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Posted 11/9/2016

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By Michiko Riley

Los Angeles – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District held a public workshop on Nov. 7 at the Friendship Auditorium to discuss the Corps’ flood risk management activities, safety, non-native vegetation removal, river access and other topics relevant to the Los Angeles River within the area referred to as “Glendale Narrow.”  The Corps hosted several workstations where the public could ask questions and receive information from subject matter experts.

“The purpose of public workshops are to engage in open dialogue to inform the public of the actions that the Corps is undertaking surrounding the LA River and to provide the context and rationale behind those activities,” said Lillian Doherty, chief of Operations and Maintenance.  “The public desires to have a more integral role in the future of the Los Angeles River and these workshops provide an opportunity to gather feedback and input on the public's perspective.”

Unlike other projects that the Corps' Los Angeles District operates and maintains, the LAR is a feature of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area Project, a flood risk management project and is located in an urban environment. 

According to Doherty, open discussions pertaining to the LAR is important to both the Corps and residents.

“The workshops ensure that the Corps is communicating its needs and plans to the public to share information and be available to be responsive to their questions.”

In addition to the Corps workstations, partners from the LA Police Department, Friends of the LAR, and City of Los Angeles Engineering Division and Department of Transportation, were also on hand to answer questions regarding the LAR.  Nearly 100 community leaders, residents and business owners attended the event.

Among the issues addressed were temporary closures of the Corps’ maintenance access road along the LAR.  The LA City’s Dept. of Transportation operates and maintains the road for public use when not in service by the Corps.   The Corps recently closed the access road to conduct non-native vegetation growth removal in the channel to improve LAR capacity.

USACE LA Deputy District Commander, Maj. Scotty Autin, addressed this issues and the way forward.

“Although the Corps works closely with the City’s Department of Transportation to inform the public of maintenance access road closures, we recognize there was a communication breakdown that created a hardship on users.  We’ve already identified areas that need improvement and we will continue evaluating our public notification processes to mitigate future communication issues.” 

On Aug. 1, the Corps hosted a public meeting to discuss operations and maintenance activities along the LAR.  During that meeting, attendees expressed an interest in hosting future public events, and last Monday’s public workshop was a result of that.

“We thank all the residents and partners that took time out of their busy afternoons to participate in the workshops. We take the comments and concerns of our stakeholders seriously,” said Phil Serpa, program manager for the operations branch. “The overall feedback from the event was positive.  Residents want to know more about flood zone mapping, access road closures and our efforts to remain good environmental stewards.  We want to hear from the public and continue to provide opportunities to communicate with them directly." 

For additional information about the LAR, visit www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Operations/

Comments and questions can also be directed to AMoperations.Branch@usace.army.mil

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