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    Setting Brushfires of Freedom by Don Jans

    Commentary | Southern California Rivers

    By Dan Reynolds

    California’s residents have had 100 years to clean up their mess. But the water system is heavily polluted as well as water systems in 99% of other states.

    My Grandfather said that in the Los Angeles Basin, San Gabriel Valley and Orange County up until 1938, there were areas with citrus groves and forests that were home to bears, mountain lions and deer. All the wildlife that had access to the rivers and streams fed off them thus their droppings and left over meal pieces helped provide a robust plant life of many species.

    There were millions, and several species of frogs in and around Southern California. Also, millions and several species of butterflies and other beneficial insects that protected the plants from harmful insects.

    The migrant farmworkers back then, called hobos or vagabonds, were known to carry either wick candles in lanterns or fireflies to work the farms at night. As a kid I had pictures of those hobos and vagabonds holding lanterns. And there are rumors there are still fireflies in various parts of Southern California.

    The Steelhead Trout, Sturgeon, Spotted Sea Trout, Alosa, Bass, River Shrimp and species of Salmon were the fish that swam in the Los Angeles River, San Gabriel River and the Santa Ana River in Orange County that I knew about. There were rivers that fed into Santa Monica Bay and all the other ocean bays in and around Southern California – including Ventura County and Santa Barbara.

    My Grandfather told me he used to catch those fish prior to repeated floods and then the great flood in 1938 that caused the cementing of many rivers in Southern California. The damning projects and cementing of rivers eliminated all those species from the rivers except for the Steelhead Trout.

    Now, the Los Angeles River empties into Pacific Ocean in San Pedro Bay, the San Gabriel River empties into Pacific Ocean between Long Beach and Seal Beach, and the Santa Ana River empties into Pacific Ocean between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. 

    Yet, these rivers are not thriving. They are a small trickle of what they once were.

    A search of a California Government site detailed the existence of the following: Page 11 of 41, Appendix K, Steelhead [Southern California DPS] (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus)…Runs have declined from 55,000 fish in historical time to fewer than 500 fish now, and the DPS (Distinct Population Segment) has been extirpated from more than half of the 46 watersheds that historically supported Steelhead runs (National Marine Fisheries Service, 2008f). Link:

    Today, other than the Steelhead, Mosquito fish and Tilapia are most common, as well as huge carp (a 10 pounder caught in 2020), fathead minnow and green sunfish. The small fish include Santa Ana Sucker – less than 6 inches in length, Arroyo Chub – a minnow, and Santa Ana Speckled Dace – same family as minnow. Link:


    According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “more than 80% of California’s native freshwater fishes are in decline, an indication of the degrading quality and quantity of freshwater habitats throughout the state. Thirty-three of its freshwater fish species are formally listed as threatened or endangered, and seven native fish species have gone extinct.” Link:


    I have been unable to find evidence of any fish that migrate up any of the Rivers in Southern California anymore.

    People make excuses, use delusional reasoning to destroy the balance of the ecosystem. The preconceived notion of their illogical arguments is that somehow the earth will magically re-balance the ecosystem – in a million years. 

    Until then, at what point does the human race die when the ecosystem stops functioning?

    This current situation is a real problem and it needs to be addressed. Capitalism and the mining community as well as developers say: “Well Nature will have to relocate or go extinct”.

    But, Nature has no place to relocate to and going extinct will eliminate the operation of the biosphere.

    The problem with Capitalism and the developers: They kill Nature and in return Nature kills the biosphere.

    So who’s responsible for the death of all living things? 1) Capitalism. 2) Developers not ensuring that water ways continue to run. 3) Miners who pollute for greed and do not put in safety measures for proper clean ups of the land they pollute.

    There was an argument I had some years ago about the right to keep fishing in the San Gabriel River and the argument was enlightening to the reasoning behind shutting down the ability for fish to migrate in the local rivers.

    The argument: If a person has the ability to fish they will do one of three things: 1) They will not participate in the Grocery Store supply chain economy. 2) They will over-fish and the fish population will collapse. 3) They will have no need to work. — “So, what’s the big deal?”

