LOS ANGELES — Prior to the start of the two-day Room for the River: Los Angeles conference, Corps Ecologist Carvel Bass conducted a tour of the Sepulveda Flood Basin May 15 for a working group of invited water experts from the U.S. and the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, Room for the River is a government design plan intended to address flood protection, as well as improve environmental conditions in the areas surrounding the nation’s rivers.
The Los Angeles conference, hosted by the City of Los Angeles, its partners, and in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Netherlands (in San Francisco), was held May 16 and 17 for the purpose of building on existing initiatives to revitalize the Los Angeles River and on the experience of the Netherlands as it pursues its Room for the River plan.
Bass described to the group how the 2100-acre Sepulveda Basin is a federally owned flood management facility, most of which is leased by the City of Los Angeles and various others for recreational and agricultural purposes. The basin is the largest open space along the river and features a variety of recreation amenities, including a wildlife management area, golf courses, sports fields, model airplane flying area, riparian corridors, and a lake. He mentioned that, from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers perspective, the existence of the basin is critically important to the hydraulic integrity of the river during rain events, at which time the Corps and Los Angeles County hydraulic managers closely coordinate water-holding and water-release data to allow for the most beneficial management of temporary peak flows in the region.
The group was also taken to an area of the basin where the Los Angeles Conservation Corps conducts a non-motorized boating program, which will enter its third season this summer. The Los Angeles District grants the license to LACC to ensure they operate a safe program that will allow for public access without damaging the sensitive habitat found in the river.
“Conferences like Room for the River: Los Angeles enable people from diverse areas and backgrounds to consider what physical, political and policy adaptations are necessary to support resilient societies in the future,” Bass said. “The information exchanged will help define priorities here in Los Angeles and in the Netherlands and help establish prerequisites for improving environmental education and local conditions.”