Levee alternatives study for Compton & Dominguez channels

April 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

County of LA review of channel flood capacity reveals that portions of Compton and Dominguez channels fail to meet flood standards, which if unaddressed will result in FEMA decertification and increases in flood insurance rates for property owners next to the channels.  And while the County’s engineers have been soberly preparing to address this through studies and planning, fear-driven spectres of disaster scenarios have also been hinted at by public authorities – forebodingly called “Katrina West” by some. 

Here’s the details on the meetings tonight and next week to give the County feedback on alternatives they can pursue to meet the flood standards.

Tonight, April 28, 6-8pm, Carson Community Center, 801 East Carson Street, Carson CA 90745

May 4, 6-8pm, Siverado Park, 1545 West 31st Street, Long Beach, CA 90810.

Thanks to James Alamillo at Heal the Bay for the heads-up about the meetings.

Now, about this “Katrina West” rhetoric. Dan Rosenfeld, a deputy for Mark Ridley-Thomas, gives us its meaning: “(o)ne of Los Angeles County’s biggest concerns is the adequacy of the levees downstream in minority communities – the Katrina West phenomenon. ”  « Read the rest of this entry »

Images of Future Compton Creek Park

November 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Aerial showing location of future Compton Creek Park. The initial 4-acre park site is in light green, shaped like a U with wings. The darker green parcels on the right are planned future phases. North is to the upper left. Compton Creek flows from left to right through the middle of the image - and is unfortunately lidded in mid-frame. The light blue on the right is the more natural earthen bottom creekbed. The Metro Blue Line runs diagonally from upper left to bottom right, with Artesia Station at the bottom middle of the image. The 91 Artesia Freeway or Gardena Freeway is diagonal on the right.

When the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson announced the L.A. River’s navigability determination in July 2010, that big announcement overshadowed the day’s other great news: the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s (MRCA) purchase of 4 acres along and in Compton Creek. Creek Freak’s Jessica Hall wrote about the Compton Creek park project earlier here – including  showing the property map and discussing some possible cross-sections for restoration projects. Today, creek freak brings you some images: what the site looks like today, where the acquisition parcels are, and renderings of what the inital phase of the park could look like. Images are courtesy of Mia Lehrer + Associates and the MRCA. « Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Event: Creekfreak talk at South Coast CNPS

October 29, 2010 § 5 Comments

Cross-section demonstrating naturalization strategy in soon-to-be-completed planning study.

Monday night I’m giving a talk at the South Coast California Native Plant Society. Come on down! The talk is “Hope for Southern California Streams” and my hope is to stuff flowers in your muskets and arm you with a sense of the possible, to fuel our collective political will on behalf of our waterways and remnant habitat patches – with some specific time to think out loud about South Bay wild things (and I’m so not referring to beach bunnies).

When: 7:30pm

Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes, CA 90274

Opportunity knocks at Compton Creek

July 11, 2010 § 3 Comments

Public officials on Compton Creek last week. Photo: Mia Lehrer.

Last Wednesday’s press conference on Compton Creek with EPA official Lisa Jackson has been the source of much navigability excitement in the creekfreak blogosphere, but as Joe mentioned, the press conference had another purpose: to bring together officialdom to celebrate and unite in purpose around acquisition of part of Compton Creek.

If you think the navigability issue on LA’s waterways is tricky, you should take a look at ownership! « Read the rest of this entry »

Big News: EPA Designates L.A. River as Navigable!

July 7, 2010 § 24 Comments

Today, standing along the soft-bottom Compton Creek, the federal Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson proclaimed that the EPA is designating “the entire L.A. River as traditional navigable waters.”  In the video above, the announcement comes at about 1:55 and the crowd cheers! Jackson continues stating that this means “the entire 51-mile watershed is protected” and “that areas like Compton Creek will have the full protection of our nation’s clean water law.”

More below on other great news from the press conference, and more of Jackson’s remarks.

« Read the rest of this entry »

EPA’s Lisa Jackson to visit Compton Creek

July 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

Tomorrow! The press announcement says it all:

*************MEDIA ADVISORY****************

WEDNESDAY: U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to Make Significant Announcement Affecting L.A. River « Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events plus Contest! – 30 September 2009

September 30, 2009 § 5 Comments


>Los Angeles Times’ invaluable Louis Sahagun on the recent bulldozing of Compton Creek. Sad story, with a great picture of Heal the Bay’s James Alamillo wading in the soft-bottom creek.

>L.A. Team Effort shows off the city’s new SUSMP handbook. SUSMP stands for Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plan. The new handbook looks great and the content includes a lot of great watershed management practices. 


>Come hear L.A. Creek Freak Jessica Hall speaking at Farmlab at noon on Friday October 9th. Free, including free lunch!

