Flowing forward

Rally looks to demonstrate grassroots support for alternative of LA River restoration

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 9/26/2013

The Los Angeles River will soon be getting a makeover, according to a study released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week. The group is looking at five alternatives to restore 11 miles of the river from Griffith Park to downtown LA while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management, including a “no action” option.   

In response to the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report for the LA River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study, Tim Brick of the Arroyo Seco Foundation announced a “River Rally” to demonstrate and mobilize support for Alternative 20, which he says will result in the most expansive ecosystem restoration. The rally will be held at noon Saturday at the LA State Historic Park.

Along with the Verdugo Wash Confluence, Taylor Yard, Cornfields LA State Historic Park and Piggyback Yard, Alternative 20 would also include more restoration measures than any of the other alternatives to the Arroyo Seco Confluence, where the LA River meets the Arroyo Seco.
“It is crucial at this time to gather together the supporters of Los Angeles River restoration to demonstrate grassroots support for the best alternative that can be achieved,” said Brick, who organized the rally.

Along with the Arroyo Seco Foundation, the rally will include a litany of community groups and political leaders such as LAUSD board member Bennett Keyser, LA city councilman Gilbert Cedillo, LA River Revitalization Corporation, Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative, North East Trees, Anahuak Youth Soccer, Environment Now, Save LA River Open Space and Urban Rivers Institute.

“The Army Corps LA River Study is a tremendous step in the right direction and the Corps deserves to be lauded for its detailed analysis,” said Meredith McKenzie of the Urban River Institute. “Nonetheless, the study does not go far enough. True long-term restoration of the LA River cannot be achieved without the inclusion of both the Arroyo Seco and Verdugo Wash confluences as well as the Cornfields Historic State Park. The only plan that addresses complete restoration along the LA River corridor is Alternative 20.”

According to the study, restoration measures considered include “creation and reestablishment of historic riparian strand and freshwater marsh habitat to support increased populations of wildlife and enhance habitat connectivity; to provide opportunities for connectivity to ecological zones, such as the Santa Monica Mountains, Verdugo Hills, Elysian Hills and San Gabriel Mountains; the reintroduction of ecological and physical processes, such as a more natural hydrologic and hydraulic regime that reconnects the river to historic floodplains and tributaries; reduced flow velocities; increased infiltration; improved natural sediment processes; and improved water quality. The study also evaluates opportunities for passive recreation that is compatible with the restored environment.”

A formal public comment period for the study began Friday and will be open until Nov. 5. Submit your comments to comments.lariverstudy@usace.army.mil.