By Jason KUROSU
Those who make their homes on the mountainsides of the foothills know the drawbacks of what is otherwise a beautiful locale come rainy season. Floods and mudslides have menaced residents and these are only worsened by the numerous fires wreaked upon the hillsides, removing plantlife and with it, any semblance of a buffer against surges of mud and dirt.
The result of these mudslides, other than the damage to and loss of homes, is an accruing of this dirt and mud in debris basins and dams, which must eventually be removed.
How to remove said sediment, particularly from the Devil’s Gate dam in Hahamongna Watershed Park, was the subject of a series of recent meetings held by the Sediment Management Task Force, a group formed by the Los Angeles County of Public Works. The current plan is to dump the sediment at the base of La Tuna Canyon, but this plan would also necessitate the removal of 15 acres of Black Willow trees.
Such a proposal does not come without controversy, especially in the wake of the January removal of 11 acres of oak trees in Arcadia, which were removed in order to put a sediment dumpsite in their place.
However, alternative ideas were proposed at the meeting.
Charly Shelton, who was on the task force, spoke of a proposed plan for a “pipeline which would carry the sediment somewhere else, as is done with coal mines.”
In addition, “A Vulcan Materials site offered to take the gravel.”
Shelton and the other members of the task force were asked to rate what would be the most important factors towards a decision for the sediment, including the cost, future use, quality of life and impact on the environment.
“I thought quality of life was very important,” Shelton said, especially regarding the idea of trucks driving throughout the neighborhood for what could be a period of years in order to transport the sediment. “That affects property values. In 20 years, I’ll have kids of my own and something like that would affect my decision to live here.”
Shelton also rated the environment highly.
“I was raised and taught to believe that protecting the environment comes before cost, bureaucracy, etc.”
Despite these and the plan for further meetings with the task force, the plan appears to be to continue with dumping the sediment at La Tuna Canyon.
Local resident Mike Lawler attended the meeting and finds himself conflicted.
“On the one hand, I like that Public Works is keeping the sediment placement sites cleaned out. But we need to come up with a management plan.”
When asked about clearing out the trees at La Tuna Canyon, Lawler responded, “That’s not a solution.”