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
Daily Breeze Photo Gallery
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.
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
"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
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
"You won't see the summertime die-off of fish and birds caused by nutrient loads," Morton said.
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
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.
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 www.lacity.org/DPW/dpwhome.htm.
Information: www.lapropo.org; 213-978-0333; firstname.lastname@example.org.