October 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
Once the election buzz has passed, angelenos can turn their attention to the Supreme Court for some creekfreaky argumentation. Commenters – can you offer up interpretations of what this decision will mean for clean water in LA if the County has its way? (feel free to also weigh in on how you feel about the County using its scarce resources for fighting interpretations of the clean water act when it’s under compliance deadlines. All the way up to the Supreme Court.)
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 »
March 26, 2012 § 6 Comments
It seems as though there’s almost always a creek on golf courses in Los Angeles – be it natural, concrete or underground. And having proposed daylighting and restoration projects at a number of our local golf courses, I was happy to see this article, A Stream Runs Through It, published in the Golf Course Industry online magazine, supporting the idea. I have found that golf courses and streams can coexist, but too often golf courses alter the stream, pushing it over the edge of the property, constraining it in ways that destabilize it, removing habitat, etc. The management problems are often quite predictable. The opportunity exists to design a golf course with an understanding of stream habitat and function, leading to a richer golf experience, fewer maintenance issues, and habitat for that remaining 5-10% of LA’s waterways. Streams can separate greens, but when they traverse greens, they can become part of the play in interesting ways.
A couple of golf course/restoration locations I’ve referred to in Creek Freak posts include Devil’s Dip (I promise a post on just the golf course and restoration potential there in the near future but here’s a slide from Creek Freak’s recommendations to Mark Ridley-Thomas about it.) and South Pasadena Golf Course.
March 7, 2012 § 5 Comments
Creek Freaks, I am posting this message on behalf of Shelley Luce, Executive Director, and Mark Abramson, their Senior Watershed Advisor. They need your help by Friday March 16. I have my own comment to add following their request:
Send us your Streams and Creeks!
Calling all Creek Freaks! The Santa Monica By Restoration Commission needs your help identifying and locating streams and creeks in the City of Los Angeles. The City is creating a stream protection ordinance designed to protect the few remaining healthy creeks within the City limits. They have requested a list of streams and creeks that should be protected. We are asking all our friends and creek enthusiasts to send us pictures and locations of creeks within the City so that we can ensure their protection. If you have a favorite creek spot that you feel warrants protection please send the location (preferably latitude and longitude, a picture, and any information that you might have about the stream or creek. The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission will then visit these sites and compile a list of streams and creeks that should be protected for the inclusion in the City of Los Angeles’ Stream Protection Ordinance. Please send any information to email@example.com using the subject line Protect this Stream. Your efforts will help protect these few remaining special places for generations to come. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 23, 2012 § 7 Comments
As many of you probably already heard, last week the Coastal Conservancy approved up to $6.5 million to complete studies and permitting for the Ballona Wetlands. If that price tag for planning is giving you sticker shock, I have two words: Army Corps. Actually more than two words – you see, one alternative proposes removing and relocating the levees that currently contain Ballona Creek’s flows from spreading over the wetlands. (You know, the way in undisturbed situations fresh water from a stream or river normally spreads over wetlands, making the land, you know, wet.) And removing and relocating levees is sensitive business, and an involved regulatory process that has to be paid for and that can rapidly add up to a big chunk of the $6.5m.
That’s just the regulatory/cost barrier. Some people are concerned about the potential flood risk to humans, while others are concerned about the flood risk to…the wetlands. This has been an ongoing debate, and while it’s not the point of today’s post, I think we’ve got new information that can help us all consider the alternatives – as well as create new projects. Back when I was watershed coordinator, I felt the conversation about the watersheds could be elevated if we had a better handle on the historical ecology of the watershed. Agreed-upon, documented sense of what natural processes shaped the habitats of the watershed, and what had actually been here. I drafted a proposal for this study, as well as an assessment of the watershed’s springs/water budget, both of which got funded and managed by others later.
December 7, 2011 § 5 Comments
December 4, 2011 § 18 Comments
October 19, 2011 § 3 Comments
Following Fake Creek of the Week #2, correctly identified by commenter Oona Martin as the fake creek at Coldwater Canyon Park, is our Real Creek, or in this case, real creeks. Coldwater Canyon’s stream is gone, culverted away, but the creek in Franklin Canyon remains. Franklin Canyon was damned, or dammed, last century to create drinking water reservoirs.
The upper dam is a familiar site to hikers at Franklin Canyon Park, or rather, its artificial lake is. Fun fact: DWP told me in my watershed coordinator days that they don’t fill that lake. What you see there is perennial groundwater or spring flow. Downstream of the dam, the creek runs through a sycamore woodland, and in a few locations springs can be observed.
Downstream of the dam, and above our Fake Creek #2 is an old orange grove. It appears to be a remnant of the agricultural legacy of Hollywood and environs.
Beverly Drive joins Franklin Canyon near this grove, leading to the third canyon/creek comprising this Rodeo de las Aguas – Higgins Canyon. Most of the creek, as with Coldwater Canyon’s flows, are confined to a culvert. At the far end of Beverly Drive, right where the public street ends and a private street begins, however, you can observe a small spring-fed creek flowing through private yards to its culvert coffin. But if you choose to go observe, please be mindful of the residents who live there.
October 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
Rain always means going out to watch the water rise, and this morning a friend and I hustled out to Ballona Creek to the check out the recently completed rain gardens in action. I posted about them here and here. When I got home a few hours later, the County’s rain gage indicated that Ballona Creek near there had received 0.8″ – so this was a healthy first test for the rain gardens. Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission staff were out taking samples and observing its performance as well – and now doubt we will all be eagerly watching how the gardens adjust and adapt to the season’s flows.
September 25, 2011 § Leave a Comment
In October 2011, Greywater Action are teaching workshops in Southern California. Greywater Action are the great folks formerly known as Greywater Guerillas, then they changed their names after the state of California went and made greywater legal. These are the folks who installed (and taught how to install) my home washing machine greywater system that I wrote about here.
If you’re in Los Angeles, there are greywater workshops on Friday October 14th and Saturday October 15th – both at Los Angeles Eco-Village. In Santa Monica, similar workshops on Saturday October 8th and Sunday October 9th. Bonus workshop on humanure (composting toilets) on Friday evening October 14th. Workshop details below and at Greywater Action website. « Read the rest of this entry »