February 19, 2018 § 9 Comments
Creekfreaks! If you, like me, have resolved to pull away a bit from the netflix-amazonprime-hulu bingefests that serve as a daily nonpharma escapist (are we really living these political times?) opiate, and if maybe you, like me, are rediscovering those magical things called books – then I have a few reads for you! They range from practical, to lyrical, to celebratory. Personally, I find them all inspirational. In today’s post, I give you –
The Practical: Restoring Neighborhood Streams; Planning, Design, and Construction
Restoring Neighborhood Streams; Planning, Design, and Construction (2016, Island Press), builds on author A.L. Riley’s decades of engagement and effort in the restoring and daylighting of streams in urban and suburban areas. This Creekfreak was especially influenced by Riley and her work. Her previous book, Restoring Streams in Cities, is well dog-eared in my library, and has been an important go-to reference for how to think about stream function and restoration design. This new book provides case studies that illuminate fundamental questions that should be the basis for planning and design of urban stream restoration:
- Is it physically feasible to restore?
- Is it financially feasible?
- Does the public support (I’d add: political will) exist to support land use changes to support a live river or stream?
Water is a Living Archive: Examining myths of where various urban streams come from: Pt. 1: Kellogg Creek
July 2, 2014 § 3 Comments
Have you ever heard rumors that water in various urban streams in Los Angeles originates in significant part from irrigation runoff?
It’s true that car wash and irrigation runoff are often seen flowing into storm drains. Dry season (summer) is the time these activities are most likely to take place. In the case of the Los Angeles River, a good deal of the river’s dry season flow comes from point source discharges rather than groundwater: one report says this figure is about 80% (Arup, 2011). Point sources include storm drains which convey irrigation runoff and carwash runoff, but also effluent from wastewater treatment plants. Flow data collected in 2000-2001 by Stein and Ackerman (2007) indicated that on the average, half of dry season flow in the Los Angeles River originated as effluent from wastewater treatment plants and half from storm drains.
As Josh Link puts it, the Los Angeles River, the end of pipe destination for a good deal of imported tap water, is effectively a « Read the rest of this entry »
October 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
Once the election buzz has passed, angelenos can turn their attention to the Supreme Court for some creekfreaky argumentation. Commenters – can you offer up interpretations of what this decision will mean for clean water in LA if the County has its way? (feel free to also weigh in on how you feel about the County using its scarce resources for fighting interpretations of the clean water act when it’s under compliance deadlines. All the way up to the Supreme Court.)
August 22, 2012 § 4 Comments
Last week, a friend and I took a really great hike up the East Fork of the San Gabriel River to the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s an excellent local day hike (9.5 miles round trip) that I highly recommend, though it’s probably best done during cooler seasons – say between late September and early June. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 4, 2012 § 5 Comments
Snow White’s animal pals are going to be missing some of their woodland at the new Disney campus:
“The Project would require the removal of 158 County Ordinance-protected oak trees, including 16 heritage oak trees, and encroachment upon an additional 82 oak trees, including 3 heritage oaks…” (EIR, V.F-72)
“The Project would permanently impact approximately 0.08 acre (1,181 linear feet) of ACOE/RWQCB jurisidictional area…The Project would permanently impact 0.63 acre of CDFG jurisdictional streambed and associated habitat…” (EIR, V.F-81) “ACOE/RWQCB jurisdictional area” is jargon for Water of the US/Water of the State-admittedly, more jargon. In other words, blue line stream. You may observe here that status as a Water of the US/Water of the State doesn’t ensure protection, despite many characterizations to that effect, when environmentalists battled to preserve the designation on the LA River.
Also, while this is most likely the FEMA 100-year storm floodplain shown on this map, as creekfreaks already know, floodplains are an essential part of the stream system, reducing the space for it has negative consequences for stream health.
This, as the High Country News recently remembered the loss of the Arcadia Oak Woodlands, albeit for a different reason. I am grateful that we’re not arguing about Placerita Creek. But loss of tributaries and confining the main channel’s floodplain are worrisome. I don’t have time to read and interpret the entire EIR just now, so just letting you know that this on the docket. AND if you are in the Santa Clarita area, there’s a hearing tonight (June 4) about the project:
Hart Museum and Park
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
The public has until June 18 to communicate your thoughts on this. Include photos of an angry Snow White. Or maybe her evil stepmom (and not the glam one in the theaters right now), standing in the middle of her new ranch.
