April 17, 2009 § 4 Comments
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.
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
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!