Stream Restoration Planned at Hazard Park

April 29, 2009 § 15 Comments

Remnant Wetlands in Hazard Park (April 2009 Photo)

Remnant Wetlands in Hazard Park (April 2009 Photo)

There’s an effort afoot to restore a degraded streambed in one of Los Angeles City’s oldest parks. The 25-acre Hazard Park, named after Henry Thomas Hazard who was the mayor of Los Angeles from 1889 to 1892, became a city park in 1884. It’s located on the east side – along Soto Street, between Valley and Marengo, near County USC Medical Center.

After being a creek for milliena, the Hazard Park creek site became part of the city’s zanja system – municipal ditches for irrigation and water delivery. It subsequently was a railroad spur track (splitting the park into two) for the Pacific Electric streetcars/trains. The rails have been removed, and a very degraded stream is slowly making a comeback.

Today, there are telltale signs of riparian habitat, including cattails and dragonflies, and even some standing water, during the wetter months… but it’s rather weedy and uninviting for most 2-leggeds. To visit the wetlands site, you can pretty much enter Hazard Park anywhere and proceed downhill. One way is to go to the Recreation Center (where Playground Street turns into Norfolk Street – 2230 Norfolk Street, Los Angeles CA 90033.) Go south into the park, between the Rec Center and the baseball fields. Pass the tennis courts, then turn left onto the path between the tennis courts and the tot lot playground. The ground dips down into a low weedy area. To get to the wettest parts, turn right and head down (south) toward the Charlotte Street Bridge.

Various groups – including the city of Los Angeles, the Hazard Park Advisory Board, BlueGreen, North East Trees, the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, the Sierra Club, and others – have done work to clean up, plan and publicize restoration efforts… but there’s still plenty of work and funding needed. Lately, with funding from the Sierra Club, the Hazard Park Teen Club, working with Carrie Sutkin, Val Marquez, and Carmelo Alvarez have produced a Hazard Times newsletter (which included some paid illustration work by me.) I couldn’t find the newsletter on-line, but they’ll probably send you one if you ask. To get involved in the Hazard Park stream restoration efforts, email Scott Johnson at outwardscott {at} yahoo {dot} com.


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§ 15 Responses to Stream Restoration Planned at Hazard Park

  • Dr. Tom Williams says:

    Do you have any documents for the zinja canal system- from where to where? And where was the stream where to wher??

    I have worked on the whole thing two years ago. The trolley bed is still there and the two drainage ditches on either side of the trolley bed are there and receive drainage from the Soto stormdrain which use to discharge to the east ditch and then goes down to the existing ditch culvert…on the west ditch…lots of broken irrigation water pipes feed that ditch…so I am concerned when “restoration” is proposed…take away the two water sources and wetlands dry out and wetland birds are gone….

    Tom Williams

  • Joe Linton says:

    There’s a good map of the zanjas in Blake Gumprecht’s The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death and Possible Re-birth. They were definitely extensive. According to the Hazard Times newsletter the city had an easement for a zanja in Hazard Park.

    I agree that as the city moves forward with repairing the storm drain beneath Zonal Street, we need to be cautious to not do more damage to the ecology there.

    • christina says:

      i have been trying for quite some time for a website like the history of hazard park, and today i finally found’s in it’s early stages and i understand they are looking for photos, i wish i had some. i grew up on zonal ave. and soto streets all my life and i’ve always loved hazard park, i think it’s a very beautiful park. i just love it, it holds very many memories for me and my family. it really makes me happy that others care about hazard park too! i hope to see more photos too! thank you all who care !

  • Scott Johnson says:


    Great job on the blog post!!

    Look forward to meeting and working with you on our effort to restore the Hazard Park wetlands.

  • Caitlin says:

    This whole site got an industrial-strength mowing a couple of weeks ago, taking out most of the cattails and a lot of the other plants. It looks so barren now. Was this a part of the restoration plan?

  • Scott Johnson says:


    Here is what information I have as of today.

    There was a small fire in the top right of the photo, about 5 x 5 square yards.

    The fire marshall came in and declared that the area was a fire risk.

    An outside contractor as directed by LAFD then proceeded to clear out the area without confering with recreation and park staff.

    I have contacted the CD-14 office, Northeast Trees and people connected with this project.

    It was sad today to walk through and photograph this overzelous weed whacking and destruction of habitat.

    Scott Johnson
    Friends of Henry T. Hazard Park and Community

    P.S. I will send photographs to Joe.

  • christina says:

    i too have driven by hazard park and thought the city just gave up on this very beautiful park, it looked barren like they were letting it die…i’m happy to read that people d care about this very special park!

  • Ramona gardens community says:

    Scott Johnsonm Hmmm, don’t work with this guy. takes advantage for personal gain. I do care about Hazard Park and our community. I know that Scott is nothing more then a low life.

  • SOTER says:


  • tout va bien says:

    When was the park named for Mayor Hazard? What was it called before?

  • L.A. 32 Resident says:

    Why would anyone in their right mind trust Scott “Red Spot in CD 14” Johnson.

  • […] the facilities, wetlands area and de facto bird sanctuary, and the park itself might appear somewhat degraded from the lack of […]

  • Celia Williams says:

    It was being mowed when I went there this last Wednesday. Two days before the reeds and wild flowers were being visited by assorted butterflies and birds and surely some reptiles and/or amphibians.

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