Alta Live: Los Angeles’s Creek Freaks

Hidden waterways snake through the city, hosting clusters of biodiversity and providing cool solace for L.A. residents—and creek super fans.

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A creek freak is somebody who is willing to be silly about how much they love a creek,” Jessica Hall, a cofounder of the blog L.A. Creek Freak, explained to the nearly 100 people who attended Alta Live: Creek Freaks. Self-proclaimed creek freaks Hall and Jane Tsong have similar origin stories: for both bloggers, their passion for waterways started with a creek discovery close to home, revealing a whole riparian ecosystem. According to Tsong, even small creek habitats hold abundant biodiversity and serve as collection areas for water during large events. But in Los Angeles, many of these waterways have been lost to development.

Much of the conversation focused on potential restoration of Los Angeles’s once flourishing waterways, many of which have been destroyed or moved underground due to the region’s vast development. Where water once soaked into soil and flooded riverbeds, it now enters drains and heads straight to the ocean. But according to Hall, there is still hope for an L.A. criss-crossed by creeks. “We have the ability to bring streams back. It’s just a matter of having the political will to create the projects, support the projects, and take on the liabilities involved to do that,” Hall said. Working with L.A. City government proved challenging for Hall. As an environmental activist, she proposed multiple local creek restoration projects but saw only one come to fruition. “To think that water could seep into the ground, that’s like rocket science in L.A. because we are so disconnected from the landscape and natural processes here,” Tsong said. “So we really want everybody to be a creek freak. Think about the amazing city we would live in if more people were creek freaks.”

Check out these links to some of the topics Hall, Tsong, and Spotswood dove into.

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