La Cañada Unified School District

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Devil's Gate Dam Sediment Removal Information

Audio from Devil's Gate Project Community Meeting
Important Devil's Gate Project Information
Email: [email protected]
Hotline: (626) 458-2507
In efforts to keep the community involved in the upcoming project, this page will compile communication and resources. 
The first item below is the overview of the project from the Public Works Department. 
Here is the project website where you can subscribe to updates about the project:
If you have specific questions for school district staff, please submit them to: [email protected]
Below you will find Update #1, then answered questions from the first update, and below that, Update #2 (March 22nd)
NEW: Materials from Community Update on April 30th are now posted below

Devil's Gate Dam Sediment Removal Project - Update #1

Dear LCUSD Community, surrounding schools, and neighbors,

This message is the first of a planned series of updates to keep you all apprised of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ plan to address sediment removal from the Devil’s Gate Dam, and the steps that our district is taking to monitor and mitigate possible public health and environmental (air) conditions at La Canada High School.

As you are likely aware, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a project to address the removal of sediment from behind the Devil’s Gate Dam, sediment that has accumulated over the course of 10 years due to flooding following the Station Fire. The plan can be reviewed here: The school district acknowledges that this is a necessary project to protect the functional integrity of the Arroyo Seco flood control system.

County engineers plan to remove an estimated 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment behind the dam to ensure its proper and complete operation. Sediment will be hauled by diesel trucks through our community, passing alongside La Canada High School. The diesel trucks will travel north on Oak Grove Avenue, make a left turn onto Berkshire Place, then head west or eastbound on the 210 Freeway. The sediment removal will involve an estimated 425 truck trips per day, or 50 truck trips per hour, which will pass along this route. The start date for this phase of the project is April 15, 2019.

The Board of Education and district leadership, along with an active parent group, have been focused on this project due to concerns regarding air quality, noise, traffic congestion, and student, staff and community health risks.

A committee, including myself, board members, staff and parent leaders, and professional experts, has been meeting to develop our response to this project. Outlined below are key actions that we have taken to date. I will continue to provide regular updates to the community through email, and will post detailed information to our website. If you have questions, please send them to [email protected] Questions will be addressed in a Q-and-A that will be linked to future updates and posted to our website.

While the school district does not have the authority to halt or alter the plan that has been approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, we are committed to monitoring the environmental impacts and taking all responsible actions to protect our school community.
At this time, we are focusing our efforts on monitoring air quality and ensuring that truck emissions are monitored and regulated. We continue to meet with County Supervisor Barger, who remains accessible and open to addressing our concerns.

Monitoring Air Quality on Campus – Key Actions-To-Date
Ninyo and Moore, (an independent environmental consulting agency), has been engaged to: (a) review the County’s plan; (b) create an air quality monitoring plan; and (c) and provide expert guidance to the district on potential responses to air quality measures.
The committee members met with Ninyo and Moore on campus on Thursday, February 14, 2019. They will provide recommendations on project monitoring by mid-March.
We are now reviewing enhanced air filtration options for the campus. The recommendations were received by the district and will be shared with the committee.
I will provide updates on this project to the Board of Education at every one of its open session meetings for the next several months. As always, the public is encouraged to attend Governing Board meetings. The next two meetings are on Tuesdays, March 12 and April 16. Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and are held in the Governing Board Room (round building) at 4490 Cornishon Ave.
Again, we do not have the authority to shut down this project. We do have the authority to monitor it and, when and if necessary, the district will take action that is in the best interest of our staff and students’ health and well-being.

