A small role in a Big Parade

May 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I had the pleasure of meeting up with the Big Parade today as they walked along the Los Angeles River. If you’re unfamiliar with this event, it’s a walk that meanders through Los Angeles stairways, neighborhoods, etc – see their website. Part of their two-day this weekend included a stretch of the Glendale Narrows, so my friend, who’s the walking-force behind the parade, Dan Koeppel invited me to talk with the group.

The Big Parade picking me up at Confluence Plaza

I gave a very brief intro after meeting up with the group at Confluence Plaza, then we walked over the soon-to-be-demolished-and-freewayified Riverside-Figueroa Bridge to their lunch stop at Steelhead Park. I spoke about the past, present and future of the L.A. River.  « Read the rest of this entry »

A message from Heal the Bay

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

We received – and are forwarding –  an announcement by our friends at the Heal the Bay.  The following piece is from Kirsten James, HTB’s Water Quality Director.

The federal Clean Water Act turns 40 this year. Water quality has come a long way since 1972 but we’ve still got a lot of work to do to ensure that our waters remain safe and healthy. Our nation’s rivers are no longer catching on fire (e.g. the Cuyahoga River, circa 1969) but the battle for our creaks and rivers in Los Angeles rages on.

One of the pillars of the CWA is the stormwater permitting program. Municipal stormwater permits regulate all urban runoff discharge from separate storm sewer systems, so-called MS4s. Because stormwater is the No. 1 source of coastal pollution in California, these permits are a big deal for ensuring public health for those who recreate in our local waters. It’s also a major part of my job – ensuring that water quality regulations are as protective as they can be. And now ocean lovers have a major fight on their hands in Los Angeles County.

In 2001, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a municipal stormwater permit for Los Angeles County. The Regional Board is now considering a new permit for the county, after years of delay. As the board begins making critical decisions regarding the new permit, Heal the Bay is concerned about lobbying interests looking to weaken existing protections.

Board hearings over the summer will determine the fate of our local water quality for the next decade or more. We are at a fork in the road in terms of local water quality, with many cities and dischargers fighting hard to relax hard-won regulations that prevent them from dumping pollution into our waterways.

Our Regional Board can do the right thing and place strong protections (including pollution limits or TMDLs and low impact development requirements) in the permit. Or, they can make decisions that could result in dirtier water, and a higher risk of getting sick anytime you swim or surf. Heal the Bay will do everything we can to ensure that they make the right choice. We hope you will join us in the fight!

If you care about protecting the ocean and public health, we need you to make your voice heard. We need beachgoers of all stripes to attend a Regional Board workshop on May 3 designed to gather community input about local water quality regulations.

To fight for clean rivers, beaches and oceans, join our campaign: Taking L.A. by Storm (download flyer).

Attend the May 3 Regional Board workshop, the first of the hearings this summer, and let them know you want to be able safely swim at our beaches or fish in our rivers. Please help protect what you love.

To join us, RSVP with your name, email and ZIP Code.

Events, events….

April 3, 2012 § 2 Comments


Creek Freak occasionally posts events – although we can’t possibly catch everything that is happening in the watersheds.  Here’s two that came our way that might be of interest, although not directly creeky:


The Sierra Club’s Pasadena Group will be screening the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees” at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday 4/4 (tomorrow) at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. The film explores the mysterious disappearance of honeybees around the world, a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. The agricultural, ecological, and economic implications are examined in this expertly researched and skillfully crafted documentary narrated by Ellen Page. For directions/information, visit the Eaton Canyon Nature Center website at http://www.ecnca.org.



Thanks to Nishith Dhandha who added this to our comments section!

9:30am, 3900 W. Chevy Chase Drive  Los Angeles, California 90039.

Creekfreak has been following this project for a while – here’s posts: 1 2 3 4



From Creek Freak and master native gardener Mike Letteriello:

Our Open House is Sunday, April 15, from one to four p.m.  Garden is in the Los Altos area of Long Beach near the corner of
San Vicente and Los Arcos in Long Beach 90815.  (We’re around the corner from the school office address at 2375 Fanwood Ave., Long Beach, CA 90815.)  Many blooms this year in spite of the drought and relentless rodent damage to our annual wildflower crop!  Admission if free.

(Jessica here:  a visit to this garden is inspirational! And fun!  Definitely worth checking out)

News and Events – 25 January 2012

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment


> Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited the L.A. River this month. Will plentiful federal funding for river revitalization soon follow?

> Will Campbell discovers a sweet new city of Burbank bike path along the Burbank Western Wash.

> Here’s a blog about recycled concrete rain gardens I’ve been working on with Koreatown Youth Community Center.

