The LA River Officially Becomes Accessible

01.26.2015 | Blog


Governor Brown has signed SB1201, which designates our concrete waterway as a for-real river, not just a flood control channel, and requires that the County treat it as such (meaning: access!). According to the bill (pdf), it amends “the Los Angeles County Flood Control Act to include in the objects and purposes of the district to provide for public use of navigable waterways under the district’s control that are suitable for recreational and educational purposes, when these purposes are not inconsistent with the use thereof by the district for flood control and water conservation.” In 2010, the EPA officially designated the LA River as a navigable waterway (and therefore protected under the Clean Water Act)–that means it falls under a part of the California Constitution that “guarantees the public a right of access.”The bill also *reiterates the LA County Flood Control Act (this is not new, as previously implied), which gives the LA County Flood Control District some ways to raise money (bonds, borrowing from the federal government) for river improvements and the ability “to preserve, enhance, and add recreational features to its properties and … to acquire, preserve, enhance, and add recreational features to lands or interests in lands contiguous to its properties, for the protection, preservation, and use of the scenic beauty and natural environment for the properties or the lands and to collect admission or use fees for the recreational features where deemed appropriate.”

Combined with about a million other recent efforts to revitalize the river–restorations, cleanups, parks, etc.–it’s starting to feel like we made have a real Danube on our hands one of these years.

by Adrian Glick Kudler