Recent News – 15 December 2010

December 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Los Angeles River at Bette Davis Picnic Area - painting by Akiko Crawford - click for larger image at her portfolio blog

Recent news that might be of interest to L.A.’s Creek Freaks: « Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 22 August 2010

August 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

RECENT NEWS 

> The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a new video (above) 0n Stormwater Runoff 101, featuring shots of the Elmer Avenue project profiled here earlier. The shots of the trash boom on Ballona Creek are pretty scary! Overall it’s an excellent video, though I wish they didn’t call storm drains “sewers.” (Thanks to In the Watershed

>Last Wednesday, August 18th, 2010, KCRW 89.9fm radio’s Which Way L.A.? ran an episode entitled Navigating the Los Angeles River. The program features Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes and George Wolfe of river expedition fame. The radio program is available for online listening here. Also in Shipping News: LAist reports about a petition floated for boating access to the river: register your name on the online petition here

Click on image to go to Save Los Angeles River Open Space for larger images.

> See handsome new  renderings of the L.A. River Natural Park  at the Save L.A. River Open Space website. It’s a watershed park proposed for the site currently known as Studio City Golf and Tennis. See creek freak’s backgrounders on this struggle here and here

> The L.A. Times reported yesterday that endangered steelhead remain endangered. This is good news: steelhead, an anadromous fish once abundant in local rivers and creeks, will remain protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. Recommended reading: creek freak’s coverage of Fish in the L.A. River.

> Tiny new feature: we’ve added a Tweet button for posting our articles to Twitter. The button now appears at the bottom of each post.  Follow us at Twitter at @LACreekFreak

UPCOMING EVENTS 

> Jenny Price’s Hidden L.A. Los Angeles River Tours are coming up August 29th, September 4th, September 12th, and September 26th. Keep up with them by liking them at their Facebook page. You may get to actually drive in the river!

> Coastal Cleanup Day – takes place Saturday September 25th 2010. The event includeslots of clean-ups on local creeks and rivers . 

CicLAvia route for walking and biking on car-free streets in October

> CicLAvia – pronounced “seek-law-vee-uh” – a car-free 7.5-mile open streets festival taking place on October 10th 2010 (that’s 10-10-10) – will include the historic Gothic-Revival 1931 4th Street Bridge. Read more about CicLAvia here and more about the 4th Street Bridge on their list of 10 historic buildings along the 10-10-10 route. Self-promotion confession – Creek Freak Joe Linton is way-involved in this not-especially river-related effort – and has been writing various top 10 lists at the CicLAvia site.

News and Events – 11 May 2010

May 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

NEWS

>The Studio City Los Angeles River Natural Park proposed for the existing Golf and Tennis site is “the craziest g*****n thing I’ve ever seen in my life” says owner in today’s Daily News. Earlier Creek Freak coverage of the issue here and here.

> Blogdowntown tells how L.A.’s 1929 First Street Bridge is being put back together. 

Fairy Shrimp - photo from What's That Bug?

> What’s That Bug finds fairy shrimp at Rio De Los Angeles State Park wetlands.

> County Supervisor Don Knabe funds improvements to the San Gabriel River Bike Path in the cities of Lakewood and Cerritos.

> When bicycling in New Orleans “forget your compass and follow the River” says NOLACycle (via Streetsblog)

> Construction to begin in July on the city of Glendale’s long-delayed Glendale Narrows River Walk project – per L.A. Times

> Win free reusable bag by taking L.A. City Bureau of Sanitation’s stormwater survey. Follow their informative L.A. Team Effort blog. 

EVENTS

> The county of L.A. invites the public to a meeting regarding the Lower Arroyo Seco Bike Path at 6pm this Thursday May 13th at the River Center’s Los Feliz Room. Creek Freak project background here and here.

> Rock the Boat video screens 7:30pm on Friday May 21st at L.A.  Eco-Village. RSVP and details at Facebook event page.

> Register now for the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition’s annual Los Angeles River Ride taking place on Sunday June 6th.

News and Events – 24 March 2010

March 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Image of planned new Riverside Drive Bridge and Roundabout - From L.A. City Flier

EVENTS

>TOMORROW! The city of Los Angeles hosts a community meeting on its plans for the Riverside Drive Bridge. The meeting is at 6pm on Thursday, March 25th 2010 at the Atrium Room of the L.A. River Center at 570 West Avenue 26 in Cypress Park. City flier here.
The city plans to replace the L-shaped Riverside-Figueroa Bridge with a new wider straighter faster deadlier bridge, with construction planned to begin later this year. The L.A. River bike path is planned to extend along the upstream edge of the bridge across the river from Frogtown to Cypress Park. The project (image above) includes a roundabout (traffic circle) at the intersection of Riverside Drive, San Fernando Road, and North Figueroa Streets, where the state is working on its planned Confluence Park. Confluence Park, partially under construction (next to the Home Depot parking lot) but stalled due to state budget issues, will celebrate the historic confluence of the L.A. River and the Arroyo Seco.  Learn more about the project, by attending tomorrow night’s meeting!

