Monday, May 30, 2011

The Threat Remains

On May 24, a Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee public meeting reviewed the various issues involved with the water, dam repair and sediment issues, as well as the various user group agreements for the site. A report on this meeting is here at Friends of Hahamongna. An additional blogged response, a very effective one from Dianne Patrizzi, is here at Mademoiselle Gramophone; a map posted here shows the issues very clearly.

This project has become a long, drawn-out fight about the use of natural riparian habitat area for a soccer field, about which no one seems to know why it's being proposed in this location. It appears to be a manufactured use, since the public demand for soccer fields is centered in the schools. It's in an isolated area that has seasonal flooding, perfect place to take your kids to drown in the muck, I suppose. It will destroy the habitat with tons of sediment fill (I think I see the hand of the County and the MWD in this) that currently sits behind the dam. Unfortunately this one-time solution of piling sediment here does not solve the ongoing sedimentation issue with a functional redesign of the system which could sluice the sediment and bank more water than the old original design is capable of. Where does the next pile go? The discussion has a long, involved timeline of over a decade, which can be read in a series of articles on the Save Hahamongna site.

An earlier report from June of 2010 documents a public meeting that, as always, registered serious public protest over this proposed development in the Hahamongna Watershed Park. Somehow the actual public desires and goals for this public open space are being lost to destructive management solutions, so that this threat to our local natural ecosystems remains to this day.

We must redefine this problem to respond to the actual impact of increasing runoff and silting that occurs now and in the future; that was never part of the original plan which was to just park this pile of sediment inside the Watershed Park. And so what does the County plan to do with the next pile of dirt in a few years? Just fill in the whole thing? This makes less and less sense the further this thing moves along, particularly since the County doesn't do the necessary maintenance that would mitigate the problem.

The destruction of the Angeles National Forest during Sept. of 2009 has not been taken into account as it should be for any EIR mitigation process; when things change necessarily so do the plans and strategies. Look at the lessons that we're having to learn from New Orleans and the Missisippi Delta; the old way of brute-force engineering doesn't work any more, nobody can afford the cost to keep it up, and the resulting destruction is massive. So the game has now changed to working with natural terrain and watershed forces; a different approach.