Tag: Pasadena

Quick mends: Dismantling gets underway for Washington’s Elwha Dam

UPDATE: “Damnation” is a documentary well worth watching.

Don’t we all love to get good news? I relish, for example, when a friend rings me up with something cheery to say, or, I check my bank account to find I’ve got a couple of hundred bucks stashed that I thought I’d spent, but didn’t.

California Fish & Game biologist Doug Killam holds an 88-pound Pacific chinook salmon. It’s hoped the removal of the Elwha Dam in Washington state could result in even bigger fish. (Courtesy California Department of Fish and Game)

As far as the environment goes, I’m always on the lookout for positive stories. Most news is depressing, scary, messy. So today’s piece in the L.A. Times outlining the largest dam removal in our history made me smile. According to the article by Kim Murphy, after almost 100 years, salmon will now be free to swim up 70 miles of their traditional home waters, the Elwha River, instead of being stopped at the dam.

“Now,” of course, is relative, in that the project involves removing not one, but two, dams along the river that runs through Olympic National Park. Then there’s the matter of dealing with the removal of  24 million cubic yards of sediment. Apparently, the number is akin to a football field as high as the Empire State Building times 11.

Sound familiar? Closer to home, we’ve been watching the sediment removal debate revolve around Pasadena’s Devil’s Gate Dam, which is close to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  I’ve written in this space before about the suspect nature of Brown Mountain Dam, farther up the Arroyo Seco and its impact on returning steelhead to this mountainous region.

To quote the Times article about the Elwha River: “The effort is the largest dam removal project ever undertaken in the United States. It comes at a time when the nation’s 80,000 dames, many of them aging and backed up with choking silt, are increasingly suspected of having outlived their usefulness.”

The best news would be to get moving on bringing down Brown Mountain Dam. The Los Angeles River and its tributaries deserve to be returned to their natural state.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Quick Mends: Pasadena to hear comments on plastic bag ban Tuesday

And, this just in from Wilson Lau, Watershed Coordinator at the Arroyo Seco Foundation:

Bag Man: Now that you can be nicked a dime for a paper bag at grocery stores in unincorporated areas in L.A. County, it pays to bring your own. (Barbara Burns)

The City of Pasadena is having a Special Meeting of the Environmental Advisory Commission (EAC) Tueday at 6 p.m. to receive comments on a recommendation for a proposed ordinance that would ban plastic carryout bags, impose a 10-cent charge on paper carryout bags, and require affected stores to provide reusable bags to customers for sale or at no charge.  The stores that would be affected by the proposed ordinance includes large grocers (gross annual sale of $2 million or more), retailers (at least 10,000 square feet of retail space and has a licensed pharmacy) as well as farmer’s markets, drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience food stores, food marts, liquor stores, vendors participating at City-sponsored special events, and events held at City facilities or on City property.

Pasadena is committed to forging policies in support of increased environmental stewardship in partnership with the business community. Pasadena’s Green City Action Plan, adopted in 2006, identifies the development of a plastic bag reduction program to support its goal of achieving zero waste to landfills by 2040.

Questions? Contact Ursula Schmidt, Sustainability Affairs Manager, at (626) 744-6729.

Comments will be heard in Pasadena City Hall,  Council Chambers, S246, 100 N. Garfield Ave. Street parking is available on Garfield Avenue and Ramona Street, adjacent to City Hall.  A public parking lot is located at the Paseo Colorado Shopping Mall just south of City Hall at 280 East Colorado Blvd.

See you on the river, Jim Burns