Tag: Arroyo Seco

Volunteer Opportunity: Second Arroyo Seco ‘trout scout’ scheduled for Thursday

IMG_0786Hi everyone,

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful spring weather!
I am planning on doing another “trout scout” Thursday, March 23, at 11 a.m. at Gould Mesa.
This survey will again have some pretty simple objectives- to look for fish and to assess habitat conditions.
But, this time we will be doing some GIS of locations of where we see some trout or might see them in the future. And, we will be doing some logging of habitat conditions.
If you want to be be involved let me know. I am still working on the exact location/meet up spot. So, I will send you all another email in the next couple days with the exact location/directions.
Thank you as always for your help and interest in Arroyo conservation. And if you have any questions let me know !
John Goraj (john@arroyoseco.org)

Volunteer Opportunity: Scout for trout in the Arroyo Seco

This brown got fooled by a lot of elk hair caddis on a size 14 hook. (Jim Burns)

Hello Stewards,

My name is John Goraj (john@arroyoseco.org). I am emailing you because Tim Brick, managing director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, passed along your info to me.
I am program manager for the native trout restoration project that we are starting now. All of you have expressed interest in wanting to help with our initial fish surveys. Thanks for being involved in this exciting project!
Isn’t it great that all of this rain has caused the Arroyo to flow so abundantly? The time has come to go and look for some fish!
I am planning on doing a scout on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 10 am. If you can make it, meet at the Switzer Falls Trailhead parking lot in the Angeles Crest. This location does require an Adventure Pass or day pass FYI.
If you can’t make it this time, that’s okay. We’ll be going up there several more times this spring. If you have any questions or would like to discuss more with me, you can contact me though the contact info below. I would love to hear any and all suggestions you may have.
Thanks for your time. I look forward to meeting you,

It’s a hike to Arroyo Seco’s Brown Mountain Dam

UPDATE: “Damnation” is a documentary well worth watching.

I’ve been working on a complicated piece this summer that, frankly, I’ll be happy to send in to the editor next week. It’s about Southern California steelhead. That alone may come as a shock to some readers of this space — not that I’m working on it, but that there actually is such a fish in our Mediterranean clime.

Dating from 1943, it’s fair to ask what purpose this federal dam serves today (Jim Burns).

When I think of the mighty steelhead, I envision surging rivers somewhere in the Northwest, and rain-soaked attempts by dogged casters to get a strike, as these powerful giants return from the ocean to spawn in fresh water. Unlike salmon that spawn and die, a steelhead may make more than one trip to the ocean and back to its native waters. Because it covers so many miles, the fish is known as an “umbrella” species, whose health can either augur well or poorly for the rest of us. Steelhead made the Endangered Species List in 1997, and the status was reaffirmed in 2006, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

In pursuit of the truth about the viability of this species here in So. Cal., I’ve spent time with city officials, the Army Corps of Engineers, environmentalists of varied stripes, biologists and just plain everyday folks who love to fish.

All of them agree that one of the literal obstacles to getting steelhead off the list is dams that stop them from returning to their native habitats to spawn.  I wanted to see for myself what one of these dams looked like. My wife agreed, and so we walked upstream yesterday in the July heat from Jet Propulsion Laboratory about four miles to Brown Mountain Dam.

Googling any topic can be deceiving, and so it was with our sojourn. No one in Pasadena needs to be reminded of the horrific Station Fire that took firemen’s lives, burned homes and ruined habitat two years ago. From reading, we expected our hike to be grim: lots of lunar landscapes, dead trees and squashed hopes. Not so.

Yes, there were dead trees. And, yes, there were large debris flows along the modest flow of the upper Arroyo Seco, all the way to the dam. But, there were also marvelous live oak canopies, wildflowers, cacti, blooming yuccas, calling birds, annoying insects. The Station Fire was devastating, but it hasn’t robbed us completely of this splendid natural respite.

Fish, however, were another matter. I spent unscientific time tossing rocks into likely holes, and even nymphed riffles and edges for a bit. If there are still fish, they were taking a long nap. This is particularly bad news as native rainbow trout (actually any rainbow trout) under the right conditions can become a steelhead. And there is a lot of work going into various plans to recover this species — in the Los Angeles River watershed.

Back to the dam. You’ve got to ask yourself, why, with the county ready to pour some $32 million into dredging and dumping the area above Devils’ Gate Dam, this little gem goes unnoticed. If I were a good reporter, I would have already asked an engineer how many tons of sediment lie behind Brown Mountain, just waiting to foul the county’s efforts if, God forbid, we have an earthquake of sufficient magnitude to bring the thing down.

Walking around its structure made me wonder aloud if the idea behind this dam was to slow the notoriously fast flow of winter storm water down the canyon. From my layman’s perspective, it’s a long way down those four miles to the flood plain alongside JPL. Couldn’t we allow it to return to its original state?

If nothing else, a walk up the Arroyo Seco should cure anyone of doubts about removing our channelized monstrosity of flood control to return our streams and rivers to the way they were.

See you on the river, Jim Burns