Saturday, July 23, 2011

Phase I

Remember our Last Day Project? For one year, on the last day of every month we stood in this spot at Hahamongna Watershed Park and looked out over Johnson Field, watching it change with the seasons.

A few hundred yards away, Devil's Gate Dam was backing up with sediment. After years of neglect plus a Station Fire and two seasons of heavy rain, the sediment must now be removed. Much discussion has ensued about how to do so, and it looks like a two-phase plan will soon begin. In order to pacify those who don't want debris-laden trucks on their street, the first phase could involve LA County piling sediment in Johnson Field as soon as the annual toad population clears out.

Toads hang out in wet places. They're about the size of a thumbnail and the color of a pebble. Because they run and hide when I come near them the pictures I've gotten are lousy, but Walt Mancini of the Pasadena Star-News got a good one. The toads will go away when the water dries. It's drying now.

I'm glad the County is willing to wait for the toads to leave. Let's be honest, these little guys are being saved long enough to get eaten by snakes and coyotes, but that's better for the ecosystem than a pile of sediment. Then again, a pile of sediment is better for a city than a failed dam in a flood.

So it looks like we might have a decent compromise, at least for now. Nobody gets everything they want but everybody gets something. That's democracy, and it's beautiful when it works. The coyotes and snakes will need to go somewhere when the trucks come. They know all about compromise. They'll likely end up in the yards of the people who didn't want trucks on their street. Are coyotes in the yard better than trucks on the street? If you live alongside Hahamongna, you may not have a choice.

I'm not crazy about piling sediment in Johnson Field, but I'm crazy about compromise. It's the only way unless we want a monarchy, and I wouldn't vote for that.

There will be a Phase II.

The next meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee will take place at 6pm this coming Tuesday, July 26th at the Pasadena City Yards - Training Room, 233 West Mountain Street, Second Floor, Pasadena 91103. On the agenda: Update on the LACDPW Post Station Fire Sediment Removal Project.

27 comments:

dive said...

I don't think I've ever said this to a woman before, Petrea, but you have cute toads. The toads in my garden (and occasionally my kitchen floor if I leave the door ajar) are fist-sized gargoyle-faced lumps coloured a uniform dark grey and are nowhere near as endearing.

What a shame they can't find a better use for the sediment. It would make fantastic top-dressing for people's flower beds and vegetable gardens so if they had any sense they'd bag the stuff up and sell it to the locals rather than dump it somewhere that's going to choke a natural drainage system.

Johnson Field looks beautiful in this week's photo. I wish it could stay that way.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm going to miss the ring of Palms; especially the two silver fan palms

mllegramophone said...

Thanks for the notice of the meeting. I've tried to subscribe to all meeting announcements but rarely do I get them that way.

Should I take it personally?On some things, I am NOT crazy about compromise. In certain instances, I detest compromise and see it as betrayal...not a so-called love of monarchy.

Petrea Burchard said...

I would like to see those gargoyle toads, Dive. They sound so historically British. And I agree about the sediment. I believe LA County and Pasadena are missing an opportunity here. My yard could use some good topsoil but I don't have the means to haul it out of there.

PA, while I too this photo I lamented those palms. More, though, I grieve the mature deciduous tree at the north end of the basinby the water fountain. I don't think any of them can survive what's about to happen.

MG, here's the HWPAC website. It's not easy to find. The update for next week's meeting wasn't added until after 4:30 yesterday, but at least it's there.

MG, I understand and respect you. I want them to remove the sediment via conveyor belt, without making any noise or kicking up dust. I want no trucks in the basin and no disruption of habitat. In fact, I want there not to be any sediment at all. Am I going to get that? No. So what's the best I'm going to get? Somewhere between that and the worst.

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

The King of Spain is beloved. The Gypsy Kings are loved.

mllegramophone said...

LADPW is currently using conveyor belts to remove sediment from behind the Santa Anita Dam. There's no reason they can't do that here.

Save the caving for Werner Hertzog.

mllegramophone said...

"to pacify those who don't want debris-laden trucks on their street,"

You don't mean this the way it sounds, right? You mean, it is a delay in debris-laden trucks rumbling through a neighborhood. The people that live west of Windsor should not have to put up with diesel truck fumes, noise, dust, all day-everyday for years to come. It's a health hazard, not just to residents but to workers too.

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”

- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

Petrea Burchard said...

There's no reason the conveyor belts shouldn't be used at Devil's Gate, MG.

