L.A. River to Receive Protections under the Clean Water Act

A big change occurred in how the Federal government views the L.A. River. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson visited Southern California and announced that the river would be designated as ‘traditional navigable waters’. That may not mean much on its surface, but it certainly means a lot for those that want to see the river repaired.

“We’re moving away from the concrete,” Jackson told more than 200 residents and government officials as she stood next to Compton Creek, one of the LA River’s main tributaries, and one that has been marred by chronic pollution. “We want the L.A. River to demonstrate how urban waterways across the country can serve as assets in building stronger neighborhoods, attracting new businesses and creating new jobs.”

Check out when Lisa Jackson announced the great news (footage courtesy of Creek Freak’s Joe Linton).

With the ‘navigable’ designation, the L.A. River will now receive protections under the Clean Water Act, which the community hopes will be a step toward cleaning up the watershed. Ultimately the goal will be to make the river safe for humans and for wildlife.

The Los Angeles Times explained its significance:

“Protection under the Clean Water Act sets the stage for a multitude of ambitious plans, including removing the concrete liners and using modern technology to provide both flood protection and natural habitat that can attract wildlife and encourage human recreation. Plans to create badly needed parks and green spaces along the river — which also would attract new shopping and other commerce — would receive priority consideration. Proposed developments near the headwaters in the San Fernando Valley and along tributaries could neither pollute the river nor bury or harm its tributaries.”

Check out Creek Freak’s five part series on significance of navigability in our local waterways.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Denise
    November 9th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    This is a classic example of politicians pandering to special interest groups. The LA River is not a navigable waterway … never has been and never will be. What a joke.

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      November 9th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Denise. The LA River was actually the primary source of water back during the days of the Gabrielino Indians and before it was converted into a flood control channel by the Army Corps of Engineers at the turn of the century. If you’re interested in learning more about the LA River past, present and future, there are lots of resources to check out including organizations like the Friends of the LA River, documentaries such as Rock the Boat and blogs like LA Creek Freak. Hope this is helpful and thanks for doing your part to keep our waterways clean!

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