Sepulveda Dam

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Sepulveda Dam
Sepulvedadam.jpg
Sepulveda Dam is located in San Fernando Valley
Sepulveda Dam
Location in the San Fernando Valley
Country United States
Location San Fernando Valley, California
Coordinates 34°10′02″N 118°28′24″W / 34.1671°N 118.4732°W / 34.1671; -118.4732Coordinates: 34°10′02″N 118°28′24″W / 34.1671°N 118.4732°W / 34.1671; -118.4732
Purpose Flood control
Status Operational
Construction began 1940
Opening date 1941
Construction cost $6,650,561[1]
Owner(s) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dam and spillways
Impounds Los Angeles River
Height (thalweg) 57 feet (17 m)
Length 2.93 miles (4.72 km)
Elevation at crest 725 feet (221 m)
Width (crest) 30 feet (9.1 m)
Spillway type Concrete ogee
Reservoir
Total capacity 17,300 acre·ft (21,300,000 m3)
Website
Corps Lakes Gateway - Sepulveda Dam

The Sepulveda Dam is a project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed to withhold winter flood waters along the Los Angeles River. Completed in 1941, at a cost of $6,650,561, it is located south of center in the San Fernando Valley, approximately eight miles east of the river's source in the western end of the Valley, in Los Angeles, California.[1]

Sepulveda Dam, along with Hansen Dam located in the north San Fernando Valley, was constructed in response to the historic 1938 floods which killed 144 people. Sepulveda Dam was placed at what was at the time, the current edge of the city. East of the dam the river was crowded into a narrow bottom by the city's growth. One legacy of Sepulveda Dam is its flood control basin, a large and undeveloped area in the center of the Valley, used mostly for wildlife refuge and recreation. But another legacy of the 1938 Los Angeles River flood was the post-WWII channelization of all the Valley's dry washes, which along with the post-WWII rapid suburbanization left the Valley with hot, dry, concrete-lined river bottoms instead of greenbelts. Although now, in part, these are being devolved as interconnecting bike paths.[2]

Behind the dam, the Sepulveda Basin is home to several large recreation areas including Woodley Park, a model aircraft field, The Japanese Garden, a wildlife refuge,[3] a water reclamation plant, and an armory. The Basin is kept free of urban over-building so that water can build up there during a prospective hundred-year flood.

It is an often-used location for car commercials.

History[edit]

Looking upstream in the outlet channel. Form work has been stripped from the outlet control tower and service bridge and one of the outlet control slide gate frames is being lowered into position for installation.

When the 1914 flood caused $10 million in damages to the developing basin areas, a public outcry began for action to address the recurring flooding problems. During the following year, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District was formed. Some of the early flood control efforts included smaller areas of channelization and the planning for needed reservoirs. Taxpayers approved bond issues in 1917 and 1924 to build the first major dams. However, they were not willing to provide enough funding for the much needed and substantial infrastructure downstream of these dams. After two more destructive floods in the 1930s, most notably the 1938 flood, federal assistance was requested. The Army Corps of Engineers took a lead role in channelizing the river and constructing several dams which would create flood control basins behind them. Channelization began in 1938, and by 1960, the project was completed to form the present fifty-one mile engineered waterway. Included in this work were Hansen Dam, completed in 1940 and followed by Sepulveda Dam in 1941.[4]

For 28 years the Sepulveda Dam did its job without incident until 1969 when the Los Angeles River overflowed its banks causing millions of dollars in damage.[citation needed] In 1988 the Los Angeles River's banks were raised to avoid another incident.[citation needed] In 1994 a hundred-year flood occurred in the Los Angeles River.[citation needed] The dam was restored and went without incident for another 11 years until the Los Angeles River again overflowed its banks in 2005.[citation needed]

Woodley Park group picnic area.

Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area[edit]

The 2,000-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area is a flood control basin managed by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks.[5][6]

Woodley Park[edit]

Woodley Park is a large city park located on Woodley Avenue between Victory and Burbank Boulevards. The Leo Magnus Cricket Complex, a dog park, and group picnic areas are within the park.

The Japanese Garden is a 6.5 acres (2.6 ha) public Japanese garden located on the grounds of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant adjacent to Woodley Park.[7]

Lake Balboa Park.

