Bimini Slough Ecology Park in Heavy Rain

December 6, 2010 § 5 Comments

View into the Bimini Slough Ecology Park's swollen creek - photo taken by Seth Ecklund in early 2010 - from the front sidewalk

Last night’s rain reminded me to share these pictures of the Bimini Slough Ecology Park at high-water flow. This park is one of my favorite local creek park projects; basically a block of street was unpaved to create a small park where rainwater runoff water flows through a creek bed. For lots more detail on the Bimini Slough Ecology Park, read this earlier article.

The photos were taken by the Bresee Foundation‘s Seth Ecklund – during a heavy rainstorm in early 2010. 

This is what the park looks like on a dry day:

Bimini Slough park bridge

This is Seth’s high-water photo of more-or-less the same view:

Bimini Slough park bridge over high flow - photo by Seth Ecklund

One more high-water photo:

Bimini Slough park rain-swollen creekbed. Oval-shaped piece in foreground is a fountain. Photo by Seth Ecklund.

It’s impressive that this park, which drains a relatively small watershed area (about 4 blocks – totalling approximately half a square mile I’d guess), can end up with 3-4-feet deep water in a big storm. In most storms, though, including last night, the water appears more like 3-4 inches deep, or less.

Be careful out there during heavy rains! And thanks for the photos, Seth.


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§ 5 Responses to Bimini Slough Ecology Park in Heavy Rain

  • I’m in the process of purchasing a home in Altadena up near the San Gabriel foothills with a natural wash that comes through the backyard. The property has been dug out to control the drainage problem but the “solution” results in a muddy mess. Surrounding properties have been elevated, which exacerbates the flooding in this lower yard. A friend suggested a bio-swale and sent me to L.A. Creek Freak for help. So, here I am!

    The Bimini Slough looks like just the kind of thing that would help this property. I’m looking to come up with a creative solution for handling the waterflow in a natural way but that also allows for more use of the yard. Do you have any suggestions about who I could contact for help? Of course my budget is tight. I’m just looking for ideas at this point. Thanks so much for your help! Sorry to ramble on…

    • Joe Linton says:

      Susan –

      Thanks for the comment and getting in touch with us at L.A. Creek Freak. It’s great that you’re looking at environmentally-friendly solutions on your property.

      I am not sure that I personally could be much help in a serious sloped area in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Without having seen the site at all, it sounds like it can be a pretty high-risk situation actually. (I suggest that you read John McPhee’s essay “Los Angeles Against the Mountains” in The Control of Nature.) Chances are that, to minimize flood damage at your property and to do right by nature, you’re going to want to keep out of the flood plain as much as possible – which doesn’t bode well for “allowing for more use of the yard.” There’s probably a good balanced solution… but my hunch is that if your property includes a stream, then a good chunk of your yard probably needs to be floodable…

      Jessica Hall (creek freak co-creator/writer) does restoration ecology projects – and might be able to help you. I also recommend La Loma Development Company (covered on Creek Freak here) – an excellent very ecologically-minded company that does a lot of great work in your area. Frankly though, doing a serious bio-swale on hillside property may not be cheap (and if someone wants to do it for really cheap, be careful! You’re potentially at risk for flood, debris flow… also, if you do it cheap now, you may pay for it in the long run with maintenance.) I’d suggest that you pay Jessica or La Loma to come visit your site and to make some recommendations.

      Joe Linton

    • Brent says:

      @ Susan –

      Without knowing more specifics about your drainage issue I would be hard pressed to make firm recommendations too. I have two general recommendations in this order: Understand the soil and figure out what plant communities want to grow on your site and foster that community.

      If successful, you can grow a robust set of plants that like the conditions and mitigate the mud and drainage issues. Note that the native community that wants to grow there may not be the one that was originally there, due to the site changes from your and neighboring properties. The Las Pilitas web site has useful information about plant communities. There is a native plant book centered about native plant communities, Designing California Native Gardens: The Plant Community Approach to Artful, Ecological Gardens by Glenn Keator and Alrie Middlebrook. Hiring a professional consultant after you’ve built up a little knowledge to advise you on what they would do shouldn’t be too costly and even though I’ve been a plant hobbyist for some years now I would consider doing the same.

      You may also have soil or drainage issues – a few simple assessments can give you a good idea of your soil condition. Developers rarely leave the soil surrounding a property in good condition, so chances are that it needs remediation for a number of ills, even if the property was built decades ago. Soil health is a topic of general interest to gardeners, but if you go the native plant route there are some slightly different recommendations than if you are planting a non-native garden. You’ll need to watch for those.

      You may want to start a notebook (or a blog?) to document your voyage of discovery. If you do, let us know.

  • vokoban says:

    Here are some photos of the Bimini Slough before it was shoved underground:

    This is a side by side aerial photo comparing the slough from 1929 and 2010:
    3rd & Vermont comparison (1929/2010)

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