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Fwd: SGVT: "Seeing the Whole of Nature" (Help Save imperiled Arcadia Oak Woodland)

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  • Branislav Kecman
    Hi Anna, this is regarding our lunch conversation about Arcadia oaks yesterday. Feel free to distribute to your friends or family and urge them to write a
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 11 11:06 AM
      Hi Anna,

      this is regarding our lunch conversation about Arcadia oaks yesterday. Feel free to distribute to
      your friends or family and urge them to write a letter to the LA County Board of Supervisors.
      Thanks,
      Branislav

      Begin forwarded message:

      > From: Gaboon <gaboon@...>
      > Date: December 11, 2010 10:19:25 AM PST
      > To: chaneytrail@yahoogroups.com, ACT <act@...>
      > Cc: steve.scauzillo@...
      > Subject: SGVT: "Seeing the Whole of Nature" (Help Save imperiled Arcadia Oak Woodland)
      >
      > *Available for cross-posting.
      >
      > Friends, Neighbors & Trail Users,
      >
      > I found the San Gabriel Valley Tribune editorial below to be very wise.
      >
      > Last weekend Rob and I, along with a few other residents from Altadena, La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena, toured the imperiled Arcadia Oak Woodland located east of our communities between Arcadia and Monrovia. We walked up a graded dirt road marked with pink plastic tags by the County in preparation for the destruction of the old trees and other native vegetation. That wild area will be converted into a 25 to 30 foot high pile of sediment soon, carried from Santa Anita Dam by giant conveyor belt, if the County doesn't change course. What is today a dense oak woodland and home to numerous small creatures, including tiny salamanders and frogs, as well as larger bobcats and rare owls, is destined to become a stark, lifeless, 30 foot high plateau of dirt from behind Arcadia Dam.
      >
      > Ironically, the level dirt road built by the DPW through the woodland is particularly easy for small children, elderly persons, those with disabilities and horses to walk on. For that reason alone, this lovely wild place in the canyon between Monrovia and Arcadia has great regional value.
      >
      > As I overheard one teen say to another, "This oak is BIG. Anyone wants to cut it down should go see `Avatar' a few more times." From the mouths of youth we hear the truth.
      >
      > It was disturbing to think that all the ladybugs, butterflies, songbirds, rabbits, and western grey squirrels we saw going about their daily lives would soon be dead, or evicted, once the bulldozers and chainsaws arrive. Quite disturbing, particularly after witnessing the extensive destruction of the Station Fire. It is probable that some of the birds now living in the Arcadia Oak Woodland are small refugees who survived last year's Station Fire. Now they are about to become homeless again, if the current project cannot be stopped.
      >
      > Back when oaks were at risk in Altadena, there were residents in Monrovia and Arcadia who were concerned and who supported the trails and trees here. The entire east to west wildlife corridor along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains is at risk. Animal populations need safe, low elevation habitat for moving between the many canyons, streams and arroyos along this transverse mountain range. Furthermore, all of the communities below the San Gabriels need these lands for recreation and rejuvenation... for the health immersing oneself in Nature imparts. All of us need to support efforts to preserve the narrow corridor of wild chaparral, oak, and sycamore woodlands that runs east and west through this region. There is so little left, with much of the Angeles Forest burned and closed, that every intact woodland counts.
      >
      > Please request that Supervisor Antonovich and the County Board of Supervisors extend the 30 day moratorium on cutting down the Arcadia Oak Woodland. Ask that the County preserve this patch of wildness and work hard to find an alternative means of removing the needed sediment from Santa Anita Dam.
      >
      > Thank you for your concern. The woodland and chaparral we save will be ours to enjoy and a treasure for future generations.
      >
      > Respectfully,
      > Lori Paul
      >
      > - - -
      >
      > Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich
      > fifthdistrict@...
      >
      > Or use the form at:
      > http://antonovich.lacounty.gov/Pages/ats.htm
      >
      > Or write an old-fashioned letter to:
      > Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich
      > Sussy Nemer, Field Deputy
      > 215 N. Marengo Ave., Suite 120
      > Pasadena, CA 91101
      > (626) 356-5407
      >
      > - - -
      >
