Prevent Foothill Disasters

Take Action with Neighbors to Prevent December’s “Natural” Disasters

By FormLA Staff:  The holidays present distinctive erosion related challenges for the Arroyo and Foothill communities of Los Angeles. In 2003, the area experienced property-damaging mudslides on Christmas Day, and 2009 also saw significant rainy season slides.

This year, neighbors and community members united to prevent future wildfires and mudslides, disasters often considered natural.

“Removing invasive plants and planting natives helps prevent disasters often considered beyond community control. These strategies also beautify the foothillsand support native wildlife,” explained Barbara Goto, director of operations, Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy.

cassy-kirk-rosemont-south-slope-10-16Thirty volunteers removed invasive grasses and other unwanted plants, installed coco fiber rolls to prevent erosion, and planted more than 80 specimens of several native plants. Because native plants are adapted to California’s climate and soils, they resist fire and stabilize slopes more effectively than the plants they

“It’s inspirational to see neighbors working side by side to address these issues,” noted Cassy Aoyagi, president, FormLA® Landscaping, who, alongside her husband Kirk, helped guide volunteers. “The truth is our landscaping decisions can either mitigate or exacerbate fires and slides.”

The community members completed the project in 2 days, just in time for rainy season.

“We learned a great deal in the course of this pilot project, most notably that the concept of combining beautification with fire protection is valid and valuable,” said John Howell, chief executive officer, Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy. “Its fulfilling to look back at a hillside and know in just two days and know we’ve done what we can to protect our neighbors.”

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