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Santa Clarita Valley Signal, March 24, 2010

Creek to be restored
By Natalie Everett

The city will soon restore a creek off Bouquet Canyon Road that local environmentalists say will prove that natural creeks work.

The Santa Clarita City Council will approved purchasing three acres next to Central Park for a creek restoration project, as stipulated by a settlement agreement reached in 2001 between environmental groups, the city and Newhall Land.

The 3.6 acres, east of Bouquet Canyon Road and south of Central Park, would cost $27,000.

Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment President Lynne Plambeck said she was glad the purchase was nearing completion after nearly a decade.

Most creeks in the Santa Clarita Valley are concrete lined for flood control; Bouquet Canyon Creek is not.

“It’s really the only place left in the city area that’s not concrete,” Plambeck said. “This was an opportunity to ... use it as a demonstration area.”

The settlement agreement stemmed back to a an auto dealership project in Valencia Auto Center that Newhall Land Development Inc., then Newhall Land & Farming Company, was working on. Plambeck’s organization and the Center for Biological Diversity chose to sue Newhall Land and the City of Santa Clarita because they said the dealership, now Mercedes-Benz of Valencia, was too close to the Santa Clara River and was on top of the a flood plain.

The lawsuit was settled in 2002, and one stipulation was that the city undertake the Bouquet Canyon Creek Restoration Project.

The project, including developing and implementing a plan to restore the creek would cost $140,000. It would be mostly be paid for through a grant from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

If the council approves the purchase, there will be a number of public hearings so the public can weigh in, said Travis Lange, the city’s environmental services manager.

© 2010 The Signal

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton