Pasadena InSight

Hahamongna

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  1. What is not widely known in Pasadena is that there is a struggle going on right now to decide whether Hahamongna becomes the Central Arroyo north or whether it remains the rustic, low-key environment which the public has been demanding since the early 1990s.

    To start out with a brief chapter of a 15 year story, let’s consider the proposed road on the Hahamongna Annex. This new road, (which I first heard about from a Pasadena staff member in 1999 so it’s not so new),was proposed so that visitors to the park could use the to-be-built JPL parking garage on weekend. During the Master Environmental Impact Report process, the parking garage and the road on the Annex were taken out of the Master Plan after considerable public protest.

    Well, guess what? The parking garage is still, as far as we know, not back in the picture but,strangely enough, the road has been resurrected – purportedly to provide parking for the Nature Center which will occupy the former Forest Service campus on the Annex. To paraphrase a member of the HWP Advisory Committee: if you have to build a new road to have a Nature Center then you don’t exactly have the concept!

    The road may well be the lynchpin for plans which go far beyond the Nature Center(more about that in a future post). There is an air about the whole process that “come hell or high water” this road is going to get built no matter what the various Commissioners and the public think!

    Nearby parking areas which could have been used for Annex overflow are oddly disappearing from the plan. How convenient and how best to make the road a fait accompli if all the nearby parking is eliminated!

    Some specifics: A 50 space parking lot on the southwest side of Hahamongna, slated for upgrading in the HWP Master Plan does not appear on the map of nearby parking areas given to the HWP Advisory Committee. A member of the public had to bring this lot to the Committee’s attention. And, in the strange and peculiar world that is Hahamongna planning, there is a pending grant application for funds to widen the road to the parking lot – yes, that’s the very same parking lot which the Committee was not shown on the map of nearby parking areas! Sometimes you see it and sometimes you don’t!

    Within the last couple of months, a staff member has also stated that they are considering not keeping ANY parking in Hahamongna on the east side. In the adopted Master Plan, 200 spaces of the existing JPL parking lot were proposed to be kept for use of park users and those going up in the forest. All of a sudden, presto chango, the Master Plan that was studied, debated for years and voted on by City Council would be instantly changed by staff – with potentially huge impacts for the park if that change would result in a road having to be built. What the heck is up with that – I didn’t know that a Master Plan was a moving target!

    I hope this has piqued your interest enough to pay more attention to what is going on up in Hahamongna. The park was very fortunate to escape overdevelopment in the 20th century but we will have to pay close attention or it will still happen in the next couple of decades.

    Let me know what you think!

    Comment by Miss Pit — December 10, 2008 @ 11:42 am

  2. Overdevelopment is one of the primary “bains” of our 20th Century existence, and I applaud this effort to fight that. (thats what it takes sometimes!)

    Comment by Virginia — December 15, 2008 @ 10:39 am

  3. Documents posted online by the City of Pasadena are not clear on the exact scope of the proposed structures to be put into place. The original concept had much more in it (i.e., parking structure), as well as some problematic areas where some of the proposed restrooms were below the floodline. The existing ones are in dire need of replacement with better design as well as the sewer connections.

    http://www.cityofpasadena.net/publicworks/PNR/ArroyoSeco/default.asp

    Miralles Associates, the architect working with the park design team, had reservations about the way that structures & parking were located in this site, but was directed to do so. The structures were contraindicated in their locations by the natural site characteristics, and no alternatives were requested.

    Comment by John Q Public — January 11, 2009 @ 3:36 am

  4. Friends,
    At its January 12, 2009 meeting, the Pasadena City Council approved an amendment to the lease between the city and JPL for the use of the east and west Hahamongna lots for parking. The lease is for two years with an option for an additional 2 1/2 years. The lease revenues will be $696,000/year, a substantial increase over the current rental of $540,000. As the city has stated previously, in 2013 JPL will have to vacate the east lot so that spreading basins can be built on most of this lot. Two hundred parking spaces will be retained on the east side of the park, however, for the use of visitors to the park and the National Forest.

