Quick Mends: Will a portion of property tax fund L.A. River revitalization?


River advocates have been waiting for months to see what the next step in the river revitalization

U.S. Army Corps biologist Erin Jones points to one of the soft-bottom areas of the Los Angeles River near North Atwater Park. (Jim Burns)

U.S. Army Corps biologist Erin Jones points to one of the soft-bottom areas of the Los Angeles River near North Atwater Park. (Jim Burns)

would be, and that shoe might have dropped. In a nutshell, because of a new tax-sharing law, a portion of property taxes might be used for the revitalization effort, which has a $1 billion price tag.

According to this morning’s Los Angeles Times, L.A. City council members have ordered a feasibility study to cash in, so to speak, on creating what is believed to be the state’s first Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District. These districts would replace redevelopment agencies statewide that Gov. Brown dissolved during the Great Recession.

There’s already opposition to the plan, coming within council from Gil Cedillo, whose district includes several of the river’s projects.

“It’s great to talk about how great the river can be. I’ve got four of the six major projects in my district. But I’m concerned that we would be doing river work in lieu of housing,” Cedillo said in the article.

 

See you on the river, Jim Burns

 

 

Alien vs. Plecostomus


Here's lookin' at you, kid. (Grove Pashley)

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid. (Grove Pashley)

Grove Pashley, of L.A. River Kayak Safari, spotted this odd-looking river denizen near Victory Boulevard and wondered what in the heck it was.

“Plecostomus,” replied biologist Sabrina Drill by email, “we’ve spotted them in that area before.”

Aquarium lovers might know this heavily armored bottom feeder as a “janitor fish,” one that comes from the Amazon to clean the algae off your tank. In this case, looks like when he got too big (the species grows to 2 feet), plunk, the river became his new home.

Remember besides sending in pics here for an ID, you can also use the INaturalist app.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Three’s a charm for Long Beach fish survey


Nick Faught of Corona snagged this 8-pounder, his first carp on the fly. (Jim Burns)

Nick Faught of Corona snagged this 8-pounder, his first carp on the fly. (Jim Burns)

In almost all things, three’s a charm, and so it was yesterday for the twice-denied Long
Beach leg of the important Friends of the Los Angeles River fish study. Last year’s two attempts came up mostly empty, but yesterday afternoon’s fishing by about 25 conventional and fly fishermen netted three common carp and two smelt. If the number leaves you shaking your head, that 25 skilled anglers would have such a lean haul on a near-perfect winter fishing afternoon, you’re not alone.

Fishers threw every manner of enticement to their prey, including carp carrot flies, woolly buggers, artificial worms, real worms, and a ” fish-licous”concoction of garlic and masa, the cornmeal used to make tortillas. But for the most part, this estuary where fresh and salt water mix has yet to fully reveal what lives below.

“Well, at least it’s better than last time,” said Sabrina Drill, a UC Cooperative Extension biologist, who along with fellow scientist Rosie Dagit has been periodically mapping the river’s fish population since 2008. But her face showed the disappointment that the yield of this event — monikered “Fish for Science” — wasn’t full of the expected gold doubloons.

WHOOPSIE DAISY: Unfortunately, snagging a big carp and landing him are two different things. (Jim Burns)

WHOOPSIE DAISY: Unfortunately, snagging a big carp and landing him are two different things. (Jim Burns)

An optimistic Trout Unlimited’s Bob Blankenship had emailed several participants before the event that “Maybe this storm will bring with it a few migrating steelhead to Long Beach?” And we all heartily agreed.

True, Nick Faught of Corona left a happy man. He’d purchased a new 5 wt. specifically for catching carp, and the beast that later weighed in at over 8 pounds gave him all he could handle.

“I’m used to catching trout in the Sierra,” he said, dripping wet, while managing to get his fish into an orange Home Depot bucket in the middle of a lagoon. Faught had hooked and lost what was most likely this fish, then hooked it again. Between the slippery submerged rocks, the powerful and slippery carp, and his desire to get the fish to the biologists some 100 yards away, he went for a swim — saved his fish again, frying his cellphone in the process. Even soaked to the skin through his waders, Faught smiled as he held his carp later safely on shore for a trophy shot.

His grit and enthusiasm really characterize many of the participants who came to help the professionals map the river before restoration begins. Each event brings more anglers.

These are very serious, big-money times for an urban river that is famous for all of the wrong reasons, like Kim Kardashian. It’s as iconic as the Hollywood sign, yet after years of appearances in movies such as “The Terminator” and “Grease,” in which 51 miles of concrete form more undulating racetrack scar than ambling waters, the Army Corps of Engineers — yes, the same agency that excavated and paved it — now has recommended to Congress a $1 billion makeover, or “make right,” depending on your point of view.

In other words, once Congress approves the money, it will be billion-dollar boots on the ground in L.A. And that’s what has Dagit, a senior biologist for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, anticipating better days. Dagit, Drill and other biologists have tracked river species, first with the FoLAR fish study in 2008 and now with an extension of that study focused on the river’s estuary.

