May 1, 2009 § 16 Comments
The stream mapping is complete, but that image of a stream’s flow spilling over and down a road stays with me, challenging the conventional wisdom about “urban slobber.” If you’ve ever been out to the Kuruvungna Springs at University High School in West LA, you’d know that springs gush forth thousands of gallons of water every day, and this water doesn’t stay on site – what used to feed a stream now flows into a storm drain that feeds into the Sepulveda Channel and then Ballona Creek. Other springs on site are directly capped, with only a manhole cover to hint at its presence. So it’s not just headwater drainages whose flows get lost to these underground conveyances, it is also springs, and yep, LA still has some.
Old stormdrain maps sometimes can offer clues to the capped springs. This image here is of a “spring relief” area in the Silverlake/Franklin Hills area. I have seen a few – not many – of these areas on these old maps.
Don’t get me wrong – plenty of urban slobber really is overspray from urban slobs. But if we manage the springs’ flows that way, we miss something essential and precious about our native ecosystem, and we miss out on opportunities to restore pockets of habitat in the city. And you know, springs hope eternally.