Devil's Gate Dam "Big Dig" Opponents Win Tentative Court Victory

Final ruling expected Tuesday afternoon, could mean Judge might consider halting ongoing work at Hahamongna

Published : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | 5:43 AM

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Monday afternoon issued a tentative decision in favor of the Arroyo Seco Foundation and the Pasadena Audubon Society in their lawsuit against Los Angeles County Flood Control District regarding the Big Dig project in Hahamongna Watershed Park. The tentative ruling finds that the Flood Control District’s environmental impact report for the massive sediment removal project was inadequate.

The tentative decision by Judge James C. Chalfant finds that Flood Control District failed to provide the public with a meaningful opportunity to comment on the revised program and the alternatives available as a result of the Flood Control District downgrading its required flood control capacity standard at Devil’s Gate Dam.

In addition, the tentative decision finds that the Flood Control District’s environmental mitigation measures failed to specify performance standards for the Project’s required establishment of habitat mitigation areas.

Chalfant will hear oral argument regarding the tentative ruling Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.


Read Judge Chalfant’s tentative ruling here

“We’re very pleased,” Arroyo Seco Foundation Managing Director Tim Brick told Pasadena Now on Monday night.

“It’s a tentative decision so it’s not final, but the judge finds that the County … really did not give up adequate opportunity for assessing the alternatives to their scaled-back program that they approved in 2017 and furthermore, they failed to provide performance standards for their mitigation program, and give the public the opportunity to comment on those things.”

“It is possible that the judge could order stopping the trucks,” Brick said, referring to the ongoing sediment removal operation underway in Devil’s Gate Dam which is sending dozens of trucks on hundreds of daily trips through surrounding neighborhoods.

Should Chalfant finalize his tentative decision, he is expected to issue a writ ordering the Flood Control District to revise and recirculate the Project’s environmental impact report, and could consider ordering the Flood Control District to stop project activities and set aside or vacate the Project’s approvals pending revision and recirculation of the Project’s environmental document.

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