PASADENA ( —  It’s nothing that couldn’t be fixed by 400 truck trips every day for five years.

That’s what it would take to clean out the debris from behind the Devil’s Gate flood-control dam in Pasadena, which is so backed up with sediment that heavy rains could cause a big problem in half a dozen neighboring communities.

But in order to clean the backup, millions of cubic feet of earth will need to be moved out of the Arroyo Seco watershed. That has raised concerns from environmentalists and nearby homeowners.

The debris is a result of the 2009 Station fire. Since then, the Devil’s Gate area has become home to all kinds of wildlife, and as Perry Gilfoy of Pasadena noted, there isn’t enough open space in the area to support the wildlife that would be displaced.

But what about the homes and the businesses beyond the dam and the flood control channel walls if the area is flooded in a heavy rainfall?  The solution is still being debated by neighborhood groups and the county.

“If you get even just a little bit of rain and it washes all that debris down, I can see it being a huge problem downstream, especially because it’s such a downhill slope,” said Mike Tosca of Pasadena.

Areas that could see heavy flooding include Pasadena, Highland Park, Montecito Heights, Mt. Washington, Cypress Park and the 110 Freeway and Rose Bowl areas.

“With anything with nature, it’s always a balancing act,” said Jill Kasofsky of Mt. Washington. “So you just have to weigh the pros with the cons and you hope you make the best decision, because that’s all that you can do.”

The comment period on the proposed sediment removal will continue through Jan. 6.  Even if the work is approved, through, it would not start until 2015.


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