    The really interesting aspect of this lease, described in the staff report as a “minor adjustment,” is language in the lease to allow shared use of the west JPL parking lot on weekends by park visitors. You may recall that this was the arrangement that was proposed for the 1200 car parking garage that the city was planning to build for JPL on the west parking lot. The parking garage would have required a road through the park for car traffic, a proposal which met with much disapproval. Both the road and the parking garage were taken out of the Hahamongna Master Plan in response to public comment.

    Mayor Bogaard and Michael Beck, the new City Manager, stated that the lease terms do not allow the building of a new road in the Arroyo. “My understanding with the lease [is that] it simply allows for the option in the future for that to be used as [a] shared use parking lot,” said Mr. Beck. He added that the action “does not create a requirement on behalf of staff or permission given by Council to actually build a road.” The Mayor reassured the community that action by the city on the lease does not “contemplate or imply in any way a new road in the Arroyo Seco. That will be a separate question that the staff may be going to ask the Council to consider but it will be separate and subsequent.”

    As I pointed out in my comments, however, there is no way for the park user to access this parking lot unless a new road is cut through the park or the existing perimeter trail (sometimes called the Old Quarry Road) is turned into a roadway through the heart of the park. Perhaps this explains what happened in the redline version of the Master Plan. The hikers and the equestrian in Exhibit 3-5 of the 2002 version of the plan, which the public reviewed, were replaced by a car merrily rolling down the perimeter trail, now referred to as a roadway (thanks to Bev and friends for that sharp-eyed catch!)

    There was another interesting fact which came out of Monday’s meeting. Mr. Hall Daily of Caltech gave a report on JPL parking. The lab is not currently building a parking garage. They have no firm plans about where they might build this garage or how it might be funded despite the fast-approaching 2013 deadline. “How we are going to park something like a little less than half of our cars, we don’t have an answer for that right now,” Mr. Daily said.

    Stay tuned.
    Mary B.

    Comment by Mary B. — January 16, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  5. Lori,
    The west parking lot would be “new” only in the sense that it would be a new parking lot for park users. It has been used by JPL employees for 23 years. In 1986 it was put in during a JPL construction project as a “temporary” lot for JPL employees with the pledge that it would be returned to open space within five years.
    JPL’s use of the lot has not been a problem for the park in terms of traffic because JPL has its own internal network of roads.

    The language in the lease permitting joint use of the west parking lot by JPL and park users is very worrisome for several reasons:

    1. There is no way to get there from here! There is no way for the cars of park users to get to that parking lot unless a new road is built through the heart of the park – either on the Hahamongna Annex or on the perimeter trail.

    2. Once the road is built through the park, who knows how extensive will be the development that follows? There is an extensive history of development proposals for Hahamongna which many of you may recall. More about that later.

    3. Until JPL goes public with its parking garage plans, how do we know that the parking garage won’t reappear on the west parking lot at some later date? You may recall that, during the Master Plan process, there was concern that this parking garage would be used for Rose Bowl parking. That turned out to be a well-founded concern. A technical report to the HWP Master Plan prepared by The Natelson Company. which I only obtained recently, discusses the use of the Hahamongna parking garage for Rose Bowl parking in considerable detail.

    I realize that JPL has a real headache in trying to find a place to park those 1200 cars which are now parked in the east lot. Given JPL’s sensitivity to community concerns, I cannot believe that the lab would agree to a solution which would degrade the park with traffic and new roads. They need to let the public know what their plans are, though, to put these concerns to rest.

    As Lori said, there will be much more about this in the months ahead. If you know of anyone who is particularly interested in Hahamongna who may not be on the lists, could you please email me his/her name?

    I couldn’t agree with Lori more that this is about the future. This is our chance to keep a few acres rustic and natural so that others may enjoy the birds, the wildlife, the hikes and rides, all that we have been privileged to enjoy. The challenge will be to overcome a development mentality that sees every bit of open space only in terms of the short-term problems which it can solve – a mentality that sees no land as off limits no matter how special it may be and no matter how much and how long the community has insisted that it be protected.

