Army Corp Of Engineers Release Plans To Restore LA River Habitat

LOS ANGELES ( — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released four different proposals Friday to restore the natural habitat of the Los Angeles River.

KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronikas reports the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Report will focus on alternatives for the purpose of restoring 11 miles of the river from approximately Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management.

Some of the recommendations include plans to create and enhance wildlife populations and habitat connectivity within the region, as well as to provide opportunities for connectivity to ecological zones, such as the Santa Monica Mountains, Verdugo Hills, Elysian Hills, and San Gabriel Mountains.

The L.A River – which runs over 50 miles long from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach – was paved and turned into a storm water channel over the last half-century to prevent flooding.

But the concrete barriers used in the waterway eventually destroyed much of the natural habitat for birds, amphibians and other wildlife immediately surrounding the river, including sites like Taylor Yard and the Verdugo Wash.

Each of the plans – which are part of a larger urban waterway revitalization program launched under President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative – are expected to involve reconfiguring sites along the waterway, re-introducing layers of natural habitat over existing concrete barriers.

The report’s authors are expected to recommend one of the four options to federal officials.

“They all have different levels of remediation benefits that can be applied to the river, it just depends on how extensive,” said Kristen Skopeck with the Army Corp of Engineers. “The banks will be kind of designed differently in certain areas so that there’s more vegetation.”

The Los Angeles City Council last month approved a resolution backing the most comprehensive plan, which would cover the most sites at an estimated cost of around $1 billion.

Click here to read the full report.

The public can begin submitting comments to

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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