Water wise

Yesterday I finally mounted the bike that has been neglected and stored in my kitchen entryway the past two months and gave it some love.  I had to overcome the fear of the honks and horns and aggressive four-wheeled species fueled by speed that compete for space on the asphalt.  Luckily, I live within less than 1 mile of an entry point to the L.A. River (yes, L.A. has a river-more on that later) which is a safe haven from all of that road traffic. A flat bike path parallels the river, the 5 freeway, and a whole world of vegetation and amazing waterfowl right in the middle of the city.  I biked north towards Glendale and Burbank in total amazement of what I saw next to the concrete embankment below me.

Pictures are courtesy of the Friends of the L.A. River site:

Great Blue Heron

Blacknecked Stilt


Muscovy duck

Snowy egret

In the 1930s, spurred by a horrible flood that caused deaths and destroyed property, the Army Corps of Engineers built a concrete flood channel, running from the valley out to San Pedro, to control the flow of the river and prevent future flooding. Today, despite being filled with graffiti and trash, it’s also home to lush vegetation and amazing waterfowl.  And just this week, the river  received the EPA’s designation as being completely navigable.  This entitles the river to federal water protection laws which will enforce quality standards that had not previously been enforceable.  The future has bright things in store for the Los Angeles River.

While we’re on the water front, I encourage you to listen to a podcast of a fascinating lecture given by James Workman last month as part of the ALOUD series.  Unfortunately the lecture was the same night as game 7 of the Lakers finals, meaning very few people attended ALOUD as well as meaning I couldn’t watch game 7.  Tragic, yes, but it was an enlightening conversation and Workman proposed some new ideas of how we can shift our relationship with water, ensuring for a more sustainable future.  He reminded us how most cultures, particularly those who live in desert climates (wait, don’t we?) would find it deplorable to know there is a source of relatively clean water –unused and neglected-running through one of the nation’s largest cities.  It then is dumped into the ocean where it mixes with salt water and becomes even more unusable.  Or the notion that we dirty clean water by dumping our human waste into it.  Something to think about.

So, as we enjoy the summer sun and consume more water to keep cool, let us not forget we are forever in a drought and are well on our way to depleting this precious resource.  Start conserving!

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~ by maureenmoore on July 25, 2010.

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