June 30, 2016 Update

The LA County Flood Control District has announced three public meetings in July regarding their Big Dig sediment mining and trucking program from behind Devil's Gate Dam in Hahamongna Watershed Park. Their announcement states "LA County Public Works has been actively planning for a more sustainable Devil's Gate Reservoir." Well, we haven't seen that. Instead we have seen scurrilous scare tactics about a "Godzilla El Niņo" and a flooded Rose Bowl.

Some species that could be wiped out:


Coastal Whiptail | Common Buckeye | Bernardino Square-spotted Blue credit: Mickey Long

County Flood: How About Some Honest Answers!

News reports that recently indicated that the Flood Control District is set to begin the Big Dig in April of next year are the latest deception. A number of legal and regulatory barriers still remain before sediment removal activities can begin. The Flood Control District's upcoming meetings do, however, give concerned residents the opportunity to again raise question about their devastating program:

  1. Why is it necessary to create the Big Pit, a permanent denuded 52 acre maintenance yard in the middle of the streamzone?
  2. Isn't the Big Pit just a way to sneak in the Eaton Canyon Pipeline?
  3. How dare they destroy endangered species and permanently devastate this precious habitat and wildlife corridor!

Nowhere Near Ready

The Big Dig Project is nowhere near ready to begin. First, and most importantly, Arroyo Seco Foundation's ("ASF") and Pasadena Audubon Society's ("Audubon") CEQA lawsuit to stop the Project is now set to be heard on January 31, 2017. ASF and Audubon remain confident in our ability to prevail at trial given that the Project's Environmental Impact Report failed to consider an adequate range of alternatives, neglected to analyze the other half of its Project, the Eaton Canyon Pipeline, and fails to adequately analyze or mitigate for its impacts to biological resources, including wetlands habitat and endangered species.

In addition, the Big Dig Project still faces a number of regulatory hurdles. It has yet to acquire a Federal Clean Water Act Section 404 "Dredge and Fill" Permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Moreover, the Project has not yet obtained a Streambed Alteration Agreement and Water Quality Certification from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. A federal incidental take permit is also required due to the recent sighting of the Least Bell's Vireo.

You're Going to Do What to Endangered Species?

The recent discovery of a strong presence of a federally endangered species, the Least Bell's Vireo, and a California Species of Concern, the Burrowing Owl, in Hahamongna Watershed Park has severely complicated matters for the Flood Control District. In a surprising move, the Flood Control District has now applied for an Incidental Take Permit from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to allow them to kill individual Least Bell's Vireos and Burrowing Owls and remove their habitat from Hahamongna Watershed Park.

ASF and Audubon believe that no incidental take of federally endangered species should be allowed. Before even considering such an action, there must be an environmental analysis of whether their "take" of federally endangered species could result in permanent extinction of Least Bell's Vireo. Currently, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service is in the process of determining whether or not to initiate "formal consultation" under the Endangered Species Act, which would involve additional environmental analysis, review, and potential mitigation before authorizing any "take" or killing of federally endangered species.

County Flood's Big Dig Meetings

Wednesday, July 13, 6:30 pm
Jackson Elementary School Auditorium
593 West Woodbury Road
Altadena 91001

Thursday, July 14, 6:30 pm
Rose Bowl Stadium
Visitors Locker Room
1001 Rose Bowl Drive
Pasadena 91103

Saturday, July 16, 2 pm
La Caņada Flintridge Community Center
4469 Chevy Chase Drive
La Caņada Flintridge 91011

Tell County Flood to Treat the Arroyo Seco Like the River It Is

What Do the County Supervisor Candidates Have to Say? Ask Them

Kathryn Barger    |    Darrell Park

And let us know what they tell you!


A Thousand Thanks

Pasadena Audubon, the Arroyo Seco Foundation and our attorneys continue to closely monitor and comment upon the Big Dig's environmental permitting process while preparing to fight the devastating project in court. We are very grateful for your continuing interest and support. We now need additional support to continue to monitor and comment on the project's permits. Can you please help once more?