>The city of Los Angeles is hosting series of four public meetings on its wonderful proposed Low Impact Development (or “LID”) ordinance. Complete meeting information is posted in the comments section of Creek Freak’s recent LID post. Meetings are October 1st, 6th, 8th and 14th – all 10am to noon. First meeting is this Thursday at Bureau of Sanitation’s Media Center Offices at Taylor Yard.

>The city of Compton hosts a Compton Creek Clean-Up on Saturday October 17th from 7am to 12:30pm at Raymond Street Park.

>The city of Los Angeles has released the full new draft Bicycle Plan, which includes waterways designated for new bike paths. Creek Freak’s earlier post about the plan is here. The full bike plan documents are available on the city’s Bike Plan website. The city will be hosting four public meetings on October 22nd, 24th, 26th, and 28th.

> On Sunday, October 26th Jenny Price leads Friends of the L.A. River’s South L.A. River Tacos & Paletas Carpool Tour.


Name the location where the photograph was taken below, and win a copy of Dorothy Green’s book Managing Water: Avoiding Crisis in California. Enter your answer in the comments section. If you’re the first commenter with the right answer, Creek Freak will mail you the book. (PS. I expect that it looks kinda difficult, kinda anonymous… but it’s actually a pretty unique spot. If nobody guesses it, I promise that I will give hints.)

Where is this?? Enter your answer in the comments below.

Where in the watershed is this?? Enter your answer in the comments below.

News and Events – 3 September 2009

September 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Some stuff for local Creek Freaks to read, watch and do!


>Arroyo Lover recaps a great August for the Arroyo Seco including evidence that the re-introduced arroyo chub (threatened native fish) are alive and well!

>Excellent recap of the new state greywater codes here.

>I really enjoyed this StreetFilm about the Bronx River Greenway!

>There’s a lot of stories about and images of our devastating wildfires. Scary stuff. We’ll plan to do some analysis and the effects that they’ll be having on watersheds and waterways in future blog postings… but, for now, Creek Freak readers might want to check out Jessica’s earlier post on the fires. There are plenty of useful links at the bottom, and more links in the comments – one of my favorites is Ilsa Setziol’s piece Sparking the Fires.


>The National Parks Service is hosting a series of evening meetings about the future uses for the San Gabriel River and San Gabriel Mountains. Two already took place, and here are three remaining:
TONIGHT Thursday, September 3rd – Santa Clarita
Monday, September 14th in Glendora
Tuesday, September 15th in Palmdale

>Calling SGR bicyclists! On Thursday, September 10th at 6:30pm, the city of Seal Beach is holding a meeting to discuss plans for revamping their portion of the San Gabriel River Bikeway/Greenway. The meeting takes place at  the Seal Beach City Council Chambers at 211 8th Street, SB 90740.

>Creek Freaks may be interested in the September 11th and 12th talk and workshop by Mark Lakeman of Portland City Repair. It’s about how to bring communities together to create beautiful sustainable vibrant public spaces, without asking permission!

>Also on September 12th, from 3pm to 5pm in Studio City there’s a family event hosted by Save L.A. River Open Space – the folks who are pushing for a natural river park at the Studio City  Golf and Tennis site. Free food! Music!

>On September 15th and 16th, the LA & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council and others are hosting a 2-day Compton Creek event: Compton Gateway: Symposium on Creekside Development.

>Coastal Clean-Up Day is September 19th! Clean-up sites all over including on local rivers and creeks.

Marcela Olivera of Cochabamba, Bolivia

Marcela Olivera of Cochabamba, Bolivia

>On Saturday September 19th from 4pm to 6pm, Food and Water Watch hosts a talk by Marcela Olivera, a water activist from Cochabamba, Bolivia. The Cochabamba story is really inspiring – locals organized to reject multi-national corporation control of their water. Come hear and discuss with Marcela Olivera. It all takes place at the Memorial Public Library, 4625 W. Olympic Boulevard (between Highland and Crenshaw), L.A. 90019.

News and Events – 12 June 2009

June 12, 2009 § 2 Comments

Rachel Garcia as the Great Blue Heron in Touch the Water, costume design by Soojin Lee - Photo copywright John Luker

Rachel Garcia as the Great Blue Heron in Cornerstone Theater's L.A. River Play Touch the Water, costume design by Soojin Lee - Photo copywright John Luker


Shishir Kurup and Joe Linton in Touch the Water - Photo copywright John Luker

Shishir Kurup and Joe Linton in Touch the Water - Photo copywright John Luker (enter your humorous caption in comments!)

> “Touch ze water, man”  Cornerstone Theater‘s Touch the Water is showing NOW, and continues Wednesday through Sunday through June 21st ( this weekend and next weekend only!)  Come and see your creek freak blogger Joe Linton’s dramatic debut and what the LA Weekly describes as including a “stunning moment of spine-tingling magic that is the raison d’etre of site-specific theater.”   Most performances include pre-play river walks, lead by local creek freaks including Jenny Price, Robert Garcia, Miguel Luna and others.  Make reservations online at the Cornerstone website.  Here are a few suggestions for theater-goers:

(For my handful of loyal readers:  I promise to blog more once this production is over!)

