Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sediment and Sand

Although the January 25th meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee was well attended, it was a low-key affair. Folks were calm and polite. But if there had been any sand at Casita del Arroyo, one might have seen toes drawing lines in it.

Many citizens don't want Hahamongna to be another Arcadia Woodlands disaster,
LA County is all set with its Post Station Fire Sediment Removal Project for Hahamongna
the Committee (HWPAC) has procedures to follow. It's not always easy to know which way they're going to go.

But Tuesday night their toes were showing.

Highlights of the discussion:

Past Committee chair Tim Wendler expressed that he would like to see alternatives to the current plan that would "cause less environmental impact." (Basically, the 50 acres just north of Devil's Gate Dam will be freed of vegetation and kept that way, if the County is true to its word.)

LA County's Ken Zimmer said there are no alternatives to the plan.

Apparently not satisfied with Mr. Zimmer's answer, a Committee member whose nameplate I couldn't see asked him if alternatives had been studied.
He said there were no alternatives.
The Committee member rephrased her question. "Did the County study the possibility of reinforcing the [Devil's Gate] dam without tearing out acres of wildlife?"

"That possibility was not studied," said Mr. Zimmer.

The committee asked the County to return with alternatives to the current plan. Whether the County will do so remains to be seen. Maybe they don't have to. Maybe they can just kick that sand in the public's face.

Obviously I don't have a good feeling about this. I hope to be proven wrong.

The next meeting is currently scheduled for March 22nd, 6pm. As soon as I know the location, I'll notify you.

In the photo:
Pasadena city staff member Loren Pluth operates the computer as staff member Rosa Laveaga watches the screen. Committee members had visited nature centers in other cities to get inspiration for the Environmental Education Center planned for the Hahamongna Annex. But that's another story.

Check out Laurie Barlow's Post about it here.

THIS JUST IN from Altadena Patch:
If you want to find solutions and prevent the destruction of Hahamongna Watershed Park, come to an organizational meeting of environmental activists:
  • Where: 1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107 (Eaton Canyon Nature Center)
  • Date: January 29, 2011
  • Time: 10:00am
  • In the wake of the destruction of the Arcadia Woodlands and concerns over the sediment removal plans for Hahamongna, a group of local environmentalists are meeting to discuss forming a local environmental coalition.
    The idea would be to have a group that could help influence public environmental policy in a positive direction.
    Members of the local Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and other organizations will be in attendance.
    The meeting will take place at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center.  All are welcome.
  • Features: Open to All, Volunteer
  • Email: 


Katie said...

Here's hoping a decent alternative plan is brought back to the table. I'm not keen on the actual table, but that lamp is very cool, as are the beams of this room.

Susan Campisi said...

I've added the March meeting to my calendar. Thanks for the heads up. How can the County repeatedly get away with destroying this area with impunity? It's infuriating. I want to do something but I'm not sure what to do. Hmmm... must brainstorm that today.

On a lighter note, I agree with Katie: very cool lamp and ceiling beams.

Steven said...

The first thing I noticed was the lamp. It has a prairie school design and has a Frank Lloyd Wright look to it. Nice.
I think you are correct in your thinking about this project. It has been my experience that many of these "open to the public" meeting decisions are really decided behind closed doors.

Bellis said...

They don't need to find alternatives - the previous Governor signed an emergency order, giving them carte blanche to clear the area behind the dam and bypass the strict environmental impact assessments. Maybe it's up to us to come up with an alternative? How about leaving some willow tree islands in the lake that will form there in the rainy season, as at the Hansen dam? Such islands make great nesting and roosting places for herons, egrets, cormorants.

Any other ideas?

Petrea said...

Hee hee, Katie, it's not much of a table, is it? But functional.

Susan, apparently some of it is county property, as is the Arcadia "woodlands." What's frustrating is it sounds like certain alternative plans, such as leaving the trees there to mitigate debris flow, would actually work better to protect the dam. But we won't know unless we study that now, will we?

Steven, I got the feeling that the committee felt that, too.

Bellis, I like your plan. I hope you'll present it at the 3/22 meeting.

Lori Webster said...

I like Bellis' plan as well. But I don't understand how a governor can override a required environmental impact study. Just doesn't seem right, but none of this does.

Hoping for a good outcome....

Susan Campisi said...

Can we appeal to the new governor to overturn the former's emergency order?

Am I being naive?

Petrea said...

The beginning of an answer: a meeting Saturday morning at Eaton Canyon Nature Center. I've put the info in the post.

Susan Campisi said...