Comments go to
Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning
Special Projects Section, Room 1362
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
or email email@example.com
Mirror, Mirror on the wall…
Based on this piece in the Whittier Daily News, Snow White’s pals will also have to hop around oil rigs on open space purchased with allocations from the County of LA’s Proposition A, which is a funding source designated for recreation, parks, and open space.
Where’s Princess Mononoke when you need her?
May 15, 2012 § 6 Comments
On the heels of a critical piece of writing by Emily Green on the state of sediment management in Los Angeles (published in the May 14th edition of High Country News), the L.A. County Department of Public Works has completed (as of April) its draft 20-year Sediment Management Strategic Plan for 2012-2032 and is currently soliciting public comments until Wednesday, May 30th. The enormous document (524 pages) is available for download at www.LASedimentManagement.com (the downloadable document entitled “Community Meeting Boards” is a conveniently concise summary of the larger plan). « Read the rest of this entry »
December 1, 2011 § 6 Comments
…you know there’s trouble.
I had originally begun drafting this post as a follow on to Trouble at the Waterworks, which recounted how the significant rains of 1867 sent piles flying and reduced LA’s zanja system to carted water. These rains offer some insight to just how gnarly a 500-year storm could be, something that circulates in the news from time to time. It’s worthwhile to appreciate how much these rains can shift our rivers, when the human hand isn’t busily doing it, that is. Driving that shift: loads of debris from the mountains washing down.
March 26, 2011 § 6 Comments
Rainy weather always puts me in mind of the historical oral histories taken down by James Reagan in 1914. They highlight how dramatic, dangerous, and long cross-county travel could be – travel that today makes us irate and grumpy when it take a few hours.
The New River mentioned here is the San Gabriel River, in its “new” channel. It shifted course in the 1860s. S.P. is Southern Pacific (rail road). The trip, 25 miles from Downey to Santa Ana.
The tale of Tom Hutchinson:
March 2, 2011 § 1 Comment
A victory, a Greenway Plan, and a continuance helped to define recent weeks for this LA CreekFreak.
First victory. Altadena bloggers and residents celebrated the award of funding for acquisition of land in Rubio Canyon, preserving public access and restoration of some land there. Congrats to the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy for the State grant and successful coordination effort to bring it all together.
A Greenway Plan! More about this in a separate post. A personal project spanning five years, first as Ballona Creek Watershed Coordinator and later as a landscape designer, is finally complete and posted for public view and use. The Ballona Creek Greenway Plan resulted from stakeholder creek-walks and design charettes, strategy sessions with Natural Channel Design and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission staff, and hydraulic modeling and design work of the Restoration Design Group team. Downloadable at the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission website.
And a continuance. The Stone Canyon Creek hearing has been continued for a month or more. Thanks for the letters written by community members, agency reps and the kids at University Elementary School, whose school sits on the creek at UCLA – this is not over yet! And also, thanks to the student and community volunteers – including rumored hungover frat boys – and SMBRC staff who have been working hard to restore Stone Creek on the UCLA campus.
February 2, 2011 § 2 Comments
> In today’s Los Angeles Times, Louis Sahagun has an excellent piece on the proposed massive Newhall Ranch development, and the differences between the federal Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency. “Developers … would convert nearly 20 miles of tributaries and riverbank into storm drains and levees”
> The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported on a recent evaluation of the San Gabriel River’s Santa Fe Dam (located in Irwindale – near the confluence of the 210 and 605 freeways.) The article states that the dam is “potentially dangerous” and asserts that “probability of failure is very high.” Simultaneously, though further down in the article, the Tribune clarifies that the dam evaluation found “no major flaws” and that the dam’s “chances of failure are remote.” The story was soon followed by an editorial invoking catastrophic New Orleans’ Katrina damage. (Joe’s snipey comment: Methinks people who get paid to build dams are looking for work.)
> I stole some of Jessica Hall’s ideas for a quick guest blog at the city of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation’s Stormwater Blog.
It’s not tooo sooon to mark your calendar for the big L.A. River events of the year:
> Friends of the Los Angeles River’s annual Clean-Up will be on Saturday April 30th 2011.
> Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s annual River Ride will be on Sunday June 5th 2011.