Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kim Colloton announced that the plan to restore the Los Angeles River was unanimously approved today by the Civil Works Review Board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C.
"Today is the culmination of more than a decade of work and marks an important milestone in our efforts to restore the Los Angeles River," said Garcetti. "Because the Army Corps of Engineers has now given its official blessing, we have an opportunity to transform both the river's aquatic riparian ecosystem and our city."
"The vote today validated that the recommended plan is technically feasible, environmentally acceptable, and economically justified," said Colloton. "Our partnership with the City of Los Angeles is as strong as it was in 1898 when we were working on the breakwater for the Port of Los Angeles, and it has been providing benefits and functioning well for over 80 years. It's now time to make room for the river."
The Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration project proposes restoration measures in and along an 11-mile stretch of the river to reestablish scarce riparian strand, freshwater marsh, and aquatic habitat, while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management. Habitat connections will be reestablished at major tributaries within the river's historic floodplain, and to regional habitat zones of the Santa Monica, San Gabriel, and Verdugo mountains. The plan will restore approximately 719 acres by widening the river in key areas by terracing and restructuring channel banks to support vegetation, creating side channels and off-channel marsh, daylighting small streams, and removing invasive vegetation. Associated recreation features include trails, vista points, educational amenities, and pedestrian bridges.
Mayor Garcetti, accompanied by a project team comprised of long-standing river stakeholders from L.A., traveled to Washington to express support for the project to the Civil Works Review Board. After presentations by South Pacific Division Commander Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, Colloton, and Garcetti, the board approved the project which will now be released for state and agency review. Upon review from the agencies, Army Corps Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick will evaluate the study and forward his recommendation to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy for administrative review and transmittal to Congress, expected in early 2016. Congress must authorize the project in a Water Resources Development Act and appropriate funds in order for the Corps and the City to begin construction.
For more information on the LA River Restoration, watch this video.