|As you can see from the photographs ... there has been massive removal of habitat and creation of silt by the "emergency " San Diego Creek Capacity project that was reaffirmed by the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, January 13.
To the Army Corps: You can see that heavy equipment is being used to remove vegetation, clearing away all vegetation from the slope below the bicycle path on the east bank to the creek from Campus Drive to Michelson, mostly removing a pure growth of mulefat. Heavy equipment is moving along the creek north of Campus Drive, removing all vegetation on the creek side of the fence, mostly willow trees. The only habitat left is a sparse little strip, the 40 foot-wide corridor with a few twigs of willows and sparse mulefat. The ACOE staff told me that only hand-removal of vegetation would be permitted. However, the heavy equipment used belies this requirement, as the many willows with trunks less than 3 inches were removed contrary to the County staff's pronouncements.
To the USFWS and DFG: Note that the sparse little strip of mostly mulefat left on the east bank surely cannot be considered suitable habitat for the least Bell's vireo. You are witnessing firsthand destruction of endangered species habitat without going through the permitting process. Why are you not stepping up to the plate on behalf of the Endangered Species Act?
To the California Coastal Commission: Note what is in store for the section of the creek in the Coastal Zone. Surely, you will require CEQA documentation, as the consequences of this non-emergency and ESHA destruction must see the light of day.
To the County: much shame on you to allow this to happen. Supervisor Campbell, where was that little 3-inch slingshot device to measure the 3 inch diameter? Observers to the chainsawing of the trees saw no-one utilizing the device you showed at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
To all: See the massive quantity of siltation that the County is creating by turning lush riparian habitat that used to be anchoring the soil into bare, loose soil. Be assured that this bare soil will wash right into the creek and into Upper Newport Bay. The $38 million proposed for dredging the bay will be used up removing the siltation coming into the bay from this project at San Diego Creek. Surely, the County will be required to pay for the additional silt created by its stripping and grading operations, and will be required to use devices such as jute mesh to hold down the banks, and plant replacement vegetation to anchor the soil, along with the 10 to 1 mitigation for the removal of endangered species habitat. The RWQCB has suggested using the dredged soil to form a berm around the Michelson Treatment Plant, so IRWD will never be able to pull this dirty little scare tactic again. The Plant needs additional protection anyway, for the possibility of a 190-year storm like the Santa Ana River.