Wetland clarification


A little clarification is needed to better understand the setting of “The Wetland Wars” (HCN, 5/11/15). The Los Angeles River did not flow continuously through the Ballona Wetlands previous to the calamitous flood of 1825. A flood that had occurred 10 years earlier caused the river to shift westward, away from the hundreds of square miles of tules into which it had previously flown. Such shifting back and forth occurred repeatedly over the millennia, extending back to the end of the last ice age (as well as between ice ages).

There were no wetlands anywhere along what is now the Southern California coast during times when ice covered large portions of the continent. That was simply due to the sea level being hundreds of feet lower. The wetlands were then left high and dry. However, if ever there comes a repeat of the inordinate flood of spring 1825 through the Los Angeles Valley (the eastern flank of downtown Los Angeles), there will be mountains of debris and thousands of bodies floating in the Pacific Ocean. The lowlands of the Los Angeles Basin will have become one of the foremost disasters in the nation’s history. The river could shift anywhere gravity and physics allow.

John Crandell
Sacramento, California

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