Tag: Arroyo Seco Foundation

An Urgent Appeal to the SoCal Fishing Community to Save Arroyo Seco Trout

This small rainbow was caught last year before the Bobcat Fire destroyed the West Fork, closing it into 2022. Several hundred rainbows were transported to the Arroyo Seco for safekeeping. With water levels already very low, this is no time to divert more water for use by the City of Pasadena. (Credit Jim Burns)

UPDATE: The Pasadena City Council hearing has been continued until Monday, July 19, 4:30 p.m.

From Tim Brick, Arroyo Seco Foundation:

We need your help to save Arroyo Seco trout now!

The Arroyo Seco Foundation is working to restore conditions for steelhead in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains. Yes, steelhead – the anadromous form of Coastal Rainbow Trout. We are collaborating with a variety of agencies and organizations on the LA River Fish Passage Program in downtown Los Angeles and on an assessment of watershed conditions in the mountainous reaches of the Arroyo Seco.

Pasadena has prepared an Environmental Impact Report on the Arroyo Seco Canyon Project (ASCP), which will increase water diversions from the Arroyo Seco stream, a major tributary of the Los Angeles River system that is critical to steelhead recovery prospects. ASCP will build a new five-foot dam and diversion facility to divert additional water from the Arroyo Seco stream for domestic use by the Pasadena Water & Power Department (PWP).

The National Marine Fisheries Service has declared the Southern California steelhead an endangered species and prepared a steelhead recovery plan that includes the Arroyo Seco and the Los Angeles River.

The goal of this recovery plan is to prevent the extinction of southern California steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the wild and to ensure the long‐term persistence of viable, self‐sustaining, populations of steelhead distributed across the Southern California Distinct Population Segment (DPS). It is also the goal of this recovery plan to re‐ establish a sustainable southern California steelhead sport fishery.

While the Arroyo Seco was once home to a thriving population of rainbow trout and steelhead, steelhead have been blocked since 1920 from returning to their mountain home in the Angeles National Forest. Native Rainbow Trout have been present since then in the Arroyo Seco, although the Station Fire and the extended drought of recent years have made conditions difficult for those fish.

Based on survey techniques described by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as inadequate, Pasadena’s ASCP EIR states that there are no fish in the Arroyo. Pasadena’s projections for water availability are based on historical weather and streamflow patterns and do not consider the likely impact of climate change. The design of the new dam and diversion structure do not provide for two-way fish passage around or through those facilities nor for an environmental flow to protect the fish and aquatic species during dry periods as required by CA Fish and Game Code Sections 5901 and 5937.

Throughout the environmental review, the Arroyo Seco Foundation has asserted that Rainbow Trout are still present in the Arroyo Seco and that Pasadena has done an inadequate job of finding and documenting them. The ASCP EIR was tentatively approved by a Pasadena hearing officer on January 6th, but ASF joined with the Pasadena Audubon Society and several individuals to block EIR certification by appealing the decision. The matter was then considered in March by the Pasadena Board of Zoning Appeals, which added a few new conditions to the EIR. ASF and PAS again appealed that decision and forced EIR certification to be considered by the Pasadena City Council. A hearing date for that matter has now been set for next Monday, July 12, 2021.

During the appeal period, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that they had conducted a Rainbow Trout rescue program on the West Fork of the San Gabriel River after the Bobcat Fire last Fall. CDFW personnel translocated 469 native Rainbow Trout into the Arroyo Seco canyon in the area to be impacted by Pasadena’s ASCP program.

Faced with irrefutable evidence of the presence of many Rainbow Trout, Pasadena has not changed its position regarding the design and operation of the new dam and diversion structure that they plan to build. They state that when steelhead passage from the Pacific Ocean is restored, they will evaluate various ways to meet the requirements of the relevant sections of the Fish and Game Code.

The Fish and Game Code requirements for fish and passage and environmental flows, however, are not limited to steelhead trout. They apply to any fish as well as to other aquatic species that would be trapped by the PWP facilities. Clearly it will be difficult and expensive to retrofit the dam and diversion facilities at some distant point in the future when the steelhead return. This is the time to do it to protect the fish that are there now and to establish better conditions for the future.

We are disappointed in Pasadena’s cynical dereliction of its environmental responsibility. We believe that Pasadena and its Water & Power Department must be good stewards of the natural resources they exploit.

Send a Letter to Pasadena Mayor Gordo and the City Council Today

We urge you and your organization to send a letter to Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo (vgordo@cityofpasadena.net) and the City Council this week urging them to require PWP to alter the design and operation of any new dam and diversion facilities to accommodate fish passage and to provide an environmental flow during critical periods as required by Fish and Game Code Sections 5901 and 5937.

Please contact tim@arroyoseco.org if you have any questions or need any further information.