    We need your help.
    Mary B.

    In a message dated 1/19/2009 7:04:55 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, gaboon@sbcglobal.net writes:

    *Available for cross-posting…

    Dear Neighbors, Trail Users & Those Who Care About Hahamongna Watershed Park,

    As the protracted and arcane planning for the future of Hahamongna Watershed Park (HWP) proceeds with the City of Pasadena, there have been numerous public workshops, advisory committee meetings, a major “charette” and so forth. I have reported on only a few, but suffice to say that “public input fatigue” set in long ago among those stubborn souls who have attempted to follow the entire “process” over the many years.

    It is time to bring a new matter to your attention.

    After repeated and overwhelming opposition from community participants to Pasadena’s plans to build additional parking lots and a new vehicular road within this natural wildland park, Pasadena continues to work towards such a road while no one is looking. Most recently, the Pasadena City Council, at its 12 January 2009 meeting, approved an amendment to the City’s lease with JPL that includes public use of what is currently a JPL-only (within the Lab) parking lot on the west side of the HWP. For the public to access that parking lot from outside JPL, a new road would need to be built across the park, per prior plans opposed by the park users.

    From time to time Pasadena resurrects its effort to turn the existing perimeter trail into a road and to build a paved road to a “new” parking area (or structure) at the North end of the park, adjacent to JPL’s eastern boundary. See the two versions of Exhibit 3-5 below excerpted from the HWP Master Plan, one from 2002 and the other from 2003. In the first version there’s a hiker and a horse rider on the trail. In the second version (a year later), the people and horse (Perimeter Trail) have been replaced by a car (now labeled “Roadway”)!

    Lest a new road be approved under the radar of all those who value this natural parkland, I am forwarding this information to you. Please be aware of Pasadena’s repeated attempts to build inappropriate roads and parking lots in HWP’s oak woodland and recovering riparian habitat. Such roads might lead to a future parking structure, which in turn might serve inappropriate sports fields in HWP or even supplemental Rose Bowl parking.

    Please express your concern and opposition to roads within Hahamongna to Pasadena at upcoming meetings. I will forward announcements re: opportunities to provide input from time to time. Your opinions count immensely! Stand by for more information as this situation develops further.

    The wild parkland and watershed you can save belongs to all of us, including future generations. Please help assure that its beauty, wildlife, trail junction and open public access are honored by the City of Pasadena.

    Respectfully,

    Lori L. Paul

    – – –

    _______________________________________________
    ACT mailing list
    ACT@fourpalms.org
    http://www.fourpalms.org/mailman/listinfo/act

    Comment by Mary B. — January 20, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  6. The blog, Pasadena Sub Rosa, http://pasadenasubrosa.typepad.com has a list of Pasadena “shovel ready” stimulus projects excerpted from the StimulusWatch website http://www.stimuluswatch.org You can click on a project to read (and add to) its description. You can also discuss the project and vote on whether you believe it is critical or not. The Pasadena projects include the following:

    “Roadway improvements at Hahamongna Watershed park for safety purposes including resurfacing, striping and slurry sealing, widening, and repairs to guard railing”

    You could be pardoned if you immediately thought of the controversial road proposed on the Annex. The above, however, probably refers the Park Roadway Improvements, Arroyo projects, Hahamongna in the city’s FY 2009 – 2014 Capital Improvement Program:

    $50,000 for repairs to guard rails
    $1 million for road resurfacing and striping as well as slurry sealing on most of the roadways and parking areas in the park
    $500,000 for road widening on the park road south of the Oak Grove Maintenance Yard (in the vicinity of the ETI staging area)

    Why are the parking areas being slurry sealed – aren’t they supposed to be permeable???
    And $1 million for asphalt? that seems pretty steep!
    And half a million to widen a road to what is now a picnic area???

    And what are the safeguards which will be put in place under the Stimulus plan so that all these hard-earned taxpayer dollars aren’t subsequently transferred to fund some other project? (Maybe a controversial new road, for instance?)

