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Century-old oaks may make way -- for silt

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

Comments () | Archives (8)

Couldn't they fill no-longer-used gravel pits instead, and turn them into parks?

This is tragic , destructive and short-sighted! Certainly there must be an alternative site for the silt, one with a much smaller environmental impact! Save the trees, Supervisor Antonovich! Tell Public Works to find another place.

Sounds like VA Beach,VA, Same method of operations Exactly! Cut down old growth, replace with saplings.

They passed a law a few years ago that the logging companies cannot cut the old-growth redwoods in northern California. That's when the people that were camping in those trees for 20 years finally came down.
Can't they use that prescedent to protect the old growth oaks here in Los Angeles County?

Some enterprising journo might look to see if there is a corrupt relationship between the contractor and the contractee, the one removing the tree and hauling the (possibly toxic - anyone looked into that?) sludge/silt.

why take down a natural tree farm to storage some silt. how underhanded and ecologically stupid. tree clearing destabilises land.

Put it in trains and move it to farming areas to be turned in compost.

Mindless. The people who want to needlessly destroy the oaks and sycamores in this grove are evil. These trees cannot be replaced. There is no legitamite excuse for the trees to be destroyed to make room for a river bed dump! Shameless.


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