Upcoming Event: Creekfreak talk at South Coast CNPS

October 29, 2010 § 5 Comments

Cross-section demonstrating naturalization strategy in soon-to-be-completed planning study.

Monday night I’m giving a talk at the South Coast California Native Plant Society. Come on down! The talk is “Hope for Southern California Streams” and my hope is to stuff flowers in your muskets and arm you with a sense of the possible, to fuel our collective political will on behalf of our waterways and remnant habitat patches – with some specific time to think out loud about South Bay wild things (and I’m so not referring to beach bunnies).

When: 7:30pm

Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes, CA 90274

Ballona Creek – “My Little Mississippi” and sometimes Tarzan’s Africa

October 6, 2010 § 4 Comments

Ballona Creek image from Wikimapia

You know I’m a sucker for creeky oral histories. Here’s an excerpt about Ballona Creek from a site I found a while back:

For me growing up the Ballona Creek became my version of the Mississippi! Tom Sawyer had nothing on me except a lot more water.  We kids would climb down into the channel and ride our bikes are hike for miles…The creek sides were not paved and in some cases were still dirt and boulders when I was growing up. So we explored the nine miles rock by rock.  I’ll bet I used ten boxes of band aids after falling and nicking myself on those rocks. « Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 21 September 2010

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Undated historic photo of Red Car trolley crossing the L.A. River below the Glendale Hyperion Bridge. Given the complete lack of vegetation in the river, this was likely right after concrete channel construction. From Coralitas Red Car Property - click on image for link



> Culver City construction on the Ballona Creek bike path from Overland Avenue to the Westwood Avenue pedestrian bridge. Looks like another good creek revitalization project, but bicyclists should expect detours now through January (Culver City Bicycle Coalition

> Federal funding secured for the Watershed Council’s Water Augmentation Study (Congresswoman Linda Sánchez

> Downstream cities are installing nice single-purpose gray grates to keep trash out of the Los Angeles River (L.A. Times and L.A. Now – also earlier Creek Freak coverage, though we somehow missed coverage any accompanying source control efforts.) 

> Genetically modified salmon coming soon to a plate near you? (L.A. Times Greenspace

> Beautiful graphical history of the meanderings of the Mississippi River (NPR

> Long Beach awarded grant for river parkway wetlands restoration project at DeForest Park (Supervisor Don Knabe


> L.A. River panel tomorrow September 22nd (Zócalo

> Coastal CleanUp Day on September 25th 2010. (Heal the Bay

> Jenny Price River tours on September 26th and October 3rd (Hidden L.A.

> Ballona Wetlands Science and Research Symposium on December 8th 2010. (Creek Freak

(Just the headlines, m’am, courtesy of Joe being busy with CicLAvia – come and check it out on October 10th!)

Places to Visit: Ballona Creek Bike Path Sculpture Gates and Mini-Parks

June 30, 2010 § 9 Comments

McConnell Avenue gate by Brett Goldstone 2009

After yesterday’s talk, I rode the Ballona Creek Bike Path and checked out the still-relatively-new art gates there. In an earlier L.A. Creek Freak post, Jessica covered the gates’ and mini-parks’ December 4th 2009 dedication. Additional online coverage can be found at Ballona Creek Renaissance’s (BCR) April 2010 newsletter. After the jump are listing and mapping of the gate/park sites, and photos of the gates as they appear today.  

« Read the rest of this entry »

Little chirps in praise of willows and floods

June 7, 2010 § 29 Comments

Photo: Don Sterba, reprinted by LA Times

[ERRATA: Photo of Least bell's vireo was previously erroneously attributed to the LA Times. The photographer is Don Sterba, who also was the person to see and identify the bird. Apologies to Mr. Sterba for the error. The LA Times published his photo with credit, the oversight here was mine.]

Two pair of Least bell’s vireo, an endangered willow-loving bird, have set up camp in the vicinity of the Ballona Freshwater Marsh. Thanks to the Friends of Ballona Wetlands blog and the LA Times for getting the word out!  The Times piece also touches on the controversy associated with the freshwater marsh and Playa Vista development. I do disagree with the Times’ characterization of the drainage “ditch” Hughes dug. It may have become a drainage ditch, but early USGS maps clearly indicate that Centinela Creek flowed through the land that became Hughes’ airfield, and the landscape there would have been a floodplain and likely transitional freshwater or brackish marsh area, the “ditch” a functioning creek.   « Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 17 February 2010

February 17, 2010 § Leave a comment


>The L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan Bicycle Advisory Committee meets tonight Thursday February 17th at 7pm at the Board Overflow Room at Metro. The county bike plan, which Creek Freak outlined here, includes bike paths along county-maintained rivers, washes and creeks. There’s also a series of ten county bike plan community meetings running February 22nd through March 25th, held in various locations all over the county. For more info on all these, go to the meeting page on the county’s bike plan website.  

County photo of the vacant under-freeway right-of-way along the Arroyo Seco. View is looking northeast toward Avenue 26, with the Arroyo Seco channel just out of the picture to the left. Avenue 26 is across the middle of the image with the Avenue 26 Bridge in middle left. Freeway ramp connecting southbound 110 to northbound 5 is on the right.

