Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Save the Natural Beauty of Devil's Lake - Hahamongna

Devil's Lake, 1922 - Now known as Hahamongna
At a soon upcoming hearing of Pasadena's City Council, the fate of the Devil's Gate Dam Reservoir, now known by the Tongva name of Hahamongna, will be discussed again with the inadvisable possibility of adding soccer fields to this wild area. Please join with us to keep Hahamongna a wild place for present and future generations to enjoy, without any incursions of civilization. Those of us who enjoy this space, along with the abundant wildlife, will thank you for your support in saving this wild, beautiful, verdant space.
We have been advised by the local water authority, Pasadena Water and Power, that the Devil's Gate Dam has been seismically upgraded and the only reason water is not being held back during the rainy season, as it was from the building of the dam in 1920 up until the Sylmar earthquake of 1971, is that the Los Angeles County Flood Control District has not given their approval. Our local officials should pursue obtaining LACFCD's approval to catch the runoff during our rainy season and replenish our groundwater more effectively.
Here is a link with historic photos of the Devil's Gate Dam and when it was being fully used, from the Arroyo Seco Foundation:
For others participating in the Great Save Hahamongna Blog Day, visit these great local blogs:


  1. Yes, Michael, they really are an inspiration. At a meeting in Altadena earlier this year hosted by PWP addressing the water shortage in Pasadena, I was informed that the Devil's Gate Dam could once again hold back a significant amount of water during the rainy season and that this could possibly be a way to have more local recharge into the aquifer. I hope that PWP will pursue the matter, as they said they would. Of course, this is a good additional argument for not building anything in the reservoir flood plain.

  2. Yes, a good argument against the fertilizers and other pollutants of soccer fields. I always enjoy your posts.

  3. It looked a bit like that a few years back. If they filled it again would that mean we'd be visiting the area in paddle boats?

  4. PA, I was thinking also wind surfing and small sailboats.

    Petrea, wouldn't it be a beautiful lake? It was called Lake Pasadena back in the day. I will have to find the reproduction of the 1920's oil painting showing the view of the Flintridge Biltmore (now Sacred Heart Academy) in Flintridge looking towards the mountains with the blue Lake Pasadena in the foreground. That painting made such an impression on me. It's on the cover of a 1920's area guide. I must look for this and will do more posts on this area, including the road on the top of the dam. Truly, we do live on the "Avenues to the Sky."

  5. These are very interesting old photos. It baffles me why so much water is allowed to run away to the sea - Hahamongna is the only sedimentation area, after that the water is wasted apart from a small section under the Colorado Street Bridge. We need the three new sedimentation basins planned for the west side, but these basins, plus the athletic pitches plus the car park and disc golf course will, I think, eat up about 18 acres of habitat, so that's a huge loss for the wildlife.

  6. Bellis, I'm looking at the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan on the City's Website:
    and I see in 1978, "the Division of Safe Operation of Dams (DSOD) imposed an operational restriction on Devil's Gate Dam and officially declared the dam seismically unsafe. These actions were taken in part due to the 1971 Sylmar earthquake."
    and in Jan. 1996, "the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) began the seismic strengthening and spillway modification to Devil's Gate Dam. This project was completed in the winter of 1998."
    So it seems we need to ask our public officials to look into retaining more Arroyo Seco stream runoff to keep water behind the dam, which it is designed and rehabilitated to do, in order to increase the replenishment of the Raymond aquifer. I will be contacting Brad Bowman, Engineering Manager at Pasadena Water and Power to ask for his help in looking into this matter, as well. Let's see if we can get the lake back for a major portion of the year!

  7. I think there's a good possibility that on Monday night the city council will consider a change to the master plan provisions related to soccer fields.

  8. Hello All,
    Please look at
    for the latest in the Devil's Gate / Hahamongna controversy. It appears all the Hahamongna Bloggers are receiving an award from the Arroyo Seco Foundation, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010, 6:30 p.m. at the Celebration Room, Kidspace Children's Museum, 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103, across from the Rose Bowl to the SE. Be there or be square! Let's party with the Tongva!