I'm not talking about Phase II here. I'm speaking of Phase I. The battle over Phase II, in which there should be no trucks on those streets and in which the conveyor belts must be used, has barely begun.

Bellis said...

I'm going to miss the palm trees too. And the toads are now the size of tangerines. Lots of them are hopping around the water fountain hoping for some overspill.

Those trucks will eventually have to go along Windsor, unless by some miracle the LADWP invests in a conveyor belt or chooses to truck out via La Canada - so doesn't this compromise just delay the inevitable? Windsor's not a quiet country road - it carries impatient traffic to and from the JPL car park and north Altadena every weekday. I know, because they're always annoyed with me for keeping to the 35 speed limit.

There's another downside to storing the sediment on Johnson Field - one summertime thunderstorm could wash it all away again.

There are some good monarchs. Wait till Charles becomes King. He's a dedicated conservationist who practises what he preaches - his farms are a model of how to preserve the countryside and keep the livestock happy.

Bellis said...

Forgot to say THANK YOU for starting your photo series again. This time, the field is going to change dramatically. I wonder if they'll even let us walk down there?

John Sandel said...

The demand for freedom seeds democracy; compromise waters the bloom. Gardening can be hard labor but the fruits justify the means.

Petrea Burchard said...

When I was there on Wednesday there were teeny, tiny toads in a couple of spots I won't mention, because they're so vulnerable. They scatter like raindrops when approached.

I'm not convinced Windsor has to be used at all. It's miles out of the way, a waste of gas and time.

Speaking of Windsor, it sounds like it's too bad Charles doesn't have more actual power.

I don't think this will be a series, but I'll do another shot or two of Johnson Field as this progresses, to keep folks up to date.

JS, that sounds like a statesman's speech, but I'll bet it's yours.

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

Thank you, Petrea. You have been tweeted, tumbled, and 'ster'd

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Patrizzi. Keep me on my toes, please.

Bellis said...

Wow, more tiny teeny toads? They'll not move out the area by the start of August. Does the biologist employed by LADWP know this? I've been told that all the small holes in the banks to the east of Johnson Field are the homes of toads.

LADWP should invest in a modern conveyor belt system to spare the people of Windsor from truck traffic. It's ironic that an organization based at Hahamonga (JPL) is driving a vehicle around Mars while the County still uses such antiquated soil removal methods.

Anonymous said...

OH the irony!

BTW, in the paper it cites a Pasadena city biologist (?), and Pasadena city engineer Dan Rix... Pasadena Public Works Department doing the caving, not LADPW. They're just waiting.

Petrea Burchard said...

There are toads all along the east and north sides of Johnson Field right now. All sizes. If these biologists actually study the site, which I presume is their job, it's impossible for them not to know this.

Mlle Gramophone says LADPW already has conveyor belts. I wonder why they don't want to use them at Devil's Gate. Using trucks instead seems soooo 1950's. We're talking Los Angeles, here. You and I can find better technology on the web. Why can't the LADPW do the same?

Anonymous, thanks for the clarification. I'll ask one from you: who's waiting, Pasadena or LA County?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the railroad tracks that once paralleled Windsor were abandoned some forty years ago.

So much for planning....

Pascaljim

Susan Campisi said...

I'm so busy and tired these days, I have a hard time maintaining the fight to save Hahamongna. And yet it's a battle that requires constant vigilance. I'm glad that you continue to write about it, and I really appreciate Patrizzi's unwavering dedication. And, each time I read about it, I get fired up again. What should we do? Should we call Antonovich's office and ask why the conveyor belt option is not being used?

Petrea Burchard said...

Pascal Jim, railroad tracks sure would've come in handy.

Susan, it's okay. Some brilliant people have been at this for 25 years. Everyone gets tired sometimes (I do). Patrizzi has been amazing and when she gets tired the rest of us will still be there.

Come to the HWPAC meeting Tuesday if you can (details in the post) and let's find out what's next.

And let's wholeheartedly support Patrizzi's idea of permanent protections for Hahamongna.

Virginia said...

This makes me wish once again, that I could paint. If I could I'd paint this glorious image P. I love your part of our world... a lot.
V

Petrea Burchard said...

Merci, V.

Margaret said...

I'll just say that your picture is gorgeous.

Desiree said...

Great tip!

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

Where is April, May, June?

Petrea Burchard said...

See my other comment, hon. We did "Last Day" for one year, 9/09-8/10. Later photographs tagged "last day" are related but not part of the project. Sorry for the confusion.