> The Pacific American Volunteer Association and Anahuak Youth Sports Organization host a Los Angeles River clean-up this Saturday June 13th via Green L.A. Girl.

> Author and Urban Ranger Jenny Price, after leading her pre-play walk this Friday, will lead Friends of the Los Angeles River’s tour of the Lower Los Angeles River on Sunday June 14th.


> Per the Long Beach Press-Telegram, L.A. County Supervisors have voted to proceed with a Compton Creek Master Plan.

The Glendale News Press reports that Disney is being sued for alledgedly polluting the river-adjacent Polliwog Parcel.  Polliwog is a remnant piece of Griffith Park stranded north of the Los Angeles River when the river was straightened.  The site has been discussed as part of a future Los Angeles River greenway (though today most of the site is separated from the river by the 134 Freeway.)

Relief from the Concrete lets us know that the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the San Gabriel River Discovery Center has been released and is now open for comments.

According to Science Dude, the San Gabriel River’s sea turtles appear to have established a year-round colony.

LAist talks bull on Army Corps restoration of Bull Creek in the Sepulveda Basin, and talks trash about L.A.’s storm drain covers.

W Roscoe (with my friend Federico) explores the Ballona Creek underground.

Some new video coverage of local waterways:

Some creeky new blogs:

Lastly, probably off topic, but about water at least:  see this WaterWired post on a water-computer used to predict changes in the economy.  It’s both elegant and Rube-Goldberg – follow the link on the blog to watch the video.

Whisky’s for drinkin’…desal’s for fightin’

April 1, 2009 § 6 Comments

….Compton Creek used to run a good stream the year around and the wells would flow the year around, and he remembers one well that was so strong it would throw water about forty feet high.  Water does not flow now only in the winter time or when they stop pumping in the beg(sic) wells…  – James P. Reagan, describing an interview with George Haylock of Compton, CA, 1914.

Well, James & George, you’d never know it by how we manage water today.  Your generation oversaw the the depletion of our

Taking stock:  the Centinela Springs before 1900.  Today you'd have to dig down a few hundred (?) feet to find water.

Taking stock: the Centinela Springs in Inglewood before 1900. Today you'd have to dig down a few hundred (?) feet to find water.

local aquifers, and the one after you saw Owens Lake go dry.  Mine has watched our resource-consumptive lifestyles drain rivers even further afield; in our name (if not strictly our need) the salmon fisheries collapsed.  And yet we stand at a crossroads, seeing in the ocean opportunity, and barely draw breath.  Now would be a good time to pause, take stock of our actions, and contemplate what “need” really constitutes for us humans.

For once again, the voices of reason have insisted that we “need” desal.  Enviros who object are resisting technology and refusing to reckon with the “reality” that we need more water.  

High Country News:  Environmentalists must learn to compromise: Desalination plants are necessary to quench the West’s thirst

The author of this piece believes we must face the difficult choices.  I too believe in difficult choices, just not the ones promoted by him. Indeed I don’t think it’s a “difficult choice” to perpetuate our current water-wasting lifestyle through the enablement of desalinated water – no, that’s politics and catering to our sense of entitlement. How about bringing our water consumption to a comparable level as that found in Barcelona, Spain, or Queensland, Australia (+/-40 gals/person/day)? Considering our current consumption is 100+ gals/person/day (as high as 400-600 is some Southern California communities) we would see a significant benefit. I would rather we exhaust simple solutions first before moving up to these more expensive and impactful technologies.

To say we’ll only lose a few fish with desal is dismissive. Even minor increases in salinity will dramatically decrease the hatching of grunion eggs, for example. Have we adequately studied what else might be impacted by subtle changes in the ocean’s chemistry? History shows that we usually act first, regret later.

Contrary to the author’s statement, historical ecology buffs know that coastal Southern California was not a desert. Hundreds of miles of waterways plumped LA’s aquifers every year.  The region’s water tables were once high, but profligate water consumption & urban development, without regard for the ecosystem, altered our landscape – desertified it, if you will. As evidenced above, in one man’s lifetime.  

As a native of Southern California, I challenge all of us to face the reality of our impacts to our ecosystem and make the difficult choice to learn to live within its means.  True, that may be harder than disparaging environmentalists who think it is achievable. But we are talking about the difficult choices here, right?

Have we ever regretted a course of action that preserved our natural resources, our landscapes –  our ocean?  

But regret we have, the consequences of so many of these water resource battles that have been won so that you and I can have a lawn.

Pass the whisky.

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