Nov 25, 2017 Sewforward
That’s the beauty of the LA river – forgotten by so many but what lives there, flourishes there.
In an age when the dams are finally coming down, the city of Los Angeles is erecting a new one, if approved by year’s end. Advocates tout this barrier as both temporary and inflatable, instead of fixed and concrete, and its purpose twofold: to create a basin for water to fuel the Annenberg Foundation’s water wheel; and to slow the flow of treated water to the ocean.
I wonder if any have asked those who advocate for the return of steelhead to the Los Angeles River what they thought?
And I wonder, as retired FoLAR luminary Lewis MacAdams was fond of saying, did anyone ask the steelhead? If they are able to ride a winter storm surge from the beach upstream if they’d like to get stuck behind an inflatable, unnecessary dam?
Dams are coming down all over the country. In fact, 72 dams fell last year, according to American Rivers. And when they are blasted back into the dust from which they came, fish return. That list includes Benbow Dam, South Fork Eel River and Old Carmel River Dam, Carmel River, both in California.
Now we read that inflatable dams are a good idea for the LA River because the county has already used them successfully on the San Gabriel River to recharge groundwater. To me, the logic points backward, not forward.
If we want to end up with a restored river instead of a carnival, one that is renewed with native plants, fish and wildlife, one in which children and their parents can enjoy a taste of the actual river environs, instead of concrete, graffiti and drug deals, this leads exactly in the wrong direction.
Ask a San Antonioan how may fish he’s caught in the remade RiverWalk in downtown San Antonio and he will probably tell you how great the jazz clubs along with river are, and how many dining options there are now. And how much real estate value has increased. As one YouTuber put it:
“There’s no signs anywhere saying you can’t fish there, but it’s frowned upon and not many people have tried. I didn’t stick around too long, I was getting dirty looks from the employees of a nearby bar, and I think they called the cops.”
Maybe that’s fine for San Antonio, but I don’t think it’s OK for Los Angeles. After all, our own recreation zones have only been open for legal seasonal fishing for four years.
CalTrout recently released a cry for help because Southern Steelhead, currently endangered, will be extinct, along with many other native fish, within a young person’s lifetime. The advocacy group believes 45 percent of them will be extinct – not endangered, extinct – within 50 years.
So, please take a moment to write Mayor Eric Garcetti and tell him you’d rather give steelhead a chance to return to the San Gabriel Mountains than have an inflatable dam further blocking the way. That you’d rather give our youth a taste of the outdoors in our own communities. That you actually do care about the environment over development. Here is his email:
After all, when the Army Corps eventually begins to tear out the concrete near Atwater Village, the true nature of the river can be coaxed back into the 21st Century. As the water temperatures decrease, the chances of introducing native fish increase.
Using artificial means to increase water levels for a water wheel is wrong headed. In fact, like a hamster wheel, it is circling in exactly the wrong direction.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
Bowtie Field Day
Saturday Sept. 23
2780 W. Casitas Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Join Clockshop and California State Parks for an afternoon of outdoor activities along the Los Angeles River at the Bowtie Project. This free program is open to all ages, with activities and walks led by California State Parks rangers, Bowtie Project artists, naturalists and educators.
• Catch & Release Fishing Demos
• Knot Tying Workshops
• Sculpting with Clay
• Plant Pressing Workshop
• Herbarium Demos
• Nature Walk
• REI Raffle
• Campfire Program with S’mores
• Taco Plates Available for Purchase
Stay for an hour, or stay the whole day! Check out contemporary sculpture and historic rail yard landmarks amid thriving flora and fauna at the Bowtie Project.
Parking and restrooms on site. All activity materials provided.