Don't the trees along Arroyo Drive look beautiful this time of year? By the way, I have a new column going up at South Pasadena Patch sometime this morning. It's all about one of my favorite subjects: South Pasadena's many, many trees. Our city has a history of protecting and cherishing our trees, and our community is all the better for it.
Meanwhile, construction is set to begin Wednesday on LA county's controversial Santa Anita Dam Riser Modification and Reservoir Sediment Removal Project. Why is this of interest to me? Because the proposed project would decimate nearby Arcadia Woodlands. Arcadia is slated to lose some 179 legacy oak trees, many over a hundred years in age. This woodland area also includes sycamores, California bay, elderberry, toyon, sugar bush and dozens of other native plant species. It provides a natural habitat for deer, bears, owls, hawks and bats as well as countless species of birds. If the county moves forward, it will turn a thriving, dynamic, regenerative, intact ecosystem (as well as a natural groundwater storage area) into a dump for sediment. And it won't just be the trees and animals who will suffer if the region is destroyed. The area is particularly hospitable to human beings, too. It is located at the northern end of an accessible urban trail that is level, flat and easily enjoyed by children and the elderly.
Several alternatives have been presented by concerned citizens, all of which have been rejected or passed off as unfeasible. I'm not blindly advocating that trees take precedence over dam safety or that flood control isn't a major (not to mention historical) issue in LA County. But in my opinion, officials have been at best disingenuous about this issue. When it comes to the grave decision to destroy a precious natural habitat -- one that can never be recreated -- the powers that be had damn well better exhaust all options before bringing in the bulldozers. Once a grove of century old trees is buried in sludge, it's too late to realize there might have been a wiser alternative.
Please join me in asking that LA County spare one of our few remaining woodlands by signing this online petition. So far, over 1300 concerned people have added their names to the list. If you are feeling particularly inspired, LA County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's office phone number is 213-974-5555. He might be able to help, and would certainly be more inclined if enough people bugged him about it.
For more information, Arcadia Patch is providing great up-to-date coverage of this developing story. Sierra Madre Patch also has an interesting article here. I'm not the only one putting out the call for support. See Pasadena Adjacent for a list of other bloggers who want to save the Arcadia Woodlands.
UPDATE 4:25PM: Damn. Pasadena Star News is reporting that environmentalists lost the appeal. Razing of Arcadia Woodlands is slated to begin as scheduled tomorrow.