Monthly Archives: March 2008

Upcoming L.A. River Bridges events

Press release:

PANEL DISCUSSION
Thursday, April 10, 7pm at the Getty Center
FREE. Advance reservations required.

As part of its Conservation Matters lecture series, the Getty Conservation Institute hosts a spirited discussion about the debated future plans for the bridges.  Moderated by Larry Mantle, host of 89.3 KPCC’s AirTalk, the panel will include: Eric DeLony, noted bridge historian and author of Landmark American Bridges Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer of the City of Los Angeles Glen Dake, landscape architect and City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commissioner.

For reservations call (310) 440-7300.

“BRIDGE MIX” TOUR AND ACTIVITY DAY
Sunday, April 13, 10am–4 pm
$30, $25 for LAC and FoLAR members; $10 for children 12 and under. Bridge guide available with admission.

This tour and activity day explores the First, Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Street bridges, all of which span the river between downtown and Boyle Heights.  Sites along both banks of the river will feature presentations, explorations, and hands-on activities for both adults and children.  Topics will include architectural history and movie lore, river science and ecology, bridge building and engineering, and the Los Angeles River master plan.  Tour will include special access into the L.A. River basin.

Events co-presented by the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Friends of the Los Angeles  River, and the Getty Conservation Institute.  For information and tickets, visit http://www.laconservancy.org/bridges or call (213) 623-2489.

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Garcetti office clarifies river governance issues…

Mitch O’Farrell of Garcetti’s office (aka CD13) made a presentation at the Atwater Village Residents Association (AVRA) meeting Thursday night (Mar 13) in which he  acknowledged that the River is an absolute mess in terms of governance — there are at least three levels of government (and their agencies) with competing, and/or overlapping, claims of authority to make and enforce rules with regards to practically everything having to do with the River.

Mitch reported that there are inter-governmental (and extra-governemental) efforts underway to form a River Authority, a River Foundation and a River Corporation that would together resolve the situation. He anticipates a River Authority in place as early as this fall, its board make-up being similar to the one of the current River Management and Maintenance task force. This seems to me to be overly optimistic, but that’s what I understood him to be saying.

Mitch reported that in the interim, the actual governing authority for the portion of the L.A. River that runs through Atwater Village is the Army Corps of Engineers. Not CD13.

CD13 staff then handed out a sheet of “helpful phone numbers for River related services that are Atwater Village specific.”

None of the contacts are for CD13, all of them are Army Corps of Engineers — that’s who you’re supposed to call to request “repairs, vegetation, trash pick up, other concerns.” And for “problems that are environmental in nature, not maintenance related,” there’s another ACE number. Finally, for graffiti on the DWP Switching Station’s green tarp, you’re supposed to call the DWP.

In other words, in affirming that the A.C.E. is in charge here, and in providing contacts and numbers, CD13 <i>seems to be</i> backing off from working to ban use of the River in the Atwater Village area. We should be able to sit by the river in peace, again. Yippie!

So: I would encourage anyone encountering problems/intimidation from marauding Park Rangers to be in contact with Friends of the L.A. River, and/or with this blog. The River is yours: use it responsibly and respectfully!

The River gets its green back.

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Above: Late January, after the rains, from the Sunnynook footbridge in the Atwater Village/Glendale Narrows area of the River, which is a section of the river system that has a soil (rather than concrete) bottom.

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Above: Late yesterday afternoon (Sat., March 15).

Since the late ’90s, when Lewis Macadams and Friends of the L.A. River got authorities to halt the DWP’s annual bulldozing of the River bed, this area of the River has spontaneously developed into beautiful, life-filled wilderness. Many species of birds and fish are present–as are trees, reeds and medicinal plants growing from the sandbar islands pictured here.

Open letter from a fisherman on maintaining L.A. River access

Text of open letter from Dave Culver, posted here with his permission….

Mr. Garcetti, Mr. O’Farrell, Mr. Torres, representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, et al:

FISHING IN THE LOS ANGELES RIVER

While I don’t officially represent the Southern Sierra Fly Fishing Club, the Long Beach Casting Club, the Pasadena Casting Club or any other organization whose members sometimes fly fish in the Los Angeles River, I am a Los Angeles County resident and a member of the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Casting Club. Accordingly I have an interest in the issue of fishing access to the Los Angeles River.

Safety of Consuming Fish from the Los Angeles River
I am personally acquainted with many people who fish the portion of the Los Angeles River that is adjacent to Atwater Village. I have heard of nobody consuming the fish. Whether the fish are safe to eat is not an issue; whether catch-and-release fishing will be permitted is the sole issue of concern.

California Department of Fish and Game Declaration of a Fishery
Whether DFG must first “declare” or “designate” a body of water as a fishery is unclear. Presuming DFG does indeed have the jurisdiction to make such a declaration, the question is whether such a designation is currently being sought or whether DFG is being urged to withhold such a designation by representatives of the City or County of Los Angeles.

Prohibition Against Loitering in the River Bed
Catch-and-release fishing should not be regarded as loitering under the spirit and intent of LAMC Sec. 41.22. Catch-and-release fly fishermen are neither vagrants nor vandals. To the contrary, we are especially saftey- and environmentally-conscious people and our presence in the river does not pose any risk to damage of the surrounding infrastructure and is indeed likely to improve the environmental quality of the area because we tend to pick up trash left by others. Our presence also provides eyes and ears for any activity that might be destructive.

Many fishermen have written polite letters to the elected representatives of the City of Los Angeles asking that the Park Rangers allow fly fishermen to pursue harmless recreation in the riverbed. The replies have not directly addressed the initial question of why fishing should be forbidden or which government code expressly forbids fishing. Therefore, can someone in a position of responsibility offer an explanation why it is believed catch-and-release fishing poses a nuisance or risk and should therefore be banned from the river bed under LAMC Sec. 41.22?

People who enter the river bed to feed the ducks, photograph the natural flora and fauna, jog and pursue other legitimate and harmless recreation likewise should not be considered loiterers under LAMC Sec. 41.22. I believe it is reasonable to assert that the presence of recreational users should be a welcomed indication that the L.A. River is being rehabilitated and is being recognized and appreciated for the distinct natural environment it offers within the confines of vast urban development. Instead of banning recreational users from the river it seems more appropriate to regard the Atwater Village portion of the L.A. River as an extension of Griffith Park or to even designate it as a new and distict park expressly for streambed recreation. Otherwise, it would be helpful if someone would explain the logic of excluding legitimate recreational users, thereby effectively reserving the river bed for the exclusive use of vagrants and vandals who are certain to ignore any new signage containing the text of LAMC Sec. 41.22.

If the responsible parties move forward with posting the text of LAMC Sec. 41.22, then please do so for the express purpose of preventing vandalism and vagrancy, but please make accommodations for legitimate recreational use. I respectfully urge you to to add the following language which will provide the Park Rangers the ability to exercise discernment when issuing citations for trespassing while simultaneously protecting the City’s interests and providing a new recreational venue for your constituents:

Fishing during daylight hours is permitted with a valid California fishing license.
Consumption of fish caught in this vicinity is not advisable.
Entering river bed during periods of high water runoff is prohibited.
Enter the river bed at your own risk.
The City and County of Los Angeles assume no responsibility for your safety.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Dave Culver
La Canada Flintridge

Wild mushrooms found on river island… need help with the ID

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Found at riverside: Felicia’s CD

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Gorgeous male wood duck spotted…

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Spotted by Ed & Gloria on Saturday in duck pond area downriver from Los Feliz bridge… Sorry for the low-res pic, will try to get a better one this week…