Federal programs focus on Los Angeles River
By Dave Palmer
LOS ANGELES -- Col. Mike Wehr, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division and Col. Mark Toy District commander participated in the launch ceremony for the Los Angeles River Watershed Project held at North Atwater Park on Jan. 12.
The Los Angeles River was identified in 2010 as a priority by the Obama administration under the America’s Great Outdoors initiative and is now one of seven pilot cities for the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.
“We are grateful that the Obama administration has made the LA River a priority through America’s Great Outdoors and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “By working together, we can create an emerald necklace of parks, walkways, and bike paths that will protect the river’s environmental integrity and promote access and economic growth for all Angelenos.”
Representing the Obama administration, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Rep. Lucille Royball-Allard, Rep. Adam Schiff, Councilman Ed Reyes and other key stakeholders in celebrating the selection of the Los Angeles River Watershed as a priority project under the President’s UWFP.
“Today we are celebrating the partnerships that are transforming the Los Angeles River watershed into a national symbol of how once-neglected urban waterways can be cleaned up and restored to improve the quality of life and boost the economy in America’s communities,” said Salazar. “Once known for pollution and poverty, these watersheds can become model urban parks cherished for their trails and access to river recreation.”
Under the purview of 11 federal agencies, UWFP is designed to stimulate regional and local economies by creating jobs and improving quality of life in under-served communities across the nation.
“Water is the lifeblood of our communities and we must care for our watersheds and urban waterways around the nation,” said Salazar. “Through this partnership and President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Interior is committed to increasing public access to river resources, helping restore and protect habitat and wildlife, educating and employing our youth, and assessing and helping safeguard water quality.”
These programs will greatly benefit the vision laid out in the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. Adopted in 2007, it offers the Los Angeles River as one of the greatest opportunities to revitalize the physical health of communities and the City as a whole.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a fully committed partner in Los Angeles River revitalization efforts, including the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan,” said Toy.
The District will continue to provide engineering services, research and technical support to stakeholders during the planning, design, construction and operation of water resources and associated environmental infrastructure throughout the Los Angeles River Watershed Project.