Sunday, February 6, 2011

Threatened Wilderness

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.

--John Muir

When the Arcadia Woodlands were razed last month, most of us were stunned. It was a reckless decision carried out with little discussion and an almost gleeful disregard for public outcry. The echoes of all those chainsaws and bulldozers still reverberate, making it hard not to imagine warnings from the spirit guides that surely must haunt our Arroyo corridor. We have paved so much of paradise. For decades we have slashed and buried because it was easy or handy or politically connected. But we simply can't destroy all of our wild places in the name of convenience. We have so few green spaces left, we must use our best minds to find ways to manage the needs of civilization without decimating our natural wonders.

Which brings me to nearby Hahamongna Watershed Park. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is leaning toward turning much of it into yet another dumping ground. (CORRECTION: they are leaning toward destroying much of the habitat in order to remove debris. The end result is the same: it means turning much of this beautiful wilderness into a wasteland.) Our good friend Petrea over at Pasadena Daily Photo has studied this developing story with great interest. Please take a look at her post from yesterday and follow the links for more information, as well as ways to help.

I will include more information here in the coming weeks.


Judy Williams said...

It's a travesty to even think that yet another beautiful forested area can be bulldozed for the "benefit" of mankind. I wish more people would see that we are just small part of the integral whole. We don't rule it. We should just figure out ways to be a part of it.

This image just screams to me. Trees are one of natures most wonderful treasures.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Laurie. Hahamongna is beloved to so many. I'll be posting about it regularly to keep people up to date. Anyone interested in finding out more can join the Hahmongna Walkabout on February 19th. The link is on my blog.

TheChieftess said...

Hang in there!!!
I love the photo!!!

Michelle said...

This is crazy. Do they think that this silt issue can't be solved in another way? Thanks for keeping all of us up to date, Laurie and Petrea.

Petrea said...

I should make one gentle correction. LA County's plan is not to make Hahamongna into a dumping ground, but rather to remove the 50 acres of vegetation just north of the Devil's Gate dam and to keep it removed, thus rendering a huge portion of Hahamongna barren.

The removed silt and waste will be transported to dumping grounds in Irwindale and Arcadia, if I have that right. 300-400 truckloads per day, five days a week, May to December, for three years running.

The silt must be removed. My contention, and that of many others, is that LA County should consider less invasive options. They have reviewed no options at all.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

"300-400 truckloads per day, five days a week, May to December, for three years running."

(add that to your 210 commute; and the amount of pea gravel marking up your windshield)

Seriously absurd.

dbdubya said...

That doesn't look like any trees I know of in South Pasadena, Arcadia, or Pasadena. Sequoia or the Redwoods perhaps? Beautiful perspective.

Question for Patrea - I have not paid a lot of attention to the Hahamongna story. I'm familiar with the location though. Is the silt to be removed what's behind Devil's Gate Dam? If so, I'm not sure what other options are available, other than raising the height of the dam which would inundate other areas. Devil's Gate controls the flow of the Arroyo Seco and it's necessary to avoid downstream flooding. The County doesn't do a good job of keeping their debris basins cleared until it's too late. What's ironic is that the Arcadia location where the silt will be taken is probably the one that was created when they razed the Arcadia Woodlands. Now that was a project where there were other alternatives.

Let me know what I'm missing.

Petrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Petrea said...

dbdubya, I don't think anyone disagrees that the silt has to be removed. The dispute is about the method of removal. The County has not investigated alternatives to removing 50 acres of wildlife habitat along with the silt. Those against this method think there might be other ways.

In most cases, an Environmental Impact Report would be required. But LA County has used the Station Fire (which will be two years past by the time they start work) to call an emergency and bypass the usual EIRs.

Laurie said...

Thanks, Petrea. I've corrected my wording in the post, but the end result is the same. Destruction. And destruction without thoughtful discussion of alternatives.