CASO Presents the 2005 Arroyo Verde Awards

The Council of Arroyo Seco Organizations (CASO) presented the first annual Arroyo Verde Awards in a festive ceremony on Thursday, December 15 at Kidspace Children's Museum. The awards recognize cities, community organizations and individuals who have made a positive difference in the Arroyo Seco watershed this past year. CASO, made up of representatives from over forty local non-profit organizations and community groups, selected the following recipients of the 2005 Arroyo Verde Awards:

Greening of the Arroyo (City)

The City of Pasadena continues to work on an ambitious restoration project begun this year in the two natural portions of the Arroyo located within the city. Using the Arroyo Master Plan as guidance, Pasadena removed non-native plants, outplanted appropriate native plant species, installed artful erosion control devices, and removed 500 tons of concrete. This work has greatly enhanced the naturalness of the Arroyo Seco. Concurrently, Pasadena has worked on improving trail connectivity, repaired historic stone walls, and involved youth, through Outward Bound Adventures, in their work. The city also recently acquired more land for Hahamongna Watershed Park, adding 30 more acres to parkland in the Arroyo Seco.

The City of South Pasadena recently dedicated a three acre open space park along the banks of the Arroyo. The South Pasadena Wooldand and Wildlife Park provides vital wildlife habitat and trail links, while enhancing passive recreation and education in the Arroyo Seco. Home to rare native Southern California black walnut and coast live oak trees, the site offers views of the Arroyo Seco, Mount Washington, the historic York Boulevard Bridge, the Historic Arroyo Seco Parkway, the Vedugo and San Gabriel Mountains. The park was designed by Mountains and Recreation and Conservation Authority and is a favorite among hikers, equestraians and students. The park, with its meandering trails and interpretive displays, is an Arroyo treasure.

Greening of the Arroyo (Organization)

North East Trees (NET) has worked hard to improve the conditions in the Arroyo Seco. This past year, NET has initiated several ambitious restoration projects including Debs Park restoration, outplanting, weeding and mulching in South Pasadena's Woodland and Wildlife Park. NET involves youth in these projects, providing employment and job training. In addition, NET has recently completed a comprehensive study of water quality and habitat in the Arroyo Seco, with recommendations for beneficial action.

Best Arroyo Advocacy

Since its founding, Pasadena Heritage has considered the Arroyo a critically important historic site, and has devoted time and attention to documenting and protecting historic structures and natural features within its bounds.

With the recent threat of an NFL team coming to the Rose Bowl, Pasadena Heritage was the first organization to recognize the potentially dire impacts and speak out against the plan. The Rose Bowl is a National Historic Landmark and would be all but demolished to create a new professional stadium, but the Arroyo and surrounding neighborhoods were also in danger of catastrophic change. Pasadena Heritage raised the red flag among neighborhood organizations and community groups, sent mailings, conducted a public forum, and launched a campaign against the NFL plan in the press.

The West Pasadena Residents' Association rallied its members to work on the Rose Bowl issue. They conducted a resident survey to gather information about attitudes regarding the NFL plan for the Rose Bowl. WPRA also provided in depth comments on the draft Environmental Impact Report for the modification of the historic Rose Bowl structure and the impacts the NFL would have on the surrounding communities of the Rose Bowl. WPRA efforts generated over 700 phone calls and letter to Pasadena city council members, and members provided valuable financial support which funded their challenge to the NFL and WPRA's advocacy for the Arroyo and the Rose Bowl. In addition, WPRA members attended numerous community meetings to raise issues related to Rose Bowl. WPRA focuses its efforts on the area of West Pasadena bounded by Colorado Boulevard on the north, Fair Oaks Avenue on the east, and the Pasadena city limits on the west and south and on the interests of the residents of that area.

Best Arroyo Volunteerism

Lynnette Kampe has devoted numerous weekends to restore and improve the natural areas of the Arroyo Seco. Working in Rainbow Canyon, a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy park located in Mount Washington, Lynnette has organized volunteer work parties on the first and third Sundays of every month to conduct weed removal, mulching, native plant propagation and plantings. In addition, Lynnette, as a volunteer naturalist, wrote a Lower Arroyo Restoration Plan to guide efforts in the park. At the time the canyon became a park in 1994, it hosted only 7 native plant species. Today Rainbow Canyon boasts over fifty, providing habitat for the local animals and beauty for the local hikers. Her work has truly enhanced the natural environment in the Arroyo Seco and involved local residents in this endeavor.

Arroyo Citizen Activism

Paul Ayers, attorney, has had significant successes in the Arroyo Seco watershed. He has protected the right to walk on trails on the El Prieto fire road (homeowners had erected a gate and harassed walkers - bikers couldn't even get past the gate - this case is on appeal). His recent success was that a judge affirmed the right of people to walk to the historic Owen Brown gravesite on Little Roundtop. The owner had put up "No Trespassing" signs and obliterated the gravesite. In addition, his law firm was the first to sue the La Vina Homeowners, forcing CLIPI and LA County to file their suits (they had been hesitating). And, although not in the AS watershed, Paul has also been instrumental in preserving historic trails in Rubio Canyon.

Arroyo Public Official

Congressman Adam Schiff, representing California's 29th District, has been a long-time support of the efforts to restore, enhance and improve the Arroyo Seco. For the past several years, he has been influential in securing Federal and State funds for projects in the Arroyo. He was instrumental in gaining funds for the South Pasadena Woodland and Wildlife Park, as well as, funding for the Army Corps of Engineers Arroyo Seco Restoration Study. Congressman Schiff has been working hard to obtain more funds for the Corps study. He has also been a champion of the Rim of the Valley. The 29th District includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, Glendale, Griffith Park, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.

Arroyo Lifetime Achievement Award

Louis Quirarte devoted his life to improving the environment. He was an avid hiker, historian, geographer and graphic artist. In Northeast Los Angeles, Louis was instrumental in bringing the National Audubon Society to Debs Park and served on the Debs Park Advisory Board. He also formed "Friends of Debs Park", a group that worked on park improvement projects, but also flooded into the surrounding communities by helping create two pocket parks along the Arroyo. Louis was also designed the logos for ArroyoFest and the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Louis was also on the formation committee for the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and was elected to represent his community of Montecito Heights. Louis recently passed away after a battle with cancer, but his legacy will live on in the work he did for his community and the Arroyo Seco.


The purpose of the Council of Arroyo Seco Organizations - CASO is to promote communication and cooperation between community-based organizations working to improve and enhance the Arroyo Seco region from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Arroyo Seco's confluence with the Los Angeles River. CASO aspires to cultivate a sense of place that defines this unique region by addressing such issues as environmental, transportation, historic, recreational, cultural and economic resources.