Devi'ls Gate Dam

Runoff from the Devil's Gate reservoir in Pasadena in 2005. Officials say sediment and debris behind the dam have compromised its capacity to prevent flooding downstream in major storms. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / January 9, 2005)

Los Angeles County flood control officials presented several options for removing built-up debris and mud from a basin above Devil's Gate Dam in northern Pasadena in a draft environmental impact report released Thursday.

The basin became choked by mud and debris after the 2009 Station fire and storms that followed. Flood control officials have warned for years that the buildup compromises the dam's ability to contain debris and floodwater in another major storm, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Officials say locations downstream from the dam along the Arroyo Seco that could be in danger of flooding include the Rose Bowl, 110 Freeway, neighborhoods in Pasadena and South Pasadena, and the northeastern Los Angeles communities of Highland Park, Hermon, Montecito Heights, Mount Washington and Cypress Park.

The county Board of Supervisors in 2011 ordered an environmental study before any significant work could begin. Neighbors had expressed concerns about the destruction of wildlife habitat that has grown in the basin, as well as disruptions to use of the area by hikers, horseback riders and joggers.

Kerjon Lee, spokesman for the county Department of Public Works, said officials in the meantime have taken smaller mitigation measures. They include removing sediment from the face of the dam to allow operation of valves and control of stormwater as it flows through.

The draft report on proposed long-term solutions looks at five alternatives that would remove 2.4 million to 4 million cubic yards of sediment. The report is available for public review through Jan. 6 online at LASedimentManagement.com/DevilsGate.

-- Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times

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