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Celebrate the Arroyo, Go on a Hike

Published on Friday, May 31, 2013 | 12:33 pm

Whether we know it or not, the river is central to our lives. The water that fills our tap, available with the turn of a knob, has been on a long, expensive journey before it dribbles out as drinking water.

The Arroyo Seco Foundation celebrated past successes and visions about to come to fruition in the journey of the Arroyo on Wednesday May 29. Now more than ever change is happening to the Arroyo.

This annual event brings special reasons to celebrate the Arroyo. In the past year Arroyo Seco Foundation helped save the Hahamongna Watershed Park from becoming a soccer field and allowed native fish to swim in the central Arroyo. New vegetation has sprouted since the devastation of the 2009 fire, bringing more lilacs and Manzanita.

“It’s a good time to bring more people into this discussion regarding the Arroyo. It’s a good time for people to take notice because were seeing things happen,” Jonathan Frame said.

The speakers gave everyone a real view of what’s happening with the spectacular natural resource by working their way down the water shed, beginning at the river’s head in Hahamongna, then hearing from South Pasadena, Altadena, Highland Park, and finally the spot where the tributary joins the Los Angeles River.

Big plans are in the works to construct new spreading basins. Spreading basins allow for more water absorption into the ground, which means more local drinking water will become available for Pasadena residents.

Arroyo Seco Canyon project, a joint effort of Arroyo Seco Foundation and Pasadena Water and Power, will improve the local water reliability so that Pasadena will not be as dependent on water that comes from hundreds of miles away. Currently two-thirds of Pasadena’s water supply is imported from the Bay Delta and Colorado River.

The Arroyo Seco Canyon Project will address three components in the Hahamongna: increase the local water resources, restore natural habitat, and improve recreation opportunities.

Carollo Engineers have finished a conceptual design that will reconstruct the JPL parking lot into a spreading basin as well as add picnic tables, drinking fountains, and native plants. On Memorial Day, 1500 hikers and cyclists utilized this beautiful area. By next Memorial Day those active users will see large improvements.

Making a continuous bike trail system from the San Gabriel Mountains to Downtown Los Angeles is another widely anticipated project. Michael Cacciotti of South Pasadena is working on part of that goal with a plan to reconnect the old bike path that was taken over by the golf course. A grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy will help this seven-tenths of a mile path be reconstructed for the first time since 1955.

Star-News Columnist and Arroyo River enthusiast Larry Wilson presented ideas about transforming the confluence, the place where the Arroyo meets the Los Angeles River.

“We need to use the Arroyo energy in this room” Larry Wilson said, “This could be a dream space for our grandchildren. ”

A celebration of the Arroyo would not be complete without music. Timothy Sellers and Ladee Walsh of Artichoke had the crowd clapping vigorously with songs detailing the Arroyo and Highland Park.

Dry River Brewing helped attendees celebrate by providing homebrewed beer made with water from the Arroyo Seco. Their refreshing elderberry blossom home brew is perfect for warm summer evenings. Vanva Ciceryoua and Loie Luna are in the process of establishing their brewing company on the banks of the Los Angeles River where people can come to “party with a purpose.”

The celebration meeting ended with a special guest visit from Princess Haha, who filled the room with laughter with her “strip tease with trees” act.

“We want to broaden our base of community support because it is the members who help plant the vision, get grants and develop essential partnerships,” Tim Brick, ASF Managing Director said.

Omar Delgado of Northeast Trees challenged all the lovers of the Arryo to take a trash bag with them next time they go on a walk and pick up trash because any little bit helps.

“One person can’t do this, we all need to work together. Whatever passion we have for the Arroyo Seco, for the river system, for Los Angeles County and the future,” Master of Ceremonies and Arroyo Seco Foundation Volunteer Dorothy Wong said. “The Arroyo is the one of the most beautiful, hidden, diverse treasures that Southern California, if not the world has.”


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