa 1969) but the battle for our creaks and rivers in Los Angeles rages on.
One of the pillars of the CWA is the stormwater permitting program. Municipal stormwater permits regulate all urban runoff discharge from separate storm sewer systems, so-called MS4s. Because stormwater is the No. 1 source of coastal pollution in California, these permits are a big deal for ensuring public health for those who recreate in our local waters. It’s also a major part of my job – ensuring that water quality regulations are as protective as they can be. And now ocean lovers have a major fight on their hands in Los Angeles County.
In 2001, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a municipal stormwater permit for Los Angeles County. The Regional Board is now considering a new permit for the county, after years of delay. As the board begins making critical decisions regarding the new permit, Heal the Bay is concerned about lobbying interests looking to weaken existing protections.
Board hearings over the summer will determine the fate of our local water quality for the next decade or more. We are at a fork in the road in terms of local water quality, with many cities and dischargers fighting hard to relax hard-won regulations that prevent them from dumping pollution into our waterways.
Our Regional Board can do the right thing and place strong protections (including pollution limits or TMDLs and low impact development requirements) in the permit. Or, they can make decisions that could result in dirtier water, and a higher risk of getting sick anytime you swim or surf. Heal the Bay will do everything we can to ensure that they make the right choice. We hope you will join us in the fight!
If you care about protecting the ocean and public health, we need you to make your voice heard. We need beachgoers of all stripes to attend a Regional Board workshop on May 3 designed to gather community input about local water quality regulations.
To fight for clean rivers, beaches and oceans, join our campaign: Taking L.A. by Storm (download flyer).
Attend the May 3 Regional Board workshop, the first of the hearings this summer, and let them know you want to be able safely swim at our beaches or fish in our rivers. Please help protect what you love.
To join us, RSVP with your name, email and ZIP Code.