LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An early-season rain storm scuttled plans Thursday for Mayor Eric Garcetti kayak down the Los Angeles River with the nation’s top environmental official.
Garcetti was scheduled to kayak a portion of the river with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to highlight revitalization efforts before showers and strong gusty winds pounded the Southland overnight.
The group had planned to traverse the river near Marsh Park, a three-acre park adjacent to the nine-mile section of the 51-mile L.A. River known as the Glendale Narrows, but a ranger deemed the water conditions unsafe due to the rain.
Garcetti and McCarthy instead took a 45-minute walking tour during which they discussed river restoration and revitalization efforts, mayoral spokeswoman Vicki Curry said. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, whose district includes the L.A. River, also joined in the tour.
McCarthy posted a photo on Twitter showing the trio walking along a bike path near the Glendale Narrows portion of the L.A. River, one of the river’s few remaining sections that still has a natural “soft bottom” after most of the waterway was covered in concrete and turned into a storm water channel to guard against flooding.
Garcetti has been aggressively pursuing Alternative 20, a proposal which would transform the L.A. River from a concrete channel into a space for nature and recreation, creating miles of open space within the urban L.A. landscape, according to O’Farrell.
“We’re taking every opportunity that we can to help make that case that this is the best way to go,” O’Farrell said.
Last month, Garcetti traveled to D.C. to advocate for Alternative 20 – which is considered by the mayor to be the “most robust” option among the proposals from the Army Corps of Engineers to revitalize the River – and to seek funding from Washington for the city’s critical infrastructure projects.
In 2010, the EPA designated the River a “Traditional Navigable Water” under the Clean Water Act that ensured more protection for those who use the river for boating, fishing and other recreational opportunities.
Over 8,000 Angelenos have signed Garcetti’s online petition in support of Alternative 20, which was submitted this week to the Army Corps of Engineers, according to the mayor’s office.