Strong Towns Critique of LID

May 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

Click to go to the Strong Towns article I’m talkin’ about

Creek Freak has written about LID – Low Impact Development. It’s basically a sort of “green building” standard that requires new buildings to detain and/or infiltrate rainwater. While I think that LID is a step in the right direction, at least compared to development as usual, it’s nowhere near the end of the work on getting to healthy creeks and streams.

I read a good concise critque of LID (also LEED and green building in general) at Strong Towns today. Strong Towns is a site I’ve been enjoy a lot lately; it’s written by an engineer who has a lot of common sense. He mostly critiques heavily car-centric development patterns.  « Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 8 January 2011

January 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Act now to save Arcadia's threatened oaks! Photo by ecotonestudios

RECENT NEWS:

> If you haven’t read Josh’s article yesterday about the urgency of action to prevent the county’s astonishingly wrong-headed plans for burying Arcadia’s oak woodlands – read it and take action! Demolition is scheduled to begin next week. Here’s a set of links of  yesterday’s blogger solidarity day post to save this irreplaceable site: Altadena Hiker, ArcadiaPatchBallona BlogBipedality, Breathing TreatmentChance of Rain, Echoes, Greensward CivitasL.A. Creek Freak, L.A. Eco-Village, L.A. ObservedPasadena AdjacentPasadena Daily Photo, Pasadena Real Estate with Brigham Yen, Slow Water!, The Sky is Big in Pasadena, Temple City Daily Photo and Weeding Wild Suburbia. Thanks also to Sierra Madre Tattler!

> Oiled Wildlife Care Network reports an oil spill in the Dominguez Channel on December 22nd 2010. Their team “recovered three oiled birds:  one Pied-billed grebe, which died, and two American Coots.”  As of January 4th, OWCN reports that  “no responsible party has been identified, and the source of the spill remains unknown.” Full story at link.

> ArroyoLover reports on the drawbacks (pun intended) of new archery range fencing proposed for Pasadena’s Lower Arroyo Seco Nature Park.

> L.A.’s Daily News reports a Shadow Hills incident where a “car raced downhill, bouncing over speed bumps before brushing by horse and rider, spooking them to the curb. [The horse was] injured [and ultimately perished] when she became trapped in a storm drain debris screen[...]. The driver did not stop.” Interestingly the article calls for changes to the storm drain trash grates, but seems to let the criminal speeding driver off the hook. Full story at link.

> If you think L.A.’s La Niña rains were bad, read Circle of Blue‘s reports on disastrous El Niño rains in Colombia and Venezuela.

> The Los Angeles Times has an impressive photo of water churning through the San Gabriel Dam during recent tests. Also at L.A. Times: environmentalists file suit to block Newhall Ranch development imperiling the Santa Clara River. And, further afield, plans for the future health of the Klamath River.

> The Project For Public Spaces has an extensive conference proceedings document that serves as a sort of handbook for waterfront design/place-making. Their top recommendations (as distilled by me) are: multiple destinations, connected by trails for walking and bicycling.

Drastic Declines in World Fisheries - New York Times via Cyborg Vegan Cannibals

>Cyborg Vegan Cannibals has two scary graphs on the precipitous decline of world fisheries. One above and the other at the link. Maybe it’s time to watch Dan Barber’s Ted.com video again. (Thanks to TrueLoveHealth for sharing the CVC link!)

UPCOMING EVENTS

> The city of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation hosts a Low Impact Development update on Thursday January 20th 2011 at 1pm at their Media Center Offices. Details at L.A. Stormwater Blog.

Low Impact Development Passes L.A. City Council

December 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

The new LID ordinance will make permeable pavement sidewalks more common

At its final meeting of the year, yesterday, Friday December 17th 2010, the Los Angeles City Council passed “LID”  Low Impact Development. You can read some earlier background at Creek Freak and elsewhere, but basically it means that, in the city of Los Angeles, new development (and substantial redevelopment) will need will need to be more sustainable in regards to rainwater. Buildings, landscapes, parking lots, etc. will need to slow, detain and store and/or infiltrate water on-site, instead of speeding it into storm drains, creeks, rivers, and the sea.

This took a while. L.A. Creek Freak started reporting on the city of L.A. efforts in September 2009, attended a workshop in October 2009, and reported on the Public Works Board passing LID  in January 2010. Plenty more excellent coverage is available at Heal the Bay’s Mark Gold’s Spouting Off.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Recent News – 15 December 2010

December 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Los Angeles River at Bette Davis Picnic Area - painting by Akiko Crawford - click for larger image at her portfolio blog

Recent news that might be of interest to L.A.’s Creek Freaks: « Read the rest of this entry »

Slow the Flow Video

September 12, 2010 § 7 Comments

“None of it’s [river-friendly landscaping] going to happen just because the city council made a decision that you’re going to do this. It’s going to be really something that people are going to learn to accept because they see that it works.”
-Dave Tamayo, Sacramento County Stormwater Program in Slow the Flow

Slow the Flow: Make Your Landscape Act More Like a Sponge is a very informative well-produced 26-minute video about practices and projects that communities can do to steward our watersheds. Stop reading and hit play!

