City of Los Angeles Opens South LA Wetlands Park

City officials and community stakeholders celebrated the grand opening of the much-anticipated, nine-acre South Los Angeles Wetlands Park. This expansive and innovative park, once the site of a former MTA bus yard, provides the community with an urban oasis, education center and passive recreational nature center in the heart of South Los Angeles.

“Today, our vision, our dream, has become a reality. Inter-agency efforts, community input, coordination and negotiations over a five-year period have resulted in this sustainable green space. This park has not only changed this community’s landscape, but it will also benefit the Los Angeles River and create a wildlife habitat,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who championed and shepherded the project to its completion. “This is the second man-made wetland project that we have in our district, and I’m very proud of our efforts to bring back nature to our urban setting. Now, the children and families of South Los Angeles can experience nature first-hand in their own backyard.” Commissioner Valerie Shaw, a member of the Board of Public Works and a South Los Angeles resident said, “We at Public Works are pleased to collaborate with Councilwoman Perry, Recreation and Parks, and all the other parties involved to bring the South Los Angeles Wetlands to this community! This green space revitalizes South LA and gives this community the recreational space it deserves, while protecting the environment.”

Like the Augustus F. Hawkins Wetlands Park, the South Los Angeles Wetlands Park collects urban runoff from a storm drain, removes trash and pollutants, and sends it through the wetlands for natural treatment. This project can treat up to 680,000 gallons of stormwater – enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, per day. Bureau of Sanitation Director, Enrique C. Zaldivar emphasized the water quality benefits of the project, saying, “Our Bureau’s Watershed Protection Program is responsible for ensuring that LA’s urban runoff meets state and federal standards for water quality. City Engineer Gary Lee Moore stated that this project, “exemplifies Public Works’ commitment to transform Los Angeles into the most livable City by replacing nine acres of asphalt and buildings with 9,500 native plants and trees, providing open space and water quality benefits for all to enjoy.”

The South Los Angeles Wetlands Park combines numerous elements for passive recreational activities such as walking, cycling, photography and bird watching. The future second phase of construction will include a rail museum and community meeting space. This park replaces an existing blighted site with greenery from a combination of native trees, shrubs, marsh plants and myriad flora. The park also serves as an outdoor classroom by providing educational signage along the walkways and will be a green haven for this community.

“Recreation and Parks is pleased to add another educational green space in a park-deprived community like South Los Angeles,” said John Mukri, General Manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks. “We are looking forward to having community folks, whether feathered or otherwise, enjoy this oasis!”

The South Los Angeles Wetlands Park was designed and constructed by the Department of Public Works’ Bureaus of Sanitation and Engineering in collaboration with the Department of Recreation and Parks. In 2006, the City Council approved $8.1 million in Proposition O General Bond funding to develop and construct the wetlands. Additional funds were provided by the Collection System Settlement Agreement, Propositions 50, 12, 40 and K, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the US EPA Brownfields Grant.

“This new park underscores government at its best where federal, state, local and community partners have collaborated to turn this area into not only a recreational haven, but a thriving sustainable wetlands that will provide important water quality benefits for the LA River,” said John Kemmerer, EPA’s Associate Director of the Water Division for the Pacific Southwest.

*Photo Credit: Ed Fuentes of viewfromaloft.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Michael Rabe
    August 3rd, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    What happened to renovation of the MTA building?

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      August 5th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Great question! As far as we know, the renovation of the MTA building is still in the planning stages.

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