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Century-old grove of oaks and sycamores to be cleared

January 7, 2011 |  5:47 pm

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