July 29, 2014

Breaking Ground at L.A. River Headwaters

 

Beginning with a ground-breaking ceremony on Sept. 19, construction of the LA River Headwaters Project was set to proceed on a five-acre greenway project spanning a combined 2.5 miles of riverfront along the iconic Headwaters of the Los Angeles River.

Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Public Works Director Gail Farber and members of LA County Public Works, and Gerardo Palos, President of the Canoga Park Neighborhood Council, met near the bridge at Canoga Avenue and Bassett Street in Canoga Park, to mark the official start of the project.

The Headwaters, formed by the confluence of Bell Creek and Arroyo Calabasas, is the official starting point of the 51-mile Los Angeles River that winds through 14 cities and countless neighborhoods on its way to San Pedro Harbor in Long Beach.

When the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a flood-control project in the late 1930s, they began the process of paving 80 percent of the River, creating the world’s largest storm drain.

The $8.4 million project will replace the concrete-lined flood-control channel that it became and restore the waterway to its natural habitat. The restoration plan includes recreational trails along both sides of the river; rain gardens landscaped with native and drought-tolerant plants; rest area amenities and interpretive display panels.

The site will bring much needed open space and habitat to the park-poor community of Canoga Park, capturing storm water and filtering urban runoff with vegetation to protect downstream water quality.

The Friends of the Los Angeles River and UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic drafted the bill, SB1201, that will make it easier for the public to access the LA River for educational and recreational purposes.

State Senator Kevin de Leon introduced the bill on February 22, 2012, and Governor Brown signed it on August 28. The bill will take effect January 1, 2013.