Stormwater Engineering Projects

Picture of Big Tujunga Wash Mitigation Area

ANNOUNCEMENTS

MAINTENANCE ACTIVITIES SCHEDULED THROUGH DECEMBER 2021

Please be aware that maintenance activities will be conducted throughout the Big Tujunga Wash Mitigation Area (Mitigation Area) through December 2021. Work crews will be present on site to conduct invasive plant removal (using mechanical removal methods such as hand-pulling, digging, and weed-whacking), trails clearing and care, and monthly invasive wildlife maintenance to protect native habitat that supports sensitive, threatened, and endangered species on site.

While working, crews will be practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings when in close proximity to others per LA County Health Officer's advice on Covid-19 precautions. Vegetation trimming and removal will continue as necessary in the southern portions of the Mitigation Area to improve public safety and reduce the probability of loss of adjacent structures from potential fires.

Crews will also respond, as needed, to any trail issues that may arise. Crews generally will work between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. No work will be conducted on the weekends. This work is being performed by Chambers Group, an environmental consulting firm, under supervision of Los Angeles County Public Works (Public Works).

Please be aware that planned maintenance activities at the Tujunga Ponds may involve the use of small (non-mechanized) boats, fishing nets, rods and reels and other equipment that is not authorized for public use within the Mitigation Area. This equipment is authorized by Public Works to help facilitate specific maintenance tasks. Crews will also conduct invasive wildlife maintenance within Haines Canyon Creek. If you are uncertain whether observed activities in the Creek or Ponds are authorized maintenance, please contact Public Works. No fishing, swimming, wading, damming of the Creek or other disturbances are permitted in the Mitigation Area.

Trapping of the parasitic brown-headed cowbird will be conducted between April and end of June. During this period, you may see the brown-headed cowbird traps onsite. Please, do not approach or tamper with the traps. The traps are serviced daily to provide fresh food and water to any birds inside, and to perform maintenance on the traps, as needed. Brown-headed cowbird trapping is critical to help protect sensitive songbird species such as the least Bell’s vireo.

Least Bell’s vireos, a state- and federally-listed endangered species, were observed nesting in the Mitigation Area in 2020; this is the first time least Bell’s vireos have been documented onsite since the inception of the Mitigation Area. Please help protect the least Bell’s vireo and other sensitive species by staying on authorized trails and keeping companion animals leashed so that they do not wander into habitat areas where birds may be nesting.

There are bilingual Chambers Group biologists onsite during peak-use weekends this summer. Onsite biologists are happy to provide educational information and answer questions about the Mitigation Area while maintaining appropriate social distance and wearing masks. The onsite biologists value user ideas, concerns, and feedback and would love to hear from you!

Please be watchful when riding horses or hiking in the vicinity where maintenance crews are working. Crews will be cautious when equestrian riders or hikers are nearby, but it is best to avoid active work areas whenever possible. If you do come upon a crew, please call out to them if they do not see you so they can stop their equipment and allow you to pass by safely.

The 15th Annual Trails Cleanup Day is tentatively planned to occur in October.

The Community Action Committee (CAC) meeting is tentatively planned for the end of July 2021 and is anticipated to be held virtually. Further details will be posted and distributed when available.

Experts at Chambers Group monitor all maintenance activities to ensure that sensitive biological resources are not negatively impacted during maintenance activities. If you have any questions regarding planned maintenance activities, please contact Public Works at BTWMA@dpw.lacounty.gov

PROJECT SUMMARY

The Big Tujunga Wash Mitigation Area was purchased by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in 1998 to compensate for habitat loss from other projects. The site encompasses approximately 210 acres of land located in the City of Los Angeles-Sunland area.

For nearly two decades the Mitigation Area's native alluvial scrub, cottonwood-willow riparian, and oak-sycamore woodland plant communities accommodated miles of winding equestrian and hiking trails and provided suitable or potential habitat for a number of endangered, threatened, and sensitive plant and wildlife species including Davidson's bushmallow, Plummer's mariposa lily, slender-horned spineflower, San Diego horned lizard, black-crowned night heron, great blue heron, Cooper's hawk, loggerhead shrike, southwestern willow flycatcher, least Bell's vireo, and Santa Ana sucker.

In December of 2017, the Creek Fire burned through the Mitigation Area, leaving these plant communities severely fire-damaged or destroyed. While goals for the Mitigation Area ultimately remain the same, the plans to reach those goals were revised in 2018, shifting from a highly maintenance-based approach to one of restoration and maintenance.

The Creek Fire, while devastating to the Mitigation Area, has provided a wealth of opportunity to reestablish trails and restore habitat function that is essential for sensitive wildlife species to thrive. During the Mitigation Area's recovery process, implementation efforts will focus heavily on invasive plant and wildlife removal in order to support the return of native habitat and wildlife to the Mitigation Area.

Big Tujunga Wash Mitigation Area


RESOURCES

CONTACTS

For more information on the project or to report minor incident, please contact BTWMA@dpw.lacounty.gov or phone the LA County Sheriff at (800) 834-0064.

Updated on: 06/23/2021