March 5, 2014

Creek Restoration

View of Medea Creek looking toward Chumash Park
Kudos to the City Council for approving the Medea Creek restoration project and the successful grant application that will fund it. This project will take an unsightly concrete section of Medea Creek on the east side of Kanan Road across from Hillrise and restore it to a soft bottom with native vegetation lining the banks, creating a beautiful new riparian habitat.

 Las Virgenes Creek in Calabasas - Restored 6 Years Ago
Why is this important?  Water in the concrete channel does not pass through the normal creek vegetation which serves to clean and cool the water. Instead, pollutants are concentrated in the overheated water and then washed down to the sea in the next period of heavy rain contaminating the beaches where thousands of visitors swim and play. Agoura Hills is required by law to limit the amount of pollutants in the creek and can face lawsuits and heavy fines if it does not meet the federal standards for clean water. This project will be a great way to comply. Moreover, concrete speeds precious stormwater to the ocean to be lost, rather than being allowed to permeate the soil and replenish aquifers.

Restored area of Las Virgenes Creek
But perhaps the most important reason for restoring the natural creek is for us. We human beings take delight in the sound of rippling water, in the flight of ducks, and strolling along the bank of a living creek and being stopped by the sight of a Great Blue Heron or a mule deer that has come to the creek at sundown to drink. We do not pause to gaze in delight at a concrete channel choked with slime-green water.

The Photos posted below show a number of the concrete channels within our city. It will be a challenge and take many years to accomplish, but these creeks can be restored to a more natural condition, greatly beautifying our city. Walking and cycling trails could be added even more easily since maintenance paths already exist on both sides of the channels.

 Above is a section of the Palo Comado Creek channel that runs parallel to Agoura Road all the way from Cornell Road to the Lewis Road/ Dorothy Drive intersection. Agoura Road is in the upper right of the photo.

This is the east end of the Palo Comado Creek channel where the creek daylights after crossing under the freeway. 

This is a photo of Medea Creek west of Kanan Road and just upstream from the creek restoration project planned by the city.

Above is the pathway along the restored section of Las Virgenes Creek in Calabasas. Imagine what our creeks here in Agoura Hills could look like. People could stroll or bike along the banks taking in an occasional glimpse of Mallard Ducks or a Snowy Egret splashing in the water below. This City is our home and these mountains are our legacy to succeeding generations. Concrete channels throughout the city were built by L.A. County back in the 1930s. It is time to consign them to history. It is time to make a commitment to the eventual restoration of all of them.