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Urban Waters Partnership

Project Updates - Los Angeles River Watershed


Tree planting with partners

June 13, 2017, Through a community impact grant from American Forests, CBS Ecomedia, and Cadillac, Los Angeles State Historic Park hosted volunteers to plant native oak trees that are drought-adapted and have historic value. Cadillac promoted their new all-electric vehicle with views of the Los Angeles River and the downtown skyline. The main benefactor was the newly-formed LA River State Parks Partners, a community-based 'friends group' that supports the historic park and surrounding state parkland.

LA State Historic Park had its grand opening on Earth Day, April 22, 2017 providing acres of green open space in a historically park poor neighborhood located in downtown Los Angeles between Chinatown and the LA River. The opening attracted the key elected officials, including Governor Gerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other state and local legislators.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership played an important role in connecting and facilitating the partners involved with the event. American Forests delivered the opportunity for a tree planting volunteer event and the local Ambassador identified a need area to ensure a high community impact. This grant will increase capacity of the LA River State Parks Partners and sustain support for public open space in downtown Los Angeles. The funding provided for 26 coast live oak trees, materials costs, staff time, and support for future plantings in the park.


The LA Urban Center (USFS) and Loyola Marymount University held a free workshop on June 29. The workshop focused on the next phase of LA STEW-MAP, an ongoing project to better understand environmental stewardship in Los Angeles.

Movie night

The LA Department of Public Works and the Lower LA River Working Group held a Lower LA River Outdoor Movie Night on Saturday, July 15. The public enjoyed information booths, food trucks, family activities, and a movie in the river channel.

Designs for the LA River

The City of Los Angeles, led by the Bureau of Engineering and Mayor Garcetti's Office, worked with seven design firms in the spring of 2017 to imagine design treatments for seven different segments of the Los Angeles River in Downtown Los Angeles. The project celebrates the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the City's Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan by envisioning ways to implement goals of the Plan while also responding to the current context of public and private investment in the Downtown LA River corridor.

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Research Showcase

On June 5, the USFS, the City of Los Angeles, and local partners hosted an annual partners meeting showcasing cutting-edge research on a variety of issues including drought resilience, fusarium dieback, green infrastructure street planning, and collaborative network analysis. The meeting brought together researchers, urban foresters, state and federal staff, and members of the public.

Anniversary of River Revitalization Plan

On June 7, the partnership celebrated the 4th Annual Los Angeles River Day and the 10th anniversary of the City of LA’s River Revitalization Master Plan with Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell.

Workshop on preventing gentrification

On May 23, 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco teamed up with the Lower Los Angeles River Working Group and HUD to deliver an event titled “Turning Equity Ideals into Reality Workshop.” The Workshop focused on utilizing river revitalization investments while addressing gentrification and displacement through policy and planning strategies.

Zev Yarovslavsky Trail

On June 3, 2017 the LA River community will celebrate the grand opening of Zev Yarovslavsky LA River Greenway Trail. Community Conservation Solutions has restored a complex series of native habitats in a first-of-its-kind approach, using ecosystem design that replicates plant communities seen over 100 years ago.

Center to help with homeownership

Throughout May 2017, the Neighborhood Housing Services of LA County celebrated the opening of their brand-new center in Compton that helps residents become homeowners, develops neighborhood cohesion through programming, and offers several more services.

View photos of the center hereExit

LA River Recreation Zone

The Los Angeles River Recreation Zone officially opened on May 29. 2017. The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permitted two recreation zones: one in the Glendale Narrows section of Elysian Valley and the other in the Sepulveda Basin. The River Recreation Zone allows independent, unscheduled, free boating and fishing access to the Los Angeles River for the public, while private operators must receive permits to operate guided excursions.

Taylor Yard River Park Planning Underway

The State Coastal Conservancy granted $2 million to City of Los Angeles for Taylor Yard River Park planning. Taylor Yard River Park is a 41-acre parcel adjacent to the LA River in the City, just north of downtown, which will be transformed into a public greenspace. This project is one of several Los Angeles Urban Greening projects sponsored by the Coastal Conservancy, which aims to create parkland for communities, restore ecosystems, and enhance flood risk management throughout the City.