Great. Thanks for the info. I'll be there.

Pascal Jim said...

The Ha Ha Education Center.

Rosa an her group are still planning an educational center, this to be funded by California Park Funds NOT yet received. Gov. Brown's trimming of the budget will probably torpedo this project. So, we are paying salaries for Pasadena City Public Works for more Pie In The Sky...

Forgive my grumpiness today, its Election Time in District One...

Virginia said...

I love how passionate you folks are about your community!!! I also love how you took a butt numbing public meeting and turned it into a great photograph!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm curious, did they show graphics of the perimeter of the 50 acres? Are they removing all growth between the east trail and the oak park? Beyond JPL?

My fears (and personal experience) were expressed by Steven.

Also, by the time I found out about this meeting, it was too late to attend. You miss a lot of things on FB and twitter

Petrea said...

I got to express my views about "nature centers" at the meeting. I find them to be oxymoronic. I hope you're correct about the funding, Jim.

It should be made clear that city staff do not create or spearhead this projects (as I was told by Pasadena PIO, Ann Erdman). Staff works at the behest of the City Council and follows Council's instructions.

It was a bit butt-numbing, Virginia. It makes me appreciate people who work on these committees and in other areas of public service. I wouldn't want their jobs.

South of JPL, PA. I direct you to the County's plan for silt removal in Hahamongna.

I recommend the pdf. The Power Point presentation wouldn't open on my Mac.
See page 27.

I hope you and Steven are incorrect, but if that's the case, then I'm afraid a certain Mr. Antonovich has lost at least one vote. Anyone else I should put on my list?

Laurie said...

Oh Petrea, what a great shot.

I am still reeling from what happened in Arcadia -- the utter senselessness of it as well as the cavalier bullshit from the officials.

I think you and I have both come to truly treasure the history this Arroyo-adjacent region. LA is so numbskulled about preservation on so many levels, I think it really is up to all of us to make noise and take stands.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Laurie. I agree, and we can't do it alone. I hope folks can come Saturday morning and see what we kind of noise we can make together.

I want to mention, for those in District 4, that I met Jill Fosselman and asked her specifically about her stand on soccer fields and building in Hahamongna Watershed Park. She is with us. I suggest folks ask these questions of those running in their districts. Elections are coming up in several districts. (Speaking of District One, PJ, Ms. Robinson was a severe disappointment in the Hahamongna soccer field department.)

I was there. said...

Whoa and hey!

YOU CAN WAIT FOR MARCH 22 but you will be too late. Los Angeles County Public Works will proceed by April 26, 2011. It took until Tuesday's meeting to approve to distribute the information and testimony from the November 30th, 2010 meeting. Whatever is said during the next meeting will not be acted upon until it is approved by the committee's May 24th meeting....TOO LATE.

@PASCAL JIM: According to a letter, dated Jan, 3, 2011 addressed
TO: Gail Farber, Director,
County of Los Angeles,
Department of Public Works,
900 South Fremont Ave., 12th Floor
Alhambra, CA 91803

FROM: Martin Pastucha, Director of PASADENA Public Works, he is no longer on the job!

Who is minding the store while we are short a Director of PUBLIC WORKS? The Assistant City Manager, and the City Engineer.

Let's help them all we can understand the gravity of this situation.

We have to write to the Federal Government. This is the only way to override the State. Dept. of the Interior, Ken Salazar...copy every department...especially FISH & GAME. There are endangered species in the Arroyo.

Isn't it tragic that the same sediment removed and destroying one place to crush and destroy another?

Petrea said...

I was there: Come to the meeting Saturday morning. Let's get organized.

Petrea said...

By the way, in response to PA's comment about finding out about the meetings too late: me, too. It took me a while but I've finally figured it out.

The committee "meetings are scheduled to occur on the 4th Tuesday of the odd-numbered month unless otherwise re-scheduled." I found that info on the first link you'll find in this post, "Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee."

The meetings are usually at 6PM and finished by 8 or 8:30. They are often at La Casita del Arroyo but not always. Bookmark the site and check back for updates on date and location, as well as meeting minutes.

So, March 22, 6pm. I'll let you know the location as soon as I know.

And tomorrow, 10am, Eaton Canyon Nature Center. Come at 9:30 for snacks and social time.

Petrea said...

Okay, there's some disagreement on the listserv about that 9:30 time. Apparently you might get coffee if you come early. You might also be asked to set up. That's social...

jb said...

Beautifully balanced image

Petrea said...

Thank you, jb, how nice.