Q: Is it "La Ballona Creek" or "Ballona Creek?"
Either one is correct. According to Culver City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra, historical documents show it both ways. Our group started out using the long version, but we found it easier to have a shorter name. ("La" sometimes was confused with "LA" or "Los Angeles;" it also got awkwardly combined with "The;" "The La" is like saying "the the" or "la la!")
Q: How did Ballona Creek get its name?
No one knows for sure.
- Some say it's a misspelling of the Spanish word for "whale" ("ballena").
- Others that it refers to a place in Spain where some settlers had roots.
- Another relates it to the Spanish word for "bay."
- The name has been applied to the original Spanish land grant for the local area called Rancho La Ballona.
- The name has also been used for the wetlands, the valley, and other places.
- BCR pronounces it as if it were a Spanish word ("bah-YOH-nuh"), although there are variations on that ("ball-YOH-nuh"). . "b'LOH-nuh" also works.
Q: What is a watershed?
A watershed is the land area where water collects and drains onto a lower level property or drains into a river, ocean or other body of water. The Ballona Creek Watershed totals about 130 square miles, draining the Los Angeles basin from the Santa Monica Mountains on the north, the Harbor Freeway (110) on the east, and the Baldwin Hills on the south. The major tributaries to the Ballona Creek include Centinela Creek, Sepulveda Canyon Channel, Benedict Canyon Channel, and numerous storm drains.
Q: Who is responsible for maintaining the creek?
The agencies with the primary responsibility for channel maintenance are LA County Department of Public Works/Flood Control District and the US Army Corps of Engineers. However, City of LA, as well as Culver City and the State also are involved, as are nonprofits in support roles.
Volunteer cleanups serve as a useful way to help people be more aware of the creek and the issues and to get involved. But, while a high tonnage of trash typically is collected, it keeps coming. Much more needs to be done by everyone to reduce the trash and pollution at its source. Funding and projects and devices need to go hand in hand with effective education and outreach for all audiences (corporate, household, individual--you name it) so that we can all go about our activities in ever more sustainable ways.