Lake Balboa Park[edit]

Lake Balboa Park, also known as Anthony C. Beilenson Park, is a 80 acres (32 ha) park and water recreation facility with boat rentals and fishing. Lake Balboa is a 27 acres (11 ha) lake filled with water reclaimed from the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant.[8][9] It also has barbecue pits, children's play area, picnic tables, and covered picnic pavilions.[8] There are many Flowering cherry trees (Prunus serrulata 'Pink Cloud') in the park.[10]

Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve[edit]

The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is at the southeast end of the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin and Recreation Area.[11] It has two sections, the North Reserve and South Reserve, located north and south of Burbank Boulevard.[12][13] Both have nature paths and hiking trails.[11][14] Access and parking are in eastern Woodley Park near to the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, or from Burbank Boulevard east of Woodley Avenue.[14]

Haskell Creek flows through the nature preserve, and there are several wildlife ponds.[11] Over 200 species of birds have been seen in the basin.[15] Many, attracted by the water, gather here during fall and spring migrations.[11] The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is an ongoing habitat restoration project, with locally native California plants.[16] Native trees include Fremont's cottonwood (Populus fremontii), Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia ), Valley oak, California Black Walnut (Juglans californica), and California sycamore (Platanus racemosa).[16]

Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area Bike Path.
Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone.

Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area Bike Path[edit]

The Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area Bike Path is a 9 miles (14 km) bicyle path route looping around the recreation area.[17] It runs from Victory Boulevard near Interstate 405, westward to White Oak Avenue, south on White Oak to Burbank Boulevard, east on Burbank to Woodley Boulevard, and north on Woodley returning to Victory Boulevard.[17] Public access is continuous along it.

A shorter route heads south on Balboa Boulevard, which crosses a natural stretch of the Los Angeles River that lined with native Arroyo willows, California sycamores, and other California native plants.[17]

The loop sections along Victory and Burbank can be frequented by joggers. The bike path can seasonally have burr-bearing weeds, which may cause flats in less durable tires.

There is ample free parking available in the public park, sports field, &/or golf course lots on Burbank, Woodley and Balboa Boulevards.[17]

Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone[edit]

The Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone extends from above Balboa Blvd to the confluence of Haskell Creek below Burbank Blvd. It is open for recreational non-motorized boating during the summer, with restricted access to some protected wildlife areas along the banks.[18]

Cherry blossoms, Lake Balboa Park.

Other facilities[edit]

Other recreation facilities within the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area include:[6]

Filming location[edit]

Due to its mid-century modern look and proximity to Hollywood, California and Burbank, the dam is a popular filming location for movies, television and advertisements:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sepulveda Dam Basin Master Plan and Environmental Assessment" (PDF). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  2. ^ "The LA River and the Corps: A brief history". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  3. ^ "Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve". City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  4. ^ "History of the Los Anegeles River". Los Angeles Department of Public Works. 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  5. ^ LAMountains.com: Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area
  6. ^ a b City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks: Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area
  7. ^ The Japanese Garden website . accessed 28 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b City of Los Angeles Parks Department: Lake Balboa Park (Anthony C. Beilenson Park)
  9. ^ Map of Lake Balboa Park
  10. ^ Wikimedia galley: Cherry trees and blossoms at Lake Balboa Park
  11. ^ a b c d SepulvedaBasinWildlife.org: Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve website
  12. ^ North Reserve, Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  13. ^ South Reserve, Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  14. ^ a b Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve Trails Map
  15. ^ Wildlife of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  16. ^ a b Flora of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  17. ^ a b c d L.A. Bike Paths.com: Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area Bike Path
  18. ^ "Corps opens recreational boating program at Sepulveda". US Army Corp of Engineers. 2014-05-23. Archived from the original on 2014-05-24. 
  19. ^ City of Los Angeles Parks Department: Balboa Sports Complex
  20. ^ Los Angeles Magazine: "Along Burbank Boulevard in Encino is a place called the Hjelte Sports Center. What’s a Hjelte, and how do you say it?", by Chris Nichols , 20 June 2011.
  21. ^ City of Los Angeles Parks Department: Sepulveda Garden Center
  22. ^ City of Los Angeles Parks Department: Sherman Oaks Castle Park
  23. ^ Flying SoCal.com: Apollo XI Field at the Sepulveda Basin

External links[edit]