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County plans to landscape controversial sediment dome

A huge dome of compacted debris above La Crescenta that was trucked in from foothill basins clogged by mud and rocks during post-Station fire rain storms will be getting a new skin.

Los Angeles County officials on Monday unveiled plans to plant vegetation on the controversial Dunsmuir sediment placement site in an effort to better anchor the soil and hedge against erosion — a major concern for residents who live below the hillside.

Rain storms that hit hillsides laid bare by the Station fire produced massive amount of mud and debris, clogging basins and sending mudflows through homes in La Cañada Flintridge. County officials sent nearly 500,000 cubic yards of excavated material — enough to fill the Rose Bowl — from the basins to the Dunsmuir site on Markridge Road.

Patricia Wood, a county engineer, assured residents that geotechnical experts said the landscaping plan would bring the most stability to the sediment dome.


“We don’t want to replace one problem with another,” she said.

The massive amount of material, combined with constant dump truck traffic up and down residential streets, has been a major sore point with residents — one that, for some, no amount of landscaping can make better.

“I don’t see why we need to decorate this huge mound,” said resident Gary Idama, who was among about 50 people who attended a public outreach meeting Monday night. “I would really like to see the whole thing trucked out.”

Resident Roger Klemm even suggested the sediment be sent to the oceans, many of which have had erosion problems.


“We have built our city in the middle of nature,” Klemm said. “We’re paying the price for it.”

The county plans to complete the landscaping project, which could cost about $500,000, by April 2013. However, it may take up to 15 years for all the plants, which include monkey flower, sage brush and deer weed, to fully grow, officials said.

“We want to give back to the community for all they had to deal with with all those trucks,” Wood said.

There is still room for about 200,000 cubic yards of dirt, which would be placed at the center of the site near Dunsmore Avenue, Wood said. Once the site is full, the county plans to hand it over to the city of Glendale, which can use space at the top for a park, she added.