Heal The Bay: Don't clear Compton Creek

COMPTON, Calif. The annual bulldozing of vegetation and debris is under way in preparation for the rainy season. Los Angeles County crews are clearing the nearly 3-mile stretch of the Compton Creek to protect against possible flooding. But environmentalists are calling foul, saying the operation is too destructive and robs citizens of the opportunity to enjoy the natural greenery.

"Give them opportunity to come down and check it out, namely high school students and community members, to get out and get in the environment here and say, 'Hey, this is part of our community. We don't need to go to the beach, we don't need to go to the mountains, we have it in our backyard and let's learn about it,'" said James Alamillo, spokesman for environmental group /*Heal The Bay*/.

Alamillo agrees that flooding is a serious concern but says county officials need to find more environmentally friendly ways of dealing with that potential hazard.

"There are other considerations that are just maybe as important and therefore should be at the table," said Alamillo.

But L.A. county officials say that cleaning out this creek is crucial to flood-protection efforts.

A spokesman for the office of /*L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas*/ told Eyewitness News Tuesday that the county and /*Army Corps of Engineers*/ are concerned about flooding this winter.

The county has a five-year permit to bulldoze the creek, pending a review of less destructive alternatives. The state is expected to review that permit and possibly amend it in the next few months.

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