Month: October 2019

Boulder clusters could make a difference for urban fish

Flow
(Courtesy Bureau of Reclamation.)

If you fish and the above look like prime spots to cast your dry fly, you’ve got a good eye. The incredible part is that these images don’t come from a fast-flowing stream in Montana, but are lab representations of what could happen in the LA River to slow the water flow in certain areas, providing structure and habitat.

Currently, most of the river runs with an even flow, purposely created by engineers to move water out to the ocean. Flood control, not habitat, was the U.S. Army Corps original consideration after widespread destructive flooding in Los Angeles during the 1930s.

In all, the Bureau of Reclamation plans to test 12 designs alternatives that would “increase the size and roughness of a low-flow channel that would fit within the larger concrete flood control channel.” Features could include:
— a meandering low-flow channel with pools and riffles
— flow detectors
— a multi-threaded channel
— backwater areas
— boulder clusters (like the one pictured)
— mid-channel islands with alternating bank-attached bars

It’s all part of an innovative approach that may lead to a design within confined urban streams to create suitable depth and velocity conditions for native fish to thrive.

“The study only looks at hydraulics while recognizing that other biological factors, such as water temperature and cover are important,” said the Bureau of Reclamation Lead Investigator Nathan Holste by email.

Saying “hello” to native rainbows and “goodbye” to invasive carp is a stretch, but this is a welcome step in the right direction to return aquatic habit to our waters.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

New local mag lauds the LA River

From theLAnd, Vol. 1, Issue 1:

LARiver

… there’s beauty in the river — the way its brutalist structure creates harsh edges and shadows, the way nature manages to thrive in the soft bottom areas, too wild to be tamed by cement. Most importantly, there have always been people who use and inhabit this space, from the Tongva who built their civilization around the bountiful waterway to Los Angeles residents who used the river as their main source of water for decades. That is, until they found water elsewhere and the river’s unpredictable boundaries became a threat to the city’s growth.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

First big test of housing vs. LA River restoration

IMG_4437 2
At the Bowtie State Park: “Appreciate hard times, someday they’ll just be another chapter in your success story.” (Jim Burns)

From the Los Angeles Times:

Los Angeles’s twin challenges of building more housing while restoring its namesake waterway are clashing along a shady 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River between downtown and the hills of Griffith Park.

On a 7-acre parcel in that stretch, a developer wants to build the riverfront’s first major development, Casitas Lofts, a 419-unit mix of mostly upscale apartments, offices and restaurants bordering neighborhoods on the east side of the river, Glassell Park and Atwater Village.

But opponents — including many nearby residents, the influential nonprofit Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Natural Resources Defense Council — contend the development would disrupt habitat restoration efforts, trigger gentrification and erode the area’s allure.