Sidewalk cyclist next to the new Avenue 19 bike lanes in Lincoln Heights

> The L.A. River Bike path bike lane bikeway takes a detour onto the streets of Lincoln Heights. I really really like bike lanes and I like the idea of getting them in first, then moving on to more expensive bike paths… but I fear the massive parking removal on this one here will trigger a backlash… potentially leading to future city reluctance to remove any parking anywhere ever. Even if  it’s not quite the L.A. River bikeway, it is a new precedent: the city of Los Angeles’ first completed asymmetric one-way bike lanes couplet… a treatment that I think works better on actual one-way streets. How about Cypress and Avenue 18 next?


> Elysian Valley neighbors have been experiencing some pollution issues due to Metrolink operations right across the river at Taylor Yard. Metrolink, So Cal Air Quality Management District, elected officials and the public will meet and discuss how to make the situation better. The meeting takes place TONIGHT – Wednesday January 25, 2012 at 6:30pm at the L.A. River Center, 570 W Avenue 26, L.A. 90065. More information here.

> Creek Freak’s Joe Linton will be speaking as part of the environmental media panel at the Council for Watershed Health forum on Tuesday January 31st 2012. More information at CWH website under events.

> CicLAvia returns Sunday April 15th 2012, starring the 4th Street Bridge over the L.A. River.

Creek Freaks Speak Next Week

October 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Water panel at Antioch University next Thursday

I am speaking at a Water (and Power) panel at Antioch University in Culver City.  Fellow panelists include Leonardo Vilchis, of Union de Vecinos (LACF readers will remember Leonardo from this video) and Conner Everts of Southern California Watershed Alliance (LACF readers will remember Connor from this L.A. River kayak trip.)  « Read the rest of this entry »

Nate Downey Harvest the Rain Book Tour

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I confess that I haven’t read the Harvest the Rain book yet, but it looks great, so I wanted to let L.A. Creek Freaks know about an upcoming book tour – next week! From Tuesday October 25th 2011 through Saturday October 29th, Nate Harvey will be appearing in Southern California to promote Harvest the Rain: How to Enrich Your Life by Seeing Every Storm as a Resource. Rainwater harvesting is a topic we’ve covered at Creek Freak, and from Harvey’s website and video, the book looks very promising.

Book tour announcement details after the jump.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan Resurfaces This Saturday

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

CASP flier - click to view meeting details at the city website

This Sunday is the city of Los Angeles’ annual community meeting regarding the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (called CASP.) The meeting takes place at 10am on Saturday October 15th 2011 at Goodwill, 342 N. San Fernando Road, LA 90031 (near the Lincoln Cypress Metro Gold Line Station.) Meeting details at the city’s CASP website. « Read the rest of this entry »

Symposium Explores the Complexities of Sediment Management

September 29, 2011 § 8 Comments

1969. A conveyor belt transports sediment away from Big Tujunga Reservoir. (Los Angeles Public Library Images)

Last Tuesday (9/20), the Council for Watershed Health (formerly the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council) hosted a creek-freaky event entitled Shifting Soil: Sediment Management Policies in Los Angeles. While I was fortunate enough to be in attendance, it has taken some time to digest all that was discussed and to place in context all of the remarks that were made. The following is my best attempt at a summary including a few thoughts on the topic. For further reading, have a gander at Mademoiselle Gramophone’s in depth coverage (including video and audio snippets) or visit the Council’s event archive for downloadable PDF files of each presentation. A friendly forewarning: this post is a lengthy one… « Read the rest of this entry »

Downey Rec Ctr Albion Demolition Kick-Off This Thursday

September 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

Flier for this Thursday's Kick-Off Event - click for full-sized pdf

L.A. Creek Freak readers may remember the city of Los Angeles’ September 2009 acquisition of the 6-acre Albion Dairy site, adjacent to the L.A. River in Lincoln Heights. LACF ran this initial breaking news, a more detailed announcement, and photos of the site.

This week, at 12:30pm on Thursday September 29th 2011, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilmember Ed Reyes are hosting a demolition kick-off event. It’s open to the public – please attend and celebrate progress on the city’s newest river park.

An update on the project follows.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Greywater Workshops – October 2011

September 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Joe's Washing Machine, hooked up to water trees and berries

In October 2011, Greywater Action are teaching workshops in Southern California. Greywater Action are the great folks formerly known as Greywater Guerillas, then they changed their names after the state of California went and made greywater legal. These are the folks who installed (and taught how to install) my home washing machine greywater system that I wrote about here.

If you’re in Los Angeles, there are greywater workshops on Friday October 14th and Saturday October 15th – both at Los Angeles Eco-Village. In Santa Monica, similar workshops on Saturday October 8th and Sunday October 9th. Bonus workshop on humanure (composting toilets) on Friday evening October 14th. Workshop details below and at Greywater Action website« Read the rest of this entry »

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