In a few years when a planned overhaul of Echo Park Lake is completed, the neighborhood playground and landmark will feature some major changes above and below the water line. Hidden from public view, an underwater dam will bisect the lake and a new system of pipes and filters will keep the water circulating. But on the surface, some large sections of the lake, including the channel surrounding the island, will be turned into a reedy wetland to help filter and clean the water.
The proposed changes are part of an estimated $84 million rehabilitation – funded by Prop. 0 - of the lake. Engineers and consultants working for the city’s Department of Public Works presented an update last week about the highlights of the rehab, which are noted on the image above (click to enlarge). The most visible change would be the creation of wetlands along edges of the lake (the areas noted by the horizontal lines). City staff said there would still be plenty of open water for paddle boats to navigate the lake and to accommodate the annual Dragon Boat Races (which are on hiatus after the Lotus Festival was canceled). But what those wetlands will look like, or even what kind of plants will be used, still has not been decided. Residents who attended the meeting seemed supportive of the Echo Park Lake wetlands but didn’t want them to get out of hand.
“They got to keep the water clean,” said Echo Park resident and landscape architect Pete Lassen. But, “we don’t the whole thing looking like an overgrown swamp.”