O'Farrell, Cedillo announce unanimous approval of vote to revitalize river

The City Council voted unanimously to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study and its series of proposals to revitalize the Los Angeles River, the first major opportunity to make large-scale change to the waterway’s concrete channel, Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Gil Cedillo announced today.

The resolution, which was co-introduced by O’Farrell and Cedillo, dramatically moves forward the City’s commitment in its partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the natural resource value of the river.

“The unanimous decision by my council colleagues today sends a message that’s loud and clear -- Angelenos want and deserve more for our river,” said O’Farrell, who serves as Chair of the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging, and River committee “This study is the culmination of decades of activism, envisioning, and planning for what the river can become.”

"Today we recommitted ourselves to revitalizing the LA River. In partnership with our federal, state and local elected leaders, we urge the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt the most expansive alternative in its array of choices (Alternative 20), which would dramatically move the LA River Revitalization plan forward,” said Cedillo. “This is the most comprehensive alternative of the four options, and is the better choice to restore the River and transform our communities.”

Since 2006, the City has been serving as the local cost-sharing sponsor of the Corps’ Study—also known as the ARBOR Study—and the Council’s action today declared its priority publicly for the first time.

The Study has benefited from the considerable support of Los Angeles’s delegation in Congress, led by U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, which has championed many years of appropriations. The Obama Administration has echoed its support by including the Study in the President’s last two (FY2013 and FY2014) budgets. The Corps is expected to release the Study to the public on September 20.

“I want to personally thank Councilmember Cedillo on partnering on this resolution, and especially our friends of the Los Angeles River on a local, state and federal level,” said O’Farrell. “There are many people who are playing a vital role in shaping our waterway and working hard to make sure Los Angeles receives the funding tools it needs to green our river.”

“We will continue our advocacy efforts with the help of my colleagues and our community partners. We have much work ahead of us, but together we will have a vibrant and thriving river running through Los Angeles in its most natural state."

The Corps--which began channelizing the river for flood control purposes in the 1930s--has taken the lead on studying the viability of restoring the river’s ecosystem value, providing new wildlife habitat and public access along an 11-mile stretch of the river between Downtown and Griffith Park.

The Corps will choose among four plans that have each been identified as potential “best buy” investments of the Federal government.

The Corps is expected to release details of the plans and their recommendations on September 20. The Corps will host a public meeting to present the study and solicit feedback on October 17 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens.

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