    And, lastly, has the CEQA documentation been done on this item? It seems like there are a lot of projects proposed in Hahamongna and environs these days which should be evaluated for their cumulative impacts upon the park.

    Take a look at the list of Pasadena projects and then take advantage of the opportunity to let the federal government know how you want your money spent. I don’t believe they’ve ever asked before!!!
    Mary B.

    Comment by Mary B. — February 11, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  7. The Pasadena City Council voted last night to temporarily suspend the removal of all healthy public trees, with a few exceptions, for four months beginning March 24, 2009. During this period, before public trees can be cut, the removal must be reviewed by the city’s Urban Forestry Advisory Commission. If the UFAC does not recommend removal and staff finds the removal necessary, these recommendations will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration.

    Attached to the agenda report was a list of pending tree removals not previously reviewed by UFAC (Exhibit B). The list includes 310 trees to be removed in Hahamongna, although the agenda report concedes that for projects still in the design phase, the total number of trees to be removed is not fully known. The breakdown is as follows:

    Oak Grove Area Improvements – 70 trees to be removed – predominantly willows with approx. 3 small oaks Reason for removal: native habitat restoration, potential loss of grant funds, delay of environmental process/regulatory permits, redesign of project, etc.

    Westside Perimeter Trail – 40 trees to be removed – predominately ash and approx. 2 small oaks and several willows Reason for removal: native habitat restoration, potential loss of grant funds, delay of environmental process/regulatory permits, redesign of project, etc.

    Berkshire Creek Restoration – 40 trees to be removed – predominately non-natives (Fan palm, fig, eucalyptus) and a few natives (Sycamore and Willows) Reason for removal: native habitat restoration, potential loss of grant funds, delay of environmental process/regulatory permits, redesign of project, etc.

    Sediment removal in Devil’s Gate/Hahamongna Basin – 150 trees to be removed – predominately willows Reason given for removal: Prevents the removal of sediment from the basin by LA County, hence creating dangerous flooding conditions.

    Sunset Overlook – 10 trees to be removed – Non-native trees (pine, Jacaranda, Pittosporum) Reason for removal: native habitat restoration, if not removed potential to lose grant funds; removals may be necessary for ADA access

    According to the City’s website, the Urban Forestry Advisory Commission meets the first Monday of each month at 5 pm at Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks.

    (NOTE: In case you were confused as I was, the Joint Meeting of the Urban Forestry Advisory Commission and the Design Commission scheduled for March 30, 6 pm, at the Senior Center, will cover the removal of protected trees on private property.)

    Mary B.

    Comment by Mary B. — March 24, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  8. IMPORTANT HAHAMONGNA WATERSHED PARK ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING

    When-Tuesday, May 12th, 6:00pm

    Where-Victory Park Gymnasium: 2575 Paloma Street, Pasadena

    Remember the road and the parking garage in Hahamongna we thought were beaten back in 2003? Well, guess what? They’re back.

    Remember in more recent history when the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee requested that the staff come back with an option that was less than Option A. In other words, to come back with an option which did not include a road or the potential of a road to the JPL West Arroyo Parking Lot? This is what the recently released HWP Master Plan Addendum for the Hahamongna Annex says about the road/trail corridor (now referred to as a “Recreational Trail Greenway”) – it “will be no wider than is necessary along its length.” (Section 3, p.3-13) Now that is a project description which really doesn’t say anything!

    To get to the good stuff you have to delve into the murky depths of the HWP Draft Initial Study/Addendum to the Arroyo Seco Master Plan MEIR. Should you, like any sane mortal, only care for a brief exposure to this sort of thing, here are some highlights:

    In Section 2.0 Project Description on p. 2-20 in Table 2.3: “Install recreational trail greenway (estimated to be 50’ in width).”

    Same section, p.2-24 “For purposes of this evaluation, the JPL west parking lot access road would include widening the corridor to 50 ft.”

    Math has never been my strong suit but the Option A the HWP Advisory Committee was presented with in the original Annex plan was 25 ft wide so the new plan is NOT less than Option A. It is actually twice as wide as Option A. To put this perhaps in clearer perspective, 50 feet is as wide as Foothill Boulevard where it enters the park. What this plan will allow in the future is a 10 foot wide trail corridor and a 40 foot wide road/bikeway!

    It gets better. For you CEQA wonks, see what you make of this peculiar language on p. 2-24: “this document analyzes the environmental impacts of improving the trail corridor along the northern boundary of the equestrian facility to provide vehicular access on selected weekends… to an existing 214-space City parking lot… However, this improvement is not included in the currently proposed HMP Addendum.”

    And, I’ve saved the best for last. Section 3.0 Environmental Checklist on p.3-22, Mitigation Measure Cultural-1 states that “The City of Pasadena shall minimize impacts to paleontological resources from construction of the 1200-space parking structure…” There are three mitigation measures listed which refer to the 1200 space parking structure.

    The 1200-space parking structure? What happened to the Staff Response to Comments Matrix which stated that the parking garage and the road, then called the “West Arroyo Inner Park Access,” were taken out of the Master Plan and the MEIR? p.13-118 All of a sudden, the parking garage is back in? Is that really why the so-called Recreational Trail Greenway is so wide? Wide enough to race elephants, as one wag put it.

    And all this in a document which is not an EIR or a Negative Declaration but instead purports to be an Addendum to a Master Environmental Impact Report – another one for the CEQA wonks to ponder!

    I know some of you have been working to save Hahamongna for over 20 years but please come to the upcoming series of meetings about the Annex, they are critical to the future of the park. We have worked too long and hard to give up now.

    Email if you would like any more info on any of this.

    Mary B.

    Comment by Mary B. — May 10, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  9. Larry Wilson made some excellent comments about Hahamongna in his column today about the public works projects that never die up in the park. There are a lot of people out there who care very much about this great park and want to see it preserved for future generations. It is frustrating how what the community wants in Hahamongna always seems to be ignored. This is a quote in the Star News from a consultant who worked with Pasadena on Hahamongna planning: “The consensus of opinion that we are hearing is that people really want it left as natural as possible.” So what, you say? What’s amazing is that this article was in the paper on APRIL 4, 1991! Now 18 years later we are still trying to fend off the bulldozers. And for those of you who are following this closely don’t be fooled by the so-call recreational greenway concept. It is a road-in-waiting. IT IS 50 FEET WIDE – wide enough to put Foothill Boulevard through the park and still have room for a trail next to it.

    Comment by Mary B. — May 15, 2009 @ 6:37 am

  10. At their July 8 meeting after considerable discussion and public input, the Pasadena Planning Commission decided to continue the Hahamongna Annex Plan agenda item to a future date. The Commission also decided to conduct a site visit on the Annex.
    The most discussed aspect of the Plan was the staff recommended alternative for a 30-ft wide bike/trail corridor, This route, north of the Equestrian Center, would require tree removal, considerable grading, and infrastructure relocation. The 30-ft wide “recreational greenway” has caused considerable controversy because it is in the same location as the road to the JPL West Arroyo parking lot which was taken out of the Hahamongna Master Plan in 2003. At the time, the road was proposed as an access for park visitors to a 1200-space JPL parking garage.
    The Friends of Hahamongna presented an alternative which would be located on the existing Perimeter Trail/road, sometimes also called the Old Quarry Road. The latter would impact only one tree, require only minimal grading on what is already a flat road, and would not require any infrastructure relocation. It would consist of a permeable paved bikeway on the existing Perimeter Trail/road with an adjacent dirt trail for hikers and equestrians. The Perimeter Trail/road is already designated in the Hahamongna Master Plan as “an all-weather, permeable surface roadway.” This route would go in by the existing ball field and go north alongside the Equestrian Center and JPL. It would be much narrower than the staff recommended alternative, at most 18 to 20-ft. Bicyclists would access the new Environmental Education Center and the Equestrian Center via the existing park roads.
    After the extensive public input, the Commission expressed the need to have more information before making a decision. They did not vote to support either alternative but rather will do a site visit.
    Friends of Hahamongna is working to on additional alternatives, since there are several which would accomplish the basic objectives of the proposed project with fewer and less intensive environmental impacts than the recommended 30-ft wide bike/trail corridor.
    The site visit will be a public meeting. The Planning Commission, as traditionally has been the case, was very willing to ask questions and to listen to the public. This will be a good opportunity for you to join in the conversation on this issue which is so important to the future of the park.
    Mary B.

