Dear West Fork Advocates:

It’s time to renew our push for greater protection for the West Fork, especially the lower stream below Cogswell dam.  It is a new year, and especially significant, a new L. A. County Board of Supervisors.  Rep. Judy Chu (CA 27) is being asked to again submit a bill to designate streams in the San Gabriel Mountains as Wild and Scenic Rivers, including the East Fork, North Fork, and the upper West Fork, but not the lower West Fork, of the San Gabriel River.  Once again, the lower West Fork would be excluded out of concern that the Cogswell dam operator, L. A. County Public Works, will not support the bill if it is included.  Unfortunately, the large environmental groups encouraging such a bill seem willing to sacrifice the lower West Fork in order to achieve the goal for the other streams.

I recently had a meeting with L. A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis’ Environment deputy about this issue, and I am optimistic that the Board of Supervisors would now support a Wild and Scenic bill which included the lower West Fork.  Hilda Solis was a prime force behind the efforts to protect the San Gabriel Mountains and river beginning 14 years ago when she was in Congress, which culminated last fall in the San Gabriel National Monument declaration.  Since taking office last December, along with Sheila Kuehl, she represents a significant change in the L. A. County Board, and is in a position to influence the Public Works Department’s response to this issue.

Because we are smaller, grass roots groups who know the West Fork intimately, we are in a good position to influence decisions about it.  Supervisor Solis’ Environment deputy told me that no other environmental group had yet approached Solis about this issue of the lower West Fork, and that she was favorably impressed that a local group would take it up. We must keep the issue alive, and keep the pressure on the politicians.  We must do this before a bill is written.

Please write and email Representative Chu about submitting a Wild and Scenic bill which includes the lower West Fork, and Supervisor Solis about supporting such a bill.   Here are two points to make:

  •  If the lower West Fork is not designated Wild and Scenic, but the upper West Fork, and the other San Gabriel tributaries are so designated, then the disparity in management and status will lead to further degradation of the lower stream.
  • Wild and Scenic designation of the entire West Fork will not impact the L. A. County Public Works department’s flood control mission, dam operation, water rights, or road use. 

Here are the addresses and contacts:

Rep. Judy Chu (the link to her page includes an email fill-in form, and mailing addresses:

Supv. Hilda Solis:               This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Honorable Hilda L. Solis
County of Los Angleles
Board of Supervisors
500 West Temple
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Thanks for your help, and contact me if you have any questions or comments.  Please share this message with others who can help.

John Tobin
Conservation Chair
Pasadena Casting Club

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