Information about the Arroyo Seco Canyon Project – https://www.arroyoseco.org/ascp

How to Contact Pasadena Officials –  https://www.arroyoseco.org/tellthecouncil.htm

Translocation of Rainbow Trout to the Arroyo Seco from the Bobcat Fire Burn Area – http://arroyoseco.org/documents/cdfwarroyo.pdf

LA Times Article – http://www.arroyoseco.org/documents/lattrout20210617.pdf

Native Fish in the Arroyo Seco –

Cause Celebre: How a trout rescue on the q.t. ignited a water war in Pasadena

An incredible story of disappearing water, relocated trout and the thirsty needs of Pasadena.
Once known for its fly-fishing close to home, the Arroyo Seco above Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has become an unwilling poster child for all the calamities trout face: devastating fires, ruinous mudslides, parching droughts and , of course, human pressure. (Jim Burns)

An amazing story from the incomparable Los Angeles Times environmental writer Louis Sahagun: “In an era of increasing drought and nearly back-to-back wildfires, state conservationists have been working overtime in the San Gabriel Mountains to rescue frogs, fish and other species facing potential oblivion by rounding up populations of threatened animals and transporting them to safer areas.

While most of these efforts have occurred in obscurity, one recent mission to save hundreds of doomed rainbow trout has touched off a heated battle between humans and fish over the clear waters of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. The controversy has also served to highlight the challenges wildlife biologists now face as they search for havens amid Southern California’s patchwork of urban development, wildfire scars and seasonal mudslides.”

Arroyo Seco pursues grant money for steelhead recovery

 Since its listing as an endangered species in 1997, Southern steelhead abundance has continued to decline to precariously low levels.(Courtesy Arroyo Seco Foundation)


From the Arroyo Seco Foundation: The California Department of Fish & Wildlife has recently listed the Arroyo Seco in the Los Angeles River as a candidate site for its Fisheries Restoration ProgramThis is the first time anything has ever been listed in the LA River Watershed for steelhead restoration. The Arroyo Seco Foundation has been invited to submit a proposal by April 13.

The LA River Fish Passage program has demonstrated how critically important the Arroyo Seco is to steelhead restoration in the LA River system.

The Arroyo Seco Foundation is now putting together a proposal to develop a steelhead recovery program in this critical stream. The program will include analysis of barriers, sediment, trout habitat conditions and a trout population survey. It will also take a preliminary look at an obsolete Forest Service dam 3.5 miles into the upper watershed of the Arroyo Seco in the Angeles National Forest, Brown Mountain Dam, that blocks the prime spawning habitat in the mountains.

The Los Angeles River Fish Passage and Habitat Structures Design project will enhance migration corridors to the LA River soft-bottom reaches and upper tributaries to support native fish habitat needs at all life stages. (Courtesy Stillwater Sciences)

To be competitive in CDFW’s grant process, we need to provide a substantial match for the CDFW funding requested. The steelhead recovery program won’t begin until June of next year, but we need your commitment by Friday, April 9

Can you help us by providing financial support or in-kind services for the steelhead recovery program?

Get in touch with ASF Managing Director Tim Brick — (tim@arroyoseco.org (626) 639-4092) — right away!
(That means by Friday, April 9th)

We welcome partners in the steelhead recovery program.

ASF hosts green forum for mayoral candidates in Pasadena

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The Arroyo Seco Foundation will host the Pasadena Mayoral Candidates Forum on the Environment to be held in the Donald Wright Auditorium of the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. in Pasadena on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. The theme of the event will be “How Green Should Pasadena Be?” Topics to be covered will include climate change, the Arroyo Seco, trees and other issues of local concern.

The program will begin with a brief opening statement from each of the four candidates on their environmental record and views. The candidates include Jason Hardin, Victor Gordo, Major Williams and current Mayor Terry Tornek. Following the initial statements, there will be a panel of local environmental leaders who will ask questions of the candidates. The public will also be invited to ask questions of the candidates. The event will conclude at 8:30 pm.

The discussion is a timely event since the primary election for the Mayor’s race will be held on March 3, 2020.

“We are pleased that all four candidates have confirmed their participation,” said Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, “and look forward to a lively discussion of critical environmental concerns and solutions.”

Council for Watershed Health receives $1.4 million for LA River fish passage study

SteelheadAt its recent quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board  approved approximately $28.7 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California, including one for the Los Angeles River, according to its website.

A $1.4 million grant to the Council for Watershed Health for a cooperative project with the city of Los Angeles, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, the Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco Foundation for a planning project to provide designs, permits and environmental review for addressing impaired mobility for southern steelhead trout and other native fish along more than four miles of the Los Angeles River in downtown Los Angeles.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

 

ASF seeks native trout evidence in upper Arroyo Seco

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The trout are back! After a long dry spell recent rains have created excellent conditions for trout recovery. We want to document the presence of native Rainbow Trout in the Arroyo Seco. It will build a good case for improving stream and habitat conditions in the Arroyo Seco, a key tributary of the Los Angeles River.

We would like to enlist some enthusiastic scouts to search the upper reaches of the Arroyo Seco stream to find native trout there. The upper stream is accessible from trails off of Angeles Crest Highway. ASF can provide information about likely sites and proper procedures.

This will be a very signifcant and exciting project for fishers and Arroyo lovers to participate in. If you are interested or want to report a sighting, please send a message to fish@arroyoseco.org.