October 15, 2019 — The trial previously set for Tuesday, October 15 in Los Angeles Superior Court regarding LA County Flood Control District's controversial sediment removal program at Devil's Gate Dam in Hahamongna Watershed Park has been continued to January 28, 2020.
This is the third postponement of the trial. On June 17, Judge James C. Chalfant of Los Angeles Superior Court issued a 29-page tentative decision in favor of the Arroyo Seco Foundation (ASF) and Pasadena Audubon Society (PAS) in their lawsuit against the County's excavation program dubbed the "Big Dig." The tentative ruling finds that the Flood Control District's environmental impact report is inadequate in several key areas, notably public notice and mitigation requirements. At the request of County Counsel, the trial was delayed until July 30 to allow the parties to develop a comprehensive settlement agreement. When the end of July arrived, the County's attorneys asked for a second delay to finalize some major issues, to which ASF and PAS hesitantly agreed.
"We have reluctantly agreed to a third delay because several of the key issues regarding operations and long-term impacts have not yet been resolved," said Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation. "There has been some progress, but not enough. We want enforceable standards for air quality and neighborhood impacts, as well as a long-term program that will protect the rare stream and habitat values of Hahamongna. We are disappointed that the negotiations have dragged on for so long without clear, enforceable commitments from the County to protect our neighborhoods and Hahamongna, our region's most important natural treasure."
Laura Solomon, Chair of the Pasadena Audubon Society, said "I am frustrated that this process is taking such a long time, but I remain hopeful that we can find a way ahead that protects the dam, the air quality for residents, and the stream zone habitat. Given the recent report on the decline of birds by almost three billion in the last fifty years and National Audubon's report last week on the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change on birds, we should be doing all we can to help them, not permanently destroy their homes."
For more information about the lawsuit and related issues, go to: https://www.savehahamongna.org.