LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District is working on a toe repair project along the Los Angeles River near Glendale.
The purpose of the project, which is located along the left side of the Los Angeles River – between Glendale and Los Angeles – is to repair toe maintenance roads that have eroded since they were built in 1939.
Lt. Col. Malia Pearson, Operations and Maintenance Division program manager for the Corps’ Los Angeles District, toured the area – known as the district’s LA River Reach 2A project – May 4 to view its progress.
“The Operations and Maintenance Division is committed to continuing the repairs and maintenance of the Los Angeles River to ensure the safety of the people of Los Angeles,” Pearson said. “This project is also important to our maintenance workers, as this toe road is their access into the river.”
The toe roads are normally underwater. The river is diverted during this phase of the project from the left bank to the right to enable the project.
Pearson said the Corps is working to complete as much of the toe road maintenance as possible and as funding is provided.
The contract for the project was awarded in 2019 and is estimated to be completed by mid-June. Estimated completion for the right embankment is by late August.
The Corps preservation of wildlife is always a priority on its job sites. Birds nesting in the LA River include mallards, blue-winged teals, osprey and assorted raptors.
“We did a nesting survey to make sure there were no nesting birds,” said Trevor Snyder, project manager with the Corps LA District’s Operation Division. “Once we gave the all clear, we were able to begin this operation.”
The Corps’ lead biologist for the project, Jon Rishi, monitors the site a few times per week to ensure no nesting birds with eggs are in the construction zone.
“A lot of waterfowl nest here. We surveyed this whole area preconstruction just to make sure we got in here before the birds started nesting,” Rishi said, adding he also surveyed a wider area.
In additional to the work being completed on the toe roads, a number of routine maintenance activities occur within the Corps-maintained LA River Flood Control Channel, as well as additional localized projects in portions of the channel. Routine maintenance activities include the removal of trash, debris and graffiti from the channel.
Each year, the Corps removes about 160 cubic yards of trash and debris from a more-than-22-mile area of the LA River. The Corps also removes sediment buildup on concrete portions of the channel to release shoaling and allow the water to freely flow through the system, as well as removes vegetation growing through cracks and joints in the concrete portions of the channel to maintain the channel’s structural integrity.
“We want to ensure the integrity of the infrastructure for the people of Los Angeles for a long future,” Pearson said.
The Corps maintains the LA River Reach 2A portion of the river and more than 50 miles of channels and levees within the Los Angeles, Rio Hondo and San Gabriel rivers, and Compton and Ballona creeks.
CORPS’ HISTORY WITH THE LA RIVER
Flood events that occurred between 1914 and 1934 were some of the most economically devastating floods the Los Angeles area historically experienced. These flood events prompted the federal government to allocate funds in the Flood Control Act of 1936 to assist Los Angeles County in developing and expanding flood control infrastructure, including channelizing 52 miles of the LA River.
Construction of the channel occurred between 1936 and 1959. The flood control channel is owned by Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles and private landowners. In 1940, the Corps entered into an agreement with Los Angeles County to operate and maintain the portion of the channel, from Lankershim Boulevard to Stuart and Grey Road, which equates to 22.5 miles of the LA River channel.