30 Jun A Major Win for the River
We are pleased to announce the UNANIMOUS ADOPTION of the ARBOR Study Environmental Impact Report and Alternative 20 at yesterday’s Los Angeles City Council meeting. This historic decision represents 30 years of collaborative advocacy for a restored and revitalized Los Angeles River. We extend our thanks to you, the City Council, City staff, and the Army Corp of Engineers for their tireless stewardship of a healthy and revitalized Los Angeles River.
Yesterday’s adoption of the ARBOR Study Environmental Impact Report and approval of Alternative 20 as the Recommended Plan provides the greenlight for detailed budgeting and design of 11 miles of River restoration. This plan began ten years ago with the City, Army Corp of Engineers, and FoLAR (and countless other river advocates). This unanimous vote was only possible because of the passionate action and support of the River Community who made their voices heard calling for a restored Los Angeles River.
Ever since FoLAR President and Founder Lewis MacAdams took up wire cutters to create public access to the River in 1986, Friends of the Los Angeles River has been working to protect and restore the River at the heart of Los Angeles. The ARBOR Study is the foundation of this monumental restoration plan. So when the study’s completion was threatened by a lack of funding, FoLAR raised an unprecedented $1 million for the Corps to complete the study and secure the future of River Restoration.
It took the entire community from the grassroots River activists in the Elysian Valley to the Generals at Army Corps HQ in Washington DC to come this far. It’s been championed by great leaders like Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, former Councilmember Ed Reyes, Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy, our own Lewis McAdams, and so many more. We are humbled and honored to be part of this amazing and diverse coalition. Together we pushed the limits of what is possible and adopted the most ambitious urban river restoration plan in history – Alternative 20. This project is a sea change in the way the Corps works with local partners on environmental projects and will have a tremendous and widespread impact on restoration projects around the America.
While today was a major step towards a healthy and revitalized Los Angeles River, we know that many more project phases and potential challenges lie ahead. The projects Alternative 20s will now be parsed out into the individual projects of which it is comprised. Each project will need it’s own budget and design approvals. We look forward to being a consistent resource and to a continued equitable partnership with the City, Army Corps of Engineers, and the River community at large as we move towards implementation.
It is essential that FoLAR and the River Community remain engaged to keep this project moving forward and transparent. We must ensure that it honors the voices, values, and needs of the communities it impacts. This is a transformative moment for the the Los Angeles River and the perfect way for Friends of the Los Angeles River to celebrate 30 years of activism.
Everyone here at Friends of the Los Angeles River thanks you for your support from the bottom of our fresh water hearts. As our Founder, Lewis MacAdams, says “If you go down to the River later you might hear her whisper ‘thank you’.”
– The FoLAR Family