Mother & Father Nature are not dumb

Did you know?

Shortly after I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993, one of the weekly tabloids ran an exposé on rivers in San Diego and Los Angeles counties. It noted that San Diego was in the process of “Los Angelesizing” its rivers. “Los Angelesizing” means that the river bed was being cleaned of soil and vegetation, and being replaced with concrete. At one point every river in the city of Los Angeles, and many in Los Angeles County, had been Los Angelesized. Here is a picture of one concrete river that I took in Los Angeles County on April 13, 2014.

Los Angeles concrete river

The theory was that soil and vegetation caused the water to slow down and build up, thus being more likely to cause flooding. We thought we knew more than Mother & Father Nature did. Turns out that Mother & Father Nature are quite smart.

When the water flows more slowly, it has a better chance of being soaked up by the soil and the vegetation. When there is nothing to slow it down, it speeds right along until it hits an obstruction, like a curve in the river, or bridge abutments, and that’s where the water piles up and floods. With more water continuing to rush in, the flooding gets worse.

Now that we know the purpose of soil and vegetation, concrete is being removed from the channels, returning them to being rivers full of soil and vegetation, returning them to their formerly natural beauty.

A few days ago I was up in Los Angeles County and saw the Santa Ana River being returned to Mother & Father Nature. In the first two pictures you can see the concrete river bed.

Concrete river bed

Concrete river bed

You can see that the concrete at the right actually was removed. That’s because there is a bridge downstream about 500 feet, so instead of just letting the concrete deteriorate and silt over, they actually removed it, allowing the vegetation to come back more quickly and the soil to absorb the water, slowing it down. Here’s the downstream bridge:

Bridge over the Santa Ana River

Notice the silt and vegetation. If you have ever stuck a branch into a flowing stream, you might remember how the water rushed around the branch. Same thing when flowing water hits a bridge abutment, so you want to slow down the water as much as possible. Soil and vegetation do that.

Unfortunately, many decades ago people didn’t seem to understand that concept, so in some places where they needed to slow down the water, they put in mini-abutments, as in this picture:

Concrete river bed

That might have worked if they had staggered the mini-abutments. Instead, they lined them up perfectly and spaced the rows out evenly so that the water increased in speed each time it rushed around another min-abutment. Mother & Father Nature are not dumb.

I’m not sure when they decided to let this river return to its natural state but I’d sure like to visit it in 50 years to see how Mother & Father Nature have progressed. If I make it another 50 years to age 111, somehow I suspect that I won’t be out & about with my camera…..

Santa Ana River returning to nature

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Mother & Father Nature are not dumb

  1. philipfontana

    Russel Ray, Long lost Phil here from excuseusforliving.com I really enjoyed in word & photos your explanation & critique of “Los Angelesizing” rivers!!! I visited LA once in 1990 or so for a principals’ convention & was puzzled by what I called “cement aqueducts” that seemed like rivers. I thought they were created as “catch basins” to harness water! Thank you for your great post here. May you be doing well! I still do one post every other month. Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I have another post coming up soon about the California Aqueduct, which really is a cement aqueduct and is always full of water traveling from the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Central and Southern California, most notably Los Angeles and San Diego.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      During the 8 months I was driving for Uber and Amazon, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, I came close to not doing any posts at all. Just didn’t have time. Now that things are a little better, I’m back to regularly visiting my blogging friends and blogging myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. philipfontana

        Russel, I read with interest of your Uber & Amazon interlude. From time to time I threaten to stop my “Excuse Us…” & do something “real” like adjunct college instructor in education, history, or poli sci, or go for a doctorate. Much credit to you for trying something……Maybe that’s the secret……to do other things & return to our websites when we can. So appreciate this exchange. Be well! Phil

        Like

        Reply
        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          I have really been into photography since 2007, and my driving for Uber and Amazon was a way to go to places that I otherwise would never have gone to, either because I didn’t know about them, didn’t know how to find out about something that I didn’t know about, or simply didn’t want to visit “that part of town.” I wanted to find San Diego’s nooks and crannies. It worked. I have a huge list of places I went with Uber and Amazon that I want to go back to and take pictures. Right now I’m getting a lot of the railroad locations out of the way because I’m in the process of writing a book, too: “TIMELINE of Railroads in San Diego County.”

          Like

          Reply

Let your words flow

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s