February 19, 2018 § 7 Comments
Creekfreaks! If you, like me, have resolved to pull away a bit from the netflix-amazonprime-hulu bingefests that serve as a daily nonpharma escapist (are we really living these political times?) opiate, and if maybe you, like me, are rediscovering those magical things called books – then I have a few reads for you! They range from practical, to lyrical, to celebratory. Personally, I find them all inspirational. In today’s post, I give you –
The Practical: Restoring Neighborhood Streams; Planning, Design, and Construction
Restoring Neighborhood Streams; Planning, Design, and Construction (2016, Island Press), builds on author A.L. Riley’s decades of engagement and effort in the restoring and daylighting of streams in urban and suburban areas. This Creekfreak was especially influenced by Riley and her work. Her previous book, Restoring Streams in Cities, is well dog-eared in my library, and has been an important go-to reference for how to think about stream function and restoration design. This new book provides case studies that illuminate fundamental questions that should be the basis for planning and design of urban stream restoration:
- Is it physically feasible to restore?
- Is it financially feasible?
- Does the public support (I’d add: political will) exist to support land use changes to support a live river or stream?
October 2, 2011 § 5 Comments
October 29, 2010 § 5 Comments
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).
Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes, CA 90274
June 7, 2010 § 29 Comments
[ERRATA: Photo of Least bell’s vireo was previously erroneously attributed to the LA Times. The photographer is Don Sterba, who also was the person to see and identify the bird. Apologies to Mr. Sterba for the error. The LA Times published his photo with credit, the oversight here was mine.]
Two pair of Least bell’s vireo, an endangered willow-loving bird, have set up camp in the vicinity of the Ballona Freshwater Marsh. Thanks to the Friends of Ballona Wetlands blog and the LA Times for getting the word out! The Times piece also touches on the controversy associated with the freshwater marsh and Playa Vista development. I do disagree with the Times’ characterization of the drainage “ditch” Hughes dug. It may have become a drainage ditch, but early USGS maps clearly indicate that Centinela Creek flowed through the land that became Hughes’ airfield, and the landscape there would have been a floodplain and likely transitional freshwater or brackish marsh area, the “ditch” a functioning creek. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 30, 2010 § 2 Comments
The El Dorado Nature Center’s stream flows again! The City and construction team, led by Bubalo Construction, completed the regrading of the stream, protecting the banks with a mix of coir fabric and in places of high traffic, stone retaining walls. Willows staked into the coir will grow into trees, stabilizing the banks with their roots. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 28, 2009 § 2 Comments
Down in Long Beach, streambank stabilization continues. The Friday before the Christmas holidays, Drew Goetting of Restoration Design Group (in other words, my boss) flew down from Berkeley to train folks working at the El Dorado Nature Center on the process. Following is a little photo essay on making a willow wattle, for example.
The running joke was how much it was like making sushi. You lay down your fabric (or seaweed) in a little trench, put in the willow and soil (or rice, fish, avocado…) and roll it up. Two big exceptions to the analogy: the wattle needs stakes (we used live willow posts that will sprout into trees) and the sushi roll tastes better.
Soil bioengineering techniques like this have been used for centuries, and have found a resurgence in rural areas of America, as well as in some urban restorations in Northern California. Willow has long been observed to have tenacious roots that provide natural armoring of streambanks. And while the roots are strong, the trees themselves are flexible: if they fall over in a large flood, they form a layer that also protects the banks. But it is important to understand the dynamic interplay between a stream’s structure and how it functions, or forms its channel, however, in order to place these treatments correctly.
Stream restoration projects installed a couple of years ago at the Mountains Restoration Trust (Dry Canyon Creek) and (to a lesser degree) on Las Virgenes Creek also used forms of streambank soil bioengineering – proving that it has applicability here in Southern California.