For immediate release - June 8, 2021 2:00 pm
Contact: Tim Brick firstname.lastname@example.org
Arroyo Seco Fish and Water Issues
May Be Resolved
At 4:13 pm yesterday afternoon, 17 minutes before the scheduled start of the public hearing on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Arroyo Seco Canyon Project (ASCP), the Arroyo Seco Foundation (ASF) and other appellants submitted a proposed settlement to the Pasadena City Council. ASF, Pasadena Audubon Society, Ken Kules, Morey Wolfson and Hugh Bowles had forced the Council hearing by appealing two previous rulings regarding the EIR.
“We are pleased that Pasadena city officials have agreed to discuss how to protect the fish and aquatic species in the Arroyo and the best ways to manage water in Hahamongna and the Raymond Basin,”said Tim Brick, ASF Managing Director. “We look forward to working cooperatively with Pasadena to restore fish and improve water management in the Arroyo Seco.”
The settlement proposal would require that the design and operations of the new ASCP dam and facilities will provide for fish passage and ensure an environmental flow for fish and aquatic species in the Arroyo stream. It would also commit the Pasadena Water and Power Department (PWP) to work cooperatively with ASF and the other appellants to evaluate the stream hydrology of the Hahamongna basin and the development of a plan to stabilize and replenish the Raymond Groundwater Basin.
PWP's EIR had previously denied the presence of fish in the Arroyo Seco stream and promised to accommodate them only after endangered, anadromous steelhead were restored to the stream, but in their final filings for the City Council hearing PWP acknowledged that there are native trout in the Arroyo Seco stream. The ASF proposal would require PWP to actually implement the provisions they had promised including providing for fish passage through its dam and diversion facilities and leaving an environmental flow to sustain the fish and aquatic species during dry periods.
The presence of native fish in the Arroyo Seco has been a major source of contention during the environmental review process. The Arroyo Seco Foundation and other commenters during the EIR review had contended that native fish have been present in the Arroyo Seco for two million years or more and still are present today. PWP asserted that there were no fish in the Arroyo, but their position had been criticized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for lacking an adequate survey or documentation. The issue was resolved definitely last Fall when CDFW translocated 469 trout from the nearby West Fork of the San Gabriel River as part of a fish rescue program following the Bobcat Fire. Volunteers from ASF's trout scouts, who survey the stream for fish and conditions, had identified Rainbow Trout in the Arroyo stream before the CDFW program was made public and were overjoyed to hear about the program.
Following receipt of the settlement proposal yesterday, PWP General Manager Gucharan Bawa and Pasadena Planning Director David Reyes called Tim Brick, ASF Managing Director, and responded to the proposal. They requested that ASF and the other appellants agree to a continuance of the public hearing so that city officials could work out details of such a settlement. Not long afterward, the Pasadena City Council, at their regular meeting, set a new date of July 12 for the public hearing on the EIR.
Representatives of ASF and the other appellants will now meet with Pasadena officials to clarify and resolve the details of the settlement proposal. If they are successful, the finalized agreement will be presented at the Pasadena City Council public hearing in July.