Impressions from England

In pursuing water-wise landscaping, modern Los Angeles has much to learn from the ancient English towns built around rivers.

Should “green streets” be streets?

The $270 million question soon to be put to homeowners by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is: Will we pay an annual tax of $54 per parcel toward a basin-wide effort to clean at least some of the pollutants swept up in water as it flows from paved surfaces into the storm drain system, rivers and Pacific? This much is clear: We should. This much isn’t: Will we? And, even if we do, will it work before fines over Clean Water Act violations start kicking in and law suits begin?

$270 million a year sounds like a lot until you divide it between 88 cities, a spangling of watershed NGOs and the county Flood Control District. Even if divided proportionately to size of city, the sum starts sounding woefully inadequate considering that alone one storm water park opened in February that was wrought from an

ALOUD: Moore / Childs / Deverell

Philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore uses water to explain human inter-connectedness to the environment in an "ALOUD" lecture at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Expo Line plants: Think first, proselytize later

Should this be developed as a wildlife corridor?

UPDATED Many of the same people whose passion and stamina forced Los Angeles City Council to adapt a low-water garden for City Hall are now campaigning for Phase Two stops of the city’s Expo Light Rail Line to be landscaped with native plants. Their movement, called LANative, has a website, a petition, and, most recently, support from an impassioned article in the Huffington Post.

Fellow travelers in the native plant movement, forgive me, but I can’t sing with the choir on this one. I can’t see how most of the powerful arguments for natives at City Hall to do with water efficiency, beauty, sense of place, pollinator benefit, run-off capture, leading by example etc. necessarily apply to a railway, which is less a garden setting than a fierce border twixt track and asphalt, steel and concrete.

In fact,

High good, low bad: Mead in May 2012

 

Click on the cover to be taken to the "Aloud" program at the Los Angeles Public Library, where "Moral Ground" editor Kathleen Dean Moore will be part of a panel on western water on June 6, 2012.

Spoiler alert. It’s low bad for the monthly Mead report. The largest reservoir in the United States, which serves Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico, was at 1,119.38 feet  at the close of May, 2012. That’s lower than it’s been for seven months, a mere 44 feet and change above a level that will invoke shortages in Arizona and Nevada. But! Now that doomsayers like me are all cheered up at any opportunity to remind wastrels with lawns, “We told you so,” it emerges that there is a more constructive voice in town. As clarification, it merits adding that the town is Los Angeles and the voice is that of philosopher

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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