Representatives of the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers met with city leaders and area residents for a 20-minute slide presentation which detailed an improvement study proposal for an 11-mile stretch along the Los Angeles River.
The Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study consists of eight reaches from Pollywog Park , south to Piggyback Yard. In other words, from Griffith Park to downtown. The study took ten years and cost almost $10 million to complete. The goal is to restore the ecosystem along this stretch of the L.A. River.
As Josephine R. Axt, Chief of the Corps' Planning Division told the audience, the plan aims to "restore the riparian and fresh water marsh habitat ecosystems, increase habitat connectivity, and to provide passive recreation." She also said that the 11-miles stretch of the river was chosen for this study because half of it is still soft bottom and the rest is concrete.
And according to a FAQ handout that evening, this portion of the L.A. River was determined to have the least constraints and the highest potential for ecological restoration.
Axt also told the audience that the Corps has tentatively approved Plan Alternative 13, which they feel accomplishes the most for the least amount of money at $453 million. "That is why we are here tonight to get your input."
But Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti , City Council member of District 13 Mitch O'Farrell, and the more than 50 residents who lined up at the microphone before the Corps panel unanimously supported Alternative 20 as the plan to follow-- even for the price of $1.08 billion. The proposal is touted to reconnect the ecosystem back to a very urban area.
Along the 11-mile river stretch, Alternative 20 seeks to restore riparian areas, widen the river by 300 feet in some places, remove concrete to naturalize the riverbed, build terraces in designated areas, and build side channels to divert the water around parts of the river path.
According to the FAQ handout, the Federal government will appropriate funds, according to its priorities, for its share of the ecosystem restoration costs, the City of Los Angeles will pay its share of the total project costs, project lands, easement relocations, disposal sites, and rights of way. The city and Federal government will split the recreation costs 50/50.
"I'm overwhelmed with emotion to be here," Mayor Garcetti said. "I want to thank the Army Corps of Engineers for letting a Navy guy speak. Let us not be pennywise and pound foolish.We look forward to partnering with the Federal government for Alternative 20."
Councilman Mitch O'Farrell also said: "Alternative 20 is the way to go . We're in this for the long haul. The 11 miles of the L.A. River will bring quality of life enhancements, and will bring Los Angeles into the world class status it deserves.
Those who lined up at the microphone to address the Corps panel also favored Alternative 20. They included members of the Sierra Club, Friends of Griffith Park, Headstart, and even Dr. Richard D. Schneider--mayor of South Pasadena. Steven Appleton, an Elysian Valley resident and artist told the audience: "We have to see this as a human habitat as well as an ecological habitat."
Canada Goose picture by: Paul Winfield Ehrlich www.ehrlichimages.com
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