No Big Dig (Photo - video grab)Hahamongna is a precious environmental treasure in the Arroyo Seco, a branch of the Los Angeles River and a rare alluvial canyon that links the San Gabriel Mountains to downtown Los Angeles.

      Pasadena Audubon Society and the Arroyo Seco Foundation, working together to protect and restore the stream habitat and wildlife along the Arroyo Seco River, have filed a lawsuit to stop the LA County Flood Control District’s $100 million Big Dig program to truck sediment from Hahamongna Watershed Park in Pasadena to landfills 25 miles away.

      The Big Dig program

      The Big Dig program will have horrendous impacts on habitat and wildlife in Hahamongna and on the neighboring communities. The District claims that it is the only way to protect downstream communities from flood threats. In their push, they have ignored clear alternate proposals, from organizations, community members, and the City of Pasadena, which lay out methods to achieve needed flood protection without such destructive impacts.

      The Flood Control District is simultaneously moving forward with similar programs at other large dams in LA County – which will add up to an enormous amount of money, air pollution, and waste:

      • $100 million for a quick fix, temporary solution
      • 425 trucks a day adding to traffic, noise, and air pollution
      • 150,000 trucks for this reservoir alone – an unknown number for all their reservoirs
      • No clear goal for reservoir capacity – but a minimum of 2.4 million cubic yards of soil and vegetation removed from Hahamongna in under 5 years
      • Destroy 71 acres of established stream side habitat, a state wide resource, and riversidean alluvial fan sage scrub – a rare habitat nearly extirpated in Los Angeles County

      Devil's Gate Dam reservoir (Photo - Video grab).The Pasadena Alternative

      The City of Pasadena has proposed a plan that would have 1/4 of the impacts of the District’s project:

      • A maximum of 120 trucks a day
      • Require trucks to meet at least 2010 EPA emissions standards, reducing NOx emissions
      • Set a clear goal of reservoir capacity, work slowly to get there over 10 years
      • Maintain that level of capacity every year to avoid a future ‘crisis’
      • Limit the project to a 40 acre footprint
      • Preserve key areas, including stream-side habitatand riversidean alluvial fan sage scrub
      • Maintain a pool of water near the dam to increase water conservation and provide habitat for birds, fish, frogs and more

      But the Flood Control District would not listen.

      The Lawsuit

      The Pasadena Audubon Society and the Arroyo Seco Foundation have filed a lawsuit to force the agency to manage the Devil’s Gate Dam reservoir:

      • By preserving flood protections provided by the dam and its reservoir

      Also, by considering:

      • Traffic
      • Air quality
      • Natural communities
      • Water resources

      The lawsuit, led by a legal team that is experienced in CEQA suits,  needs the necessary funds to help create an integrated and sustainable approach that will benefit all residents of Los Angeles County.

      How can you help?

      An indiegogo campaign has been created to help achieve a plan that will ensure:

      • Diesel trucks that meet current EPA standards and lower NOx emissions.
      • Fewer trucks on neighborhood roads, passing by schools, each day of the project.
      • Preservation and replanting of more forest and wetland within the park.
      • A clear plan to use the dam for water conservation and infiltration of water into the Raymond Basin aquifer underground.
      • A model for dam and reservoir maintenance for all other projects the LA County Flood Control District operates – over 80 other facilities.
      • A sustainable management plan for the reservoir that ensures the safety of the dam and downstream residents while incorporating concerns about traffic, air quality, nature and water.

      Every single contribution can, and will, make a difference.

      Other Ways You Can Help

      If you can’t contribute financially, you can still help:

      • Lead a coffee session to inform people about the proposed project
      • Become a neighborhood chief and help your neighbors understand what’s at stake
      • Host an event at your home to help raise funds
      • Share this article with friends and colleagues and spread the word

      Will you help claim our river back?

      Check the indiegogo campaign here.


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      1. thomas says:

        If they dont do this then your house and the rose bowl would be flooded so you choose

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