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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reggie's home to get much needed clean-up

From the Daily Breeze on 4/26/10:

Cleanup of Machado Lake planned 
By Donna Littlejohn

The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering is proposing to rehabilitate the Wilmington Drain and Machado Lake located adjacent to and within Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park. A snowy egret leaves its perch on a containment boom which keep debris from further flowing down the Wilmington Drain under PCH in Harbor City. (Sean Hiller/Staff Photographer) 
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Driving by Harbor City's 231-acre regional park, Machado Lake looks to be a serene and picturesque oasis. But close up, the reality is harsh. For years the lake, which holds runoff storm water from the area, has collected everything from pesticides to swarms of mosquitoes and piles of trash. What once was a pristine spot for bird watchers has deteriorated through the decades. The park now draws homeless encampments and has become a haven for lewd activity.

As Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon Society member Martin Byhower put it back in 2003: "That park is a microcosm for everything that can go wrong in a regional park." Next year, work begins to address those long-standing ills. The entire project - formally titled the Wilmington Drain Multi-use and Machado Lake Ecosystem Rehabilitation Project - is expected to be finished by mid-2013. Work on the Wilmington Drain that feeds into the lake begins in the summer of 2011 and is expected to take 1 1/2 years. Work on Machado Lake begins in the fall of 2011 and will take 2 1/2 years. Funding comes from the 2004 passage of Proposition O, a statewide measure to clean urban runoff and improve water quality.

The $117 million cleanup of Machado Lake and the Wilmington Drain will include a series of steps, from installing trash nets and circulatory equipment to dredging the bottom of the lake. Floating islands will be created for nesting areas to support native habitat. Benches and other park amenities also will be added to the 231-acre Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park that surrounds the body of water. Expanded recreational uses - possibly a "catch-and-release" fishery for example - will be decided upon later by the city's Recreation and Parks Department. "There are four goals: water quality improvements, recreational enhancements, wildlife habitat improvements and flood control," said Michelle Vargas, public information officer for the city of Los Angeles. "Clearly this will be a major improvement over what we've seen in decades of neglect," said Jess Morton, also of the Audubon Society. Nets and other filters will be installed to keep the lake and drain connections cleaner, Vargas said. The water level also will be maintained at 8 feet to ensure more oxygen to support the fish and other wildlife. "You won't see the summertime die-off of fish and birds caused by nutrient loads," Morton said. Algae, pesticides and pollutants such as metals from area industry are likely to be found in the sediment at the bottom of the lake once dredging begins in 2011.

Once known by locals as "the slough," the area was owned by the Dominguez family in the 1700s and American Indians remained prevalent around the lake. The property later went to the Sepulveda family. It was annexed in 1906 to the city of Los Angeles and eventually was designated as a regional park. In the 1990s, the park was named for Ken Malloy, a San Pedro environmentalist who died in 1991 at the age of 78. Malloy came upon the undeveloped area in the 1930s when his car bumped into some cows grazing on the property and spent years nurturing it. Convinced it could someday become a grand regional park, Malloy later formed the 62-acre Machado Youth Campground within the park. He was instrumental in planting hundreds of trees in the park as well, working with the California Conservation Corps. Public meetings about the project have been held and comments are still being solicited for the draft environmental report and will remain open until May 3.

Machado Lake: What's next? What: Comments on the draft EIR can be made through May 3. The document is available at the Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Library, 24000 S. Western Ave.; Wilmington Library, 1300 N. Avalon Blvd.; and at the office of Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, 638 S. Beacon St., Suite 552, San Pedro; and online at  Information:; 213-978-0333;