    Comment by Mary B. — July 10, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  11. The Hahamongna Advisory Committee will consider recommendations on the adoption of the Annex Plan which has undergone a considerable odyssey since it was brought before the Committee in May of this year. It has gone through two revisions and the most controversial aspect of the plan, the 50 then 30 foot recreational corridor, has gone through at least four variations. From meeting to meeting, it was hard to keep track of what the plan was. In fact, even now a final draft version of the Plan is not yet available for the Hahamongna Advisory Committee or the community to review.

    On its journey, the plan has gone before the Transportation Advisory Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Design Commission, all of whom rejected the concept of a recreational corridor which could become a road at a later date. These Commissions supported the concept of separating trail users to different locations since this allowed the corridor footprint to shrink from its original 50 foot width.

    The Design Commission accepted the Solutions proposed by the Friends of Hahamongna to support a bike/hiking path along the northern edge of the public equestrian area and an equestrian/hiking path along the southern edge of the Annex. Spur trails would permit direct access from the east and the south to the public equestrian area. This alternative is environmentally superior to the proposed alternative because it impacts no trees, requires almost no grading and utilizes areas of the Annex which are already disturbed. You can view this alternative at http://soxo.net/foh/Trailsolutions.pdf Keep in mind, however, that the trail on the south is at present a proposed trail in the plan and would have to be built when the bikeway is constructed. There have been concerns about the relocation of the existing trail, particularly because of misinformation that is being circulated. The open space easement on the Annex property does, however, permit the existing trail to be moved as necessary to compliment other uses.

    Another controversial aspect of the plan is the removal of all non-native trees from the Annex. This will result in the loss of 32 non-native trees in the bikeway study area, including a number of large canopy trees which shade the trail and provide valuable habitat, particularly in light of the devastation in the forest just to the north. The plan will remove the trees not just from the bikeway alignment but from the entire corridor, thus clearing the way for future development. The plan, although this is not specifically stated in the Staff Report, could also result in the loss of several large non-native trees which have shaded the equestrian picnic area for decades.

    Obviously, this is only the briefest of summaries of what has been a difficult process to follow, even for those of us who have spent hundreds of hours trying to puzzle it all out. The city has posted lots of information on their website including the letter from the attorney for the Friends of Hahamongna, which gives a good summary of what are the problems and outstanding issues with the plan and its environmental document. If you are interested in learning more, take a look at this. If you have trouble getting into the city’s new website, just google Hahamongna Annex Plan and you’ll get right to it. Please come to the meeting on Tuesday as well. This is a critical meeting for the future of the park.

    The rumor mills that go into action before important meetings are working overtime these days so if you hear anything that sounds odd or just plain incorrect, send me an email. I’d be glad to go through my extensive Hahamongna document collection and find the correct answer.

    Mary Barrie
    Friends of Hahamongna

    Comment by Mary B. — September 26, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  12. The Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 29 at 6 pm at La Casita del Arroyo, 177 S. Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena.

    Comment by Mary B. — September 26, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  13. […] Advisory Committee this evening at 6:00pm at La Casita del Arroyo, 177 S. Arroyo Blvd. in Pasadena. Much has been said, plans have been made and I’m confused about what’s going to be done with […]

    Pingback by Friend of Hahamongna | Hometown Pasadena — September 29, 2009 @ 1:00 am

  14. Friends,

    The issue of tree removal in Hahamongna is an important one so I am forwarding an email posted on the Arroyo Seco News list from Tim Brick to Tim Wendler, Chair of the HWPAC. The 32 trees slated for removal in the potential roadway corridor on the Annex are only the tip of the iceberg. THERE ARE OVER 300 TREES PROPOSED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE PARK under the Master Plan so this is an issue all of us who care about the park should be considering.

