The City Council unanimously approved on Monday the proposed agreement with the California Conservation Corps (CCC) to assist with non-native vegetation removal in the Arroyo Seco.
The approval was based on city staff’s findings that “the project is consistent with the Arroyo Seco Master Plan to reduce fire hazards in critical areas, and is compatible with the City’s Climate Action Plan to protect essential habitat corridors and key habitat characteristics.”
The CCC is mandated to provide meaningful work and educational opportunities to assist young men and women in becoming more employable, while protecting and enhancing California’s environment, human resources and communities.
Under the proposed agreement between the Pasadena City and CCC, the agency’s volunteers, called Corpsmembers, will work on fire hazard mitigation maintenance projects in the Lower and Central Arroyo Seco and the Hahamongna Watershed Park between February and June 2022.
The agreement provides that the Corpsmembers’ work will include roadside clearing to reduce fire intensity and firebrand impact to the Arroyo Seco, removal of annual grasses and undesirable non-native plants, trimming of non-native grasses to three inches in length or less and leaving in place, and dispersing large tree branches when chipping is not possible.
Per the terms of the agreement, the City, as a sponsoring agency, will not incur any direct costs as Corpsmembers will be compensated directly by CCC.
At the meeting, councilmember Steve Madison asked the city staff to provide rigorous oversight of the CCC’s work to ensure that this will be consistent with guidelines.
“We have had bad experiences in the Arroyo with positive efforts such as this. I support the item but I do want to make sure that staff will be extremely diligent in terms of the oversight of the group from CCC that will be performing the work to ensure that it is consistent with our own guidelines for the Arroyo,” Madison said.
Mayor Victor Gordo echoed Madison’s remarks and added that the city staff must ensure that quality work will be provided.
In response to the councilmembers’ concern, City Manager Cynthia Kurtz, along with city staff, assured the City Council that experts have already been selected to do oversight work and they will continue monitoring the project throughout CCC’s work.
“We would definitely be receiving lots of email if this is not done in the proper manner so I’m glad that our city crew and city teams are going to be monitoring it very closely,” councilmember Tyron Hampton remarked.