Touring Native Plantings at Rio De Los Angeles State Park
March 9, 2010 § 4 Comments
I got a chance to tour Rio de Los Angeles State Park yesterday morning as part of a tour inspecting work North East Trees had recently completed. NET’s work was part of a Caltrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation (EEM) grant. The work was mostly planting of native trees and shrubs. As with my recent visit to La Culebra, due to the nice wet El Niño season, the vegetation at RDLASP is looking very green and lush. What follows is mostly a photo essay of what I saw.
The EEM grant, a mitigation for freeway work at the intersection of the 5 and 134 Freeways, was initially intended to take place at the “Polliwog” site; historically part of Griffith Park, adjacent to the city of Burbank. With the straightening of the river and the intrusion of the 134 Freeway, Polliwog is now separated from the L.A. River. The location was switched to RDLASP when NET was unable to secure permits at Polliwog.
One excellent sign is the amount of use the park is seeing. Even on a Monday morning, there were plenty of people using the sports fields and the paths through the natural areas. In a visit that lasted less than two hours, I saw runners, walkers, basketball players, soccer players, tot lot kids, rich and poor, young and elderly, Latino and Caucasian. The 40-acre park is an important example of a multiple uses coexisting, overlapping, and enriching each other.
North East Trees had planted various natives including: sages, oaks, sycamores, and much more. Most of the new native plants were doing well, but the site is loaded with non-native species, too – some invasive.
The cottonwoods, willows, and sycamores initially planted when the park opened in 2007 are doing pretty well. Some of the willows are suffering from some insect damage, but on the whole, the trees that were small then are filling out nicely.
The whole site is designed to collect surface drainage from rains. From the active recreation areas excess rainwater flows through gentle depressions (swales) into the low-lying wetland area. We had heavy rains on Saturday, and still on monday morning these swales – sort of mini-manmade-creekbeds were still flowing. It’s an example of the way natural creekbeds absorb water during rains, then gradually discharge their waters afterwards.
The wetlands area was plenty full with water. We heard the croaking of frogs, and saw squirrels, ducks, red-winged blackbirds, and swallows.
Right now, and for the next couple months, is an excellent time to explore local parks and wilderness areas. Flowers are blooming. Hillsides are lush and green. Seasonal waterways are flowing. Get out there and explore your local creek!