Rain Garden Talk this Friday at LA Eco-Village

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Creating Rain Gardens Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher

This Friday, September 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm author/activist Cleo Woelfle-Erskine gives a public talk on his new book Creating Rain Gardens. The talk takes place at L.A. Eco-Village, 117 Bimini Place, LA 90004.  There’s a requested admission of $5 to $10, but no one turned away for lack of funds. Reservations recommended,  contact eco-village:  crsp [at] igc.org or 213/738-1254.

Nate Downey Harvest the Rain Book Tour

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I confess that I haven’t read the Harvest the Rain book yet, but it looks great, so I wanted to let L.A. Creek Freaks know about an upcoming book tour – next week! From Tuesday October 25th 2011 through Saturday October 29th, Nate Harvey will be appearing in Southern California to promote Harvest the Rain: How to Enrich Your Life by Seeing Every Storm as a Resource. Rainwater harvesting is a topic we’ve covered at Creek Freak, and from Harvey’s website and video, the book looks very promising.

Book tour announcement details after the jump.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Guide to Building Rain Gardens out of Recycled Concrete

May 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

Left side of urbanite rain garden 1-pager I drew in 2008, click for full page

A flash from the past! I created this 8-page Landscape Rainwater Harvesting booklet for a workshop I taught the summer of 2008. The class was held June 14th 2008 at Los Angeles Eco-Village. The main activity was building las trincheras – an urbanite-terraced rainwater harvesting garden that I wrote about here a while back – and in this vid. It’s funny, the workshop was pre-creekfreak – the month before Jessica and I got started with L.A. Creek Freak in July 2008.

Right side of rain garden page - click for full page, link for full booklet in blog text

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KPCC Video Showcases Creek Freak

November 16, 2010 § 2 Comments

KPCC everyday hero video focus on river, greywater, rainwater gardens, and eco-village. Click to watch video at KPCC Pacific Swell website.

LACF mentioned earlier that Southern California Public Radio KPCC, on its Pacific Swell website, acknowledged L.A. Creek Freak’s Joe Linton as an everyday hero. They also did a video portrait of me, featuring the L.A. River, my home laundry greywater system, rainwater harvesting terraces in my (neglected) garden, and Los Angeles Eco-Village where I live. Click to watch the latest creek freak video!

Slow the Flow Video

September 12, 2010 § 7 Comments

“None of it’s [river-friendly landscaping] going to happen just because the city council made a decision that you’re going to do this. It’s going to be really something that people are going to learn to accept because they see that it works.”
-Dave Tamayo, Sacramento County Stormwater Program in Slow the Flow

Slow the Flow: Make Your Landscape Act More Like a Sponge is a very informative well-produced 26-minute video about practices and projects that communities can do to steward our watersheds. Stop reading and hit play!

It’s all about the sort of green multi-benefit watershed landscape practices that L.A. Creek Freak loves to cover: low impact development, rain gardens, swales, native landscaping, permeable paving, cisterns, and more. The video showcases quite a few excellent projects that are easily applicable to Southern California homes, schools, parking lots, etc. The approaches highlighted are very low-tech, green, gravity-fed, habitat-enhancing… and wonderful. And, they give you good reasons to kick back and not rake the leaves or water the lawn.

Thanks to the folks at the State Water Resources Control Board who produced the video, which is available on DVD from their website« Read the rest of this entry »

Elmer Avenue Green Street Project Explored

July 8, 2010 § 20 Comments

AFTER: Elmer Avenue Green Street with bioswales, underground infiltration galleries, solar lighting and more - photo by LASGRWC

A few weeks ago, L.A. Creek Freak had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the Elmer Avenue green street project in Sun Valley. My earlier post mainly described the opening festivities, with little project information. Today’s article fills in more of the details.  

BEFORE: Elmer Avenue with no sidewalks, no stormdrains, no street lighting - photo by LASGRWC

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News and Events – 19 April 2010

April 19, 2010 § 2 Comments

Round-up of Creek Freak News:

>In an exclusive, dated April 1st 2010, the L.A. Eastside blog reports on a highly secretive plan underway for the Army Corps of Engineers to radically alter the course of the Los Angeles River. The project will once-and-for-all settle the question of whether Echo Park is located in L.A.’s “eastside.”  

>The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports on weed abatement and progress on the new 24-acre San Gabriel River park at the Duck Farm property – along the 605 Freeway between the 10 Freeway and 60 Freeways – across the river from South El Monte.  

>Harvesting rainwater is happening all over. Read accounts by Sherri Akers and Andy Lipkis about their home rainwater harvesting experiences. Did you know that rainwater makes for better homebrew beer, too?

Historic Creeks of San Francisco - via SF Streetsblog and the Oakland Museum of California

>San Francisco Streetsblog ran an excellent three-part series (links: one, two, three) on daylighting urban creeks, focused on quite a bit of the history of what’s been done in the bay area, and throughout the world. It also covers some exciting daylighting projects underway and proposed for San Francisco. Maybe L.A. Streetsblog (one of my favorite local blogs) will do some coverage here too? 

>Los Angeles State Historic Park hosted an Earth Day tree planting last Saturday (s0rry I didn’t get to promoting this event in advance.) The planting plans look extensive – focused at the north end of the park. Overall, though, it seems like we’re enhancing the temporary park and retreating from the bigger master planning process – on hold due to state budget crises. Maybe that’s a good thing, for now?

>Bid for your chance to have lunch with movie star Daphne Zuniga and support the cause of the Los Angeles River Revitalizaion Corportation (RRC.)

