San Gabriel River : Wildlife Habitat to Be Preserved

The state Department of Fish and Game has granted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works permission to clear portions of a two-mile stretch of the San Gabriel River south from Valley Boulevard in the City of Industry to Thienes Avenue in South El Monte. Plants, fish and other wildlife have returned to that portion of the river in recent years.

Marty Pletcher, a state Fish and Game wildlife biologist, said the stream-bed alteration agreement allows the county to clear certain sections of the river of vegetation while sparing others as outlined in an aerial photo submitted to the agency by fish and game officials. Some stands of willows and a narrow swath of vegetation on the river banks will be preserved to protect wildlife that depend on the riparian habitat, Pletcher said. The public works officials say the clearing operation is needed to control the growth of brush and trees that might undermine bridges and cause flooding downstream.

Traditionally, the public works department has cleared sections of the river under its jurisdiction of all vegetation, and had planned to do the same about two months ago. However, after being alerted to the clearing operation, the state Department of Fish Game, which oversees fisheries and wildlife along the river, informed the public works department that it would have to apply for stream-bed alteration agreement before work could begin.