Grand Opening LA State Historic Park

On April 22, 2017, a grand opening was held for the Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP). Hundreds of city residents, Governor Jerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and many community leaders attended the celebration. LASHP is a 32-acre park located in a park-poor district between the LA River and Chinatown. The park relies solely on recycled water to irrigate the park's primarily drought-tolerant vegetation. 

Albion Riverside Park Opening

On May 6, 2017, a groundbreaking was held for Albion Riverside Park, a six-acre extensive site remediation from a former dairy warehouse. Recreational amenities at the site will include: multi-purpose athletic fields, walking paths, adult fitness zones, children’s play area, picnic area, a new parking lot with permeable paving, site landscaping, and a plaza. In addition to its recreational and education benefits, this project is expected to provide multiple benefits to the neighborhood. Notably, the project will create visual linkages between the Los Angeles River and other projects included in the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master plan.

The Great Los Angeles River Cleanup

Friends of the Los Angeles River hosted its 28th annual Great Los Angeles River Cleanup: La Gran Limpieza bringing thousands of volunteers and community members to remove trash from the river. Three cleanups during Earth Month on April 15, 22, and 29 focused on different sections of the river.

Article on balancing development and restoration

The Christian Science Monitor published an article about how the activities around the Los Angeles River and Washington's Anacostia River could test how well communities can balance new development with opportunities for longstanding residents.

Read the full article hereExit


Urban Waters Partners and California High Speed Rail

On Devember 20, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSR) hosted a presentation and question and answer session for the Urban Waters Federal Partnership in Los Angeles. The partner meeting fielded questions from river stakeholders on the impacts of the rail alignments from Palmdale to Burbank to LA Union Station. Since the proposed alignments run along the Los Angeles River corridor and several communities and public lands in the watershed, river stakeholders are hoping for a transparent process that reflects the needs and challenges of the impacted communities. 

Additional information on CHSR can be accessed here. Exit

Highlights from LA Partnership meeting

The LA River Watershed meeting hosted 40 people from various agencies and federal partners. Seven federal agencies provided updates including WRDA legislation, LA River tributaries, wildlife corridor connectivity, community development funding, and Environmental Justice funding opportunities. The meeting highlighted a diverse range of nongovernmental organizations, including the Trust for Public Land's completed riverfront park, The Nature Conservancy's habitat study, Southeast Asian Community Alliance's collaboration on equitable river revitalization principles, and a project inventory from all the attendees. 

Former Ambassador receives commendation from Mayor 

Congratulations to Pauline Louie of HUD! The Mayor of los Angeles issued Pauline a commendation for her work in the Urban Waters Federal Partnership and as the first Urban Waters Ambassador for the Los Angeles River location. 

LA Urban Waters Partnership at the National Community Reinvestment Conference

On February 8-10, the Los Angeles Partnership participated in the National Community Reinvestment Conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Pauline Louie, Urban Waters Ambassador in LA, and local leaders led a tour of the Los Angeles River for participants from the financial sector on how to fund comunity development projects in LA. A parallel effort sponsored by the EPA Office of Environmental Justice, EPA Region 9 Brownfields and Office of Underground Storage Tanks held a panel at the conference on Brownfields to Healthfields. The Brownfields to Healthfields effort seeks to revitalize abandoned lands in the Los Angeles River watershed and transform them into health centers, and food and recreation zones.

Read more about this initiative.

22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards commits to 10,000 trees along the LA River

In January, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) teamed up with the Los Angeles Partnership's American Forests and the City of Los Angeles to plant the first of 10,000 native trees along the banks of the river near Universal Studios. The producer of ABC's Scandal and actor Katie Lowes helped kick off the dedication and planting. Neighbors living near the heart of the filmaking industry close to Universal Studios have been creating green infrastructure decomposed granite paths and inviting greenways along this section of the channelized river. Now, this tree planting will convert old easement land into a park where residents and locals can stop, enjoy and reconnect with their environment.

View our SAG tree planting photo gallery.

Read more about this event.Exit