>TOMORROW!  The Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History presents their Sustainable Salon: Sustaining Our Water at 7pm on  Thursday, March 25th 2010. It’s free and talkes place at the museum’s North American Mammal Hall. Featuring:  Miguel Luna (Urban Semillas), Renée Maas (Food and Water Watch), and Conner Everts (Southern California Watershed Alliance.) For information and to rsvp contact Kim Kessler at 213-763-3463 or kkessler {at} nhm {dot} org. 

>The Theodore Payne Foundation – California Native flora-philes:

  • California Wildflower Hotline  until May 31st 2010 – Find spectacular California wildflower sites – updated Thursdays. Use link or call (818)768-3533.
  • THIS SATURDAY! Spring discount plant sale & Open House Saturday, March 27th 2010, 8:30am-4:30pm at TPF Nursery in Sun Valley.
  • Annual Native Plant Garden Tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 10th and 11th 2010, from 10am-4pm – including a free lecture:  In California, the Natives Are Friendly with Isabelle Greene on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at 6:30pm at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood.

>The Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, Friends of the L.A. River, and the Urban Land Institute host On Track: Rivers and Rails Symposium. It’s on Thursday, April 1st 2010 from 3pm-6pm at Metro in downtown L.A. More information here.

>The Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University hosts three free workshops on three Saturdays: March 27th, April 3rd and April 17th. See earlier post for details.

>Save L.A. River Open Space is holding a special meeting on Thursday, April 15th 2010 at 7pm at the Beverly Garland’s Holliday Inn at 4222 Vineland Ave in Studio City.  Featured will be State Senator Fran Pavley and Esther Feldman of Community Conservancy International presenting a vision for a 16-acre Los Angeles River Natural Park  at the former golf and tennis site.

>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.

NEWS

Orcutt's Yellow Pincushion - from Ken Bowles Wildflower and Bird Photos - click on image to link to biggified version

>A rare wildflower – Orcutt’s Yellow Pincushion – was discovered at a restoration site in the Ballona Wetlands. The Argonaut tells all!

>Long Beach is labeling its bikeways, and the L.A. River path there is now officially Long Beach Bikeway Route 7.

>Los Angeles’ elected officials and agency leaders have been in Washington D.C. pushing for funding for Los Angeles River revitalization. Los Angeles State Historic Park has the pics to prove it!

>Fishing in the very lush Los Angeles River off Tujunga Boulevard [perhaps Avenue] in 1945? The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has the pics to prove it!

News and Events – 3 September 2009

September 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

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

RECENT NEWS:

>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.

 UPCOMING EVENTS:

>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.

Images of Proposal for Studio City Golf and Tennis Site

August 15, 2009 § 1 Comment

Studio City River Park Proposal

Studio City River Park Proposal

In October 2009, L.A. Creek Freak reported details about a proposed new Los Angeles River Park at the current site of Studio City Golf and Tennis; for text explaining this proposal, see that earlier post. At the time, the visuals weren’t available for the press. I later received them from Esther Feldman, the president of Community Conservancy International. I forgot to run them at the time…

Recently I attended a meeting hosted by California Senators Judy Chiu and Fran Pavely to present and discuss river and waterway projects in the San Fernando Valley, and I saw another presentation on what’s now called the Studio City “Los Angeles River Natural Park” proposal. Below are the images. The group, which emerged from the Studio City Residents Association, promoting this project now has its own website: Save L.A. River Open Space. The site includes these images in a downloadable color Vision and Design report (pdf.)  If you’re interested in getting involved in this project email “saveopenspace [at] SLAROS.org”

Overall Concept Design

Overall Concept Design

 The overall design features multi-use green space on the site, and trail connections along the river.

Habitat and Open Space Elements

Habitat and Open Space Elements

 Habitat elements include preserving existing trees, and adding a new creekbed bioswale that drains to the river.

Sub-Watershed Drainage Area

Sub-Watershed Drainage Area

 The park would treat stormwater from the surrounding neighborhood.

Water Quality Improvement Elements

Water Quality Improvement Elements

 Water quality features would include the main large creekbed bioswale (receiving rainwater from street run-off), cisterns, and infiltration areas. 

