LA County Unveils Final LA River Master Plan – Daily News
Los Angeles County unveiled its latest Los Angeles River Master Plan on Tuesday (May 17), which the County Board of Supervisors will consider for adoption on June 14.
The plan aims to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and create equitable access to parks. Among its specific objectives are:
— Creation of 51 miles of connected open spaces along the entire river;
— Build support facilities along the river;
— Completion of the LA River Trail to create a continuous path along the entire river;
— Creation of welcoming access points to the river and the LA River Trail;
— Increase safe transport routes to the river;
— increase habitat and ecosystem function along the river corridor and use it as a living laboratory;
— increase the biodiversity of plant species with an emphasis on plants native to California; and
— create a connected network of habitat patches and corridors to support wildlife.
“The LA River Master Plan outlines critical investments on all 51 miles of the river and supports our riverside communities,” said supervisor Hilda Solis. “Once passed, this plan will ensure that every LA County resident has equal access to the river while improving our local water supply and expanding parks and open spaces, trails, and more.”
The plan unveiled Tuesday is an update of the original master plan, which was drafted in 1996 with flood reduction and beautification goals. In 2016, Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl initiated a motion to update the plan with a focus on the county’s societal needs. The process included community engagement through a 41-member steering committee, more than a dozen public community meetings, and 15 events coordinated with 10 community organizations.
“The LA River is an incredible natural resource, but it was never designed to meet the recreational and environmental needs of our riverside communities or the county as a whole,” Kuehl said. “This final version of the LA River Master Plan updates the potential of the river by laying out a thoughtful and comprehensive roadmap that creates a 51-mile artery of sustainable and healthy habitats for plants, animals and humans. .”
The LA River begins at Canoga Park where Bell Creek and Arroyo Calabasas converge, and flows through the city of Los Angeles and more than a dozen other cities before emptying into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach. More than half of the river is in the San Fernando Valley, although its tendrils reach across the entire region.
The plan update, overseen by LA County Public Works, aims to ensure better river access and ecosystem support, while seeking to support COVID-19 recovery, alleviate water shortages housing and address concerns about housing affordability.
The plan – which has raised concerns about accelerating gentrification along the river – calls for an increase in affordable housing within a mile of the river and seeks to develop ways to identify areas to risk of displacement in order to prioritize these projects. The county’s Affordable Housing Coordinating Committee would also advise on housing stabilization strategies along the river.
“We explored areas of social, cultural and ecological disparity, including homelessness, gentrification, open public spaces, public health, and community and environmental inequalities in infrastructure,” said the director of public works. of the county, Mark Pestrella, who is also the chief engineer for the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. “The result is a plan that recognizes the river as a complex ‘system of systems’ in which people, places and the environment are encouraged to co-exist, mingle and thrive.
Renowned architect Frank Gehry and landscape architect Laurie Olin are among those involved in the process and have supported a team that the county says prioritizes maintaining the diversity of the communities that live along the river. .
“The LA River has seen several big transformations over the years,” Gehry said. “It has been a privilege to work with public officials and organizations to imagine a more equitable future for the people who live along the river by using it to help address the environmental and socio-economic inequalities that seem to be running the course. from the river. .”
In January 2021, a revised draft of the updated master plan was released – the first update in 25 years and the only plan encompassing all 51 miles of the river. Once a final plan is adopted by the board of supervisors, it will serve as a toolkit for potential projects along the river and improve funding opportunities to get projects off the ground, according to the county.
“The LA River Master Plan prioritizes public investments in historically underserved communities and serves as a guide for projects that promote park access, community and ecological health, and resilience to climate change,” said said Jessica Henson, partner at the landscape architecture firm. OLIN, which works with the county.
People can learn more about the plan at LARiverMasterPlan.org.