More action on the Hahamongna front right now. Last Tuesday night, there was a meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee at La Casita on Arroyo Boulevard about the HWP Annex and Environmental Education Center Planning. The attending public was asked to participate in a Vision and Mission statement for the Annex project, facilitated by Cyndee Whitney, City of Pasadena Dept. of Human Resources. A bit curious, since the facility has already been the subject of a long debate on its size and purpose, as a replacement for the existing structure.
All public input since 2008, including the Visioning exercise last Tuesday night, has emphasized restoring the natural character of the site and incorporating natural materials into a minimal building footprint in the reuse scenario that has become somewhat of a compromise. On this round, it appears that the HWPAC is searching for metaphors to put into writing a desire for a structure that goes beyond the usual parks facility barn typology and potentially could be a demonstration facility that addresses the watershed and riparian habitat realities of managing human presence in a dynamic natural space. It could demonstrate, by its design, how watershed management starts with a structure that flows with the watershed contours, opens to the sun and seeks views of the forest and ridgelines to the north from an earth berm roof, for example. The desire is there to instill a closeness to natural environments and show by example what this means for sustainable process to produce a unique place for education and appreciation of Pasadena's largest natural asset, the Arroyo Seco.
The issue of sediment removal behind Devil's Gate dam and its use to infill Hahamongna is still ongoing. The County is currently considering ways to remove sediment from the dam; the presentation made by the County to the HWPAC last November is here. The plan is to remove about 15 acres of willow trees in order to clear sediment around Devil’s Gate Dam in September. A report on this part of the meeting is from Petrea.
There's also a meeting this Saturday at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center for the growing pushback on the silt and infill issues at the Arcadia Woodlands site that disastrously resulted in destruction of natural riparian habitat near the Santa Anita Dam, to be used as infill for silt. The Santa Anita Dam Riser Modification and Reservoir Sediment Removal Project was based upon an emergency presumably created by the Station Fire of 2009. Activists are hoping to form a committee that will have timely input into County sediment projects in the future, due to the lack of notice in the Arcadia situation.
This Saturday's meeting is a serious development in local environmental circles, and the hope is that it will force responsible watershed management at the regional level in the future through public pressure and activist support for sustainable practices in these areas adjacent to natural ecological systems. The Arcadia Woodlands and Hahamongna Watershed issues are flashpoints that illuminate the need to temper regional human encroachment and live within the means of the local watersheds and ecosystems.