LOS ANGELES (CNS) — For Earth Day Friday, the nonprofits Friends of the LA River and LA Waterkeeper will clean up the river and bring attention to its recent designation as one of the country’s most endangered rivers.
The river conservation organization American Rivers announced America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2022, with the Los Angeles River ranking No. 9.
“The designation of the LA River as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers is an acknowledgement that the stakes couldn’t be higher. We must seize this chance to create green spaces and permeable surfaces so that the LA River is a public resource as we adapt to climate change,” said Marissa Christiansen, president and CEO of Friends of the Los Angeles River.
At 2 p.m. Friday, Friends of the LA River, LA Waterkeeper and volunteers will meet at Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park and remove trash from the river for Earth Day and have a news conference to speak about its designation as a Most Endangered River. The organizations will also speak about how the river can be protected and revitalized.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to provide creative solutions to improve the river and the communities that surround it. The LA River is at a turning point, and the decisions we make today are critical,” said Los Angeles Waterkeeper Bruce Reznik. “We can either pursue a path towards climate resilience through river restoration, or we can doom the river to a future as a polluted flood control channel. We must invest in nature-based solutions today — more concrete is not the answer.”
The federal Infrastructure law, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Nov. 15, included $28 million for the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project, which aims to restore 11 miles of the river, from Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, including the creation and re-establishment of freshwater marsh habitat to support wildlife.
Much of the 51-mile-long Los Angeles River functions as a storm channel, but the plan would accommodate recreational and natural uses of the river while maintaining the city’s existing flood risk management levels.
The project is expected to restore hundreds of acres of land for several plant and animal species and create access to natural areas and trails for disadvantaged communities. The city also estimates the project will create 14,200 construction jobs and 2,670 permanent jobs.
The project was proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and adopted by the city in 2016.