08 Jan Emergency Measures Prudent as El Nino transforms the LA River
The long-awaited El Niño storms are here and have begun to deliver on their promise of overabundant rain. In the last few days, storms have caused concerns about potential flooding of neighborhoods adjacent to our urban River and its tributaries.
In response to forecasted back-to-back storms, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) is preparing temporary measures to increase flood protection along a three-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River known as the Glendale Narrows. This is the same section of the LA River that supports an abundance of wildlife and recreational opportunities such as fishing and kayaking during the summer.
Yesterday evening, Friends of Los Angeles (FoLAR) was contacted by the ACE and briefed on these measures. “We believe that these are prudent measures that will safeguard vulnerable communities from potential floods, while minimizing the impact to the River’s long term health and restoration” said FoLAR Board Chair Alejandro Ortiz after being briefed on the ACE’s plan.
According to David Van Dorpe, Deputy District Engineer of ACE’s Los Angeles District, the temporary measures may begin as early as Friday, January 15th and include:
- A total of three miles of Hesco Bastions will be used to reinforce different sections of levee walls. These will be placed on along a trails and maintenance paths and will effectively raise the height of the channel to increase flood control capacity.
- Approximately 2.5 acres of non-native and 1.2 acres of native vegetation will be removed near Riverside Drive bridge, just downstream of the Burbank Western channel confluence of the river.
- Several side drains (also known as “river-cats”) that cover structural openings in the diagonal concrete walls will be repaired to prevent storm water from eroding the earthen-side of those levees.
We have included here floodplain maps which highlight in green areas where ACE is looking to increase flood protection.
Under Regional Permit 63, the ACE is authorized to make emergency repairs to flood control infrastructure in order to prevent the potential loss of life and damage to property, a permit granted by the State Water Resources Control Board. The ACE has also been working in partnership with Mayor Garcetti and County Supervisor Hilda Solis to secure funding and County of Los Angeles staff.
We have worked tirelessly with the City, County, and ACE for decades to create a balance between flood management and habitat protection, while increasing access to the River for neighboring communities. The organization will continue to monitor the implementation of these measures and any potential new developments.