> We’ve added two new creeky blogs to our blogroll. Check out Peter Bennet’s photography (which we’ve run before) at Citizen of the Planet, and track the Friends of Ballona Wetlands via their new Ballona Blog

>The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is honoring me, Joe Linton, one-third of L.A. Creek Freak, with its Green Leadership Award. They’re also honoring the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council for work on their Elmer Avenue watershed management project in Sun Valley (which we’ll cover one of these days.) Read the county’s press release, and if you want, come the supervisor’s meeting tomorrow morning where they’ll be giving out the awards.

Upcoming Events of Interest to Creek Freaks:

>Urban Photo Adventures photographer Ken Haber’s L.A. River photos are featured in the Annenberg Space for Photography’s exhbition Water: Our Thirsty World – open now through June 13th.

>The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a community input workshop this Saturday April 24th for feedback on future plans for habitat and recreation in the Sepulveda Basin. The meeting will be from 10am to 12:30pm at the Sepulveda Garden Center at 16633 Magnolia Blvd. in Encino 91406.

>The L.A. River boating expedition documentary Rock the Boat will screen at Los Angeles Eco-Village on Saturday May 8th 2010. Basic info here, more details coming soon.

>Friends of the Los Angeles River’s annual Great Los Angeles River Clean-up takes place Saturday May 8th!

Revealing Rainwater at Seattle’s Othello Station

March 4, 2010 § 1 Comment

Stormwater Project sculpture - Photo from Delicious Baby

Here’s a piece of public art that I think L.A.’s Creek Freaks will enjoy.

While procrastinating today, I was watching an excellent new short Streetfilms documentary about Seattle’s new light rail system (where they actually worked with bicyclists to design bike accommodations at their stations and on their trains.) Near the very end of the video (at 4:07), for about a second there’s a shot of what I now know is part of an art installation called Stormwater Project by a sculptor named Brian Goldbloom. It’s at the Othello Station – where I’ve never been, other than virtually.

It’s a kind of a mini-granite creek that drains rainwater from the roof of the rail station’s downspout, directing that water onto adjacent landscaping.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Recommended Videos: from India and NYC

January 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Stereoscopic view of the 1848 High Bridge in New York City - see Streetfilm below - image: public domain via Wikimedia

Here are some recommendations for some worthwhile documentary videos that spoke to me, and that I think would appeal to Los Angeles’ creek freaks. These are from two of my favorite ways to waste time educational video websites:  TED.com and Streetfilms.

Gharial - Indian River Crocodile - from Ted.com, click on image to watch video

 Romulus Whitaker: The real danger lurking in the water – This TED.com video is about king cobras and gharials (20-foot-long fish-eating crocodiles) and how these species are impacted by humans screwing up the rivers that nurture them and us. Beautiful images of snakes dancing, crocodiles fishing… and awful scary images of dams and pollution that are endangering these creatures.

The View from atop the High Bridge – This Streetfilm is about the oldest extant bridge in New York (built in 1848) and community and city work to convert it into a bicycle and pedestrian bridge. Over the Harlem River, the High Bridge was part of the original aqueduct bringing fresh water into New York City. (Another Streetfilm recommended for Creek Freaks: the story of community efforts for Bronx River revitalization in Building Greenways and Community in the Bronx.)

Anupam Mishra: The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting – Another excellent video from TED. All about how indigenous dryland rainwater harvesting techniques have stood the test of time – and are more reliable than current water supply efforts that dam rivers. Not only are these ingenious and built-to-last, they’re architecturally beautiful.

Rainy Morning L.I.D. Workshop at Augustus Hawkins Park

October 14, 2009 § 5 Comments

Wetlands at Augustus Hawkins Nature Park

Wetlands at Augustus Hawkins Nature Park

L.A. Creek Freak was happy to train and bike down to Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park for a city of Los Angeles Low Impact Development (LID) workshop this morning.

The highlight of the trip was exploring parts of the park while it was lightly raining. I hadn’t visited the site since 2005, when I wrote about it as a side trip in my book. The 8-acre park is located at the intersection of Compton and Slauson Avenues in South L.A. – two blocks west of the Slauson Metro Blue Line Station.

The park opened around 2002. It incorporated some of healthy older trees already at the site. The older and newer trees have grown tall and stately. The park features a nature center, picnic area, and paths that wind and spiral through areas of restored native vegetation. The landscape has grown in a great deal, and looked really lush in the rain.

Today’s LID workshop, the last of four scheduled, had about 30 people in attendance, including representation from developers, architects, consultants and engineers, all trying to wrap their heads around the new ordinance.

The workshop presentation was by Shahram Kharaghani, the head of the city Sanitation Bureau’s Watershed Protection division. The description of the ordinance is pretty much the same as what creek freak described in this earlier post. Kharaghani asserted that the city is doing the new LID requirements in advance of them being required as part of the city’s stormwater permit, which is due to be renewed in 2010.

LID is anticipated to consist of an ordinance and a handbook, which Kharaghani stated would be on-line in draft form “soon.”Kharaghani stressed that LID apply to everything public and private, and that the rainwater features prioritized will be natural ones.

While slides showed a seemingly orderly flowchart decision tree, questions revealed the gray areas open to some interpretation. It’s not completely clear exactly how green roofs, treatment of off-site run-off, hillside development, single-family home best management practices (BMP’s) etc. will be handled, but perhaps the soon-to-be online documents can offer additional guidance.  It appears that the main bottom-line standard is the capture of that 85th percentile rainstorm on site.

Kharaghani anticipated that LID requirements would take effect approximately February 2010 – first they go before the Public Works board, city council and mayor for approval.

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