L.A. Times Kayaks L.A. River, Great Article, Photos, and Vid

July 31, 2010 § 3 Comments

Of course that river is navigable. Photo from last week's kayaking expedition. Better photos at the L.A. Times site.

Once the EPA declared the L.A. River navigable, the Los Angeles Times’ Louis Sahagun decided to go kayaking.

Sahagun has written a great article and the times photographers and videographers have put it together as a great web extravaganza. The full article appears in the Sunday paper (which includes a big picture of me! – available Saturday) and online here. Here are two brief excerpts – but go to the Times and read the whole thing:

Wolfe’s party took advantage of that legal gray area, launching at dawn on a recent workday in one canoe and five brightly colored kayaks just south of Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village — one of the few stretches of the Los Angeles River that has a soft bottom and still looks like a river.

It is a rambunctious urban patch of rumbling water, serene greenery and occasional homeless encampments, framed by slanting concrete walls rising to electrical power-line towers, set to an endless soundtrack of freeway traffic. Paddling on the murky water, the kayakers surprised hundreds of shorebirds and waterfowl. Huge carp darted past like bronze torpedoes.

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Another Kayak Day on the L.A. River

July 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

Kayaking a calm pool stretch of the L.A. River’s Glendale Narrows


I had the pleasure of kayaking five miles of the Glendale Narrows today. It was another expedition lead by George Wolfe; this time was to get L.A. Times reporter Louis Sahagun (plus Times video and photo folks) out on the Los Angeles River, for more coverage related to the recent navigability announcement. I am going to just post a couple of photos and look forward to Louis’ always-excellent coverage. 


That’s the L.A. Times Louis Sahagun in the red kayak on the left – in the Glendale Narrows stretch of the L.A. River


Go here for my earlier L.A. River kayaking accounts or here to watch short videos about the expedition

News and Events – 13 July 2010

July 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

LAist photo of George Wolfe navigating the L.A. River. For more navigability stuff, watch the Rock the Boat movie and read lots of coverage - links and details below.


> From 3pm to 5pm this Thursday July 15th 2010 join the Village Gardeners and TreePeople to trim and mulch native vegetation on the L.A. River in Sherman Oaks. Event details here.

> Watch the film about the 2008 Kayak expedition that proved that the L.A. River is navigable today! Rock the Boat screens this Friday July 16th 2010 at the Audbon Center at Debs Park. That’s at 4700 Griffin Avenue in Highland Park, easy walk from the Southwest Museum Metro Gold Line Station. Birding walk at 6:45pm. At 8pm two films screen.  First: Paddle to the Sea – a short film based on the classic children’s book. Second: Rock the Boat. Admission is free – though donations for Rock the Boat will be accepted. More event information at Audubon and Facebook.

> From 8am to 3pm this Sunday July 17th, Jenny Price leads a Hidden L.A. car caravan tour of the Los Angeles River. Features tacos and cream puffs. More information and registration here.

> **UPDATED – POSTPONED SEE COMMENT BELOW The city of Los Angeles LID (Low Impact Development) ordinance will be heard at the 9am Tuesday July 20th 2010 meeting of the city council’s Energy and Environment Committee, which takes place room 1010 on the 10th floor at Los Angeles City Hall. Background on LID here and here. Committee agenda will be here, once posted (should be up Friday this week.) Follow the LID city council motion 09-1554 here, including RSS feed. 


> Another excellent L.A. River documentary is now available online. Watch The River Under the City of Angels by Fred Kaplan (27 minutes, 2010.) It’s very personal and poignant, with lots of great footage from all up and down the Los Angeles River, plus interview footage with Lewis MacAdams, Ed Reyes, Carol Armstrong, Scott Wilson, Jenny Price and others. Well worth watching!

