Month: April 2019

FoLAR notches 30th annual river cleanup

Thirty years of cleaning up our river, more than 70,000 volunteers and 500 tons of hauled out trash, make this April event that just ended yesterday the biggest urban waters clean up in the country, according to Friends of the LA River, creator of the event.

Over the years, oddities pulled out of its water include:

— a Volkswagen Beetle                                        — a phone booth

— one entire dumpster                                      — a portable toilet

And recently, as fisher folk know, lots of carp, bass, tilapia and an occasional former aquarium dweller.

As FoLAR’s Lewis MacAdams told me once, “When the steelhead return to the river, we’ll know our job is done.” The motto on his statute in the park named after him says it all.

IMG_2036
Poet and river visionary Lewis McAdams must be proud to see the next generation of river stewardship unfold. (Jim Burns)

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 8.34.29 AM
As Kesley Gallagher, right, put in on FB, “Yes! Your hard work is paying off and keep it up!” The health of the river has a long way to go but we can all help by getting involved.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Earth Day news, so far in 2019

planet earth
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The good: The first phase of an ordinance which bans restaurants in the city of Los Angeles from automatically offering their customers disposable plastic straws unless they specifically request them takes effect today. (CBS-LA)

The bad: The prospect of extinction may seem unduly pessimistic to some, but the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach announced recently that it had acquired 1,200 delta smelt from a UC Davis research hatchery. (Los Angeles Times)

The ugly: Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach could soon be underwater, as rising sea levels caused by climate change overtake its white sand beaches and bustling streets, AP reports:

  • Honolulu will start experiencing frequent flooding within the next 15 to 20 years, officials predict.
  • State lawmakers are considering spending millions for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the city from regular tidal inundations. (Axios)

 

See you on the river, Jim Burns

LA Times Food Bowl: Los Angeles River giveback?

la-river-Anna-Gelb
(Courtesy LA Times Food Bowl)

As I looked through the offerings for the first LA Times Food Bowl, post Jonathan Gold, I found this:

In 2007, LA unveiled a plan to revitalize the river and restore the watershed as a place for Angelenos to gather and connect. Event participants will see the results and learn how the plan has progressed from this experience, featuring chefs from the LA area. Chefs Neal Fraser (Redbird), Austin Cobb (The Strand House) and Zach Pollack (Alimento and Cosa Buona) will help create the meal in this celebration of the river’s revival. A four-course, family-style, long-table dinner is preceded by a cocktail hour. And a portion of the proceeds will benefit River LA.

The price seems outrageous to me — $265 — especially as the event’s listing is in the “giveback” category. Although I couldn’t find a definition for this category on the website, I suppose it broadly means giving back to the community.

Other givebacks include the Santa Monica Farmers Markets visit, billed as an education of how to shop seasonally, based on CalFresh, the state program that provides food assistance to low-income Californians. This tour includes partner Hunger Action Los Angeles that “can connect people to food resources and provide information on how to help combat food insecurity in your community.” The event is free.

That same day — May 1 — includes another giveback titled The Immigrant Dinners, in which “an immigrant friend of the restaurant will share his or her family recipes.” The website doesn’t mention a price for this event.

A few days later, there’s another free farmers market event at the Crenshaw Farmers’ Market that again explores CalFresh and includes “SEE-LA farmers markets will host art projects on the same day that the Department of Public Social Services will be on-site to sign up eligible participants for CalFresh Awareness Month.”

And in the Pasadena area, there’s a giveaway event beginning May 6 entitled Pasadena Restaurant Week. Costs vary by restaurant, according to the website, but apparently part of the fee ” will be providing financial support for public high school student internships with a Pasadena-based non-profit dedicated to commercial food waste.”

Other givebacks include:

— Taste of the Nation for no Kid Hungry. Price $115.

— The Pie Hole Wheel of Pie-zes. Price $1.

— Kirby Street Project. Price $175.

— Chefs Timothy Hollingsworth and Charles Michel from Netflix’s “The Final Table.” Price $85 without wine.

— Urban Gardening and the Future of Scones. Price: $30.

— Fundraising Dinner with Chor-Man. $55.

So, you get the point — some of these events are for charitable causes and some, such as the Weekend of Prosciutto di Parma ($50), seem based more on public relations, I mean, awareness.

Question: If I do pony up for the $265, will my money go to awareness about a fishable river? I participated in 2016 Friends of the LA River’s lower river fish study and wonder when the upper river study will be completed.

Will my money go toward asking Congress when the billion-plus dollars to restore the habitat of more than 10 miles of the river will be forthcoming?

Or will my money go toward connecting the LA River to the home of steelhead trout in the San Gabriel Mountains?

What I find on the River LA website is a picture of Gov. Gavin Newsom with Supervisor Hilda Solis and “world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.” What’s missing is an image of restored nature I crave in the middle of Los Angeles, the solitude of throwing a fly line toward rising carp, the simple tranquility that is the birthright of urban kids who grow up near its banks.

As Mayor Eric Garcetti recently wrote in a letter imploring Congress to act on the funded promised for the Los Angeles Ecological Restoration Project, ‘“The L.A. River is a national treasure running through the heart of our city — and a destination where Angelenos and visitors alike can interact with nature and connect our storied history with a more sustainable future.” 

Think carefully before spending your money and see you on the river, Jim Burns

Where: The Los Angeles River (Location reveal when you sign up)
When: Tuesday, May 28, 4-9 p.m.
Cost: $265

 

A ‘concrete’ way of eradicating Asian carp?

BassOmatic
Bassmaster asks: “Will carp-crete prove as
popular as the classic Bass-O-Matic” in the old
“Saturday Night Live” skit by Dan Aykroyd?

(Reposted from The Rural Blog)

The use of market forces to fight Asian carp may be taking a hard turn. By turning the fish into concrete.

For several years, companies in the mid-Mississippi River valley have been buying and processing the fish, largely for the Chinese market. To expand the market and get more anglers interested in fishing for them, civil engineer James Nobles developed a way to use by-products from processing as an ingredient in concrete.

“The main thing is to make (carp-crete) profitable for the fishermen so we can bring more people in to catch these fish and get them out of this lake,” said Western Kentucky marina operator Wayne Breedlove, who hosted a pour of “carp-crete” this week, covered by Laurel Black of The Paducah Sun. “It’s getting to the point where it’s dangerous for these boaters.”

“Asian carp pose a threat to the $1.2 billion fishing and recreational boating industries in Western Kentucky, and are wreaking similar havoc in Tennessee,” Black notes. “The carp consume forage that popular species, like bass, rely on to survive, and one species is known to jump out of the water when startled, potentially causing injury to boaters. If carp-crete proves successful, it would help make catching Asian carp more lucrative for commercial fishermen. Commercial harvesting is the best way to manage the Asian carp population, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.”

Breedlove told Black that cost has proven to be carp-crete’s only drawback so far. “The carp ash for the carp-crete was produced in Southern Illinois, which is also testing the product,” she reports.