Sincerely yours,

Wendy Sinnette

Questions Received from Superintendent’s Update #1

  1. Q)  Why start removal in April?  They should start at the end of May or when school is out for the summer.
  2. A)  Generally, the rationale is that the April through October hauling cycle presents the optimal weather conditions to maximize efficiency with sediment removal.  I also believe the County Department of Public Works felt that hauling over summer would minimize impacts to students and staff because of summer vacation. In reality, LCHS facilities are nearly as populated in the summer as they are in the school year.
  3. Q)  I have been wondering about the degree to which you are monitoring the air quality (or negative effects to the quality) in the high school area. Do you publish the results of this monitoring and if so, could you please tell me where? I think that for the entire community and also parts of Altadena this is a very important issue. La Canada has a lot of seniors who can be as easily damaged by poor air quality as can our young students.
  4. A)  As you will see in the second Superintendent’s Update, LCUSD is waiting for our independent environmental consultants to recommend to us the type and level of air monitoring we should implement.  LCUSD has an interest in developing with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) some type of Community Safety Agreement whereby if monitoring demonstrated levels of unhealthful air quality, the Project would stop or slow until the levels returned to healthful.
  5. Q)   Many students walk south along Oak Grove and cross Berkshire.  If 50 trucks per hour try to turn left at that intersection, I am concerned about the safety of students crossing there.  Should we consider a crossing guard during this project?
  6. A)  The City of La Canada Flintridge staffs the crossing guards within our community. LCUSD will be working with the City to explore pedestrian safety options and will report on this in a future update.
  7. Q)  Should the traffic signal be modified to have a left turn signal onto Berkshire?
  8. A)  There is a recommendation from the LACDPW for a traffic light to be installed in this location.  The specific area referenced is a part of the City of Pasadena. The follow-up on this recommendation is being pursued by the Project authorities with Pasadena officials.
  9. Q)  Morning traffic exiting the 210 westbound at Berkshire regularly backs up because you cannot easily turn right onto Berkshire (to get to LCHS and JPL) because the traffic on Berkshire does not stop.  [I recently waited 8 minutes on the off ramp just waiting to turn right onto Berkshire.] The increased truck traffic will likely worsen this freeway ramp intersection. Is there a solution to improve this traffic bottleneck (ie. stop sign or traffic light)?
  10. A)  See the answer cited above.
  11. Q)  Can truck traffic be limited during school drop off and pick up times?
  12. A)  The LACDPW defines the scope and details of the Project.  They have determined the haul routes as well as the hauling hours.  The District has no authority to limit the hauling traffic during school drop off and pick up times.  Prior to 10:00 a.m. within the school year the haul routes are (entering and exiting) are both traveling via the Arroyo/Windsor off/on ramps.  After 10:00 a.m. the trucks will exit the reservoir and proceed to the Berkshire on ramp. Trucks may exit the reservoir site until 3:30 p.m. The District has identified the LCHS pick-up time (approximately 3:15 p.m.) and requested consideration for an adjustment to their 3:30 p.m. hauling finish time.
  13. Q)  The email says the truck route will be north on Oak Grove and then left onto Berkshire Place.  This seems to mean they will be traveling along the south side of the reservoir. So they will not be going directly past the school parking lot/main buildings?  They will be passing to the south end of the school, next to the playing fields? It would be useful to see a map of the anticipated truck route(s). I looked at the Public Works website and couldn’t find a map.
  14. A)  Yes, they will be passing alongside the south end of campus, next to the playing fields.  We will post on our website the hauling map provided by the LACDPW.
  15. Q)  What is going to be the hours of operation for the project?
  16. A)  The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with hauling ending daily at 3:30 p.m.

Devil’s Gate Sediment Removal Project - Superintendent’s Update #2


March 22, 2019


Dear La Canada Unified School District Community,


Our dedicated committee continues to monitor and address concerns regarding the Devil’s Gate Reservoir Restoration Project.  We wanted to provide an update on key areas of focus and activity. Note: Background information on this project can be found here on our website:


Air Quality – We are in the process of reviewing recommendations for air filtration and for air quality monitoring of emissions impacts (from the anticipated Project truck trips), fugitive dust, and other particulate matter associated with the Project.  Ninyo & Moore, the environmental science experts who have been hired by the District to assist with our work, will submit plans/options for review by the week of March 25th.  With input from the committee, the Governing Board will determine plan options which best meet our needs.  Our goal is to review and discuss our monitoring plan at the April 16, 2019 general meeting of the LCUSD Governing Board.  As always, we welcome the community’s attendance and input at these meetings. 


Organizing Public Agency Collaboration and Support – We acknowledge that the LA County Department of Public Works has deemed this project essential.  Our goal is to take responsible action to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff. We do not seek to impede the project, but rather to obtain financial assistance for ongoing costs of monitoring and air filtration on our campus. The District continues to work diligently to secure support from public agencies and officials on the Project. 


Traffic and Safety – With over 400 anticipated truck trips per day, we know there will be an impact on traffic.  A community member asked if we will consider adding crossing guards to mitigate the traffic implications and help ensure pedestrian safety.  We will be looking into many pedestrian safety options and will report on this in a future update.


Your Questions – Can be submitted to [email protected]

A Q and A is posted to the District website. Go to the Superintendent’s Update, then click on Devil’s Gate Dam Sediment Removal Project.


Progress and Updates – Per Governing Board request, we will continue to provide a project update at every general meeting of the Board of Education.  We invite you to join us at our next meeting on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the District Offices at 4490 Cornishon Ave., La Canada Flintridge.


Sincerely yours,

Wendy Sinnette

New update:
Here are the resources from the community meeting on April 30th, 2019