Month: January 2022

 L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration to receive $28 million from bipartisan infrastructure bill

@MayorofLA — Mayor Garcetti today celebrated $28 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project. This funding will enable habitat restoration near the Arroyo Seco confluence and the Taylor Yard site. 

A city button from when “riverly” was a thing. (Credit: Jim Burns)

“The L.A. River is one of Los Angeles’ crown jewels – a foundational piece of our city’s story. Now, it’s on us to make it shine for ourselves and future generations,” Mayor Garcetti said. “This $28 million investment by our federal partners – their largest to date in the river – caps off nearly a decade of progress and investment in our bold vision of the L.A. River’s future. I am deeply grateful to our Los Angeles Congressional delegation, as well as the Biden Administration for this funding, and I look forward to seeing the transformation continue as a lifelong Angeleno.”

The L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project will restore 11 miles of the L.A. River from Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. The city estimates this plan will generate 14,200 construction jobs and 2,670 permanent jobs. It will restore hundreds of acres for multiple plant and animal species and provide access to natural areas and trails for historically disadvantaged communities.  

During his first term, Mayor Garcetti personally lobbied the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the approval of the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project. He led on the passage of Measure M in 2016 which funded a drastic expansion of the LA RiverWay bike path. In 2017, the city acquired the 42-acre G2 parcel at Taylor Yard to expand park-land around the river. The river restoration project has been a priority for the City of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and is reflected in the City’s 2007 Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, which outlines the City’s vision for the future of the L.A. River as well as the numerous benefits that its revitalization will bring to diverse communities in the region.

TU Founder George Griffith and Michigan’s Au Sable River

IN THE DARK: The headlamp only comes on when you catch a brown trout. (Credit Will Burns)

One of the best fishing times my son and I ever shared together was at the Gates Lodge, fishing the fabled Au Sable River. It was the kind of father-son bonding trip I miss now that Will has a young family of his own. Searching for big browns one evening in an Au Sable river boat, we drifted past the birthplace of Trout Unlimited, the premier conservation organization for protecting cold water trout. Here is an except from its founder, George Griffith, from his memoir, “For the Love of Trout.” (out of print). Gates Lodge is now owned by writer Josh Greenberg. If you are planning a trip to Michigan, be sure to read his excellent book, “Rivers of Sand.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

“Change comes to everything, including the river. Often it is subtle, so subtle that it is difficult for a generation to accept new restrictions, size limits, slotting. Now it’s no-kill, spearheaded by Rusty Gates, second generation owner of Gates AuSable Lodge at Stephan’s Bridge, and the Anglers of the AuSable. Many river residents, and some guides, can’t see the Holy Waters as being off-limits to keeping trout even though statistics in the late ’80s showed 80 percent of the anglers were voluntarily returning their catches to the water by choice, not regulation.

Attitudes change, often with species and availability. Advocates like Gates can help bring about change. By the late ’40s, I already was more interested in the life and hazards of trout than in catching a limit every day, or taking trout home. However, few shared my growing concern for the river. Bob Behnke, who has a clearinghouse for biologists’ findings at the University of Colorado, wrote recently in Trout magazine about the “sportsmen,” who looked down on the “fish hogs,” who would take 100 trout. As Behnke says, they call themselves “conservationists” because they only kept their limits of 25 fish!”

HOLY WATERS: Present owner Josh Greenberg keeps Rusty’s spirit of sport fishing and conservation alive at the Gates Au Sable Lodge in Grayling, Michigan. (Credit Jim Burns)

Wait, is that plecos reffling?

The armored catfish, a.k.a. plecos of aquarium fame, demonstrates reffling. (courtesy Cool Green Science)

Read the entire article from Cool Green Science: You are probably familiar with these catfish, commonly called plecos. Fish enthusiasts often keep them to clear algae from their tanks. If you’ve ever seen a sucker-mouthed catfish clinging to the glass walls of your friend’s aquarium, you know the pleco.

Unfortunately, irresponsible aquarium keepers often dump their tanks. This has led to invasive fish around North America, particularly in warm-water environments. Two species of neotropical suckermouth catfish are now abundant and widespread in Florida. They are also found in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and pretty much anywhere the water stays warm enough year round. They live by scraping algae off rocks and other hard surfaces.

“They burrow into riverbanks, causing erosion,” says Bressman. “They churn up the river bottom, reducing water visibility. There are even reports that they stress out wintering manatees, because they try to eat the algae off the big mammals.”

They are also a hardy species, able to breathe in low-oxygen environments and protected by armor. That armor, though, is also somewhat inflexible, which could lead one to believe they couldn’t move on land. “Thick armor is known to reduce flexibility and maneuverability in other fishes,” the journal article states.

But the pleco has other tricks up its, umm, fins. And tail. Welcome the weird world of reffling.

You can find former aquarium dwellers such as this plecos in the Los Angeles River. (Will Burns)