Pasadena Council to Consider Stream Restoration Monday

February 20, 2008 - The Pasadena City Council will consider supporting the US Army Corps of Engineers Arroyo Seco Watershed Feasibility Study at their meeting on Monday night beginning at 6:30 pm at Pasadena City Hall.

The Army Corps Arroyo Seco study will conduct technical assessment of ecosystem, hydrology and watershed management programs to identify five projects for implementation to improve the conditions in and management of the Arroyo Seco Watershed. Originally intended to be a three-year program, the study has lagged because of inadequate federal funding for the $2.68 million study. Congressman Adam Schiff and Senator Dianne Feinstein have fought hard to secure federal funding for the project, but the study has only received $100,000 each of the last four years.

The main local sponsor is the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, joined by the cities of Pasadena, Los Angeles, La Canada Flintridge and South Pasadena. Local sponsors will pay half of the $2.68 million budget. Pasadena's share is $312,700, which hopefully the Council will approve on Monday night. The participation of other local sponsors has been approved by their governing bodies.

The Corps study is critical for Arroyo Seco watershed restoration efforts because it will provide key technical analysis for restoration efforts as well as open the door to substantial federal funding. A previous Corps reconnaissance study (2002) has already established that there is a federal interest in restoring and upgrading the Arroyo Seco. The Corps can supply up to 75% of the funding for approved restoration projects.

The Arroyo Seco study will identify up to five major projects to restore the Arroyo Seco. The Corps will work with local sponsors to study and shape these projects.

The preliminary list provided by the City of Pasadena Department of Public Works for Pasadena includes:

Lower Arroyo Seco Park

  • conversion of the existing concrete channel to a naturalized streamcourse, where feasible; removal of approximately 1 mile of concrete channel between the Colorado Street Bridge and Busch Gardens.

Central Arroyo Seco

  • a covered channel to handle larger storm flows in combination with a low flow stream through Brookside Golf Course
  • a covered channel through the paved parking areas of the Rose Bowl that would allow additional parking area
  • the option of a naturalized streamcourse where feasible

Hahamongna Watershed Park

  • Multiple projects from the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan
  • Flint Wash

The Arroyo Seco Foundation favors restoring the natural hydrological functioning of the stream and watershed as much as possible. Modern flood and stream management techniques can be used to protect public safety while restoring the character and ecological function of the stream, making it a model for the revitalization of the Los Angeles River. Large portions of the flood channel can be removed and native fish can be restored for future generations to enjoy.

The official report to the Pasadena City Council recommending support can be found here: Pasadena Council Report on USACE Arroyo Seco Study

We hope you will come to the Council meeting to share your vision of the future of the Arroyo Seco stream and watershed.