Recreational Elements
Recreational Elements

The existing (golf and tennis) uses would be preserved, though with smaller footprints.

Public Access via foot, bike, bus, and car
Public Access via foot, bike, bus, and car

Access to the site would be mainly via bike and walk paths along the river.

For higher resolution images and additional details, click here or on an image to download the report.

News and Upcoming Events – February 9 2009

February 10, 2009 § Leave a comment

A Clean River is a Fun River (from Milwaukee - thanks to Federico for alerting me to this link at the Wooster Collective blog - click image for more and larger photos)

A Clean River is a Fun River - from Milwaukee (thanks to Federico for alerting me to this link at the Wooster Collective blog - click image for more and larger photos)

Forgive me, readers, it’s been a long time since my last consolidator post.

(Fairly) Recent News:

Cornerstone Theater Company is producing a new play about the Los Angeles River! They’re looking for river-interested folks to audition, no acting experience necessary, only adventurous spirit. Auditions will be February 18th, 21st and 22nd.

The Los Angeles Times remembers the 1934 New Year’s Day floods, called “The Montrose Flood,” which killed dozens of people as the Pickens Canyon Wash (a tributary of the Verdugo Wash, which is a tributary of the Los Angeles River) overflowed. Check out the historic photos documenting the serious debris flows. (Thanks to the Verdugo City blog)

“It is … not a restored nature, it is an invented nature.” Stephanie Pincetl blogs on The Los Angeles River: Restoration, (Re)Invention? The Politics of Nature in L.A.

“We want it to remain neighborhood-friendly to dogs and anyone else who walks, runs or cycles there.” The Studio City Sun covers the planned Studio City stretch of the Los Angeles River bikeway and greenway.

“At a time when the California economy needs stimulus, it has been devastating to our communities to have to stop work and lay off staff” Read all about it in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council’s press release on the bond freeze: Legislative and Gubernatorial Budget Inaction Continues to Cripple Water Protection in Los Angeles.  (Creek Freak’s earlier freeze coverage here and here.)

Some Recommended Video Viewing:

>Eye on L.A.’s Exploring the L.A. River (the filming of was mentioned earlier)
>The Environmental Protection Agency’s Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In.

Upcoming Events:

The City of L.A.’s River Zoning Ordinance will be heard by the City Planning Commission this Thursday February 12th 2009.  The meeting starts “after 8:30am” at City Hall room 1010.  Read earlier coverage here and, for serious creek geeks, read the staff report here.  L.A. Creek Freak encourages river-supporters to attend and make sure that this important ordinance passes.

Ever thought about blogging? Want to learn how to use the internet to promote your business or cause? L.A. Creek Freak‘s Joe Linton and L.A. StreetsBlog‘s Damien Newton will be teaching an internet skills course on Wednesdays February 18th and 25th. The class takes place from 7pm to 9pm at the Bresee Foundation‘s computer center.

On Saturday February 21st from 8am to 11am, the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works is hosting a community clean-up event, including a Los Angeles River clean-up site at Taylor Yard.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Turtles, Ballona Bikes, Dorothy Green and more!

October 25, 2008 § Leave a comment

Here are some on-line videos that all us creek freaks might enjoy:

>Los Angeles Times account of Aquarium of the Pacific’s healing and release of an injured San Gabriel River sea turtle (Great video – with fascinating x-rays of broken turtle flipper bones. Kudos to the great work of the Aquarium of the Pacific staff and the Times’ Louis Sahagun. There are also sea lions in the San Gabriel River.)

>KTLA news coverage of Ballona Creek Bike Path issues (via LA Streetsblog, includes Ballona Creek Renaissance’s Jim Lamm)

>Dorothy Green with Creek Freak bloggers (Jessica and Joe) talking with Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes on the city’s L.A. River Report public information channel

>Hook TV on How to fish for carp in the Los Angeles River

>Jeffrey Tipton’s Montage on the July 2008 Los Angeles River Boating Expedition organized by George Wolfe (Coming soon: an actual high production value trailer about this expedition. Also, check out George’s kayak commute video.)

>A group I don’t know about called LA River Story has done a somewhat accurate trio of documentaries beginning with San Fernando Valley tributaries: The Great Wall of Los Angeles Mural on the Tujunga Wash, the adjacent Tujunga Wash Greenway, and what they’re calling the beginning of the river in Chatsworth.

>Turn Here’s Down by the (L.A.) River (How many errors can you spot in Creek Freak Joe Linton’s brief appearance? Be grateful that I don’t plan to blog on restaurant recommendations any time soon.)

