Places to Visit: Bimini Slough Ecology Park

January 19, 2010 § 16 Comments

A manmade creek runs through the Bimini Slough Ecology Park

Located on the northeast edge of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, the Bresee Foundation’s Bimini Slough Ecology Park is an excellent and innovative example of how we can heal our urban watersheds and bring green spaces to underserved neighborhoods. I was glad to see that my co-blogger Jessica promoted this park in Emily Green‘s recent L.A. Times column entitled The Dry Garden: Capturing the spirit of L.A.’s streams, even if they’re gone. Here’s an excerpt:

No matter how many rain barrels we put out and percolation pits we dig, many homeowners can do only so much in compensating for the absorptive and cleansing power of lost streams. Because many sites cannot capture all the rain that falls on them or flows through them, [Jessica] Hall sees cleverly situated public water-catching projects as crucial companion pieces to the water gardens put in by homeowners.

Asked to point one out, Hall chose the Bimini Slough Ecology Park. Designed by city landscape architect and wastewater engineer Nishith Dhandha, this mere half-acre sandwiched next to the Breese Community Center in Koreatown acts as a giant filter by taking urban runoff from a full city block. First it captures the water, then passes it through grates to catch trash. From there, the storm water runs through a meandering marsh, where riparian plants do what they have always done: cleanse the water.

That quote tells the basic story of the Bimini Slough park, located at the corner of Bimini Place and Second Street. Our readers know that I am capable of turning a short story into a really long one, so… what follows is that long story: how to get there, the history of the slough, how the park came about, and what it features.

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Stream daylighting covered in LA Times

August 10, 2009 § 8 Comments

Many thanks to Hector Tobar for getting in touch with me about LA waterways and writing this lovely piece about them, and about the desirability of daylighting lost streams:

A rivulet (actually, many of them) runs through it – Los Angeles Times.

Rivers Lost to City

September 20, 2008 § 7 Comments

Click on image to enlarge article

I did a double take on this title.  Was this the Judith Lewis piece, Lost Streams of Los Angeles, featuring, among other things, my creekfreaky research and advocacy for LA’s buried streams?  

No, this is a 1924 Los Angeles Times article, a wistful and racially peculiar (to be charitable, we’ll call it naive) obituary to the streams that were being buried at that time.  While not making any strong environmental case for preserving these streams, the author nostalgically laments the decline of a more pastoral era, stating: “And so the romance of the city goes – the prosaic storm drains and high priced lots have run the alluring arroyos out of business.”  

The story also fills in this Creekfreak on a long-simmering mystery – the name of the creek that used to flow through Lafayette Park – Arroyo de la Brea (Tar Creek).  Worth noting the name, as there is a parking lot across the street from Lafayette Park that oozes tar to this day. If you’re into weird urban geology, ask the car rental company permission to go to the back of the lot and take a look.

From the City of Los Angeles Navigate LA archives

For the curious, here’s a stormdrain map of a portion of Arroyo de los Reyes, the downtown creek mentioned in the article.  I am working on the connection of this to Echo Park-historical maps clearly show two streams that joined where Echo Park lake is today, with a perennial creek flowing along the path that is now Glendale Blvd to 2nd Street.  But the maps lose the flow around Figueroa.  This description here may fill in the gap – and we Echo Parkians may now have a name for our buried creek!

More later on lost rivers – and more importantly a City effort to preserve what’s left.

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