> There’s a lot of coverage of last week’s big Los Angeles River navigability announcement. The L.A. Times‘ Louis Sahagun has the best coverage. Yes, better than L.A. Creek Freak… though I think we got the news online slightly earlier and we also covered the actual source documents, and the planned park on Compton Creek. After creek freak’s really quick video of EPA’s Lisa Jackson’s announcement, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s folks posted much better quality edited video here.
Some worthwhile coverage:  KPCC radio has excellent audio. Other good reads at Chance of Rain, High Country News, Ballona Blog, Curbed L.A., LAist, River NetworkModern Hiker, and even Mayor Villaraigosa himself pens a piece at Huffington Post. For the sort of  “Navigable? Are you kidding?” response, check ProfessorBainbridge and Legal Planet.

> The Pasadena City Council met last night to consider building soccer fields at Hahamongna nature park. We’re hoping to report more on this as we get more news (or to link to a full account), but the council voted 4-3 to proceed with fields at the site. Read Creek Freak background on the issue here and visit Save Hahamongna to get news and get involved. 

> Dredging Today “dedicated to dredging” reports that Dutra Dredging has been awarded a $1.3M contract for dredging the Los Angeles River estuary. Your federal stimulus funds at work.

> The White House and GOOD magazine like Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale. L.A. Creek Freak was there in April 2010!

News and Events – 2 February 2010

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Cheongyecheon creek in Seoul, South Korea - photo: rinux via wikimedia



Rain Rain Rain… Pouring Down Upon the Night

January 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

There’s a lot of virtual ink that this Creek Freak has been reading about the huge rainfall that Southern California is receiving this week. I am staying warm and keeping away from L.A.’s dangerous floodwaters (not necessarily inherently dangerous, mostly made so by our societal choices.) Here’s a round-up of some of the articles and images that I found interesting:

>Photo galleries at The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times

>Streets flooding in Long Beach (LAist) and San Pedro (LAist, Daily Breeze, and YouTube.)

>River rising in Atwater Village and in the San Fernando Valley.

Tracking stream flow on the Arroyo Seco

>Nancy Steele’s In the Watershed blog shows cool tools to track local rainfall.

>Mark Gold’s Spouting Off blog blames excessive storm damages on our inability to raise stormwater funding taxes.

>The L.A. Times’ invaluable Louis Sahagun article Storms could test L.A. County’s aging flood-control system reports on the upstream end of things – filling and overflowing debris basins in our foothills. Some excerpts:

Officials said that of the 30 catch-basins located along the south-facing slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains between Big Tujunga Canyon and Altadena, one was filled to the brim and nine others were a concern because of fast-rising debris levels. Crews worked around the clock with earthmovers and dump trucks to keep the basins flowing, but were slowed by intermittent hail, lightning and heavy rain.

Of particular concern was the Mullally debris basin above La Cañada Flintridge, which overflowed on Monday, contributing to a decision to temporarily evacuate neighborhoods at the base of steep, denuded slopes.

A few miles to the west, the Pickens debris basin in Sun Valley — which is the size of a baseball field and about 40 feet deep — loaded up with mud 35 feet deep within four hours Monday. The basin was recently expanded to handle up to 125,000 cubic yards of silt and debris, officials said.

(Pickens Canyon Wash is the creek that divides La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge. It’s a tributary of the Verdugo Wash which runs through Glendale then empties into the L.A. River. Pickens was the site of the infamous and deadly New Years Day floods in 1934.)

>The flows of the creeks downstream of the massive Station Fire are flowing black – full of ash. See videos at The San Gabriel Mountains: Stories & Rants of a Quasi Mountain Man and Pasadena Adjacent.  The latter asked our advice on where all that ash goes. I don’t have a good answer… a lot of it ends up in the ocean… and it seems like the ash will smother some things in the short run, but that it will serve as nutrient/fertilizer as these upper watershed creeks bounce back. If anyone else has an informed answer or links to information, please comment.

>The creek park at the end of my block and the rainwater harvesting garden in my front yard are doing well.

Plenty more rain to come… imaginary prize to the person who can identify the song referenced in this article’s title.

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