Sit in a tree. Go to jail. That's how they roll in Arcadia.

The “Arcadia 4” tree-sitters are having a press conference April 19 at 10 a.m., (Criminal

Justice Center, 210 West Temple Street), where environmentalists John Quigley

and Camron Stone, and actors Daryl Hannah and Ed Begley, will speak.

Environmentalists want a probe of the L.A. County Department of Public Works. They've identified the “Five Most Endangered Urban Wildlands” in the foothills — endangered not by pollution or global warming but by bulldozers. Can you guess what's on the list, created by the Urbanwild Network?

In January, the environmentalists sat in Arcadia Woodlands oak trees

until bulldozers came. They protested the razing of ancient trees by

the county Department of Public Works, a government division which quickly tore out the woods to

create space for piling up flood-control sediment and mud.

That destruction was just the beginning. Here's what's planned throughout the local  foothills and wildlands.

1. Arcadia Woodlands – Remaining Fragment

The Department of Public Works (DPW) destroyed 13 acres of the Arcadia Woodlands,  leaving a remaining 10 acres of pristine woodland for future destruction as a sediment dump. The Urbanwild Network is working with Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich to place a permanent conservation easement on the surviving acreage. The objective is to integrate this woodland with a fully-restored-to-nature “Lower Sediment Placement Site” once the Santa Anita Dam Sediment Removal Project is complete.

2. Hahamonga Watershed Park (HWP), Pasadena

The HWP is a large reservoir basin located behind the Devil's Gate Dam in Pasadena and is overlooked by JPL at the north end of the basin. HWP contains the world's first Frisbee Golf Course, an equestrian center, oak covered picnic areas and a large basin filled with black willows and sediment that has washed down from the San Gabriel Mountains. The DPW has done little, if any, sediment maintenance at this site since 1993.

The DPW wanted to use the two-year old Station Fire emergency declaration (and FEMA funds) to scrape out the reservoir basin and the Willows with no public input. LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich recently passed a motion to require the DPW to obtain an environmental Impact Report (EIR) at the urging of the Urbanwild Network. This EIR process will start soon and it is hoped that with public input, the natural environment within the basin can be enhanced with a carefully considered sediment removal program.

3. La Tuna Canyon

La Tuna Canyon cuts through the Verdugo Mountains from Montrose to Burbank. The DPW owns an entire tributary canyon consisting of three forks situated at the upper end of La Tuna Canyon. This Canyon, which is visible from La Tuna Canyon Road, contains over sixty mature oak trees and some historic cabin sites.

The DPW was planning to wipe out this pristine urban wilderness to create a new sediment dump under the same “Emergency Declaration” as they were using at the HWP. On a recent hike into this beautiful canyon, it was discovered that the DPW had already hammered “Death Tags” into all of the resident oak trees. These are the same death tags used to identify the doomed oaks within the Arcadia Woodlands.

4.Whittier Narrows Natural Area

This is a fascinating case of “loving” nature to death. A powerful coalition of water districts and government agencies is attempting to build a $22 million taxpayer funded water museum and huge parking lot within this untouched natural area.

This project is intended to benefit water district executives and agency officials who seem to believe that the destruction of nature is necessary to teach children to value it.

5. Aliso Canyon Park, Granada Hills

The City of Los Angeles is planning large development in Aliso Canyon Park that will destroy its natural character and its wildlife. The project will cause not only environmental damage, but also pollution, congestion, potential runoff.

The wildlife we see in the canyon will be adversely affected by this development, making their only source of water more polluted and difficult to get to. The proposed development will destroy the beautiful and pleasant surroundings with buildings, bridges and parking lots and other intrusive trails to the extreme detriment of the natural environment.

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