June 9, 2005
The L.A. River winds through
the center of the city.
Image Courtesy Los Angeles Ad Hoc River Committee
On May 23 the Los Angeles City Councils
Ad Hoc River Committee, which was formed in 2002 to focus
on the revitalization of the river, announced the selection
of a team to devise a masterplan for the Los Angeles River.
The team, lead by Pasadena-based Tetra Tech, Inc. a management
consulting and technical services provider, will receive $2.5
million to help transform the River from a concrete flood
control canal to a vital natural resource for the city.
Since the 1930s, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers channeled
80 percent of the river to provide flood protection, the Los
Angeles River has been underutilized. As the worlds
largest storm drain it nearly disappeared from public
consciousness until the 1980s when Friends of the Los Angeles
River (FOLAR), a non-profit organization with a vision of
restoring the river began to draw attention to its potential
as an environmental, cultural, and economic resource. Other
non-profit organizations, as well as local, state, and federal
government agencies have since joined FoLAR. By forming the
Ad Hoc River Committee, the City of Los Angeles has brought
a new, widely supported focus to the restoration effort.
The plan will focus on 30 of the 51 miles of river that winds
through the center of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, passing
urban development, industrial zones, and railroad yards. The
Tetra Tech team will address issues like enhancing the environment,
improving water quality, and managing storm water run-off;
re-zoning to encourage riverside commercial and residential
development; and developing landscaping and habitat designs
for parks and recreation areas.
Los Angeles will follow a number of other U.S. cities that
have transformed their mistreated waterways to valuable resources.
Among several notable models are the San Antonio Riverwalk
and Denvers South Platte River, which was once a dumping
ground for industrial waste, but is now a major source for