LOS ANGELES — Rio de Los Angeles, a state park, named for a river it has limited access to – such is the story of the LA River.
The area adjacent to the park was one of three sites featured for informational talks given by key stakeholders during the Friends of the LA River’s 23rd Annual La Gran Limpieza: The Great Los Angeles River CleanUp on April 28. In all, 4,000 volunteers spread out over 15 community sites to remove tons of debris from the river’s channel.
“We know, because millions of people live in the historic floodplain of the river, that we’re never going to be able to take out all the concrete, but we can change it,” said Dr. Carol Armstrong, Bureau of Engineering, Los Angeles River Project Office. “One of the reasons the Army Corps’ study and the city’s master plan focused on this area, in terms of concrete removal, is that you already have stuff to work with, in terms of no concrete and in terms of habitat.”
The "Army Corps" study mentioned is the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District hopes to conclude by next summer. Armstrong explained that in the 1930s, this portion of the LA River, near the Taylor Rail Yard, didn’t get a concrete bottom because of the high water table.
“The Corps’ mission is aquatic ecosystem restoration,” said Chief of Planning Division Josephine Axt. “We really feel like this is , albeit in an urban environment with a lot of constraints, [where] we can make the case here that it’s worth federal dollars to do some restoration.”
The river has also benefited from recent federal attention through America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership that named the Los Angeles River Watershed one of seven pilot locations to receive financial help because of existing programs and work in-progress.
The city marks the five year anniversary of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan May 9. To learn more about their many projects, visit http://www.lariver.org