    The big deal is understanding the biosphere and how the rivers and oceans are inherently connected — especially the farmland that is rich in nutrient soil. That is the big deal. You see, when the rivers overflowed before Los Angeles became a city…there was very heavy, rich nutrient soil from all the fish that died and the plant life that died. The ground in Los Angeles County was very fertile which is why during early 1910’s to as late as 1970’s there were farms, orchards and ranches.

    When we build homes on farmland and shut off the rivers migration to oceans we lose nutrient bearing soil. But the chemical industry says they can use chemicals to recreate the nutrient rich soil or farmers can go to other countries to farm – both of which are fallacies. Lies.

    Several cities in Southern California have been built on farmable soil that is 40-60ft deep in Nutrient Rich Soils! But the developers, home-builders and Housing so-called Crisis Managers don’t care. They only see the profits and not the necessity for a secure food bearing system that provides real nutrients to the body and not a chemicalized fashion industry version of plant life for the Grocery stores.

    It costs more in water to use chemicals and chemicals have adverse side affects on the human body as well as pets, other animals and insects. There are studies out there showing this to be true time and time again. That is why Monsanto and other GMO oriented companies and non-GMO organizations have been top issues over the years.

    I know there are people working on solutions. But we cannot continue to sterilize our way out of Nature’s world without losing who we are as a people or as human beings. I’ve seen people jump when they see a mouse. I’ve had to suffer hearing a woman scream for her life when she saw a mouse, or a rat, or a snake for the first time. I’ve rarely seen a woman or a man for that matter, that know how to fish or understand how the water ways of the planet work.

    A healthy human is one who learns about the environment they grow up in not just in a human environment but in Nature. If the human race was meant to be sterile than it would be a machine from birth. But its not and those who treat Nature as the enemy are in truth the ones who hate humans in reality.

    Which is why against the laws of our Government and other Governments there are people creating machines that look like humans.

    What? The movie the Terminator did nothing to deter the stupidity of our programmers and artificial intelligence engineers?

    If you want to see the fish migrate again then you need to reach out to your state assembly elected officials, your State Senate elected officials, and USA State Senators as well as House of Representatives to make river migration a mandate to return to California. And, take the time to educate those who hate the idea as to why Natures migration i

    There are pollutants that violate federal standards, including: ammonia, metals, trash, algae, oil, pesticides, insecticides in our rivers. Link:

    https://earth5r.org/earth5r-approach-pollution-los-angeles-river/ ;

    Also, sections of the Los Angeles River have been cleaned up to where you can now fish, kayak and walk trails in specified places on certain days. For a list of sites:

    Search: Hiking, fishing and kayaking on L.A. River CA.

    As if the above pollutants weren’t bad enough, now the Los Angeles River has a very big problem with fecal matter attributed to the homeless. However, there have been plans made for revitalization along most if not the whole length of the River. This site sounds ugly but you will see a lot of pictures of plans to clean up, restore and make the L.A. River into a real river again. It has been known for years that fish help create and sustain our ecosystem. With these restoration plans perhaps fish will once again become an important part of our damaged Los Angeles River. Link:


    It is important that we learn about Nature and how it works and why humans are still “animals” too. Can we truly be a spirit in a body whose only purpose is to keep killing our planet and all forms of life in the name of “science, greed, selfishness, mining, ego, developing, and fearing that which is different”?

    Or can we as a human being and child of this earth truly be a spirit of the planet that gave us life and the ability to be different?

    I truly hope for more from our human species as does the planet itself.

    Please: Get involved and help be part of the solution by being what God and this planet intended all of us to be.

    More Links below.

    Los Angles River Links:

    In the summer, when it doesn’t rain in Los Angeles, the river doesn’t run dry. Instead, it’s fed by wastewater discharged from three wastewater treatment plants in L.A., Burbank and Glendale. This water is typically cleaner than water that flows into the river from city streets and storm drains. Link:



    ACOE City of Los Angeles Sept 2013 Public Presentation Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Study

    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

    Dan Reynolds is a resident of Ventura County

    Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

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