Letter to the Editor: San Gabriel River (Part 2)

Dear Editor:

Part 1 appeared in the Downey Patriot last October. The article outlined my concerns with the deteriorating conditions of the San Gabriel Riverbed, especially between Florence and Firestone.

Those concerns were the growing homeless population, the overgrowth of trees/bushes, the accumulation of debris and silt, and the potential of flooding during a major prolonged rainstorm. My request was for the Army Corp of Engineers to address the concerns before disaster occurred claiming mitigation was more cost effective than disaster recovery.

I was pleased when on November 2nd, signs were posted on the riverbed fence between Florence and Firestone indicating that the riverbed would be cleared of all debris beginning November 22th. I was pleased and hopeful!

November 22nd produced the first rains of the season and rains continued until recently. Unfortunately, no clearing project could begin with the soaked riverbed. While the rains were welcomed,the unfortunate result of the heavy rains was the washing away of debris in the river. Much of the debris ended up in Los Alamitos Bay and some will eventually end up in the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch (google it). The 'patch" is a rapidly growing conglomeration of debris that has reportedly reached the size of Texas and Alaska combined.

Recently, I resumed walking the San Gabriel River Bike/Walkway and I'm still very concerned with the mounds of trash, filth, shopping carts, etc., left behind by the homeless and other debris that washed downstream from the nearby foothills. I am overwhelmed by the amount of trash under the Florence Bridge that leads to the bike/walkway. It is at least two feet high in each of the cubicles under the bridge.

The rainy season will end soon and now would be a good time to plan the clearing of accumulated debris and silt in the riverbed between Florence and Firestone. Hopefully, the City of Downey, the Los Angeles County Public Works agency in conjunction with the Army Corp of Engineers and other volunteer groups can coordinate this needed "cleansing" project before the next major rainstorms of future years. It's in the public's interest for health and environmental reasons.

Let's Keep Downey Beautiful for the multitude of bikers, walkers, and hikers that use the bike/walkway on a daily basis. 

Jim Weidner