By Gary Applebee
Last weekend after the Steelhead Science for Anglers symposium there was a meeting at Chili’s for a new conservation group. Well, not really a new group just a concerted effort to get many different people working together instead of separately on the San Gabriel River Monument. If you haven’t heard, President Obama signed a bill to make the San Gabriel Rivers into a monument. This encompasses the West Fork, North Fork, and the East Forks of the San Gabriel Rivers as well as some of the forest around the rivers.
The group talked about some of the problems on the San Gabriel River Monument. One of the members from the Pasadena Casting Club said the West Fork was being used as a city park. I thought that was a pretty accurate description of the West Fork’s usage. People walk and ride bikes up along the paved road that follows the river. On the weekends there can be up to 20,000 people swimming and playing in the river, FRVC and the USFS’s numbers. The flows on the West Fork River are down to a trickle. Pot Farms are on all three forks as they are on all our rivers. They talked about the numbers of people that are homeless and living up on the East Fork. Some of them are miners and some are squatters. The over use of Bungee America was discussed. Bungee America can have 200 or more people going back a day to bungee jump the Bridge to Nowhere. They discussed the proposed Cattle Canyon Project that will be coming up on the East Fork Canyon. There are problems of mining and pot farms up Cattle Canyon as well. If you grew up fishing the West Fork as a kid then this is something you might want to get involved with.
I met Jim Burns from LA River Fly Fishing: http://lariverflyfishing.com whose motto is; Fishing for carp, waiting for steelhead. I hadn’t heard of his blog, but read it after this meeting and I like his writing, give it a read. He’ll be writing for this group as well. I’ll be passing on their news blasts as they come.
I had hoped this would be a foothills group that would look at the problems of San Antonio Creek, Lytle Creek, Deep Creek, Santa Ana River, and Bear Creek. But, as you can see by the name they pretty much only want to talk about the San Gabriel River Monument. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing and if you fish on any of the three forks of the San Gabriel Rivers, it is long over due. Was I disappointed, maybe a little? I could list the problems creek-by-creek, but if you have fished locally you know what they are, the flows are down on all our creeks, people fishing the creeks in 100 degree weather, painting graffiti on the rocks, having parties on and in the creek then leaving their trash, silt accumulating, pot farms, and using these creeks for target practice. These aren’t issues only on the San Gabriel River. They are issues for all our creeks.