      > Oak trees at Santa Anita Dam Thursday, November 18, 2010. On the Monrovia/Arcadia border there is a pristine virgin Oak woodland of native coast live oaks and California sycamores. The current plan would be to remove a little more than half of the virgin woodland. With the trees removed, Santa Anita Dam debris, would raise the ground level by 25-30 feet. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Walt Mancini)
      >
      > Steve Scauzillo: Seeing the whole of nature
      >
      > Posted: 12/09/2010 06:32:21 PM PST
      >
      > San Gabriel Valley Tribune
      > Steve Scauzillo is opinion page editor.
      > I stood dwarfed by towering coast live oaks and sycamores in an Arcadia woodland wonderland marked for destruction by the county Department of Public Works and Flood Control.
      >
      > An older woman wearing sunglasses stopped to talk to me.
      >
      > "This is a great place to walk because it is flat," she volunteered.
      >
      > "Whadya mean?"
      >
      > "I can't walk up in the mountains because it's too steep. I'm 85."
      >
      > I didn't say anything because I realized she was right. And because I hadn't thought of it that way.
      >
      > "Sometimes I'll take my friend here, when they open the gate, and I push her in her wheelchair."
      >
      > "Yeah. My wife won't hike with me in the mountains because the trails are too steep," I told her.
      >
      > The woman saw things that the county engineers, Board of Supervisors, EIR writers and bureaucrats had missed. The bigger picture. It is a special feeling being able to walk amid trees, birds and salamanders. Especially when you're 85. Hiking up the Mount Wilson Trail or Mount Baldy is often for the experts, or the very in-shape. All nature preserves should be thought of as part of a big picture, as many parts of one whole.
      >
      > "You would never know there are so many people living around here," she said later on in the walk.
      >
      > Again, she had something that we all missed. Saving trees is not the point. Saving a habitat is. It is the whole - or in this case an 11-acre stand which connects to the larger significant ecological area that extends to Altadena - that matters.
      >
      > When the people who founded Chino Hills State Park called me to tell me they were upset about a proposed housing project for the ridgeline, I didn't get it. "It's better if the park guest can't see houses, roofs, from inside the park. It is supposed to feel like being surrounded by nature," someone explained to me.
      >
      > Greedy? Maybe. But greedy for trees and birds.
      >
      > When bringing my kids, my family, my friends to the Ben Overturf Trail above Monrovia, everyone would always say the same thing when they reached the part of the trail where the streams interconnect and the forest floor is bedded with a soft mattress of fallen leaves: "It doesn't feel like civilization."
      >
      > I remember in the 1980s when I was working at the Orange County Register and a group fought to save the Newland House in Huntington Beach. I always considered it a hollow victory because, although the house was saved, the area around it was not. It is surrounded by a shopping center and a supermarket.
      >
      > On both ends of the 11-acre stand in Arcadia are sediment dumps. Trucks pile up dirt removed from mountain dams. The reservoirs must hold water or risk flooding the neighborhoods. I realize it is an important part of the flood control task performed well by the county. In between is the stand of trees and a carved out dirt road. The county wants to split the acreage by "saving" the lower half and cutting down most of the oaks and sycamores from the top half. Cutting down trees that are between 100 and 170 years old to dump dirt and sediment is not holistic thinking. In fact, it's just plain dumb. Yet, to engineers tasked to solve a particular problem, it makes sense.
      >
      > They're not looking at the whole.
      >
      > Saying the lower half is saved is technically true, but not really. A raised conveyor belt humming along the forest with dirt and rocks will disrupt the nature experience of the average person out for a stroll. Just as the entrance to San Gabriel Canyon in Azusa is disrupted by the electronic buzz of mining machines and miles of conveyor belts and the occasional blasting from the mountain mining operation.
      >
      > It's the first thing riders on the river bike paths notice. It's not "nature" until you ascend beyond the mining dust and the last tract home and see only trees.
      >
      > But... not everyone can climb that high.
      >
      > Steve Scauzillo is opinion page editor: steve.scauzillo@...
      >
      > ________
      >
      > Comment from reader:
      > Don Ross
      >
