Flood Control to Free Rivers: The Tale of Water on Tongvalands

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EcoJustice Radio discusses the history of water upon Tongvalands aka Los Angeles: from free-flowing rivers to concrete-engineered flood control and back again Tim Brick of the Arroyo Seco Foundation and and Parker Davis of the Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery.

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Tim Brick speaks on the journey to take down dams and restore the Los Angeles River and its watershed.

Hear about the historical impacts of channelization, the formation of dams and the current movement toward dam removal across Turtle Island (aka. the Americas). Once an unbridled, seasonal river wending from the mountains to the ocean, by the 1960s, the entire length of the 51-mile long Paayme Paheight (aka. Los Angeles River) was concretized, destined to become infrastructure and a functional sewer. However, this is no longer the river’s destiny as advocacy for freeing the river and its tributaries, restoring native habitat and wildlife grows.

Hahamongna is the rare spot in the Arroyo Seco at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California where the mountainous watershed meets the urban plain. Periodically floods roar into this basin. Hahamongna contains five unique habitat zones that only exist in alluvial canyons near the mountains. Most sites like this in Southern California have been destroyed. The word means “Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley” in the native Tongva language. The Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery in Pasadena was so named by revered Chief Yanna (also known as Vera Rocha), a Gabrieliño Shoshone who taught the nursery’s community indigenous life ways and how to “see” and care for Hahamongna.

More info on Saving Hahamongna: http://www.savehahamongna.org

Tim Brick is Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation [http://www.arroyoseco.org], and has been involved in promoting environmental awareness and sustainability for many years. He served on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for 28 years including two terms as chair.

Parker Davis is Director of Marketing and Communications at the Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery [http://www.hahamongna.org]. A Pasadena native with a background in fine arts, he has an aesthetic obsession with California native plants. He works with volunteers, propagating plants for restoring natural areas & beautifying the local community’s neighborhoods and public spaces.

Interview by Carry Kim
Hosted by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 75
Photo by One Arroyo Foundation

Updated 8 September 2020

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt