Urgent action needed: identify City of LA creeks for protection under ordinance

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  smbrc@waterboards.ca.gov 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 »

“Abusing discretion” in Bel Air’s Stone Canyon Creek

February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

In horror movie parlance, they’re baaaaack.

2006 photos of culvert pipes intended for Stone Creek. The Planning Commission mandated protection of the stream, which the property owner now seeks to have stricken.

A Bel Air property owner is crying “abuse” and seeking to remove all references to Stone Canyon stream and, perhaps more importantly, stream protection from his 2006 development requirements. If this sounds familiar, you may have read about it in the Los Angeles Weekly story about my work, the Lost Streams of Los Angeles, which reported on this actual hearing. Or you may have seen this image of the pipe that was going to be laid in the stream at any of a number of talks I had given around town. Indeed Stone Canyon Creek (and nearby Kenter Creek) has been something of the poster-child for the need for an overarching stream protection ordinance in the City of LA.

The hearing takes place next week – Thursday, February 24, 9:50 A.M at City Hall Room 1050 (200 N. Spring Street, 90012).

So to cut to the chase, the owner contends that it is inaccurate to call the stream a stream, and that it is an abuse of discretion to impose requirements to protect the stream when other property owners have not had this requirement imposed upon them. « Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations: River Expeditions, Elmer Avenue, and more!

November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recent recognition for some of Los Angeles’ creek freak heroes:

Click to go to the L.A. River Expeditions website where you can sign up for future expeditions

> The American Canoe Association (ACA) has awarded its annual Green Paddle Award to George Wolfe and L.A. River Expeditions. George was the leader of the 2008 boating expedition down the Los Angeles River that proved critical in securing federal Clean Water Act protections.  The national non-profit ACA in its press release stated:

“The American Canoe Association is extremely proud to recognize George and L.A. River Expeditions for their significant accomplishments,” says ACA Chief Operating Officer Chris Stec. “They have set a great example for the nation.”

Elmer Avenue Project - photo by LASGRWC

> The California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) presented its Outstanding Stormwater BMP [Best Management Practice] Implementation Project award to the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council for its Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit Demonstration project. Elmer Avenue is an excellent project – the kind that we creek freaks like to go and visit in the rain!! CASQA also recognized Santa Monica’s Bicknell Avenue green street, the city of Los Angeles’ Stormwater Public Education Program (which also received recognition from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies), and others. Read the full CASQA awards recap here.

Congratulations to George, the Watershed Council, and the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles!

Ground Broken for North Atwater Creek Restoration

October 28, 2010 § 3 Comments

Department of Recreation and Parks Assistant General Manager Kevin Regan speaking at today's groundbreaking. Seated are, left to right, Public Works Commissioner Steve Nutter, Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub, Councilmember Ed Reyes, Recreation and Parks Commissioner Barry Sanders, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Council President Eric Garcetti, and Bureau of Sanitation director Enrique Zaldivar.

Another perfect Los Angeles day for another good step forward for Los Angeles River restoration and revitalization. It was a clear crisp cloudless fall sky – the kind of light that shimmers on flowing waters and shaking leaves and gives us a glimpse of just what an extraordinary natural treasure the L.A. basin was… and can again be.

A crowd of over a hundred – mainly Atwater neighbors, creek freaks, and civil servants – assembled for the groundbreaking ceremonies for the North Atwater Park Expansion and Creek Restoration. Hosting and quarterbacking was Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, in whose district the project is located – though it will serve all Angelenos, especially Council President Eric Garcetti’s constituents, who live adjacent to the site. Rounding out the dignitaries speaking and shovelling were: Councilmember Ed Reyes, Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub, Public Works Commissioner Steve Nutter, Recreation and Parks Assistant General Manager Kevin Regan, Recreation and Parks Commissioner Barry Sanders, and Bureau of Sanitation Director Enrique Zaldivar.

The project will add approximately three acres of riverside nature park to the city’s existing approximately five-acre North Atwater Park, located at the end of Chevy Chase drive. « Read the rest of this entry »

LA creek restoration project goes out to bid!

May 31, 2010 § 6 Comments

It’s not often that we can announce that a creek in LA is being restored – even more exceptional to pass along word that there’s a call for bids for qualified contractors to do the restoration work. Got some know-how in soil bioengineering, native plants, grading natural stream channels? Follow this link to get ahold of the bid packet.  Bid walk’s June 8 at the site.

And the site in question is a small intermittent drainage that flows through North Atwater Park, where Chevy Chase dead-ends at the LA River. « Read the rest of this entry »

LID Ordinance Approved by Public Works Committee

January 18, 2010 § 4 Comments

Permeable pavement sidewalk at L.A. Eco-Village. When LID passes we should see more of these kinds of rainwater infiltration practices thoughout Los Angeles.

Last Friday January 15th 2010, the Low Impact Development (or “LID”) ordinance was approved unanimously by the city of Los Angeles’ Board of Public Works. I recommend reading Spouting Off’s excellent coverage

First off, big props to Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels who has spearheaded L.A.’s work on LID.  There are certainly lots of other commissioners, city staff, non-profit folks (and even bloggers on the sidelines) who’ve done some worthwhile work on this LID effort, but Commissioner Daniels has really been the driving force on this one. She’s an articulate and committed environmentalist, a valued friend, and a true creek freak! Kudos to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for appointing such a great leader to serve on the board that oversees the city’s public works.  

After the jump below, L.A. Creek Freak links you to LID background, posts Green L.A. Coalition’s announcement, and highlights LID’s next steps.

« Read the rest of this entry »

River Bike Plan and River Bike Ride

June 2, 2009 § 3 Comments

L.A. Bike Plan map for central/west area - click for link to detailed pdf files

L.A. Bike Plan map for central/west area - click for link to detailed pdf files

Late last week, the city of Los Angeles released its draft maps for its update to its Bike Plan.  Formerly called the Bicycle Master Plan (now just the Bike Plan) and last approved in 1996,  the Bike Plan designates a city-approved network of bike facilities.  These include on-street bike lanes, river/beach bike paths and shared-lane bike routes.  You’ve probably already guessed that L.A. isn’t bike paradise and that the plan isn’t going to get us there tomorrow (and even that the bike planning process hasn’t been as committed, thorough and transparent as it might have been)… but, like the L.A. River plans, this is an important opportunity to take some steps in the right direction.

What I expect that creek freaks will be most interested in are the plans for bike paths along our rivers and creeks.  The bike plan calls for bike paths along the Los Angeles River, Arroyo Seco and Ballona Creek which have been in past plans for quite a while.  It shows new bike paths along portions of the Tujunga Wash, the Pacoima Wash, Aliso Canyon Wash and more of Brown’s Creek – all San Fernando Valley tributaries of the L.A. River.  But there are plenty more Valley tributaries missing… like Bull Creek, Caballero Creek, Arroyo Calabasas, Bell Creek, and others.

Another omission is that some of the bike lanes planned for the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan are shown as “unfeasible.”  This is, hopefully, just a matter of the department synching up their various plans.

Luckily, it’s still a draft and the city is asking for our input, so if you’re interested, take a look at the draft plan maps, and submit your comments to the City Planning Department.

And if you’re looking to get some first hand exposure to our local river bike paths… plan to ride the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Los Angeles River Ride – THIS SUNDAY!  There are various distances for the occasional rider to the hard-core centurion.  See you there!

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