It’s all about the sort of green multi-benefit watershed landscape practices that L.A. Creek Freak loves to cover: low impact development, rain gardens, swales, native landscaping, permeable paving, cisterns, and more. The video showcases quite a few excellent projects that are easily applicable to Southern California homes, schools, parking lots, etc. The approaches highlighted are very low-tech, green, gravity-fed, habitat-enhancing… and wonderful. And, they give you good reasons to kick back and not rake the leaves or water the lawn.

Thanks to the folks at the State Water Resources Control Board who produced the video, which is available on DVD from their website« Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 13 July 2010

July 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

LAist photo of George Wolfe navigating the L.A. River. For more navigability stuff, watch the Rock the Boat movie and read lots of coverage - links and details below.

UPCOMING EVENTS

> From 3pm to 5pm this Thursday July 15th 2010 join the Village Gardeners and TreePeople to trim and mulch native vegetation on the L.A. River in Sherman Oaks. Event details here.

> Watch the film about the 2008 Kayak expedition that proved that the L.A. River is navigable today! Rock the Boat screens this Friday July 16th 2010 at the Audbon Center at Debs Park. That’s at 4700 Griffin Avenue in Highland Park, easy walk from the Southwest Museum Metro Gold Line Station. Birding walk at 6:45pm. At 8pm two films screen.  First: Paddle to the Sea – a short film based on the classic children’s book. Second: Rock the Boat. Admission is free – though donations for Rock the Boat will be accepted. More event information at Audubon and Facebook.

> From 8am to 3pm this Sunday July 17th, Jenny Price leads a Hidden L.A. car caravan tour of the Los Angeles River. Features tacos and cream puffs. More information and registration here.

> **UPDATED – POSTPONED SEE COMMENT BELOW The city of Los Angeles LID (Low Impact Development) ordinance will be heard at the 9am Tuesday July 20th 2010 meeting of the city council’s Energy and Environment Committee, which takes place room 1010 on the 10th floor at Los Angeles City Hall. Background on LID here and here. Committee agenda will be here, once posted (should be up Friday this week.) Follow the LID city council motion 09-1554 here, including RSS feed. 

RECENT NEWS

> Another excellent L.A. River documentary is now available online. Watch The River Under the City of Angels by Fred Kaplan (27 minutes, 2010.) It’s very personal and poignant, with lots of great footage from all up and down the Los Angeles River, plus interview footage with Lewis MacAdams, Ed Reyes, Carol Armstrong, Scott Wilson, Jenny Price and others. Well worth watching!

> There’s a lot of coverage of last week’s big Los Angeles River navigability announcement. The L.A. Times‘ Louis Sahagun has the best coverage. Yes, better than L.A. Creek Freak… though I think we got the news online slightly earlier and we also covered the actual source documents, and the planned park on Compton Creek. After creek freak’s really quick video of EPA’s Lisa Jackson’s announcement, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s folks posted much better quality edited video here.
Some worthwhile coverage:  KPCC radio has excellent audio. Other good reads at Chance of Rain, High Country News, Ballona Blog, Curbed L.A., LAist, River NetworkModern Hiker, and even Mayor Villaraigosa himself pens a piece at Huffington Post. For the sort of  “Navigable? Are you kidding?” response, check ProfessorBainbridge and Legal Planet.

> The Pasadena City Council met last night to consider building soccer fields at Hahamongna nature park. We’re hoping to report more on this as we get more news (or to link to a full account), but the council voted 4-3 to proceed with fields at the site. Read Creek Freak background on the issue here and visit Save Hahamongna to get news and get involved. 

> Dredging Today “dedicated to dredging” reports that Dutra Dredging has been awarded a $1.3M contract for dredging the Los Angeles River estuary. Your federal stimulus funds at work.

> The White House and GOOD magazine like Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale. L.A. Creek Freak was there in April 2010!

