Today was about as perfect an L.A. fishing day as you could get: temperature in the low 70s; carp for the sighting; long stretches of river to yourself. So, what’s not to like?
The Atwater Village “temporary” barriers are still there after close to a year. Remember the Army Corps installed them last January to protect Atwater Village from the predicted El Nino flooding. Well, the possibility of getting a super soaker came and went, but the sand-filled blockades are still there. I was reminded of President Ronald Reagan’s famous line, delivered at the Berlin Wall in 1987: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
I haven’t walked the whole length, but according to a piece that ran in the Eastsider in January, it’s three miles long!
And because scaling the barriers — filled with sand and 4 feet high — is difficult, access along this very long stretch is once again contained to the walking path above the river. So, if you want to:
— fly fish
— walk your dog near river’s edge
— enjoy the occasional turtle
— bird watch
— take wildlife photographs while smelling the river’s Tide-scented waters
you won’t be doing it unless you are fit and able enough to hoist yourself up and over the barrier. Where does that leave the disabled who would like to enjoy our river?
The barriers have been there so long that weeds are actually growing in many of the containers, as if that were their intended use.
I read the Corps has decided the area is at risk if we experience a “100 year flood.” Is that the reason for not dismantling the barriers? For me, it’s a blatant attempt to keep the river away from people, just like you. Thank you, Army Corps., for attempting to protect the area, but the risk is gone and what’s left is classic overreach.
It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so if anyone is in that area, please take a shot of how high the water gets, and, of course, don’t try to access the lower river reaches. If the water rises anywhere near these dreadful barriers, I’ll retract this post. Otherwise, it’s time for all of us to echo Reagan’s words — the fight to get access to the river has been too long and hard to let it be snatched away once again by a government agency.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
“Patagonia, the Ventura-based outdoor clothing and gear company, is working with Hewlett and other groups to raise the funds needed to take out the dam by 2020. It would be the largest dam removal in California history (eclipsing the recent San Clemente project).”
I only wish Brown Mountain Dam behind the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were on the list.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
By Rosi Dagit
On our return to Sepulveda Basin, to continue the upper river fish survey, we captured 203 fish, a far cry from the more than 3,600 tilapia fry caught this time last year.
There had been the first major rain of the season the day before, on Monday, Nov. 21, with between 0.75-1.25 inches over the LA River basin. Sediment and the remains of several homeless encampments were in our car park site. Muck was unconsolidated and varied from 1-6 inches deep. We couldn’t walk far upstream, starting 30 yards to the underpass at Burbank Blvd. because the water was too deep but flow in the main stem concrete area where the sample sites are located was shallow. Most of the vegetation along the banks was gone with just a few patches of water primrose (Ludwigia hexapetala), a few cattails and some willows closer to the bridge were all that remained.
The majority of fish were non-native juvenile Tilapia sp. and Gambusia affinis. Both of these species are common and abundant throughout the LA River, where they were initially released to control mosquito larvae. Samples of both species, as well as fathead minnow, juvenile red swamp crayfish and Asiatic clams were also collected and frozen for toxicology testing.
A single adult Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus), which is a common aquarium fish, was also found washed up on the concrete bank at site 2. It recovered when placed into cool water, but was collected for toxicology testing.
An Army Corps ‘dozer and dump truck moved sediment and debris out of the concrete channel, according to their management permit. The site supervisor kindly allowed us to complete our site 1 and 2 sampling before they moved heavy equipment into that area. The rest of our six sites were upstream of their work area.
Following collection of what looked like an arroyo chub (but was later confirmed to be a fathead minnow) at site 1, just downstream of the disturbance in the channel, we contacted the California Department of Fish and Game about this potential threat to any other arroyo chub that might have washed down.
Dagit is the Senior Conservation Biologist, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains.