About this Blog

What Jessica says:

I see this blog as a way to share information about LA’s historical ecology – the rivers and streams that were once here – and to update people on relevant watery news and events with a mostly local focus. And to editorialize, of course, and hopefully also amuse and enlighten, although the topics are sometimes heavy. 

What Joe says:

We’re not planning to be neutral here at Creek Freek. Our bias is that we believe our rivers and creeks are vital to our communities and our planet. Though degraded and forgotten, they’re worth saving.

We’re not necessarily single-minded either. I am very interested in having a forum where multiple voices are heard. I am looking forward to interplay between Jessica and me (we agree most of the time, but not quite always), and between us and guest bloggers and folks writing comments. I was once asked what I thought was the biggest impediment to revitalizing the Los Angeles River. My response is single-minded thinking. In the 1930’s the decision was made that the river would only be good for one thing: flood control. I tend to think that whenever anyone says that there’s only one thing that we can do on the river, they’re wrong – whether they think that the one thing is flood protection, water supply, soccer fields, bike paths, or even habitat. All that to say that I am glad to have multiple voices here.

Some of my biases (that I am aware of) include:

– I tend to be an incrementalist – looking more for a step in the right direction and not necessarily a huge leap to a final destination.

– I tend to see rivers as opportunity not just for habitat (though I think that we need a lot more riparian habitat than we have locally), but as a common public space where we can address a rich, complex mix of urban needs.

– My focus is most specifically the LA River itself. I know that rivers are inseparable from their watersheds, and that problems like water quality and flooding can’t be solved by narrowly focusing on the river corridor. I know that we need to heal our watershed to heal our river… and that the most authentic opportunities for restoration tend to be the furthest upstream… but I still tend to focus on the river.

§ 9 Responses to About this Blog

  • Paula Henson says:


    With water rationing threats and the drought consistently in the headlines, rain barrels are the homeowners’ answer to the current water shortage.

    It’s no secret that southern California is facing a devastating water crisis. In communities around the world where it rains consistently, rain barrels are commonly used. Here in Los Angeles, an urban desert, where, not only is the rainfall low, but the drops that do drip are wasted, there is a desperate need to find an alternative to simply turning on the faucet.

    Los Angeles, CA March 2, 2009 –

    RainBud, a locally-owned company founded by landscape designer Paula Henson and writer Alex Metcalf, is providing Los Angeles area residents with a creative solution to the water crisis: rain barrels. It’s a simple, low-budget system for saving and storing rainwater so that it can be used on those days when no rain falls. This saved water can, in turn, be used to irrigate a garden, wash a car or fill up the kid’s pool when the heat is on, without using one drop of valuable fresh water; making sense environmentally and economically. It’s worth noting that the City of Santa Monica offers residents a $100 rebate on rain barrels.

    RainBud’s rain barrels are reused polyethylene barrels retrofitted to fit under rain gutters. Each barrel has a mosquito proof intake screen, an overflow valve and a spigot at the bottom that can be attached to a garden hose or a drip irrigation system. Only recycled food-grade barrels are used; no new plastic is created and RainBud rain barrels can be camouflaged in many interesting ways by painting them or covering them with vines etc.

    The statistics are eye opening:
    • One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 sq. ft. roof produces over 500 gallons of water.
    • Los Angeles has an average rainfall of 14 inches per year.
    • The City of Los Angeles is planning to restrict homeowners’ irrigation water use to two days per week.

    Currently, in most houses, the pattern goes something like this: rain falls, it runs off the roof into a rain gutter, down a drain into the street and then it runs into the storm drain pulling with it all the debris that it has accumulated along the way and out into the ocean it flows. The overall result: wasted water and polluted oceans.

    RainBud’s rain barrels halt this process right at the rain fall stage and assists homeowners in being active when it comes to saving and using water responsibly and effectively. RainBud barrels are recycled, recyclable, local, and easy to install. RainBud provides and installs the barrels, and can advise on location, and possible aesthetic concerns.

    Paula Henson, RainBud

    • Morton Gorel says:

      I am interested in RainBud’s rainbarrels, the cost involved in purchasing and installing them, and what, if anything, can be done to encourage cities such as South Pasadena, to follow the lead of cities such as Santa Monica, and Calabassas, to provide, subsidize or give rebates to people who decide to conserve water in this most sensible manner.

      • Paula Henson says:

        Hi Morton
        We sell the barrels for $125 each. They are easy to install (we can give you instructions). Take a look at our website and email or call us if you’d like to purchase.
        As for getting cities on board, it may be tough–it may be easier to convince water agencies (ie. MWD).

  • BeWaterWise Rep says:

    Rain Water Harvest is a good way to save water. There are also dozens of other little things we can all do to save water and combat the water shortage situation we are facing in Southern California. If you go to http://www.bewaterwise.com/tips01.html you will see a water saving tips page that lists Indoor and Outdoor tips and how much water is saved with each one. You would be amazed at how simple these actions are yet how impactful they can be. Things like turning off the water when you brush your teeth can save 3 gallons per day, taking shorter showers saves 5 gallons a day, and installing a smart sprinkler controller saves 40 gallons per day! Check out all the tips on the site and pass it on to fellow Southern Californians!

  • Grant Loucks says:

    I enjoy your Blog. I like the rain Barrel idea and will be buying one soon. I have a question one of your readers might know. I live in the Hollywood area near Melrose and Larchmont. There is an Aquifer between 20 and 40 feet below my property. Do I have legal right to this water?

    Grant Loucks

    • Joe Linton says:

      I don’t know 100% if you have groundwater rights – but I’ve read that mostly LADWP (L.A. City Water) has rights to your groundwater (and even your rainwater.) If you tap it for personal use, it’s probably no problem. If you start selling it to your neighbors, you could potentially have issues.

  • Alexandra says:

    I am helping to preserve a historic parcel of land from housing yet another Orsini monstrosity. Beneath the land of the now Do It Center there is supposedly a watershed of some sort. Excuse me if I’m using the wrong word but apparently DWP is giving the developers a hard time about building. Is there anyway that you may be interested in getting involved? Weareechopark.com is our website and there are updates on the FB page. Please let me know what you may know and if you can help.
    Thank you, Alexandra

  • […] the LA River, they explore some of the other tangents of hidden hydrology.  As mentioned in their About summary the site is both “… a way to share information about LA’s historical ecology […]

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