LA’s water gets weird

October 27, 2009 § 7 Comments


in Southern CA Practitioner, Vol XXXII-1885-on file UC Med Center Library SFran

From Google Books: Southern California Practitioner, Vol XXXII. 1885. University of California Medical Center Library, San Francisco

I know it’s all hindsight, but I think I’ll stick to Tiger Balm, thanks.  I’m still working on the details, these springs were located at 5663 Melrose Avenue, between Larchmont and El Centro “near the old village of Colegrove.”  There were small surface streams in the area, but can’t confirm surface irradiated springs at this time, and I consider it highly unlikely.  The Bimini and Oxford hot springs were from wells, so that’s a possibility here. There were actual sulphur springs at the base of the Hollywood Hills.

Now if you really are looking for a radioactive (former) stream, try the filled ravine at the VA in Brentwood.  That’s one of our lost streams.  Low-level radioactive waste was dumped in there in (I believe) the 50s- and was setting off geiger counters and tempers a few years back.


Urban runoff?

April 17, 2009 § 4 Comments



Streams present and past, from Pacific Palisades to Bel Air.  Blue streams are present, red are gone, baby, gone.

Streams present and past, from Pacific Palisades to Bel Air. Blue streams are present, red are gone, baby, gone.

And here's the (mostly former) streams of the Hollywood Hills and part of the upper Ballona Creek watershed.

And here's the (mostly former) streams of the Hollywood Hills and part of the upper Ballona Creek watershed. Blue lines on the right will soon be deleted, as soon as I get around to the Elysian Valley and streams Northeast.











I am in the midst of a depressing exercise of stream deletion, viz. the image at right.  Once again, mapping streams of LA, and then deleting them to be able to say with some reliability what’s left.  It’s painstaking as well as simply painful.


While simultaneously reaching for some (legal) numbing agent and zooming in a former stream on the north slope of the Hollywood Hills on GoogleEarth, however, I noticed urban runoff dribbling down the gutter.  I was looking for any chance that a stream channel persisted (further down the road, there was in fact an open semi-channelized waterway – so it wasn’t entirely empty hope).  Curious, I followed the runoff upstream, till I arrived at what was clearly a stream.  And it is pretty apparent that the runoff is coming from the stream.  The next canyon over showed a similar pattern of runoff.  And it was in the month of July, so not seasonal, this.


The stream is dribbling.  From GoogleEarth, dated July 31, 2007.

The stream is dribbling (dark stain on left side of the street). From GoogleEarth, dated July 31, 2007.

I often find myself wondering during conversations about “urban runoff” how much of it is genuinely from some idiot watering his or her driveway.  True, we have no shortage of waste from poor water management, and plenty of it is polluted.

But here is interesting evidence that some runoff is from a stream just being a stream – and that it would still be flowing in a stream if we hadn’t rammed a street through it.  Suggestive to me, anyway, that we might want to have a policy for managing this urban runoff a little differently than treating it like wastewater.

Finding the lost creek in your neighborhood

October 18, 2008 § 1 Comment


Compton Creek

Compton Creek

If you’re a Creekfreak, and you’ve not figured out where the water used to flow in your neighborhood yet, then this post is for you.  From 2001-2003 I mapped the old streams and wetlands of the LA area in Illustrator, and began to lay them out for public consumption.  And then got sucked into other projects.  So here they are, in all their imperfection – but quite legible if you are a map reader.  Just go to the side panel to the page labelled Find a former waterway or wetland near you!


These maps are based on 62,500 scale 1896-1906 USGS maps, 1888 Detail Irrigation Maps, and slightly informed by later 24,000 scale USGS maps.  The overlay maps are not definitive:  the 24,000 scale maps, circa 1919-1930s, show streams not indicated on the earlier, larger scale maps, while showing at the same time considerable stream and wetland losses to development.  In other words, I have a lot more drawing to do.

But this is about you, dear Creekfreak.  If you live in the following areas, you may find a creek or wetland on one of these maps in your neighborhood:

Eagle Rock     Glassell Park     Highland Park     Lincoln Heights     

Cypress Park     Pasadena     South Pasadena     Alhambra

Boyle Heights     East Los Angeles     Downtown     Echo Park     

Silverlake     East Hollywood     Hollywood Hills     Koreatown

Mid-City     West Adams     Culver City     Baldwin Hills

Cheviot Hills     Mar Vista     West Los Angeles     West Hollywood

Beverly Hills     Bel Air     Brentwood     Santa Monica

Venice     Marina del Rey     Inglewood     Hawthorne

Gardena  West Athens     Willowbrook     Watts    

Compton     South Gate     Lynwood     Vernon    

Maywood     Torrance     Carson     Lomita     Wilmington

Long Beach     San Pedro     Palos Verdes     


Happy searching!  And let us know what you think!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Brentwood at L.A. Creek Freak.