Restored Stream, Expanded Park Opens in Atwater

Los Angeles City Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti led a celebration on April 12 that marked the completion of the North Atwater Creek Restoration and Park Expansion project. A much-needed improvement in the Glendale Narrows area of the Los Angeles River, the North Atwater Park project provides multiple benefits to the city’s major tributary as well as the community.

The project will keep the LA River clean and healthy; help the city achieve its clean water objectives for the river and the ocean; provide additional wildlife habitat; and promote healthy living through recreational opportunities by the river.  The new green space sets the tone for all other anticipated improvements up and down the LA River as part of its revitalization.  Joining the celebrations were environmentalists, regulators, and area residents.

“This new park transformed what was basically a ditch into a natural way to clean urban runoff and provide people with a place to get outside and enjoy the beautiful LA River,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge whose district covers Atwater Village.  “I applaud the collaboration of all the city departments to secure the funding and get this keystone project completed.”

The $4-million project re-graded an 800-foot narrow open channel, reshaped it, and removed invasive plant species to improve water flow. Structural stormwater best management practices including a trash removal device and native vegetation were implemented to improve the quality of water draining from the 60-acre sub watershed out to the LA River.  It also added a three-acre green space to the existing North Atwater Park, highlighted by permeable pavers in the parking lot, decorative fencing, a new picnic area, and an outdoor classroom.

The North Atwater Creek Restoration and Park Expansion also assists the City in meeting water quality goals for its bodies of water.  This project will mitigate trash and bacteria from urban runoff from the North Atwater sub-watershed that flows through the North Atwater creek and directly out to the river. The project was a joint effort of the Department of Public Works Bureaus of Sanitation, Engineering, and Contract Administration, and the Department of Recreation and Parks. It was funded largely by the Supplemental Environmental Project funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the settlement of two Clean Water Act enforcement actions (Santa Monica Baykeeper v. City of Los Angeles and United States, and the State of California ex Rel. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region v. City of Los Angeles).  Additional funds were provided by the Proposition 50 California River Parkways Grant Program.

Photo courtesy of City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar for LAadmin
    Kathleen Bergmann
    September 6th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I would like to use the photo of the restored area as an example of a daylighted stormwater culvert. May I have your permission.

    • Avatar for LAadmin
      LA Stormwater
      September 6th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Yes, absolutely, Kathleen! We only ask that you give the City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works credit for the photo. Thanks so much!

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