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Century-old oaks may make way -- for silt

December 4, 2010 | 10:47 am

Oak trees

On a southern-facing slope of the San Gabriel Mountains, Glen Owens strode through the dappled sunlight of century-old oaks and sycamores that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works wants to replace with muck dredged from a nearby reservoir.

Eyeing the trees marked for removal with strips of black-and-white ribbons nailed to their trunks, Owens shook his head in dismay.

"I've got the same feeling I get when I see cattle on their way to slaughter," he said. "Don't get me wrong -- I'm not a doggone tree-hugger. It's just that sometimes making the world a better place means saving the better things in it."

Owens is a leader in an eleventh-hour campaign to prevent the county from cutting down 179 coast live oaks and an estimated 70 sycamores in an 11-acre canyon area overlooking Arcadia that is scheduled to become a spreading ground for 500,000 cubic yards of silt, rocks and vegetation scooped out of Santa Anita Reservoir.

Yielding to pressure, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on Friday called for a 30-day delay in the sediment-removal project to study possible alternatives that could spare the trees that locals have come to call the Arcadia Woodlands.

Read the full story here.

-- Louis Sahagun

Photo: Glen Owens points to a woodpecker nest under a canopy of oak trees scheduled to be removed. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times