It may look ok to the casual observer, but four-acre Baldwin Lake at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia is polluted and filling up with "years of accumulated urban runoff," reports the Pasadena Star-News. Over the years, its increasingly gross waters have provided the setting for films and TV productions including Tarzan, Fantasy Island, and, appropriately, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but today it is "a shrinking, rotting shell" and regional officials and members of the LA County Department of Recreation and Parks have had enough. They're banding together in the hopes of transforming the lake into something that doesn't look like it would spawn a weird B-movie monster.
The manmade lake's been taking on runoff since at least 1880, but that didn't become a problem until the 1950s, when major developments north of the Arboretum began to add significantly to the amount of silt and dirt (plus more toxic stuff, like tar and oil) entering the water. The once 12-foot-deep lake is now just about two and a half feet deep, according to the Arboretum's CEO.
Officials have together formed a "task force" that's now working on finding solutions to the pollution problem. One path to restoration of the lake's now-endangered ecosystem could be the addition of filtration elements nearby, perhaps in the form of bioswales at Tule Pond, another body of water in the Arboretum. The Arboretum's CEO would like to see the very old man-made shoreline—built by its namesake Lucky Baldwin, a Nineteenth Century land developer—completely repaired. It's not clear if there's a timeline for these improvements or even a budget for repairs.
Its creepy, murky lake aside, the Arboretum continues to be a popular destination. Last year, it set a new attendance record will an annual total of 336,000 visitors.
· L.A. County, Lucky Baldwin's relatives push for restoration of Baldwin Lake at arboretum in Arcadia [PSN]