Environment & Science

Devil's Gate Dam mud removal project adds safeguards for people, toads

FILE: Western toad
FILE: Western toad
Jasper Nance/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

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A Los Angeles County public works plan to clean out mud and debris at Devil's Gate Dam is underway. The project offers more protections for wildlife and for surrounding neighborhoods.

Since the Station Fire two years ago, L.A. County’s placed high priority on digging out the mud from Devil's Gate. Public works officials say getting this smaller project done now will set up a bigger dig in the future, one that will remove millions of cubic feet of sediment from the dam.

But some kinks in the plan have slowed the engineers' progress. Where the county had planned to dump trucks of mud, western toads settled for breeding season. The county left them alone for the season, and now biologists are monitoring the work going forward.

Humans have presented another big concern. People in Altadena, especially along Windsor Avenue, have complained that trucks barreling in and out of the dam construction area would make a lot of noise. Now, the city of Pasadena’s allowed L.A. County crews to use Johnson Field in Hahamonga Watershed Park as a staging area for debris. So trucks won't have to make more than 10 trips through Altadena each day.

County engineers had wanted to start this little dig at the Dam last month. They hope to finish before the rainy season.