News and Events – 2 February 2010

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Cheongyecheon creek in Seoul, South Korea - photo: rinux via wikimedia

UPCOMING EVENTS

RECOMMENDED RECENT NEWS

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 »

News and Events – 6 January 2010

January 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

SOME RECENT CREEK FREAK NEWS:

>Heal the Bay executive director Mark Gold’s Spouting Off blog  has an excellent 2-part series called Memo to Antonio - outlining a progressive environmental/water agenda for L.A. in the year ahead. To read it, click here1 and here2. Gold’s recommendations include many of L.A. Creek Freak’s favorite topics: Low Impact Development (LID),  Stream Protection, improved Water Quality and more! TreePeople’s Andy Lipkis also recently weighed in on LID.

>The San Gabriel River has newly completed guerilla landscaping – in Pico Rivera. Shade of Ernie’s Walk and Portland City Repair!

Trash boom on Ballona Creek - yeeech! Photo from the South Los Angeles Report

>The South Los Angeles Report tells about teaching science using the story of trash in L.A. waterways and in the Pacific Ocean. Read and watch their findings here.

>The city of Pasadena is working with neighbors to preserve and improve Annandale Canyon – which is nestled in between West Pasadena and Eagle Rock. More information here. (Thanks to Meredith ArroyoLover McKenzie – also read her recent tribute to the York Boulevard Bridge.)

>Lastly, please be careful when exploring local creeks during the wet season. The Los Angeles Times’ L.A. Now reports a sad story of a youth and his dog swept away by Brea Creek.

UPCOMING CREEK FREAK EVENTS:

>Albion Dairy River Park community input meeting this Saturday January 9th at 10am at Downey Recreation Center. Info at the project website at albionparkproject.org

Bresee Foundation's innovative Bimini Slough Ecology Park - which features a creekbed bioswale that cleanses street stormwater run-off before it enters Ballona Creek. Photo from calrecycle.ca.gov

>On Saturday January 16th, C.I.C.L.E. hosts a free, beginner-friendly bike tour of urban gardens. Ride leaders include L.A. Creek Freak Joe Linton (tha’s me! and yes – interested party plug alert – I get paid to do this) and ride features brief tour of the Bimini Slough Ecology Park and water harvesting gardens at L.A. Eco-Village.

>Jenny Price leads FoLAR’s tour of the Mighty Los Angeles on Sunday January 24th.

First L.A. River Revitalization Corporation Meeting Tomorrow

November 30, 2009 § 1 Comment

L.A. City River Revitalization Plan vision for the L.A. River in Canoga Park

The city of Los Angeles’ Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan (LARRMP) calls for three new entities to govern river work on the 32 miles of river within the city. A while back, L.A. Creek Freak ran a bit of background on the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation – which is being called the “RRC.” The RRC will hold its first ever meeting tomorrow night, Tuesday December 1st from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) downtown offices, at 354 S. Spring Street, 6th Floor, LA 90013. The meeting is open to the public; the meeting agenda is available here.

The RRC is a sort of hybrid creature. It’s actually its own stand-alone 501(c)3 non-profit organization… but it’s initial board is appointed by the city. It will need to straddle the territory of being sufficiently city-ish to work with city departments and being sufficiently independent enough to be able to bring in foundation and private funding. The RRC will work on a varied portfolio that can include projects directly on the river as well as in adjacent neighborhoods. Initially the city’s CRA will be providing the RRC with basic administrative support. For more RRC background see this earlier blog post.

RRC boardmembers have been appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Council President Eric Garcetti, and Ad Hoc River Committee chair Ed Reyes. Creek Freak snooped around and go the list of the appointed individuals who will serve on the initial RRC board:

  • Harry B. Chandler – descendant of the prominent Los Angeles Chandler family (of L.A. Times, Chandler Boulevard, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion) now a photographer.
  • Dennis Martinez – an engineer with extensive experience in public works projects, co-founder of RMA Construction Services, and formerly a commissioner on the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission.
  • Bruce Saito – head of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps – a local organization that does various youth conservation and education work. The LACC that does a similar straddle to what the RRC will need to do – LACC does governmental agency work while functioning more-or-less as a non-profit.
  • Daniel Tellalian – director of Emerging Markets, Inc. which  helps foster economic development in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Daphne Zuniga – actress probably best known for her role in the TV series Melrose Place. Zuniga has a history of environmental and environmental justice advocacy.

It’s an impressive group! Creek Freak wishes them good luck with their work to revitalize our neglected local waterways and the communities around them. If any of you would like a river tour or any background on items Creek Freak can help with, let us know. Our contact information is on our About Us page.

Additionally, tomorrow night the city’s Bureau of Sanitation (BOS) is hosting an additional public input meeting for its proposed Low Impact Development (LID) ordinance. That meeting is 6:30pm tomorrow (Tuesday December 1st 2009) at BOS offices at 2714 Media Center Drive, LA 90065. Announcement flier here. Some Creek Freak LID background here and here.

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