Itís been more than two years since the Arroyo Seco Foundation and Pasadena Audubon filed the lawsuit to stop the Big Dig, the County Flood Control Districtís devastating mining and trucking program in Hahamongna Watershed Park, but the debate on how to manage sediment in the Arroyo Seco has been going on for decades. Finally on January 31, itís going to court.
The County built Devil's Gate Dam almost a hundred years ago and since then it has trapped a large amount of sand and sediment that would otherewise feed the Arroyo Seco stream, the Los Angeles River, and the beaches of Southern California. Rather than managing sediment on an ongoing basis as a maintenance responsibility, Los Angeles County Flood Control District believes in waiting to do enormous excavation and trucking projects every twenty years or so, projects that maximize the destruction of precious stream habitat and wildlife corridors and the disruption of our communities with traffic, noise, dust and air pollution. After more than twenty years of neglect, in November, 2014 the County Supervisors approved their Flood Control District's $100 million project to remove 2.4 million cubic yards of sand and sediment from behind Devil's Gate Dam in Hahamongna Watershed Park at the mouth of the Arroyo Seco and to permanently desecrate 53 acres of streamzone habitat in Southern California's most celebrated canyon.
The attorneys representing ASF and Pasadena Audubon have done a terrific job of monitoring the environmental permits for the project and of preparing our legal case for a more scientific and intergrated approach to sediment and stream management. The Flood Control District has not been able to start their devastation, despite repeated claims of impending emergency, because they have failed to prespare adequate environmental documentation.
The 2017 County Board of Supervisors now is remarkably different from the 2014 Board that approved the Big Dig. They can stop this environmental travesty and dramatically reduce the devastating impacts of the Flood Control Districtís program, but they need to know that this is important to you.