      > This editorial raises another important idea that could use a little amplification. CA and the U.S. Gov't require "equivalent" facilities for people of all different abilities through various "Disability" laws. When parks, trails and nature preserves are provided, but only the "fit", ambulatory or young can partake of them, well... that's not quite meeting the spirit of the laws.
      >
      > It seems to me that this location offers an ideal location for L.A. County to provide a unique & historical eco-system experience for those with limited ambulatory abilities. It's sitting right in front of you. Now lets work hard to find another site for the debris so this wonderful place (yes I have seen it) can be preserved.
      >
      > - - -
      >
      > Background Information:
      >
      > SAVING THE ARCADIA OAK WOODLANDS
      >
      > �We were blindsided� says a local representative of the San Gabriel Valley Sierra Club about the County Public Works Department�s plan to mow down an ancient oak woodland in Arcadia in order to accommodate the removal of sediment from behind Santa Anita Dam. To voice their opposition and dismay over the County�s proposal, ~62 environmentalists and concerned citizens assembled on Saturday, December 4th at Sycamore Avenue between 1st and 2nd Avenues to walk through the woodland. Everyone was stunned that this wild land will be destroyed. Most believe strongly that alternative sediment disposal sites and technical approaches exist. An extended moratorium on the project in order to meet with the County Public Works Division of Water Conservation and other County authorities has been requested.
      >
      > Up to this moment in time, the Water Conservation Division has been unwilling to grant a meeting about the project, which is in its final phase and ready to begin with cutting down the trees in a matter of weeks. The County claims that the EIR is completed and everyone had an opportunity to comment; however, the current outcry among residents and visitors to save the woodland, along with assertions from local conservation organizations that they were not notified about the project, indicates that the EIR process lacked required public outreach.
      >
      > In order to accommodate approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sediment that has accumulated behind Santa Anita Dam, the County purchased the beautiful oak woodland and in 2007 began an EIR process, long before the Station Fire destroyed extensive woodlands in Angeles Forest and across the foothills of the San Gabriels. Although some local residents were notified about the project, environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Audubon were not. Both the City of Arcadia and the California Department of Fish and Game registered their concerns about the proposal, particularly about the removal of mature oaks and native California sycamores and associated wildlife habitat. Although the proposal calls for replacement planting, small saplings planted 20 miles away will take hundreds of years to reach the carbon absorption capacity or habitat value of these ancient oaks, other trees and understory vegetation. In an area like the San Gabriel Valley which is prone to smog, the role of old growth forests is particularly significant. Hundreds of square miles of recreational destinations in local canyons and mountains near to urban areas has recently burned or been closed for extended periods due to the Station Fire. That makes accessible old-growth oak woodland of high value as a local recreational parkland adjacent to public trails and foothill communities along the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains.
      >
      > Help is needed to save the180 old oaks, numerous old sycamores and California bay laurels, a local wildlife corridor and potential spotted owl habitat that the County proposes to cover in 25-30 feet of sediment behind the adjacent Santa Anita Dam. What is now a beautiful woodlands will become a visually blighted dirt dump site. According to volunteer soil engineers who have been working on a neighboring residential development project, the County has other options and should pursue them. The County claims this is the only place near the Santa Anita dam where they can pile up sediment that must be removed for flood control purposes. A giant, noisy conveyor belt will be built to carry sediment to the dump site where oak woodland now exists.
      >
      > Environmentalists believe that there must be innovative alternatives and are seeking a meeting with County Water Resources to explore such options. A 30 day stay of the destruction has been granted by the County. Now is the time to write or e-mail Supervisor Antonovich to request his intervention in saving this beautiful and valuable woodland for future generations.
      >
      > For Further Information, contact:
      > Christle Balvin & Glen Owen
      >
      > 695 S. CATALINA AVENUE * PASADENA
      > Cbalvin@...
      >
      > (626) 792-6463
      > (626) 359-5511
      >
      >



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