Crews this week are scheduled to begin removing non-native vegetation, trash and other debris from the L.A. River channel between Glendale and Elysian Valley as part of an effort to reduce the risk of flooding.
The removal of vegetation — including reeds and palms – and the installation of barriers at the top of the channel are the two main methods the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pursuing to prevent the river from overflowing its banks. The section of the river that flows past Atwater Village is more prone to flooding than other areas because of a buildup of sediment and vegetation in the river bed. That reduces the capacity of the channel to hold water and increases the prospect of the river rising above the banks when it rains.
“A team of experts in several different disciplines determined that there is a need to remove non-native vegetation and debris to reduce the risk of potential outbreak,” said Lillian Doherty, Chief of Operations for the Army Corps, in a statement. “Limited federal resources for routine maintenance has resulted in overgrowth of vegetation and sediment accumulation that increases the risk of localized flooding.”
The U.S. Army Corps provided more details of how the $1.47 million cleanup:
“An onsite biologist will identify non-native vegetation to be removed via cutting and/or managed via Environmental Protection Agency-approved foliar herbicide application treatments, as appropriate. Prior to any work occurring, the onsite biologist will identify the non-native vegetation targeted for removal.
The non-native plant cover in the project area is dominated by giant reed (Arundo donax), castor bean (Ricinus communis), and various palm tree species (Washingtonia robusta, Phoenix canariensis, etc.). These species, in addition to other identified non-native vegetation, will be specifically targeted for removal and follow-on treatment.”
As a side benefit, the cleanup will provide an opportunity for native plants to re establish themselves in the river bed, according to the Army Corps.
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