Quick Mends: Useful links update Sepulveda Basin habitat destruction

California State Senator Kevin De Leon props up crushed vegetation while touring Sepulveda Basin's South Reserve. (Courtesy Grove Pashley)
California State Senator Kevin De Leon props up crushed vegetation while touring Sepulveda Basin’s South Reserve. (Courtesy Grove Pashley)

Yesterday, a friend sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Los Angeles Reimagines its Waterway,” that contained both a snarky East-Coast-centric tone, as well as surface reporting (Notice that the title says “waterway,” not “river” …) But I was struck by two quotes that I think aptly reveal where we are today:

“By year’s end, the Corps and city engineers expect to complete a joint $10 million study that will offer a handful of options for restoring native habitat, likely creating wetlands along the river and potentially removing or reshaping some of the river’s concrete walls. The study examines an 11-mile stretch of the river on the city’s east side, where some resilient plants have survived in a narrow, muddy strip of so-called soft bottom at the center of the channel.”


“Last month, to the surprise of many San Fernando Valley residents, the Corps cleared more than 40 acres of trees and plants near the river northwest of the study area, in the Sepulveda Basin. While not related to the Arbor study, the action set off an outcry among local environmental groups and has raised concerns about the future of the Arbor study.”

According to the article, “State Sen. Kevin de León, one of several local officials who has demanded an explanation from the Corps, said the Sepulveda project “doesn’t bode well” for the future of efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River’s natural landscape.”

So true.

I’ve spent literally two years and change fly fishing this area that the article refers to as a “narrow, muddy strip of so-called soft bottom at the center of the channel.” If you visit these pages, you’ll find pictures of the carp I and many others have so enjoyed catching. But now I wonder, how can you trust the Corps not to destroy all fishing in the river once work actually begins? The motto of this blog is “waiting for steelhead, fishing for carp,” but I now have to wonder if everything non-native has to be tossed out, and with warm water temperatures the rule, will there be any fish at all left in the river? Reintroducing steelhead, which were found in the river as late as the 1940s, is all but impossible. There is no way to construct a run to allow steelhead to reach the ocean.

And are trout really plausible given the river’s high water temperatures? Maybe, with a lot of habitat engineering, and lots and lots of cash money.

That leaves carp, which already thrive in the river, have been resident for decades and, for the sports fisherman, are a lot more cost efficient to catch than traveling to Belize to snatch a bone fish.

I think it’s a crazy policy that has every plant, fish and game species returned to the halcyon of days before Los Angeles was the city it is now. Pragmatic room must be made at the table for all types of activity on the river, which includes fishing.

Question: Exactly what will we be fishing for in the Los Angeles River in 2016?

For those of you following the important issues of the Corps clear-cutting 40+ plus acres of the Sepulveda Basin to suit its own desires, see the links below that come courtesy of Sepulveda Basin Wildlife.

Damage can be seen on the trunk of this native Oak at the South Reserve. (Courtesy Glenn Bailey)
Damage can be seen on the trunk of this native Oak at the South Reserve. (Courtesy Glenn Bailey)

Click HERE to read the entire Finding of No Significant Impact for the Vegetation Management plan.
Click HERE to read the letter sent to ACOE by the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee.
Click HERE to read the ACOE’s response to the SBWASC letter.
Click HERE to see ACOE’s web page about this issue.
Click HERE to read Daily News article about clear cutting of South Reserve.
Click HERE to read L.A. Times article “Army Corps of Engineers clear-cuts lush habitat in Valley”, HERE to read follow-up article.
Click HERE to view YouTube video about the destruction.
Click HERE and HERE to see Encino Patch articles with additional photos.
Click HERE to read letter from San Fernando Valley Audubon Society about clear cut.
Click HERE to read KCET blog by Carren Jao.
Click HERE to read letter from State Senator Fran Pavley.
Click HERE to read letter from State Senator Luis de Leon.
Click HERE to view video entitled “Wildlife Refuge Meets Army Corps or Engineers” by a concerned citizen.
Click HERE to read an editorial by Charles Miller on the KCET blog.
Click HERE to read story in the LA Weekly.
Click HERE to read Congressman Brad Sherman’s letter to Colonel Toy.
Regional Water Board Investigation – click HERE for Encino Patch article.

Click HERE to find out about the history and wildlife of what used to be the South Reserve.

Click HERE to visit the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society’s web site that has recommendations as to who to send comments, and other links.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

5 thoughts on “Quick Mends: Useful links update Sepulveda Basin habitat destruction”

  1. Thorough, Jim. I’ve got my reading for the next two days with your linkage. Link lizards rule all.

  2. Give me time Jim, I do want to peruse it all. I still wish to travel somday and fish the LA River, but also see the geobotanical changes and native species as well, in addition to the wide variety of creatures.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.