The Dry Garden: Engineered to fail

As the days of Occupy LA’s tenancy around City Hall Park became numbered last month, I wrote in the op-ed pages of this paper that the city should seize the opportunity to replace the trashed lawn with a model garden demonstrating state of the art storm water capture and drought tolerant planting. The Mar Vista Community Council immediately began a campaign to support it. The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, California Native Plant Society and Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants each wrote the Department of Recreation and Parks calling for the city to seize the opportunity. But the most forceful argument came in the one-two punch of the November 30 windstorm swiftly followed by this week’s rain.

Click here to keep reading in The Dry Garden column in the Los Angeles Times about why floods follow winter windstorms and what this has to do with trees.

Rain in Spain

FROM NASA’s Earth Observatory: left is an image of southern Spain showing the course of the Guadalquivir River past Seville in March 2009. To the right is an image from March 2010, with blue areas around the river bank showing extensive flooding from late February rain. Click here to see the full resolution images.

Bad planning and hyperbole

Photo: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times. Click on the image to be taken to the paper's storm photo gallery.

Contrary to forecasts, including the one repeated here, there were neither particularly heavy rains nor gales in Los Angeles yesterday. “I’m sympathetic with a blown forecast,” says Bill Patzert, an oceanographer with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Having carried it, this writer is too, but only to a degree. It gives rain a bad name.

But when wrong news is good news, why gyp? Moreover, there is more good news in a place with such bad zoning that even the best-behaved showers throw the city into chaos.

As reported in The week that was, and repeated here for good measure, last week, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works passed a Low Impact Development Ordinance that will require new construction to retain more rain water on site