The federal agency that oversees the L.A. River today recommended a $453 million plan to restore nearly 600 acres of wildlife habitat – much of that located between Griffith Park and Lincoln Heights – as the best option to restore a waterway encased in a concrete flood control channel. The recommendation, contained in a long-awaited preliminary report, is certain to disappoint many river advocates who had been in support of more ambitious and costly restoration efforts.
But the Army Corps of Engineers recommended Alternative 13, one of four plans under consideration, as the preferred way “to restore the river’s ecosystem while preserving the flood protection,” said District Commander Col. Kim Colloton in a press release. Colloton went on to say:
“Hundreds of ideas were explored, and the best of these were combined to come up with the final array of alternatives in the draft report,” she said. “After evaluating each alternative, number 13 was selected as the National Ecosystem Restoration Plan that most reasonably maximizes net restoration benefits.”
At $453 million, Alternative 13 was the second, least-expensive option being considered, with the price tag for each proposal ranging from about $375 million to more than $1 billion. The Army Corp’s recommended plan would have a significant impact in Taylor Yard section of the river near Cypress Park and Elysian Valley, where the river channel would be widened by more than 300 feet “with significant restoration of the floodplain and freshwater marsh,” according to a summary. Other elements of Alternative 13 include:
- Major tributary restoration on the east side of the river near the Arroyo Seco
- Creation and restoration of riparian corridors and marshes on both sides of the channel near Griffith Park
- Restoration of riparian habitat and historic wash at the Piggyback Yards in Lincoln Heights
The preliminary report will now be subject to a 45-day comment period before a final report is completed and a recommendation is sent to to Congress.