Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preserving Nature's Services

The City of Pasadena is in the final process of reviewing the Hahamongna Annex Plan, which concerns an area purchased from the MWD to expand the watershed and natural open space area in the Arroyo Seco. A history of this acquisition is here, on a new site put up by Friends of Hahamongna.

The overview of the entire Arroyo Seco Master Plan and its related documents is here on the City's site:

"The Arroyo Seco is on the western edge of the City of Pasadena and extends 8 miles through the City. This segment is a part of a longer 22 mile corridor that makes up the entire Arroyo Seco, a major tributary of the Los Angeles River. It is the City’s largest natural open space and physically described as a deeply cut canyon linking the San Gabriel Mountains to the Los Angeles River containing the intermittent stream for which it is named. The Arroyo Seco meanders south through the canyon and past various cities, joins the Los Angeles River, and continues on to the Pacific Ocean. As the Arroyo Seco stream flows through Pasadena, it passes through three distinct geographical areas: Hahamongna Watershed Park, the Central Arroyo, and the Lower Arroyo."

This is a major watershed structure which drains into the Los Angeles River and is part of that entire watershed.

At issue is the proposed removal of seventy non-native trees from the Annex in the name of "habitat restoration." Thirty-three of the trees to be cut down are located in the formerly proposed 40-foot wide road corridor that was to be cut across the Annex to provide access to a 1200 space JPL parking garage, removed from the 2003 Hahamongna Master Plan after strong community opposition. The opposition to the City's proposal involves retaining the site's natural features and keeping the use from increasing to the detriment of its natural character. That discussion is here on the FOHWP website.

The efforts of a concerned community to preserve open space, natural habitat and reduce auto incursion are key to the survival of the natural structures which provide the necessary river and aquifer replenishment as well as tree shade and carbon capture. This erosion of watershed area can't continue indefinitely if we're to rely on natural processes for fresh air and water. It's in the interests of the residents and the commercial/business community to ensure that these areas remain viable.