    To begin specifically with the 32 trees in the way of a potential road, interestingly enough, these are the only non-natives on the Annex which are slated for removal. If the concern was really habitat restoration, wouldn’t all the non-natives on the Annex be called out for removal?

    There is also a distinction which is not being made between landscaped areas and natural restoration areas within the Arroyo. The potential roadway corridor on the Annex is a landscaped area with trees which were planted to shade the trail. The Arroyo Seco Design Guidelines clearly differentiate habitat restoration areas from landscaped areas such as those around buildings. If you know the Annex area, you know that the proposed corridor is located between the LA County Fire Camp and Rose Bowl Riders, both landscaped areas for decades. The Arroyo Seco Design Guidelines do not call for ripping out established plantings in landscaped areas rather they make suggestions as to what should be planted when new plantings are desired.

    The real elephant in the room is the almost 200 trees, mostly willows, which are scheduled to be removed for the water conservation projects in Hahamongna. Few of us question the need for these projects – the real question is how can the increased ground water recharge be done with the least impact upon the environment of the park. There are questions which Tim Brick and the Arroyo Seco Foundation are well suited to answer since they, not the City of Pasadena, are listed as the implementing Agency/Organization for the water projects specified in the Hahamongna Master Plan. The Los Angeles Integrated Regional Water Management Plan lists the following: Hahamongna Basin Multi-use project, Hahamongna PWP Surface Water Treatment Plant, Hahamongna Storm Drain Outlet BMPs, Hahamongna streamcourse widening, Hahamongna Water Conservation Pool, Hahamongna West Side GW recharge basins. (For more info on these, go to http://ladpw.org/lawaterplan.)

    This is a new direction for the Arroyo Seco Foundation from its earlier position. The Arroyo Seco Watershed Restoration Feasibility Study called for replacing the proposed recharge basins with recharge in the natural streambed and flood plain. The study also called for the design of low flow channels and the development of a monitoring and credit program with the Raymond Basin Management Board. (p.IV-19) The Arroyo Seco Watershed Management & Restoration Plan expressed concern about the water infrastructure projects in Hahamongna which “could prevent the restoration of high quality aquatic habitat, and also could result in the removal of southern willow scrub habitat at the south end of the Park.” (p.66)

    The HWPAC’s position on non-native trees may impact these water infrastructure projects in the future which is a much thornier issue than the trees on the Annex whose only real sin is to be in the way of a future roadway!

    Mary B.

    Tim Brick’s email below:

    Tim:

    I strongly urge you and the Advisory Committee to reconsider the position “That every effort be made to minimize tree removal in the Annex area (including nonnatives due to the loss of habitat in the Station Fire).”

    This approach is silly and counterproductive to the pivotal goal of improving habitat in Hahamongna. Habitat and the removal of nonnative trees are particularly important in Hahamongna because this is one of the most environmentally important and sensitive areas in our region with some very special ecological zones, including the stream zone, the wetlands/marsh habitat, the rare alluvial scrub habitat and the spectacular oak grove.

    The Station Fire rationale for not removing non-native trees, fundamentally flawed anywhere, does not apply at all to the Hahamongna Annex because no trees there were burnt. It’s not like significant or even any tree cover was lost there.

    I know people loves trees deeply, but in an environmentally sensitive area, habitat considerations are most important. The Arroyo Seco Foundation had to fight that battle for the Central Arroyo Stream Restoration and other restoration projects. There are always people who want to protect every tree everywhere, but in such a precious area habitat and science should determine the plan. Habitat provides the home for the terrestrial and aquatic species, the birds, bugs, wildlife and fish that we want to bring back to the area.

    Pasadena should develop a science-based habitat restoration plan that inevitably will include the removal of exotic, non-native trees, and Arroyo-lovers should support efforts to implement that plan.

    Tim Brick

    Comment by Mary B. — October 17, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

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