L.A. River Kayak Tour Video

September 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

Damon Nagami posted the video above at NRDC Switchboard. It’s an excellent, enthusiastic video review of just how fun the latest round of L.A. River kayaking tours are. It’s been great to see lots of photos and positive reviews on Facebook (some of which we’ve shared at the L.A. Creek Freak Facebook group page.) Angelenos are enjoying their river.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Places to Visit: the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and the Bridge to Nowhere

August 22, 2012 § 4 Comments

The Bridge to Nowhere over the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, photos by Carrie Lincourt

Last week, a friend and I took a really great hike up the East Fork of the San Gabriel River to the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s an excellent local day hike (9.5 miles round trip) that I highly recommend, though it’s probably best done during cooler seasons – say between late September and early June.  « Read the rest of this entry »

A(rroyo) Rosa Castilla by any other name

August 19, 2012 § 5 Comments

Alignment, Arroyo Rosa Castilla, based on 1926 and 1928 USGS Quad maps. You’re looking at over 14 miles of blueline stream.  Base image: GoogleEarth. Overlay by J.Hall.

I love to see people get creekfreaky, so it was a good day last Friday when friends posted the Eastsider’s story linking to the El Sereno Historical Society’s post on Arroyo Rosa Castilla, the creek that formerly ran along the 710 Freeway.  (Creek Freaks have long observed the propensity for Caltrans-and others-to lay major roadways in the beds of creeks – viz. Arroyo Seco/110, LA River/5 and 710 Fwys, San Gabriel River/605 Fwy, Topanga Creek and Topanga Canyon Road – and Rosa Castilla here among them).   A little sign on the freeway will tell you it is called the Sheriff’s Range Gulch. « Read the rest of this entry »

Grist’s L.A. River Series

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

The nearly unrecognizable Los Angeles River in the West San Fernando Valley

This week, Grist is publishing a very good 4-part series on the Los Angeles – written by Christian MilNeil. So far, they’ve posted parts one, two, and three. They have lots of worthwhile things to say, and they quote quite a few friends of the blog, including Melanie Winter and Jenny Price.

Check it out starting here.

This Morning’s L.A. River Art

July 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

So… no posts for a month, then two today… oh well. On my way bicycling back from this morning’s groundbreaking, I stopped to do a river sketch.

Los Angeles River – Elysian Valley – at 2 Freeway Bridge, by Joe Linton, ink on paper in Sketchbook No. 62, 25 June 2012, about 11″x14″

It’s in Elysian Valley, looking upstream toward the 2 Freeway Bridge. Note that I typically do a lot of vertical hatching, but when there’s water, the horizontal hatching is called for. More of my river drawings in my book, at my art show (up through August 15th 2012) and at my art blog.

I wasn’t the only person out doing L.A. River art today. « Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Sediment Removal Meeting: Big Tujunga Dam

June 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

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:

A better functioning Arroyo Seco

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 bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net.

 

Explorations of the Colorado River #4: The Design Studio

June 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

Fracking in L.A.? (Workshops to be held on 6/12 and 6/13)

June 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

A Dimock, Pennsylvania resident lights their flowing tap on fire, a result of natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in a nearby field. While such effects may not occur as a result of petroleum well fracking, the shock-value of this image underscores the potential for groundwater contamination in any circumstance. (SOURCE: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com)

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.

Diagram illustrating the process behind hydraulic fracturing and, yes, the blue strip in the middle of the image represents an aquifer. (SOURCE: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com)

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 »

What would Snow White say? Disney Ranch to culvert a small stream and cut down 158 oaks

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.

Existing mapped floodplain area (Zone A at left) to be reduced through Development Area.

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:

6-9PM

Hart Hall

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 ctran@planning.lacounty.gov

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?

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