The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

Hahamongna News


Go slow on removing Devilís Gate detritus: Editorial







Pasadena Star-News


POSTED: 11/20/13, 4:02 PM PST |

The tons of sediment behind Devilís Gate Dam, where Altadena, La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena meet in the Arroyo Seco, have taken decades to get there.

Certainly the dirt and rocks and muck were increased when the Station Fire burned so much of the Angeles National Forest directly to the north in the San Gabriels, increasing the flow toward the alluvial plain during the rainy seasons of subsequent years.

But the hundreds of thousands of cubic yards that have built up did not by any means happen all at once, and there is no real flood-control emergency or need to remove the sediment on a go-fast basis.

Thatís why, as the region reviews a Draft Environmental Impact Report that is due Jan. 6, the preferred alternative should be a go-slow approach.

Public works bosses may be gearing up for the way they, somewhat understandably, like to get a job done: With all due speed. But the dump trucks that would be rumbling out of Oak Grove Park most every day, all day long onto the 210 Freeway on their way to filling up holes in the Irwindale rock quarries under such a plan would not create anything like a preferred alternative to the millions of San Gabriel Valley residents who would be affected by such an onslaught.

Not only is there no need to perform the work of removing a centuryís worth of sediment in just three to five years ó it would be tremendously more expensive that way. The same scope of work can be performed over the next 20 years, spreading out the cost over time and lessening the aggravation to motorists and neighbors.

Instead of removing more than 1 million cubic yards of sediment in a short period of time, a new review by the Arroyo Seco Foundation suggests moving about 167,000 cubic yards each year for a decade (including more sediment that will flow each winter), and then evaluating the need for more work at that point.

Such a more reasonable plan would mean less noise, less dust and less intense pollution than in the too-short and active time frame currently suggested by county engineers.

Additionally, though there was a time when the area behind Devilís Gate was a kind of no manís land serving merely as flood control ó as well as being home to a commercial quarry operation, and serving as a rocket-launch area for JPL and a dumping ground for dangerous chemicals ó for many years it has blossomed as the reborn Hahamongna Watershed Park, a welcome new recreational area for the region. The current plan to essentially denude much of the acreage by scraping away every tree and bush goes against that important current use and is unnecessary for effective flood control. Much muck does need to be removed ó but all the greenery, home to wildlife as well as hiking and equestrian trails, does not.

The land is owned by the city of Pasadena, with an easement to the county for flood-control purposes. So both the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Pasadena City Council must weigh in on the environmental report and make decisions on the way to remove the sediment. The bodies have a duty to protect the people and places downstream from Hahamongna from flood damage that would be more likely if the sediment is allowed to continue to build up. But they also have a duty to listen to affected constituents. Go slow, keep costs low and maintain this rich riparian habitat.