An effort to revitalize the intricate network of tributaries that feed into the Upper Los Angeles River is ramping up, and a recent piece of legislation aims to ensure the Arroyo Seco and La Cañada’s Flint Canyon Trail aren’t overlooked.
Senate Bill 1126, written by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, adds the Arroyo Seco to a list of waterways to be considered by the Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Working Group.
Established in 2017, and placed under the purview of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the group was originally tasked with developing a revitalization plan for the Upper L.A. River and the tributaries of the Verdugo, Tujunga and Pacoima washes by March 2019.
Portantino’s bill includes the Arroyo Seco in the study area, and because the Flint Canyon Wash feeds into that waterway, efforts eyed by the city to restore the downslope of an eroding 800-foot section of the adjacent Flint Canyon Trail could be bolstered by the inclusion.
SB-1126 allows the working group to include representatives from La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena and South Pasadena, and extends the revitalization plan deadline to June 30, 2020. On Dec. 10, Portantino recommended La Cañada trails advocate Caroline Craven represent the city on the panel.
“Caroline has unique local and historical knowledge of our interests and will do an excellent job representing La Cañada Flintridge and the eastern L.A. River perspective on the committee,” the senator said in a statement.
Craven grew up swimming in the Flint Canyon Wash and riding horses on the 2-mile trail, which connects Hahamongna Watershed Park to Cherry Canyon and the city of Glendale and ultimately provides access to the Angeles National Forest.
During a walk along the trail Monday, Craven pointed out portions of a stream bed where rainwater flowed.
“We want to make sure this is being protected and taken care of,” she said. “And we want to make sure this water flows from our part of the watershed to the bigger parts.”
Above the streambed, the trail is bordered by an upslope wall that runs along the Foothill (210) Freeway. The city of La Cañada Flintridge paid about $500,000 in 2009 to build the wall, using general fund money buoyed by conservation grants and Proposition A sales tax funds, city records indicate.
Below, the trail’s downslope shows signs of erosion that threatens the Flint Canyon Trail and could potentially undermine the structural integrity of the freeway. Some $336,500 has been invested by the city so far for stop-gap repairs.
In a report on the trail’s condition, city officials described the portion of the trail between Berkshire Avenue and Oak Grove Drive, used regularly by La Cañada High School athletes, as destabilized and in need of at least $4.5 million in repair.
“Without the $4.5 million, the Flint Wash trail will be lost and Caltrans structures abutting the trail will be compromised and potentially at risk,” the report stated.
Craven is optimistic the working group may consider restoring the La Cañada trail and others like it in the development of its revitalization plan.
“Hopefully, this bill will also help direct some funds to help trails along the way,” she said.