LA makes investment in its river

River plans are all the rage now. The LA City council just approved one for the LA River, so why not have one for poor little Dominguez Channel?

Check the Friends of the LA River web site.

See the actual plan http://www.lariverrmp.org/

My emphasis in italics.

City Council approves plan to revitalize the L.A. River
By Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writer
2:41 PM PDT, May 9, 2007

Embracing an ambitious and expensive vision, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved 12-0 a long-awaited blueprint for revitalizing the much-maligned Los Angeles River.

The plan -- which itself cost $3 million -- calls for spending as much as $2 billion over the next half century on more than 200 projects along the 31 miles of riverbed within Los Angeles' city limits.

It took five years to frame the details, but the roots of the proposed river restoration go back to a fledgling group of environmentalists who in the late 1980s began insisting that the river could be much more than a concrete-lined flood control channel.

"This is a great step," said Lewis MacAdams, founder of the activist group Friends of the Los Angeles River. "One of our first slogans was when the steelhead trout returns to the Los Angeles River, then our work is done, and to see an acknowledgment of steelhead in the plan -- well, I like that."

Echoing that thought was an ebullient councilman, Ed Reyes, who represents parts of northeast Los Angeles and is chairman of the council's river committee.

"This is now a real mandate that declares the river is a real river and we're going to give it life and support the way it supported us when Los Angeles was first started," Reyes said.

Among the proposed projects are dozens of new parks and pedestrian walkways and bridges. The plan also calls for some river-adjacent areas to be rezoned to allow for more housing to be built near the waterway and its parks.

At its most extreme, the plan proposes knocking down one of the concrete walls that contains the river to expand the channel and make it look more natural. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying that prospect.

"It's incredibly visionary and I think they've set the bar high," said Nancy Steele, executive director of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council. "The key is going to be implementation."

Steele said that both the city and region have a rich history of putting together plans for rivers and then never following through. She noted that the river plan doesn't include upstream tributaries.

Hitting on that point, Councilman Richard Alarcon voted for the plan but threatened to withhold support unless studies are conducted to include parks along tributaries in his district. "In the Valley" the river "goes through all the rich communities," Alarcon said.

Alarcon represents the northeast San Fernando Valley, which is bisected by the Tujunga Wash.

The council also committed to begin creating a three-tiered management structure to oversee the restoration plan's implementation.

A joint powers authority between the city and county would manage projects within the river channel, a nonprofit appointed by elected officials would manage and construct parks along the river, and a philanthropic organization would help raise private funds.

Other thorny issues remain: finding money for projects -- state and federal help will likely be required -- and improving water quality. The city is in the early stages of a federally ordered cleanup of several pollutants in the waterway, including trash, bacteria and heavy metals.

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