A Lake Finds a Future
Of all the recent progress at the Arboretum, nothing has brought more celebration than Los Angeles County’s commitment to the restoration of Baldwin Lake.
Seven years ago, I wrote of Baldwin Lake, the historic heart of the Arboretum, in seemingly irretrievable decline. Despite the best efforts of the Arboretum community, no public agency could be persuaded to take on this essential but dauntingly complex and expensive project.
Enter a true Arboretum hero, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Deciding to make Baldwin Lake a priority for the Fifth Supervisorial District, she recently wrote, “Baldwin Lake is such a unique part of the Arboretum, and I am happy to assist you in preserving it for the enjoyment of future visitors.”
With money allocated and engineers assigned, the project is moving forward. Recently I attended a meeting with County Department of Public Works (DPW) engineers to discuss these priorities:
- Deepen the Lake; provide circulation and aeration to restore water quality and ecosystem health.
- Cleanse urban runoff entering Baldwin Lake from the north with necessary improvements to Tule Pond.
- Stabilize and restore historic shoreline walls.
- Improve water management and conservation.
The DPW team will submit a concept report to the Board of Supervisors this July. We will review this document and provide input. A project scope, timetable and budget will follow, with a process of design and regulatory reviews leading to construction. At journey’s end, a cherished ecological, historic and educational resource will be restored.
Years ago, Arboretum volunteers carried signs that read “Save Baldwin Lake.” The Arboretum Foundation established a Baldwin Lake Task Force. Many wrote letters to public officials expressing their concern for the Lake’s future. We now look forward to an historic accomplishment made possible by the entire Arboretum community. We did it!
Richard Schulhof, CEO
The Arboretum thanks Arcadia Historical Society for its recent donation of an eye-catching “History Lives Here” marker now located on the eastern shore of Baldwin Lake. Featuring period photographs and postcards that document the Lake’s storied past, the new marker also represents a step into the future as community support builds to save this endangered historic resource. We anticipate receipt of construction and geotechnical documents in the near future as an important next step in plans to restore the Lake’s granite perimeter wall to its Lucky Baldwin (late 1880’s) period of historic significance. Photo left: Arcadia City Council member Peter Amundson and Mayor Pro Tem April Verlato at new “History Lives Here” marker. Photos by Brian Diaz.