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

Title:

Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery – A Priceless Resource for Pasadena and Our Region

Subtitle:

Date:

2016-04-01

Author:

Tim Brick

Publication:

West Pasadena Residents Association Newsletter

Content:

Just a year ago it was an overgrown weed patch on the back of the former US Forest Service Ranger Station near JPL in Hahamongna Watershed Park. Today Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery is a fully functioning native plant nursery with more than 7,000 plants representing 85 distinct species.


Hahamongna Nursery Manager Nick Hummingbird, right, an expert trained in habitat restoration by the National Park Service, identifies native plants for inquisitive local residents.

Under the leadership of the dynamic nursery manager, Nicholas Hummingbird, scores of local residents have participated in numerous work days and workshops to transform the site. Hummingbird, who was recently featured in the Pasadena Weekly, has crafted a remarkable educational program about habitat and plant propagation that is the first component of the future environmental education center featured in the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan. He has brought a depth of experience to the newly blossoming nursery, having previously worked with the National Park Service on Channel Islands habitat restoration projects. A young indigenous person of Chumash and Cahuilla descent, he also brings a respect for native ways, very much in keeping with the spirit of Hahamongna. He is an excellent teacher and has built a solid corps of volunteers to care for the nursery.

The nursery began as part of the Arroyo Seco Canyon Project (ASCP), a partnership between the Arroyo Seco Foundation (ASF) and the Pasadena Water & Power Department (PWP), to improve local water resources and environmental conditions along the Arroyo Seco stream as it flows out of the San Gabriel Mountains. ASF developed the original conceptual plan and obtained a $3.27 million grant from the CA Department of Water Resources to help fund the improvements, which include extensive riparian habitat restoration. In addition to providing planning and outreach services for the project, ASF proposed maximizing community participation by growing the thousands of plants that will be needed and planting them with community volunteers. We suggested using the long-neglected nursery facility in Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Since February 2015, when ASF was first granted full access to the site, Nick Hummingbird and the volunteers have transformed the abandoned planting beds into a thriving native plant nursery that has prepared all the plants needed for the project. ASCP was approved by the Pasadena City Council last June, but an environmental lawsuit has delayed its completion and created some uncertainty about the care and disposition of the plants.

Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery is a community-generated treasure that displays the spectacular beauty and functionality of native plants. It is and can be an invaluable asset to the City of Pasadena and our region by providing low-cost plants for restoration, conservation and park uses. Native plants are best adapted to deal with local climate variability as well as climate change. California’s long drought has underscored the sustainability benefits of these plants for Southern California. River restoration efforts in the Arroyo Seco and along the Los Angeles River have accentuated the largely unmet need for native plants that are regionally sourced and genetically appropriate. It is also now imperative that Pasadenans and Southern Californians focus on transforming the landscaping of our homes, parks and businesses to meet the challenges of drought and climate change. Native plants are the most appropriate solution, and Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery can be a priceless resource and educational hub to promote and disseminate these plants.

Native plants from Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery can be used for:

  • Arroyo Seco habitat restoration programs such as ASCP and Berkshire Creek Restoration

  • Drought response and conservation education for PWP

  • Oak grove restoration in Hahamongna Watershed Park

  • Park improvements throughout Pasadena and our region

  • Model landscaping of city facilities, such as fire stations and libraries,

  • Ecosystem restoration programs that the US Army Corps of Engineers is now planning for the Arroyo Seco and Los Angeles River, and

  • Transforming the landscape ethic of Pasadena and our region with a renewed respect for the benefits of native plants and sustainability.

To ensure that Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery will be financially self-sustaining, ASF will work to develop agreements and partnerships with Pasadena agencies as well as other governmental agencies and organizations involved in conservation, habitat restoration and native plant programs. We will develop contracts and seek grants and sponsorships to provide a solid and sustainable financial base to make the nursery a lasting asset for Pasadena and our region. We also plan to make plants available to the general public.

We are now working with Pasadena city staff to develop an agreement to allow Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery to develop its rich potential and benefits for our region. If you would like to know more about the nursery, please check: http://www.arroyoseco.org/nursery.htm or send an email to nursery@arroyoseco.org.

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Tim Brick is the Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation and previously served as chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Executive Director of Hahamongna Watershed Park.