Friday, July 16, 2010

A Tale of Two Rivers ~ A Tale of Two Cities

It was a week of big decisions for the Los Angeles and Arroyo Seco Rivers.

First, the City of Los Angeles, which has encased its beautiful Los Angeles River in concrete for decades, received word from US EPA that the River and its tributaries have been declared 'traditionally navigable' waterways. This means both federal funds for restoration and revitalization under the Clean Water Act, as well as regulatory support to improving ecosystem and drinking water quality.

In contrast, the City of Pasadena, which has prided itself on its 'Arroyo Culture' and 'Arroyo Seco Master Plan,' saw its City Council refuse to reconsider its 7-year-old decision to construct new athletic fields in the sensitive Hahamongna riparian basin, groundwater source of drinking water to hundreds of thousands in the region and home to one of Southern California's most sensitive urban interface ecosystems. (In fairness, the Council did reject one of two proposed 'soccer' fields which would be located in a part of the Basin currently inundated as a small lake with ducks swimming in it.)

The irony? While Los Angeles continues to move forward in removing concrete and debris from the Los Angeles River, Pasadena moves forward with building an artificial turf athletic field and parking lot within its natural Arroyo Seco riverine corridor.

These actions beg the question: which city is truly more committed to natural resource sustainability and local water supply reliability?
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