>Meeting of Styles Graffiti Murals Event (These murals were later painted out)

>Insidious Bliss (A bleak and beautiful documentary on crystal meth addiction and homelessness in the Glendale Narrows stretch of the L. A. River)

and lastly a couple of not entirely successful attempts at Los Angeles River Humor:

>Stewart Paap in search of the LA River (“Easy access, huh?”)

>Deep Sea Fishing in Studio City (My favorite part of this are the outtakes and the brief scene where the actor steps around the construction fence – I plan to blog soon about my frustration that the city of Los Angeles’ Studio City Riverwalk has been fenced off for more than a year.)

A New Vision for Studio City Golf and Tennis

October 15, 2008 § 5 Comments

Creek freak headed for Studio City last night to witness the unveiling of a new vision plan for the Studio City Golf and Tennis site.  For those of you unfamilar with the site, it’s a 22-acre parcel on the north bank of the Los Angeles River.  The site is bounded by Whitsett Avenue, Valley Spring Lane, and Bellaire Avenue.

The back story: For more than fifty years, the site has been the home of Weddington Golf & Tennis – a popular private recreational facility.  With property values soaring in recent years, the site’s owners are seeking to develop housing at the site.  The latest proposal (gory details available here) calls for 200 senior condominiums in six four-story buildings with 635 parking spaces.  Neighbors have been nearly unanimous in their vocal opposition to housing development at the site, for many reasons, including increased traffic and loss of access to the planned Los Angeles River greenway.

Last night, there were about a hundred people gathered at the Studio City Residents Association (SCRA) meeting at the Beverly Garland Hotel.  The meeting was opened by board president Alan Dymond who framed the night’s presentations by emphasizing the regional connections for the site to cleanse stormwater pollution, and to connect to a future revitalized Los Angeles River.  He stated that the river “won’t be like San Antonio” but “will be a lot better than it looks right now.”  He emphasized that the Golf & Tennis volunteer committee of the SCRA is shifting beyond local parochial issues to elevate the struggle to regional significance.  To demonstrate this, the committee has changed their name from “Save Studio City Golf & Tennis” to “Save Los Angeles River Open Space in Studio City.”  The site is regionally significant in that it really is the only river-adjacent large undeveloped parcel in the East Valley.  There’s no other promising river park site between the Sepulveda Basin and Weddington Park (about five miles.)

SCRA and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) hired Community Conservancy International (CCI) to oversee the creation of an alternative plan for the site.  CCI oversaw a 6-month process that included engaging BlueGreen and other consultants to work with the community to generate a vision for the future of the site.

The plan looks great!  I will post images of it here when they’re made available after presentation to the SMMC board next week.  The four goals of the vision plan are: 1) Improve water quality and water conservation, 2) Create a regional public access and staging area for the future Los Angeles River greenway, 3) Restore native habitat, and 4) Integrate historic recreational uses (that would be golf and tennis.)

The proposal calls for a regional park that cleanses stormwater that would flow onto the site from about 100 acres worth of adjacent residential neighborhoods.  Runoff would be directed into creekbed bioswales, which will slow down the flows, and naturally cleanse the water.  This green multi-benefit appoach also recharges underground aquifers to increase water supply, lessens flooding, and provides habitat and green space for humans to walk, bike and picnic.  The design preserves some existing mature tree canopy, mostly along Valley Spring Lane, while adding native California vegetation.  The 9-hole golf course would be removed, but the driving range, putting area, clubhouse and 16 tennis courts would remain (and could serve as a revenue source for ongoing park expenses.)  These recreational amenities would become multiple purpose features – the driving range would serve as a overflow area for larger storm events, the tennis courts would have cisterns and infiltration units below ground.  Mercifully, no additional parking is proposed.

The crowd was generally supportive of the vision presented.  Some concerns about security were expressed, and many expressed skepticism about negoitating with the current owner, who hasn’t been particularly responsive to community concerns.  The team wouldn’t put a dollar value estimate on the site… the land itself was astronomical (at least prior to the recent market downturn) and with 22 acres of park, creek freak guesses that it won’t be less than $25 million.  The volunteer committee handed out envelopes and requested donations to pay for additional studies to refine the broad plan.  CCI’s Esther Feldman stressed that this is a tremendous opportunity and that “the way to get public funds is to offer public benefits.”  With a vision of creative stormwater cleansing and greenway connections, it looks like Studio City is on the right track, but it’s going to take plenty of hard work, creative design, and savvy negotiations to bring this vision to fruition. 

To get involved in this project, email the SCRA at “scraboard {at} studiocityresidents.org” Updated 8/10/2009 – new contact email: saveopenspace [at] SLAROS.org

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