“The unlikely series of events that brought the parcel into Appleton’s hands began with a 2017 Times article that detailed several hundred properties in the river channel that were owned by individuals and companies. For reasons unknown, those properties were bypassed — and mostly forgotten by their owners — when the Los Angeles County Flood Control District acquired title to most of the river.”
Update: On March 1, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously that bigger L.A. restaurants cannot offer or provide disposable plastic straws to customers who are dining in or taking food to go unless customers request them, according to the Los Angeles Times. The law goes into effect on Earth Day, April 22.
The Berkeley, California, City Council just passed an ordinance to require restaurants charge an additional 25 cents for disposable cups by January, 2020, as part of a sweeping Single Use Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance. Opponents wonder if take-out coffee customers might wait to buy their to-go java in neighboring Oakland.
And, note the graph here that shows the Top 20 countries with mismanaged plastic waste. No.1 is China; No. 20 is the United States.
Here’s a hopeful quote from Parley’s weekly blog:
“Removing plastics from the ocean is not enough. We need to get at the whole idea of disposability and single-use items,” says Tom Szaky, CEO of the Trenton, New Jersey-based international recycling company TerraCycle, which is behind Loop. “We’re going back to the milkman model of the 1950s. You buy the milk but the milk company owns the bottle, which you leave in the milk box to be picked up when you’re done with it.”
More than 1,000 fish, mostly mullets, were discovered last week floating dead in Malibu Lagoon, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Fish die-offs have been widely reported this summer in Florida and the Gulf Coast due to a persistent red algae bloom. Our own die-off in Malibu Lagoon occurred because of high-than-average water temperatures, at least that’s the suspicion of state park scientists.
Scientists also blame hotter-than-average ocean temperatures for the Southland’s muggy conditions this summer. Temperatures have been recorded around 80 degrees F.
According to KCET, National Park Service researchers have installed a series wildlife cameras across 30 miles of the river’s course to try and get answers on how foxes, bobcats, opossums, coyotes, skunks, raccoons and other mammals use the area.
Around 30 cameras have been installed this year, from relatively wild areas in Griffith Park to little strips of property right outside of downtown L.A. that could be as small as 10×20 feet. The program will hopefully help determine whether the LA River acts as a wildlife corridor between the more than 150,000-acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and spaces in the city.
In a gem of a piece, photographer Roberto (Bear) Guerra chronicles the species loss the LA River has suffered since being encased in concrete with photographs of specimens from the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology and the LA County Natural History Museum.
An important photo essay as our city weighs the future of the river in terms of development and habitat restoration. A sample:
Western Toad (Bufo boreas) — Perhaps no animal is as emblematic of the decline of native species in the decades following channelization as the western toad. One of the neighborhoods adjacent to the soft-bottom Glendale Narrows section of the river is still known as “Frogtown,” for the swarms of young toads and Pacific treefrogs that hopped through the streets each year until the 1970s. Today, toads and frogs are rarely to be found.
William Deverell, a historian at USC and the director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, recently penned this editorial in the Los Angeles Times. He skillfully recounts how the concrete-encased LA River came to be, but does deeper than other writers.
According to Deverell, the research for the U.S. Army Corps final work came from old-timers. Tasked with creating a profile of the river, two engineers asked these old people what it was like to grow up in the region before statehood, before the Gold Rush, even back to the Mexican and mission period.
“The people they interviewed were nonwhite: indigenous, Mexican, mixed-race mestizos. (No whites, or at least a very few, had memories that stretched back far enough to help.) These elders knew the river; it ran through their memories and lives. They grew up near it, but not too near, lest wintertime floods wash away their adobes. They drank from it, as did their livestock. They irrigated their crops from the zanjas they had carved from it. The river was lifeblood, the defining feature of the landscape.”
Yet this research from seemingly egalitarian roots was later used to create a river not for the people, but for those with money, power and clout.
As we near the approval of the renewal design plan, he advocates we not make the same mistake twice.
Thanks to Steve Kuchenski of the Pasadena Casting Club Conservation Committee for passing this along.