Monday, December 20, 2010

Even the Ducks Won't Get in the LA River

It was time to get out and survey the Arroyo Seco and LA Rivers today and check on water flows caused by our current heavy rainstorms.

To no surprise, both riverways were flowing heavily without obstruction and I did not note any obvious debris flows coming down the Arroyo Seco from the Station Fire burn areas.

As usual, it was interesting to note how the flow of the Arroyo Seco increases as it moves into the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods, mostly due to small stream and tributary flow from the North Branch in Highland Park at Sycamore Grove Park.

While I'm thrilled to see our local rivers actually filled with water, I'm sad that only 11% of this water will be captured by groundwater percolation, meaning that the rest will rush through the concrete channels to the ocean. 

On a happier note, the  LA City Council's approval of the Low Impact Development (LID) Ordinance this past week is a step in the right direction towards improving groundwater percolation and decreasing storm water run off into our riverways. As the photo above taken at Eads Avenue and the Los Angeles River attests, stormwater running along our streets ultimately finds its way, along with lots of trash and toxins, into our rivers.

While I'm still awaiting LA County Flood Control data, anecdotally, it's safe to say that when the ducks won't get into the LA River, the flow is pretty strong. This should be a guide for humans who are talking, tweeting and blogging about how they're going to kayak or coast down the LA River in this rain. I hope they'll take a clue from the ducks and stay safe.

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