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Century-old grove of oaks and sycamores to be cleared

Saying delays will be costly and put homeowners at risk, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved the removal of nearly 200 coast live oaks and sycamores in a San Gabriel Valley canyon in order to clear sediment behind the Santa Anita Reservoir.

A citizens group had blocked the project, arguing that the 11-acre area they call Arcadia Woodlands is a rare piece of open space and last month persuaded Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to order a 30-day delay to study possible alternatives that could spare the century-old grove.

But a 100-page environmental impact report sent to the supervisors Thursday concluded that failure to remove the accumulation behind the dam might plug and damage the dam's valves, which the report called critical for flood control and water conservation.

The state Department of Water Resources' Division of Safety of Dams directed the county to "proceed without further delay" following several extensions granted while the environmental report was completed and regulatory permits acquired. Work will begin Jan. 12.

-- Julie Cart

Comments () | Archives (6)

So sad.

This is just all about where to dump the sediment once it is dredged up from behind the dam; in other words, nowhere else in the entire County of Los Angeles can be found empty, unused and otherwise wasted space to dump the silt, and the only possible solution is to wipe out a natural, hundred-year old growth of Oaks that many believe are a major community resource. The next action item on the agenda of the Board of Supervisors will be to find about a million dollars to plant a hundred oak trees as an open-space public park project. They will then claim they are enhancing some blighted neighborhood, and pat each other on the back as being eco-friendly, green and altogether "with it." This act is an act of vandalism, plain and simple.
Yes, the reservoir needs to be de-silted, and residents do have the expectation that it will get done. But certainly the Board has to assess costs and benefits! What exactly is the "cost" to the cultural and physical environment of a neighborhood when a grove of old Oaks is mowed down? It can not be measured in dollars and cents. It is a serious loss, and will never be made up. You can not just plant hundred year old trees....it takes a hundred years to do it. The 12th of January, 2011, is indeed a"Day that will live in infamy" in the annals of the Board of Supervisors of the Great City of Los Angeles. The touch of the first chain saw on the trunk of the first tree to be attacked will for ever scar the name of this County. Oh, yes: the contractor will get paid, and to the workers of the Tree Service or County, it will be just an other day on the job. " Hack'em up, boys! Them's just trees!"

Those trees have been there for a century, and the county government has not thought they needed this land before for dumping silt. In the 1980s, Pacoima Dam, in the San Fernando Valley, overflowed, and a huge channel was carved out in the land below it, a channel that was easily ten feet deep and wide and that endangered houses along the edge of the field as it moved within fifteen feet of Gridley Street, the edge of the neighborhood, simply because no one bothered to dredge the dam. Of course, when they did dredge the dam, they dumped the silt on the land beneath the dam. The office of the city councilman at that time promised that things would be fixed - they were not, and clouds of dust that traveled miles across the San Fernando Valley were the norm, until the day the councilman spoke at the local elementary school - and when he walked outside, and I was waiting to confront him with the problem, the breeze picked up, and the air was filled with choking dust. Then, and only then, did he agree to have the filled-in wash seeded before the rains. Seems to me that LA County has a long history of environmental degradation - and that nothing, nothing will change this other than spirited protest and perhaps legal action.

Removing sediment from the dam does not to require the razing of the oak woodland. Unfortunately the County has linked the two.

The following blogs united yesterday to protest the County's plans.
Altadena Hiker
Ballona Blog
Breathing Treatment
Pasadena Real Estate Blog with Brigham Yen
Chance of Rain
Echo Landscape Design
Greensward Civitas
L. A. Creek Freak
L.A. Ecovillage Blog
L.A. Ecovillage Gardener's Weblog
Pasadena Adjacent
Pasadena Daily Photo
Slow Water Movement
The Sky is Big in Pasadena
Temple City Daily Photo
Weeding Wild Suburbia

The County has other options but this being the cheapest. What a bunch of Scum bags.

That sediment rightly belongs in the stream channel below the dam, where it will be transported downstream and replenish beaches.

It should not be taken out of the stream, it should be dumped below the dam a little at a time so the stream can wash it away without the channel getting clogged up.


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