>Los Angeles County is proposing a new scope for the funded Arroyo Seco Bike Path project. The new plan is to build the next phase along the southeast bank of the arroyo from Avenue 26 to San Fernando Road. This scales back a proposed ~1.5-mile bike path (from Avenue 43 to Avenue 26) to an ~0.3-mile bike and walk path, but the less ambitious new scope appears more likely to actually get built. The newly proposed stretch would be located in a right-of-way that is currently mostly empty space (below the interchange of the 5 and the 110 freeways) but also includes a portion of a city of L.A. Bureau of Sanitation yard. The county hosts a project meeting tomorrow Thursday February 18th at 6pm at the Los Angeles River Center. Check out the county’s 9-page background report, with photos and a map and L.A. Creek Freak’s earlier article on the conflicts over the earlier proposed bike path(Thanks Arroyo Seco Foundation for posting the county’s documents on-line.)

>Same night as the Arroyo Seco meeting, the city of Glendale hosts a public input meeting for its Glendale Narrows River Walk project. It’s Thursday February 18th at 7pm at the Pacific Community Center.

>C.I.C.L.E.’s creek freak bike ride is this Saturday February 20th, departing 12:30pm from the River Center. Rain cancels, and some is predicted for early Saturday – check the site that morning around 9am to confirm that the ride is on.

>State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass hosts a Ballona Creek clean-up event on Sunday February 21st at 10am at Overland Avenue.

> The city of Pasadena Bicycle Master Plan is also underway. The current draft  proposes bike paths along the Arroyo Seco (near Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and along Eaton Wash (from Eaton Canyon Nature Center to the 210 Freeway.) Pasadena will hold a public input meeting on their draft plan on Tuesday February 23rd at 6:30pm at City Council Chambers.


>Live “streaming” on the Arroyo Seco, and a dozen other California streams, via USGS (In the Watershed)

Rainy Day Photos – L.A. River and Ballona Creek

January 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Creek Freak reader Peter Bennet sent us some impressive photographs of the Los Angeles River and Ballona Creek; photos showing the huge differences between everyday flows and during large storms.

This pair was taken on Ballona  looking downstream from the Overland Avenue Bridge in Culver City:

Ballona Creek photos by Peter Bennett

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ballona Creekfreak’s Celebration

December 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas looks on while Ballona Creek-freaks unveil plans for the Mar Vista Greenway, a project of the MRCA.

Last week saw the grand opening of a series of gateway parks to the Ballona Creek bike trail.  This celebratory gathering of Ballona Creek-freaks was hosted by the park’s sponsors, the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA), and County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, who gave a great pep talk trying motivate folks to pick up shovels and plant trees.  Unfortunately we were a somewhat sedate bunch.

The new parks are located at the Inglewood Avenue, Sepulveda Blvd, and McConnell entries to the bike path.  The “Mar Vista Greenway” will be a 1/2 mile long stretch of the creek landscaped with native vegetation, an exciting next step following the MRCA’s beautification and habitat plantings at Centinela Avenue, Culver City’s landscaping plans at Overland, and the Mid-City Neighborhood Council’s and North East Tree’s work on the Mid-City reach of Ballona.

Stay tuned for more on creating a continuous greenway on Ballona.  There’s lots in the works.

News and Events – 2 December 2009

December 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

River Revitalization Corportation board, with Councilmember Reyes and city staff at last night's inaugural RRC meeting

Recent News:

>Last night, the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation held its first meeting. The atmosphere was celebratory and welcoming, even riverly; the business conducted nearly entirely procedural.

Upcoming Events:

>On Friday December 4th at 10am, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy/Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority invite you to the grand opening of new public art  gates onto Ballona Creek and its bike path. The event takes place at the Inglewood Boulevard Bridge over Ballona Creek. It includes a community tree-planting and a 1.5-mile bike tour of the new gates. For information and to rsvp (recommended but not required) call 323-221-8900 extension 181.

>Starting Friday December 11th, the movie Crude returns to L.A.’s big screens. L.A. Creek Freak highly recommends this great documentary! Read our review here. Crude will show at the Beverly Center movie theaters for at least a week, maybe more. Go see it!

Art/Performance coming to a river near you

CANCELLED – see comments! >On Saturday December 12th from 8:30am to 4:30pm, artist Vlatka Horvat will be performing on the Los Angeles River at Fletcher Drive. There should be good views from the new bike path undercrossing under construction. Per the Outpost for Contemporary Art‘s description:

During this performance, the artist will continuously rearrange 50 chairs over a period of eight hours into different configurations that suggest human encounters and interactions. Its visually arresting and should be an interesting sight to see. Viewers are welcome to come and go as they please.

Sunday eco-bike tour to Kuruvungna Springs and Ballona

November 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

I just posted lots of great Ballona events and forgot to announce an event that I’m a part of!

Electric Lodge is hosting a weekend eco-film series, Green Screen.  Sunday morning they are urging the public to get off the couch and on a bike to tour parts of the Kenter Creek and Ballona Creek watersheds.  I’ll be your traveling talking-head on the tour, promising a stop at the Kuruvungna Springs and Ballona Creek.

The ride is $20, includes brunch and a van-ride back to your cars afterwards. Follow the Green Screen link (above) to register.  Come on out! it’s mostly downhill, folks.

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