L.A. County officials present Devil’s Gate Dam flood-control options

Devil’s Gate
Sediment has built up in the basin above Devil’s Gate Dam since the 2009 Station fire.
(Sue Horton)

L.A. County flood-control officials presented several options for removing built-up debris and mud from a basin above Devil’s Gate Dam in northern Pasadena in a draft environmental impact report released Thursday.

The basin became choked by mud and debris after the 2009 Station fire and storms that followed. Flood-control officials have warned for years that the build-up compromises the dam’s ability to contain another major storm.

They say areas downstream from the dam along the Arroyo Seco -- including the Rose Bowl, 110 Freeway and neighborhoods in Pasadena, South Pasadena and the northeastern Los Angeles communities of Highland Park, Hermon, Montecito Heights, Mount Washington and Cypress Park -- could be in danger of flooding.

The county’s Board of Supervisors in 2011 ordered an environmental study before any significant work could begin. Neighbors had voiced concerns about the destruction of wildlife habitat that has grown up in the basin, as well as disturbances to hikers, horseback riders and joggers who use the area for recreation.


In the meantime, county Department of Public Works spokesman Kerjon Lee said, officials have taken smaller mitigation measures, removing sediment from the face of the dam to allow them to operate valves and control storm water as it flows through.

The draft report on proposed long-term solutions looks at five alternatives that would remove between 2.4 and 4 million cubic yards of sediment. The report is available for public review through Jan. 6 at

The county Department of Public Works is holding public comment sessions Nov. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rose Bowl Stadium Visitors’ Locker Room, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, 91103 (Enter at Gate A, Park in Lot F); Nov. 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Jackson Elementary School Auditorium, 593 W. Woodbury Road, Altadena, 91001; and Nov. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, 4469 Chevy Chase Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, 91011.

Public comments may be submitted at the community meetings or by Jan. 6 via email to or mailed to County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Attn: Water Resources Division -- Reservoir Cleanouts, P.O. Box 1460 Alhambra, CA 91802-9974, or by fax to (626) 979-5436. Officials ask that the comments include “Devil’s Gate Reservoir Sediment Removal and Management Project” in the subject line and the name of a contact person.



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