“The River Study is moving. For the first time, it made it to the President’s budget,” Carol Armstrong said to a group of about 100 participants at the River Update event, held this evening at the L.A. River School.
Armstrong, the point person for the city’s many river projects, went on to explain how Councilmember Ed Reyes, Nancy Steele of the Council for Watershed Health, Lewis MacAdams of Friends of the Los Angeles River and others went to Washington to talk to legislators about the important of funding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study. The study is key to virtually all future plans to restore the river to a more natural state. Begun in 2006 with the city as the local partner, it looks at the 10-mile stretch of soft bottom that stretches from Glendale Narrows, plus Headworks Reservoir in Burbank, through downtown to First Street. This area, part of which is across from Griffith Park, is the most popular with fly fishers looking to hook carp. Besides having a soft bottom – as opposed to concrete – it contains what the Corps calls “ecological value” and has the most water in it year around.
Although only $100,000 will come from the 2013 federal budget, the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power contributed $1 million, as did the leadership of the Army Corps, committing $350,000. When completed in 2013, the study will have cost almost $10 million.
In 1995, political restoration activities began with the county, which led to the City Council’s approval of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan in May, 2007, created with $3 million from the Department of Water and Power’s deep coffers. The plan contains many items, including revitalizing the river, greening adjacent neighborhoods and creating value through economic opportunities
As Josephine Axt, the Army Corps lead planner told the audience, don’t expect any real result until June, 2013. Still, the funding was good news for river advocates.
See you on the river, Jim Burns