Written by Jules Lazarus, Stand Against Prejudice Marlborough Branch Leader
The Ecosystem Restoration project involves restoring 11 miles of the Los Angeles River from approximately Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management. The proposed budget would be funded through federal and non-federal finances, which would allow for the plan to be achieved.
According to the California Coastal Conservancy, close to 100 percent of the original wetlands and 90 to 95 percent of in-stream riparian habitat within the Los Angeles River watershed have been lost, a consequence of urbanization and the channelization of rivers and creeks. These areas are increasingly stressed by exotic species, hydrologic modifications, dumping of trash and debris, and encroaching development. Riparian habitat is also often impaired by degraded water quality (for example, increases in water temperature, the quantities of sediment and nutrients, and pesticides and heavy metals), and elimination or reduction of adjacent "buffer habitat." Restoring and reconnecting both riparian and upland habitats, and recreating wetland areas where feasible, would contribute a great deal to the restoration of a functional ecosystem along the River.
The Ecosystem Restoration project includes the creation and reestablishment of historic riparian strands and freshwater marsh habitat to support increased populations of wildlife and enhance habitat connectivity within the study area, 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. Restoration includes the reintroduction of ecological and physical processes, such as a more natural hydrologic and hydraulic regime that reconnects the river to historic floodplains and tributaries, reduced flow velocities, increased infiltration, improved natural sediment processes, and improved water quality.
Source: Rebstock, Jan Green. “The Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study.” LA River Ecosystem Restoration | Los Angeles River Revitalization, The City of Los Angeles, 13 May 2021, lariver.org/blog/la-river-ecosystem-restoration.