A Disappointing "Compromise"

Pasadena Caves In to Nostalgic Elitists

November 18, 2020 —The Lower Arroyo Habitat Restoration Program is a good program, but not a great program, after Pasadena city officials caved into the entreaties of a small but noisy group of local residents who insisted on preserving exotic, invasive trees from the Canary Islands and Australia in the city's only designated nature preserve.

Habitat restoration programs are supposed to be based on science and nature. Botany is the science that should guide such plans, but frequently politics and privilege get in in the way of good public policy.

The habitat restoration plan started as an excellent, science-based program designed by restoration experts from Psomas, a reputable environmental/engineering firm. The Arroyo Seco Foundation and the Pasadena Casting Club backed the plan. Almost one thousand people signed a supportive petition. The Pasadena Recreation and Park Commission recommended approval of the plan as proposed at their meeting in September. Then the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee also recommended approving the plan, but advised saving a large grove of Canary Island Pines just north of the Van de Kamp (former La Loma) Bridge. When the final staff report was prepared for City Council approval, inexplicably eight large Red Gum eucalyptus trees from Australia were taken off the removal list along with the massive, messy Canary Island pines.

Next Monday afternoon the Pasadena City Council will consider the contract for the watered-down program. We hope the Council approves the program, but orders that the Eucalyptus and Canary Island pines should also be removed.

Your message to the Council could make a difference.


Red Gum Eucaplytus trees from Australia drain their surroundings and prevent good habitat from getting anywere near them. They are notoriously fire-prone. Remember the Oakland fire? The embers flutter and fly more than one hundred yards away. Kids throw fire-crackers off the bridge at them.

Canary Island Pines

Besides being extremely messy, these trees are susceptible to Phytophthora, a dreaded water-mold that is dangerous for the local environment and for plants in nearby residential landscapes. They are also prone to Cryptococcus gattii, a potentially deadly hazard for people with compromised immune systems. Will the city post danger signs?

Thank You for Signing the Petition

Pasadena Needs a Nature-based, Science-based Program for Arroyo Seco Restoration

Here's What You Can Do:

  1. Send an email to Councilmember Steve Madison (smadison@cityofpasadena.net). Tell him what you think.

  2. Send a message of any length to the Pasadena City Clerk for distribution to the entire City Council by 12 Noon, Monday, 11/23 at the following email address: correspondence@cityofpasadena.net

  3. Please let us know about any response you get from city officials by sending an email to info@arroyoseco.org.

Thanks again for caring.

Restoration Page      Comments of Petition Signers

Mailing Address:
PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622
(323) 405-7326