Environmentalists seek help from Angelenos to map the city's uncounted small waterways
|March 12, 2012 - The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is calling for information about the streams and waterbodies of Los Angeles County.|
|KPCC Radio 89.3 FM|
|The LA river and its tributary, the Tujunga Wash (under the 405 freeway) are well-known parts of the LA River watershed. The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is looking for some of the less well known ones.|
Today on the radio, I report on a call issued by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission to all Angelenos. They want your creeks and streams: the idea is to improve the cityís protection of these small watweways.
Advocates for the river, for these small waterways, argue that most of L.A.'s little streams are either gone or controlled in pipes and concrete channels. They hope to use new information in planning a stream protection ordinance in the city.
Landscape architect Jessica Hall, a longtime advocate for "daylighting" streams in LA, says the small waterways that remain can be sources of confusion for builders and urban planners."Iíve seen this situation a few times where because the creeks are not mapped," she says, "building and safety officials arenít aware of their presence and donít know to take the steps that they need to take to protect the streams when a neighbor comes in and wants to McMansionize their property."
Hall and others argue the cityís building department often doesnít know where the remaining creeks and streams are, unless someone reports them, or the waterways spark a property dispute. "Things like that happen because the streams themselves are not well documented and there isnít a clear set of policies regarding how to manage them," Hall says.
Hall mapped creeks some years ago. Historically, so has the city. But she says nobodyís checked the accuracy of the maps in years. "What that leaves us with is a situation where they would be hard pressed to use something like that as a final list without actually being able to verify that the streams are there," says Hall.
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Hall's blog, LA Creek Freak, is a pretty authoritative source on the river's smaller pieces. But the city has some information on this too. At LA's stormwater website, creek freak author Joe Linton writes that to get involved with the cause, people can start:
* using reusable grocery bags,
* tending to your petís poop,
* participating in clean-up events,
* harvesting rainwater,
* planting a creek-friendly landscape in your yard and
* working to green your street.
Some other ways that Jessica Hall and I have written about at our blog L.A. Creek Freak include: riding your bicycle, re-using greywater, and protecting our more natural streams.
The most obvious idea? The one that the Friends of the LA River, the city of LA, and creek freaks can all agree on? Just spending time out there, listening to the river, taking pictures of it, and seeing what's up.
So what's your favorite part of the LA River? And do you have a secret favorite creek?
Tagged: waterways, streams, creek freak, urban coast, stormwater, los angeles river