Month: July 2019

Check out new Mountains Conservancy survey tool (it’s cool)

Screen Shot 2019-07-20 at 8.47.50 AM

Hello Community Partners/Friends,

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is soliciting feedback for their ongoing efforts around the Upper LA River & Tributaries plan. They have released a bilingual survey tool for community organizations and residents alike to fill out. This tool offers the ability to view layers such as: the literature review and compilation, identified opportunity sites and design areas, and is also an opportunity for you to provide feedback. Please visit the link below and complete the survey and share with your neighbors/constituents/community members.
The survey will be available until Sept. 5.

Please submit any questions regarding the survey tool to

Sincere regards,


Fernando R. Morales
Senior Field Deputy, West/Metro LA
O: 310.231.1170
C: 213.379.2807

Look to Montana for habitat restoration and fishy inspiration

I just came back from an enlightening trip to Butte, Montana, ground zero for turn-of-the-century copper extraction, just as Thomas Edison discovered electricity and the USA wired the entire country to go from candles to light bulbs. Millions of miles of copper wire came from ore extracted in Butte. As a result, tons of extremely toxic mining waste polluted the area’s water and fouled the landscape, killing off thousands of trees.

Butte gets rich, then goes bust

Richest Hill on EarthButte got rich and richer, then went bust. One hundred-plus years of mining left 10,000 miles (not a typo) of mines beneath the city. At one point, more than 100,000 souls called it home, many Irish immigrants; mining shifts worked around the clock, and Charlie Chaplin complained he’d “never worked that hard in his life” because of having to play to multiple shifts of miners as they got off their shifts. Today, the population has decreased to around 34,000, up 4,000 in the last decade.

Better times ahead

Butte is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance, with a freshly minted film festival, good spots to stay and to eat, close airport access to the Big Hole, one of America’s premier freestone rivers, fly rods designed by women, for women, and a fine local bourbon.

As I fly fished my way around the area, the LA was on my mind. I caught cutthroat trout in Silverbow Creek, where wading would have been dangerous just a few decades ago.

A beautiful Cutty, caught at a former Superfund cleanup site. (Jim Burns)

Environmental Protection Agency officials declared it a Superfund cleanup site in 1983.

So, for inspiration about what our river could become as it loses its concrete straitjacket, check out this video. Next carp you catch, squint your eyes and see what it might become.


See you on the river, Jim Burns