Hope Comes in Yellow and Green

I decided to do Griffith Park for my Sunday morning hike today. It’s been a while – I’ve mostly been doing Runyon. I thought it would be nice to see how things were doing up there since I last went and saw them dramatically spraying the hydromulch to protect the ground from erosion until regrowth from the fire damage (see here and here). The (very) occasional rain we’ve had in the last couple of months seem to have begun something wonderful – there are hints of green everywhere. I saw this beautiful photograph at one point – which sort of says it all – only to find that my camera (which seems to be on its last legs these last few days) had died again. So I had to take it with my camera phone, and so it is a bit below par:

griffith park hope

I think this is wonderful (blurriness aside) – it has the striking image of the burned tree and brush as the frame, the beautiful clear day of blue sky in the background, along with the snow-capped mountains in the distance. There’s the scorched ground everywhere, now covered in the yellowed hydromulch in the distance beyond the tree’s ridge perch. But there are patches of fresh green grass appearing at points in the distance, and in the foreground there’s the yellow and green of wild flowers. (Click for larger view.)

It’s going to be a long time coming, but the life will return to this part of the Park. It’s so uplifting to see the signs so soon. (So very many trees have been burnt and several more cut down though. It’s going to be a very long time before the tree cover comes back.)

Another wonderful photo that I could not take properly, showing the contrast between one edge of the burn area (blackened tree stump) and the nearby Griffith Observatory, with the city in the background. Phone version’s a bit of a mess. I shall have to return with a working camera:

griffith park hope

(Click for larger view.) Just for your information, below left is a closeup of the hydromulch on the ground (you can see the original weird green colour where it has been turned over to show it has not been sun-bleached to yellow). I was looking at it at points on the way up, and it seems to be doing a good job of holding the ground together (which is why it was put there) – I could see how the water from the last two days’ rain flowed. Below right is a tree from the burn covered in the hydromulch – and behind (along with the distant San Gabriel mountains) are the charred remains of the lovely oasis Dante’s View. It’ll recover, I’m sure. (Click for larger view.)

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-cvj

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5 Responses to Hope Comes in Yellow and Green

  1. spyder says:

    It’ll recover, I’m sure. Albeit minus half or more of the diversity of species. Hydromulch is great for humans (all that silt runoff really ruins those property values, though it used to be great for building beaches), not so for the indigenous native ecosystem (at least not yet, maybe that will change?).

  2. Great photos, considering the camera.

    Spyder: what is the story with hydromulch?

    –IP

  3. Clifford says:

    You may be right, Spyder, but without some means of stopping the erosion in the short term, I think nothing benefits. Native, or non-native, if the topsoil is running down into the streets and drains, the plants lose. After the intense rain of the rainy season (if we get any), I imagine that there’ll be a fighting chance for things to grow…. presumably a lot of natives as well, as the hydromulch cover will not remain perfect. Who knows, maybe there are also plans afoot to do some specific planting of various species…. I’ve not attended any of the meetings to find out.

    Best,

    -cvj

  4. I thought hydromulch just stopped topsoil from eroding? How does it affect native/non-native plant competition?

    –IP

  5. spyder says:

    I thought hydromulch just stopped topsoil from eroding? How does it affect native/non-native plant competition?

    Because it introduces a variety of materials and non-native seeds to these specific mediterranean-chapparal ecosystem. Among these materials are fibers from flax, sugar cane, recycled paper (keep in mind most inks are in fact toxic pollutants), oat hay, grasses from Africa and South America, and so forth.

    Prior to the massive development of Southern California landscapes, the seasonal fires (natural occurring ones due to lightning, etc.) burned off layers of grasses and smaller shrubs. The tremendous variety of species in the region were merely inconvenienced (moving to another canyon or on the other side of the ridges temporarily) during the fires. As the next rainy season returned verdant diverse growth returned. The issue of erosion wasn’t relevant (and indeed necessary to supply materials and nutrients to the various riparian and shoreline ecosystems and bio-habitats), nor did the indigenous human populations suffer either.

    Today that is all different. The Santa Monica Mountains are filled with human habitation, dependent upon fire suppression as the only means necessary to maintain their expensive properties. Species diversity is rendered meaningless in the face of property values, even the efforts that momentarily returned some spawning steelhead into a couple of coastal creeks have been dropped as the toxins and residues from flood control and sewers makes it way downstream into the ocean. Sadly, it is a losing cause, much like the Gorillas in Africa, the Polar Bears on Hudson Bay, and the Orangutans in Borneo; all to disappear within what is left of my lifetime so that some humans can maintain their lifestyles to which they have grown accustomed.