The weather was a bit cool and skies were overcast as groups of people began gathering in the Angeles National Forest. Over 290 volunteers, ranging from toddlers to seniors and all ages in between, decided to spend their day making an impact on their local forest and water supply, participating in Upper District’s Watershed Restoration.
Watershed Restoration is a cooperative partnership between Upper District and the U.S. Forest Service for the purpose of restoring and preserving the local watershed. The Azusa Canyon, situated along Highway 39 in the Angeles National Forest, is a vital part of the watershed. Water from rains and melting snow percolate into the ground, eventually making its way into the groundwater or into local reservoirs within the canyon where it is stored and then released into the spreading grounds as needed.
Elena Layugan, Conservation Coordinator for Upper District, told the attentive volunteers, “What you are doing has a direct impact on your own local forest and your own drinking water supply.” She quipped, “Love your trees!”
Trees and other vegetation have roots that help hold the soil in place. Fires, plant disease, insect infestations and human activity all take their toll on the local forest and, when trees and plants die off, it means fewer roots in the ground holding the dirt in place, which results in increased erosion. When snow begins to melt or rain falls, instead of percolating into the ground and making its way into our groundwater, the water is more likely to runoff and simply wash away more layers of soil, causing further erosion. Erosion increases siltation in the local mountain reservoirs, which reduces the water conservation and storage capacity of the reservoirs as well as the percolation capacity of streambeds and spreading grounds.
U.S. Forest Ranger Esmeralda Bracamontes showed volunteers how to plant the tree saplings, explaining, “The more care taken in planting the saplings, the better their chance for surviving natural conditions and growing into mature trees.”
Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to participate and the opportunity to earn community service hours is an incentive for many local youth to take part in the activity. The events give families an opportunity to spend time together while doing something positive and fun for the environment.
Upper District’s watershed restoration events are typically held four times a year: twice in the Fall and twice in the Spring.
People wishing to volunteer their participation, or wanting to find out more about Watershed Restoration: Please call Upper District at (626) 443-2297 or e-mail Elena@usgvmwd.org.
Watershed Restoration Events
Download Flyer & Map: Watershed Spring 2017 Volunteer Event