Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bobcats in the Back Yard

A who's who of LA County environmentalists showed up at Eaton Canyon Nature Center yesterday morning to make plans--for Hahamongna and for the future. As can be expected from a first meeting of many minds, it was inconclusive.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works plans to clear fifty acres of sediment from behind the Devil's Gate dam. I think most people agree the sediment must be removed. The problem is that LADPW has disingenuously used the Station Fire (now a year and a half gone) to declare an emergency, bypass the usual Environmental Impact Reports and tear out fifty acres of natural vegetation along with the sediment. They have investigated no alternatives.

Hahmongna is a sensitive wildlife area, a natural watershed. This is coyote habitat. It's hawk, kingfisher, rabbit, heron, rattlesnake, bobcat, ground squirrel, etc. habitat. Where are these creatures going to go, into the neighborhoods? (Yes. They'll go into the neighborhoods.)

What can you do?

Visit Hahamongna. Learn why it's important. There will be a Hahamongna Walkabout Saturday, February 19th from 9:00am - 12:00pm.
Get Educated. Read the County DPW's plan.

Demand a full environmental review.
Is there an election coming up in your district? Ask your candidates where they stand on this issue and what they plan to do about it. Regardless of what district you're in, your Pasadena City Council person votes on the fate of Hahamongna.

I've talked a lot about Hahamongna this week. PDP is not going to be All Hahamongna All The Time. But Hahamongna is dear to my heart, so I hope you won't mind me updating you on the status of this surprising gem of open space in the midst of our city.

About the photo:

I don't often get a chance to view Hahamongna Watershed Park from the north. I took this shot less than a week ago, looking down from above The Meadows. I hope you'll click on the photo to enlarge it.

Some features:

-the jewely pools on the left are catch basins controlled by Pasadena Water and Power. The green areas along the left (east) side of the park look that way because we had a good rain this year.

-the tanks in the right foreground belong to JPL. During the Station Fire helicopters were filling up there, so I assume the tanks contain water.

- in the center foreground, the ground is lower than in the green parts. A year ago that area was filled with vegetation. But the spring rains of 2010, then more rains late in the year, came pouring down from the mountains in a rushing stream so powerful it took out acres of growth.

-what may be harder to see is that there is still a lot of water at Hahamongna. The freeway is the light colored band across the right center of the photo. The Devil's Gate dam is slightly left of center. In front of those, the shimmer of high, brown water. Many trees are submerged.


Shell Sherree said...

All the very best for this newest Hahamongna situation, Petrea. It seems like a vulnerable area with regards to development and other questionable notions. If anyone can help to protect and preserve, it's you and your fellow Pasadena and Altadena {and any other 'denas} bloggers.

Mister Earl said...

Great photo! What do they do with the catch basins?

Petrea said...

Thanks, Shell, we're going to try.

Good question, Mister Earl. Pasadena Water and Power uses those basins for moving and storing water during flood season. PWP can control the flow. And right now there are ducks all over the place.

Katie said...

This excellent wide-view photo really expands my understanding of the area. I'm all for more highlights of Hahamongna, especially if it gets people in your area interested in the issues and active in demanding an environmental review.

Bellis said...

This is a great photo for showing which area will be dug out and left permanently sterile. To see which trees will be removed, draw a line from left (east) to right (west) from just below the last (furthest away) green field on the left. The whole area from that line south to the dam (just in front of the freeway) will become a bare sandpit. Quite a lot of it's underwater already, though the black willows can handle that. Later this year, they're all be gone. Plus all the creatures that call it home.Here's hoping for a less drastic solution.

Mister Earl said...

For a better understanding of what will happen to the animals by some top scholars go here:


Petrea said...

With positive encouragement from Shell and Katie, I have delusions of international press over this issue! Thanks, you two, for your support.

I'm concerned for the trees and creatures, Bellis, and also for us. The fewer trees, the more air pollution. And less mitigation of debris flow. I guess some people at LA County need to make a mess of this so they'll have job security.

Earl, you and your scholarly friends have some interesting ideas!

Cafe Pasadena said...

With or without Hahamongna, our area is already coyote, hawk, rabbit, squirrel, and unfortunately, feline, habitat, Haha!

Susan Campisi said...

Great photo, Petrea. You and Bellis are helping me to better understand the Hahamonga environment. I spent yesterday afternoon reading the county plan and became very disheartened as I couldn't figure out what steps to take. Thank you for listing some actions.

Antonovich is up for reelection in 2012. It probably won't amount to anything but I'm calling his office tomorrow to ask for an environmental review.

TheChieftess said...

I like that you all are pushing for to look at all options before destroying an environment like this!

Petrea said...

Cafe, you are correct. 3 and a half miles from Hahamongna, we see the occasional coyote on our street.

Antonovich may have already lost the 2012 election due to the Arcadia Woodlands debacle. He's got a chance to redeem himself here. I think it's a good idea to call his office and I hope a lot of people will. Susan, you've given me a good idea for another post: a list of things people can do.

Chieftess: it's what's normally required, and I think it's cynical of the County to use the Station Fire to declare an emergency here. If it was such an emergency, why did it take them two years to get to it? I don't buy it.

Mister Earl said...

It's an "emergency" the same way the non-renewal of Dan Watson's contract was a "performance review of the city manager."

Steve Scauzillo said...

It's a yeoman's job, Petrea, to stay on top of this issue. Thanks for the different views of the park and the insights. Let it be a lesson to all what happened at the Arcadia Woodlands at the hands of the LA County Department of Public Works.

Steven said...

When will this madness stop? We have plenty of parking lots in this country. Paradise is in short supply.

Petrea said...

Earl, you understand politics.

Good thing I don't have to do this by myself, Steve. I have the Sierra Club, the Arroyo Seco Foundation and many other groups on my side.

It's not going to stop, Steven, unless the population stops growing or people stop being greedy. We just have to keep up as best as we can.

Bellis said...

Glad to report that this evening, the coyotes are still there, but in a new area, clinging to the edges of Johnson Field to escape the rising water levels. The dam is still shut, despite today's rain, so water's accumulating.

How do I know the coyotes are still there? They gave themselves away when they were unable to resist howling and yapping in chorus with a La Canada fire truck siren.

Petrea said...

Thanks for checking on the coyotes, Bellis. I think they're part of what makes Hahamongna special.

Margaret said...

All very interesting, and some very good comments too.