SITTIN' PRETTY: Greg Madrigal of Sierra Nets, left, and Stan Adermann sit among orange collection buckets. Madrigal landed one of the three carp caught during the event.

SITTIN’ PRETTY: Greg Madrigal of Sierra Nets, left, and Stan Adermann sit among orange collection buckets. Madrigal landed one of the three carp caught during the event.

Bets are on that Dagit, Drill and company will be back for another round. After all, the 2008 study, conducted in Atwater Village north of downtown found some 1,200 fish, including carp, tilapia and bass.

“This is a gateway,” Dagit said during the October attempt, while looking toward Long Beach Harbor. “and you can’t underestimate the importance of this section. Having a baseline of understanding which species are present and where will be is a really important tool to help us gauge the success of the proposed restoration efforts once they are initiated.”

Citizen Science Hall O’ Famers

Three large carp (22-24 inches), thanks to Steve Simon, Nick Faught and Greg Madrigal.

Greg Armijo added two topsmelt to the day’s catch.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

FoLAR seeks anglers for Long Beach fish study


WILDFLOWERS: Become a citizen scientist and help FoLAR document what's in the Los Angeles River. (William Preston Bowling)

WILDFLOWERS: Become a citizen scientist and help FoLAR document what’s in the Los Angeles River. (William Preston Bowling)

Hello Anglers,

We need You, to help Us, Catch Fish in the Long Beach Portion of the Los Angeles River.

Got your attention?

OK, now, here are the details.

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) in partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific will host Phase 3 of a scientific fish study with help from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. We need Citizen Scientists, in this case, volunteer anglers to help us catch what is in the soft bottom section of the Los Angeles River at Long Beach.

This is a rare chance for you to fish in an area that one does not normally access, contact WPB@FoLAR.org to hold a spot. Fishing will start at 2pm until dusk on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015.

The fishing is limited to adults as this area of the L.A. River is difficult to access, yet, on the shore The Los Angeles River Rover – FoLAR’s Mobile Museum & Education Center – will be open from noon until dusk on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015 for everyone to enjoy. Click on the link below to see what the River Rover has to offer…

http://folar.org/education/river-rover/

The FoLAR study of fish began in 2006 and after collection and identification of hundreds of fish in the Elysian Valley portion of the L.A. River, the 2008 fish study was born. To our surprise, we discovered eight different species of fish, that were pretty healthy, low in mercury as well as low in Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) compared to ocean fish studies. The fish that were discovered/identified in the study were Carp, Tilapia, Fathead Minnow, Black Bullhead, Amazon Sailfin Catfish, Green Sunfish and one Largemouth Bass. You can view or download this study from the below link…

http://folar.org/wp-content/uploads/studies/fish-study-2008.pdf

The 2008 FoLAR Fish Study was just one section of the L.A. River, what lives in the waters of the Sepulveda Basin, the tributaries or Long Beach are unknown, until now. In May and October of 2014, FoLAR went back on a fish hunt, deciding that Long Beach would be a great start of a new scientific fish study. As with the Elysian Valley study, it could take up to 2 years to collect accurate and representative data.

ALL IN: Are you ready to discover fishing in a restricted area of the river in Long Beach? 9William Preston Bowling)

ALL IN: Are you ready to discover fishing in a restricted area of the river in Long Beach? (William Preston Bowling)

As a volunteer angler, you agree to be a Citizen Scientist while experiencing the thrill of fishing in an area that is not normally fished. After you hold your spot with WPB@FoLAR.org you will be directed to the location via a follow up e-mail. FoLAR will not provide equipment, you will have to bring your own. The choice of equipment will be up to each angler, either come with rod and reel and bait, or even go the lengths of bringing waders or other equipment you are familiar with. Once you catch a fish, you will then put it in a provided bucket of water and bring it to one of the three biologists from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, Rosi Dagit, Sabrina Drill or Lizzy Montgomery. They will weigh, measure and photograph the species. Dr. Richard Gossett from Cal State Long Beach will be on hand to test the toxicity of the fish as he did in the 2008 study of the Elysian Valley fish.

If you cannot make it, we will have plenty of other fishing opportunities on the Los Angeles River throughout 2015, including the second annual FoLAR Catch & Release Fish Derby, “Off tha’ Hook”…

http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/09/10/you-can-fly-fish-the-la-river-and-its-pretty-damn-cool

If you fish on the Los Angeles River you can help us establish what species reside within these waters by downloading an app or using the web through iNaturalist.

iNaturalist is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers and learn about the natural world. Lizzy Montgomery from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains developed a Fish of the L.A. River page where you can upload a photo of the fish you catch and where you caught them. This will help us understand better the biodiversity with the Los Angeles River watershed. iNaturalist can also be fun for any parts of Los Angeles by uploading Birds, Lizards and Insects as well. Join iNaturalist today by clicking on the link below…

http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fish-of-the-la-river-peces-del-rio-de-los-angeles

We hope to see you at Saturday afternoon January 3rd.