L.A. River Clean-Up and Day of Service Tomorrow

April 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

L.A. River Day of Service - click for full flier image - art by Leo Limon

It’s covered on plenty of sites elsewhere, but Creek Freaks should definitely plan to come to tomorrow’s Friends of the Los Angeles River La Gran Limpieza – the annual Great Los Angeles River Clean-up. Clean 9am to 12noon Saturday April 30th 2011 at over a dozen sites from Long Beach to Tujunga. This year the multi-site event is combined with city of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa’s Day of Service. The riverly day concludes with a 12n-2pm celebration at Rio de Los Angeles State Park – including a free concert by Ozomatli! « Read the rest of this entry »

Short Film on L.A. River Fishing

September 26, 2010 § 4 Comments

Here’s an excellent recent short documentary about fishing in the Los Angeles River. It features Carmelo Gaeta, Camm Swift, Sabrina Drill, and Friends of the Los Angeles River’s Shelly Backlar. I especially enjoyed the footage of biologists Swift and Drill surveying fish species via seine netting technique. « Read the rest of this entry »

Piggybacking on good news

July 16, 2010 § 16 Comments

"Broadened River" and new development concept for the Piggyback Yards. Source: http://www.piggybackyard.org

"River Strand" concept with new development at the Piggyback Yards. Source: http://www.piggybackyard.org

Even while LA River advocates were busy fighting to protect the river in a controversy over its Clean Water Act status, some of the same defenders were actively pursuing a vision for the river as it can be, balancing flood protection, habitat and development. Yesterday, Friends of the Los Angeles River unfolded this vision, put together by talented urban designers, architects, and landscape architects, at a press conference on the roof of the Sheriff’s Department parking lot – the perfect venue to see the target of all this visioning: the Piggyback Yards along the Los Angeles River.

Two alternatives explore the possibilities for restoring a reach of the Los Angeles River, providing off-channel flood storage, open space, urban connectivity, and infill development. Big props to Lewis MacAdams and FOLAR for conceiving and shepherding the vision, bringing the designers together with rail experts, hydrologists and hydraulic engineers, planners and agency folks – and big props to the design teams of Perkins+Will, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Michael Maltzin Architects, and Chee Salette Architecture Office. And, personal thanks to Mia Lehrer for giving me an opportunity to also be part of the team looking at riparian restoration issues! It’s exciting to see restoration design become integrated with vision planning for Los Angeles.

Check out the vision in detail at this beautiful website by Jackie Kain and her crew on the Piggyback Yards.

Great L.A. River Clean-Up this Saturday May 8th

May 4, 2010 § 1 Comment

Clean-Up Volunteers - photo from FoLAR website

From 9am to 12noon this Saturday May 8th 2010 is Friends of the Los Angeles River’s annual Great Los Angeles River Clean-Up. The event takes place at various sites from Long Beach to Tujunga. This is a great event for going down to the most wonderful sites along the river, hanging out with other creek freaks, and helping make our rivers a little cleaner and healthier. For details, see FoLAR’s website.

Note: the screening of Rock the Boat scheduled for May 8th has been rescheduled to Friday May 21st. More info on that soon.

FoLAR’s Black Friday

February 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

Friends of the Los Angeles River

Some bad news from Los Angeles’ oldest river advocacy organization: Friends of the Los Angeles River is facing dire financial straits.

Yesterday, Friday February 12th, 2010, facing difficulties in meeting payroll, FoLAR’s board made the difficult decision to downsize greatly. FoLAR laid-off half its staff: both educational  director Alicia Katano and membership program director Ramona Marks no longer have jobs. Remaining staff, executive director Shelly Backlar and president Lewis MacAdams, have had their hours trimmed to part time.

FoLAR was founded in 1986. For about a decade, it was pretty much a  lone voice for the river. Since the mid-1990’s the Southern California watershed restoration movement has expanded to include numerous other groups. As various other non-profits and agencies planned, built, educated, legislated, and advocated for river restoration and renewal, FoLAR played a vanguard role in pushing the political envelope. Without FoLAR leadership (including building coalitions and initiating legal actions) existing state parks at the Cornfields and Taylor Yard (Los Angeles State Historic Park and Rio de Los Angeles State Park, respectively) would not exist.

I worked for FoLAR from 2005 to 2007, helping rebuild the organization after another fiscal crisis which saw a staff of four reduced to one  part-time executive director. I hope that FoLAR leadership will learn lessons from these crises and make the changes needed for FoLAR to again be strong and relevant and to again play a needed leadership role in L.A.’s watershed restoration movement.

News and Events – 2 February 2010

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Cheongyecheon creek in Seoul, South Korea - photo: rinux via wikimedia



La Gran Limpieza is this Saturday!

May 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

La Gran Limpieza del Rio de Los Angeles

La Gran Limpieza del Rio de Los Angeles

This Saturday May 9th from 9am to 12noon is La Gran Limpieza – the 20th annual Great Los Angeles River Clean Up – hosted by the Friends of the Los Angeles River.  It’s a great event that includes t-shirts, food, music, corporate sponsors, thousands of people, and… oh yeah… tons of trash leaving our local waterways!

Your creek freak blogistas, Jessica and I, have been cleaning up the river at these events for many years… and it still seems to get dirty when we turn around.  What gives with that… maybe we also need to prevent that trash from getting into the river in the first place.  Seeing the amount of disposable plastic and styrofoam in the river, does make me think about my own consumption patterns.

There are many sites from Tujunga to the San Fernando Valley to Pasadena to Bell to Long Beach.  Sites are on the main stem of the mighty Los Angeles, as well as the Tujunga Wash, the Arroyo Seco, and Compton Creek.  They’re all listed at the FoLAR website.  Nearly all these sites are the vegetated soft-bottom stretches – the very nicest parts of the river, but also where trash gets stuck on vegetation – so this is a great chance to go and spend some time getting to know the nicest and most scenic parts of our river.  See you down by the river!

If you miss this Saturday, you may have to wait until Coastal Clean-Up Day in September!

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